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October 7, 2015

MTV's star-studded West Side Story parody

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 29th 2009 11:35AM
Russell_Brand_MTV_VMA_awardsHow do you pump up the viewership for a music award show on a network that used to be all about music but lately has been all about reality TV and nasty scandals? Well, apparently MTV has decided to go retro and keep it funny. To promote the upcoming 2009 Video Awards, MTV has created a West Side Story parody, not too different from the brilliant solo turn by Neil Patrick Harris at last June's Tony Awards.

The commercial is a mixed bag. Taylor Swift proves that she has the real goods as a singer, doing the toughest part of the "Tonight" quintet. Ne-Yo's dance turn is more of a salute to Michael Jackson than an homage to composers Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. And Katy Perry's rooftop bit reinforces the fact that she's funny and playful.

The part I liked best was wacky Russell Brand's. He's hosting the show, and when you watch the video, check out his raunchy rendition complete with fondling the statuette.

The parody lyrics were written by the performers along with Lin-Manuel Miranda, and while amusing, the take-off by Neil at the Tony's was superior. Mark Shaiman and Scott Whitman wrote that material and when asked about it by the New York Times, Shaiman said he was simply aping the great MAD Magazine."Actually, we are ALL ripping off MAD Magazine 'sung to the tune of' song parodies. I know that's where I learned how to do it! ...Just the Barbra Streisand parody On A Clear Day You Can See A Funny Girl Singing Hello Dolly Forever alone infected my brain and has formed the basis of my entire show business career."

You know what? Mark's right. I can still remember the lyrics to the Streisand issue. To the tune of "On A Clear Day," Barbra (in MAD) sang, "On a Monday, I shine up my Emmy, till it glows like it's jeweled. On a Tuesday, I buff up my Oscar, with an autographed picture of Elliott Gould..."

Speaking of Streisand (how's that for a transition?), QVC is presenting The Music of Barbra Streisand tonight (10-11 p.m. ET) to promote her upcoming CD, Love Is the Answer. In addition to previewing the album, which comes out on September 29, Richard Jay-Alexander, who directed Barbra's last concert tour, will be guesting and yapping about working with Barbra. I think he'll be saying nice things. Still, it'll be great to see some behind the scenes stuff from Barbra's recording session for the new CD, the first in which she's working with jazz artist Diana Krall as a producer.

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Barbra is the greatest. The new CD is going to be spectacular. But, what else is new?!

August 31 2009 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The commercials for MTV's show are actually very entertaining. What a nice break from the reality garbage. I love the parodies. I didn't put it together with Mad Mag, but that's so true. Thanks for the heads-up on QVC. For real talent, you can always count on Streisand. In fact, you can still watch the show for her new cd, 'Love is the Answer', on www.qvc.com. The song clips are great!

August 29 2009 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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