Exploiting the Archives: Movie 43, inAPPropriate Comedy & Sketch Comedy Hell


If you’re a sane person with a working brain and you write about pop culture for a living, I imagine your brain is perpetually working overtime to find stuff so good you have to write about it. Or discovering pop culture so great you feel duty-bound to share it with the rest of the world. 

If you’re me, however, the process works a little differently. Your brain is continually conspiring against you to try to force you into writing about pop culture so unrelentingly, surreally terrible-looking that you feel like you were put on earth to suffer through it, and then share your trauma with the world as entertainingly as possible. 


So when I saw a grubby, homemade-looking copy of ShamWow Guy, Scientology heretic, possible sex criminal Vince Offer’s 1999 directorial debut The Underground Movie at a Half Priced Books in the dollar bin a few months ago, my immediate response was “Yikes! That looks fucking terrible! I must write about it!” 

I was all too familia with Offer’s body of work outside of his distressingly successful career as an infomercial pitchman, having covered his infamous 2013 sketch comedy atrocity inAPPropriate Comedy in June of 2014 for my You Might Also Like? column for the late, lamented The Dissolve. 


I was saddened, if not surprised, to learn that inAPPropriate Comedy, which featured Academy Award winner Adrien Brody as “Flirty Harry”, a screamingly effeminate gay police officer who communicates exclusively in leering double and single entendres, Rob Schneider and Lindsay Lohan more than lives up to its reputation as the worst of the worst. 

I was horrified to discover that the film was actually a sequel//remake of sorts to The Underground Comedy Movie, since they feature a number of the same sketches and characters in altered forms. Like a mad scientist of utter shit, Offer has spent decades refining his ideas and his satirical approach and his films are nevertheless aggressively, completely worthless. 


Offer at least has the excuse of being a talentless, offensive hack without a funny bone in his body. The same cannot be said of the all-star roster of big time comedy writers and directors who contributed to the worst sketch comedy movie this side of inAPPropriate Comedy in Movie 43. 

The film’s star-studded roster of directors include James Gunn, Peter Farrelly, Elizabeth Banks, Rusty Cundieff and Griffin Dunne while the ridiculously overqualified cast features such heavyweights as Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Chris Pratt, Liev Schreiber and a whole bunch of people I’m not going to name because I straight up feel sorry for them for lending their talent to this unwatchable garbage. 


When a movie or movies stand out even in my mind for being abysmal, you know they’re really, really, really, really bad. Extremely bad. Like, not good at all. 

Oh, but I suffer for YOU so if you would be kind enough to consider pledging a dollar a month to honor 21 years of intermittent excellence in journalism over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace it would be