They both sport some memorable, immaculately groomed facial hair, and they both draw inspiration and strength from centuries of Jewish tradition. But that’s not all that connects John Goodman’s Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski with parody movie mastermind Mel Brooks, the man behind Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Both of these comedic legends have now been saluted via new song parodies, and in some weird cosmic coincidence, both parodies are of songs that were popular in the 1990s. It truly is a small world after all.
“Walter” is the latest from Bonecage, the fellow behind “Olive Garden Butthole” and “I Always Feel Like (I’m Gonna Quantum Leap),” among other nerd-friendly ditties. This time around, his melody is borrowed from “Mother,” a Morrison-esque Danzig song that became a hit on MTV circa 1993, nearly six years after it was originally released. Bonecage has altered the lyrics of the song so that it is now about an irritable, theory-spinning Vietnam veteran and avid bowler whose devotion to the Jewish faith is so profound that he refuses to “roll” on Shabbos, the traditional day of rest. And, just as in the Coen Brothers movie, Walter has no patience for Steve Buscemi’s dimwitted Donny, forever out of his element. Sample lyrics: “Donny/Like a child who has wandered in/No frame of reference!” The ’roid rage of the Danzig song proves a perfect fit for the volatile Goodman character.
The Brooks tribute “It’s Good To Be The King,” on the other hand, is more of a team effort. It’s credited to The Great Luke Ski, arguably the most successful of the musical parodists since “Weird Al” Yankovic, and features guest appearances by such prominent nerdcore musicians as Devo Spice and Insane Ian. Musically, this is an imitation of Run-D.M.C.’s 1993 “Down With The King,” a track that might well have been in rotation around the same time as “Mother” by Danzig. Lyrically, though it takes its title from History Of The World: Part I, this is a tribute to Brooks’ entire career, stem to stern. As the video‘s official description states: “That’s 13 movies, plus his work on albums, TV, and Broadway, from 1961 to the present.” The story starts in 1961, the year of the legendary comedy album 2000 Years With Mel Brooks And Carl Reiner and continues along through the Broadway version of The Producers and beyond. Spaceballs: The Musical, anyone?