James Sherwood – Rules of Songwriting

Enjoy this comedy video by comedian James Sherwood on his “Rules of Songwriting”… From a review:

Sherwood sings a series of brilliant songs, and outlines his “rules of songwriting” by brilliantly spoofing everyone from Paul Simon to Guns ‘N’ Roses. He indulges in some brilliant pedantry concerning David Cameron’s “appalling” use of grammar, and then he goes on to talk about how difficult it is to put hecklers down in song, before giving some brilliant examples of how he might go about it.

18 Year Old Songwriting Comedian – Bo Burnham and Judd Apatow

Bo Burnham is a web-based songwriting comedian with a strong YouTube and MySpace following (now with a record deal with his first album out).

Bo branched out into the real-world with a summer appearance at Just For Laughs in Montreal where he met comedy producer/director/writer extraordinaire, Judd Apatow, and Reuters reported last week that Bo will write the songs and perhaps star in Apatow’s anti-High School Musical musical that he’s developing. You can read the full article here and catch a clip of Bo here.

May the comedy Muse continue to be with Bo…

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Well, I think John C. Reilly is a heck of an actor, so I’m looking forward to seeing his new Apatow-scripted movie.  A synopsis of the movie (which sounds hilarious) follows; and here is a recent quote from Reilly on the songwriting process:

Q: I know you were involved with some of the songwriting for the movie, and I was wondering if you could talk about the songwriting process as well as your musical background, in addition to your acting background.
A: I grew up in Chicago doing rock community theater and musicals because that’s just what everyone did, all through grade school and high school, and studied acting at a conservatory program. So music’s always been a pretty important part of my life. It’s just recently become more of a part of my career for this.
The songwriting process on this was really cool. We just took it period by period, starting in the ’50s and wrote the “Walk Hard” song and “Take My Hand” and the early stuff and got our feet wet, and developed the character with the music from his life.
All along the way, we had this kind of amazing stable of songwriters that would be working on their own, and if they got stuck, they’d come to us. In the ’60s stuff, we’d pitch them like an idea. I’d be driving to work one day and get an idea like, “It would be so funny if Dewey was really into women’s rights, but just because he wanted to get women to take their bras off!” And the song would be called “Ladies First” and he just gets it all wrong. The two main songwriters* and I would go off to a hotel room for a couple of hours and we would come back with a song called “Ladies First.”

*BTW, the songwriters include Van Dyke Parks and Marshall Crenshaw

GENRE: Comedy

DIRECTOR: Jake Kasdan

PRODUCER: Clayton Townsend, Jake Kasdan, Judd Apatow

SCREENPLAY: Judd Apatow, Jake Kasdan

STUDIO: Columbia Pictures

Synopsis: America loves Cox! In Columbia Pictures’ new comedy Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, John C. Reilly stars as larger-than-life musician and songwriter Dewey Cox. Behind the music is the up-and-down-and-up-again story of a legend whose songs would change a nation. On his rock ‘n’ roll spiral, Cox sleeps with 411 women, marries three times, has 22 kids and 14 stepkids, stars in his own ’70s TV variety show, collects friends ranging from Elvis to the Beatles to a chimp, and gets addicted to — and then kicks — every drug known to man… but despite it all, Cox grows into a national icon and eventually earns the love of a good woman — longtime backup singer Darlene (Jenna Fischer).

Cast: John C. ReillyJenna FischerTim Meadows, Kristen Wiig, Raymond J. Barry, Harold Ramis, Margo Martindale, Chris Parnell, Matt Besser, David Krumholtz

Great World of Sound

I read Simon Houpt’s “New York Diary” article today on a mock-umentary that’s playing there by the title of Great World of Sound. You can find the article here.

The concept: Advertise for “Serious Talent” and “Major Label Record Deal Search” and see who comes crawling in.. the “record producers” are fake, but the performers and wannabe songwriters aren’t… some get hurt too in the end (but they get their money back at least if they were scammed out of it – lesson learned for entertainment purposes…). As the creator of the movie, Craig Zobel, put it:

“There’s just something that is so much more empathetic when watching it with the real people, that I felt made it jump off the screen,” he said. “I feel like they’re the heart and soul of the movie.” He swears he wasn’t trying to exploit them. No one was paid; but then, even the professional actors deferred payment.”

That led me to the research the movie and toronto.com has a full plot summary here, reproduced below, and the trailer from the movie website follows. Just wish that I could find this playing in Toronto somewhere…

Martin answers an ad to train as a record producer, where he’s excited by the prospect of signing undiscovered artists. The company, called Great World of Sound, partners shy, unassuming Martin with the gregarious Clarence and sends them on the road, visiting southern towns where the company has placed newspaper ads and turning motels into makeshift audition studios. Though an unlikely duo, they sign more acts than anyone else at the company. But when Martin takes a special interest in a young girl’s “New National Anthem,” putting up his own money and following her progress, he discovers that something’s amiss with the enterprise. As things threaten to unravel, he’s forced to weigh his nagging conscience against both his loyalty to Clarence and his own financial ruin. A playful, contemporary take on the classic American story of the confidence man, “Great World of Sound” evokes conflicted hucksters from Willy Loman and the Mayles Brothers’ salesman to the seedy charmers of seventies Altman. With real-life audition footage weaved into the fictional narrative, Zobel’s provocative debut explores the outer limits of our desire for celebrity, where big dreams beget bigger illusions, and fame always has its price.

Flight of the Conchords

Amazon.com: Watch Flight of the Conchords: Season 1 | Prime Video

I just saw an hysterical show (HBO Original that is shown on TMN in Canada). Flight of the Conchords is a show about two New Zealand singer/songwriters trying to make it in New York… It’s very funny and has two likeable leads (Bret & Jemaine).

Each episode follows them in the pursuit of their dream and showcases a song or two (always tongue-in-cheek humorous songs). As requested by HBO in its promotion of the show, I’m embedding a sample of one of the songs from an episode… if you get HBO or TMN, check it out…