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Film

Bill Hader names “one of the best comedies ever”

@Russellisation

There aren’t too many actors in the world who are also well known as purveyors of quality cinema, though, amongst such names as Paul Dano and Michael Cera is the unlikely screen comedian Bill Hader. 

First finding success through his eight-year stint from 2005 to 2013 as a cast member on the NBC variety show Saturday Night Live – for which he received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations – Hader became a staple of the long-running fan-favourite. Of the many shows he took part in, the ‘Californians’ sketch may remain his most iconic, appearing with Kristen Wiig, Kenan Thompson and Vanessa Bayer in this satirical parody of American soap operas.

Merely the start of Hader’s success, the comedian would later find success with the release of Superbad in 2007, with his appearance alongside Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Emma Stone catapulting him to international fame. Due to his success in the mid-2000s, Hader’s popularity quickly caught on, starring in Tropic Thunder, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Adventureland throughout the rest of the decade.

A lover of cinema, Bill Hader sat down with Criterion back in 2011 to discuss some of his favourite movies of all time, pointing to such filmmakers as Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Richard Linklater and Wes Anderson among many others.

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Choosing an array of quality films, one of the many Hader picked out was the classic Monty Python movie Life of Brian, which the actor describes as “the one Monty Python movie that really works as a movie (they’re all funny)”. Gushing over the quality of the film, he recalls, “The hardest I ever saw my dad laugh is when it cuts to the Sermon on the Mount and the camera slowly zooms back to reveal a huge crowd of people listening and finally settles on Terry Jones, playing Brian’s mother, at the very back, and he shouts ‘Speak up!’”.

Concluding his thoughts by adding that Life of Brian is “One of the best comedies ever,” Hader is not alone in this analysis, with the classic Monty Python film consistently coming in the top ten whenever influential comedy movies are discussed. 

Monty Python’s Life of Brian is one of two films by the troupe that focused on its very own fictional narrative, demonstrating the group’s ingenuity both for creative storytelling and avant-garde comedy. 

The story runs parallel to the tale of the birth of Jesus Christ, in which Brian of Nazareth is born in the stable next door and is constantly mistaken for the real messiah. Controversial among traditional Christians for its blasphemous accusations, so much so that it sparked a televised debate between the Pythons and the Bishop of Southwark, Life of Brian is a hilarious journey across Bethlehem that equally inspires genuine thought and conversation.

Portrayed by Graham Chapman, the titular role of Brian, the mistaken messiah, is a surprisingly touching and sympathetic one, bringing some much-needed levity to the stern stance of organised religion.

Take a look at the trailer for the classic film Bill Hader calls “one of the best comedies ever”, below.

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