In this irreverent and warmly silly ode to America’s number one G-man, longtime comic collaborators Harry Shearer (This is Spinal Tap, The Simpsons) and Tom Leopold (Seinfeld, Cheers) gathered up a veritable who’s who of American comic voice talent-from Dan Castellaneta to Christopher Guest and Annette O’Toole. Together they deliver a rousing send-up of the modern American musical. Sounding as Tin Pan Alley as humanly possible, Kelsey Grammer, as the FBI’s foundering director, J. Edgar Hoover, and John Goodman, as Hoover’s protégé, Clyde Tolson, happily sing their hearts and lungs out on their way to taking modern American history to new hilarious heights. Biting satire never sounded so in tune.
(P)1994 L.A. Theatre Works. Produced in Association with KCRW. All Rights Reserved.
"...the inspired silliness of the premise, the able cast, and direction by Shearer carry the day." (L.A. Weekly)
Avid listener on my daily commute!
Who knew such nutty fare was available on Audible? This over-the-top spoof of America's favorite G-Man is part grown-up Simpsons episode (regular Simpsons fans, who will recognize most of these voices, may be unusually smart for television viewers, but very few are sufficiently interested in J. Edgar Hoover to invest this much time learning his history, even in such a crazily fun way) and part grotesque, can't-keep-watching-but-can't-look-away train wreck of an alleged musical, much in the style of that most shockingly tasteless musical at the heart of the comedy The Producers. As a musical, it's either sheer genius or it's horrible, and sometimes within the same number (all the women in the cast are able singers, while the men, perhaps the wonderful Kelsey Grammer excluded, the men were obviously cast for their comic talents only). Holy cow, I still can't decide if it's brilliant or loathesome. Tell you what: If you love John Goodman, and can get this recording for a sale price of just a few dollars, do try it; hearing his lines, let alone his solos, as Hoover's gay lover provides so many laugh-out-loud moments that you'll be glad you took it out for a spin!
Side note: the conceit of having this whole story play out as J. Edgar reviews his life on his deathbed is ingenious (especially the scene wherein he invites his preadolescent self to climb into his hospital bed with him), and the scene in which all six presidents under whose auspices Hoover served--from FDR to Tricky Dick--join hands and sing about their individual failures and then their collective failure to get rid of Hoover, the original Man Who Knew Too Much, really was inspired, and I'll probably end up playing it for my family and friends.
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