Laura Solon – Favourite comedy film

June 17, 2007


Dir: Mel Brooks, 1987
by Laura Solon

‘It’s a spoof of Star Wars and other epic space films. Rick Moranis plays Dark Helmet, in homage to Darth Vader. In my favourite scene he makes the ship go to ludicrous speed but won’t put his seatbelt on, so when they make an emergency stop he flies into a machine and it crushes his helmet. It’s a great visual gag.

I saw it in the cinema when I was about eight and it’s the first film I remember really, really laughing at, and the first time I left the cinema thinking, I wish I was in that film. The best comedy in general is when everyone in it looks like they’re having a good time, and when you finish watching it you wish you were in the gang. It’s not knowing, it’s not really clever and high status. It’s just everyone pissing about on screen.

As I got older I was influenced by Christopher Guest’s films. Best In Show is my favourite. Sideways, and was fantastic too. I really like that kind of offbeat humour. You wouldn’t necessarily sell that story as a comedy, but it has that real subtlety of detail the Americans do so well.

I haven’t worked out the secret of comedy yet, but I think it’s important to surprise people. In terms of my own work, if there was a test to see what people would find funny it would be amazing, but I don’t think you can ever tell. You can only go with your instincts.

This piece first appeared in Observer Review’s Best comic films of all time piece


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