Parody can be a lot of fun to write. You can use it to make fun of something that you hate and show the world how stupid it is, or you can make fun of something that you love and show the world how stupid you are for loving it.
Parody in Film
Some of the most popular movie comedies are parodies, including:
Young Frankenstein, the classic 1974 send-up of Universal Studio's great monster movies, written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, mimics the original films by perfectly recreating the original black and white filming style and gothic mood; most of the lightning-harnessing lab equipment was used in the original Frankenstein. But under Mel Brooks' direction it became as advertised: “The scariest comedy of all time!”
In 1980, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker unleashed Airplane! upon the world, and disaster movies haven't been the same since. Their blink-and-you'll-miss-a-joke style was augmented by casting actors who weren't known for comedy in roles that lampooned their previous ones.
The success of Airplane! created a whole new genre of parodies where everything is up for grabs and everything is taken literally. It spawned such movies as the same team's Top Secret! and The Naked Gun. Other movies that have attempted to mimic the style like Scary Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Superhero Movie have never come close the goofiness and earnestness of the original.
In 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Mike Meyers pays affectionate homage to the original James Bond movies and all things groovy. It's more a parody of an era, the swinging sixties, not a direct parody of a specific film.
Some television series have been parodies of a specific genre: Get Smart was a send-up of the spy shows that dominated the early Cold War era; Reno 911 is a parody of COPS and reality shows in general; and Police Squad! is a parody of all things Quinn Martin. But television sketch shows like Saturday Night Live and MADtv are the kings of parody on the small screen.
Saturday Night Live in particular has done hundreds of commercial parodies, including “The Norman Bates School of Motel Management,” “Bathroom Monkey,” “The Love Toilet,” “Colon Blow,” “Woomba,” and “Happy Fun Ball.” Their ability to quickly produce these parodies allows them to be right on the cutting edge of pop culture at all times.
There are lots of clever parodies of classic books and genres. The Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings is a parody of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and there are dozens of parodies of The Da Vinci Code and the Harry Potter series. Even Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd's children's classic Goodnight Moon hasn't escaped parody. Goodnight Bush: A Parody by Gan Golan cleverly lampoons the last days of the George W. Bush administration.