What: A parody song for a seemingly unparody-able moment.
Who: Musically chameleonic YouTuber BenJamminAsh.
Why we care: In his most recent Netflix special, Annihilation, Patton Oswalt mused on the difficulty of being a comedian in the Trump era. Sure, the president’s frequent buffoonery might look like comedian’s manna from an outside perspective, but the sheer firehose volume of ridiculousness is too much to keep up with. Making matters worse is that Trump’s unpredictability has become a spectator sport. Millions of noncomedians see his every wince-worthy move at the same time as the professionals, squeezing every last bit of novelty juice from it almost as soon as it happens.
For instance, during Wednesday afternoon’s impeachment hearing, the president waded out to the White House South Lawn to give a brief statement before jetting off on Air Force One. Photographer Mark Wilson happened to capture the notes Trump had scrawled for his prepared remarks in an image that quickly inflamed the public imagination. Here is what his note read, which comes directly from a phone call between Trump and Ambassador Sondland, and which Trump somehow thinks exonerates him:
I WANT NOTHING.
I WANT NOTHING.
I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO.
TELL ZELLINSKY [sic] TO DO THE RIGHT THING.
THIS IS THE FINAL WORD FROM THE PRES OF THE U.S.
That the president needed to write himself this note, in his inimitable handwriting, is almost objectively hilarious. What a lot of people seized on, though, is that it looks like song lyrics. (Or the title of a Fall Out Boy song or Fiona Apple album.) Patton Oswalt’s entry into the joke-writing bonanza, a wonder in economy, is surely among the best offerings.
Morrissey voice: pic.twitter.com/C5jaqjkcDD
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 20, 2019
Hours later, the musician and YouTuber BenJamminAsh, who specializes in cover songs, built upon Oswalt’s joke by turning it into reality. Ash set the lyrics to Smiths-era Morrissey-style production and does his best to mimic the Pope of Mope’s willowy vocal stylings. In doing so, he manages to conjure both the jaded nihilism of the 1980s’ saddest volcel romantic and whatever the hell is going on with the president.
Listen to an interpretation from these charming men below.
.@pattonoswalt made a tweet that showed Trump’s handwritten notes and the caption was simply “Morrissey voice:”.
Needless to say, I got inspired and put WAY to much effort into this. pic.twitter.com/heOiOhl90P
— RuPaul Giamatti (@BenJamminAsh) November 21, 2019