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Archive - Aug 16, 2011
Memo to Mike Myers: THIS IS AN INTERVENTION.
Full disclosure. I have more goodwill toward Mike Myers than any human being who is not related to Mike Myers probably should. To this day, I love "So I Married An Axe Murderer". I liked both "Wayne's World" movies, again, more than they probably deserved. I don't even mind that there are three Austin Powers movies. Sure, there were diminishing returns and dead spots the farther it went, but even the third one had a solid percentage of laughs.
And hell, I don't even blame Myers for the horrifying effect "Austin Powers" had on pop culture. No artist has the ability to control mankind's willingness to annoy their fellow man with a fad, whether it be in Halloween costume form, co-worker quoting form, or any of the other obnoxious forms of Bad Nerditry that the general public is all too capable of when something reaches pop-culture critical mass.
Now, there is no denying that The Love Guru is a piece of shit. Comedically indefensible on nearly every level. It's like an 87-minute clip reel compiling every single bad comedic instinct Myers has had in his entire life, from gratuitously mugging at farts to randomly changing volume AS IF THAT WERE A JOKE BY ITSELF. It was so bad it sent Myers into hiding for years, and rightfully so. When you make a movie like The Love Guru, you have to spend a long time in penitential introspection.
Which is why the news yesterday, that Myers is seriously contemplating making a fourth Austin Powers movie, is almost as horrifying as Rick Perry entering the 2012 presidential race. Returning to Austin Powers is not now, and could never be, the right answer to "how do I recover from The Love Guru?"
In his speech at the Montreal comedy festival this year, Marc Maron referred to the art of comedy as "building your clown". It's a good metaphor for Myers. He spent a lot of time building a very specific clown, then he set it on fire, burned it to the ground, and sowed the earth it stood upon with salt so that nothing would ever grow there again. Mike Myers' clown is a glassy crater. You don't fill a glass-lined crater with some old blue jackets and some fake teeth and tell everyone it's an amazing edifice again.
Rebuilding Mike Myers' clown should be a national infrastructure project. Obama should announce a sweeping program that puts thousands of people to work helping figure out what the fuck happened to Mike Myers. And as part of that project, he should issue a restraining order keeping Myers at least 500 feet away from anything retro.
Is it the money? Does he owe people a lot of money? Because I can certainly see the temptation to go back to that well. But if that's the case, just have a benefit show. Put it on all the major networks. Call it the Mike Myers' Disaster Prevention Telethon. Tell everyone that if you pull in ten million dollars, you won't have to make another Austin Powers movie. Have Kanye come on and say that George Bush doesn't care about fake British people. It'd work, trust me.
At the end of the day, there is no watchable version of a fourth Austin Powers movie. Well, not one that can be made. I mean, if Myers had the rights to the character and a huge bankroll, he could make some kind of self-aware, subversive take on the character and the phenomenon and his career. I don't know if he has that movie in him or not, but it doesn't matter, because if he does, New Line would never let him make it. Because what New Line would want out of a new Austin Powers is what they got out of the old one - a pop-culture juggernaut that moved merch like a motherfucker.
But that ship's sailed. That cow's dried up. No sweet comedy milk will flow from the old, withered teats of the Austin Powers franchise, even if the whole movie focuses on Dr. Evil and Seth Green, which it won't, because that's neither marketable enough for New Line or funny enough to stand on its own. Especially if, as I've heard, it'd all be wrapped up in Myers' feelings about his late father.
Just walk away. Have the telethon if you need to. I'm sure Carvey will put on the wig and glasses for old time's sake. Plus, Jerry Lewis has a lot of free time on his hands now, and I bet he'd leap at the chance to contribute to the world of comedy for the first time in his life.