Howard Dean, Hip-Hop Star
Fri Jan 23, 4:35 PM ET Add Entertainment – E! Online to My Yahoo!
By Joal Ryan
Howard Dean (news – web sites)’s gaffe was Jonathan Barlow’s muse.
When Dean, the Democratic presidential hopeful, rolled up his shirt sleeves, rattled off the names of the 50 states and unleashed a throaty howl after going down to defeat Monday night in the Iowa caucuses, Barlow, the St. Louis graduate student, said he just knew: “I had to do something.”
And so Barlow put Dean’s much-mocked tirade to a hip-hop beat with horns and upright bass, and an Internet star was born.
Since he posted the 15-second clip on his blog at BarlowFarms.com on Tuesday afternoon, Barlow’s tripped-out Dean rant, dubbed the “I have a scream” speech, has been snapped up by media outlets from MSNBC to VH1, and likely blared from a computer speaker near you.
It’s not the only Dean rap out there–Right magazine’s online offering, “Dean Goes Nuts Remix,” proved so popular, the publication took it down because of traffic concerns.
“I think everyone of my generation…who saw the speech, whether they’re a Dean supporter or not, thought it was hilarious,” the 29-year-old Barlow said Friday.
Barlow said his remix was inspired by the work of comedian Robert Smigel, whose “TV Funhouse” contributions to Saturday Night Live have long used actual audio clips with which to hang the mighty and oft-quoted.
It also follows in the fine political-slash-Internet tradition of, say, editing together Ronald Reagan speeches until it sounds as if the former president and the “Just Say No” first lady Nancy Reagan are bemoaning a national marijuana shortage, and copping to heroin addiction.
“Anybody can do this in your basement,” Barlow said.
The religious history scholar’s own efforts were assisted by the Drudge Report, which posted the raw audio of Dean’s raw growl, headlined “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!’,” on Tuesday morning. It’s that clip that Barlow funkified.
“I wanted it to be fast and funny and energetic,” Barlow said. “…I thought my small group of friends would think it’s funny.”
Barlow’s small group of friends proved so vast, and overall criticism of Dean’s lack-of-concession speech so great, that by Thursday night, the former Vermont governor was on CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman in damage-control mode, offering up a Top 10 list on “Ways I, Howard Dean, Can Turn Things Around.” (Number one: “Oh, I don’t know–maybe fewer crazy, red-faced rants?”)
Barlow, for one, said he wasn’t out to get Dean, the onetime Democratic frontrunner. Then again, he wasn’t looking to vote for him either.
Said Barlow: “I’m a supporter of George W. Bush.”
No doubt there’s a song somewhere in there, too.