A twisted Christmas carol: Former NDSU student creates political parody
FARGO—Christmas came a little early for comedy writers this year.
After former Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on Dec. 1 as part of a plea agreement to cooperate with Special Council Robert Mueller, joke writers for Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert spun the news into Christmas tunes.
They weren't the only ones.
In Chicago, former North Dakota State University student Jason Lord and singer Matt Griffo got in the spirit and released their own political carol, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Collusion".
Griffo texted Lord as the news broke and in 10 minutes the Mandan, N.D., native wrote the lyrics. Then Griffo went to work creating a video of himself singing as images of Flynn and other members of President Donald Trump's inner-circle, like Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner.
"It's beginning to look a lot like collusion/ It's a brand new low/ Mueller is going in on Manafort and Flynn/ And they're telling him all that they know," Griffo croons.
"A department dismantled, a Kremlin back-channel's/ The wish of Jared and George/ Secret talks with the Russians with no repercussions/ Is what they hope to go for/ And Cheeto-in-chief had better believe/ His next suit will be orange," he sings as a doctored image of Trump shows him in a prison jumpsuit.
Lord developed a reputation for comic skits at NDSU when attending from 1998 to 2002, where he and a troupe once performed "Mullet: The Musical" for a Bison Brevities.
"I didn't major in theater, but I hung around so they fed me and was in a lot of plays," he says.
He moved to Chicago in 2004, enrolled at the Second City Conservatory and gained some fame co-writing "Jersey Shore: The Musical," with Griffo and others. The show ran for 97 performances.
"When I graduated from the Second City Conservatory, you find out very quickly where you differ from your compatriots and I found it came very easy to write comedy songs," Lord says.
So is the current political climate good for comedy writing?
"You have to laugh so you don't cry," he says with a laugh. "It's probably a necessary time for comedy rather than a good time for comedy."
He says that writing "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Collusion" "absolutely" got him in the Christmas spirit.
"There are certain melody lines that are buried deep in our subconscious and as long as they're not coming over a PA at Walgreens, they spark a little joy," he says. "Just hearing the melody line out of context does help prepare me for Christmas."