Mike Myers in town to receive honorary degree
Toronto comedian’s films have grossed an incredible $2 billion, but what’s next?
Where in the world has Mike Myers been?
I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask that question. It’s been four years since his last significant role, in the fourth Shrek movie, and even that was a voice-over.
But consider this: the combined worldwide gross of Myers’ films is a staggering $2 billion. Jim Carrey beats him by a half-billion, but on a per movie basis, Myers is the clear winner.
Myers’ output revolves around three franchises: Wayne’s World,
Austin Powers, and Shrek. Not only have these films made tons of money, but they also gave the world indelible characters and catchphrases. Who hasn’t used “Shwing!” or “We’re not worthy” or “Oh, behave!” in conversation? Yeah, baby! Hey, there’s another one.
I spent an evening with the comedian this month when he accepted an honorary degree from Humber College at their graduation ceremonies. I was on the platform party, but got to the event early to try to get some face time with Myers.
I was determined not to repeat my faux pas from the early ’90s when we ran into one another at a wrap party. He asked me what I thought of the Maple Leafs that year. Myers is an enormous hockey fan. I haven’t watched a game since I was 12. I stammered something jokey about touchdowns or home runs, but it just closed down the
conversation and he slid away.
This time would be different. I made sure I saw Myers’ latest project, a documentary called Supermensch: The Legend of Shep
Gordon — his debut as a director — which is about Myers’ friend and mentor and a legendary showbiz manager.
When Myers was at Humber that evening, his kindness went beyond the expected public relations from movie stars. He seemed actively conscious of his role in making every moment a little better.
He’s famous for making us laugh, but his behaviour that night suggested that his real work on the planet is of a more intimate nature.
He didn’t even have to show up. He and his wife had a child just 10 weeks before. Surely the words “busy” and “exhausted” come to mind. And then he gave a short speech meant to inspire a legion of hopefuls to do great work, even under impossible odds. “Create something every day,” he advised the students. But here’s the kicker. After his speech and receiving his honorary degree, he sat in the front row of the dais as over five hundred graduates marched past him to receive their diplomas. And each of those five hundred graduates could not resist shaking his hand. And that meant he had to stand up over five hundred times to shake their hands as he smiled and looked them in their eyes.
Five hundred times. Get up. Sit down. Get up. Sit down. I got tired just watching it.
When The Love Guru was released in 2008, it bombed at the box office, and it soured a lot of critics on Myers’ genius. I kind of liked it and a recent viewing made me able to appreciate its virtues away from the unfair expectations of the time.
His new documentary suggests a humanist mind searching for a worthy topic. Some critics may not take the film seriously, but I see it as an important transitional work.
Really, I can’t wait to see what the guy will do next.
Mike Myers’ ‘Love Guru’ wasn’t a big hit with critics, but we liked it
MARK BRESLIN Post City Magazines’ humour columnist, Mark Breslin, is the founder of Yuk Yuk’s comedy clubs and the author of several books, including Control Freaked.