Man, the lovebirds of Valentine’s Day 1992 had it easy, if anything went wrong, at least you could break the ice by taking her to see Wayne’s World. If you didn’t laugh during this film, it’s safe to say you have the worst sense of humor, ever. Sorry.
Some Things You May Not Know About the Film from Rolling Stone:
A Modest Budget
The film was shot on a crappy budget in 34 days.
The Charachter Wayne Started on CBC
The character of Wayne Campbell originated on the CBC. In the “Extreme Close-Up” featurette on the Wayne’s World DVD and Blu-ray, Myers talks about how he came up with Wayne’s laid-back voice and stooped posture when he was still a preteen in Scarborough, Ontario, inspired by the long-haired, casually cool older kids he’d see at parties. The young comedian first started doing the character in 1987 on the CBC variety series It’s Only Rock & Roll, where he appeared in little “life lessons” videos titled “Wayne’s Power Minute.” When Myers joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player in January of 1989, he brought some of the material he’d developed in the Toronto comedy scene, including the German TV parody “Sprockets” and the affable metalhead that he’d been playing off and on for over a decade.
Once he was on SNL, Myers soon figured out a fresh way to repurpose Wayne Campbell: make him the host of one of the strange local public-access cable shows that he’d seen on prior trips to the United States. He convinced one of the most popular cast members of that era, Dana Carvey, to join him as Wayne’s best friend and co-host Garth Algar. In a 2013 reunion of the Wayne’s World cast and crew sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Carvey confessed that the only direction Myers gave him before their first sketch was, “Garth loves Wayne.” They appeared together for the first time in a Leslie Nielsen-hosted episode on February 18th, 1989 – almost three years to the day before their movie would open – as the final sketch of the night. An enthusiastic audience and viewer reaction allowed for an encore, and then another … and the rest is history. “Wayne’s World” soon became one of the recurring-sketch anchors of early 1990s Saturday Night Live; between 1989 and 1994, the show featured the characters 19 times.
Dana Carvey based Garth on his genius brother Brad.
Though Garth was initially just Wayne’s dweeby disciple, Carvey helped flesh him out over time, making the sidekick more specifically into a kind of shy savant who was surprisingly adept at drumming and tinkering. In “Extreme Close-Up,” the comedian says that these mad-scientist skills are his affectionate tribute to his older brother Brad, an accomplished engineer who helped develop the hardware for the then-popular editing program Video Toaster. (In Wayne’s World 2, Dana wears a VT-branded shirt as another nod to his sibling.)
According to Carvey, Brad could “fix the dryer with a butter knife,” and whenever he or his parents would marvel at some amazing thing he’d done around the house, he’d just flash a tight smile and quietly mutter, “Thanks.” That became the foundation for Garth’s pinched facial expression and soft, monotone voice. The actor has admitted though that the movie made him regret ever coming up with the character’s exaggerated overbite – because when he had to hold it for longer than a five-minute late-night comedy sketch, he ended up with sore jaw muscles.
Many of the Film’s One Liners Were Improvised
At the Academy’s Wayne’s World reunion, Carvey says that Spheeris’s best contribution to the project was her willingness to let everyone improvise, so long as they kept to her tight schedule. (“If you can do it in 26 seconds, we can keep it in the movie” was her motto.) As a result, a lot of the picture’s most-quoted jokes weren’t in the script. When Wayne orders “Cream of Sum Yung Guy” for Chinese takeout, none of Myers’ cast-mates knew that was what he was going to say; and Spheeris and her editors later had to find a way to cut around the other characters’ guffaws, while also piecing together enough silent reaction shots to allow the viewers a chance to enjoy one of the film’s biggest laugh-lines.
Neither Carvey nor Myers had much experience with film shoots prior to Wayne’s World, so Spheeris tried to keep them comfortable by letting them work they way they did on SNL, where they could change sketches right up to the moment they went on the air – or even sometimes while they were live. One of the movie’s sweetest and funniest moments has Wayne and Garth lying on the hood of a car and philosophizing (“Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played a girl bunny?”) while watching planes overhead. This was all shot quickly on the last day, and almost completely improvised – one last chance for the actors to throw in whatever else they wanted to before wrapping production.
Rob Lowe Admits…
At the 2013 Academy reunion, Lowe says that he discovered he had a rapport with Myers when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 1990. He also admits that when was given a choice that week between doing a “Wayne’s World” sketch or a “Sprockets,” he picked the latter, because he didn’t really get what was so hilarious about Wayne and Garth.
Alice Cooper Says He Didn’t Know He Would Act & Perform in the Film
“We were supposed to perform [“Feed My Frankenstein”] and I didn’t know anything about the dialogue. When I got to the set, Mike said, ‘You’re an actor, can you do some lines for us?’ I went ‘sure’ and I got like five pages of dialogue. I said, ‘When are we doing this?’ He goes, ‘In about 20 minutes.’ I go ‘OK.’ So a lot of it was riffing. I think we did it in two takes. Of course, Dana and Mike, on the floor with the ‘We’re not worthy!’ thing, were doing everything they could to get me to break up. They didn’t realize my iron will, so I went right through that dialogue, and I think I surprised them. But if you would have seen the outtakes of ‘We’re not worthy, we’re scum,’ it goes on for like five or six minutes. And it just gets vile. Whoever owns those outtakes owns a little treasure.”
Bohemian Rhapsody goes back to Myers’ days cruising around with his friends.
More than any catch-phrase or ad-lib, the moment most associated with Wayne’s World is the sequence where Wayne, Garth and their buddies cram into in an AMC Pacer and lip-synch to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The scene was the source of a lot of debate and second-guessing – even from Myers, who based it on his memories of arguing with his friends arguing over who got to sing which “Galileo!” whenever the song came on the radio. The star didn’t have as much fun shooting those few minutes of film as he’d expected, however, because he didn’t have much experience with driving – and found the head-banging during the big instrumental break to be physically painful. In fact, he wasn’t even sure the sequence was going to be funny. (Carvey wasn’t comfortable with the jerky head motions either, though his bigger problem was that he hadn’t bothered to learn the words to the song … which led to Spheeris cutting to Garth obviously faking his way through the last lines.)
It’s the only movie based on an SNL sketch to gross over $100,000,000 to date.
The legendary late-night sketch show has nurtured multiple generations of big- and small-screen stars, who’ve been responsible for some of the hugest blockbuster films of the past 40 years. But of the 11 movies actually based on material developed on the show, only two can really be called “hits.” One is 1980’s The Blues Brothers, which roughly doubled its reported $27 million budget at the U.S. box office. The other is Wayne’s World, which cost about $20 million and brought in over $120 million domestic. In the wake of its success, Lorne Michaels tried to strike gold again with everything from It’s Pat to The Ladies Man. The only movie that’s come remotely close to doing as well is … Wayne’s World 2, which earned $48 million.
Myers is rumored to have courted Nirvana to appear in Wayne’s World 2.
By the time the movie had come out in 1992, the classic rock and hair-metal bands that Wayne and Garth loved – and that Tia Carrere’s character Cassandra Wong represented – were being usurped by the rising popularity of the punk/metal/indie-rock fusion known as “grunge.” Rumor has it that Myers intended to address the changing times head-on in the 1993 sequel, by getting no less than Nirvana (!) to do a cameo as part of the movie’s big “Waynestock” music festival plot. Cobain reportedly nixed the appearance, however, after he was shown a rough cut of the early WW2 footage and was less than impressed. The offer has never been officially confirmed or denied, though Cobain was apparently a fan – Everett True’s 2006 bio of the band mentions the singer watching a Wayne’s World special in which Myers mishears a “Heart-Shaped Box” lyric as “Hey, Wayne,” causing the frontman to fall off the couch laughing – and IMDb continues to list the tidbit in the sequel’s trivia page. We are simple left to imagine one of the era’s groundbreaking bands appearing in one of the period’s most popular pop-cultural artifacts, and salivate.
From School of Rock today, Wayne’s World is a film built on music.
1. The opening scene:
2. Alice Cooper’s cameo:
3. A nod to Zeppelin with No Stairway, Denied scene: