There was a moment in the movie when Starlord told a joke about Kevin Bacon to convince his partner to dance. My fellow moviegoers laughed heartily but I, being a non-US person, missed the joke completely. Could anyone explain the joke, starting with who Kevin Bacon is in real life?
This is just a funny reference to the movie Footloose, a dancing movie from the 80s starring the actor Kevin Bacon in the lead role. In fact Peter does summarize the story of this movie quite accurately:
Well, on my planet, we have a legend about people like you. It's called Footloose. And in it, a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that, dancing, well, is the greatest thing there is.
Seeing that the movie was released in 1984, it should've been one of the most recent movies Peter watched as a child before his abduction and he is indeed quite into dancing. And seeing that the story of the movie was about convincing people to dance, it fits the bill pretty well as a parable for his and Gamora's current situation.
As a side note, after this scene I waited for an actual Footloose homage later in the movie, which unfortunately didn't come, but if any movie could have included that it would have been Guardians of the Galaxy, I guess.
The laugh was more because she took his reference way too literally. "A stick up someone's butt" in this country refers to people who are way too strict or have no sense of humor. You don't have to see Footloose to get that he doesn't mean they really have sticks up their butts. Just like the joke "nothing goes over my head, I'm too quick".
There is a game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. You name an actor or actress in a movie and a co-star. Then you name that co-star and another actor or actress. You have six steps to get the correlation from initial actor to Kevin Bacon. The joke in the US is that Kevin Bacon is in EVERYTHING. Notice Peter Quill didn't say "Ren", the character name in Footloose...but Kevin Bacon, the name of the actor who played him. So for me, it was funny because it was another example of Kevin Bacon is in everything (sure, he wasn't really in Guardians, but they talked about him, so in a way he was.) Then when she says "We're just like Kevin Bacon," it's funny to me because she is almost saying Kevin Bacon is god-like.
I read all of these answers and I believe there is SOMETHING MAJOR related to Kevin Bacon Footloose references in the MCU. Previously mentioned in this thread are the lines from GOTG film but this is also referenced by Mantis in Avengers Infinity War, Thor says that two stones are with the Avengers, Earths mightiest heroes, Mantis replies like Kevin Bacon. Most likely a film Mantis never saw but Mantis makes the connection Earth, Quills worlds', mightiest hero is from the Footloose story. SO HERE IT IS: Sebastian Shaw is portrayed by actor Kevin Bacon in X Men First Class with Fassbenders Magneto, is evidence of different timeline, where the actors and the brands are not the same as ours. The Avengers from our Earth and Quill from our Earth will reference our culutral and pop memories as we remember them. SO Fassbenders Magneto future 80s babies wont get a Footloose starring Kevin Bacon, A paradox of sorts. My theory is every pop reference by Tony or Peter or anyone really, are part of this paradoxical idea that some characters will reference pop culture accurately and others innaccurately to display a "Mandela Effect" or consequence of altering the Multiverse in the MCU.