Zaney to the Max

Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

Well, sorry to disappoint, but the answer is “no,” I don’t have bologna in my slacks. But this past Friday, I was certainly zaney to the max! Connor got us tickets (Merry Christmas to me!) to see Animaniacs Live at Joe’s Pub in the city and boy, did we have a great time!

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We got to Joe’s Pub early and settled in for a beer and dessert and all of a sudden I hear “Hello, Nurse” and next to me is Rob Paulsen, the one and only Yakko. I geeked out a little and told him how much of a fan I am of the show and watched it all the time growing up—and even dressed up as Dot for Halloween before it was nerdy/trendy to do so. (Homemade costume and all!) We chatted for a bit about how the show has really stood the test of time and still resonates with so many generations (the audience was truly all ages!). It was so nice of him to stop by and say “hello”—I was truly surprised!

The performance starred Rob and Randy Rogel, the composer for Animaniacs. They took us through many infamous songs (including “Yakko’s World,” which not only was Randy’s audition song to be a writer on the show, but Rob also recorded it in only one take. #truestory), many of which I recalled most of the words to. We also got to hear a song for Dot that didn’t make it on air (and then in contrast, the different version that did make it on air), plus an updated verse for “Yakko’s World.”

If there was a cartoon show that summed up my childhood, it was Animaniacs. From singing and dancing to their songs in our living room (Dot’s “I’m Cute” was my song of choice, obviously) and dressing up as Dot for Halloween, to trying to win all the Animaniacs stuffed animals at Six Flags and recording the show on VHS every week so that I could watch it later. Among my favorite stories: Hooked on a Ceiling (“I’m the great Michaelangelo and this is the Sistene Chapel” “Oh yeah, well if you’re so great then what’d you do with the other 15 chapels, huh? Got ya there.”), Mobster Mash (“Would you like the pasta or noodles, calamari or squid, drink or beverage?”), and Baloney & Friends (“Neat-o, complete-o, yippee!”).

Listening to the songs performed live this past weekend, it really hit me how much of my sense of humor (as well as my knack for rhyming) was informed by this show. The writing is so intelligent, sarcastic, and witty—I loved it!

One of the songs Rob and Randy performed brought back an interesting middle school memory (funny now, terrifying then): “A Quake, A Quake!” During the forensics unit in 8th grade, we had to pick a poem, story, etc that I believe was at least 90-120 seconds long to perform in front of the class. Eighth-grade Natalie was an incredibly shy, gangly girl who wore a back brace and didn’t like speaking in front of people. So what’s a girl to do? (remember: Yakko spelled backwards is “okkay”) Enter Animaniacs. I performed this song—more like spoken word actually, not quite a la William Shatner, but probably close—in front of my class:

I’m not sure if they’re going to be touring the show around much longer, but if you see it, I’d highly recommend going! The humor and writing are spot-on and the behind-the-scenes tidbits that Rob and Randy gave were just the icing on the cake. It was a really fun night out, reliving some of the songs and memories that shaped my childhood. And those are the facts.

PS: Did you hear that Hulu is bringing Animaniacs back? Totally insaney! It’s time (again!) for An-i-man-i-acs!

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