The 20 funniest quotes from This Is Spinal Tap

26 February 2024, 18:16

Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean in This Is Spinal Tap
Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean in This Is Spinal Tap. Picture: Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images

The mock documentary, if you will mockumentary, was released 40 years ago this week. Here are some of the film's greatest ever moments.

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This Is Spinal Tap - essential facts

  • Released on 2nd March 1984
  • Starring: Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel. Michael McKean as David St Hubbins and Harry Shearer as Derek Smalls.
  • Directed by: Rob Reiner (who also plays the fictional director Marty Di Bergi).
  1. David St. Hubbins: "It's such a fine line between stupid, and uh..." Nigel Tufnel: ""Clever."

  2. "It's not going to affect my performance, don't worry about that. I just hate it... it really, it does disturb me, but i'll rise above it; I'm a professional."

    Nigel Tufnel, following a minor crisis with the size of the bread on his rider.

    Spinal Tap - Backstage/Mini-Bread catastrophe

  3. David St. Hubbins: "He died in a bizarre gardening accident." Nigel Tufnel: "Authorities said... best leave it... unsolved."

    The fate of Spinal Tap's original drummer, John "Stumpy" Pepys.

    Spinal Tap Drumers

  4. "Nigel gave me a drawing that said 18 inches. Now, whether or not he knows the difference between feet and inches is not my problem. I do what I'm told."

    Ian Faith during the post mortem on why Tap's "Stonehenge" stage prop turned out to be significantly smaller than anticipated.

    The "Stonehenge" stage prop arrives; Anjelica Huston and Tony Hendra. EL © Spinal Tap Prod
    The "Stonehenge" stage prop arrives; Anjelica Huston and Tony Hendra. EL © Spinal Tap Prod. Picture: COLLECTION CHRISTOPH/Alamy Stock Photo
  5. "This is our monthly "At Ease" weekend. It gives us a chance to let our hair down, although I see you've got a head start in that department. I shouldn't talk, though, I'm getting a little shaggy myself. I'd better not stand too close to you, people might think I'm part of the band. I'm joking, of course."

    Lt. Hookstratten welcomes Spinal Tap to their ill-fated show at a military base.

  6. “It’s like fire and ice, basically. I feel my role in the band is to be somewhere in the middle of that, kind of like lukewarm water.”

    Derek Smalls, Spinal Tap's philosophical bass player.

    Harry Shearer as "lukewarm water" Derek Smalls.
    Harry Shearer as "lukewarm water" Derek Smalls. Picture: Alamy
  7. "I'm really influenced by Mozart and Bach, and it's sort of in between those, really. This piece is called 'Lick My Love Pump'."

    Nigel Tufnel on his delicate, sensitive new composition.

    "Lick My Love Pump" Scene from This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

  8. "You can't really dust for vomit."

    Nigel, on mysterious death of drummer Eric “Stumpy Joe” Childs, who choked to death on someone else's vomit.

  9. "Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Nowhere."

    Nigel Tufnell on why his custom-made guitar amp has a knob that "goes up to 11".

    Rob Reiner and Christopher Guest in This Is Spinal Tap
    Rob Reiner and Christopher Guest in This Is Spinal Tap. Picture: Alamy
  10. Nigel: "It really puts perspective on things, though, doesn't it?" David: "Too much. There's too much f**king perspective."

    Tap visit the grave of Elvis Presley.

    Tap visit Graceland. Christopher Guest Michael McKean and Harry Shearer in This Is Spinal Tap
    Tap visit Graceland. Christopher Guest Michael McKean and Harry Shearer in This Is Spinal Tap. Picture: COLLECTION CHRISTOPHEL/Alamy Stock Photo
  11. "I told them once, I told them a hundred times: put 'Spinal Tap' first and 'Puppet Show' last."

    Jeanine Pettibone - who's graduated from David's girflriend to ad hoc manager of Spinal Tap - complains about the billing at a festival.

  12. "But hey, enough of my yakkin'! Whaddaya say? Let's boogie!"

    Director Marty Di Bergi introduced the documentary This Is Spinal Tap.

    Rob Reiner in This Is Spinal Tap
    Rob Reiner in This Is Spinal Tap. Picture: Embassy Pictures/Everett Collection/Alamy
  13. "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation."

    David St. Hubbins on the news that Nigel has quit the band.

  14. "We've got armadillos in our trousers. It's really quite frightening."

    Nigel Tufnel on Tap's stage, er, presence.

    Derek Smalls encounters some difficulties at airport security.
    Derek Smalls encounters some difficulties at airport security. Picture: Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo
  15. "Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It's just not really widely reported."

    David St. Hubbins on the "curse" of Spinal Tap drummers.

  16. Ian Faith: "They're not gonna release the album... because they have decided that the cover is sexist." Nigel Tufnel: "So what? What's wrong with being sexy?"

    The band discuss the controvesial cover to their new album, Smell The Glove.

    Spinal Tap are all smiles here with Polymer Records boss Sir Dennis Eton-Hogg, but that was before the label refused to release their album Smell The Glove.
    Spinal Tap are all smiles here with Polymer Records boss Sir Dennis Eton-Hogg, but that was before the label refused to release their album Smell The Glove. Picture: COLLECTION CHRISTOPHEL © Spinal Tap Prod/Alamy
  17. "They were still booing him when we came on stage."

    David St. Hubbins on playing with their rival in rock, Duke Fame.

  18. "In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, an ancient race of people... the Druids. No one knows who they were or what they were doing..."

    Nigel's introduction to the epic song Stonehenge.

    Spinal Tap - Stonehenge, funniest clip ever.

  19. “Have a good time, all the time.”

    Keyboard player Viv Savage's philosophy of life.

  20. “As long as there’s sex and drugs, I can do without the rock ‘n’ roll.”

    Drummer Mick Shrimpton on life with Tap.

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