Read Their Lips: More Scoops of Vanilli
We haven’t seen any “Honk if you sang on Milli Vanilli’s record” bumper stickers . . . yet. But given the rate Milli Vanilli jokes and gags are proliferating, you should probably check out the car in front of you.
Judging by how quickly the nation’s comics have jumped on the Milli Vanilli joke wagon, the lip-syncing duo may have a wing of their own in the Easy Target Hall of Fame--right beside Leona Helmsley, Donald Trump and Dan Quayle.
Credit for prescience has to go to Fox’s “In Living Color,” which spoofed the duo last spring in a skit offering you-too-can-be-Milli-Vanilli kits complete with dreadlock wigs and easy-to-follow dance steps.
Quick-as-a-hair-trigger David Letterman on Friday, the day after the scandal broke, offered a Top 10 list of New Jobs for Milli Vanilli:
10--Open law firm of Jacoby, Meyers, Milli, Vanilli.
9--Camp counselors in Father Flanagan’s Pretty Boys Town.
8--Jamaican pickpockets in American Express commercial.
7--Try to sell Ben and Jerry’s on idea for Milli Vanilla.
6--Cartoon pals to Chilly-Willy.
5--Professional objects of scorn and ridicule for years to come.
4--Fact-checkers for “20/20" (Buckwheat Division).
3--Even Newer Kids on the Block.
2--Extremely groovy fry cooks.
1-- Drum roll, please . . . Who cares? Just so long as we don’t have to hear from them ever again.
Johnny Carson moved right in on the duo too: “It turns out Milli Vanilli is not the only group that lip-syncs: All of the California Raisins’ numbers were actually done by the Fruit of the Loom grapes.”
“My life is pretty well shattered” by the revelation, Carson quipped. “I took their posters off my bedroom wall.” And: It was “the biggest scandal to hit the music world since Tommy (Newsome) found out that those weren’t real champagne bubbles on ‘Lawrence Welk.’ ”
On “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, Dennis Miller suggested on his “news” segment that"Milli” can now resume his old job as the White House dog, Millie, illustrated by a photo showing a bespectacled Rob Pilatus’ head superimposed on the body of the First Family’s springer spaniel.
By and large, the jokes are falling into three categories: suggestions for new jobs for the pair; quips about other supposed--and generally absurd--lip-sync frauds (“Bruce Springsteen lip-syncs for Barry Manilow,” offered one office wag); and “speculation” on the real voices behind Milli Vanilli.
KLOS-FM morning men Mark & Brian’s suggestions re the real singers: Liza Minnelli Vanilli, Milli Nelson, the Captain and Tenilli and John Milli Vanillicamp. Mark & Brian’s producer, Nicole Sandler, said that before going on air Monday, the pair “discovered” that recordings by Don Ho and Johnny Cash revealed “surprising” similarities to Milli Vanilli’s vocals.
“And looking at the album covers,” she said, “we noticed that if you drew hair extensions on Don Ho and Johnny Cash they looked like Milli Vanilli.”
Pirate Radio’s Scott Shannon has been taking potshots at the duo for months, but has now pumped up the volume.
“We did a ‘You Make the Call’ where we asked what you’d do if you went into Supercuts and Milli Vanilli sat down in the chairs next to you,” he said, retelling a gag focusing on the pair’s hair. “If you said, ‘Tie a rope around their necks and drag them down Ventura Boulevard behind your high-performance pick-up truck,’ you made the right call.”
Shannon said Tuesday that he and his production team expect to have a new parody song on the air by the weekend.
A somewhat subtler tack was taken by Michael Feldman, host of American Public Radio’s talk-quiz-humor show “What Do You Know?” which is carried on KCRW-FM on Saturdays at 8 p.m. On his most recent show, Feldman joked that the revelation indicated that “it’s more than just a coincidence that (Milli Vanilli) started lip-syncing about the same time Jim Henson died.”
Of course, many would say that the biggest joke is on the consumers who bought 7 million Milli Vanilli albums, and on the record industry voters who awarded the duo the best new artist Grammy.
Do you ever get that syncing feeling?