I was at a cabin with friends in mid-coast Maine for the 4th of July this year, and while I don’t always watch fireworks on television on Independence Day, when I do it’s the Boston Pop’s celebration from the esplanade. I don’t know why that wasn’t on while we were grilling and drinking and generally ignoring the fireworks on TV, but instead, we were treated to PBS’s airing of the Capitol Fourth 2015 Independence Day Concert, hosted by Bradley Whitford.
It was a disaster.
First of all, why was Bradley Whitford — who I adore — hosting this low-rent Independence Day gig? Second of all, why did he look like Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove?
Third, why did he over-enunciate every word, as though he were Ed Sullivan introducing The Beatles? Because the Beatles weren’t there. But Nicole Scherzinger sure was.
And so was K.C. and the Sunshine band, which came out and sang their greatest hit(s) for 77 minutes while 64-year-old Harry Wayne Casey danced like he JLo at a fucking rave.
This is not a video of the performance, but it’s basically the exact same thing, plus 15 years.
However, the worst part of the show — besides the kid who they pulled off of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float to follow Barry Manilow — was the dead seriousness in which Whitford introduced Robert Davi as a Frank Sinatra impressionist, spending five minutes extolling the virtues of not Davi, but Sinatra. Who is dead. (Fun Fact: Dana Carvey was down the hall from Sinatra getting heart surgery the night that Sinatra died).
Whitford waxed poetic on the legacy of Frank Sinatra, and his importance to the music industry. He got us all worked up, and then he introduced … an impressionist, because apparently, he was under the mistaken belief that we were on a Royal Caribbean cruise and not celebrating the 249th birthday of the greatest nation on the goddamn planet.
Robert Davi, of course, is best known as Jake in Goonies:
That provoked a friend of mine to ask, “Who are they bringing out next? Sloth?”
And lo and behold, they brought out Sloth.
(Note: That’s actually some opera singer who bears a striking resemblance to Sloth).
Whitford. Dude! I love you, man, and I know you have three kids and a divorce for which to pay (and I’m just now learning that he and Jane Kaczmarek divorced six years ago and I’m retroactively heartbroken), but you, sir, are better than this. AMERICA IS BETTER THAN THIS. This is why everyone should watch the Boston Pops on the 4th of July. Celebrate America’s birthday with some goddamn dignity.