Oh, those crazy Hollywood liberalsshow 'em an opportunity to school the nation on civic duty, and they never fail to jump. While this tendency can sometimes lean towards the sanctimonious, not so this farcical Funny or Die skit, in which composer Marc Shaiman wrangled a glittering cast of comedians to weigh in on the controversial California ballot initiative passed last month.
As you might expect, "Prop 8 The Musical" is Shaiman's attempt to pick apart the anti-gay marriage lobby's logic. Lending support to the cause are Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Craig Robinson, Neil Patrick Harris and Allison Janney (who, in a cheeky nod to Mormons' support of the ballot initiative, is listed in the title credits as "Prop 8 Leader's #1 Wife"). Despite the collection of comedic chops on stage, the spoof isn't trying to be funny. Well, OK, it is but the larger point it intends to hammer home is that not all Biblical doctrine is eminently reasonable (avid West Wing watchers will recall one or two of these lines from a famous Jed Bartlet smackdown). And though the video isn't a full barrel of laughs, it's packed with its share of wit, with both Black (as a laid-back, rotund Jesus) and Harris turning in pretty good solos. (See the Top 10 Plays and Musicals.)
Shaiman, whose songwriting credits include showstoppers from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, called his troupe the "Sacramento Community College Players" because of outrage that the city's California Musical Theater director had given money to a pro-Prop 8 campaign. In an interview with the New York Times, he calls the video a "viral picket sign." Though he concedes he executed the idea "six weeks later than he shoulda," he nailed the viral aspect. In just a few days, it's racked up more than 2 million views.