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Let's have a few laughs

by Andrew Green

Today I would like to tell you about one of my very favorite films. It's a film so hilarious that I once had a date end prematurely when I insisted that we watch it, and then proceeded to crack up when when were supposed to be cuddling.

I regret nothing!

UHF (1989)


Netflix description:
"Television executive R.J. Fletcher (Kevin McCarthy) tries to sabotage the wild success of a rival low-rent, wacky station run by slovenly dreamer George Newman (Weird Al Yankovic) and Bob (David Bowe) -- leading to a telethon showdown. Only George's on-air local misfits can help save the day. Jay Levey directs and Victoria Jackson, Stanley Brock and Michael Richards co-star in this daring, out-there, over-the-top comedy."

Along with Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Mel Brooks' Spaceballs, I rank UHF as one of the funniest movies ever made. It is over-the-top goofy in a way that only something written by Weird Al could be. He plays a loser named George Newman who somehow becomes the manager of a crappy, hole in the wall, TV station. At first, things don't go so well...but once George starts using his overactive imagination to produce original programming, the station -- Channel 62 -- quickly becomes top dog in its market. Can George handle the pressure that comes with being number one?

The TV station concept is perfect for Weird Al, since it allows for a variety of random gags to be thrown out in rapid fire. We see promos for shows like "Bowling for Burgers", "Strip Solitaire", and "Conan the Librarian", while meeting a variety of ridiculous and lovable characters. Our villain, RJ Fletcher, is the perfect cliche of an evil businessman...and George Newman's own staff consists of a young Michael Richards (as the dim-witted children's show host Stanley Spedowski), as well as a pre-Nanny Fran Drescher (as an annoying secretary).

UHF figures into many of my childhood memories. I remember laughing uncontrollably with my best friend the first time we saw the scene in which Weird Al hits a clown in the face with a frying pan (we must have rewound the tape 30 times to watch that moment over and over again -- even in slow motion); I remember being teased by a teenage Harmony House employee when I bought the UHF soundtrack (my first compact disk!); and I remember making out with my first girlfriend while watching the movie, and trying in vain not to crack up. I have seen UHF so many times over the years that I can recite most of it line for line by memory. One of my favorites: "Broads don't belong in broadcasting!" (I'd love to hang a poster with that quote on the wall at work, but some people just don't have a sense of humor, so I probably shouldn't do it).

What else can I say? There's no political message in UHF, nor any deep commentary on the human condition. Doctor Strangelove this is not. Rather, it is just pure stupidity, and I love it. There is an offbeat innocence to UHF which even hardened comedy junkies should find charming, and I recommend it to everyone who has a soul.

5 out of 5.