Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker
|Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker|
|Pseudonym||Kentucky Fried Theatre|
|Notable works and roles||The Kentucky Fried Movie|
The Naked Gun
Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker (abbreviated to ZAZ) were an American comedy filmmaking trio consisting of Jim Abrahams and brothers David Zucker and Jerry Zucker who specialized in writing slapstick comedy films during the 1980s.
The trio knew each other during their childhood years, growing up in Shorewood, Wisconsin and attending Shorewood High School which is sometimes referenced in their work. While attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the trio founded a small theater known as The Kentucky Fried Theater in 1971 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 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 actors and actresses 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 also had individual solo careers:
- David Zucker directed BASEketball, My Boss's Daughter, Scary Movie 3 and 4.
- Abrahams directed Jane Austen's Mafia!, Hot Shots! and Hot Shots! Part Deux
- Jerry Zucker directed Ghost, First Knight and Rat Race. Out of all 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.
The trio split up in the late eighties for fiscal and creative reasons, stating that there were "too many guys sitting in the same chair". They were also treated unfairly by the studios that produced their films who would not pay them in full; claiming that they failed to make see any profits from Ruthless People. Nevertheless, the three still maintain a close kinship.
Below is a filmography chart on which films the trio have directed together and solo:
|The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) (screenwriters)|
|Police Squad! (1982) (Pilot episode)|
|Top Secret! (1984)|
|Ruthless People (1986)|
|Big Business (1988)|
|The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)|
|Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990)|
|The Naked Gun 2+1⁄2: The Smell of Fear (1991)|
|Hot Shots! (1991)|
|Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)|
|For Goodness Sake (1993)|
|Naked Gun 33+1⁄3: The Final Insult (1994) (co-written by David)|
|First Knight (1995)|
|...First Do No Harm (1997)|
|Rat Race (2001)|
|My Boss's Daughter (2003)|
|Scary Movie 3 (2003)|
|Scary Movie 4 (2006)|
|An American Carol (2008)|
|Scary Movie 5 (2013) (co-written by David)|
- "Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, and why they went their separate ways as directors". Film Stories. September 3, 2019. Retrieved July 25, 2021.