So after a half successful attempt at our comedy song for 'Angels in America', my assignment collaborator, Ross Patterson, and I went back to the drawing board.
After a lot of discussion, we decided that we really loved the moment we had chosen, and wanted to stick with it. (For a reminder, read here!) Once that was cleared up, the question came 'How do we make this better?' The feedback we had received was that something hadn't run quite true with the lyrics and music. The Commie references were appreciated, but felt a bit much, perhaps unearned...and the tune wasn't quite dark enough to really capture the attitude and mindset of our character.
One of the moderators had said to me 'That's an interesting notion...what is a friend to Roy Cohn?' Well, when Ross and I contemplated that, I came up with several variations of hook phrases tied into the idea.
We ended up liking the simplicity and directness of the word 'Friends', followed by various descriptions of what Roy expects of the people he helps out. There's a wonderful irony to it, as his expectations are incredibly high, and these people are of course made to feel more like subordinates than actual companions. Once we had come to the conclusion of the hook, Ross threw some ideas my way about sound. We ended up going with a very minor, dark jazzy feel for the tune. This helped give us an indication of his ulterior motives, as he's 'offering to help' Joe in his career.
All-in-all, this round turned out far more successful. The scene and song meld well together, and do not lead to redundancies. The tune is melodic, yet dark and a bit eccentric...and we even worked in a musical interlude that included the whole 'commie' bit from the first draft!
Below is our rewrite at the scene/song...Enjoy!
Music by Ross Patterson, Book & Lyrics by Lee Cavellier
The scene opens on restaurant. Roy and Martin are sitting close to one another, across the table from Joe. Martin has clearly been talking at length.
Well, Joe? D.C. or not D.C.? That is the question…
It’s a revolution in Washington, Joe!
It sounds great, Mr. Heller.
Martin. And the justice is the hub. Especially since Ed Meese took over. He reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt!
I can’t wait to meet him.
Too bad, Joe. He’s been dead for sixty years!
(He starts laughing)
Teddy Roosevelt. You said you wanted to…little joke. It reminds me of the story about the-
Aw, shut the fuck up, Martin.
You see that?
(Music. VERSE, RECIT:)
NOW WATCH ME AND TRY TO MAKE SENSE, IF YOU CAN
AS THIS JEW SAYS ‘FUCK YOU’ TO THE MAN’S RIGHT-HAND MAN.
ARE MY BALLS BIG AS GOD’S? AM I PART OF SOME CLAN?
OH, NO. THAT AIN’T IT KID…
IT’S JUST THAT THERE’S SOMETHING BETWEEN US, YA SEE?
HE TAKES NO OFFENSE ‘CUZ HE’S LOYAL TO ME.
RUB MY BACK…
(gives Roy a look.)
No, no really, a sore spot. I get them all the time now, these…Rub it for me, darling. Would you do that…?
(Martin rubs Roy’s back.)
I AIN’T FULL OF SHIT, KID!
I’M TALKIN’ ‘BOUT FRIENDS.
EXAMPLE? A FAITHFUL JACK
WHO RUBS YOUR BACK WHEN IT’S SORE…
IT’S GOOD TO HAVE FRIENDS.
I’M TALKIN’ A LOYAL PAL TO BOOST MORALE WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE LIFE’S A FILTHY
DO UNTO OTHERS…
AIN’T THAT WHAT JESUS DID?
I’VE GOT THE CLOUT,
TO HELP YOU OUT…
BUT WILL I DO IT, KID?
WELL, JOE, THAT DE-
ON IF WE ARE ‘FRIENDS’…
DON’T MEAN TO BE CRASS,
BUT WATCH MY ASS AND I’LL WATCH YOURS!
This man, Joe, is a Saint of the Right.
I know, Mr. Heller, I…
You see what I mean, Martin? He’s special, right?
Don’t embarrass him, Roy!
Gravity, decency, smarts! And, he’s a Royboy, one hundred percent. So what do’ya say, Joe? Will you take the job in Washington?
Look, Roy, I’m not sure what to-
(Holds his finger out over Joe’s mouth for an awkward amount of time.)
THERE’S NO NEED TO RUSH.
YOU’VE FIVE MINUTES MORE TO FALTER BEFORE I ALTER MY MIND…
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock…
DON’T SIT ON THEIR THUMBS…
FUCK NO, THEY DON’T HESITATE, THEY DON’T MAKE YOU WAIT…
WHEN FATE TRIES TO TAKE YOU FROM
DO UNTO OTHERS,
JOE, THAT’S HOW I GET BY.
WHEN PEOPLE SMEAR YOU
AND TRY TO ‘QUEER’ YOU…
A TRUSTY GUY WON’T FLY…
OH, NO… HE DE-
SO, JOE, LET’S BE FRIENDS…
AND IF THEY ATTACK, I’VE GOT YOUR BACK IF YOU’VE GOT MINE!
Roy, you know that if I could-
WOULD YOU LEAVE A FELLA HANGING…
AND WATCH AS HE SCREAMS AND KICKS?
NO! THAT’S WHEN YOU TAKE A STAND, BOY.
YOU LEND A HAND, BOY…
YA DON'T LET HIM HIT THE BRICKS.
WELL, I WOULDN’T KNOW A DAMN THING
ABOUT FRIENDSHIP FROM THE MORMON POINT OF VIEW…
BUT JUST ASK ANY JEW…
HELL, EVEN THE GODDAM COMMIES KNEW!
HOW’D ST. PETERSBURG, IN JUST ONE DAY, TURN INTO LENINGRAD?
THOSE ‘BULL-SHIT-VIKS’ WERE MAD,
BUT KNEW JUST WHAT THEY HAD…
THEY HAD COMRADES!
THEY HAD FRIENDS!
Sing it, Roy!!
AND WHO COULDN’T SEE THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN THESE LITTLE LARKS?
THE AIR WAS FILLED WITH SPARKS,
WHEN ENGELS FIRST MET MARX.
THEY WERE COMRADES!
THEY WERE FRIENDS!
We need an answer so quit your Stalin!
JUST GRAB LIFE BY THE BALLS, AND BROTHER,
SEE HOW ONE HAND STROKES THE OTHER…!
SOMEONE WHO ATTENDS!
A PARTNER WHO UP AND FLIES TO D.C. AND TIES YOUR LOOSE ENDS!
BE MY COMRADE, BE MY CRONY,
BE MY BOOSTER, BE MY STUD
BE MY FAN, NOT A PHONY!
BE A SIDEKICK TO THIS DUD!
BE MY BOOTS WHEN IT’S MUDDY,
BE MY BROTHER, BE MY BUDDY!
LOSE THE DOUBT!
Say yes, say yes, say yes, say yes!!
HELP ME OUT!
Yes I will! Yes I-
BE MY FRIEND!
(END OF SONG.)
And now, some extra fun!!
Since a blog is nothing without it's readers, I am going to invite YOU to be part of the process!
Let's face it, turn of the 20th century Russian revolution references are hilarious...
Leave a comment below, with the clever 'comrade' reference you'd have included in the piece!
Until next time...
...of 'Lee'rical Wordplay...
.....in case there was any question...