Michael Nagy, Dixie State University
The sketch TV show Saturday Night Live has, since its inception, produced actors and actresses that have gone on to create and act in comedic films. Mike Myers wrote and acted in the second SNL sketch to become a film, Wayne’s World (1992). The first was The Blues Brothers (1980). Through writing the central character of Wayne Campbell, Mike Myers explored the idea of the unattractive hero. Most of Myers’ post-SNL characters are in opposition to the stereotypical idea of a hero. This stereotype is a strong, tall, bold, outgoing, courageous, attractive character, the perfect image of a hero. Myers uses quite the opposite of these elements to subvert the stereotype of a hero, yet still make his characters heroic. Through the mixture of quirky attributes and unpleasant characteristics, Myers invents a new kind of character that stretches the definition of antihero. Myers writes his characters as unattractive, goofy, clumsy, shy, oddball, gross, or creepy, yet they are just as successful in their role as the hero. He isn’t afraid to introduce strong female roles into his writing with Cassandra in Wayne’s World and Vanessa Kensington in Austin Powers. Females that display strength, confidence, and power while remaining feminine are key players in Mike Myers comedy writing while his male leads are unattractive heroes. Later comedic films created by former SNL cast members adopt the unattractive hero as a central character, showing the influence Myers had on his peers. Films like The Coneheads and A Night at the Roxbury grew from Myers lead in the genre with other SNL alumni at the helm. This presentation will examine the particular construction of the main characters of Wayne’s World and Austin Powers, in the films with the same titles, as heroes within the framework of comedy. It will also attempt to examine how Myers subverts the conventions of an ideal hero to create a source of comedy for his movies.