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Music

Watch Lou Reed, Jack Black, Adam Sandler and Conan O’Brien jam in 2003

Who pulled these names out of a hat? Lou Reed is notorious for hating everyone and everything. In fact, you can even imagine that the former Velvet Underground man views Adam Sandler as some sort of egg of doom—an elixir of death. Nevertheless, through tech wizardry, the boffins in the edit suite have made it look like he’s having a jolly good time.

The star was apparently promised the greatest all-star band in history when he appeared at the Autism benefit evening, Night of Too Many Stars, only to be greeted by a bunch of jokers, literally. The hero of modern indie finds himself backed by Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Dana Carvey, Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien.

All that being said, the prickly rocker probably opines that he’s been backed by far worse over the years, so with a shrug, he sets about rattling the rafters all for a good cause. You see, there was most certainly two sides to Reed and this clip highlights the humour beneath his acerbic surface. As many would attest when he sadly passed away, there was a wicked wit and charm in the centre of the old humbug. 

As Fallon declares, “this is the most ass kicking, greatest all-star band in history.” These wild and crazy guys fulfil one of the central tenets of rock ‘n’ roll: they’re just happy to be there and playing. They might repeat the same ‘snubbed by Reed’ gag every time, but aside from that cliched repetition, everything else is fairly punk. 

And beyond that, it’s an absolute joy to boot. The band are pretty tight for a bunch of comedians and a famously scratchy frontman as they offer up a manic collective karaoke of the Lou Reed classic ‘Walk on the Wild Side’; one of the greatest counterculture anthems ever written no less. 

For those who have wandered here for the comedy without knowing the epic song itself, is an embodying of the adventurous side of pursuing individualism and braving the fringes of acceptability that you might be cast out to as a result. By the same token, Reed also explores the redaction of icons becoming archetypes. “Jackie is just speeding away, Thought she was James Dean for a day, Then I guess she had to crash Valium would have helped that bash,” is a perfect way of pointing a figure at figures of culture forming costumes that people simply slip on and off.

Thus, this rehashing certainly makes for a surreal piece of pop culture history. And beneath it all, is one bludgeoning realisation: ‘Oh boy, the fortunes that fame affords you’. Thanks to Record Roulette for the heads up on this manic moment.

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