back to article Spinal Tap’s bass player sues former French sewer

Actor, writer and director Harry Shearer, who played Derek Smalls in the band Spinal Tap, is suing the owners of the movie This Is Spinal Tap over royalties. The 1984 film is often cited as the best comedy of all time. The band was formed in 1978, and was lampooning TV the following year. In his lawsuit, Shearer claims the …

  1. DailyLlama

    Best comedy of all time?

    I thought comedies were supposed to be funny...

    1. The March Hare

      Re: Best comedy of all time?

      They are

      It is

    2. Kane Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Best comedy of all time?

      "I thought comedies were supposed to be funny..."

      That's just nitpicking, isn't it?

    3. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Best comedy of all time?

      "I thought comedies were supposed to be funny..."

      Edgy comment is edgy.

    4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: Best comedy of all time?

      You need to hang out with some rock stars, then get back to us whether 'This is Spinal Tap' is funny or not. All you've told us is that you aren't very rock 'n roll.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. IDoNotThinkSo

          Re: Best comedy of all time?

          He is serious — and don’t call him Shirley.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Best comedy of all time?

          Upvoted, Symon.

          I think The Revenge of the Pink Panther and A Shot in the Dark are funnier. Soap Dish is funnier. A Mighty Wind is as funny.

          We demand to know who is making these easily-contestable "citations" of unbeatable funny.

        3. greenawayr

          Re: Best comedy of all time?

          "If you don't find it funny, you can lick my love pump. But the funniest of all time? Surely you can't be serious?"

          I am...and don't call me Shirley!!!

    5. John Lilburne Silver badge

      Re: Best comedy of all time?

      Not if you are Donald Trump. If they are funny about you then they are part of a huge EVUL media conspiracy.

    6. David 132 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Best comedy of all time?

      @DailyLlama: I thought comedies were supposed to be funny...

      I can see you're being downvoted to oblivion for that, but I'll - sort of - sympathize. My own take on Spinal Tap is that it's intermittently funny - there are certain parts that are very funny, but let's be honest... extended sections of it are just tedious improv.

      It's one of those movies that's funnier to quote & think about, than it is to actually watch.

      "This one goes up to 11", and the description of the former drummers who all met nasty ends "Died in a bizarre gardening accident..."."... choked to death on vomit... ...they don't know WHOSE vomit, but it's not like you can 'dust for vomit'...". The Stonehenge set. The "how much more black could it be?" discussion. And so on. All very very funny indeed, but they don't comprise the whole movie.

      For my money the funniest films of all times would be "Airplane", "Return of the Pink Panther", or "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (the Caine/Martin one).

      But hey, this is the Internet, where everyone has an opinion and the shoutiest person wins.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: Best comedy of all time?

        "Airplane", "Return of the Pink Panther", or "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (the Caine/Martin one).

        yes, maybe, no

        Duck Soup has to be in a top 3 comedies list. I too prefer "Shot in the Dark" to RotPP, but only by a hairsbreadth. Go out 5 and add Life of Brian

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Best comedy of all time?

          Look everybody, my own personal sense of humour and my subjective preferences are the definitive ones right? So I'll decree what is the funniest of all time.

          YMMV.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge
    Coat

    40%?

    I thought it'd only go up to 11%.

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: 40%?

      I thought it'd only go up to 11%

      I upvoted you to 11.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shearer claims the four band members signed a deal for 40 per cent of the net receipts

    Knowing this band they should have double checked where the decimal point was.

    Remember stonehenge....

    1. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: Shearer claims the four band members signed a deal for 40 per cent of the net receipts

      Yeah, but 'e's confused innee? *You're* not confused. We don't pay *you* to be confused.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Error in subheading?

    Not about artists rights.

    Vs.

    "This is a simple issue of artists’ rights,” said Shearer

  5. unitron

    A percentage of net?

    Even I knew enough about Hollywood bookkeeping back then that there's no such thing as net profits in the movie business.

    So why didn't their management and lawyers?

    1. Can't think of anything witty...

      Re: A percentage of net?

      i think that is the point on this. On the page linked to at the bottom, there is this statement:

      "According to the complaint, Vivendi and its agents, including StudioCanal and Universal Music Group, wilfully manipulated certain accounting data, while ignoring contractually-obligated accounting and reporting processes, to deny Shearer and his fellow co-creators their rightful stake in the production’s profits. The action seeks US$125,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages."

      so it looks as though it is exactly those shady accounting practices that he is targeting.

      As far as i am concerned, i get that marketing and producing films is expensive and risky, and for each one that pays off there are probably dozens that get nowhere. But at the same time, Shearer has been told that global sales for the soundtrack only added up to $98 and that merchandising was another $81.

      That don't sound right to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A percentage of net?

        Is the very large number is so they can back track a little if they get some weight on them?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Former French Sewer"

    I never realised they used to be involved in sewing. ;-)

    Explains the stitch-up, though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Former French Sewer"

      I never realised they used to be involved in sewing. ;-)

      Explains the stitch-up, though.

      Yes, I first read it as "sewer", then as "sewer", before I realized it really was "sewer" and I was right the first time

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish I...

    ...was paid for royalties on code that I wrote in the past.

    1. 142

      Re: I wish I...

      But you will do if you licence your work rather than working for hire.

  8. croaker
    Trollface

    The 1984 film is often cited as the best comedy of all time?

    Wrongly.

    Life of Brian.

    I rest my case...

    1. I Like Heckling

      Re: The 1984 film is often cited as the best comedy of all time?

      @croaker

      "The 1984 film is often cited as the best comedy of all time?

      Wrongly.

      Life of Brian.

      I rest my case..."

      Whilst I kind of agree, I think Spinal Tap is the best Mockumentary ever made, Life of Brian one of the Funniest comedies ever made, and Army of Darkness is the funniest comedy horror of all time.

      I have fave movies from across a wide variety of genres...

      Then we have Deadpool... which just might be the greatest superhero action comedy of all time... at least until Deadpool 2.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: The 1984 film is often cited as the best comedy of all time?

        In the sub-group of 'Mockumentaries About Fictitious Bands" my favourite is "The Rutles" by Eric Idle.

  9. Alex Walsh

    I love movie accounting. If no film ever made any money, nobody would ever make a movie.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      You've never been around the narcissistic world of entertainment have you.

  10. Peter Clarke 1
    Flame

    Not The Drummer

    Good job he didn't play the drummer or he might be involved in a nasty 'accident' that would halt the legal proceedings

  11. The Nazz Silver badge

    It just seems a bit rich to me.

    Let me see, a guy who earns a (reported) ridiculous sum of $300k per episode for 25 years launches a lawsuit to sue for "fair artistic compensation, industry-wide."

    I look forward to him paying back some $298,000 per episode back into the artists collective pot, so that all such artists can receive a "fair" return.

    Modern life i suppose.

    1. Stuart Moore

      Re: It just seems a bit rich to me.

      On the other hand, I can see the argument that he's taking one for the team here. He doesn't need to care about rocking the boat - if he gets black listed, so what - but if it's proven that the accounting practices were shady it makes it easier for "the little guy" to get their shares as well.

      I don't know for certain that he's got good intentions here, but I do know that the people he's taking on don't...

    2. Swarthy Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: It just seems a bit rich to me.

      So, he gets paid a contractually agreed rate, that both parties deem as fair, that you feel is "ridiculous". Because of this, he should give money away ( To whom? You, perhaps? Everyone?) so that he can then earn the right to complain that a separate company, on a separate contract did not pay him the contractually agreed amount.

      You're the type that won't pay back a $20 loan from a family member because "they make more than me, they don't need it like I do", aren't you?

  12. yowl00

    He opens the royal cheque envelope and..

    "who's in here? No one"

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As someone who has had their work (created before I joined) used by a large corporation I don't see what's wrong with him wanting what's rightfully theirs (the band members). No different to working on commission and selling thousands of units for a company. Only to be told on payday that because of accounting differences and what's classed as a unit they don't owe you any commission.

  14. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Humph

    Personally, after all that work on the Simpsons, I think he's just looking for a rhume with a fern.

  15. Dr Patrick J R Harkin
    Coat

    I think I know what happened.

    They meant to write % on the contract but accidentally wrote ‰.

  16. jamesinspain01
    Go

    After 20 years of techno

    After this article I searched Spinal Tap in Kodi and watched This is Spinal Tap. All I can say is BRILLIANT and I am a person who has always preferred https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9loh00tJoGM

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