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A couple of decades ago, Saturday Night Live graduate Mike Myers was considered one of the funniest men in Hollywood. But since the late-‘00s the once prolific comedian has been strangely absent from our screens. So what exactly happened to the man responsible for catchphrases such as “Yeah, baby,” “Schwing” and “Get In My Belly?”

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Myers established himself as a comedy king in the early 1990s. This was the period in which he regularly stole the show on NBC’s comedy institution Saturday Night Live. It was also when he moved to the big screen to play the titular classic rock-obsessed cable access presenter in Wayne’s World.

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Proving that Wayne’s World was no fluke, Myers then created another money-spinning franchise, Austin Powers. The Canadian also played the shagadelic spy in the 1997 original and reprised the hugely popular character for a sequel two years later. The spoof trilogy was completed in 2002 with the star-studded Austin Powers in Goldmember.

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By this point, Myers had also enjoyed success as the voice of lovable green ogre Shrek in the eponymous animated hit. The star assumed the character in three further big screen installments, including 2010’s Shrek Forever After. This, however, proved to be the star’s last major hit in a leading role. Here’s a look at what happened to the once-inescapable comedian who then completely fell off the radar.

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Born in the Ontario suburb of Scarborough in 1963, Mike Myers first appeared on screen as a toddler in various commercials. Then, just before he became a teenager, he guested on the sitcom King of Kensington. Following his high school graduation, though, Myers landed a spot in the Canadian touring company known as The Second City.

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Canadian audiences got plenty of opportunities to see Myers’ talents in full flow in the early 1980s. He regularly appeared on City Limits, an alternative music show screened on Citytv. The future movie star also appeared as his Wayne Campbell creation on CBC comedy It’s Only Rock and Roll.

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Myers gained more valuable showbiz experience when he moved across the Atlantic. Once in Britain, he founded an improv group based at London’s The Comedy Store and became a regular on kids’ morning show The Wide Awake Club. Following a brief return to Canada, the comedian once again relocated in 1988. This time he headed to Chicago where he further honed his talents at the Improv Olympic.

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In 1989 Myers was given the honor of joining NBC’s flagship comedy show, Saturday Night Live. The Canadian quickly became one of the most popular members of the cast. And in 1992 he and co-star Dana Carvey adapted one of their best-loved sketches, “Wayne’s World,” into a full-length feature film.

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Unlike most SNL movie spinoffs, Wayne’s World became an instant smash on its 1992 release. In fact, both Myers and Carvey reprised their roles as cable access TV hosts Wayne and Garth for a sequel just a year later. The Canadian also capitalized on his new-found worldwide fame by starring in black comedy So I Married an Axe Murderer.

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After leaving Saturday Night Live in 1995, Myers took a well-earned break from the industry. But he returned in style in 1997 with Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The spy movie spoof was a hit at the box office and spawned two sequels, The Spy Who Shagged Me in 1999 and Austin Powers in Goldmember in 2002.

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At the tail-end of the 1990s, Myers also proved he could cut it as a dramatic actor. Indeed, in 1998 he portrayed Steve Rubell, the real-life owner of notorious ‘70s nightclub Studio 54 in the biopic 54. But it was another comedic role that continued the star’s winning streak. Only this time you didn’t actually see him on camera.

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Myers achieved one of the biggest hits of his career when he voiced the titular green ogre in Shrek. The Dreamworks animation spawned a further three film sequels, a Christmas special and even a theme park ride. Yet the star found it difficult to sustain this level of success elsewhere in the ‘00s.

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Released in 2003, Dr. Seuss adaptation The Cat in the Hat opened to dismal reviews. Then, the Gwyneth Paltrow-starring rom-com View from the Top received a similarly poor critical response. And in 2008 the comedian bombed at the box office with one of his own creations. The Love Guru took just $40.9 million on a budget of $62 million.

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This major flop appeared to deter Myers from taking center stage. He only briefly showed up as General Ed Fenech in Quentin Tarantino’s revisionist World War II tale Inglourious Basterds. It would be another nine years before the star again stepped in front of the cameras in a theatrically-released film.

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Indeed, fans would have to wait until 2018 thriller Terminal to see Myers in an on-screen acting role. That same year, the Canadian also popped up as a record company executive in Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. However, he hasn’t been entirely absent from the spotlight during the intervening nine years.

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Myers, in fact, appeared in a number of documentaries, including I Am Chris Farley, Being Canadian, Sometimes and Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. A portrait of the talent manager, the latter saw the comedian take the director’s chair for the first time. He also appeared on stage for a one-off gig at London’s The Comedy Store in 2011 and at the final date of the Monty Python reunion tour in 2014.

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And then, in 2017, Myers made a surprising and unusual return to the small screen. The star, in fact, appeared as the host of The Gong Show, a revival of the classic game show from the 1970s. However, the comedian decided to fulfill his duties while assuming the character of fictional Englishman Tommy Maitland.

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By this point, Myers had also become a father for a third time. The Canadian met the mother of his three children, Kelly Tisdale, in 2006, with the pair walking down the aisle four years later in a hush-hush ceremony in New York. He had previously been married to fellow actor Robin Ruzan from 1993 until 2005.

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But why exactly did Myers take so long to return to the limelight? Well, perhaps he had little choice in the matter. During his near-decade long absence from acting, in fact, the Canadian’s character had come under fire from many former co-workers. And the director behind his first hit movie, Wayne’s World, perhaps stuck the knife in more than any other.

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Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2008, Penelope Spheeris revealed that Myers was a nightmare during the filming of Wayne’s World. Not only did she say he was “emotionally needy,” she also claimed that the star “got more difficult as the shoot went along.” The director concluded with the telling remark, “Maybe he could open, like, a children’s hospital to clean up his rep. He’s got to do something pretty quick.”

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Amy Hill was also less than complimentary about her The Cat in the Hat colleague. She told The A.V. Club in 2016, “It was just a horrible, nightmarish experience. I don’t think [Myers] got to know anybody. He’d just be with his people and walk away. People would come and then he’d stand there. There was a guy who held his chocolates in a little Tupperware… That’s what divas are like, I guess. Or people who need therapy.”

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And then there was Rob Fried, producer of Myers’ early ‘90s comedy So I Married an Axe Murderer. Fried admitted to The Daily Telegraph that he sees the comedian as something of a visionary. He also revealed, however, that the Canadian’s approach to getting his own way is to “express and threaten anger.”

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According to rumors, Myers even had a beef with the man he rose to fame with. Indeed, an unnamed source told The Daily Telegraph in 2017 that the comedian wasn’t happy with Dana Carvey, a.k.a. Garth, appearing in Wayne’s World. They said, “Mike didn’t want Dana in the movie. […] He felt that someone who had his own creative ideas would get in the way.”

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Myers has also caused major trouble with a number of studios. His initial script for Wayne’s World II was based on Passport to Pimlico, an old Ealing comedy that he didn’t actually have the rights to. On hearing this news, then-head of Paramount, Sherry Lansing, reportedly told him, “How dare you put us in this position? We’ll sue you. We’ll take your f***ing house. You won’t even own a f***ing home.”

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Then, in 2000, Myers decided to walk away from a film named “Dieter” based on one of his SNL sketches. The comedian claimed that he “could not cheat moviegoers who pay their hard-earned money for my work by making an unacceptable script.” Unsurprisingly, those who had invested in the picture weren’t happy.

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Universal filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Canadian, while producers Imagine Entertainment sued him for six times that figure. Myers then filed his own suits before all parties came to an agreement to work on a different film. However, they probably all wish they hadn’t bothered when reviews for that particular movie, The Cat in the Hat, flooded in.

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Of course, even those industry figures undeterred by Myers’ reputation may find it difficult to spark the star’s interest. Speaking to GQ magazine in 2014, the Canadian admitted that he turns “virtually everything down.” However, he also claimed that he’d only been sent 15 different dramatic scripts in the previous 23 years.

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Indeed, Myers prefers to create his own projects. And his indecisive streak is perhaps another reason why he appears to have been absent for so long. He told GQ, “Every time I make a movie, it’s usually three or four years [in] between… I have four or five creations in my head right now, in fact. That actually takes the longest time, just to sort of figure out which is the one that is appealing to you.”

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In the same interview, Myers also admitted that he enjoys his downtime perhaps a little too much. He said, “I play floor hockey twice a week here in New York City, I have a great group of friends here. And two and a half years ago, I had my first child and I really wanted to be present for that. I wanted to just take it in. And it’s just been… I mean, it’s the happiest time of my life.”

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Indeed, parenting appears to be Myers’ main concern these days. In a 2013 chat with Deadline, the star revealed, “Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it. I knew I wanted to be a father, I didn’t know it was going to be this awesome or that my kid would come out so beautiful and lovely.”

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Not that Myers has been sitting at home idly for the last decade. Indeed, the star has pursued various other commitments which have left him with even less time for the big screen. He’s written a book, simply named Canada, in which he charts his relationship with his homeland with the aid of images and personal anecdotes. And he also went on a national tour to promote it.

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Myers has also showcased his soccer skills as an occasional player for celebrity team Hollywood United F.C. He even appeared alongside his older sibling Peter in an ad promoting Sears Canada. And the star’s been busy picking up various prestigious accolades, along the way, too, including Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017.

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And perhaps Myers has already fulfilled every ambition he ever had and therefore sees no reason to become a Hollywood regular again. According to The Daily Telegraph, the comedian once said, “I’ve had every one of my dreams come true. I wanted to be on Second City and I was. I wanted to be on Saturday Night Live and I got to be on it.”

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A reflective Myers then continued, “I wanted to create movies like the comedies my father loved. Movies that were played in our house and, even if everybody was fighting, there was a truce and it even made the house smell nicer afterwards. This is what I’ve been trying to do.”

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And even when Myers does commit to a film, his choices aren’t exactly the most mainstream. His 2013 directorial debut, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, may well have been a loving tribute to a mentor. But its niche subject matter wasn’t hugely attractive to audiences. Indeed, the movie only made just over $200,000 at the box office.

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In fact, Myers admits he never courted commercial success. In his 2014 interview with GQ magazine he said, “I’m very, very grateful to be part of the Hollywood film industry. But I never thought that anything that I would do would be so mainstream. I truly, on all things sacred, I thought that I was going to be John Cassavetes, because my training was improv. I was going to go to York University to get a bachelors in fine arts film.”

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Myers continued, “I was a punk rocker. In ’77 I was 14, I’d gone to England, I met my cousins and they gave me God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols as a parting gift… And from that point on I was, ‘That’s show business but it’s not show business… It’s this weird cottage industry off of show business.’”

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However, there are signs that Myers might be on the verge of staging a proper comeback in the 2020s. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the star has signed a deal with streaming giants Netflix to executive produce and star in a brand-new show. The six-episode series will see the comedian assume several characters, harking back to his days as Austin Powers.

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And Myers also seems more open to revisiting to his former glories. Firstly, there appears to be a fifth Shrek chapter in the works. And nearly two decades after he last uttered the catchphrase, “Yeah, baby,” Myers is set to reprise his most famous character, Austin Powers, for a belated fourth installment of the spy spoof.

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And having appeared alongside Dana Carvey on stage at the 2019 Academy Awards, could there be a third Wayne’s World in the pipeline? Well, back in 2016 Myers admitted he was open to the idea, telling CTV, “It would be an interesting examination of Wayne at 50. I don’t know what it would look like, but the idea of it makes me laugh and Dana and I had a blast at [SNL’s] 40th anniversary, so I don’t know.”

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