Bad Lip Reading
"Happy tree, I drink smoothies
Don't worry dawg, I'm tryin' to find my shrimp
In the cabbage patch, pink spaghetti
500 crackers I was saving for my granny."
—Snoop Dogg, "Black Umbrella"
Bad Lip Reading is a YouTube channel that takes music videos of pop songs and writes their own original songs designed to match the lip movements of the people in the video, with little to no regard for making sense. Usually substantial editing of the original video is also involved. They got their start in March 2011 with "Gang Fight", a Gag Dub of Rebecca Black's notorious viral video "Friday", which took a song about having fun on the weekend and made it into a song about gang warfare and chicken. Most of their songs execute a similar dramatic shift in style and theme from the original.
Thanks to an anonymous interview, we now know that BLR is produced by a single man in Texas, a "music producer, songwriter, and musician," but his identity remains a mystery. His songs are being sold completely legally on iTunes (being original works) but the videos may yet fall victim to copyright claims (as "Dirty Spaceman" already has). A few, like "Trick the Bridesmaid," are based on public domain works and so safe from takedowns.
- Above the Influence: Alejandro, who is brave, and dapper, and NOT DRUNK!!
- AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: Although most of their lyrics are quite natural, BLR is sometimes guilty of this, as in this line from "Russian Unicorn":
I want to shave that mustache and then have gelato!
- From Black Umbrella:
"I'ma get dumb and bang a wizard!"
- Actually Pretty Funny: Michael Bublé loved "Russian Unicorn." And Gotye thought "Kicked Your Monkey" was good enough to pass on via Twitter.
- Judging by the comments, Ron Paul supporters, a notoriously touchy contingent, appeared to have this reaction when he got the BLR treatment.
- Adaptation Distillation: Some of BLR's videos are taken from more than one song. For instance, "Morning Dew" is taken from three songs, "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars, "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga and "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
- Adaptation Expansion: "That Should Be Me" was divided into two Bad Lip Readings.
- The Alcoholic: Nicki Minaj, according to "Dirty Spaceman":
But I'm feeling fine
I'm on bottle 99
- Alternate Character Interpretation: Expect any artist appearing in a song to end up a lot less innocent than their ordinary public image.
Miley Cyrus: "And I'm pregnant."
"If your body's a secret girl, then you about to spill it"
- The trend is inverted in "Rockin' All Night Long" when Wiz Khalifa is revealed to be the Dogged Nice Guy for Taylor.
"Damn, I got carsick by the swings, and she see me dry heaving on the interstate"
- James Blunt, meanwhile, is a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant who hates dogs.
- Newt Gingrich is a drugged-up party animal with a panty fetish and possible criminal connections.
- Gotye is an unapologetic animal abuser.
- Angrish: apl.de.ap in "Everybody Poops":
And I hate those greenish potatoes with them soggy fish sticks! AAA!!!
- Anything But That: Herman Cain has a deep-seated fear of spiders. And big potato moths. Big potato moths!
- Artifact Title: Usually averted.
- The name "Dirty Spaceman" actually justifies the sci-fi setting) - Black Umbrella is only implied to be a new weed ie. "the right stuff", and we're never certain if the Russian Unicorn, like those left-nut-targeting monsters, ever existed (this may be justified by the whole video being an Imagine Spot).
- As a YouTube comment points out, the toxic waste barrels in "Boom Boom Pow" make more sense if they're filled with poop.
- Ass Shove: Poor Joe Biden.
"My friends want to shave my behind. They're putting ants into my behind! There's a parakeet on my behind! Why are you people clapping?! Thick concrete is up my behind! ...Pikachu!!!"
- Auto-Tune: Mostly in "Everybody Poops" and "Dirty Spaceman".
- Badass Boast: Wiz Khalifa's "I'm an alchemist, the beat is my base metal." (re. "Rockin' All Night Long")
- Jay-Z's "I'm Han, you're Greedo" definitely counts.
- From Michelle Bachmann: "If I assault you, your arm wouldn't defend you. It's better to not do it."
- Gotye's "I'm fighting with ninja gloves"
- Beastly Bloodsports: The lyric "I'm gonna find a chicken fight" in "Everybody Poops".
- Be a Whore to Get Your Man: from "Rockin' All Night Long":
You can always count on me to show those other girls just how to lay it down down down
Every girl get they freak on please, you are the one that can bring him to his knees
- Berserk Button: Greenish potatoes and soggy fishsticks for apl.de.ap (re. "Everybody Poops")
- Big Eater: Their Alternate Character Interpretation of Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox seems to be this. "Hot Jumping Beans" is about food to begin with, but while Justin Bieber mainly sticks to the topic of beans, LeVox keeps bringing up other kinds of food ("Baaaaaaccoooonnnn! Yeah, whoo... ham").
- Justin has...interesting culinary tastes.
- Deconstructed in "Russian Unicorn":
"I should not have ate those Cajun rice and beans... Them strawberries look juicy"
- Also seems to apply to Rick Perry in his soundbite, where he spontaneously lists food and proclaims that he is "bored by famine."
- Obama in Trick the Bridesmaids lists food America has been short on.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Russian Unicorn" -- 'Российский единорог' is a literal Russian translation of the name for the eponymous creature.
- Body Snatcher: Gotye in Kicked Your Monkey
"I'm body snatching you and I'ma change your diaper"
- Bottle Fairy: Taylor Swift from "Rockin' All Nite Long":
And I wanna have fun
Un-sober, I'm thinking you could hook me up
With a bottle of Platinum Patron
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: From (Rockin') All Nite Long;
Whiz Khalifa: Bring me potatoes, and meat, and greens, and weed
- "Dirty Spaceman" gives us "River deep, mountain high, shave my pubes".
- "Beard With Glue" has a very jarring one:
I saw your friends drowning in blood.
- Brick Joke: At the meta level - Nicki Minaj brings up the name "Alejandro" in "Dirty Spaceman", and 2 videos later, "Alejandro" becomes the first Lady Gaga video used by BLR.
- But You Screw One Goat!: "I kicked your monkey/then I used your goat!"
- Call Back: At the end of "Russian Unicorn", a muzak version of "Everybody Poops" can be heard playing in the background.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Rick Santorum:
The first time I drank, I had my shoes under my arm. Because I mean I was so sick, I mean, so barftastic. I puked on the pizza.
- Clear My Name: Ludacris denies shooting the hobbit on his mountain, claiming it was a ghetto hobbit with an uzi.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Most of the people who get the BLR treatment come out this way.
- Comic Sutra: The "Mary Lunch Limbo", a favorite maneuver of Newt Gingrich, involving four porpoises and a wet Nigerian.
- Cool Pet: Michael Bublé's pet porcupine, Zazoom.
- Cool Sword: Miley Cyrus' plasma sword. She's Padawan material, y'know.
- Cross-Dressing Voices As noted earlier, BLR is all the work of one man, which means he ends up gag-dubbing with female voices a lot. Though there's probably some studio trickery involved, his female singing voice is pretty convincing.
- Crossover Cosmology: Hobbits and Padawans are both apparently well-known real beings in the Bad Lip Reading 'verse.
- Darker and Edgier: Songs about fun and partying become songs about gang warfare and drugs.
- Dirty Old Man: Newt Gingrich, who also has this reputation in Real Life.
- Disproportionate Retribution: "Everybody Poops":
You'll never find a human that steals school supplies
And if you do
Let me know who (who)
And I'll beat him down.
- will.i.am will also beat you down if you make eye contact with him, because that's not scary.
- A weird witch gagged Rick Santorum for swearing and having porn.
- Eats Babies: Nicki Minaj, in "Dirty Spaceman" would "love to eat a bag of children" and "cook 'em 'over easy' on a Monday"
- Epic Song: "Morning Dew."
- Establishing Character Moment: Special mention must be made of the Rick Santorum video for getting this over with in the first line.
- Everything's Better with Chickens: Chickens seem to be a recurring theme...
- Arguably, so are beans, as of Russian Unicorn.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Apparently there weren't enough of them in the "Lazy Song" clips, so Jay-Z brought his own. (re. "Morning Dew").
- Evil Laugh: Mitt Romney has one.
I'm very good company. EhahahahahAHAHAHAHAHA!
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The premise at least; the actual songs, not so much.
- Follow the Leader: Bad Lip Reading in other languages. It had to happen.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The still of Ludacris and his "magic goose" in "Magic Man" (shown right after the "Gang Fight" Call Back). It's shown just long enough to register, but the pause button is needed to make out the funnier details.
- Also, in "(Rockin') All Nite Long", once Taylor Swift appears to be checking her armpit odor, "sniff" appears on the screen for a very short time. Turns out it corresponds to a later verse where shes sniffing a flower.
- Happens again in "Dirty Spaceman", with a reflection of the Dirty Spaceman in the tv screen before it's switched on, and will.i.am edited to look like a pink bunny at 3:23.
- Yet again in "Morning Dew," with a monkey appearing on Jay-Z's shoulder at 1:41. The still of Jay-Z edited to look like Han Solo might also count, but it's up for a bit longer than most such shots.
- There's also a shot around 3:23 where Bruno Mars holds up a picture he drew of a pink ice castle, a green hotdog, and 'three light snacks.'
- Friendly Enemy: Bruno Mars is gonna send flowers to all his foes.
- Funny Background Event: Listen to the background chatter at the end of "Russian Unicorn".
Girl 1: Did he say he drinks fire water?
Girl 2: He thinks monsters are trying to get his testicles.
- Gag Dub: As applied to pop music and politicians.
- Genre Shift: BLR has shifted from music videos to politicians.
- Hotter and Sexier: BLR's naughty reinterpretations of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, and Michael Bublé have left many YouTube commenters finding them more attractive than before, despite all video clips being taken straight from the original videos.
- Considering the nature of Bad Lip Reading means people are going to focus on their lips...
- Humiliation Conga:
- Hypocrite: Mitt Romney makes multiple Your Mom statements... But he doesn't want his son speaking bad about his mother, even if he's a party rapper.
- Hypocritical Humor: Rick Perry cracks up at the nonsensical statements made by his opponents during debates, when he did the same thing in Real Life.
- I'm a Humanitarian: "Dirty Spaceman": "I'd love to eat a bag of children, cook 'em over easy on a Monday"
- Implausible Deniability: After soiling his underwear, Michael Bublé blames everyone but himself:
The guy behind you just soiled his underwear. Umm... maybe you did it. Hey, that's okay, girl!
- Intercourse with You: "Russian Unicorn".
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Rick Santorum borrowed meat to provide for his puddy tat.
- Literal Music Video: Although not strict literal music videos, many of the lyrics are inspired by things going on in the video, like in "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)": "Dude's so crazy, he tryin' to sell me hubcaps."
- "Kicked Your Monkey" does this deliberately to fill a segment left lyric-less in the original.
- Lyrical Dissonance
- Magical Negro: Ludacris in "Magic Man", of course.
- Man of a Thousand Voices: In an anonymous interview with the Village Voice, the man behind the videos claims to do all the voices himself, including the female ones.
"I play all the parts and sing all the vocals. Even the girl parts are me. It's a party-trick of mine: I can do a girl voice. I used to call up my friends and speak in the girl voice and they wouldn't know who it was. It's just a thing I can do. But there's also some electronic trickery involved."
- The Merch: Bad Lip Reading T-shirts exist!
- Nobody Poops: Subverted. Unless you're an android, in which case, you should be destroyed.
- And Fergie's got "bowel issues".
- Noodle Incident: It took forever to get a ghost out of Nicki Minaj's house, that stupid poltergeist!
- Barack Obama's college had one man who made goats tell time (Trick the Bridesmaid)
- Obligatory Bondage Song: The Bee Gees' parts of "Magic Man".
- One of Us: Mitt Romney is apparently quite a gamer.
- One Steve Limit: Leaving out the Nicki Minaj bits in "Magic Man" while she gets due focus in "Dirty Spaceman" seems influenced by this trope. Averted with two Justin Bieber videos out (though the second seems like a deliberate followup to the first).
- Only Sane Man: In the Newt Gingrich clip, Michele Bachmann comes across as this during the debate.
- Parody: (Or satire, depending on your point of view) Either one is protected under United States fair use law and BLR makes an effort to present the video clips differently from the original video, potentially to avoid copyright violations. Whether this works is yet to be determined.
- "Gang Fight" fast forwarded through the part of the "Friday" video where Rebecca Black sang the infamous "Yesterday it was Thursday..." lines and goes straight to the rapper in the car, apparently because they didn't write anything for that part of the video. This makes "Gang Fight" about 40 seconds shorter than the original video.
- The images for "Everybody Poops" are flipped from the original version of "Boom Boom Pow" and the part where Fergie sings "People in the place..." is used twice in "Everybody Poops" so she can be seen singing "When I'm on the pot..." twice.
- Clips from rap videos are inserted into "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)" and "(Rockin') All Nite Long", both parodies of songs not containing any rapping. Of special note, the clips of Wiz Khalifa come from "Black and Yellow" which actually were black and yellow but have been tinted blue here.
- "Magic Man" actually omits all of Nicki Minaj's footage from the original, in favor of the apparently random Bee Gees clips from "Too Much Heaven".
- "Dirty Spaceman" is edited so that it appears you are watching the video via a monitor on the ship of the Dirty Spaceman.
- It didn't stop UMG from taking it down, though.
- Putting certain words on screen may also be an effort to ensure the videos are recognized as parody.
- "Russian Unicorn" appears to be the least altered from the original, although it does have the usual BLR trope of putting certain phrases on the screen.
- At the other end of the scale, since "Morning Dew" has clips from three videos, it would be the most altered of all the BLR vidoes.
- "Beard With Glue" adds around another 40 seconds to the video by reversing the part where James Blunt empties his pockets, making it look like after he puts everything out, he puts them back into his pockets, and then puts them out again. The video also uses a similar "watching from a screen" technique like from "Dirty Spaceman", except there are multiple screens, as shown in the beginning and end.
- "Kicked Your Monkey" does this very subtly, adding a strobe effect to just the border, which melds perfectly with the new Eurobeat sound so you don't even notice it's there at first.
- Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Bruno Mars seems to be "delivering" for Lady Gaga in "Morning Dew".
- Prop Recycling: Invoked. Some videos have an obviously CGI plasma TV with a BLR brand name inserted.
- Rashomon Style: In "Magic Man", who did kill that hobbit?
- Reality Subtext: Given Taylor Swift's penchant for Take Thats, starting the chorus with "all y'all haters stop your noise" becomes less random.
- "Asian Baby" has Justin Bieber mentioning that he was in Korea, which would have happened for real if 4chan had their way.
- Rule of Funny: The only way to explain the random lyrics that are sung when the video is not currently focused on the singing. For example, in "Black Umbrella", the lines about the Padawan and Tiny Timmy Tokyo both come up when the camera is not on Miley Cyrus' face.
- Sampled Up: Invoked for "Magic Man" with the Bee Gees.
- Secret Identity: As noted above, the man behind BLR is hiding his real name, reportedly "because he doesn't want the levity of the Bad Lip Reading series to impact his more serious work."
- Shown Their Work: Yes, that is a real graph of the inverse cosine in "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)".
- The new voices for Snoop Dogg and will-i-am are disturbingly spot on. It should be noted that Gary LeVox's ISN'T.
- Their Jay-Z sounds good enough that you'd swear it was him.
- Their Miley Cyrus voice is pretty darn good too, especially in the talking segments (the diet Snapple part and "And I'm pregnant").
- Why is Wiz Khalifa edited into Taylor Swift's video? It might be because the Pittsburgh Pirates logo on the T-shirt he's wearing has been altered to replace the word "PIRATES" with "TAYLOR." But BLR didn't do that. It was shown that way in Khalifa's original video (The Pirate's face was also altered).
- When BLR added their own hands to footage of Lady Gaga in "Morning Dew", there was a tattoo of a peace sign on the left wrist. Lady Gaga actually has a tattoo like this.
- The new voices for Snoop Dogg and will-i-am are disturbingly spot on. It should be noted that Gary LeVox's ISN'T.
- In "Magic Man", They talk about someone killing a hobbit, then The Bee Gees come across the body and sell the ring on his finger for $200
- From the same song, "I ain't see no hobbits in Star Wars"
- Hobbits appear again in "Trick the Bridesmaid" (and Obama is a witness for them)
- From "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)": "Oh my gosh, there's never gonna be a better Padawan than me."
- Star Wars seems to come up a lot, since "Dirty Spaceman" has the line "Angel Mouth ate my Jedi Jello". The same song also refers to Gumby, Tina Turner, Brundlefly and a Re-Animator.
- And now "Morning Dew" has Jay-Z rapping "I'm Han, you're Greedo." With an appropriately photoshopped picture of Jay-Z. And with a later Call Back in a manipulated Lady Gaga clip.
- Gotye joins in the Star Wars love... except he's "working with the Sith".
- And let's not forget Joe Biden's "PIKACHU!"
- From "High School": "That's a banjo!"
- Signature Song: "Gang Fight." "Russian Unicorn" is also a contender.
- Something Completely Different: BLR takes on a Ripped from the Headlines approach with spoken-word videos. "Beard with Glue" could also count, being devoid of the usual hiphop flavor.
- "High School" does this with movie footage now.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: From "Dirty Spaceman":
I can tell I'm beginning to like Alejandro / He's brave and dapper and NOT DRUNK!
- That, or she gets hit on by so many drunk guys that finding one who isn't drunk is something special for her.
- Take That: To the production of "Hot Problems," after the song.
Oh my God, you guys could totally go buy this song on iTunes, and then listen to it in a parked limousine... That'd be so meta!
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Invoked in "Gang Fight!": "You're no one and it's unlikely you'll have this ... And I doubt that you'll have this ... Now you go away, na na na!"
- In "Time to Rock," Double Take "don't wanna disco with your a**"
- The Stinger: After every video, a short part of the video is played again, except with vastly different and equally nonsensical lyrics.
- The Stoner: Miley Cyrus, according to "Black Umbrella".
- Same applies to Newt Gingrich in his soundbyte.
- Both halves of Double Take are blatantly high in "Time To Rock".
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch: From "Everybody Poops":
I be regular, bitches.
- Toilet Humour: Everybody Poops.
- And a bit of it in Russian Unicorn. "The guy behind you just soiled his underwear...uh...umm...maybe YOU did it!"
- Newt Gingrich went poo-poo in the egg salad.
- Too Kinky to Torture: Barry Gibb. "Spank my wood...till I bleed... Or so that I scream...'Souffle!'"
- Too Much Information: Jay-Z "Makin' happy on my floor, got a stiffle" (re. "Morning Dew").
- Unusual Euphemism: In "Hot Jumping Beans", it's pretty clear that the "hot jumping beans" are a metaphor for... something very intimate.
- "The chick let my frog out, and I mean it hopped and it hopped out in space"
- From the same video, we get "Can you leave your wrinkled willie glue inside my ocean, please?"
- And of course: "Oh, the night is young / Now baby we could shoot a Russian unicorn"
- Lady Gaga wants your morning dew.
- Obama wants to "creep" and "make friction" in a large office after lunch.
- Gotye "kicked your monkey" and then "used your goat".
- "The chick let my frog out, and I mean it hopped and it hopped out in space"
- "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Beard With Glue."
- Vocal Dissonance: It says a lot that this is averted except (arguably) in two cases - Gary LeVox (voiced similar to Larry the Cable Guy even though his real voice is more like the one used for Justin Bieber here) and Michele Bachmann (whom you'd probably expect to sound like a guy anyways).
- Vomit Discretion Lyric: "I ate the cookie, then I gave it back to Benny."
- Could also be Jabba Table Manners (he took one bite rather than ate all of it).
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Why is Zazoom always around so many graves? (Considering Michael Buble poisoned his dog to save a baby giraffe...) Is Bruno Mars the prettiest at the store? And why would it not be good if Madonna married a real giant?
- Why shouldn't you ever feed a sick child thick toast?
- A Wild Rapper Appears: Notably inverted in "Magic Man".
- Snoop Dogg's appearance in "Black Umbrella" was intended to parody this.
- Word Salad Lyrics: A typical example from the "Gang Fight" rap: "I'm grabbing a routine vaccination with chicken and sweet carp on the side."
- In fact, the BLR "universe" is almost entirely word salad.
- Your Mom: Mitt Romney is really into this, saying that "Yo' Momma's pudgy" and that she can eat him.