Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Guest: The Dynamic Duo of Comedy and Horror

Christopher Guest (of Spinal Tap) is one of the most important figures in contemporary comedy.

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Michael Myers isn’t the only man in Halloween actor Jamie Lee Curtis’ life. In fact, the actor has a husband of an impressive 38 years in Christopher Guest. If that name isn’t familiar to you, then expect double the fun in this article, because Guest also happens to be one of biggest comedic influences in recent memory.

Jamie Lee Curtis’ Husband Develops His Roots

Jamie Lee Curtis’ husband, Christopher Guest, became an established comedic actor long before the two wed in 1984. Born in New York in February 1948, his father was actually a British United Nations diplomat who later became a baron, according to The New York Times. In fact, Guest spent part of his childhood in the United Kingdom.

However, he was largely educated at arts schools in New York and Massachusetts, including Bard College and the Tisch School of the Arts. He developed his skills not only as an actor but also as a multi-faceted musician.

While Jamie Lee Curtis’ husband dabbled with various bluegrass bands, his musical chops would later pay off in a big way with his satirical comedic project Spinal Tap (yes, the Spinal Tap) and in his Grammy Award-winning film A Mighty Wind.

Guest Gets an Auspicious Start

Guest found early success onstage in the early ‘70s, when he was still in his early 20s, even making it onto Broadway playing the role of Norman in Michael Weller’s Moonchildren.

But the comedy bug had already bitten him, and around the same time, he began dropping by The National Lampoon Radio Hour. He played goofy characters like “Flash Bamboo, Space Explorer” and music critic Roger de Swans — and also leaned on his musical talents to spoof Bob Dylan and James Taylor.

As if it were kismet, Guest also partnered early on with future Saturday Night Live heavyweights Chevy Chase and John Belushi in an off-Broadway production of National Lampoon’s Lemmings, the stage-show spinoff of the magazine. 

Guest also played a few roles in All in the Family and a gender-reversed TV remake of It Happened One Christmas. But his big role — maybe still to date — came the following decade when he took his spoofery to the next level.

Spinal Tap Taps Into the Mainstream

Jamie Lee Curtis’ husband, the same year he married her, broke out as the lead guitarist in the biggest spoof rock band in history: Spinal Tap. The group’s following became so big, thanks, especially to Rob Reiner’s 1984 film This Is Spinal Tap, that it even rivaled those of real-life rock bands.

That movie also happened to be the first hugely successfully “rockumentary” — a seemingly authentic document about something that never actually happened.

It’s hard to overstate the reach of Spinal Tap’s impact. Rock bands embraced its witty references, which sometimes only musicians could get, made possible by the actual musical talent of Guest and others involved with the project.

Such examples included a constant switching of drummers (usually the unfortunate journeyman role in most bands), unreliable band managers, bands oblivious to members of their camp ripping them off, and drawing less than a dozen attendees to a show where they thought they’d play to thousands.

But because glam-rock and hair-metal had become so over the top at the time of the movie’s release, even the general public embraced Spinal Tap and understood many of its references.

Wildly ambitious stage productions that went wrong because their instructions got misinterpreted (Stonehenge) or were just too stupid in the first place (alien pods that encased the band members and failed to open).

Amps with dials that turned the volume up all the way to 11, instead of the usual max of 10. Missing gigs in foreign cities simply because the musicians failed to correctly consult maps.

The list of Spinal Tap gems that to continue to be referenced 38 years after the movie came out runs very long. Their brief reunions are numerous as well.

Guest and Curtis’ Life Together

To reiterate, it was also 38 years ago that Jamie Lee Curtis’ husband married her. They did so at the home of legendary director Rob Reiner, who helmed Spinal Tap and with whom they were both friends. According to Pink News, Curtis and Guest later adopted two children.

Also, due to his lineage, also served for a few years as a Member of the House of Lords from April 1996 to November 1999. Lord Haden-Guest’s seat was abolished under an act passed that same year.

Career-wise, Guest continued along the Spinal Tap trajectory of mockumentaries — many of which were, quite impressively, mostly improvised. 

Guest starred in and took the director’s chair for many of them, including 1996’s Waiting for Guffman, 2000’s Best in Show, and 2003’s A Mighty Wind — classics in their own right.

(Guest’s movies also gave a rocket-boost to the careers of Jennifer Coolidge, who is now reaping the rewards of her many years’ hard work, and the dearly departed Fred Willard.)

The last couple of mockumentaries by Jamie Lee Curtis’ husband fell flat: 2006’s For Your Consideration and 2016’s Mascots.

Along the way, though, Guest also notched acting credits in landmark movies including The Princess Bride and A Few Good Men.

Nonetheless — and perhaps most importantly of all — the tenure of the marriage between Jamie Lee Curtis’ husband and her endures.

Read More: Jamie Lee Curtis Honored as ‘Halloween’ Ends

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