The Late Movies: The Jerk

Chris Higgins

In 1979, Steve Martin appeared in his first starring movie role. He played Navin R. Johnson in The Jerk, directed by Carl Reiner. This movie has a special place in my heart, probably because it was one of the few VHS tapes my family owned when I was a kid. I've seen it a zillion times. Here are some of my favorite clips, though, to be honest, pretty much the whole movie is one long favorite clip. Note: a few of these clips have mildly salty language.

"I Slit the Sheet, the Sheet I Slit, and on the Slitted Sheet I Sit"

"I know we've only known each for four weeks and three days, but to me, it seems like nine weeks and five days."

Cat Juggling

"Roll the ugliness."

"Tonight You Belong to Me"

A uke, Bernadette Peters, and a campire? Heaven. Oh, also a cornet.

The New Phonebooks are Here!

"I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now." That's pretty much why I'm a writer.

Also: "Damn these glasses!" "Yes sir: I damn thee!" Then a brief 2001 reference I never got as a kid.

Note: this clip has apparently been mirrored to avoid automated takedowns from YouTube. You can really see it in the phonebook closeup.

S**t and Shinola

"Son, you're gonna be all right." By the way, if you (like me as a kid watching this a thousand times) have no idea what this was referring to, read this brief Wiktionary article.

Sadly, this clip cuts off right before the big gag (you'll know what I'm talking about if you've seen the movie). But still.

The Thermos Song

"Oh, I'm picking out a Thermos for you...."

"I Don't Need Anything. Except This."

His voice right before he picks up the chair always gets me.

TV Trailer for VHS Release

I bet this is why we bought it.

Got Any More Clips?

If anyone can find the "pizza in a cup" scene online, please post a link. Somehow that really sticks out as a favorite moment for me. Also, here's a 2008 clip of Steve Martin introducing The Jerk at AFI.