This article is part of our coverage of the 2022 Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival.
At the first annual Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, Mike Myers sat down with acclaimed director/Mike Myers super-fan David O. Russell for a wide-ranging talk. The two men looked back over Myers’ career up to this week’s premiere of the new Netflix original series The Pentaverate, bringing a few surprise revelations to the Los Angeles crowd — along with some extra insight into the brain of Lorne Michaels.
As Myers told Russell, Michaels told him about an idea for an unexpected film remake in 1989, the year Myers joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, after being invited to the SNL creator’s house in the Hamptons. “He pitched me a movie — he said, ‘I want you to do a remake of The Graduate.'”
The 1967 classic film, starring Dustin Hoffman as a disaffected college survivor who gets involved with a much older married woman, is not necessarily a film screaming out for a remake, which is why Myers told Michaels that “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Michaels’ response, Myers said, was “‘I just offered you a fucking movie,'” but Myers replied by noting that “The Graduate doesn’t need to be remade. It’s a perfect film. And a little man should not stand in a great man’s shoes.”
Myers instead said then that he wanted to make Wayne’s World as a film, to which Michaels said, “Really?” — a catchphrase which, Myers explained, “is Lorne for ‘You fucking idiot.'”
Myers then went on to decode other “Lorne-isms,” as Russell referred to them: When Michaels says “Riiiiiight” (imagine Dr. Evil saying it), it means, “He doesn’t want to hear about it anymore.” Meanwhile, when Michaels says “Cool,” it means, “Get the fuck out of my office.”
Following this, Myers revealed that during the writing process for Wayne’s World, Michaels pushed him, on behalf of the studio, to consider using Guns N’ Roses in place of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the film’s iconic head-banging sequence. “Lorne kept putting under [my office door] the Billboard Hot 100 and it was all Guns N’ Roses, Guns N’ Roses, Guns N’ Roses,” he said, but he wasn’t swayed to change his mind, because “I love Guns N’ Roses. I don’t have a joke for Guns N’ Roses.”
To Michaels’ credit, once Myers convinced him “Bohemian Rhapsody” was the right choice, “he talked to the studio on my behalf and made it happen. He was initially [against it], but then he became the greatest champion of it.”
Myers then reflected on two impactful screenings he’d attended over the years — the first being a screening of the 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, during which he was sitting next to Brian May of the band. Lead singer Freddie Mercury had passed away before Wayne’s World originally premiered in 1992, though he had granted permission for the song to be used after being sent a cut-down version of the movie’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene.
“Brian May turns to me while [Bohemian Rhapsody] is on, he says, ‘You know, Freddy saw [‘Wayne’s World’] and he loved it,’ and I cried around the spot,” said Myers. “I had no idea. I didn’t know he had seen that until then.”
The other emotional screening experience he shared was a story from the Wayne’s World 2 premiere in London, during which he was sitting next to Sir Paul McCartney. “My parents are from Liverpool, so you gotta imagine I was very nervous,” he said, before noting that McCartney is “fond of various weeds and verbal remedies… I don’t think I’m talking out of school, really.”
Continued Myers, “I was sitting there nervous because, you know, I feel like an asshole, I’m in my head. And [McCartney] goes, ‘Well, that’s funny, that one.'” (Myers’ McCartney impression, to be clear, was pretty impressive.)
“He goes, ‘Did you write this?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, most of it,'” Myers continued, with a shooing gesture at the imaginary McCartney beside him.
“He’s talking to you during the movie,” Russell observed.
“I know,” Myers said. “And my joke in my head was, ‘I wish I was sitting next to the quiet one.'”
Mike Myers’ The Pentaverate is streaming now on Netflix.