So this is what happens when The New Yorker and The Onion meet.
Last week The New Yorker ran “Sonny Rollins: In His Own Words,” penned not by the legendary jazz saxophonist but by senior Onion writer Django Gold. Whether you found it funny (I did) depends on how Onion-y your sense of humor is. Les samples:
Jazz might be the stupidest thing anyone ever came up with. The band starts a song, but then everything falls apart and the musicians just play whatever they want for as long they can stand it. People take turns noodling around, and once they run out of ideas and have to stop, the audience claps. I’m getting angry just thinking about it.
Sometimes we would run through the same song over and over again to see if anybody noticed. If someone did, I don’t care.
There was this one time, in 1953 or 1954, when a few guys and I had just finished our last set at Club Carousel, and we were about to pack it in when in walked Bud Powell and Charlie Parker. We must have jammed together for five more hours, right through sunrise. That was the worst day of my life.
At the bottom:
Alas, The New Yorker and The Onion are two very different publications, with different readerships whose LULZ-meters don’t exactly align; let’s call this the Andy Borowitz Factor. The Rollins faux-interview didn’t go over so well with New Yorker-reading jazz fans, who compared the venerable magazine to Jackass.
Did Rollins notice? Yup, and he took to his surprisingly active Twitter account to say so:
Hey folks, this is some guy’s idea of a joke.
— Sonny Rollins (@sonnyrollins) August 2, 2014
"This article, which is part of our Shouts & Murmurs humor blog, is a work a satire."Lawrence Welk is-a now-a an intern at THE NEW YORKER?
— Sonny Rollins (@sonnyrollins) August 4, 2014
He’s now booked for a Monday night interview with Bret Primack — or Jazz Video Guy, as he’s known on YouTube — who’s taking questions about the article with the hashtag #RollinsTruth:
The New Yorker has since issued an apology:
Dear Readers: The @sonnyrollins "interview" was satire published on our humor blog. Our apologies to anyone who thought it was real.
— TNY Culture Desk (@CultureDesk) August 4, 2014
Gold, for the record, wanted to make sure everything was cool with the saxophonist:
Dear @sonnyrollins, thanks for having a sense of humor. More importantly, thanks for your music. You are the king.
— Django Gold (@djangogold) August 2, 2014
Guess we’ll have to see how Rollins responds tonight. In the meantime:
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