Studio 60 and Pirates of Penzance

Studio 60 had a musical sketch featuring the music from the the Major General’s song from the Pirates of Penzance. It is a popular format for comedy, parody and education. Here are some examples:


Mike Stanfill, Private Hand – Flash Animation – The Elements, by Tom Lehrer

The Buff Barbarian Song

How about a cartoon character:I am the Very Model of a Cartoon Individual
Sung to I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General
from The Pirates of Penzance

Yakko:

I am the very model of a cartoon individual

My animation’s comical, unusual and whimsical

I’m quite adept at funny gags; comedic theory I have read

From wicked puns and stupid jokes to anvils that drop on your head.

I’m very good at fancy dances; I can even pirouette

Then smack the villain with a fish; I know my cartoon etiquette

I can make my face all mean and really give you quite a fright

Then make up with flowers made of real exploding dynamite.

When in a jam I just yell “stop” and villains in their tracks are froze

Then I sneak up and utter “start” and take my hands and honk their nose

I am quite proud to be in such a hierarchial progeny

From Daffy Duck and Tweety Bird to Babs and Buster Bunny.

To suit my mood I can call forth a lot of different sceneries

Like outer space and desert scapes and Himalayan eateries

From this bag here why I can pull most anything imaginable

Like office desks and lava lights and Bert who is a cannibal.

YW+D:

You see, in matters comical, unusual, and whimsical

We are the very model of cartoon individuals!

Then there’s David Hyde Pierce’s Monologue on SNL:

Oh, Kelsey is our show’s big star, I’m number two, that’s only fair
‘Cause he deserves it, even though I’m young and thin and have more hair.”[ four soldiers from the general’s army return to repeat the last two lines in song ]

Soldiers: [ singing ]
“Kelsey is the show’s big star, he’s number two, that’s only fair
‘Cause he deserves it, even though he’s young and thin and has more hair.”

While I have not found the transcript of Studio 60’s version of the Major General’s song from Pirates of Penzance, here is the movie version starring Kevin Cline:

Studio 60 NBC Major General’s song Pirates of Penzance Mover Mike

Update:


One Response to “Studio 60 and Pirates of Penzance”

  1. The amusing thing to me was this is not the first time Sorkin has used it. Once upon a time on West Wing, there was an episode-long debate in the White House with the Attorney General, as played by John Larroquette, as to whether the song was from Penzance or Pinafore.

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