FUNNY

My Favorite Things: The Wonderful World of ‘Yacht Rock’ (VIDEO)

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brian-mcgee - June 21, 2018

 

If Adult Swim nailed the random ass comedy formula in the early aughts with their 11-minute cartoons, Yacht Rock pared it down to five minutes—with two exceptions—and created a legacy of comedy gold you can watch, in its entirety, in just over an hour.

Originally created for Dan Harmon's old Channel 101, Yacht Rock was an irreverently sardonic series of films that celebrated the smooth music wave that crested in the late 70s and early 80s, officially dubbing it Yacht Rock. Focused mostly on the countless collaborations between Michael McDonald (J.D. Ryznar) and Kenny Loggins (Hunter Stair), the show gave us ridiculously embellished creation myths behind defining songs of the movement like The Doobie Brothers' "What a Fool Believes," Loggins' "This is It," Toto's "Rosanna," and even Michael Jackson's smoothest song, "Human Nature."

The whole show gets a veneer of respectability thanks to bookend segments on every episode from music critic and historian "Hollywood" Steve Huey, who has a journey of his own over the course of the series. Huey goes from bemused narrator in the first two episodes to full-on homeless woman murderer by episode five. It's a thoroughly satisfying bit of absurdist comedy that somehow never loses steam.

Huey guides the viewer through several stages of Yacht Rock like the day it lost its innocence in a back alley songwriting contest that pits Loggins & McDonald against Daryl Hall (Wade Randolph) and a raging, alpha male take on John Oates (Drew Hancock)...

 

As the series went on, it began expanding the world a bit, setting the stage for other acts like Steely Dan, Toto, Steve Perry (Abed Gheith), Michael Jackson (DeMorge Brown), Eddie Van Halen (Tyler Spiers), and even Vincent Price (James Adomian) to show up for a seance in episode five...

 

Episode six takes a hard turn into a weird, Jethro Tull story that doesn't make much sense to me, but some people love it...

 

By episode seven, they regrouped and jumped forward in time to show Michael McDonald's reaction to Warren G (Mehran Heard) and Nate Dogg (Anthony Stitt) sampling his song "I Keep Forgettin'" in their smash hit "Regulate."

 

Hall & Oates are back for the next episode—which also brings back fictional Yacht Rock pioneer Koko Goldstein (David B. Lyons)—though the episode plays as something of a bizarre origin story for evil record producer Gene Balboa (Dan Sachoff)...

 

The show was now something of a phenomenon, leading to bigger guest stars like "Cleveland" Drew Carey in episode 9...

 

Though it meets with its first ending in the very next episode, a curious diversion about a perceived fued between Steeley Dan's Donald Fagen (Myke Chilian) and Walt Becker (Todd Bishop), and Eagles members Don Henley (John Kyle Grady) and Glenn Frey (Ford Austin)...

 

The creation of a weekly five minute short had left the creators feeling exhausted, but after a hiatus, two more episodes were launched that are as star-studded as the series gets. Episode 11 concerns the creation of the theme song for Footloose, but is really just a takedown of Jimmy Buffet (Vatche Panos) and his fan base, featuring cameos by Wyatt Cenac as James Ingraham and Jason Lee as Kevin Bacon...

 

The official final episode of the show, Episode 12, starts with Dan Aykroyd (Kyle Reiter) stealing McDonald's invitation to "We Are the World" and culminates in a space battle involving McDonald, Loggins, Giorgio Moroder (John S. Konesky), and McDonald's hit song "Sweet Freedom" from the Running Scared soundtrack. Keep your eyes peeled for lots of fan favorites returning for the "We Are the World" segment...

 

There's honestly so much goodness packed into every episode, I couldn't list everything great about them if I tried. If you enjoyed this, the four main guys—Ryznar, Stair, Lyons, and Huey—host a podcast called Beyond Yacht Rock where they invent musical genres and countdown the best songs in that genre. They also rank songs from the Yacht Rock era on what they've dubbed "The Yachtski Scale." It's a pretty great time.

I hope you've enjoyed the world of Yacht Rock and that you're now a fan for life. Sound off with some of your favorite quotes in the comments section below like, "Get your dick out of your heart," or "You're a fuckin' loser, Cetera," something I regularly say when one of his songs pops up in my life.

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