80s, 90s, Movies, Music, Quick Lists, TV — January 21, 2015 10:00 am

14 Magical Musical Moranis Moments

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It’s no secret around the Pop Rewind offices that Linz is a huge Rick Moranis fan. Perhaps he was typecast, perhaps that doesn’t matter. Moranis is a talented musician, believe it or not, and some of his best moments are musical ones. So without further ado, here are 14 Magical Musical Moranis Moments.

14 – “Turning Japanese” – Todd Monroe, SCTV

The Gerry Todd Show was inspired by Moranis’ stint as a radio DJ in Toronto. Gerry Todd, however, was more of a video jockey before that was actually a thing. Moranis covered a few songs in his various Gerry Todd videos, but his rendition of The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese” truly stands out. Those girls are trying so very hard to keep straight faces.

13 – “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” – The Recess Monkeys (SCTV)

As part of the Pre-Teen World Telethon for Pre-Teen World, Moranis heads the band The Recess Monkeys, which sang Chilliwack’s “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)”. Arguably, John Candy steals the show at 1:32 in the video above, but Moranis leading the act is classic.

12 – 5 Neat Guys’ Greatest Hits (SCTV)

You don’t get just one 5 Neat Guys tune, you get all of their greatest hits! This video has so many layers of amazingness, and it gets even better when you read Moranis’ description of it from Dave Thomas’ SCTV Behind the Scenes book:

“Dave was the happy singer and John was the comfortable, relaxed borderline retiree. Joe was a drunk. Eugene was damaged in some way. I think I was the only one that really didn’t know, didn’t have a beat. Except I felt very protected by all those guys. They were all taller, bigger. They knew what they were doing. I was the least neat guy and it didn’t matter. It was all going to be okay and that’s how I played the character. It was, boy, am I ever safe. That’s really what was behind the voice. Dave gave me the middle. John and Joe didn’t sing it, just me and Gene. I double-tracked the middle. Gene went a third up and a third down. Dave did the really high and the really low voices. His face in the still was one of those where he’s pushing like crazy. John just sat back and lip-synced. Joe barely could hold it together. I just beamed through the whole thing. I’m the happiest guy in the world” (pg. 141-142).

11 – Michael McDonald (SCTV)

Although he’s lip syncing, I can’t leave this video out. Moranis’ impressions remind me a lot of former SNL cast member Bill Hader’s impressions: they get kind of obscure, but they’re always really, really good. The above video says it all. But if you need more, here’s an amusing story from Thomas’ book:

“Rick and I were nominated for a Grammy for the McKenzie Brothers album. We were at the Grammys and Rick bumped into two people he had impersonated during the show. We were sitting beside George Carlin. Rick had done an absolute hatchet job on George’s conceptual approach to comedy. Carlin looked at him and said, ‘Brutal man! Really brutal.’ Rick just kind of slumped into his seat. I remember laughing and being really glad I hadn’t done that impersonation. That same night he also met Michael McDonald. He had a similar response: ‘Pretty heavy stuff, man.’ I think they were impressed with Rick’s ability to nail them, but a bit intimidated by his skill” (pg. 153).

10 – “Take Off” – Bob & Doug McKenzie with Geddy Lee (Great White North Album)

Geddy Lee’s career has spanned decades, both solo and with his popular band Rush. The highlight of Geddy’s career? Singing “Take Off” on Bob and Doug McKenzie’s Great White North Album. In fact, “Take Off” is Lee’s highest charting single on the Billboard Hot 100. Luckily, for both Moranis and Lee, they both went to grade school together and forged a lasting friendship.

9 – “Ipanema Rap” – Rick Moranis (You, Me, The Music, and Me)

In 1989, Moranis released his first solo album, the very difficult to find You, Me, The Music, and Me. The only song from it to get a music video release was “Ipanema Rap”. The video is full of 80s music video references, Gerry Todd, puns, and chartreuse suits. Also: a cameo from Eugene Levy.

8 – “Road Song Medley” – Linsk Minyk (The Last Polka)

Moranis appeared in the Schmenge Brothers’ The Last Polka movie. He played Linsk Minyk, a Professional Singer, and sang his heart out with a a road songs-type medley. He reprises his role as Linsk by contributing a cover of “Light My Fire” to the LP Wankers Guide to Canada and also on You, Me, The Music, and Me. It doesn’t get any better than that.

7 – “Skid Row” (Little Shop of Horrors)

It’s difficult to pick just one song from Little Shop of Horrors. On the other hand, not much can top the gut-wrenching heart-breaking rendition of “Skid Row”.

6 – “Close To You” (Parenthood)

I’m not a big fan of the movie Parenthood, simply because Rick is kind of a dick in it. He plays one of those parents. You know. When he visits his wife’s school to win her back, he does so with “Close To You”. Aaaaah ah ah ah ahhhhh. Close to you. Panty dropper, let me tell you. Especially when he’s doing the backing vocals.

5 – “Gravedale High Opening Theme” (Gravedale High)

Moranis was no different than anyone else in the 90s in that he had his own cartoon series. Rick Moranis in Gravedale High‘s theme isn’t sung by Moranis, but he does give a couple short lines that are akin to a Dad joke. I know this for a fact because every time we passed a cemetery my Dad would remark that “people are dyin’ to get in there!” Har har.

4 – “Stick Out Your Hand And Say Hello” (Sesame Street)

Do not do this to me on a plane. I will be too busy holding in my pee. WAIT. You’re holding in your pee for seven hours too?! FRIENDS! Moranis is always right.

3 – “High Hopes” (Muppets Tonight)

Sesame Street isn’t the end of Moranis’ muppet-type adoration. He also appeared on Muppets Tonight around the same time, to sing about dead ants.

2 – “Press Pound” – Rick Moranis (The Agoraphobic Cowboy, as performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien)

When Moranis appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien I just about lost my damned mind. How could my two future husbands be in the same room together, seemingly getting along, and not fighting over me? Perhaps it’s because in this very same episode, my future wife Sarah Vowell appeared and she set them straight. Three of my favorite people on one hour-long show? Someone got my letters! Fun fact: Moranis and Conan share a birthday: April 18.

1 – “The Seven Days of Shiva” – Rick Moranis (My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs)

Moranis’ latest album, My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs, focuses on his Jewish upbringing. It’s a good album, but as a gentile, I’m admittedly a little lost. It’s still not going to stop me from enjoying it, though. His biting wit knows no bounds.


Do you have a favorite Moranis moment? Is it musical? Let us know!

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