A few weeks ago, Mikal Cronin shared his video for his psych-pop jam “Turn Around,” but it wasn’t really his video. Instead, it was Kristen Schaal and a cast of comedians remaking Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” video. That was great, and now Cronin has gone back to that formula, parodying another music-video classic for his “Say” clip. Paul Simon’s 1986 “You Can Call Me Al” video starred Chevy Chase and effectively set the precedent for the whole wave of comedians starring in videos, which is happening so much right now. And in the “Say” video, Cronin plays Simon and a cast of comedians (Kurt Braunohler, Nelson Franklin, and Nick Thune among them) argue over who gets to be Chevy. The narrative takes some unexpected turns. Jonah Ray directs. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, incidentally, just made their own “You Can Call Me Al” parody, though they did it in a very different way. Check out Cronin’s version, as well as the Simon original, below.
When my friend Mikal Cronin approached me about doing a video parody of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” and said that I would be playing the part of Chevy, I stopped him right there. I said, “Mikal, my dear sweet acquaintance, I alone cannot play ‘the Chevy,’ as we are all ‘the Chevy.’ He is the light, the love, the Fletch.” That’s when Mikal broke down in tears over the phone. I laughed at him and said, “It’ll be okay young, dumb, silly Mikal… It’ll be okay.”
Cronin’s very good album MCIII is out now on Merge.