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This Ignites Me...

Spaceballs and the art of not taking yourself too seriously

Engine Creative's CCO Billy Faithfull on the thing that fires his imagination

By Billy Faithfull

Of the few things my father and I agreed upon in the late 80s as puberty hit me hard, Mel Brooks movies were high on the list. But where The Producers and Blazing Saddles used satire and buffoonery to tackle fascism and racism, Spaceballs was just an all-out fistful of fun.

I lived and breathed comedies. Zucker, Zucker & Abrahams were my heroes. Airplane and Top Secret were like sacred texts to me, but Spaceballs was something different.

Here the target of parody was something I loved...Star Wars. Spaceballs taught me that you can’t satirise something unless you know it deeply, even better if you love it. Even as a kid, I hated people who took themselves too seriously. I wondered if that was what adulthood was, that growing up meant growing boring. But Mel Brooks & Co had turned not taking yourself seriously into an Olympic sport.

And I’m not alone, if you’ve ever wondered why Elon Musk made a flamethrower and why Ludicrous Speed and Plaid are settings on your 90k Tesla, you had better get yourself schooled in Spaceballs. The meta gags and snappy dialogue of the famous ‘When Will Then Be Now’ will be worth it alone.


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