What the Hell Happened to Mike Myers?
Mike Myers successfully made the transition from Not Ready for Prime Time Player to movie star. His characters and catch-phrases were inescapable. Myers wasn’t just a comedian, he was shaping pop culture. And then, he stopped.
What the hell happened?
Myers’ first acting job was on a TV commercial when he was 10 years old. The commercial co-starred Gilda Radner, who was about to become a star on Saturday Night Live. In 1989, Myers would follow in Radner’s footsteps as a cast member of SNL.
In 1982, Myers joined the Canadian touring company for Second City immediately out of high school. From there, he moved to the United Kingdom. in 1985, Myers was one of the founding members of The Comedy Store Players, an improvisational group based in London.
The next year, he starred in the British children’s TV program Wide Awake Club. Myers satirized the show’s typical energy with his own bit, the ”Sound Asleep Club”.
Myers made several appearances on Canadian TV. He appeared as Wayne Campbell on the alternative video show, City Limits. The show was hosted by Christopher Ward (pictured above with Myers). Myers also played Wayne in one of Ward’s music videos. Ward later joined the band Ming Tea in Myers’ first Austin Powers movie.
Myers went on to play Wayne in the 1986 series It’s Only Rock & Roll.
On the same show, Myers debuted his character Dieter in a sketch called Kurt and Dieter.
The character would later become a regular on Saturday Night Live as part of the Sprockets sketch.
In 1986, Myers returned to Canada and Second City. This time, he joined the Toronto main stage show rather than the touring company. Two years later, Myers moved from Toronto to the Second City in Chicago.
Myers spent six seasons on Saturday Night Live . He quickly became a breakout star with characters like Wayne and Dieter. He also developed recurring characters like Linda Richman and Simon.
In 1992, Myers and Dana Carvey were tapped to bring the Wayne’s World sketch to the big screen. Trouble began immediately when Myers wanted to have Carvey’s character, Garth, written out of the movie.
Myers had originally developed the Wayne character as a solo character while performing with Second City. The character of Garth was added for Saturday Night Live. When it came time to take the act to the big screen, Myers wasn’t interested in sharing the spotlight with Carvey, who was arguably the bigger star at the time.
Myers has developed a reputation for being, well, a demaning control freak. He started earning that reputation with his very first movie. Reportedly, Myers once stormed off the Wayne’s World set due to a lack of margarine for his bagel.
Director, Penelope Spheeris recounted to Entertainment Weekly:
”He (Myers) was emotionally needy and got more difficult as the shoot went along. ‘You should have heard him bitching when I was trying to do that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene: ‘I can’t move my neck like that! Why do we have to do this so many times? No one is going to laugh at that!”’
Eventually, the director assigned her daughter to “babysit Myers” and “fetch his snacks”.
”To this day, I have this image of her sitting on this little cooler, looking at me, like, ‘Mom, I f—ing hate you,” said Spheeris.
Myers used his feature film debut as an opportunity to settle an old score with a girlfriend who dumped him. The girl in question broke up with Myers due to his preoccupation with his comedy. She later changed her mind. In an attempt to reconcile, the girl bought Myers a gun rack as a bit of absurdist humor which she thought Myers would appreciate. Myers recreated the scene in the movie with the character of Stacy played by Lara Flynn Boyle. Stacy is depicted in an unflattering light and referred to as ‘psycho hose-beast’. When the girl who inspired the character saw the movie, she was mortified. Eventually, Myers reached out to apologize for including the incident in the movie.
Movies based on Saturday Night Live sketches have historically had a bad track record. But Wayner’s World was the exception to the rule. Reviews were positive and the movie was a big hit at the box office.
Posted on October 3, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened? and tagged austin powers, entertainment, Mike Myers, movies, Saturday Night Live, shrek, Wayne's World. Bookmark the permalink. 130 Comments.