I've drowned and dreamt this moment
January 3, 2013 4:07 PM   Subscribe

You may love Paul F. Tompkins (previously) for his stand up comedy, or his character acting, or his internet hilarity across many media or his startlingly good style, but did you know you can love him in a different way? Namely for his ability to cover Adeles "Skyfall"? (previously) Now you do.
posted by Potomac Avenue (39 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
That was legitimately great.
posted by leesh at 4:14 PM on January 3, 2013

I remember sitting in the theater thinking that intro song was a good idea, to do a retro throwback thing where you sing a song that shares the title with the film while the credits roll, but it was kind of an awkward song and I was surprised to hear it was up for a Golden Globe award and likely candidate for an Oscar.

PFT's cover is astoundingly good.
posted by mathowie at 4:16 PM on January 3, 2013

Dude's got nice vibrato. And he's rocking the everloving bejesus out of that suit, which shouldn't be happening, but it is.
posted by palomar at 4:20 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Warning: Interpretive dance triggers.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:26 PM on January 3, 2013

I did not previously love Paul F. Tompkins, but I sure as heck do now.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:27 PM on January 3, 2013

That is pretty cool.
But I do wish there was more "Frank and Sadie Doyle, toast of the upper crust, headliners on the society pages, and oh yes... they see ghosts!"
posted by Glinn at 4:28 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

If he was so cool he would call Tom Scharpling back.
posted by basicchannel at 4:34 PM on January 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

I'd heard him jokingly sing "SKYYYYFUUUHHHHLLL" on a few podcasts but now this is really making me regret not getting tickets to his show.
posted by JauntyFedora at 4:45 PM on January 3, 2013

That's a great performance! And I'm also shockingly impressed by Paget Brewster as Sadie Doyle.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:54 PM on January 3, 2013

If he was so cool he would call Tom Scharpling back.

I don't think Tom would take that call.
posted by NBelarski at 5:14 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Huh, I had no idea about the supposed feud between Tom S. and Paul FT. After googling it I found this A Special Thing thread where some intelligent poster says "Guyz, remember that time you and your good friend got into an argument and you were all like "Oh, man, I can't wait until a bunch of goddamn strangers start talking about this on the goddamn Internet?"

So there's that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:21 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Considering his recent tweeting about Skymall (within the "hilarity" link in the main post), he's blitzing the internet with whimsy.

Frank & Sadie Doyle are bar none the upper echelon of wit. And gin.
posted by myopicman at 5:27 PM on January 3, 2013

I can't believe PFT's Werner Herzog episode with Andy Richter didn't crack Comedy Bang Bang's 2012 Top Ten. There is no justice.

If you like Frank and Sadie Doyle, seek out the Behind the Scenes episode of Beyond Belief they did for Kickstarter. Paget Brewster falls apart and starts crying about how great it is to work with a comedian as professional as PFT, and PFT sheds a tear too. It's touching.
posted by painquale at 5:33 PM on January 3, 2013

Not long ago, I was poking around PFT's IMDb listings when I noticed the biographical info, which includes the following:
6' 5" (1.96 m)

Mini Biography

Francis Mt. Pleasant is a businessman by trade. By his early thirties, he had moved to Los Angeles from his birthplace of Philadelphia, PA and made a fortune in electronics as the head of Francis Mt. Pleasant, Inc. This distinguished-looking elderly gentleman may have made a fine character actor had he had any interest in pursuing a career in the performing arts. As it is, he only attempted acting in any way once: as the voice of Dr. Benton Criswell for the MTV puppet show "Super Adventure Team". That job came about as the result of a chance meeting with the show's creators, Robert Cohen and Dana Gould, at Musso & Frank's Restaurant in Hollywood, where Mt. Pleasant dined every Saturday night for over thirty years. Mt. Pleasant struck up a conversation with the two younger men, and Cohen and Gould loved his voice so much they asked if he'd be interested in performing the role of Criswell for their upcoming pilot. On a lark, Mt. Pleasant, then in his early seventies, agreed to play the part. "Super Adventure Team" remains his only acting credit to date. Since that show's demise, Mt. Pleasant has never sought further employment in stage, television or motion pictures. An extremely private individual, he lives somewhere in the Hollywood Hills.
and I just thought...

... "Yup."
posted by Elsa at 5:41 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can't believe PFT's Werner Herzog episode with Andy Richter didn't crack Comedy Bang Bang's 2012 Top Ten.

The top ten has a hopeless recency bias. The Choctaw himself (Hot Saucerman) was complaining about it in the Earwolf forums.
posted by gerryblog at 5:43 PM on January 3, 2013

He's in the number 1 clip tho so like I mean...(it is in fact the best too)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:45 PM on January 3, 2013

Man, if I were as cool as Paul F. Tompkins, this thought would have a punchline.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:49 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Elsa: That's amazing. I'm pretty sure what happened was, PFT came across his own MiniBiography and decided to add a MiniBiography of his MiniBiographer for absolutely no reason. Or something like that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:52 PM on January 3, 2013

Honest question from a non-fan:

How should I take his smugness? Is he making fun of other people or making a caricature of himself? I've never been able to tell, and it's been off putting enough that I've never been able to give him a chance...

(sorry for the derail)
posted by graphnerd at 5:55 PM on January 3, 2013

It's a caricature - PFT went through a bit of an image makeover a few years back. With the suits came the faux smugness. I still think he's at his best when he has someone to work with - I fell asleep during many episodes of his solo podcast until I just gave up on it, but eagerly look forward to his appearances on pretty much everything else.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:15 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I knew jury duty was going to be a trip when I showed up the first day and saw Frank Doyle there. (Ah, Los Angeles.) Here's a fun short Paul & Paget did a few years ago, directed by a friend of mine.
posted by roger ackroyd at 6:45 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Cake Boss!
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:07 PM on January 3, 2013

Cake Boss
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:11 PM on January 3, 2013 [10 favorites]

If you can make it to the end of these DVD extras without dying of smug hilariousness you can see him sing Danny Boy too.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:29 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

He does an amazing Mandy Patinkin impression, with a horrible heartbreak story to go with it, on an episode of never not funny.

Mandy Patinkins singing, that is.. Not a tired Inigo Montoya retread..
posted by mediocre at 7:44 PM on January 3, 2013

I rather like Tompkins, but I'm missing something in the Skyfall bit. It just seemed like kind of a Vegas lounge rendition of a pretty good song. It's sort of surprising that Tompkins would perform it, but it's not so surprising that it's hilarious. Skyfall doesn't seem to reflect or contradict Tompkin's persona. (Like, if Pee Wee Herman performed Bad to the Bone, the joke would be obvious.) Tompkins isn't singing badly enough for that to be the joke... Is the Skyfall song just supposed to be funny by itself? Because... Well, it's not bad, as James Bond themes go.

Maybe it's not supposed to be funny, and the audience just kept cracking up because Tompkins is a comedian and they were expecting a joke? No, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be funny. Please help me get the joke, Metafilter!

Edited to add: I just read his description on the Youtube page. "Paul faked out the audience, introducing the song "Danny Boy," with which he typically closes his Largo shows. Instead, he sang this." So, okay, in that case it makes more sense. The audience was expecting one kind of song, and instead Tompkins gave them a big James Bond Las Vegas number. Carry on.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:51 PM on January 3, 2013

Ursula, I don't believe it was meant to be funny on its own. I think he normally closes his shows with a song (Danny Boy usually). I think the joke comes with the increasing complexity of the performance. It starts off with just Paul and Eban at the piano and ends with a more than full band and dancers.
posted by crashlanding at 7:57 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I envy Tompkins' style. Motherfucker can dress. I have no claim to fame but want him to interview me for his Speakeasy YouTube series just so I can spend the week sweating over what pocket square I'll wear.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:05 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, crashlanding, I went back and edited my comment after I'd figured that out. In that context, I can see how the escalating production number with the sexy dancers and everything, when you were just expecting a guy with a mic singing Danny Boy, would actually be funny.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:36 PM on January 3, 2013

I think PFT would be an awfully good late night host. He's got great interview chops in the Dead Author's Podcast and he's amazing at saving others when their jokes fall flat.
posted by painquale at 8:50 PM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh, hell yes. He's pretty much my favorite comic for the last half-decade or so. I met him after his Atlanta1 show in 2011. He was a charming, sweet gentleman. And I can now brag I made him laugh.2

1. To which he referred as "the Oversea Kingdom of Atlanta".
2. One day I may reveal the story that led to the chuckle.

posted by grubi at 9:24 PM on January 3, 2013

While I suspect crashlanding is right about the intended humor of the performance, I also submit to you that SkyFall is a pretty ridiculous Bond song. The word "skyfall" occurs like fifteen friggin' times. It's profoundly silly.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:27 PM on January 3, 2013

Doleful, for sure, I just meant that there was no added silliness in the performance. A sincere performance of a silly song just seems to amplify the silliness for me.

Also, with the imdb bio notes above, Francis Mt. Pleasant also wrote the bio for Jay Johnston (another Mr. Show alum) who is listed as being 6' 3 1/2" tall on imdb.
posted by crashlanding at 11:02 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, most pop lyrics are pretty silly, if you think about them too much. And Adelle's can be as silly as anybody's, but she usually sells it with that amazing voice. ("You had my heart inside of your hands, but you played it to the beat" should NOT work in Rolling in the Deep, but...)

I don't think the word "skyfall" is unforgivable, in the context of the song. It's a fatalistic, apocalyptic image: when the skies fall, when the world ends and it all comes crashing down. The character in the song is talking about how deeply she cares for this person, that they'll be together come what may, and then in the next line she's backing off, closing down and saying he'll never have her heart... But she'll be there beside him, when they die. It's a pretty adept distillation of some of the fucked-up psychology at the heart of Bond, stories full of people who mercilessly kill and fuck and never want to get too attached to anybody, and yet...
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:09 PM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Good Lord, I love this man. Also, hangover cured.
posted by joboe at 1:39 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

c-c-c-c-c-ca-ca-ca-ca-ca-cake-cake-cake boss
posted by orme at 5:42 AM on January 4, 2013

Regarding ridiculous lyrics in Bond themes, there is a long history of such. Case in point: Thunderball. Not even John Barry knew what the word meant, and he composed the music. The original theme for the film was "Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," but that wasn't promoting the movie as well as "Goldfinger" had. So when the studio said to write a new theme, one that contained the title of the film, he did the best he could.
I wrote a theme that facilitated the word. And Don [Black] then wrote the lyric. He then called Tom Jones. ... I don't think anybody really analyzed what the hell he was singing about. And I still don't know what the song is about to this day. But we were given that problem, and we had to live with it.
The rest of the source, a great Fresh Air interview, is here.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:49 AM on January 4, 2013

Love him on The Thrilling Radio Adventure Hour and just recently discovered his podcast The Dead Authors Podcast. He plays HG Wells interviewing other dead authors. Genius.
posted by sheala.draws at 9:15 AM on January 4, 2013

Of course y'all are right that a) pop songs are usually kind of dumb and b) Bond songs have never been exempt from this...and I'm willing to admit that I may be projecting my general dislike of the Skyfall film itself onto the song...and am now derailing from the ever fantastic Mr. Tompkins. Carry on, then.
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:54 AM on January 4, 2013

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