Parody. Odds are you have watched some form of comedic take on a popular movie, television show or song. Whether you found it hilarious or downright pathetic, you have likely enjoyed some parody video, but why?

From Space Balls to Weird Al Yankovic, comedic parodies are incredibly popular today. The reason why lies in the classic saying: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Only the most stuck-up and self righteous artists take offense at people parodying their work. The same goes for the fans of such artists.

People who take art too seriously are just missing out on the joy of a good parody. Those who parody popular culture are typically entertainers who are looking to ride the coattails of pop culture so they can build their own audience. But they really deserve that audience. Think of a cover artist, but they have to rewrite every lyric in a way that makes logical and comedic sense while also having enough talent to perform it. Why, however, are these parody artists so popular? Why bother watching a parody when the original is great?

The answer is quite simple; we love to make fun of things, especially things we like. Consider “Star Wars,” a famous film franchise that has an incredible following and devout audience that adores scenes like the most famous reveal of all time (spoiler alert for a movie that’s almost 40 years old), the revelation that Darth Vader is Luke’s father–a fantastic moment in movie history and one of the most spoofed moments in cinematic history as well. Being so well known makes it a great moment to be parodied; everyone’s in on the joke.

Just like films make dramatic moments by throwing in plot twists, parodies do the exact same thing, just with comedy instead of drama. It’s incredible to discover that Luke’s archenemy is his father; it’s hilarious to learn that Dark Helmet is Lone Starr’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate. Parody is brilliant, because it twists the drama we expect into the comedy we don’t. Parody songs do the same thing; they take what we expect and turn it into what we could never have imagined and yet always wanted to hear.

So be grateful for the Weird Als and Mel Brooks’s of the world, for only a brilliant parody artist could that turn a dramatic art piece into a hilarious masterpiece.