Today's New York Times says that the McCain Girls videos are a spoof made possible by 236.com. Who knew? Well, we sorta knew, didn't we? After more than 1.66 million views of the initial music video parody, "It's Raining McCain," the Huffington Post's politically-minded humor spinoff site has come forward and taken credit for it officially on the YouTube channel today.
Co-creator Patrick Borelli sat down for an exclusive chat with The Comic's Comic to talk about the making of the McCain Girls and the aftermath.
Which idea came first, Jon Glaser's Barack
Obama-sistible or your guys It's Raining McCain? Do you guys have a
I'm not sure which idea came first. I think they happened around the same time but independent of each other. I love Detroit Octane. I've known Glaser for a while and I'm good friends with the guitarist, Tedward. I love Detroit Octane's songs—they way Glaser sang them is so earnest. But yes, to answer your question, the McCain Girls hate Detroit Octane.
(Updated clarification: Brian Spinks, video department guru at 23/6, sent Benjamin and Glaser a bunch of voter-generated campaign songs and asked how we could make fun of them.)
What other songs did you guys consider spoofing before you hit upon that one?
Jon (Benjamin) and I were on the phone and he told me that 23/6 asked him to do some sort of a political music video, since Obama Girl was so huge. I thought, "What's opposite of Obama Girl?" and It's Raining Men popped into my head. I loved the video when I was younger. How could you not? It features three plus-sized women singing about all heterosexual women's fantasies, which is, to have men who are good at dancing fall from the sky in a soft manner, so that they are able to land softly and then proceed to find a woman they can dance for. So, I said, "We should do It's Raining McCain," and Benjamin laughed and agreed. And that was that. He called 23/6, since he had basically made most of their videos for them and we got to work on it almost immediately.
How did the writing partnership between you and Benjamin start and evolve?
I first started working with Jon when I performed on his Pajama Jam show, which was a live talk show he started about four years ago and ended about a year ago. Matt Hall and I would come up with goofy bits and do them every month. It was really one of the best shows going. Then, Jon created Assy McGee for Adult Swim and asked me if I'd write a few episodes with him. We have a pretty similar sensibility. He's really fun to write with because he's all about the ideas whereas some comics are angling more to get their idea across, even if it isn't the funniest. Jon's not like that. He's all about what's funniest.
How did you divvy up the work on McCain Girls?
We pretty much shared everything. We each wrote a version of the song separately and then when we got to the recording studio, we married our versions together. Jon's really great at honing in on the ridiculous and he came up with the line, "I'm gonna' go out and let myself get, absolutely JOHN McCAIN!" That's my favorite line. We were both in the recording session, giving feedback. Holly Schlesinger, who works at 23/6 and is a good friend of mine, was at the recording and actually sang. We had a third girl booked that failed to show, so Holly agreed to do it. I placed the ad on Craigslist and picked the three women. I wanted women that were all different from each other, both in age and race. Jeff Buchanan, who's a really great editor and camera guy, shot and edited the video. And Brian Spinks, who runs the video department at 23/6, did all the graphics and effects.
What was the Craigslist ad and what kind of response did it get?
The ad said something like, "Plus-sized female singer wanted for musical parody and video shoot." That was pretty much it. I got about fifteen responses.
How tough was it to make the video look amateurish (and I mean that in a good way)?
Not too hard. I lent them my one-chip camera, which doesn't look nearly as sharp as a 3-chip or HD camera. We figured that would help sell the amateurish feel. And Jeff did some really funny, crappy editing moves and shots made it look perfectly sloppy. And Spinks did some really funny effects, like having the woman on the left, Barbara, just fade in and out of the green screen. So it looks like she's in the process of being beamed up, Star Trek style.
When 23/6 decided to put your video on YouTube instead of 236.com, how did you guys feel about being anonymous?
That was our idea and 23/6 agreed to it. We knew if it were connected to 23/6, that no one would think it was authentic. And we were right. So many people thought it was real that John McCain admitted to having watched it a few times and said he was a fan. There's no way he would have said that if he knew it was created by a humor site.
How have you felt about all of the commentary out there, not only
online but also from the mainstream media and political pundits? Did you think much about any potential impact on the
actual campaign? Does it matter if you and Benjamin personally support
McCain or not?
I've loved seeing the video's audience grow larger and larger. When I saw the FOX News footage where they asked McCain if he'd seen or heard about the McCain Girls and he laughed and said yes and that he was a fan, I was thrilled. That's the ultimate joke, really. To create a parody that reaches the subject and not even they know it's a parody. I don't think it matters who we support but it's pretty safe to say that we do not support McCain.
response video (above) from the seemingly lead McCain Girl, getting all sassy
and NSFW, seems real enough to be her own words. How much input did she
have on that?
That response video was all Darnelle. She's legitimately angry. She should be. She received a majority of the mean comments and most of them were either about her weight, looks or race. They're just awful to read. I recorded it. I said to her, "Just respond to all those jerks. Tell them what you think."
And now that you aren't anonymous, what's next for the McCain Girls?
We're not sure. We haven't figured that out yet.
In the meantime, 23/6 has reloaded and reuploaded the sequel video, Here Comes McCain Again, on its own site. Here it is, too. Enjoy.