SNL Parody = Less Funny Than Real Life

2 05 2010

So I really promised myself that I wasn’t going to post anything about ICP’s “Miracles.” At this point, the meme’s beyond tired. But when I was scanning through my favorites folder, I found this:

Skip ahead to any portion of the video and wait 30 seconds. See something ridiculous/inexplicable/ soul-crushingly stupid? Don’t bother answering. Just hang your head in shame and think about what you’ve become.

I usually don’t go out of my way to ridicule juggalos. They’ve never done me any harm. But since I ran across that video in my favorites folder, I was piqued enough to check the Encyclopedia Dramatica’s entry for “Fuckin Magnets.” In it, they mentioned that there was a SNL skit parodying the infamous “Miracles” video. Turns out, they were kind of parodying the “Gathering of the Juggalos” infomercial format, too.

Do an exercise with me, won’t you? Go back to the legitimate infomercial, and skip to 2:17, where the hosts introduce themselves. Isn’t it the most painful, awkward, degrading thing you’ve ever seen in your life? Don’t you feel sorry for everybody in the room? Don’t you feel sorry for the editors and voice over guys that put this together? Don’t you feel kind of dirty for watching it and deriving snide pleasure from it? Isn’t the name “Sugar Slam” the greatest thing ever?

Similarly, compare the SNL parody to the actual “Miracles” video.

Isn’t it amazing how every single aspect of this video seems to be shot/written/timed like it was a punchline? In a world full of ironic hipsters, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope seem to be the last two people alive who lack any sort of self-awareness. It’s sad that SNL tackled ICP, because there’s really nothing funny left to say. Everything’s been blown to cartoonish proportions in the first place. There’s absolutely no way that SNL could make this more absurd for comic effect. Essentially, joking about ICP is like joking about the Holocaust. You either have to be so funny that you totally shed a new shaft of sunlight into the dark corners of the human psyche, or you just have to be coarse for the sake of coarse. Saturday Night Live did neither.


Adventures in the Public Domain: Entrance of the Gladiators

28 04 2010

Have you ever heard that circus clown song? You know the one. Here, I’ll just play it for you.

If you didn’t notice the song title, it’s actually called “Entrance of the Gladiators.” I know, right? Doesn’t really seem like “gladiator”-type music. It seems infinitely more suited as a soundtrack to comic capering than it does cold-blooded murder in the name of entertainment. But then, there’s a fine line nowadays.

The song was originally composed as a military march in 1897 by Julius Fucik. A largely unknown composer named Louis-Phillipe Larendeau recorded the song with a small band under the title “Thunder and Blazes” in 1910. This version became popular with circus folk, who played it much faster than the traditional march tempo it was written for. The song became famous for it’s association with circus performances, for which it has become a cultural icon. If Larendeau hadn’t recorded a new arrangement of the song, it wouldn’t have caught on with circuses. Without the circuses, the tempo wouldn’t have increased, and we wouldn’t have the familiar “Entrance of the Gladiators” that we know and love today. If anybody in the world remembers the name of Julius Fucik, it’s because of the hard work of thousands of men named “Bobo.”

Because of it’s notoriety, it’s been reincarnated in various other works of popular music, from the sublime:

To the instantly forgettable:

To the unforgivably terrible: