Happy Birthday, Catherine O’Hara! What’s Her Greatest Onscreen Moment?

I can’t relate to Home Alone because I have no idea what it’s like to take Catherine O’Hara for granted.

The legendary comic actress of SCTV, Beetlejuice, the Christopher Guest oeuvre, and (of course) Heartburn turns 59 today, and she may be one of the most universally adored funny people ever. Is it even possible to dislike Catherine O’Hara? You are less of a human being for however much you attempt to dislike Catherine O’Hara. It’s an outrageous suggestion, and it should be parodied in a Christopher Guest film.

So, what’s Ms. O’Hara’s greatest moment?

One contender is certainly her work in the mockumentary A Mighty Wind, where she plays one half of the folk duo Mitch and Mickey. With Eugene Levy, O’Hara trills the pair’s signature hit “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow,” and at the song’s poignant climax, the two reenact their classic, melody-interrupting kiss. The moment combines a number of O’Hara’s great charms, particularly her knack for earnest humor and charmingly quaint characterizations. This song garnered an Oscar nomination for co-writers Micheal McKean and Annette O’Toole

Underrated contender: O’Hara is definitely the best thing about Orange County, the 2002 Colin Hanks movie about a smart, motivated high school senior who’s trying to start a successful college life despite the cavalcade of O.C. wastoids who run his school and life. O’Hara plays his perpetually tired, alcoholic mother who constantly threatens to take naps. Watch what she has to do to her grotesque pillow arrangement in order to sleep.

For essential viewing you might’ve missed, check out this “Unscripted” Q&A between O’Hara and her frequent co-star Jennifer Coolidge. Revealing and super fun stuff. And you learn a very necessary Meryl Streep tidbit.

What’s your favorite O’Hara moment?


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