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Brian Williams performs "Rappers Delight"
February 20, 2014 8:13 PM   Subscribe


 
It's the "say what?" that really makes it memorable.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:20 PM on February 20 [9 favorites]


Awesome! Now do Eazy-Duz-It!
posted by sourwookie at 8:20 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]


That is far better than it has any right to be.
posted by arcticseal at 8:21 PM on February 20 [24 favorites]


I really like Jimmy Fallon's version of the Tonight Show. The freshest ideas of what late-night entertainment could be since Conan left NBC. Or maybe it's just that after having to suffer through so much blandly-flavored Leno monologues (he has been the host most of my life,) anything new tastes sweet on the humor gland.
posted by pedmands at 8:21 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Fallon's new show has been a kind of crazed orgy of celebrities and funny bits so far. It will be interesting to see what kind of pace they will maintain as the show settles into itself and stops being too much about ballyhoo and newness and the guest appearances track more traditionally in line with new movies/TV/media being released.
posted by planetesimal at 8:25 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Next do Dre Day, but with Tom Brokaw
posted by padraigin at 8:31 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]


What makes this work so well is the detail. The editor didn't just get the words in there. Inflections match, as does pitch and syncopation, and I'm not hearing any autotune used. It is truly a product of editing from what I can tell. Fabulous.
posted by NedKoppel at 9:00 PM on February 20 [26 favorites]


Wasn't this in the other thread? The Hip Hop moves one.
posted by discopolo at 9:00 PM on February 20


This is just the newest in the series of Brian Williams video edits from Jimmy Fallon's crew. Here's a lazy search for "Brian" on their YouTube channel, with the Brian Williams clips at the top.

See also: Dan Rather's "Rocked by Rape" by the Evolution Control Committee.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:10 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]


Dammit, filthy light thief, I was just thinking of "Rocked by Rape."

There's also this.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:16 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]


That is far better than it has any right to be.

Saw it this morning and put it on Facebook with almost that exact quote: "much better than it deserves to be."
posted by Miko at 9:16 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


this kills.

sadly, this good copy of an idea we've seen before will now be massively overdone by everyone on earth.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:25 PM on February 20


Totally agree - I enjoyed this way more than I imagined I would. And NedKoppel's (nearly eponysterical username, btw) point also struck me - the tone and cadences seem to work perfectly. I imagine a lot of work went into this.

Thanks for linking, OP! Really great.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:27 PM on February 20


That was fun. Thanks for sharing - I most probably wouldn't have seen this otherwise.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:29 PM on February 20


And oh yeah, that "say what?" is super great.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:31 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


The only thing I don't like about this is Brian Williams probably would've done it live if they just asked him to.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:32 PM on February 20 [39 favorites]


The only thing I don't like about this is Brian Williams probably would've done it live if they just asked him to.

This. When I saw it was just editing, I closed it. Been there done that too many times and so I'm underwhelmed now. But I used to do these in the 80's, in addition to listening to Rappers Delight, so maybe I'm just long over both things.
posted by cashman at 9:34 PM on February 20


Having just seen this myself, I was immediately tempted to come here and post it.

It's (and although the term is overused, I don't use it lightly) epic in every sense of the word.

I marked out on at least 3 occasions: first, when Hank joins in on the second verse, with an appropriately mellifluous timbre to his voice, then again on "Say what?" then a third time when they rapped in unison.

I really enjoy the mashups/whatever these are called that DonDraperSaysWhat posts on his YouTube channel (in particular "Baby Got Back") but what made this one better was that it was the same person (or two people) throughout, so that the voice was easier to follow.

Now do "Jam On It!"
posted by ShutterBun at 9:34 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Do this with the Pope.
posted by zouhair at 9:37 PM on February 20




And I just learned what "marked out" means. That's a great expression. I wonder what the etymological origin is.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:48 PM on February 20


While we're sharing, my favorite Brian Williams moment is this:

Brian Williams: And we have this just in to us: Ritchie and Liz spotted in tree. Eyewitnesses report K-I-S-S-I-N-G. For more, let's go to NBC's Andrea Mitchell.
Andrea Mitchell: Thank you, Brian. [to Liz] Slut.

Followed closely by every other cameo he made on the show.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:52 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]


The only thing I don't like about this is Brian Williams probably would've done it live if they just asked him to.

That's what I thought as well. I only know Brian Williams from his appearances on 30 Rock, but he certainly seems like he has a sense of humor. I wouldn't be surprised if he was practicing Rapper's Delight in the car on the way to work today.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:01 PM on February 20


There are bits in there, like the end, that were almost certainly done specifically for this video (I think also the NBC coffee cup while Lester has the mic). But the point is in fact that it's made up of bits and pieces from the regular news broadcast, and doing it live would be just a celebrity gag like getting Shatner to sing Rocketman. Come on, people. The point.

And yeah, I think it's clear they had more budget (and people) to work on this one. It's perfect.
posted by dhartung at 10:08 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]


This is great. It reminds me of the videos Emergency Broadcast Network put out in the '90s.
posted by foobaz at 10:15 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


> I only know Brian Williams from his appearances on 30 Rock, but he certainly seems like he has a sense of humor.

The sense I get with Williams is that he'd rather be doing movies than the news if he could.
posted by planetesimal at 10:16 PM on February 20


I only know Brian Williams from his appearances on 30 Rock, but he certainly seems like he has a sense of humor.

Tina Fey is on record as saying, "That man knows his way around a joke." He shows up occasionally on late night talk shows and kills. I can't find my favorite clip of him on Letterman where he does an imitation of Regis Philbin seeing a ghost, but this will do for his Regis impersonation. There's also his non-Regis-related skewering of the New York Times (God, on rewatching that's even better because it derails Joe Scarborough jabbering about the glories of the iPad). Dude, as previously mentioned, knows his way around a joke.
posted by Copronymus at 10:19 PM on February 20 [10 favorites]


Two Jimmy Fallon posts and we haven't even gotten to the Justin Timberlake episode yet. I'd say he's off to a good start.
posted by Gary at 10:23 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


To be fair, Jimmy and Justin did so many great things together on Late Night, anything they do during this first week of The Tonight Show is really just sort of expected.
posted by hippybear at 10:33 PM on February 20


Gary: "Two Jimmy Fallon posts and we haven't even gotten to the Justin Timberlake episode yet. I'd say he's off to a good start."

Jimmy Fallon was born to do late night talk shows and damn near nothing else. In most contexts, he's gratingly pleased with himself, he can't stop from laughing at anything, he sings like a small town karaoke all-star, and dances like a 3rd-round contestant on Dancing With the Stars. It's counter-intuitive and downright bizarre that this works for a talk show host, but in that context, he's having a great time, he's making everyone else have a great time, and he can (and is willing to) sing and dance a little when the moment strikes. It's a rare gig where communicating pure joyous excitement is a huge positive, but that's his best skill and it's why he works so well as a talk show host.
posted by Copronymus at 10:34 PM on February 20 [12 favorites]


Oh, and also he's got The Roots on his side, and they cover up a multitude of sins.
posted by Copronymus at 10:35 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I say this as no huge fan of Leno, and an erstwhile Conan superfan: Jay's Tonight Show was better than Conan's, and indeed was even better than Conan's Late Night for a good five years. I think the hope was that giving Conan the Tonight Show would reinvigorate him, add some freshness, but it did the exact opposite.

By contrast, the timing for Fallon is just right: He's not stale yet, nor obviously bored with his job. Plus, Fallon's comedy has a broader appeal (it's not mean or cynical or dirty -- and yet, not fake or saccharine either) and he actually has a rapport with his guests.

And it's clear Fallon and his people took a lot of notes about the failure of Conan's Tonight Show -- he's still in a tiny studio, still in New York, still doing the same comedy to the same audience instead of bending over backwards to keep Leno's septuagenarian viewers. He knows it will work because it's the same tried and tested show he's been doing for five years; all that's changed is the name and the timeslot.

On top of all that, it's fun. I might actually watch it on a regular basis, which I haven't done with any talk show but Stewart/Colbert since 2009.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:45 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I might actually watch it on a regular basis, which I haven't done with any talk show but Stewart/Colbert since 2009.

I'm fortunate in that my satellite service gives me the east coast feed of Comedy Central, so I get the new Stewart/Colbert at 8pm every night. This give me options I'm pleased to have.
posted by hippybear at 10:49 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched a ton of Fallon over the years, but I have been watching both the end of the Late Night phase and the first few nights of the Tonight Show phase.

One thing that really strikes me about Fallon on the Tonight Show is that he comes packaged with the assumption that hip hop culture is part of mainstream America, and things like "Rapper's Delight" and raising the roof on the dance floor are just totally normal things everyone knows about. His backing band is The Roots, and he doesn't seem to intend to water them down at all for the earlier time slot.

This is pretty huge, as far as I can tell.

I'm also among the folks who might actually start watching the Tonight Show in real time on broadcast TV, which is something I haven't done since my grandparents let me stay up late to watch Johnny Carson when I was under 10.
posted by Sara C. at 11:35 PM on February 20 [12 favorites]


And I just learned what "marked out" means. That's a great expression. I wonder what the etymological origin is.

I know this one!

Okay, in professional wrestling, a "mark" is someone who's not in the business. This comes from carny talk -- a mark is basically a sucker, they have no idea what goes on behind the curtain.

Nowadays, everyone knows it's fake and they like to think they're above being a mark and cynicism rules, but nevertheless, the best moments of watching pro wrestling are those instants of pure joy when you're caught up in the story they're trying to tell and you buy into it completely and you're amazed and delighted. You act, in other words, like a total mark; you mark out.

(If mightygodking was here he would explain it much more eloquently and you would weep.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 12:36 AM on February 21 [9 favorites]


This is pretty huge, as far as I can tell.

God, yes. I am not a huge fan of hip hop, but I'm thirty-two years old and as far as I can tell, for most of my life it has basically just been one of the brands of available pop music, and there's some of it I like pretty okay but it's never been what I loaded on my own mp3 player, basically. And yet here I am, thirty-two years old, and I've heard (white) people remark on this like this band full of guys--Questlove is a decade older than me!--is a shockingly edgy thing to be the Tonight Show band. Hip hop has long since been totally acceptable for boring white people in their 40s to be listening to. I was just listening to a podcast earlier with Merlin Mann talking about Wu Tang or something. It's exactly the right demographic.
posted by Sequence at 2:32 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


and things like "Rapper's Delight" and raising the roof on the dance floor are just totally normal things everyone knows about.

I'm almost fifty and "Rapper's Delight" came out when I was a sophomore in high school so you'd have to be older than me for it to not have been on your radar for basically your whole popular music consuming life.
posted by octothorpe at 4:20 AM on February 21 [10 favorites]


Do we know that Brian Williams did not overdub himself on this, and that's why the pitch is so good? All they'd have to do is have him rap it, and edit out a little space between the words to make it sound disjointed. ?
posted by onlyconnect at 5:28 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


This is just about the greatest thing ever.

Now do "La Di Da Di."
posted by ColdChef at 5:35 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I only know Brian Williams from his appearances on 30 Rock, but he certainly seems like he has a sense of humor.

I wish that guy had just gone into acting since he seems to put much more effort into his comedy appearances on late night talk shows than he ever put into the evening news. What story has this guy ever broke? Take a look at his wiki page, it's full of documentation of his tv comedy appearances and then for comparison take a look at Dan Rather's. This guy made his bones through the most corrupt presidential administration of the last century and wasn't the first to a single story. I stopped watching television news a long time ago so maybe someone can inform me of some of this guy's important work because the only time I see him breaking news is when he's the butt of a youtube joke.
posted by any major dude at 5:40 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


and that's why the pitch is so good?

I was just thinking that since Fallon has the editing resources of NBC behind him, they could have subtly tweaked pitch and timing in ways most kids doing mashups on their iMacs couldn't or wouldn't bother. That said, watching it twice, I figured the first 2/3-3/4 was assembled from found snippets in the NBC News archives, with much of the ending cut from takes made specially for this piece.
posted by aught at 5:40 AM on February 21


any major dude - I don't know that Williams needed traditional reporter chops to get where he is; I think he was born to be a news anchor, was spotted early by NBC as such. I remember one of the very first times I saw him sub for Brokaw, way back in the 90s, I said to my gf, "Wow, that guy is slick - there's Brokaw's successor."

That said, it seems to me he was also the White House correspondent for a few years back then as well, which is usually considered one of the main stepping stones to network anchordom.
posted by aught at 5:49 AM on February 21


There's splicing together a bunch of video to make it appear as if Brian Williams is performing Rapper's Delight, and then there's the Mayor of Philadelphia actually performing it.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 5:59 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


This is great!

Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show just feels like the right change at the right time; the move back to New York is a brilliant way to get out from under Carson's shadow, and recalibrating for a younger audience is such a breath of fresh air; it seems like NBC is officially OK with potentially alienating some of its longtime/older viewers because they know they need to get young people watching. As upset as I was by the whole debacle with Conan O'Brien, I have to concede now that he might not have been the right person to carry the show forward.
posted by usonian at 6:03 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Oh hell, is that song stuck in my head now.
posted by octothorpe at 6:27 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


This is great. I gotta say, though, a freaking ton of credit has to be given to the guys who went through all of that video to find the little bits they needed and then cut it together so well. That had to be mind-numbing work to do all of that and they hit everything on the money, particularly the synchronized rap between the two.
posted by azpenguin at 6:41 AM on February 21


Yes, looks like I was wrong and it's just a kid in a room (well, John MacDonald) looking at Brian Williams footage.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:03 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Part of the lesson of this and "Rocked By Rape" is that classic news anchor delivery, which Williams and Brokaw are masters of, has such neutral inflection that you can rearrange it pretty liberally and it still sounds natural. As any doc editor has discovered the hard way, most people's voices go up and down so much, and speed up so frequently, that words sound like mush out of context. But news anchors are masters of steady delivery, making them prime targets for this sorta thing.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:14 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


When I saw it was just editing, I closed it. Been there done that too many times and so I'm underwhelmed now.

I do think this is the best one of these I've seen, which is why people are suspecting it is not really a true editing job. The other Brian Williams ones they have done just feel like cut together clips and have no flow and the volume and inflection is all over the place. For instance, Straight Outta Compton.
posted by smackfu at 7:25 AM on February 21


This just confirms how badly I want to work as a comedy writer for Jimmy Fallon, Daily Show or Colbert.
posted by stormpooper at 7:30 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


a freaking ton of credit has to be given to the guys who went through all of that video to find the little bits they needed

To be fair, they have closed captioning transcripts. Which isn't perfect, by a long shot, but it's not like they had to watch dozens of hours of TV just to find him saying "hello."

But yeah, I almost didn't watch this, but I'm glad I did.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:40 AM on February 21


My brother sent this to me yesterday and I think I've watched it a dozen times since then. It's masterfully done.
posted by jquinby at 7:53 AM on February 21


They could have autotuned it some to line the pitches up, maybe. Here's a piece on how much of a difference that can make, from the guy who did that Christmas Jammies video, fwiw.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:02 AM on February 21


I would've liked to hear them find the clips for the "I mean the macaroni's soggy the peas are mushed and the chicken tastes like wood" part.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 8:19 AM on February 21 [4 favorites]


Up next: Brian Williams has a few words with Mr. Dobalina.
posted by jquinby at 8:21 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


"Viciously" is my very favorite part.
posted by GrammarMoses at 8:29 AM on February 21


I wonder if "Kaopectate" has ever been mentioned on the NBC News.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 8:32 AM on February 21


I bet he's said "KO" and something starting with "peck" and then the number 8/the name Tate, at the very least.
posted by Earthtopus at 9:05 AM on February 21


"Rapper's Delight" came out when I was a sophomore in high school so you'd have to be older than me for it to not have been on your radar for basically your whole popular music consuming life.

That's kind of the point, though.

It's not that people 40 and under discovered "Rapper's Delight" and it's this hip new thing. It's that now we can all admit it's a mainstream cultural touchpoint, on the level of like "American Pie" or "Bohemian Rhapsody". Whereas I really can't imagine Leno doing any kind of hip hop adjacent bit without extreme "hippy hopping like the kids these days lolol" irony.

Because, yeah, "Rapper's Delight" is basically my parents' music. Except not really, because they are from the generation of white people where hip hop is scary and othered, not fit for prime time.

I guess I'm just saying it's interesting that Jimmy Fallon brings with him the assumption that hip hop is the kind of music a middle aged mainstream white dude would like. Which I think is refreshing in a way Leno never was.
posted by Sara C. at 9:06 AM on February 21 [5 favorites]


Williams is back with Bust A Move. Not as long or elaborately done as the first, but still surprisingly fun.
posted by Sara C. at 9:12 AM on February 21


I was expecting this to be totally lame but Williams and the editing team completely exceeded my expectations. He had flow, which was above and beyond for a clips edit video.
posted by immlass at 9:14 AM on February 21


Wait, I think "Bust A Move" is one of the older ones smackfu mentions. Not up on All Brian Williams Rapping Supercut Conventions.
posted by Sara C. at 9:14 AM on February 21


It's totally the "check it out" that makes my day.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:19 AM on February 21


Actually, Del may be a little too off the beaten path. I think Brian should show us the Humpty Dance.
posted by jquinby at 10:03 AM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I also enjoy Conan O'Brien's "Alex Trebek Has Gone Insane" supercuts.
posted by dhens at 10:04 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


First, I read it as Brian Wilson, and thought of the Beach Boys. That might be a nice video.
Second, having watched a number of these, the Rapper's Delight one is exponentially better than all of the others. Really well done.
However, I prefer Rapper's Delight on a banjolele.
posted by MtDewd at 10:15 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]


> Oh hell, is that song stuck in my head now

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:33 AM on February 21


It's bound to be the newscasts' closed captioning that affords this possibility (by making the whole library searchable). Anyone know?
posted by cleroy at 11:17 AM on February 21


Oh hell, is that song stuck in my head now.

Mine too, but it's definitely an improvement over the other song that was stuck in my head for days.
posted by scody at 11:20 AM on February 21 [3 favorites]


It's bound to be the newscasts' closed captioning that affords this possibility (by making the whole library searchable). Anyone know?

Yup.
posted by Shmuel510 at 11:51 AM on February 21


Sara C.: "Because, yeah, "Rapper's Delight" is basically my parents' music."

We are now as far away from Rapper's Delight as Rapper's Delight was from Swingin' on a Star. No, not the 1964 Sinatra cover, the original 1944 Bing Crosby version. 35 years, man. 35 years.
posted by mhum at 12:29 PM on February 21 [8 favorites]


I would love a job making videos like this. This is the kind of thing I could happily devote my life to.
posted by HotToddy at 12:35 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


>It's counter-intuitive and downright bizarre that this works for a talk show host

Not so much: the late-night talk show is a contemporary version of the variety show, a near-constant in live entertainment since vaudeville at least. An effective variety show performer, whether on stage, radio, or TV, has a broad (but not necessarily deep) skill set that allows them to sing, dance, goof, act, whatever is necessary for the bit. Fallon is perfect for this format.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:46 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I only know Brian Williams from his appearances on 30 Rock, but he certainly seems like he has a sense of humor.

He's become known from pre-written bits like his Daily Show appearances and 30 Rock, but he used to do news reports on Imus and would then spend a few minutes joking around off the cuff. He's a genuinely funny, funny guy.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:10 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


One thing that really strikes me about Fallon on the Tonight Show is that he comes packaged with the assumption that hip hop culture is part of mainstream America, and things like "Rapper's Delight" and raising the roof on the dance floor are just totally normal things everyone knows about. His backing band is The Roots, and he doesn't seem to intend to water them down at all for the earlier time slot.

I wonder how many people in this thread are older than Rapper's Delight.
posted by Neale at 7:25 PM on February 21


But isn't Rapper's Delight like one of the go-to rap songs for people who don't like rap music?

And, possibly related... I think Palin once bragged about how she knew the lyrics, and it's just kinda funny seeing a member of the "lamestream media" one-upping her, without even being directly involved.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:37 PM on February 21




"Because, yeah, "Rapper's Delight" is basically my parents' music. Except not really, because they are from the generation of white people where hip hop is scary and othered, not fit for prime time."

When "Rapper's Delight" first came out, Doctor Demento actually played it on his show -- signaling that it was considered a novelty song by a lot of folks.

(I have been known to do the song myself...)
posted by litlnemo at 10:41 PM on February 21


But isn't Rapper's Delight like one of the go-to rap songs for people who don't like rap music?

The day before this aired, they did a bit with Will Smith about the evolution of hip hop dance moves.

Fallon's backing band is a hip hop group.

I'm not saying it's Arsenio Hall or anything, but this level of assumed mainstreaming of hip hop culture is relatively new in the American media.
posted by Sara C. at 6:50 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]


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