You Best Bet Marc Cohn's Gonna Sue
November 21, 2021 5:46 AM   Subscribe

 
Wait that wasn’t Marc Cohen in the video? I thought it was him enjoying the joke.
posted by bendy at 6:17 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


I like Pete Davidson.
posted by mumimor at 6:20 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


There are just enough errors in the subtitles to make me wonder: when the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge is described as "actually very wide" and the subtitle says "actually very white" -- was that intentional?
posted by Slothrup at 6:23 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


Bendy, it was Marc Cohn in the video; the title is in reference to a line in the video.
posted by fizzix at 6:26 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


I think we’ve found the limit of Autotune’s capabilities.
posted by badbobbycase at 6:32 AM on November 21 [8 favorites]


@Slothrup - probably an error, those are often automated now and don’t do too well with music.
posted by jmauro at 6:40 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


awww, that was sweet.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:00 AM on November 21


Unavailable in my country, but I think I get the premise.
posted by wreckingball at 7:02 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


That was great! I’d forgotten how much I love Marc Cohn. (Goes to Spotify Marc Cohn)
posted by pearlybob at 7:54 AM on November 21 [8 favorites]




The embedded video in the Rolling Stone article plays in Canada.

But yeah, SNL videos on YouTube are never available outside of the US.
posted by eviemath at 8:26 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


As someone who lived in Memphis, it always felt like Mark Cohn wrote that song based on things he saw at the Memphis airport gift shop while waiting for a connecting flight, never having stepped foot in the city.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:55 AM on November 21 [18 favorites]


It feels like the bit of the video in color was added later after everyone kept asking who the old guy was with Pete and Wet.
posted by dannyboybell at 9:03 AM on November 21


But yeah, SNL videos on YouTube are never available outside of the US.

Watched it just fine in the UK? Which reminds me, this is cute and all but no match for the greatest parochial song parody of all time.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 9:08 AM on November 21 [9 favorites]


That was so much fun! Though I had to google Marc Cohn after watching it to confirm he was actually the original singer - I’d never heard of him and if you’d asked me before today would have bet money that Walking In Memphis was written and sung by someone better well-known like Bruce Hornsby.
posted by Mchelly at 9:33 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]


Like with most things on Youtube, there are more of these than I would've thought.

Walking in Nature, from Yates Mill County Park, is kinda sweet, in a municipal way, probably my favorite of the bunch, but Walking in Bethlehem (the one in Pennsylvania) didn't really hit for me. I Miss Walking in Memphis has the advantage of being sung by someone who seems to be reasonably familiar with Memphis. Walking to Lidl is a series of jokes I didn't get, and Living on Netflix offers a partial answer to the question 'What's Danny Tamborelli doing these days?'
posted by box at 9:38 AM on November 21


Ah, Staten. My ex was from there. She went on a huge rant when I put on a Springsteen record one time. "This is the kind of stuff that shitheads from Jersey listen to."

I just looked at her and said, "You're from Staten. Might as well be from Jersey."

Things didn't work out, obviously...
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:28 AM on November 21 [20 favorites]


As someone who lived in Memphis, it always felt like Mark Cohn wrote that song based on things he saw at the Memphis airport gift shop while waiting for a connecting flight, never having stepped foot in the city.

The Memphis airport plays the song endlessly on repeat at ground transportation, which is kind of thematic and breezy when you're emerging from the airport and into a waiting car.

Any longer than that, say if you're waiting 90 minutes for your sketchy airport shuttle on a November evening as the damp rolls off the Mississippi, and you spend the whole time cursing Bruce Hornsby, and now two years later find yourself both whispering apologies to Hornsby (sorry, man!) and retroactively cursing Marc Cohn.
posted by mochapickle at 10:36 AM on November 21 [11 favorites]


I just looked at her and said, "You're from Staten. Might as well be from Jersey."

I'm surprised she didn't stab you with the remark "You love Jersey so much? You're gonna be buried there."
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:58 AM on November 21 [4 favorites]


I'm stuck on the fact that there's an actual human being called Big Wet.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:13 AM on November 21 [7 favorites]


I know nothing of Staten Island, but there's clearly some love for it. The kind where you mock the hell out of its peculiarities, but love it nonetheless.

And it's good to see Marc Cohn getting out again. Last I heard, he had been shot in the head in a carjacking attempt outside a club he'd just played, and I'd lost track of him after that. (His song about Frederic Church's mansion, Olana, eventually led to my love for the Hudson River School painters.)
posted by Naberius at 12:30 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


Now it's stuck in my head.

As a West Coaster who's rarely been to the East Coast and never anywhere near NYC, I have no clue about any of these references, but this was surprisingly endearing (much like Pete Davidson).

I also second "Someone voluntarily chose to go by Big Wet?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:44 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


And it's good to see Marc Cohn getting out again. Last I heard, he had been shot in the head in a carjacking attempt outside a club he'd just played

Wow, that’s terrible. I wonder if his injuries had lasting effects on his speech/singing capabilities? I did notice in this video that anytime he sang it was heavily auto tuned, and I’m wondering if it’s related?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:57 PM on November 21


I just looked at her and said, "You're from Staten. Might as well be from Jersey."

I phrased it to my wife as "You started in Brooklyn. One more bridge and you would have made it to Bayonne."

I don't remember who said, "Staten Island is Brooklyn with an Alabama accent.", but considering that everyone on Staten Island pretty much left _________ to get away from ________, it's pretty accurate.
posted by mikelieman at 4:31 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]


I've always maintained that New York should trade Staten Island to New Jersey in exchange for Hudson County. It just makes sense, geographically and culturally.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 4:48 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


FYI - Marc Cohn was shot in the head in 2005. According to Wikipedia, it just missed his eye and lodged next to his skull. He was released from the hospital after 8 hours.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 4:50 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


My wife is from SI and I have lived there for brief periods. I like SI humor, but I found this pretty weak and obvious - like if "Walking in Boston" had people doing Click and Clack accents and "How do you like them apples" stuff, or "Walking in Chicago" was all Ditka jokes or whatever. Method Man and Cohen were cool, though.

All the people I know from SI are crazy about Springsteen, by the way. My brother in law, who still lives there, exclusively listens to E-Street Radio in his car. I don't think there is really much of a SI/NJ rivalry or mutual contempt or whatever these days. For example, people on SI love the Jersey shore.

All of that said, it is a really weird place. Everyone is on the take or bending the law in some way -- i.e., huge "under the table" economy, tons of sketchy probably-unlicensed businesses, and basically every listed price is up for negotiation and haggling. A couple of examples: my wife's family had their driveway paved by a NYC road crew who went door to door in their neighborhood offering to pave things for people for cash. And my sister in law bought a bunch of fancy jeans at a "jeans party" where a guy showed up at a woman's house with a van full of designer jeans and no explanation for where he got them. These are just normal transactions that nobody thinks twice about there -- not weird or notable things. I sometimes wonder about, like, cultures of lawlessness or cultures of corruption (like the old USSR) where it is just assumed that everyone is engaged in some light fraud because only idiots try to do things the officially sanctioned way.
posted by Mid at 6:14 PM on November 21 [12 favorites]


OK, I did figure out that it really is Marc Cohen but who is the rapper? And that TikTok makes me love Pete Davidson even more.

Remember, you can buy vibrators on Etsy with Pete Davidson’s face on them.
posted by bendy at 7:32 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


The rapper is Method Man, from the Wu-Tang Clan.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:11 PM on November 21


Is the guy saying that the Verrazano is actually pretty wide someone I should know in a cameo, or does he just look familiar because he's another random New Yorker and we all look alike?
posted by Mchelly at 9:10 PM on November 21


I'm stuck on the fact that there's an actual human being called Big Wet.

But Method Man is OK?
posted by bendy at 10:36 PM on November 21


As someone who lived in Memphis, it always felt like Mark Cohn wrote that song based on things he saw at the Memphis airport gift shop while waiting for a connecting flight, never having stepped foot in the city.

No, but it was written after a single visit when he was seriously considering giving up on making music a career. He recounts the story in one of Rick Beato's videos, in which he also recounts the surreal experience of hearing it on the radio for the first time while driving through Connecticut, IIRC. I'd link it, but it's being difficult to find on my phone.
posted by wierdo at 12:15 AM on November 22 [3 favorites]


Everyone is on the take or bending the law in some way

A lot of cops live there so yeah, checks out
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 1:21 AM on November 22 [9 favorites]


for people outside of the US, the video on their tweet seems to work: https://twitter.com/nbcsnl/status/1462293747799056387
posted by wooh at 3:36 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


I really loved this, Pete really has become a treasure lately.

My favourite semi related song has always been Scooter - I'm Raving on a pure absurdity level.
posted by cirhosis at 7:25 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


My father-in-law is from Staten Island, but he grew up there before they built the bridge and, by his account, it was a pretty different place before that.

Anyway, when I visited SI with him once, it all seemed kind of normal. New York, but without tall buildings, city streets, Italian restaurants, okay...

but then the flock of turkeys came around the corner.
posted by timdiggerm at 7:25 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]




Big Wet made my favorite video of last year:


posted by Furnace of Doubt at 12:21 PM on November 23


I don't like Pete Davidson at all but I liked this quite a bit.

And the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge opened the day I was born.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:03 PM on November 24


I am from Staten Island. I haven't lived there since 2009, but I've been back a lot.

I like SI humor, but I found this pretty weak and obvious - like if "Walking in Boston" had people doing Click and Clack accents and "How do you like them apples" stuff, or "Walking in Chicago" was all Ditka jokes or whatever. Method Man and Cohen were cool, though.


While I enjoyed the video, I agree with this - it was all the obvious stuff.

All of that said, it is a really weird place. Everyone is on the take or bending the law in some way -- i.e., huge "under the table" economy, tons of sketchy probably-unlicensed businesses, and basically every listed price is up for negotiation and haggling. A couple of examples: my wife's family had their driveway paved by a NYC road crew who went door to door in their neighborhood offering to pave things for people for cash. And my sister in law bought a bunch of fancy jeans at a "jeans party" where a guy showed up at a woman's house with a van full of designer jeans and no explanation for where he got them. These are just normal transactions that nobody thinks twice about there -- not weird or notable things. I sometimes wonder about, like, cultures of lawlessness or cultures of corruption (like the old USSR) where it is just assumed that everyone is engaged in some light fraud because only idiots try to do things the officially sanctioned way.

I agree that SI is a weird place, and I do think there is a notable "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" kind of culture in certain respects, but...I've never heard of anything like this stuff. Like, at all, unless you count contractors being shady (which I think is true everywhere) or high school kids buying weed. I have never seen anyone haggle for a price in regular store on Staten Island for anything, ever (except in places where haggling is normal, like car dealerships or flea markets or jewelry stores). I have never heard of anyone going to a 'jeans party' and if a relative told me they did that, I'd be weirded out, and so would the rest of my family. I'm sure there are some sketchy, probably-unlicensed businesses but most of the plethora of bagel shops and pizzerias that I've been to seem to have their Health Dept. licenses and such on display.

To be clear, I'm not doubting your experiences but as someone who lived on SI for most of the first 25 years of his life...the thing you're describing sounds a bit odd to me.

My father-in-law is from Staten Island, but he grew up there before they built the bridge and, by his account, it was a pretty different place before that.

My mom's family is pre-bridge SI and I have it on good authority, including from my mom herself, that this is indeed the case.

"Staten Island is Brooklyn with an Alabama accent."

I'd say it's closer to Alabama, with a Brooklyn accent, if anything. People live in single family homes, the roads are wide, the cars are (often) big, they (usually) vote Republican. But it's definitely New York. There are strong opinions about pizza, hyper-aggressive drivers, despite the political lean non-white people aren't all that unusual and there are almost no white evangelical Christians (and very few Protestants, actually).

With that said, Staten Island isn't really like the South (and I say that as someone who has traveled in the South pretty extensively). I think sometimes people assume that it is, because it's near NYC and it leans red and NYC so dominates our media culture that people draw simplistic conclusions based on it.

Here's what Staten Island is: it's an unfashionable, mostly blue-collar suburb of a major northeast corridor city. You'll find similar places elsewhere in and around around NYC, Philly, Boston: Whitestone, Hempstead, Northeast Philadelphia, Quincy, Dorchester. It has it's quirks, certainly, but that's basically what it is. It just happens to also be a borough of New York City.

I do find it amusing that calling SI "Staten" seems to be a A Thing now, though. Nobody ever did that when I was growing up.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:37 PM on November 24


Also: Davidson's movie The King of Staten Island, while it did not reflect my own experiences in many of its particulars, I think got the overall 'mood' of being a late-adolescent on SI very much right. I recommend it.
posted by breakin' the law at 2:46 PM on November 24 [1 favorite]


« Older "with a red pen, she writes in the margins all the...   |   Asteroid Close Calls Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.