We Will Mock You

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I haven't watched Saturday Night Live in... a really long time. I have been assured that it's still on, and I guess I know that since every so often some new comedian shows up in some movie and I read in various news sources that this person got his/her start on SNL.

Most people in North America over the age of 11 or so have a favorite SNL skit, and most people over the age of 25 have a favorite cast. I am old enough to have watched the original cast and I know those very early episodes are classics and everything, but they're not the ones I remember most fondly. (Except for the skit about the floor wax that is also a dessert topping.) No, my favorite cast was the one about 1988, with Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, Jon Lovitz, Jan Hooks, Victoria Jackson, etc--you know, the era that brought us "Wayne's World," "The Church Lady"and "Sprockets."

One of my favorite skits--indeed, one of the skits most beloved by my entire family--featured guest star John Malkovich as Lord Edmund, a nobleman who accuses even the crescent moon in the day sky of mocking him. He is shown a very faithful and respectful portrait of himself, and erupts in rage because he thinks the artist mocks him with a "grotesque caricature." "You mock me!" he says to the painter. "You mock me, and I will not be mocked!"

And while all this is going on, his servants, played by Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey, are prancing behind him, mimicking his facial expressions and gestures, and saying, in a nasal falsetto, "You mock! You mock me! You mock me, and I will not be mocked!"

I haven't managed to convey the brilliance of this skit, I know, but trust me: it's pretty fuckin' funny.

It feels cheap to mock the cast of We Will Rock You, because after all, the biggest problems with the production, namely, the plot, the characterization and the script, aren't their fault. But it's hard to resist, because the plot, the characterization and the script heap contempt and scorn on boy bands and girl bands and any band that didn't start out rehearsing original songs in someone's garage. The show mocks musical performers who 1) perform someone else's lyrics and/or music and 2) have to audition to get a role or part in a band and 3) are chosen for their looks and dance moves as much as for their ability to sing, while their ability to play a musical instrument is largely moot and 4) are given opportunity to perform as part of a larger scheme to earn money for backers and producers who do not perform as part of this group and 5) are dressed, presented and coiffed to be seem slightly edgy, but really are marketed to a mainstream audience.

In other words, the show mocks its own performers; the performers deliver lines that mock the type of performers they are. But somehow, you're not supposed to notice or care about this irony.

So anyway, as I was driving back across the border to my home (which was fine except for the driving and the crossing the border part), I couldn't resist tweaking a Queen song or two, just as had been done in the show, in order to critique the show.

Let me first establish a rhythm. It goes like this:

Thump thump BOOM
thump thump BOOM

(and now I will add a few simple lyrics, directed to the lead of the production Dale and I saw:)

Buddy, you're a short guy, French guy
singing on the stage, gonna take on the world some day
Makeup's smudged on your face
You big disgrace
Shaking your ass all over the place
Listen!
We will, we will
MOCK YOU
We're singing
We will, we will
MOCK YOU
Everybody!
We will, we will
MOCK YOU

Oh shit!

(Brief but impressive guitar solo. This next part is dedicated to the surviving members of Queen.)

We paid our fees
We stood in line
We balked at each sentence
We cringed at most rhymes
For bad mistakes
littered acts one and two
Non-sequiturs teemed
and the chorus, it screamed
till your inane pastiche was through!
And the beat was going on and on and on and on
You have become whores, my friends
and you'll keep on selling out til the end
You are complete whores
You are complete whores
No time for scruples
‘cause you are complete whores
in the music world.

2 Comments

Too funny. Not having seen this production, I have refrained from comment on the previous posts about it, but the altered lyrics made me laugh so I could refrain no longer. And yes, that is a great cast era of SNL. I used to watch them all the time ... "with my wife... Morgan Fairchild, ya... that's the ticket"

Oh Holly, that's brilliant because it's funny. We must write a musical sometime.

I hate the faulty nostalgia that allows everyone to remark about the brilliance of the original first few seasons of SNL (a lot of it was fantastic) but forget that even then a good 40 or 50 minutes was devoted to filler and slop.

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on June 30, 2007 11:11 AM.

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