In an effort to shrine a prolific Hollywood icon who got off on being retarded -- does it get any worse than doing the "Scary Movie" franchise in your late 70s? -- everyone's trying their damned-est to come up with Leslie Nielsen's best lines and on-screen moments, following his death by pneumonia on Sunday.
First things first: Rest in peace, buddy.
Nielsen, who made it to 84 years, definitely had his slam-dunks. But nobody can count past, like, three without resorting to some terrible pun or fart joke. Of course, that's mostly why we love him -- let's just stop pretending he was the end-all of comic genius. Dude practically taught us how to groan.
Baby boomers with nostalgic Nielsen fetishes: We know this makes you angry. But did you ever see "Surf Ninjas"? (Hey, it's your lucky day: The entire thing's split in nine parts on YouTube.)
AOL liked this one from "Spy Hard" (2006):
Veronique Ukrinsky: Have a nice flight, and I wish you adieux.
Dick Steele: Thank you, but I am quite satisfied with the do I have.
AOL also liked this potty crack from "The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear" (1991):
Lt. Frank Drebin: Oh, it's all right. I'm sure that we can handle this situation maturely, just like the responsible adults that we are. Isn't that right, Mr. ... Poopy Pants?
The Village Voice actually resorted to giving Nielsen props for this on-air fart (and he doesn't even really own up to it):
In 1982, costar Jerry Zucker told People magazine another Neilsen fart story, which a Washington Post blogger says "sums up the man's comic genius for me":
"Leslie kept emitting gas in a very loud and embarrassing manner," [Zucker said.] "We just assumed he'd been to Mexico or something. Then we found out he has this little rubber gadget that makes these terrible noises. And we realized that what we had here was a 10-year-old dipstick parading around as a genteel 50-year-old."
Only in death do we sing the praises of dorks with whoopee cushions.
The Brits, not wanting to miss out on the fun, put their two cents in at the Telegraph. They would like this one, from "Police Squad!" (1982):
Drebin has asked Ted Olsen, a scientist at the police laboratory, to analyse a rock that had been hurled by criminals through a window.
Drebin: "Where did it come from?"
Olsen: "That's very interesting - I have a theory about that. As you know, Frank, billions of years ago, our Earth was a molten mass. But for some reason, not understood by scientists, the Earth cooled, forming a crust - a hard, igneous shell. That's what we scientists call 'rock'."
Even the Los Angeles Times' dried-up news blog jumped on the bandwagon, powerless to the incredible number of hits that a post with "Leslie Nielsen lines" in the title was bound to reap. Blogger Steven Zeitchik remembers all his favorite Leslies:
--The political Leslie, as evidenced in an exchange with George Bush in "Naked Gun." "Frank, please consider filling a post I'm creating. It may mean long hours and dangerous nights, surrounded by some of the scummiest elements in our society." "You want me to be in your cabinet?" Before the tea party, apparently, there was Leslie Nielsen.
Nicki Minaj, of all people, has similarly gotten it into her freaky little head that Nielsen was the high king of comedy. Not only comedy, but bona fied theat-uhh. Then we see her other Tweets and understand: She's obsessed with Jimmy Kimmel. And, uh, her own album.
Everyone, of course, has avoided mention of Nielsen's more recent endeavors, which include consistent appearances in the genre-stereotype comedies of the 2000s: "Scary Movie 3," "Scary Movie 4," "Superhero Movie" and "Spanish Movie."
It's ike "Airplane!", but with racial profiling and violence toward the handicapped! Yes, that is Ja Rule.
Nielsen's very last role, super anticlimacticly, is a voice part in the animated "Waterman Movie." TMZ reports that its producers don't have enough money to finish the film (aka, do "the majority of the animation"), but now that Nielsen is such a goddamn national hero, we're sure the "Waterman" geeks won't have a problem finding investors. May we suggest Nicki Minaj?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
"You do know we can all hear you saying that, right?" asks a young guy with a goatee (presumably "Waterman"). "What?!" cries an awesome cartoon version of Nielsen.
Career in a nutshell.
So long, fair-haired harbinger of our awkward knock-knock stage. We hated to love you -- and, now that you're in a better place, we can finally admit we laughed at all your dumb jokes and call it a tribute.