Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker
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|Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker|
|Pseudonym||Kentucky Fried Theatre|
|Subject(s)||parodies, visual gags|
|Influences||Peter Sellers, Monty Python, Woody Allen|
|Notable works and roles||The Kentucky Fried Movie
The Naked Gun
|WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay|
Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker (abbreviated ZAZ) were an American comedy filmmaking trio consisting of Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker who specialized in writing slapstick comedy films during the 1980s and the early 1990s. The trio knew each other during their childhood years, growing up in Shorewood, Wisconsin, and attended Shorewood High School, which is sometimes referenced in their work. While attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the trio formed a theater group called "Kentucky Fried Theater", which led to their sketch comedy film, The Kentucky Fried Movie.
This was followed in 1980 by the trio's breakout hit, Airplane!, which remains a revered comedic milestone. Subsequent collaborations include the TV series Police Squad! and the films Top Secret!, Ruthless People, and The Naked Gun. All of their projects relied heavily on parodies, visual gags and breaking of the fourth wall, and established a strong cult following. The notable stylistic exception is Ruthless People, a more traditional farce that was directed by the trio, but unlike their other productions, not written by them.
Prominent ZAZ players include Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, and Charlie Sheen. The trio's status as a three-person team of co-directors is highly unusual, although some of their later projects were directed by David Zucker working solo, and with Jerry Zucker and Abrahams credited only as producers and/or writers. Each member of the group has also had individual careers:
- David Zucker directed BASEketball, My Boss's Daughter, and Scary Movie 3 and 4.
- Abrahams directed Hot Shots! and Jane Austen's Mafia!.
- Jerry Zucker directed Ghost, First Knight, and Rat Race. Of the three, Jerry Zucker has found the most mainstream non-comedic success including Ghost and First Knight, which grossed $505 million and $127 million worldwide respectively.
Below is a filmography chart on which films the trio have directed together and solo:
- David Zucker at the Internet Movie Database
- Jim Abrahams at the Internet Movie Database
- Jerry Zucker at the Internet Movie Database
- Finger Lickin’ Funny, about the original Kentucky Fried Theater
- The films of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, Hell Is For Hyphenates, October 31, 2013
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