Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Half-Hearted Hilarity in Music Video Form



Master of sensual subtlety Mariah Carey returns with the first single off her new album "E=MC²" with "Touch My Body," a romp through a mansion featuring the soon-to-be 38 year-old in various teenage boy fantasy motifs (skin tight laser tag, Catholic school girl frisbee, dining room race cars, a unicorn?, etc.) with the forever young 34 year-old improv master and "30 Rock" page Jack McBrayer.

The pretentious asshole in me would usually say something snide about Carey, but she's held up pretty well (however natural she may or may not be) and compared to recent releases by her contemporaries, her mediocrity is more bearable than embarassing, and any pub for "30 Rock" peeps is good pub in my book. (Though somehow I have a feeling a large number of Carey fans will just think of McBrayer as a standard white-boy geek.)

In light of this slight music/comedy pairing, I've run down some musician/comedian combos (somehow I subconsciously think I've seen something like this on "Pop-Up Video" but I digress):



Paul Simon: "You Can Call Me Al" I used to really like this video as a kid, because of years of listening to my folks' "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" cassette and thinking Paul Simon was kinda cool. For some reason I thought Chevy Chase was a douche, maybe because I didn't like "Fletch," but long before learning of his exploits on SNL.



Natalie Imbruglia: "Torn" Okay, it's not really a music video, but a live performance featuring British comedian David Armand doing an interpretative dance. It's an odd pairing, but I happen to like Armand's work with the "the Hollow Men" and the man deserves some pub.



Travis: "Closer" I once went out with someone who claimed that "Travis was the greatest band in the world" and absolutely loved this video for some inate reason. She also seemed to always crack up when Ben Stiller appeared on screen momentarily, even though she knew he was coming, as if on cue. God that made me sad...but boy was she cute.



Chris Martin: "Fix You" I love the UK "Office." I love Ricky Gervais. I cannot love Chris Martin or forgive him for the atrocious "X&Y". And while "Extras" has had its moments (Daniel Radcliffe's vulgarity being the peak) it's been hard to not be overwhelmingly underwhelmed by "Extras" complete and total dependence on guest celebrities willing to poke fun at themselves. And no, I'm not havin' a laugh.



Michael Jackson: "You Rock My World" Chris Tucker. Marlon Brando. Michael Madsen. In Michael Jackson's big comeback record. Wow. It's good to see that since the successes of "the Fifth Element," "Friday," and " Rush Hour," Tucker was able to parlay that success into starring roles in...uh..."Rush Hour 2"...and...uh, "Rush Hour 3." Hmm. Either Tucker is a genius waiting for that next great project, or he has absolutely no concept of striking while the iron is hot/lukewarm.



Dave Matthews Band: "Everyday" Judah Friedlander, another "30 Rock" cast member doing his Dave Matthews-earnest-best. Great stand up and actor in "American Splendor" ; sadly I doubt many Dave Matthews fans are making the connection between "the fat hug guy" and the "fat 30 Rock writer guy."



Bobby McFerrin: "Don't Worry, Be Happy" As a child, I used to really like Robin Williams. He was wild, crazy, frenetic and seemingly endless fun. Just didn't seem to have an off switch. Yet as I got older, what's fun and charming as a child is annoying/borderline sadly reminscent of a crackhead in withdrawal. Though he seems like he'd still be a pretty cool uncle.



Paula Abdul: "Straight Up" Arsenio Hall was the shit. I remember staying up late on school nights just to see "the Arsenio Hall Show" just because it seemed like the cool thing to do. Watching the show for the first time was probably my first recognition of how spectacularly uncool I was for 1) not being Black, 2) not knowing much about hip-hop, and 3) not being able to properly execute the "Humpty Hump." Oh yeah, Paula Abdul in '91 was pretty freaking hot.


God...don't you miss the days when actors/comedians appearing in music videos seemed to be an obligatory right of celebrity passage?


Yeah, I don't either.

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