101 Funniest Screenplays

The script ran to four pages, said writer-director Rob Reiner. There was a character bible on bandmates Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, and Derek Smalls, and an outline of their “Smell the Glove” tour. From there, Reiner and writer-performers Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, and Michael McKean improvised the movie. They were satirists tweaking rock documentaries with such pitch-perfect attitudes and dialogue that the line between sad, sublime and plain ridiculous (the death of a drummer who choked on someone else’s vomit) became seamless. Fair to say, This is Spinal Tap created a comedy sub-genre. On the Chicago music program Sound Opinions, Reiner recalled previewing the movie in Dallas: “People came up to me after the screening and said, ‘I don’t understand why you would make a movie about a band that nobody’s ever heard of, and one that’s so bad.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s a satire.’”