Waiting for Guffman (1996)



Critic Consensus: This riotously deadpan mockumentary about aspiring community theater performers never stoops to ridicule oft-ridiculous characters.

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Movie Info

In Blaine, Missouri, a veteran of dubious off-off-Broadway productions casts a dentist, a pair of travel agents, a Dairy Queen worker, and an auto mechanic in his stage musical tracing the town's 150-year history. And what a show they put on in this delightful, funny, satisfying comedy!
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Classics

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Christopher Guest
as Corky St. Clair
Catherine O'Hara
as Sheila Albertson
Parker Posey
as Libby Mae Brown
Eugene Levy
as Dr. Allan Pearl
Bob Balaban
as Lloyd Miller
Fred Willard
as Ron Albertson
Larry Miller
as Mayor Glenn Welsch
David Cross
as UFO Expert
Matt Keeslar
as Johnny Savage
Deborah Theaker
as Gwen Fabin-Blunt, Councilwoman
Michael Hitchcock
as Steve Stark, Councilman
Scott Williamson
as Tucker Livingston, Councilman
Don Lake
as Phil Burgess, Blaine Historian
Jim McQueen
as Singing Auditioner
Turk Pipkin
as Ping Pong Ball Juggler
Jerry Turman
as Raging Bull Auditioner
Paul Dooley
as UFO Abductee
Linda Kash
as Mrs. Allan Pearl
Brian Doyle-Murray
as Red Savage
Miriam Flynn
as Costume Designer
Jill Parker-Jones
as Stage Manager
Margaret Bowman
as Costume Dresser
Paul Benedict
as Not Guffman
Bob Odenkirk
as Reverend Cox
Sean Masterson
as Basketball Coach
Morwenna Banks
as Adele Whitman
Frances Fisher
as Rita Savage
Mary Jane Prail
as Singing Woman
Kathy Lamkin
as Singing Woman
Larry Hovis
as UFO Witness
June Weber
as UFO Witness
Lewis Arquette
as Clifford Wooley
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Critic Reviews for Waiting for Guffman

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (12)

This 1997 comedy may be amusing if you feel a pressing need to feel superior to somebody, but the aim is too broad and scattershot to add up to much beyond an acknowledgment of small-town desperation.

Full Review… | August 12, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A madcap gem.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

The comedy has the slow burn of a richly nuanced and non-judgmental character study.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Where This Is Spinal Tap took rock music and the media as its focus - fat, juicy targets just asking to be lampooned - Guest's target here is small-town provincials.

Full Review… | May 14, 2004
Top Critic

A very funny, very unusual ensemble comedy that falls somewhere between slapdash and brilliant, an improvised comedy with more hits than misses.

April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic


May 11, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Waiting for Guffman


I just don't see it. Waiting for Guffman is considered by many to be the greatest mockumentary of all time, but I'll take a number of films (including Guest's own Spinal Tap) over this one any day. The characters, while charming, are largely disposable, and for me, it felt like the same joke templates were used over and over again -- although the Remains of the Day lunchbox in Corky St. Clair's memorabilia store was a pretty good gag.

Jonathan Hutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer


For my money, the king of all mockumentaries. Guest is not only pitch perfect as the lovably daft Corky St. Claire, but as director he marvelously builds the mythology of Blaine, Missouri without being too over-the-top. And with a little help from his stable of choice actors, he creates one incredibly funny film. Their skit at this year's oscars made me miss this gang and it is always great to revisit them here in top form.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

Christopher Guest's mockumentary about the putting on of a play in a small town doubles as a questioning of all those small town dreams of Hollywood. Entertaining.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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