Famous Helping People
In tsunami-related rock news…
This post was sorta depressing and Stereogum is supposed to be entertaining, so here’s the script for one of my all-time favorite Conan O’Brien sketches. It’s where the name of this blog entry comes from…
THE MAKING OF “HELP WITH YOUR HEART”
CONAN: I think its just a chance for us to sort of do our part, this is our chance to sorta put ourselves on the line, put ourselves to the test. Reach out, help people. You know, we’ll figure out the exact cause later on. But for right now, just to help, you know get in that whole helping thing. We just want to raise enough money to help out. Whatever cause we end up choosing, just to sorta help. I’ve been saying, look its not like were just gonna choose some specific cause. You know, like “Hey, this song is just for cancer and the rest of you can just go to hell.” That’s not what were about….
ANDY: Well, Conan just gave me like a time and an address and I didn’t know it was for a song or anything. I had this friend in town visiting and we were supposed to go to lunch. But when I found out it was about helping people, you know, I couldn’t say no. And besides, they got sandwiches so I mean it all worked out.
CONAN: OK people just settle down everybody and just figure out who’s here and who’s still to come. Max, OK you’re here. Andy?
ANDY: Yeah. I’m getting the sign up. [sign reads: “Famous Helping People”]
CONAN: OK, get that up if you can. Phil Colins, is Phil Colins here? Anyone seen Phil Colins? Tina Turner? Did Tina Turner show up? Alright, uh, Huey Lewis, where’s Huey Lewis?
MAX: He didn’t come.
CONAN: What? Huey Lewis couldn’t make it? What’s he doing? Where’s Huey Lewis?! All right, Boy George, is he still … he’s still alive right? Is the door well marked?
Cut to the street, Conan looking in cars.
CONAN: I’m looking for someone, I’m sorry. Have you seen Tina Turner?
PERSON IN CAR: No.
CONAN: Is Tina Turner around?
Back in studio.
CONAN: Well, who is, right now who’s here? OK we’ve got Max, you’re here. Max is here.
ANDY: I’m still here.
CONAN: And Andy.
MAX: Well, when Conan asked me to be part of this great event I said of course. I work for Conan. I have to do what he says.
Sting enters studio.
CONAN: Hi Sting, I’m Conan O’Brian. Nice to see you, glad you could make it.
STING: Where’s everybody else, what’s going on?
CONAN: Well this is pretty much it. We had some last minute no-shows.
STING: This is it?
CONAN: Yeah. But we’re in great shape. I mean, let me introduce you to the guys. We’re in great shape, come on in. Max. I want you to meet … you know Max.
STING: Oh yeah, hi Max.
CONAN: He’s more of a drummer than a singer, but its all about the effort. This is Andy.
STING: We’ve met before.
CONAN: This is “Oldy” Olson. Oldy plays on a baseball team of ours. So during the baseball strike he was nice enough to come out. This is a friend of Andy’s.
MARSH: Big Fan.
CONAN: He’s actually a pretty good singer. He’s OK, I mean he’s better than Max.
STING: What’s his name?
STING: What, this is it?!?
CONAN: Yeah, I mean we got um … do you do, just as a side thing, do you do other voices? Do you do a Phil Colins?
STING: Do I do a Phil Colins?
CONAN: Yea, do you do like a Phil Colins, or any impressions?
STING: No, I don’t.
STING: Let me see what were singing here. [looks at sheet music] I’m not sure I can do this song.
CONAN: Come on, what are you talking about? We got everybody here. I mean we went to a lot … It’s going to be great and we’re actually “Famous Helping People!”
STING: (to his assistant) Kathy, I don’t think we should … Don’t we have somewhere else to go?
CONAN: Just talk right into that microphone. It’s just one line.
STING: Which line?
CONAN: Well I think this is the best line for you. “Help with your knees.” You know…
STING: What does that mean?
CONAN: You know its like using every part of yourself to help.
FAMOUS HELPING PEOPLE
When folks need our help
We gotta make time to help
Gotta reach out and lend them a hand.
Yes we gotta help each other
Sister, uncle and brother
Animals too, if we can.
So help with your hands
And help with you’re heart
And help with you’re head and you’re hair
Help with you’re knees
Or whatever you please
Help, Help, Help, Help, Help, Help if you can.
You gotta do what’s right
By the children, the infants and the babies
Whether white, green, yellow,
Burnt sienna, or black, oh mama ahh!
Cause we need a yes not a maybe
Gotta help them help themselves
As they help others who are helping them right back.
Yes you got to help people
Cause people need our help
And you got to do the very best you can.
I suggest we do our best
And we haven’t put ourselves to the test
If together we will work throughout the land.
I wanna say mama ahhh!
ANDY: I’m a little, I’m worried about Conan’s choice. I mean it’s not so much his singing, its just he’s a little hammy. He oversells things. And I was wondering if you could talk to him, you know.
MAX: Gee, I mean he seems very committed to the part.
ANDY: Right, right. You’ve been in the music business for awhile, if you could talk to him and maybe just tell him to take it down a notch.
MAX: Maybe, sorta just suggest that he get in the group framework a bit more.
ANDY: Yea, yea. Would you do that?
ANDY: It’s going great, you’re doing a great job.
CONAN: Yea, you know I don’t think we need Huey Lewis. It’s really, really going great.
ANDY: Well, there’s one thing I wanted to talk to you about. You know the part of the song where you get all worked up, that “I wanna say ahh!”
CONAN: I wanna say ahhhhh! Right, right.
ANDY: Maybe, maybe Sting should sing that part. It just kinda seems like a natural for him.
CONAN: Yea, um, I guess. Is he thought of as a singing guy? Like, a singer? He’s a bass player. I just sorta have a ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it…’
ANDY: I know, I just think we should probably steer clear of the song being … grating.
CONAN: Grating, really? Is this like an ambush? I mean we’re friends enough. If you’re doing a little mind game thing on me … are you mad about something? If this is … are you mad? We moved your chair a little away from the desk, it was for lighting. I mean I just feel, I guess I feel betrayed.
ANDY: Well, its just…
CONAN: I just feel betrayed.
ANDY: I mean he’s Sting!
CONAN: Fine, Fine. Sting. Let’s just make it about … like people want to see Sting!
Cut to rehearsal…
Cause unless we do our best, ahhh!
Then we haven’t put ourselves to the test, ahhh!
Together we will work throughout the land, oh mama ahhh!
We gotta help people
Cause people need our help
And you got to do the very best you can
‘Cause unless we do our best
…do our best
Then we haven’t put ourselves to the test
…ourselves to the test
Together we will work throughout the land
…throughout the land
Yes together we will work throughout the land.
Freeze on Sting looking humiliated.
FYI: This sketch can be seen on the Late Night With Conan O’Brien 10th Anniversary Special DVD.