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Sprockets was a recurring comedy sketch created by comedians Mike Myers and actor Dana Andersen, portraying a fictional West German television talk show. The sketch was created for the Second City Theatre, and became more widely known when Myers brought it to Saturday Night Live. The show parodied German art culture in the 1980s.
The sketch parodied German stereotypes, especially those pertaining to German seriousness, efficiency, and precision. Myers later ported the character to television for the Canadian sketch comedy show It's Only Rock & Roll and the American sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.
Myers played "Dieter", a bored, disaffected West German expressionist and minimalist who would interview celebrities in whom he was demonstrably barely interested, and then invariably sought to bring the discussion around to his "limited" monkey, Klaus, seated on a platform atop a miniature column. Myers has stated he based the character on a waiter he encountered in Toronto as well as German musician Klaus Nomi.
Appearing effeminate (he'd later introduce his lover Helmut, played by Will Ferrell), and rotating his shoulders (he occasionally described becoming so excited that his genitals were sucked up into his body cavity), Myers' costume in the character of Dieter consisted of black tights, black turtleneck sweater, round, wire-rimmed glasses, and slicked back hair. On several occasions, the skit featured a section entitled Germany's Most Disturbing Home Videos, which showcased scenes of old men's heads spinning around, dying cats, ants, and other disturbing sights.
Recurring and memorable quotes from the sketches include:
Some later sketches featured Dieter outside of his talk show environment starring in parodies of game shows, TV dance parties, and art films.
All appearances were in the form of Sprockets shows, except where indicated.
The sketch was to be the basis for a film to be released in 2000, featuring Myers, Will Ferrell, David Hasselhoff, and Jack Black, but abandoned in 1999 after Mike Myers became dissatisfied with his own script. Less than a week after Myers informed Universal Studios of his decision, the studio sued Myers for their $3.8 million in pre-production costs. One month later, Myers was hit with a second lawsuit, this time from Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment. "He claimed he had not approved the screenplay. Who wrote the screenplay--Myers," the Imagine lawsuit stated. Imagine claims Myers backed out after it and Universal agreed to his demands for more pay and millions of dollars were spent in pre-production. "This was not the first time Myers engaged in such conduct," the suit contended. "He has followed a pattern and practice of breaking his promises, betraying the trust of others and causing serious damage to those with whom he deals through selfish, egomaniacal and irresponsible conduct." The Superior Court lawsuit sought more than $30 million in actual damages plus punitive damages.