Variations in Theme Song (Moe)

After the first episode of Moe’s Island Jamboree, and its unadorned theme song which was more of a spur of the moment attempt just to get the episode out, I attempted to make a proper theme tune. And by proper, I mean a quickly tossed off and one-take piece of simplicity. I figured that something with too much shine on it wouldn’t befit a show of the quality that Moe Gorman would be involved in.

Here’s a quick tip to any aspiring writers or creators – one that I have learned to excel at: Create characters who are punching above their weight. If they’re a bit simple or base or low on talent or ability, it makes it easier on you, the writer, when coming up with their output. Create a genius and you kind of have to make them sound like a genius. Whereas, someone who writes terrible songs makes it easier to create their terrible songs. And people will often believe there is a profundity behind the creations – but in reality, you’re just writing terrible songs.

Anyway, here is the theme song I came up with. Since abandoning it, I have not listened to it again until today, and I must say – I’m not very fond of it.

Rob’s Never-Used Theme Song for Moe’s Island Jamboree

As I do with many things, I asked Dave Stewart to take a listen and to offer his opinion. He gallantly said it perhaps didn’t suit the mood of the project, and asked (or I asked him, I forget) if he could have a go at the music. A few moments later, he sends me back a file, and I instantly recognize that this is the theme. I added vocals, and this is the ear-wormy result:

Dave’s Often-Used Theme Song for Moe’s Island Jamboree

Dave and I are sort of the Lennon/McCartney of our friendship. A bit of a friendly rivalry, perhaps, but we often will make each other’s output better when asked to contribute. And together, we’ve made a few, imo, pretty good things.

So, thanks Dave, for being so awesome at making stuff I do so much better. That tune is sickingly catchy, and a perfect addition to Moe’s Island Jamboree!!

Moe’s Island Jamboree – MaryAnne FitzPatrick

One of the more fruitful creative wells I’ve supped from (ugh, metaphor) is my weekly lunch-time drive around the city with my pal of pals, Dave Stewart. While driving, we gab and complain and make jokes and come up with ideas that run the gamut from asinine to amazing. Many of my favourite sketches that I’ve written over the years have emerged from these lunch-time free-for-alls.

The last time (I think it was the last time) we had one of these drives, before the pandemic boom hit, I was just about to drop him off at work. We had been talking, I believe, about things I could do in my new role as Writer-In-Residence at The Guild. I had been mentioning my desire to create some sort of video series that could incorporate talents, or lack-of-talents as the case may be, of fellow Islanders. As he was leaving the car, he says something like “what about a talent show with you as host – like a Rob’s Video Island Jamboree”. Something like that.

The idea immediately appealed to me, and after a few hours of thought, and a few title changes, it transformed into “Moe’s Island Jamboree”.

graphic designed by Dave Stewart

The idea would be that my character from years ago, Moe Gorman, would host an online entertainment show. Moe would host and sing a song or recite a poem or whatever, and then introduce that episode’s special guest.

Moe is a guy who fancies himself a poet/songwriter who specializes in works about people who piss him off

Upon approval from Alanna Jankov at The Guild, the call went out, to friends mostly, asking people to send in videos of themselves being entertaining in some way.

Not long after, we got our first contribution, from MaryAnne FitzPatrick, who decided this was a perfect opportunity to jump out of her comfort zone and commited to singing a song – something she loved to do in a past life but hadn’t done much singing recently. That first episode of Moe’s Island Jamboree is below. I’m happy to report that MaryAnne has continued with her Singing While Cooking videos on Facebook, and am thrilled that she seems to have rediscovered her love of singing!

Moe recites a poem about Malcolm McKearney and guest MaryAnne FitzPatrick sings a song!

This is the first episode in the series, and its rawness can be exemplified in many elements within, not in the least the unadorned theme song. I (or I should say Moe) wrote the poem about Malcolm McKearney a month or so before this was shot. I didn’t have it memorized, didn’t have the desire to memorize it, and so I came up with the clunky editing style you see here. I would go on to utilize this “line at a time” editing style in many of Moe’s videos.

More on more of Moe’s Island Jamboree episodes, and other things, in future posts.

Laugh It Up, Fuzzballs!

While scrounging through the bowels of my writing folders, looking for old Moe Gorman song lyrics or poems, I stumbled upon this script from Year Four of Annekenstein. That was the summer we were at The Carriage House at Beaconsfield. I really enjoyed that venue and was disappointed that we couldn’t return the following year, despite putting on a successful show. I don’t think the neighbours enjoyed the parking situation on the streets.

Anyway, I thought it’d be interesting to post this script, as I believe it illustrates a defining moment in my writing/performing career. This is, I believe, the first time I explored that bond between performer and audience, breaking the fourth wall, and expressing truths about myself that are masqueraded as “material” and leave people wondering “Is this Real Life, or a Bit?”

I’m not sure that this sketch lasted the entirety of our run at The Carriage House. I think it confused too many of the audience and left too many people thinking “Is Rob okay?” I thoroughly enjoyed performing this, and through it discovered my love of playing with the audience’s expectations and even my own.

Rob’s Matthew Monologue

Rob enters the stage, exaggeratedly walking as an old man.  He makes his way to center stage, fully involved in his “old man smile” face, and is about to speak his lines. Then he stops, looks at the audience, and contemplates.  He makes a decision and takes off his old man wig or hat.

Rob: Hey everyone, it’s not beloved old Matthew from Anne of Green Gables who stands before you right now. It’s me. Rob MacDonald.

I’m supposed to be out here now doing a monologue as Matthew Cuthbert, exploring the reasons why he’s as shy as he is, climaxing in him discovering that the basis of his shyness was when, as a child, he saw his father and mother making out.  Ha Ha, good laugh, the show continues.

But I’ve decided to forego that bit of comedy for a rather serious announcement that I’d like to make.

He looks to the sides of the stage to make sure the coast is clear.

I’ve been in this theatre business now for almost 10 years. The past four years, it’s been my living, supplemented by odd jobs.  The past two of those four years, it’s been my sole source of income, believe it or not. Needless to say, I’m not a rich man. No, I’m a freelance writer and an actor.  

And I’m sick of it.

Oh, I still love the performing and rehearsing side of my theatre life – the writing, the casting, the acting. But love I less the “moving the theatre once or twice a year” side of theatre life.  Less so the “scared to answer the phone because it may be our King Street landlord of four years ago still looking for the rest of his rent money”. Less so the “here’s a hundred dollar honorarium for your two months of work, Rob, I know it’s not much, but maybe someday” side of theatre life.

“Maybe someday”.  The poor actor’s mantra.  Maybe someday I’ll be rich and famous.  That’s what all actors dream about, you know.  Rich and famous. I guess I’m getting the “more famous” all the time, but not so “the rich”.  And the fame is a local fame, a small fame, helped along by the few CBC TV commercials that I do, thanks to David Moses hiring me occasionally.  He works at the CBC now. Yeah. But lately, I’ve been getting real tired of waiting for that “maybe someday when I’m rich and famous”. Now I’d settle for rich, or more to the point – “not so poor”.  So I’m considering giving up theatre as a career. Oh, I’ll still dabble in it, I’m sure. I mean, it’s in my blood now, but I’m gonna try joining the real world – that of the actively unemployed.

Now, in thinking about my theatre career, I like to think that over the years, that maybe, in a small way, I’ve helped some of you.  Maybe at times, some of you weren’t feeling your spunkiest self. Maybe you, too, were wondering “how in the world do I pay my mortgage this month?” or “my rent”. Or my Mastercard bill, which, by the way, I used last month to pay that mortgage.

So, in your blue funk, you decided to come to one of the many Off Stage productions we’ve done. Maybe you’re even here tonight, feeling blue, hoping to see one of my funny faces, or the funny faces of any of my equally talented and comical colleagues. Or hear a funny line or skit. And you momentarily feel better.  For a while you even forget your problems, and you laugh.

In that way, I like to think that I, indeed, helped.  I did my job. I didn’t solve anything. Oh no. Troubles don’t just disappear, no matter how hard you wish them away. I know that.  But in a small way, I helped you, maybe. I made you laugh.

Well, I thought about this idea for a while.  The idea that I am a healer through laughter. That I help you.  That I employ all of my energies to make you feel good for an hour and a half.  And I work damn hard at it. I’m sweatin’ by the end of it. That’s the kind of guy I am.  Once I commit to something, I give it a hundred and ten percent. I’m a team player and all that.

But then I got to thinkin’ “Yeah, but what do I get out of all this?”  A sense of accomplishment? That of a doctor who heals his cancerous patient? Hardly.  

(starts to get worked up, a bit agressive) 

Oh sure, you may laugh at my mugging.  Yeah, I mug. I make funny faces trying to steal a scene. I admit it. Gladly.  Because I know it’s only to make you laugh. It’s all to make you laugh. So YOU will feel better.  Meanwhile, I got a truckload of debts to pay. A baby that Won’t Stop Eating, a house that’s slowly falling apart, a car that’s falling apart a lot faster…. And all you give me is your ten lousy bucks.  Of which I’ll see, what, maybe, 20 cents.

Well, laugh it up, fuzzballs!  Here’s your friggin’ 20 cents back!! 

(tosses two dimes into the audience)

I think you owe me something more than that!!

He’s starting to sound a bit desperate.

I want a job.  A real job. Not a great job. Just a job.  At least five figures though. Maybe 15 thousand a year.  Yeah, that’s all I need. 15 thousand. Surely there’s someone here tonight who’s got the power, the influence, to get me a job.  Especially when I think of all I do for you!

Now, I’m serious.  I got experience. Computers. I’ve had desk jobs. Inside jobs. Outside jobs.  Um, I, uh, pumped gas. I’d do that again, if I got 15 thousand. I’d prefer a nice desk job though.  Something like my friend Dave Stewart has. In an office. Suit and tie sort of thing.

Dave Moses comes out

Dave: Rob. Rob. Robert!!

Rob: Hi, Dave.

Dave: What are you doing?

Rob: Oh, I’m just… I’m… um… finishing up my Matthew monologue (puts on wig, backwards) “And then I saw them NEEEKED!!”

Dave: No you’re not.  You’re begging for a job again.

Rob: No.

Dave: I expressly asked you not to do that.  These people didn’t pay 10 dollars to come here just so you could exploit your position.

Rob: Exploit? What exploit? I’m not exploiting.

Dave: Yes. You are.  You’re taking advantage of the fact that they have to sit there, in the dark, facing you, while you talk.  And you’re doing it for personal gain.

Rob: Oh, Heaven forbid I ever do anything for myself on this bloody stage!!

Dave: Well, it’s wrong.

Rob:  No, I’ll tell you what’s wrong!  What’s wrong is me being broke all the time!!

Dave: Come on, let’s go. Sorry about this, folks.

Dave tries to grab Rob’s arm.  Rob pulls away.

Rob: Oh, you’ve changed, Dave. Ever since you got that big CBC job. You used to be like me. Remember? No, all that CBC money is clouding your memory.  And Dave Stewart, he’s the same. Big GST Man now. Money bags, the both of you. Remember the three of us? None with a job. Not really caring. Just helping each other out.  Well I remember! I remember the cheap breakfasts at Kelly’s you’d eat, then you’d say “Say Rob, can you loan me five dollars till my pogey comes in?” And of course I would! But all that’s past now!  Now it’s stocks and bonds and paint for your house!!

Dave: Are you finished?

Rob: I haven’t even begun!!

Dave: Ed!!

Ed runs out,they take Rob off as he resists.

Rob: Hey you people! I’m serious!  Anybody need a dedicated worker? PIck me! I’m serious!!  Think of the prestige of having an actual actor working for you!  Leave your name at the door when you leave if you have a position for me!  I’m serious! I need a job!!

Fade to black