Once again, I have received several emails from listeners intrigued by the punishment music I used last Friday during my Harris Challenge. It came from a recent appearance by Bill Murray on Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show,” in which the actor performed a “West Side Story” medley from his new album, “Bill Murray, Jan Vogler, and Friends” (unlike Murray, I’ll give credit to the “friends,” violinist Mira Wang and pianist Vanessa Perez).
What made it qualify as punishment music is that Bill Murray still can’t sing. It was funny when he did his Nick The Lounge Singer bit forty years ago, but that wasn’t supposed to be good. Now, it’s painful to listen to. Yet, everyone around him acts like he’s got the pipes to pull it off.
What other actor would be given not just a pass on this ironic karaoke, but big time gigs to show it off? Sure, William Shatner went around doing his oddly-phrased semi-singing for a few years, but even he knew it wasn’t serious. Bruce Willis, Eddie Murphy, Kevin Bacon, and Zooey Deschanel have all had music careers of varying success — but at least they could carry a tune!
Other TV shows have given Murray a platform similar to Colbert’s, and the hosts all acted as if they had a real singer in their midst. He even did a full concert at Carnegie Hall last week, and has performed with symphony orchestras in several cities.
Folks, let me be the little boy who tells you that the emperor has no vocal talent!