Directors: Akiva Schaffer & Scott Aukerman
Writers: Akiva Schaffer, Scott Aukerman, Dave Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis & Joe Saunders
Cast: Michael Bolton, Adam Scott, Brooke Shields, Janeane Garofalo, Sinbad, Andy Richter, Bob Saget, Louie Anderson, Sarah Silverman, Randall Park, Andy Samberg, Kenny G, Fred Armisen, Jorma Taccone, Michael Sheen, Akiva Schaffer, Chris Parnell, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Eric André, Casey Wilson.
Just in time for the most (manufactured) romantic day of the year (if you have someone), comes a Netflix special you may not have known you wanted but I am here to tell you that you absolutely needed! There are only three requirements for enjoying this fantastic and unexpectedly hilarious Netflix special: you have a sense of humor that tends towards the bizarre, you know who Michael Bolton is and are familiar a few of his greatest hits, and you’ve seen his collaboration with The Lonely Island “Jack Sparrow”. In case you haven’t here it is:
OK, now we can get started. Why did you have to rewatch that music video? I mean, aside from the fact that it’s hilarious, awesome, and you get to see Bolton dressed up as Erin Brokovich? That’s because the great minds behind The Lonely Island have teamed up with Mr. Bolton once again to produce an off the rails holiday special chock full of crazy and over the top comedy starring the one and only (formerly mulleted) singing 90’s superstar. It’s also very nice to see someone who has had a very long and prolific career, but may not be quite as relevant as they used to be, poke fun at their image, while also doing it well, in a way that doesn’t read as either desperate or pathetic, and also gaining new fans all the while.
The premise makes absolutely no sense, and I love that! So apparently Michael Bolton’s favorite holiday is Christmas, so much so that he cannot friggin’ wait for December to come back around even though it’s only February. But there’s a big problem. Unless 75,000 babies are born so Santa can unload all the extra toys his elves made, Christmas will be canceled and ruined for all. Michael Bolton cannot accept this, and so what’s a romantic crooner to do? Assemble celebrity friends and a slew of guests, put on a romantic Valentine’s Day show, and start a Telethon not to get money donations… oh, no… but to get sex pledges. That’s right, people call in as soon as they’ve conceived a baby while making sweet sweet love while watching the live show.
Helping with the phone banks are celebrities like Janeane Garofalo, Brooke Shields, Bob Saget, Andy Richter, Louie Anderson and Sinbad. Their job is to take calls from people verifying that a baby has indeed been conceived. Other celebs show up to help out with a special segment, sing a song, or perform a stand-up routine. But the show belongs truly to Bolton himself. For a large part of the show he is singing other people’s songs, but he truly shines when he gets to his own biggest hits. Heck, he even manages to sneak in an aria from his Opera album. Look out for a stripped down ballet version of “Jack Sparrow”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or tear up, it’s beautiful and tender and yet here is a grown man singing a ballad about his favorite Johnny Depp movie.
I can’t stress enough how much fun it was to watch the one hour special. It makes one wish Bolton had his own variety show. As famous as he is, he is also extremely self aware and game. His role is to mostly play the straight man as the crazy takes place around him, but he also is willing to completely embrace the corniness that was his 90’s look. I would easily look forward to a yearly show, or a special for each holiday. Could you imagine Michael Bolton’s Huge, Scary Halloween Spectacular? The show just writes itself.
Happy Valentine’s Day!