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The 10 best “Snobs vs Slobs” comedies

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By Andy Hunsaker

It’s the great comedy dynamic – groups of uptight, hoity-toity, nose-in-the-air snobs against groups of down-to-earth, slovenly fun-seeking slobs. The haughty vs. the naughty is a genre unto itself. It had its heyday in the late 70s and throughout the 80s, but it’s hardly a dead notion, since all the kids who grew up on those movies are out there making movies today. We’re not quite talking about “The Odd Couple”, with one neat guy living with one messy guy, but rather marauding hordes, or at least trios and quartets of rabble-rousing malcontents making life difficult for prim and proper types and good-looking bullies – although we’ll leave “Major League” and “The Bad News Bears” to sports movie lists. So let’s take a look at 10 of them, in chronological order, so you can then start angrily commenting about which ones I should’ve included instead.


“A Night at the Opera” (1935)

The Marx Brothers made a career out of being crazy weirdos who spent their time infiltrating high society in order to make a mockery of it, and that’s well on display in this 1935 film as they finagle their way into the opera world. Their contemporaries The Three Stooges also made a lot of hay out of this dynamic (see their short Hoi Polloi) and, if you want to get completely meta about it, The Marx Brothers vs. The Three Stooges will get you a lot of snobs vs. slobs arguments – at least among the film critic set.


“M*A*S*H*” (1970)

Robert Altman’s 1970 film about a group of pathologically insubordinate army surgeons – Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland), Trapper John (Elliot Gould) and Duke Forrest (Tom Skerritt) – constantly aggravating the proper sensibilities of Majors Frank Burns (Robert Duvall) and Major “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Sally Kellerman) during the Korean (read: Vietnam) War is a quintessential piece of work which spawned 11 years of television hijinks of the same nature from Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers and Mike Farrell.


3. “Animal House”

Let’s be honest: John Landis’ 1978 college comedy is the first thing that pops to everyone’s mind when the idea of snobs vs. slobs comes up, since it had hordes of copycats. Dean Wormer (John Vernon) and his “double secret probation” against the men of Delta Tau Chi house and his recruitment of the nefarious Omegas to help his crusade to expel them all prompts a battle of wills between the academic establishment of “College” and Bluto (John Belushi), Otter (Tim Matheson), Flounder (Stephen Furst), Pinto (Tom Hulce) and the rest of the gang. Food fights, vomit and parade vandalism ensue and legends are born.


“Meatballs” (1979)

If you’ve got snobs giving you trouble, you want Bill Murray on your side, and that’s the fact, jack. In this 1979 Ivan Reitman flick, he’s Tripper Harrison, head counselor at slapdash Camp North Star, and their rivalry with the rich folk over at Camp Mohawk – who constantly beat them in every athletic competition – leads to one of the most inspiring comedy speeches of all time and a nutty amount of cheating to get one over on them.


“Caddyshack” (1980)

There’s no better target for snob-mockery than the world of country club golf, and there’s no better slob for taking the piss out of uptight upper-crusters like Judge Smails (Ted Knight) than Rodney Dangerfield. Bill Murray gets a lot of attention for what he’s got goin’ for him in this 1980 Harold Ramis comedy, but when Dangerfield’s Al Czervik comes to the Bushwood Club as nouveau riche without a care or a manner in the world and planning to buy the whole place, the resulting showdown on the links eventually degenerates to glorious Kenny Loggins madness.

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Play along with movie trivia during "Scarface" tonight at 8P on IFC.

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Tony Montana is all about money, power and respect. And while we can’t promise you’ll get money or power by taking our Scarface quiz below, you will get respect if you get a perfect score. One out of three ain’t bad. Click below to take the quiz, and catch Scarface this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: YouTube/Tufts University

We’ve made it! Memorial Day weekend! But before we can complain that it’s over too quickly, take a moment to bask in the pre-break lack of productivity and enjoy some lighthearted videos.

From Hank Azaria channeling Chief Wiggum and other Simpsons characters while talking to college grads to “Shark-spert” Jason Alexander sharing questionable shark facts, here are five funny things from this week you need to watch.

1. Kermit Informs Fozzie Bear That They’ve Been Canceled

It’s never easy to see someone receive bad news, much less a Muppet. But if anything, Kermit’s poise and acceptance during a time of crisis is impressive, admirable even. Fozzie Bear, on the other hand, reacts with greater similarity to how we would: with baseless anger and utter despair.


2. Jason Alexander Offers Shark “Fin Facts”

Memorial Day weekend means the start of beach season, aka Shark Feeding Season. As part of IFC’s Shark Half-A-Day Memorial Day marathon, “sharks-pert” Jason Alexander offers up some interesting “fin facts” about our sharp-toothed friends from the deep. You can also check out Jason’s beach tips, and catch the Jaws movies with more “fin facts” from Jason this Memorial Day on IFC.


3. Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke Confirms Dothraki Is a Real Language

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4. Hank Azaria Gives Advice Through Simpsons Characters

Hank Azaria — star of The Simpsons, The Birdcage, and Brockmire, premiering in 2017 on IFC — gave the commencement speech at his alma mater Tufts University. In the hilarious speech, Azaria discusses how he got through college, recounts his early career struggles, and offers up life advice via fan favorite Simpsons characters like Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy.


5. X-Men: The Animated Series Gets Honest

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With a career spanning five decades, “Weird Al” Yankovic has defined the song parody genre and become a beloved pop culture icon. Starting June 3rd, you’ll be able to catch him as the brand new Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader Fridays at 11P on IFC.

We recently chatted with Al about joining Scott Aukerman on the new season, his upcoming tour, favorite CB!B! characters and his future dream projects. (Hint: it might involve actors spontaneously breaking into song.)

The Comedy Bang! Bang! bandleader gig seems like a natural fit for you. Did it take any time to get acclimated?

Weird Al: Yeah. It’s a slightly different skill set. The accordion is my main act, but I don’t use it on the show at all. It’s a keyboard setup. The actual setup is a little bit of a combination of what Reggie [Watts] had and [Kid] Cudi had. And a few extra things thrown in. So I’m trying to do my own version of what they brought to the show.

You’ve been on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast and the show many times. Do you have a favorite CB!B! character?

Weird Al: I’d probably have to say Doctor Time. Every time Scott wants me to do an evil character, he’s always got a bad English accent. [Laughs] Any time my character goes evil, he becomes sort of British.

Any favorite guests you’ve worked with?

Weird Al: Gosh, I love them all. Paul F. Tompkins is always fun. His Andrew Lloyd Webber character, Cake Boss, everything he does. And Andy Daly as well. They’re so versatile and so amazing at improv. That’s the one thing I was a little nervous about because I’ve never been super confident with my improv skills. But Comedy Bang! Bang!, particularly the TV version, is good for that because it’s all heavily edited. So it kind of gives me permission to try out whatever comes to my mind, so if it really sucks, they’re not gonna use it. [Laughs]

Scott Aukerman Weird Al

Your upcoming tour is a continuation of your Mandatory Fun tour from last year. Any new elements to the show?

Weird Al: Well, it is the same tour, so it’s not that much different. I might freshen some video a little bit. I’m hoping to use a bit or two from the current season of Comedy Bang! Bang! and slip that into the show somewhere.

The tour starts June 3rd in St. Petersburg, Florida and ends September 24th at Radio City Music Hall. How do you keep up the pace? 

Weird Al: It’s just a mindset. I’m really only working for two hours a day, so I basically just save up my energy for the show. I relax, surf online, watch satellite TV, read a book, rest my voice, and then give it all I got when I’m onstage.

Looking back at your vast song catalog, was there ever a parody that came to you immediately upon hearing the song?

Weird Al: Yeah, that’s happened a few times. More often than not, I have to think about it and analytically work out all the variations on a theme that I can and pick out the one with the most potential. But there’s been a few times where the idea came to me spontaneously. I think the first time I saw Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video, before it was even over, I thought, “Oh! I gotta do ‘Fat’! Super-plus-sized actors trying to get through a turnstile on a subway! I gotta do that!”

Do you have a favorite of your many hilarious videos?

Weird Al: Oh boy, it’s hard to say. “White and Nerdy” has been my biggest hit and that was a really fun video to do. But in terms of making a video, “Tacky” was really fun to do because it was so easy and I got to work with amazing people like Jack Black, Margaret Cho, Kristen Schaal, Eric Stonestreet, and Aisha Tyler. And we knocked it out in a couple of hours. We were having so much fun while making it, I kinda wish we weren’t so efficient and professional. [Laughs] I could’ve done that all night.

Was it filmed all in one take or was it stitched together?

Weird Al: That was all one take. Some people say, “Oh, I see where the edit is,” but it was all one shot. We did a total of six takes, and I think four of those takes were usable, but the last one was the best.

And you were directing while performing?

Weird Al: I directed that one, yeah. We location scouted and found a building in downtown LA that I thought was good for the shoot. I’ve since seen that building in a lot of other movies and TV shows — I think it was used in The Big Lebowski and a few others. It was difficult because I start the video in one set of clothes and I also end the video in a completely different set of clothes. So while the cameras were off me, because there’s only one elevator in the building, I had to run down five flights of stairs, quickly change my clothes, and hit my mark for the end. And after the take, we’d all just watch what we did, and say, “OK, let’s do it again.”

Is there a director you’d love to work with in the future?

Weird Al: Oh gosh, yeah, but I mean, music videos are notoriously low-budget so that’s why I end up directing them myself. [Laughs] But I’d love to be in a movie codirected by Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino.

Do you have a particular genre of music that you love parodying the most? Or is it more of the moment and different for each song?

Weird Al: It doesn’t necessarily revolve around personal taste so much. It really depends more on the song than the genre. But I found rap songs tend to lend themselves to parody, mostly because there’s a lot of words to play with. A lot of pop songs are repetitive, and that’s sometimes been an issue. With rap, there’s no shortage of syllables to mess around with.

Given that you’ve been so prolific and done so much, is there any type of art left that you’d like to dip your toe in? Dramatic acting, perhaps?

Weird Al: Well, if Spielberg and Tarantino want me for their film, I wouldn’t want to turn them down. But there’s no burning desire to do drama. I love doing comedy and feel comfortable doing that. Writing a musical might be something I do down the line. I don’t know when but I might take a shot at something in that area. Other than that, I’ve done pretty much all I wanted to do in my life so far. A lot of it not successfully. [Laughs] But I took a stab at it and feel gratified by that.

You’ve had such a eclectic career in music and comedy. What do you attribute your longevity to?

Weird Al: [Laughs] I don’t know what I’d attribute the longevity to. There’s a modicum of talent, but it’s mostly because I surround myself with very talented people. I’ve got a great support group, I’ve got the same band since the early ’80s, and I’ve worked with the same people for decades. And I got a very loyal fan base and I love what I do. And somehow I’ve been very lucky and it’s worked out so far.

Watch “Weird Al” in an episode from the new season of Comedy Bang! Bang! right now, before the season premiere on Friday June 3rd at 11P.

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