In keeping with Boing Boing’s mission of being a “directory of mostly wonderful things,” here’s a new video by Frank Sinatra’s bastard son, performing an updated version of The Dead Kennedys’ song California Über Alles while changing backstage. OK, it’s not the actual bastard son of Sinatra. It’s Toby Huss of TV’s Halt and Catch Fire, playing his alter ego Rudy Casoni, (who does claim to be the lounge singer's illegitimate son). Huss-as-Casoni references the current political circus before throwing some 2016 shade at Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown with some updated lyrics. The video offers us a brief respite from the 24-hour Trump-centric Republican bashing (deserving as it may be), using casual visual wit, some cameos by comedic actors like James Urbaniak of The Office, and some pretty stunning Frank-channeling vocal work, especially on the breakneck-speed chorus mid-song,
When I asked Huss why he made the video, he answered as Casoni, saying, "This shitbird parade of a presidential election has been trying to murder me for months now. So I fought back the only way I know how: with booze. Plenty of booze. But then a song. And then some drunken singing. Then I got sick all over a good suit and fell asleep in a warm dumpster behind a nightclub humming a punk rock tune. That's the Casoni way, so shove it. I know that bum Jerry Brown is behind this turdshow anyway, so I'm voting for Liquor. Mr. Malted Liquor." So there you have it.
A fun diversion for us, but not all that unusual a move for Huss, who shows up Forrest Gump-like at all the odd junctures of our pop culture. His first televised parodies of Sinatra covered songs by the likes of Dr. Dre and Cypress Hill for 90s MTV Network promos, where he also did voices for Mike Judge's Beavis and Butthead. From there, like a Whack-a-Mole of an actor, he just kept popping up, which is why he's often approached as on the street as that guy people think they know, but can't place him.
Understandable--besides Huss's current role as Bosworth on Halt and Catch Fire, he’s played the beloved Artie, “the Strongest Man in the World” on Nickelodeon’s Pete and Pete, appeared on a lauded Seinfeld episode as Elaine’s boyfriend, “The Wiz, did the voices of Kahn and Cotton Hill on King of the Hill for thirteen years, and is seen in a diverse string of TV shows like Reno 911, Carnivale, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, plus films like 42, Rescue Dawn, Ghostbusters, and Cowboys & Aliens. Huss even pops up in theaters this weekend for horror director Ti West’s critically-lauded foray into the Western film genre, In a Valley of Violence, starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta. So, really, a Dead Kennedys-spouting Sinatra bastard debuting a video on Boing Boing is just another day in the life for the chameleon-like Huss. Enjoy.
SoCal residents: The Rudy Casoni Boozebag Revue will have their annual XXXMas Show in Los Angeles Dec. 9th and 10th at Trepany House at the Steve Allen Theater, featuring Toby Huss, "most of the people from this video, The Dago 5 Band, shitbirds, Billy the Mime, the Poubelle Twins, boozebags, dum-dums, drunk Santa, and an elf who's a real prick," according to Casoni. -- Maureen Herman
(California Über Alles video directed by Peter Hastings; Featuring Toby Huss with James Urbaniak, Kate Flannery, Mark Fite, Pat Healy, Audrey Deluxe, Kelly Rae Cole and the Dago5 Band, Andy Paley, Phil Small, James King, Mike Bolger, Jordan Katz, Ryan Feves, and Mark San Filippo.)