And, no, I’m not talking about Calvinball, though, you could make a very good case for it.
I’m referring to a game I’ve been playing with family and friends since I was but a wee Reverend. To re-cap a few points I’ve made in the past...
I love music (only slightly) more than Zooey Deschanel ("Really? No shit?"). I’m also a natural mimic, which is a personality trait that has provided endless amounts of both amusement and annoyance for those close to me. The music/mimicry connection was always both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, I’m a musician who, until recently, had no natural singing voice, which used to suck. For a majority of my life, I was considered a "good" singer only because I could accurately imitate whoever I was covering. As of late, however, I’ve developed a decent "rock and roll voice;" it requires a bit of tweaking, but the projection and pitch are definitely there. On the other hand, as mentioned, I have an ability to consistently do very good (or very funny) impressions of other singers.
Of course, this ability is not comprehensive. I can do a good, say, Jagger or Morrison (Jim, not Van) but, due to talent issues, a bad Freddy Mercury. Mostly because that motherfucker had the voice of a God. Maybe if I grew a sweet-ass ‘70's porn ‘stache...
So, once it was established that I could do good impressions I started to play with them. I don’t quite remember when the whole ordeal started, but I definitely remember when it started becoming an obsession and a "go-to" comedy bit.
A friend of mine is a bad-ass guitar prodigy and a fellow music lover. One night, while sitting around, drinking, and smoking up, we started discussing Bob Dylan.
Now, I’ll be honest and say that I was never a big Dylan fan. I can dig on a couple of his tunes but, in my opinion, he’s a great songwriter with a horrible voice.
But it’s both very easy and very fun to pull off a humorous Dylan impression. In an old kitchen job I had, where we would listen to the oldies station, "Like a Rolling Stone" would come on (it seemed) at least once a day. So, whenever it came on, I would sing loudly in my best exaggerated Dylan voice and either make my fellow food-jockeys laugh or groan (mostly for the same reasons). I would also use the line "How does it feel?" (in Dylan’s voice) as a random greeting.
While hanging out with my guitar-prodigy friend (also a massively funny guy) we would do "Dueling Bob Dylan" impressions, which would crack us both up to no end. Then we started thinking, "What would it sound like if Bob Dylan covered stuff that Bob Dylan would never cover?"
Thus, a terrible and beautiful thing was born...
Our first stab at hilarity was the "Yo! Bob Dylan Raps!" idea. What if Bob Dylan were to cover, say, Snoop’s "Gin and Juice?" Or Method Man’s "Bring the Pain?" Or, better yet, NWA’s "Straight Outta Compton?"
From there, the idea soon went completely out of orbit and began to encompass all the wackiest covers we could devise. For your consideration...
-Neil Diamond singing Nine Inch Nails’ "Heresy." Just imagine Neil singing the lines, "Your God is dead/ And no one cares/ If there is a Hell/ I’ll see you there." (That would be, technically, Nine Inch Neil.)
-Frank Sinatra singing Hank Williams’ "Family Tradition." Or Frank singing Marvin Gaye’s "Let’s Get it On." (Or Frank singing any song written after 1960-something.)
-Metallica covering Amy Grant’s "Baby, Baby." (With frequent vocal fills comprising only the phrases, "Yeeeah!" and "Yeeeah-Heh!")
-The Ramones covering the "Happy Birthday" song. (Nah, that’s too easy...)
-Christina Aguilera singing Slayer’s "Dead Skin Mask." (This is actually the one I’d be most interested in hearing.)
-Cannibal Corpse covering James Blunt’s "Beautiful." (A very close second to Aguilera’s "Dead Skin Mask.")
-Michael McDonald singing anything, including songs that Michael McDonald has both written and originated. (Michael McDonald is, by far, the most amusing singer to impersonate.)
And that’s just off the top of my head. I only wish I could remember some of the more inspired, off-the-cuff covers I’ve done over the years.
So, if you can impersonate anybody, please do so. And, please, do so in a context completely outside of that person’s normal safe-zone.
I’m even debating buying a microphone, figuring out how in the Holy Hell to make a podcast, and impersonating my favorites. But that seems like a shit-load of work. And I’m a lazy bastard.
Anyway, introduce your friends, family, and co-workers to this immensely enjoyable game. If they don’t kill you, they’ll only love you ten times more...