By 1992 Metallica had become the biggest band on the planet. Their 1991 self-titled album had far outsold their thrash peers and propelled the band into entirely new realms of superstardom that only seemed to grow with each sold out arena and stadium they played.
But even as The Black Album wracked up platinum certifications (currently standing at 16x in the US alone), Metallica were ripe for parody. So hand it to comedian and future Hollywood star Ben Stiller, who got in early with his own loving spoof of metal's biggest band.
In a sketch written for a 1992 episode of The Ben Stiller Show, Stiller teamed up with fellow comedian (and future Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul star) Bob Odenkirk to portray Metallica duo James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, complete with lustrous wigs and facial hair prosthetics.
The whole thing plays out as a big spoof of the then-popular Headbanger's Ball programme on MTV. Titled Headslammer's Ball (subtle), it sees 'Metallica' interviewed by quirky MTV VJ 'Duff' (portrayed by Janeane Garofalo) and discussing an upcoming movie the pair have scored.
"We've always wanted to score a film, you know, Duff?" Odenkirk (as Lars) says. "But we've had to wait until we find one as dark and extreme as Metallica is."
With Odenkirk playing an excitable - if slightly airheaded - Ulrich and Stiller going for a full brooding Hetfield, the caricatures make for a great odd couple. Chuck in some great one-linters - "Pauly Shore scares the hell out of us, but that's life" and some brilliantly acted cluelessness and the sketch is a perfect example of how Metallica had breached the mainstream.
Weirdly, one of the sketch's best throwaway gags - of Hetfield trying to sell a Metallica ballad to Disney - proved oddly prescient. In 2022, composer James Newton Howard remade the iconic Nothing Else Matters for Disney's Jungle Cruise, proving that with Metallica even the wildest hypothesis isn't out of the question.
But above all else, the main kudos has to go to the lovingly - and painstakingly - spoofed video of Enter Sandman. Re-titled The Father/Son Switching Song, the video intersperses actual shots from Enter Sandman with gurning reaction shots from Odenkirk and Stiller, complete with re-written lyrics.
"You are filled with so much hate/And I think that's really great," snarls Stiller with an impressive Hetfield growl.
Watch the full video below: