Does that make you feel old? Does it, baby? (wrong franchise). Well, it will if you’re still using lines like in the headline. Nobody does. It’s all boomer and noobs, but in the olden days before the YouTubes, fellow youths used to produce their own content out of their parent’s basement. One such show that managed to breakout? Wayne’s World.
Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar of Aurora, Illinois, realised that they too could churn out just as much content as terrestrial and satellite channels by getting together a group of friends, a camera and variety of guests that range from inventors to entrepreneurs. Forget high production costs; this is what film experts refer to as cinema verite – Dogme filmmaking before there were even any rules.
It was only a small segment, but the duo would produce a regular show on cable access TV educating, promoting and entertaining their peers in what was a voice for a generation. Wayne, an esteemed guitarist forever being denied his Stairway to Heaven and his partner in crime Garth, a tech wizard with a penchant for the older ladies had a unique product that mainstream television wanted a piece of. They shared their passion for ice hockey, great music (no Kenny G) and off-the-wall humour with anyone willing to listen.
With regular slots on SNL (Saturday Night Live for the people of Blighty), the team earned their notoriety hosting guests such as Bruce Willis and Madonna. Over time, they eventually caught the attention of a local television show that wanted to provide them with an avenue and a share in the profits. But fans of the show were disappointed with the way Wayne and Garth had appeared to have ‘sold out’, opting to promote fast-food chains and sports brands instead of skits that made them such a hit. It was difficult for the pair and certainly tested their friendships – even Wayne’s relationship with Crucial Taunt frontwoman, Cassandra (schwing! she’s a mega-babe) hit the rocks on more than one occasion.
However, like Antony and Cleopatra, Tango and Cash, Wayne and Garth settled their differences and were able to evolve the brand to such a cult status that they were able to put on their own music festival, Waynestock. While not as successful as the event that preceded it, Woodstock, Waynestock was also a triumph with Aerosmith headlining the show. It wasn’t without a few scandals with the gang having to cross bureaucratic red tape with planning permissions and Wayne’s surreal obsession with Jim Morrison and ‘the weird naked Indian’. His words, not ours. Overall, it’s a testament to the strength of the group; three decades later and still going strong. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Wayne and Garth.
As time progressed, the partnership didn’t seem to follow suit with the rise of the internet, and they both remained reticent – only locals knew about their whereabouts. The show wasn’t cancelled and their popularity continued shortly after the first recorded accounts in the documentaries: Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2. However, trends changed, and while the likes of GeoCities and AOL were stamping out the interest in underground public access shows, music and film took a turn as well. Wayne and Garth did make a few additional cameos on SNL however and were a part of the SNL 40th Anniversary Special.
Nirvana was no more, people didn’t tuck their black t-shirts into their blue jeans and broadcasting from your parents’ basement just wasn’t cool anymore, it was just heinous. People were now listening to Backstreet Boys, Fugees and The Cardigans. Raw cinema such as Wayne’s World was no longer the thing, and cinema-goers were interested in more historical pieces like that infamous British “secret” agent, Austin Powers. Which, this author hastens to add, bears a slight resemblance to an older Wayne Campbell #conspiracytheory #sixthbeatle.
Wayne’s World is 28 years old this month. They are arguably the founders of Carpool Karaoke, prompted a renewed interest in Queen, the inspiration and success for the Glastonbury Festival and making strawberry bootlace liquorice cool again. Wayne, Garth – we salute you. We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy.
You can view this remarkable insight into the world of Wayne in the documentary double pack: Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2, available at all Borders, Blockbusters and ‘Daves’ at the pub.