(ran GB edition)
Mike Myers's public image as that rarest of creatures, the well-adjusted comic, is about to come undone. A forthcoming expose in Vanity Fair magazine denounces the actor as the sort of neurotic megalomaniac who flies into a rage on a movie set when he's offered butter instead of margarine.
"Comedians are not people. They look like people, but they are a breed unto themselves," a producer says at one point in the lengthy piece by Kim Masters. And Myers, the Saturday Night Live alum and creator of Austin Powers and the Wayne's World movies, is clearly regarded as a separate species by a number of his former colleagues.
The writer seems to have struck a major vein of animosity against the Toronto-bred comic. It was only a few weeks ago that Myers settled a fractious lawsuit in which Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment accused him of abandoning a movie version of his Dieter and Sprockets characters. The battle had galvanized Hollywood, with major figures either praising him for refusing to accept humiliating projects or denouncing him for behaving like a haughty prima donna.
The Vanity Fair article will do nothing to narrow the division. Depending on your perspective, it is either an avalanche of petty gossip from failed rivals or an examination of the typically dark pathologies that motivate a comic's volatile personality.
The article quotes two fellow comics from the Toronto sketch-comedy circuit who accuse Myers of stealing their German fop character and turning it into Dieter. The chief accuser is fellow Second City alum Dana Anderson, whose career took him back to Edmonton while Myers was going to New York and Hollywood.
Anderson says in the article that he was speaking effete German phrases and yelling "Touch my monkey!" long before his former colleague turned this into another Saturday Night Live catch phrase.
Anderson's bitterness is palpable.
"He could have invited us to the set to see Saturday Night Live before he left," he says.
The article also accuses Myers of stealing his Dr. Evil character from Dana Carvey, a Saturday Night Live colleague. Dr. Evil was largely an impersonation of Lorne Michaels, the Canadian-born creator and producer of SNL. According to several colleagues, Carvey was the first to do this schtick, although Myers points out that everyone on the set was imitating the boss, "including the secretaries."
Michaels, in fact, becomes Myers' most outspoken defender in an article that also accuses the comic of being obsessed with pleasing his mother and not being a person who enjoys hugging other men. (In Hollywood, this is considered suspect.)
"I know you can make a really strong case against Mike because he's clearly frustrated and angered so many people," Michaels says. "But I also think that it's not coming from any place of malice, and that he only cares about getting it right."