Pod-Canon is an ongoing tribute to the greatest individual comedy-related podcast episodes of all time.
For this Halloween entry of Pod-Canon I was planning to write about one of the Halloween episodes of Comedy Bang Bang, particularly one featuring one of the podcast’s greatest and most exquisite running gags: frustrated songwriter Leo Karpatze’s “Monster Fuck.” The song was introduced back in the prehistoric days of 2010, when Comedy Bang Bang still broadcast on terrestrial radio (remember that?) and was still known as Comedy Death-Ray.
“Monster Fuck” is the Paul Rudd-showing-the-same-clip-from-Mac & Me of podcasts. It is repeated over and over again, with exceedingly minor variations, yet it somehow never gets old. No matter how many times it’s trotted out, it’s still hilarious. The song is funny in part because it is so gleefully, giddily transgressive in transforming Bobby “Boris��� Pickett’s campy, fun-for-all-ages scare season staple into a lustily pornographic ode to supernatural sex centering on an orgy involving all of the classic Universal monsters defiling each other in exceedingly graphic ways.
The song turns innocent childhood nostalgia on its head. It’s the crazed id of Monster Mash’s respectable ego and Comedy Bang Bang is generally such a relatively clean, weirdly wholesome show that its full-bodied vulgarity stands out in even sharper contrast. As a boyish man-child, Scott Aukerman loves Halloween and he’s made Halloween episodes of Comedy Bang Bang consistently memorable.
Ah, but in a M. Night Shyamalan-like twist, this article is not going to be about an old favorite like Comedy Bang Bang Halloween episodes but rather about a new favorite, Beyond Yacht Rock. But if we’re changing podcasts, we’re retaining the Halloween theme, as well as a guilty love of story songs at their cheesiest and most spooktacular.
I suspect part of the enduring popularity of “Monster Mash” can be attributed to its status as a story song. There’s something about songs that aren’t just catchy, but tell a story at the same time that is particularly appealing to kids. This helps explain why kids love “Monster Mash” and “Monster Fuck” somehow appeals simultaneously to the smutty adult and overgrown kid in everyone.
Ah, but the first Halloween episode of Beyond Yacht Rock doesn’t just recount a single story of undead creatures alternately enjoying a swell party or fucking their brains out in the most debauched parade of depravity since the heyday of Caligula. No, the podcast counts down a favorite of mine: horror-movie-themed rap songs that typically run over fright flicks’ end credits, and are like those montage sequences that succinctly summarizes what we’ve just seen in case we fell asleep or weren’t paying attention.
They start off with MC Hammer’s “Addams Family Groove,” a nostalgia bomb of a pop-rap ditty that finds Hammer giving his own, uh, very MC Hammer take on the Addams Family, highlighting, for example, their outspokenness (they do what they want to do, say what they want to say, live how they want to live and play how they want to play) over perhaps more salient qualities, like having a disembodied hand in the household.
For the token Yacht Rock gem they include in every episode, part as a branding exercise, and partially as a necessary service to fans of smooth music, they uncover “Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong?” a true find, a duet between no less a pairing than Yacht Rock and 1980s soundtrack God Kenny Loggins and all-around musical god Michael Jackson.
They then return to the interlinked worlds of music and the big screen by discussing an idea they are going to explore in coming episodes of “Plot Rock.” This is a subgenre where the artist has clearly been given the script, or at least a detailed synopsis, and then wrote a song that sums up the movie both plot-wise and ideally on a more creative level but hot damned if most of these songs get so caught up in laying out the plot that they don’t really manage to do much else but lumber around clumsily but compellingly. Think Kool Keith’s work on the Grandma’s Boy soundtrack. But only think about that.
They lovingly explore Bobby Brown’s gloriously ridiculous “On Our Own,” with its unforgettably dumb “rap” clumsily paying homage to Ghostbuster 2’s Vigo, the master of evil, trying to bust Brown’s Ghost-fighting boys, which is not legal. The curious case of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street,” which was inspired by the Nightmare on Elm Street series yet legally required to tell customers it had nothing to do with the films, is discussed, as is a song from Shocker that brought together a crazy super-group featuring Desmond Wild, Paul Stanley, Tommy Lee, Michael Anthony, and the wonderfully named Guy Mann-Dude.
The trip down memory lane continues with the Crypt-Keeper embarrassingly attempting what the podcast calls a “Try-N-Rap” as well as some unexpected obscurities, like horrorcore pioneer Esham rapping up a low-budget horror movie and the plot of Waxwork II: Lost In Time unexpectedly getting the rap-up treatment. Otherwise, the list hits a whole bunch of Generation X nostalgic sweet spots hard, including L.L Cool J’s fierce, if curious, insistence that his hat looks like a shark’s fin in his zeitgeist-capturing song from Deep Blue Sea, the Monster Squad rap and one-hit wonder Tag Team’s theme song from Addams Family Values, which shamelessly self-cannibalizes the only thing anyone has ever wanted from Tag Team: “Whoomps! (There It Is).”
This podcast highlights the intersection of movie and music at its campiest. It’s a miniature horror movie film festival in sonic form and the perfect soundtrack for a Halloween party. There’s no “Monster Fuck” in the mix (they made a low-budget movie based on “Monster Mash” in the 1990s but have yet to adapt Karpatze’s second best song for the big screen), alas, but plenty of songs that are similarly cheesy in their story-telling, if understandably less profane.
Nathan Rabin is the author of five books, including Weird Al: The Book (with Al Yankovic) and the recently released Ebook “Short Read”, 7 Days In Ohio: Trump, The Gathering of The Juggalos And The Summer Everything Went Insane.