Chairman of the Board (film)

Chairman of the Board is a 1998 American comedy film directed by Alex Zamm, and starring Carrot Top in his only lead role in a feature-length film. In the film, a surfer and inventor named Edison inherits and runs a billionaire's company. It was poorly received by both critics and audiences, and was a box office bomb.[1][2] Both Carrot Top and Raquel Welch received Golden Raspberry Award nominations for their roles in the film.[3]

Chairman of the Board
Chairman of the Board poster.jpeg
North American theatrical release poster
Directed byAlex Zamm
Screenplay byAl Septien
Turi Meyer
Alex Zamm
Story byAl Septien
Turi Meyer
Produced byRupert Harvey
Peter M. Lenkov
CinematographyDavid Lewis
Edited byJimmy Hill
Music byChris Hajian
Distributed byTrimark Pictures
Release date
  • March 13, 1998 (1998-03-13)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million
Box office$181,233


Edison (Carrot Top) is a poor, failed inventor and surf bum who's spent his rent money on another unsuccessful invention. After failing to make money at a variety of jobs, Edison soon runs into a wealthy business magnate Armand McMillan (Jack Warden) whose car has broken down on the side of the road. After Edison uses his inventions to assist Armand, the old man becomes impressed with his ingenuity, and the two go surfing together and quickly become friends.[4] When Armand passes away shortly thereafter, he leaves Edison 45% of the shares in his large invention corporation, and leaves Bradford (Larry Miller), his jealous nephew and only living relative, a surfboard as his only inheritance. Bradford attempts to derail Edison's success by stealing his formula for glow in the dark, which does not exist in the world of the film. Bradford shares it with a consumer who covers himself in it and alleges that Edison's prize invention—a portable TV/TV dinner combo—leaks radiation. When Edison reveals that radiation causes sickness and death, but not a literal glowing, the company is saved, Bradford is arrested, and Grace Kosik (Raquel Welch) makes a deal with the company to testify against Bradford. In the end, Edison appoints his girlfriend Natalie Stockwell (Courtney Thorne-Smith) to run the company.



Phillip Goldfine, who served as senior VP of Trimark Pictures, is credited with green lighting the film.[5] The film was shot in Southern California whereas Carrot Top himself comes from Florida.[6]

On May 15, 1997, Courtney Thorne-Smith made a guest appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien to promote two projects she was involved in: the season finale of Melrose Place and Chairman of the Board. Comedian Norm Macdonald was a fellow guest on that night and, sitting next to Thorne-Smith, he heckled both Carrot Top and the film Thorne-Smith was promoting, incredulous that Thorne-Smith had left Melrose Place to star in a film with Carrot Top. When O'Brien asked Thorne-Smith the name of the film, Macdonald interjected, "If it's got Carrot Top in it, do you know what a good name for it would be? Box Office Poison."[1] After Thorne-Smith revealed the Chairman of the Board title and O'Brien challenged Macdonald to make fun of it, Macdonald quipped, "I bet the 'Board' is spelt B-O-R-E-D!"[1] Macdonald said he apologized to Carrot Top, saying he "felt kind of bad after that." and that he hadn't considered that Carrot Top might have been watching that night.[2]

Following Macdonald's death in 2021, Courtney Thorne-Smith later told Vanity Fair,

Every once in a while, I’ll run into Conan and he’ll apologize, and I say, ‘That was one of my favorite moments of my life.’ Teased by Norm Macdonald? Are you kidding? I did The Tonight Show once, and Don Rickles made fun of my father, and my father never stopped talking about it. This is my version of that.

I told a story about my father telling a joke at my sister’s wedding, and then Don Rickles just went off on my father being crazy, and it was the high point of my father’s life. That’s how I felt when Norm teased me. It didn’t even occur to me that it could possibly be negative. I was beside myself.

I was there to promote Chairman of the Board. I was not thrilled about having to do it, so when Norm took over, I’m like, Oh, thank you, God and Norm Macdonald. It was a blessing. Look — had I thought that Chairman of the Board was my path to an Oscar, I might have been offended. I did not. So it was a joy to be teased about it. Because I didn’t know what I was going to say [on the show]. I was like, Good, Norm, you take over.[7]


Chairman of the Board received negative reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an approval rating of 13% based on reviews from 8 critics.[8]

David Kronke of the Los Angeles Times referred to the film as "a standard-issue rags-to-riches plot, enlivened by only by a tchotchke-heavy production design that might engage those entranced by bright, shiny objects", and compared the film to "Good Burger, but with French tickler jokes."[9] Jay Boyar trashed the film in the Orlando Sentinel, giving the film just one star.[6] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a D-.[10]


Award Category Nominee Result
Golden Raspberry Awards[11] Worst New Star Carrot Top Nominated
Worst Supporting Actress Raquel Welch Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Parker, Ryan (September 14, 2021). "Norm Macdonald Famously Roasted Courtney Thorne-Smith on 'Conan O'Brien' for Carrot Top Film". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2021-09-15. Retrieved 2021-09-21.
  2. ^ a b Chamberlain, Adrian (March 18, 2010). "Comedian goes for blunt laughs". Times Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Archived from the original on September 24, 2021. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  3. ^ "The Razzies!". The Razzies!. Archived from the original on 2018-01-18. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  4. ^ Gates, Anita (1998-03-14). "FILM REVIEW; An Inventor and Heir Nonapparent". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  5. ^ Variety Staff; Staff, Variety (1997-04-25). "Goldfine joins Seagal-Nasso". Variety. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  6. ^ a b Boyar, Jay (March 13, 1998). "Carrot Top hits rock bottom in unsophisticated comedy". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 21, 2021. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  7. ^ ""Thank You, God and Norm Macdonald": Courtney Thorne-Smith Loved Being Roasted by Norm". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 2021-09-15. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  8. ^ Chairman of the Board (1997), archived from the original on 2019-04-30, retrieved 2019-04-06
  9. ^ "Carrot Top Bottoms Out in 'Chairman'". Los Angeles Times. 1998-03-16. ISSN 0458-3035. Archived from the original on 2019-04-06. Retrieved 2019-04-06.
  10. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (Mar 27, 1998). "Chairman of the Board | Movie Review | Entertainment Weekly". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2009-04-11. Retrieved 2021-09-23.
  11. ^ "Topic Closed1998 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners"". Archived from the original on 2012-08-31.

External links