I saw Wayne’s World in Oxford at a midnight preview screening when I was a student (George Street, Screen 1 which was huge before it was parcelled into six screens). The week before I had seen a midnight screening of The Exorcist with a jibbering Catholic who ran out half way through. I did not know what to expect from Wayne’s World, the media blitz had not quite hit, but it did have the words cult comedy attached to it. I would like to say I was there because of Mike Myers Wide-Awake Club performances in the mid-eighties, but who am I kidding. But a midnight movie was getting to be a bit of a ritual for me, the bar had closed and I did not want to go to the ropey Friday night clubs that Oxford offered. I went with one friend who was not that keen.

We were possibly the only English people in the audience. Oxford in term time has a fair share of Americans, postgrads mainly, and it was as if in some sort of Pavlovian bell had rung and here they were. This was US youth culture writ large, their Saturday Night Live favourites on the big screen and they were two months behind their countrymen in appreciating it. (Actually it was quite clear that half the audience had seen it before.) But it was the first time I had seen a movie American style, with the whoops, hollers, rowdiness and applause at the end. Thankfully it was a comedy; otherwise it may have turned me off of live cinema for life. Instead it did the opposite.

I love cinemas. I love seeing films with an engaged audience, be they hushed with awe, fear or excitement, or rowdy with kids as The Incredibles was last weekend. If I want to see a film on my own, I can, huzzah for DVD and Video. But I like the room, I like the projection, the big screen and – yes – I even like the other people. Wayne’s World taught me that you have to see a comedy with others. On video, on my own*, would even the Bohemian Rhapsody bit be funny? Probably not. As a film it is patchy: has possibly one of the oldest plots in the book and mishandles it (though kudos for its politics). Wayne’s World 2 is probably better. But as a comedy it rarely sags, the throwaway jokes are there, and with a receptive, pissed audience it is a winner.

*I am increasingly of the opinion that the best way to see a comedy is actually on video/DVD in a room full of pissed up mates – but there is still the community aspect I am referring to.