For someone who mines gold and multi-platinum belting out dead-serious tunes, that Josh Groban is one funny guy. If every day deserves a soundtrack, his probably would have a laugh track. He may not be the class clown pulling pranks on all the worker bees in the recording studio, and surely stand-up comedy isn’t his manifest destiny (nor is it John Mayer’s, who should face the music, or rather, stick to it), but Saturday Night Live could do a lot worse — and it has — than hiring Groban to host.
Start the Facebook campaign now! For all the pomp and circumstance of his music, Groban has the sort of sharp, self-deprecating humor that many of his superstar peers lack. When people make fun of his classical-pop musical style (and I will admit, I’ve taken some shots at it), I can imagine Groban laughing right along with them. But he’s no doormat punchline. Getting Rick Rubin to produce his latest album, Illuminations, seemed as much a way to shake up his stiff musical image as it was to give a polite middle finger to his detractors.
I’ve enjoyed his cameos on Glee, where he played himself and sent up his sweet boy-next-door image by being a total dick. If Mr. Schuester ever again needs a substitute teacher, they should call him instead of Gwyneth Paltrow. As expertly as he sold his Glee jokes, with his recent appearance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show, where a bespectacled Groban did a mock TV ad for a mock album making fun of Kanye West’s tweets, he really outdid himself.
Who knew that a tweet like “Fur pillows are hard to actually sleep on” could possibly be made any funnier. But with Groban crooning it and backing it up with a sad piano melody, it becomes positively sidesplitting stuff. My favorite tweet set to music: “Black is the new black.” It’s a ridiculous sentiment to begin with, but Groban makes it sing — and sting. I can’t wait for West to react — and you know he will.
I’m sure Groban can take him on. This guy, obviously, is no Taylor Swift. I’ve never been tempted to purchase one of his albums, but I’d download Josh Groban’s The Best Tweets of Kanye West (“featuring 752 original songs on 48 CDs”) in a heartbeat. What makes the fake commercial for it such genius comedy — aside from the fact that it’s done in the old-time style of those ads for albums that were only available on TV, complete with scrolling song titles and the reverent voice-over — is that while Groban is poking fun of West, he’s also taking the piss out of himself. He even dares to introduce himself as “Oscar- and Grammy-nominated singer Josh Goban.”
I’m hoping for a return trip to Glee — let’s bow our heads and pray that New Directions doesn’t follow Aural Intensity’s lead by going anywhere near the Groban signature “You Raise Me Up” — but even if a third Glee visit doesn’t transpire, we’ve still got Crazy, Stupid, Love to look forward to in 2011 (July 29, to be exact). In the comedy, Groban plays, in his own description, “a douche bag lawyer,” opposite Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon and Emma Stone.
With a cast like that, I hope he brought his A-game to the set. I’m sure the film is going to rock, but a Groban concert featuing a set list of Kanye West’s tweets would rock harder. Could anything that comes out of his mouth in Crazy, Stupid, Love possibly be as hysterical as the Josh Groban’s The Best Tweets of Kanye West commercial’s operatic coda: “I love me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”?
Damn, did Kanye really tweet that?