The Coronavirus Lament
set to a Guys and Dolls tune
Randy Rainbow’s clever parody of Trump’s coronavirus failings
By Byron Toben
Song parodies about the coronavirus are seemingly multiplying like the virus itself. In earlier posts, I called attention to Alvin Oon of Singapore whose parody was based on Sound of Silence and to Daniel Matarazzo of Philadelphia who fast sang to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Now comes Randy Rainbow of New York with The Coronavirus Lament invoking, of all things, Adelaide’s Lament from the great musical, Guys and Dolls.
I had not heard of Mr. Rainbow before but I now see that he has been turning out his highly creative spoofs from his apartment since 2010. Until Potus Trump came along, most of them dealt with show biz personalities like Barbara Streisand. Now, Pence, Barr, Kelly Ann and the crew are dealt with in a cavalcade of multiple images. They lend themselves to binge-watching for us housebound folk. Each one runs about four minutes and there are more than you can shake a stick at. (Well, I guess you could shake a stick at them, but it would become a bit redundant). Among the Trump-related items are You’re Making Things Up Again, Donald (based on You’re Making Things Up from The Book of Mormon) and Fact Checker, Fact Checker (based on Matchmaker, Matchmaker from Fiddler On The Roof)
I particularly got a kick out of Putin and the Ritz (based on Putting on the Ritz).
I double-checked the copyright law aspect of using so many base tunes without cease and desist suits by the title holders. Although the distinction sometimes overlaps, satire does not enjoy the fair use protection that parody does. Aside from legalities, sometimes the satire or parody in becoming popular benefits the title-holder by way of free advertising.
In this approaching June of cancelled Fringe Theatre Festivals, I am reminded of Rick Miller’s perhaps all-time most popular entry, MacHomer, wherein he soloed all the characters from Shakespeare’s Macbeth as acted by characters from TV’s The Simpsons, as drawn on an accompanying screen. Initially mounted at the 1996 Montreal Fringe, it has played in Canada and the USA and as far as Australia.
The Simpsons people, as I recall, initially objected but when they saw its cleverness and how it benefited their TV show, withdrew. (There are no living descendants of the Bard, and if there were, the statute of limitations would seem to apply.)
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.