The saga of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” is one of the best, weirdest pop-music stories we’ve heard in years. A Dutch teenager builds a rap beat out of an old Nine Inch Nails instrumental. An Atlanta teenager buys that beat and uses it to rap an unabashedly silly two-minute song about being a cowboy. The song, tagged as “country,” blows up when kids start using it to make TikTok memes, and it ignites a debate over what country music even is. Billy Ray Cyrus jumps on a remix, and it hits #1 on the same day that Lil Nas X turns 20. This is an absolutely delightful bit of internet-borne randomness, and it’s already led to further delights, like CupcakKe’s remix. But now that the song has fully captured the collective imagination, we’re going to see a whole lot of people try to get in on the fun. They are inevitably going to ruin it. Case in point: Jimmy Fallon.
Last night on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon busted out his Bernie Sanders impression and rapped an “Old Town Road” parody. The comedy bit was shot on scratchy black-and-white, like an old silent movie, and it was built on the idea that Bernie Sanders, in his quest for the Democratic nomination, has been doing a lot of town hall meetings. Black Thought showed up, doing what I guess was the Billy Ray Cyrus role. Most of the jokes, obviously, were about Sanders being old: “We gon’ roll on down to that old town hall / We’re gonna see a geriatric brawl.” But there were political jokes, too: “I got money in the stacks / Forget your super PACs / Bernie bros in back / You would think this is a frat, now.”
There are at least 15 different reasons to get mad at this sketch! None of which even involve the time that Jimmy Fallon played with Donald Trump’s hair! Although he should maybe stay away from political humor! If your heart can take it, you can watch it below.
Can’t wait to see how Fallon flips Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” and turns it into a bit about Elizabeth Warren’s college debt forgiveness plan.