The Landless Theater Company’s artistic direction team, Andrew and Melissa Baughman, embarked on a new project this season: they’ve formed a comedy group called The Bingle Jells in the spirit of Weird Al and Dr. Demento, and have released their first album, A key child’s Christmas album, on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music on December 14, 2021.
It’s 14 twisted tunes and it’s free to listen. We sat down with the Baughmans to talk about this unusual project:
Where the hell did this idea come from?
As theaters and performance halls began to open, we thought it would be interesting to form a parody music group for the holidays this season. We contacted a number of musician friends with whom we work regularly. Most of them weren’t ready to get back on track yet, but Melissa had already written a lot of fun lyrics, so we decided to start with an album. It was quite a project, but a bit more manageable than the virtual All-Sock Puppet production of Urineville which we supported earlier this year (still available online until April 2022 – see DCMTA review).
Tell us about A key child’s Christmas album.
At the heart of the album is our original song “Latchkey Kid at Christmas”, which is also our single. It’s a hymn to our generation, Generation X, who have walked through this pandemic era in silence, drawing strength from our roots as children on lock, and perhaps even taking advantage of the continued excuse to avoid gatherings. social and working from home. We are so often forgotten between the moans of baby boomers and the squeaks of Gen Y, and we will soon be completely eclipsed by the self-righteous outrage of our own Gen Z children. “Latchkey Kid at Christmas” is a beautiful, sad and funny song. In fact, we liked it enough to spend a little more time and care orchestrating and recording it than the rest of this album. It lays the foundations for an album that evokes perhaps more Festivus than Christmas in its countless odes to banality.
Our vacation parodies are the product of too many years of consuming Weird Al and Dr. Demento. “True Crime TV” taps into our collective paranoia of being cooped up with too much time for Netflix. “Joy to the World (the Food Has Come)” captures that roller coaster of happiness and disappointment we experience in our turbulent relationships with GrubHub and DoorDash. Likewise, “Oh What a Night” touts the devastation of a holiday meal gone wrong. Can you say we like to eat? “Away in a Trailer” is the political song we swore we wouldn’t write, but we did it anyway, so you can just swallow it and deal with it. “Oh Well” is a song that asks the question “Is being friends with everyone you went to high school with on Facebook really worth the risk to your mental and physical well-being?” “Whose child is this?” and “One You All Know” will both be very familiar to parents around the world. “Why is grandma always stoned? is a song written especially for today’s children.
Did you notice our awesome explicit content warning? Our two “unnecessarily censored” versions of Harry E. Humphrey’s classic holiday archive radio recordings actually have no explicit content other than what pops into your own filthy minds. We just wanted to be nervous.
Our other original song is “HorrorHound Holiday”, a catchy little song that we repurposed from a song we wrote years ago for the Ningen Manga Productions web series. Helena Hussy of Horror (originally titled naughty holidays), which is still lurking on the Internet for your viewing pleasure. Fun Fact: Although it’s a Christmas album, “Horrorhound” is one of only two Christmas songs, and it’s more of an inclusive secular party song for “Christmas, Hanukkah and Ramadan”. Wait, does that make it the first song of Ramadan? And the second Hanukkah song?
Finally, since we want you to sing our songs, we’ve included bonus karaoke tracks for two songs with “hard to find backing tracks”.
Who is the ideal audience for The Bingle Jells and this album?
A key child’s Christmas album is a perfect holiday gift for your mom, grandma, aunts and little old ladies everywhere. Also, for weirdos in general.
Do you have anything else to tell us?
We hope you will check it out! Quick close summary:
On December 14, Bingle Jells gave me:
12 true crime addicts
11 sloppy GrubHub commands
10 kids who melt in malls
9 dads in debt
8 Covidiot Karens
7 stoner grannies
6 nerd horror anthems
5 Facebook trolls from your high school
4 Meals Ruined By Aunt Sue
3 Unnecessarily Censored Holiday Classics
2 bonus karaoke tracks
and a Latchkey Kid Alone at Christmas!
The Bingle Jells’ debut album A key child’s Christmas album will be released on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. The song “Latchkey Kid at Christmas” will also be released as a single.
About Landless Theater Company: The Landless Theater Company is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating new and diverse audiences for live theater. More information online at landlesstheatrecompany.org