What a drag it is getting old
“What a drag it is getting old,” Mick Jagger snarled at the beginning of “Mother’s Little Helper” in 1966. That was 44 years ago, and now Jagger’s getting a bit aged and crinkly himself, and Andy Rooney, who was 97 back then, is now a ripe old 141. Which makes Rooney’s attempts at pop-music punditry especially laughable, and if I was a muckety-muck at CBS, I’d be pushing to devote the final 15 minutes of 60 Minutes each week to playing Rooney the latest sounds the world of popular music has to offer just to get his impromptu reviews, because the dividends of unintentional comedy gold might be priceless. Dunno about you, but I certainly would be tuning in every week.
“I consider myself to be an absolutely normal, dead-center, average American,” Andy sez at the beginning of this clip (after whatever noxious advertising clip the mooks at CBS tacked onto the beginning, and sorry about that). Yep, Andy, when I think about paragons of normal, contemporary Americans, I think of you — you , and that guy who played Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace, perhaps. Then he goes on to comment on Lady GaGa, and The Human Foetus (some kid named Justin Bieber), and Usher. Um, hasn’t Usher been around since the 1990s? Someone gave Rooney a copy of Billboard magazine, and he didn’t see Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights or the Capitol Steps on the Top 200 Albums chart? Whoa. Big-B little-ummer bummer, man.
The only thing cooler would be to pair Rooney with a cartoon counterpoint: Mr. Magoo. Unfortunately, Jim Backus, the voice of Magoo, is no longer living. Perhaps Sacha Baron Cohen or Harry Shearer might be up to the challenge, or maybe they could create a whole new geriatric goofball character who could spar with Rooney. Something like this might get everyone tuning in each week — “Hey, Rooney and Magoo are reviewing the new Black Tambourine and Fall albums!” — and might help reignite interest in a moribund record industry.
And, hey. If I ever finish my album, I’d want these guys debating its merits. —Jackson Griffith