On this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment of the socially-distanced NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the guest is political consultant Mike Murphy, who is involved with the Republican Voters Against Trump project. His conversation with host Peter Sagal is pretty straightforward, though light-hearted, but very interesting and open about how his job consulting works, specially in an election like this one where there are so few undecided voters..
On this week’s Al Franken podcast, his two guests are Maria Teresa Kumar of Voto Latino and Marc Elias, Dems’ Election Lawyer, who talk about Voter Suppression. As Al notes, “Voto Latino is on its way to registering 500,000 new voters this cycle. Elias is fighting to make sure their votes will be counted.”
Well, it turns out that we're going to make this a Randy Rainbow day. That's because, as whimsy has it, he released a new parody song this afternoon. It's fun, though I've enjoyed many of his other songs more -- but -- what I especially love was his debate sketch that leads into the song.
(If the song sounds familiar, but you can't place it, it's "How Will You Know?" from Enchanted that made Amy Adams a star.)
TNT has a The West Wing marathon today, Thursday. At 8pm ET (5pm in the west), they will have the wonderful "Game On" debate episode. I mention this for three reasons -- 1) because of there being a marathon, 2) because this particular episode is so good, and 3) mainly because of the Fun Fact that the debate moderator is played by John Aniston -- father of...oh, you can figure that one out easily.
Yesterday, it was announced that two people who had attended a Trump superspreader rally in North Carolina only seven days ago had tested positive for COVID-19. I suspect it's likely that more who were there have been infected, as well, but most probably just haven't been tested. Also, more people have possibly been infected who weren't at the event but have come in contact with those who were. But those are "possiblies" or "likelies." All we know for absolute sure is that two have.
In related news, later in the day Trump announced on Twitter than an upcoming rally in North Carolina has been cancelled. The reason, he said, was bad weather and high winds. Yes, right, really. This is the same campaign that just had a rally in Nebraska in sub-freezing temperatures, and left everyone there stranded, sending at least a half-dozen people to the hospitals So, concern of the weather seems highly improbable.
It's even more improbable when you know that the 10-day forecast for the area is for temperatures in the 70s and normal wind.
So, yeah, that was the reason it was cancelled -- bad weather and the wind. Not that people from the last superspreader rally there a week ago tested positive for the coronavirus.
O, if only there was a vaccine cure, like the one that Trump insisted was coming in just weeks...
All of which made it fortuitous that by chance yesterday I came across a video by Randy Rainbow from several months back which, for whatever reason, I missed. And the subject of his song parody is a nice fit.
There is a really good chance that you will love this.
It's a two-song parody mash-up from Bye Bye Birdie and The King & I -- two shows that don't generally overlap -- performed by Broadway actors without a show to do during the pandemic, all written by Joe Keenan, who was a writer on Frasier, among many other TV shows, including Desperate Housewives and the new version of The Odd Couple, which he developed. Though this was made as a "Blue Vote Video," any political message is secondary to the fun.
I was surprised how many of the people involved I recognized – not close to most, but a handful. And all the names are listed at the end.
It's called "Bring Back Broadway!." And falling back on my arcane knowledge of musicals, I wonder if that was used because a) it’s appropriate for the point of it all, and b) it’s an homage to the very little-known and unsuccessful sequel to the 1960 show Bye Bye Birdie, which was called, Bring Back Birdie. It was made in 1981 by the original team -- with a score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, and a book by Michael Stewart. And alas, it only ran for four performance. I have the cast album, and I was glad to track it down, but it doesn't compare.
[UPDATE: After later checking with Joe Keenan online about the very obscure reference, he said that indeed, yes, "The echo occurred to me, though I doubted many would hear it."]
It zips by pretty fast, so I didn't get all the words, but plenty enough to find it a total joy. There's one joke in the parody lyrics in particular that I dearly loved, which comes at the 3:50 mark. Normally I wouldn't give such things away, but it's so obscure unless you know the original well that it would fly by. In the parody, the singers are quipping about Trump and Kim Jong-un, "Trump's in love with Kim, Kim's in love with him." The original line is about Hugo Peabody and Kim McAfee, It goes -- "He's in love with Kim, Kim's in love with him." So, yes, really clever. It's one of those lines where, when a writer thinks of it, you just look up and thank the gods because it fits in too perfectly.
I'll only add one other thing -- that the song from The King and I being parodied is "I Have Dreamed." (Fun Fact: If you've seen the movie, The American President, this is the song that Michael Douglas and Annette Benning dance to for the first time at the White House gala.)
Other than that, I shall say no more.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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