Tapping In

On a Thursday a few weeks ago, I had started my work day at about 6:00 AM. At 7:00 PM after a 13-hour, non-stop day, an opportunity opened to attend a Bible study at a nearby college, the invitation coming from the students themselves. I was so tired, I turned down what would have been a great opportunity. But I was spent.

What did this holy man of God do instead?
A) devoted himself to an hour of prayer or
B) popped This Is Spinal Tap into the DVD player to watch 90 minutes of brain-relaxing absurdity.

Yes, it was ‘B’.


This is Spinal Tap parodies the lives of aging rock ‘n’ roll bands (and contrary to what people think, Spinal Tap was NOT a real band). It was innovative for its time, inventing the ‘mockumentary’.

This is one of those movies that is funnier when I think about it later than when I actually watched it. I’ve laughed louder at the 18 inch Stonehenge and the disappearing drummers more SINCE seeing it than I did WHEN I saw it.

Comedy, and especially satire, depends so much on the familiarity of the audience with certain nuances of the subject matter. I didn’t get all the jokes, but it was a great way to rest the brain after a long, long day.

I love lists of movies, but I’m often puzzled by them. This is Spinal Tap is listed as #29 on the American Film Institutes’ list of 100 funniest movies.

It strikes me that in culture there are certain canonical answers to certain questions, answers which are expected but which do not necessarily reflect the studied opinion of the answerer.

So, who was the greatest writer in the english language? Shakespeare, of course.

What was the greatest movie ever made? Citizen Kane, clearly.

And what were the funniest movies ever made? Among others, clearly, This Is Spinal Tap.