Stephen Colbert Is “Furious” That Bob Dylan Nixed His “Subterranean Homesick Blues” Parody

We have now reached the quarantine stage where late-night hosts are just sitting around and bullshitting with each other on camera. This is a good thing. Last night, Stephen Colbert was a guest on Conan, and he took the opportunity to vent about Bob Dylan. One of Colbert’s Late Show writers wanted to respond to Dylan’s recent 17-minute epic “Murder Most Foul” with a coronavirus-themed parody of Dylan’s 1965 classic “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” Dylan wasn’t having it, and Colbert is “furious.”

Colbert: “Dylan said, in no uncertain terms, ‘You may not do that.’ Neutron bomb of a lawsuit. And I just don’t think that’s nice.” Colbert reads a few lines from the parodies on his phone, and adds, “I understand that song parody is the lowest form of human entertainment, but that’s damn fine.” (It really is good work.) The video also includes Conan O’Brien doing a Dylan impression. It’s just an extremely good three minutes of television. Watch it below.

In related news, Nick Cave wrote the most recent edition of his Red Hand Files newsletter about Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul.” Cave loves it, and he has eloquent reasons for loving it. This bit of writing stuck with me:

As for whether this is the last time we will hear a new Bob Dylan song. I certainly hope not. But perhaps there is some wisdom in treating all songs, or for that matter, all experiences, with a certain care and reverence, as if encountering these things for the last time. I say this not just in the light of the novel coronavirus, rather that it is an eloquent way to lead one’s life and to appreciate the here and now, by savouring it as if it were for the last time. To have a drink with a friend as if it were the last time, to eat with your family as it were the last time, to read to your child as if it were the last time, or indeed, to sit in the kitchen listening to a new Bob Dylan song as if it were the last time. It permeates all that we do with greater meaning, placing us within the present, our uncertain future, temporarily arrested.

You can read Cave’s full piece here.