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‘Wayne’s World’ turns 25: Five things you didn’t know

By Jim Slotek, Postmedia Network

Mike Myers, left, and Dana Carvey, of 'Wayne's World' are seen at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday June 1, 2008 in Los Angeles. Break out the coffee and crullers because it's party time, 'Wayne's World' fans: the irreverent smash comedy is celebrating its 25th anniversary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mark J. Terrill

Mike Myers, left, and Dana Carvey, of 'Wayne's World' are seen at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday June 1, 2008 in Los Angeles. Break out the coffee and crullers because it's party time, 'Wayne's World' fans: the irreverent smash comedy is celebrating its 25th anniversary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mark J. Terrill

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“Doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory President O statements and roadblocks. Thought it was going to be a smooth transition – NOT!” President Trump via Twitter.

But for a teenager named Mike Myers – who hatched an idea in high school that eventually evolved into Wayne’s World – the President might NOT have had that handy sarcastic shorthand available.

And if he starts tweeting the word, “Schwing!” well… let’s just not go there.

But such is the staying power of Wayne’s World, which was released 25 years ago as of Tuesday – a bit born in Scarborough, which remains the highest-grossing film ever based on a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Wayne Campbell (Myers) and his sidekick Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) broadcast their banter about babe-a-lonians and metal gods, ostensibly on Aurora, Ill., community cable.

The actual city of Aurora is holding a series of celebrations, including a Guinness record attempt for the most people singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody.

But at heart, Wayne is as Canadian as maple syrup and Stan Mikita’s Donuts (the donut shop/hangout in the movie). Here are some things you might not have been worthy enough to know about Wayne’s World.

1. Wayne’s World really was born in a basement. The first time I interviewed Myers, we traded notes about our high school years and a ‘70s teacher’s strike that pretty much sent every teenager in the province into the basement to play Risk.

Most of his basement time back in Scarborough was spent with his best friend Dave Mackenzie, who in his younger days even looked like Garth. "What we did was hang around in the basement together and share some banter and that heavy metal experience," Mackenzie told me when he was taking his own stab at a comedy career.

2. Myers graduated from high school straight into Toronto’s Second City Touring Company. He then spent a couple of years in England in the early ‘80s, with a comedy partner named Neil Mullarkey.

On his return, he went directly to Second City Mainstage, where he unveiled the character Wayne Campbell as a beer-drinking, heavy-metal hoser. There’s video of Myers onstage in 1986 with Deborah Theaker, playing Wayne as a philandering doofus whose girlfriend works at the CNE.

3. Wayne Campbell’s TV debut came on City-TV’s City Limits as “Wayne from Bludgeon” (his fictional heavy metal band), in bits he’d record with VJ Christopher Ward. (Ward would refer to him as, “My cousin Wayne.”)

4. He showed up next on CBC’s Gemini-winning music variety show It’s Only Rock And Roll in 1987, hosted by Ted Woloshyn. Ostensibly, Wayne Campbell won a contest to have his own spot on the show. “Wayne’s Power Minute” became a regular bit.

5. Slyest “inside joke” in Wayne’s World is the character of Officer Koharski (Frederick Coffin) who chows down at Stan Mikita’s Donuts. In the 1988 NHL Playoffs, after the Devils lost a game to the Bruins, New Jersey coach Jim Schoenfeld and referee Don Koharski had an altercation in which Koharski ended up on the ground. Caught on camera, Schoenfeld angrily denied pushing Koharski, saying “You fell, you fat pig! Have another donut!” When I brought this up to Myers on the movie’s release, he smiled and claimed this was news to him.

BONUS: And if I may be self serving for a moment… In another incarnation, I was a joke writer on the Geminis in 1992 and met with Myers and Eugene Levy to come up with their co-presenter banter. “As long as it’s not one of those, ‘On SCTV you guys did… but on Saturday Night Live we would…’ things,” Myers said.

“How about if Gene pretends he doesn’t know you’re in a hit movie and acts condescending towards you?” They both liked the idea.

“So Mike,” Levy’s bit began. “I haven’t seen you in a while. You working?”

That got a laugh.

To celebrate the silver anniversary of the movie’s release, Cineplex will host screenings at select locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

Twitter: @jimslotek

JSlotek@postmedia.com

 



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