03.16.11 10:35 PM ET
St. Patrick's Day: 10 Funniest Irish Dance Scenes
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the new release of Lord of the Dance 3-D, see Mike Myers, Ozzy Osbourne, and more Irish-dancing moments that would embarrass Michael Flatley.
Swinging With Austin Powers
To open the 1997 MTV Movie Awards, first-time host Mike Myers bounded on stage and delivered an epic and inspired performance of Lord of the Dance. Dressed all in black, it seemed as though the Austin Powers star put in long hours to master the moves and its accompanying dramatic gestures. Impressively, he still had enough energy to host the entire show. (We’re looking at you, James Franco.)
Ozzy Gets Jiggy With It
Ozzy Osbourne’s 1998 Ozzfest opened with a parody of the rocker in different pop-cultural clips, including Hanson’s “MMMbop” and Titanic. Tapping into the national obsession at the time, the “Prince of Darkness” offered his best Michael Flatley and used his fancy footwork to transform himself in the Lord of the Dance—headband and white puffy shirt included.
Britain’s Got Talent or ‘Rubbish’?
The 2009 season of Britain’s Got Talent showcased two performers—neither of which is named Susan Boyle—who set the stage on fire. Comedic dancing duo Stavros Flatley, made up of a rather plump father and son, reached the final round on the show. Even judge Simon Cowell called their graceful dance “rubbish, but brilliant” and “incredibly infectious.”
3rd Rock From Ireland
John Lithgow isn’t exactly the first person that comes to mind when you think of dancing. But in this episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, the cast (including the not-so-graceful Wayne Knight a.k.a. Newman from Seinfeld) spontaneously broke into dance outside a theater after watching a Riverdance-esque performance. It’s so well done, you can almost ignore the fact that Lithgow rips off his shirt.
Heads Will Roll
When it comes to Lord of the Dance parodies, there’s just something that draws film directors to cast those who aren’t exactly in the best shape. If you think this clip from the 1998 slapstick comedy Jane Austen’s Mafia! is hilarious, tell that to the guy smoking a cigar who gets an unexpected “kick” out of the show.
Gettin’ Hood in the Woods
In 2001’s Shrek, the jolly green ogre and his beloved Fiona run into a French version of Robin Hood, named Monsieur Hood, in the forest. Complete with a background troop of merry male dancers, the Frenchman breaks down his societal role with a theme song and accompanying Irish jig.
Irish Dance Self-Defense
How do you avoid an onslaught of machine gunfire aimed at your feet? The 1998 Leslie Nielsen film Wrongfully Accused teaches us that you do the “machine gun jig.” Warning: Do not try this in 3-D.
Michael Flatley vs. Bill Gates
Michael Flatley was the step dancer who shot to fame as the leader of Lord of the Dance. And the Irish American’s magical feet proved to be a strong weapon when he duked it out with moneyman Bill Gates in a 1998 episode of MTV’s claymation wrestling show Celebrity Deathmatch.
Lord of the Sports Celebrations
In this scene from 1998’s BASEketball, a voiceover laments the disappearance of sportsmanship in favor of excessive celebration. The video used to illustrate the point? An entire offensive line celebrating a touchdown with the flash of Irish dancing.
Monkey See, Monkey Dance
This viral video from the 1990s proves the fact that cute monkeys simply make dancing better. As Chandler Bing infamously admitted his fear of Michael Flatley on an episode of Friends, “Their legs flail about as if independent from their bodies.”
Sujay Kumar works at The Daily Beast. He's written for MTV Splash Page and The Daily Illini.