Episode 171: "Brillsplaining"
June 13, 2014
Origin of the episode title
What Julie called her explanation of the Carole King musical 'Beautiful' as it takes place in the Brill Building
Good morning, Vietnam! This week's show features an interview with comedian and filmmaker JASON NASH, who joins Julie to talk about whether it's harder to want to be in your own stuff, why you probably shouldn't say "black friends," and whether LA is a good or terrible idea.
Also, Julie saw the ALADDIN performance on the Tony's, and it's pretty much all she wants to talk about. That and Hugh Jackman. That and the Carole King musical. And Mickey Mouse. Also, other stuff. You'll love it!
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- Ellen and Padriac M.
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- Brian V.
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- John P.
Hello. It’s Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW.
It’s mid-June. The Tony’s were on Sunday. I don’t feel like it’s Tony’s week. I feel like it is Tony’s week for the 4 hours that the Tony’s air. Boy were they four hours. Actually they weren’t terrible. I am done with Hugh Jackman. He is useless to me at this point. I don’t care about the novelty of him being ‘Wolverine’ or is it ‘Woolverine’? I don’t want to see those movies. Those movies look dumb. If Gus Van Sant directed those movies, I still wouldn’t want to see those movies. I can watch porn if I want to watch porn, Hugh Jackman frolicking in the surf. Until he and his wife publically say something about having an ‘open’ relationship I don’t want to hear from him. I’m sick of his beards. I’m sick of his singing voice and I’m sick of his dancing and fitting into tuxedos well. What were we all thinking? Why did we even give him the hosting jobs in the first place? He’s not from here. Not to be xenophobic but he just never adjusted to the American way of thinking about things. Right? Come on everybody. Where are your pitchforks? Hugh Jackman doesn’t get things. I don’t like him. Is he talented? Sure.
For those of you who didn’t see the Tony’s Neil Patrick Harris didn’t host them because he was busy starving himself down to a prune. He looks so thin. Oh my god. Whatever he’s doing for Hedwig, he needs to have less protein shakes and more hamburgers. He looks too thin. Hugh Jackman hosted the Tony’s this year. Usually there’s a cold open and someone does something funny, smart or whatever. Last year Neil Patrick Harris had one where Lyne Maneul Wrote something brilliant, blah,blah, blah, blah, blah, fine. This year it was replaced by hopping. An Australian man Hugh Jackman hopping around like he was on a pogo stick from my yoot. (Australian accent) I’ve got a great idea, I’m going to hop into a theater, give me your keys; I’m taking over. Hugh Jackman hopped into the goddamned Radio City Music Hall-hop, hop, hop, hop, hop. It was dumb. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t cool to look at. Nobody liked it. It didn’t make any sense and it wasn’t a reference to anything that happened this year on Broadway.
At one point he hopped past a television monitor that was in the background was playing the movie that this was from, in other words, there was a bit from a movie where there was hopping, so Hugh Jackman said, “I’m going to do that.” The producers said, “I don’t know if people will get it.” “All right, throw me a bone.” He said, “If you insist you can have a monitor play the film where it’s from.” The producers, “ugh, I guess.” So he hops past the movie ugh! Guys, it was as boring as it was stupid. It was artless. I realize I’ve just spent five minutes complaining about this. I have a right to complain! I’m from the United States.
This is what you need to know about the Tony’s. Yes, you do need to know about the Tony’s. The number from Aladdin was really great. It was insane, just bananas. That’s all I’m going to talk about from the Tony’s this year because that’s the only time in which I actually stopped what I was doing and was completely pie-eyed and mesmerized by what was going on. Everything else I could sort of take or leave. Idina Menzel and Sutton Foster were both wearing cardigans. They were having a Cardigan-off. No thanks.
Disney’s latest theatrical triumph is Aladdin on Broadway. I haven’t seen it but I am working on getting tickets to see it soon. In it, the role of the Genie which is played by Robin William’s voice in the movie is now played by a stocky black actor. He won the tony. He was jubilant. He thanked his wife. I almost passed out from shock. He played the Genie and they did You Ain’t Never had a Friend like Me. There were a lot of things going on. If you haven’t seen it…I don’t care if you give a shit about musical theater or not, you have to find this online. You have to watch this performance. You have to. I’ve watched it every day since the Tony’s and it is not enough. I’m dead serious that you have to watch it. Watch the clip.
Fine, you watched it. You’re back. There’s a lot going on in that clip right? The guy who plays Aladdin is this shirtless, sort of swarthy hunk. Facially he looks like Dave from Alvin and the chipmunks. He’s wearing a little chicken bucket on his head. He has an open vest and so on and so forth. He’s reacting to the Genie. It’s always humiliating when someone with a role in the play is in a number but only to react. His reactions were gigantic. You know the premise of the song. I don’t need to explain that the Genie is telling Aladdin that he’s lucky to be acquainted with him. He’s got a man’s chest. He’s sexy but he’s reacting to the Genie like a child, a really goody-two-shoes 6 or 7 year-old being told about Christmas or something.
“Huh?!?,” “Oh Wow!!!”, “But I…” and “Hot-Diggity!!!” This is just with his eyes and face he did not have any lines. The great thing about the performer who plays the Genie (his name escapes me) is that he was out of breath the entire time. He started out of breath and made himself more out of breath as he went on. He did that just by singing. His singing technique was designed, it seemed, to keep him out of breath. By that I mean he would take a giant breath and sing a tiny phrase. (Inhaling gasp) Well Ali Babba had those 40 thieves, (inhaling gasp) badababeboboopdahdoo (inhaling gasp)…I’m out of breath right now and I’m in fantastic shape. As though he was reading your mind he showed me (or you), us, that he wasn’t out of shape. His shape didn’t dictate whether we was in or out of shape. He proved that to us by dancing around like a crazy person. He did the grapevine. He did a kick line. He just ran around the stage and executed dance moves really impressively almost like he were an animated cartoon. It has now been ten minutes that I’ve been talking about the Tony’s. You can’t fast forward over this stuff it’s important.
He was great and he made me laugh out loud at least twice in that number. There was a moment where he said to Aladdin in the course of the show, “Can you tap dance?” Aladdin shakes his head no. “Now you can-zap,” and all of a sudden Aladdin joined the festivities. There was also a part when ladies came out; they were hiding under these basically gold scrims, gold drapes. The drapes dropped and there were sexy ladies. They all surrounded Aladdin and moved their stuff back and forth as though they were belly dancers. Aladdin who is a man-child reacted as though, it was not sexual. It was weird because that’s what those women represented, something for the dads kind of moments. Which are generally upsetting but I was too delighted to be anything but tickled by the entire ‘surreality’ of the sparkly in my eyeballs. These sexy ladies get around Aladdin. They dance around his. His face looks like, “I didn’t expect this, but this is even better.” The Genie sings, “Can your friends do this? Can your friends do that? Can your friends go abracadbradeebiddydoo? Well you’re in luck. Part of the mission of Disney Theatrical is to ‘theatricalize’ things. The first time the Genie goes “Can your friends do this?” People come out and do back flips onto the stage. Aladdin’s reacts, “Wow! My friends sure can’t.” My friend Dicki DeBello pointed this out to us that the second beat of “Can your friends do that?” Two people just cross the stage (laughing) they just cross the stage. “Can your friends do that?” Yeah, I’m pretty sure they can. Oh my god. Obviously there was something that they usually do in the Broadway Show that they couldn’t do on this stage. That’s what I am saying.
I can’t wait to see that show. I hope the whole show is just that number. I’m sure there’s more numbers than that. There’s (sings) I can show you a world. Ugh, Disney. Disney is consistent. It is shocking how consistent they are. Not shocking, what’s the word I’m looking for, disturbing? It’s disturbing that Disney even in the current age of internet, pornography and other divergences, Disney is holding strong. You have character breakfast. You have your California experience. Man, you should have heard Billy Eichner and Hotlips bond over the Disneyland, California-land experience in three dimensions. Those two went at it one lunch. They were really excited to talk to each other about Disneyland. I was impressed.
I love people who are obsessed with Disney. I’m not obsessed with Disney. I’m curious about Disney as I am curious about all sort of American icons that are clearly rooted in Satanism. No they’d be cooler if they were rooted in Satanism. In Disney’s case it was eugenics and gin. Patriarchal not values…I am going to go back to Satanism. Like Mia Farrow’s husband in Rosemary’s Baby, he literally said to a group of Satanists if you help my acting career, I will not only join your married gang but my wife will have the Devil’s baby. We’ll knock her out with pills it will be fine. All of a sudden he goes from Nobody Loves an Albatross, one of the plays he’s in onto better things and bigger things. That’s like Walt Disney. Walt Disney at one point, I feel, made a bargain with old Steamboat Willy. He said, “But Steamboat after I make this trade can I just address the camera directly as though it is America’s children?” The Devil said, (Mickey Mouse voice) “Sure. Sure Mr. Disney.” --Voice Stuff ---Mickey Mouse.
The Aladdin performance was the best thing about the Tony’s. There were other performances but I don’t remember them. Audra McDonald, I want to fuck her whole family. Her little girl is so beautiful. I don’t mean to say that in a lewd way. I don’t want to have sex with her little girl. It’s not something that I want and I didn’t mean to express that. However, when that little girl is in her thirties or something, I’ll fuck her.
I was very, very, very lucky to have a friend Chelsea Nachman who works for a theater PR establishment. After the Tony’s she said, “Do you want to see Beautiful the Carol King musical.” DO I? Yes, I do. I took my mom to see it last night. The music in it is incredible. Jessie Mueller who won the Tony for playing Carol King was absolutely fabulous. Her talent is terrifying. She was amazing. I really, really enjoyed myself. That said, the book, the actual writing of the play, what we know as the book (twenty minutes of talking about this. I might not make Podmass this week guys—hits or misses.) Basically Beautiful is a jukebox musical. They picked a bushel full of Carole King’s songs. There’s millions and millions more because she is from Jewish outer space--Oy Vey. They put them in the show chronologically, there was Splish Splash I was taking a bath because the average age of the audience was a million. There’s an agreement now when old people make when they by Broadway tickets right now. “I’m going to see Splish Splash I’m taking a bath right?” Yes, oh yes. Absolutely sir.” Then Clint Eastwood makes Jersey Boys. The music was great. The actual story of Carole King’s life was told in such a pedestrian way as though it were to children around the story of Rapunzel. I am now going to coin the term “Brillsplaining” it was from the Brill Building era. There was a lot of “Brillsplaining” in the Carole King musical. Like, “I’m Donny Kirshner and I ain’t got time. Let me hear your songs. Say, kid that’s a great song. You’re hired.” “Do I get my own office?” “You bet you do.” Jerry Goffen was like, “I don’t feel so good.” Carole’s mom says, “I told you not to write any more songs. You’re going to be a teacher.” There was a part where Carole King tells Don Kirshner she’s moving to LA to write Tapestry or to record Tapestry. She says, “Hey Donny have you got a minute?” wait that’s not how it goes. Hold on. I wrote this down after the show so I wouldn’t forget. It’s not that funny. I like it though. This is an example of some of the dialogue in the show. Carole King says to Donny Kirshner, “Hey Donny do you have a second?” Don Kirshner, played like an affable guy looks like Fred Williard says, “For you, I have a whole minute.” That was an exchange. That was an exchange in the show.
The audience were making murmurs of recognition around things. Not to “Brillsplain” but she wrote Pleasant Valley Sunday. They sing Pleasant Valley Sunday, by sing I mean a lady comes out and does a dipthong-y belt “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday” It was intense. People in pop sing like they do on American Idol. People on Broadway sing like they do on Broadway. How old am I? Ooph. My birthday is around the corner. Just get me the Jon Waters book and don’t talk. Just leave the Jon Waters book outside of my apartment and then leave. That’s how I want to celebrate my birthday. I’m going to order spaghetti for three meals.
Anyway, after Pleasant Valley Sunday, she and Gerry Goffin are in their House. Donny Kirschner wearing a golf shirt comes over. “I’ve got a gig for you. There’s this new band called the Monkees. They have a TV show. “ Everyone in the audience collectively murmurs with a chuckle of recognition. That really bummed me out. I know it is a form of laughter that isn’t based on if what was said was funny but showing you peers you’re comfortable and you’re not going to kill or eat their babies. There’s a biological reason for it I’m sure. But I don’t like it. Thank you Chelsea for getting me the tickets. Sorry to complain about it on the fake radio. Murmurs of recognition I’m not into. I’m not into them. That’s all.
So Slenderman is dead. They killed Slenderman in a terrible way after he told those two little girls to stab their friend. I miss Slenderman. The good news is that he’s terrifying. He’ll be back. I think it is exciting in that our heavy metal that is scaring parents is creepy pasta. Is that what it is called? It’s fan fiction about scary things people tell each other around the virtual campfire of the world wide web. Creepy Pasta, honestly? I’ve got some fucking Creepy Pasta right now. Put some marinara on it. BOING!!! I also wrote down to talk about (You know how the sausage gets made. I keep a list. I look at a list and there are things on it.) One of the things I wrote down is the Moth for Moms. It’s something; I don’t know what it is. However your mom tells a story is the moth for moms. It’s about moms and storytelling that’s what the premise would be if it were a fully formed idea. I am going to be honest with you, I made a big mistake this week which is I worked out. I don’t usually work out. I had an opportunity to work out with a person, a trainer, and I did it. I had never done that before in my life. I woke up yesterday and I couldn’t move my legs. I felt like FDR. I wanted a goddamn blanket in my lap. Then today it somehow-it’s not worse- but it isn’t getting any better. I’m in terrible pain. It turns out there’s a certain amount of recovery I needed to slate into my week. “Never work out” is the point of this story. Also now I know what Burpees are and I know who Shailene Woodley is. I did not know a week ago and I am very angry about. Thank god for Slenderman. Who’s going to play Slenderman in the movie? Is it only going to be Jeff Goldblum or is McLovin going to be young Slenderman? Slenderboy?
I got into a tiff on my twitter last week about whether or not it’s ok to say faghag. I got an email from Ally just now addressing it. For the record I am going to continue to use terms, I think, until I’m not ok with them. I don’t know. I’m so beaten down by this conversation. I don’t know what to say. All I know is that the lead singer of the band Staind told guys in his moshpit to not rape a girl and now he’s on the cover of Noble Peace Prize Fancy. Meanwhile all I do is, all I do is love gay people and be a good example for woman and I get my stuff discussed exhaustingly, Judith Butlerized as it were. I have never read any Judith Butler in my life. I know her thing. I kind of know what she’s about, sort of, or used to. She’s not a good writer. Why can’t people write like emails? I have a show coming up which I would love you to buy tickets to. I’m doing a week of shows on June 23rd. Monday is June 23rd and Friday is June 27th. I am doing a show every night that week. It’s a big deal for me. It would mean a lot if you were to buy tickets to it so that I could perform to friendly faces. It’s a whole new show, if you saw me at Joe’s Pub before; this is new songs, new things to talk about, new costumes and such. I don’t sound as excited about it as I should be but I am in terrible pain. I have to tell you. My legs, my they are not thighs, the parts of your legs that are above the knee in the front, I can’t even tell you how much they hurt. I am ok when I am lying down, sitting down, or standing up and staying still. When I move it’s a nightmare.
What was I talking about? Please come and see me at Joe’s Pub. It’s going to be a night of cabaret but I might not do a goddamn single show tune. You don’t know. I am going to sing songs and tell stories of eras your, and talk about my experiences in LA and here. It will be a really nice evening. Please go to Joespub.com and buy tickets for that. Buy tickets for Aladdin.
We have a good show this week for you. We have one guest...