Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Roots play the blues.

Yesterday I wrote a piece on hard labor. In hindsight it was probably wasn't too interesting to you, the reader, but it's a story I had never committed to words so it meant something to me, the writer. 

And I'm here for the laughs and the therapy just as much as you are.

Today, I want to write about a different kind of labor, the tedious kind. But to do that, allow me to back the truck up a bit.

As of late I have become a wildly enthusiastic fan of Seth Meyer. And to be honest, I was never excited about him or his SNL appearances before. He always seemed so vanilla and milquetoast. 

But the pandemic changed all that. 

Of all the late night talk show hosts who have been forced to alter their delivery and go without a live audience, I believe Seth benefitted the most. He plays to the camera and his small working crew in a way that is both entertaining and fun. You can tell he's enjoying himself. Moreover his rapid fire delivery and dead on impressions -- particularly ex-president Grandpa Ramblemouth --are a wonder in and of themselves.

"Mel...Mel...can you bring me a Diet Coke? Why is the poolboy in the house? Mel...."

Like I said, I am a fan. And so, I have set up my DirecTV DVR to "tape" his show every night. Because by the time his show comes on live at 12:30 AM, the excessive bourbon, the occasional Vicodin (for my expired hip), and the equally excessive time spent on the Peloton, and the non stop barking of my neighbor's dog, have all taken their toll on this tired 44 year old.

And this is where the topic, tedious labor, comes in. Sorry, for the long intro. 

You see, the DVR starts recording a couple of minutes before Seth's show. In other words, the tail end of Jimmy Fallon's show. I'm not a Jimmy Fallon fan. And Jimmy's show ends the SAME way every night. With his house band, The Roots, playing out his song.

Every. Damn. Night.

The camera drifts from musician to musician playing that same song. The guitar player, plucking the same strings, the piano player mindlessly banging the same keys, and the drummer tapping out the same rhythm night after night, sometimes it looks like he is sleeping.

Not only can you see the agony in their faces, you can feel it. 

I would bet the equity in my house (yes, I've used that phrase a hundred times before) that these guys wake up because they can't get that damn song out of their head. 

I don't consider myself an artist. Yes, I write for a living and have dabbled in some incredibly lightweight writing on the side, so I'm more artist-adjacent. And maybe musicians have a different mindset about playing the same shit over and over and over again. 

But my heart goes out to these extremely well paid makers of music, who just once, like Ryan Gosling playing Christmas music in Lal-La-Land, want to break the pattern and do something different. It's painful watching their on-air torture.

Of course, with Seth right around the corner, the torture is short lived.

"Mel...Mel...who's that other voice? I didn't know the Pool Boy had a brother."

1 comment:

Ben Bensen III said...

Love it, Rich. The things we do for uh... a living!