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No! Don’t Cut The Donkey Sketch

In case you thought the whole relevancy and identity crisis was something new to the business then allow me to direct you to a video clip from a Steve Martin NBC special that aired 30 years ago (the donkey bit shows up at 2:20).

If you take anything away from that clip, I hope it’s this: we’ll be better off with relevancy when we stop trying so hard and just learn how to laugh at ourselves.

4 Responses to No! Don’t Cut The Donkey Sketch

  1. David Adair September 16, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Interesting piece on the ‘relevance’ of classical music. Is classical music made relevant by making fun of itself, or by being made fun of by others. Or does classical music simply need to make it self relevant by just being relevant. Has classical music taken on the persona of the ‘class clown’ I will make them laugh so people will like me?
    A large barrier to entry for classical music is that peoples perception is of a very stuffy high brow thing they would feel uncomfortable about being involved with. I am just not sure that mocking classical music helps to bring down that barrier to entry. Having said that I find almost anything Steve Martin does as funny!

    • Drew McManus September 16, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      Thanks David, I think you sum up what I’m talking about here. This isn’t about making fun of classical music, it’s about the layers of boundaries the field doesn’t even recognize as the result of a stereotypical elitist attitude. Adopting the ability to laugh at ourselves (and yes, even laugh at a good joke made at our expense) begins to tear down those walls and all of the related barriers that go along with it.

      In this case, ask yourself why you think Steve Martin’s piece was mocking classical music (and why would the American String Quartet have gone along with it and even list it as a career highlight at their website)?

  2. Bruce Hembd September 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    I remember watching this live when I was a kid. This and Chevy Chase’s dead string quartet are two of my favorite string quartet gags.

    http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75qdeadstring.phtml

    (Couldn’t find a video..)

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