We’re a nation divided. And the patriotic glue that holds firm our polity’s precious fabric is tested daily.
But few things have done better to unite our fractured populous than witnessing the increasing meme-ification of Shrek-friendly ’90s scapegoats, Smash Mouth.
According to the crucial Know Your Meme research database, this process began in 2009 when YouTube user Rich Alvarez uploaded a Super Mario-themed “All Star” parody. Eventually peaking at just over one million views, Alvarez had little reason to believe that he was doing much more than contributing one more fleeting pleasure to the vast trove of YouTube ephemera.
But he started a movement. Fast forward today and hardly a week goes by without the Internet delivering a degrading reinterpretation of some aspect of the G-rated San Jose party-bros’ brief commercial reign.
The sketch comedy team Collective Noun‘s honoring of this ritual, however, is especially valuable because it touches the very heart of this essential American pastime: the celebration of “All Star’s” casually nonsensical lyrics.
In the “If Smash Mouth’s All Star Was a Ted Talk” sketch, these lyrics are meditatively recited with the inflated elocution of a pedantic TED Talk orator. The presentation, a course on “How to be an All Star,” dresses Smash Mouth’s clumsy nursery-rhyme scheming in scholarly pomp. With the help of charts and graphs, the speaker reveals scientific breakthroughs, sharing: “What we’ve found was, as your brain gets smart, your head gets dumb.”
By comparing “all that glitters” and “things that are gold,” we’re newly enlightened when the presenter demonstrates what occurs as the two overlap: “shooting stars break the mold.”
Collective Noun’s TED Talk treatment of “All Star” lyrics is a welcome contribution to the rich genre of Smash Mouth satire. Not just for its conceptual originality, but because it encapsulates the essence of Smash Mouth’s meme-ability. It’s a masterful exhibition in the art of reinterpreting the lyrics to Smash Mouth’s biggest hit.
Just don’t try to tell them it was their only hit.