This comedian takes silly songs very seriously.
Ditmas Park funny-man Eliot Glazer will perform bad pop songs as heartfelt ballads at Park Slope’s Union Hall on Nov. 9. Glazer said he is familiar with the old adage “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” but he is too good of a musical makeover-artist to care.
“These pigs just look good in lipstick,” he said.
Glazer first began performing hilariously ultra-earnest versions of songs such as Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” and Destiny’s Child’s “Bug A Boo” in an online video series called “Haunting Renditions.” Glazer, who is currently developing a half-hour show for Comedy Central, is best known as a comedian and TV writer, but is also a classically trained vocalist. He performed in theater groups growing up, but said he did not find his niche until he joined New York University a capella club All Points of the Compass Rhythm Group.
Now with “Haunting Renditions” and “Haunting Renditions Live,” Glazer gets to utilize both skill sets. He and keyboardist Mike Fram arrange the tunes together, which can take a couple weeks to perfect, Glazer said.
“We strip them down to the skeleton — which is funny because that’s what we did arranging a capella songs — and we build it back up in the most grandiose way possible,” he said.
The result is renditions that are as heartwarming as they are rib-tickling, Glazer said.
“People tell me that they cry from Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ or ‘Wake Me up Before You Go Go’ by Wham!, because it’s a mixture of the song sounding so good and my voice being touching in a way,” he said. “That’s kind of what I’m going for — I want it to be a confusing, dynamic, layered show. Plus that’s just really funny.”
In between songs, Glazer waxes poetic about his musical muses and the tunes they have penned.
“Avril Lavigne-Kroeger asks — in ‘Sk8r Boi’ — ‘Why can’t we be together? If you’re of another ilk and I’m of another ilk and we’re in another ilk, where do we meet?’” Glazer ponders in one Haunting Renditions video. “It’s Shakespearean. It’s tragic. It’s Greek.”
Sometimes the gag is so good, Glazer and his musicians can’t keep a straight face on stage — and that is okay, he said.
“There is no unwavering insistence upon having a poker face,” said Glazer, who has a large tattoo of Bea Arthur from “The Golden Girls” on his arm. “What makes this so special is that we’re all sort of performing this joke but breaking. Breaking gives it more of a stand-up edge.”
Glazer pointed to one performance where his bodily functions got he best of him mid-song and he made sure the audience knew it.
“You’d never hear Josh Groban or Susan Boyle announce ‘I burped’ mid-song,” he said.
Eliot Glazer performs “Haunting Renditions Live” at Union Hall [702 Union St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, www.unionhallny.com, (718) 638–4400]. Nov. 9 at 9 pm. $8.