In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.
The hater: Bridget Everett isn’t just Amy Schumer’s favorite comedian. She’s also a longtime cabaret entertainer who has been garnering heaps of praise for her bawdy and hilarious show, some of which was featured in her first one-hour special, Bridget Everett: Gynecological Wonder, last year. A self-described provocateur who swigs from a wine bottle on stage and isn’t afraid to put audience members’ heads up her dress, Everett is the whole package, a funny performer who’s got a set of pipes to boot.
This weekend, Everett will be performing for a sold-out crowd at Riot L.A., a stand-up festival in Los Angeles.
The A.V. Club: Why is “Hero” your least favorite song?
Bridget Everett: I’m a music lover and I hate to hate on any music because people are just doing their best. But Enrique Iglesias is, top to bottom, is a problem for me, and this song, I think, is the most criminal of all of them. And that’s being said about somebody who’s collaborated with Pitbull—and more than once.
AVC: Why is this one the most problematic for you?
BE: I think when you slow Enrique down and really listen to what he’s saying, it’s an explosion of bad taste. That’s fine. I make a living in bad taste, but this seems different.
I don’t know. I just remember the video. I watched it this morning just as a quick reference and I think it’s even worse than the first time I saw it. It’s really, really bad, and not in a fun way. I think he says something like, “Will you tremble if you touch my cheek” or some shit like that? And then, “I want to be your hero”? God.
AVC: The video is beyond gross and gratuitous, and with its Jennifer Love Hewitt and Mickey Rourke appearances, it’s pretty dated as well.
BE: I was like, oh, this must be referring to like some movie like Bonnie And Clyde or some shit that I can’t remember the storyline to, but at the end she’s standing there crying in the rain and he’s dead and stuff, but she’s in a rain machine and there are still no tears on her face.
Doesn’t he whisper in her ear, [whispering] “Let me be your hero?” It’s so terrifying. And he’s wearing a beanie in the hot sun, and the infractions go on from there.
AVC: Supposedly Enrique wrote this song because he was thinking, “What would I have wanted to dance to at my prom?”
BE: Oh, fuck off. Fuck off! That’s even worse!
AVC: 18-year-olds just love sappy ballads.
BE: It reminds me of this Maroon 5 article that I read years ago. They were like, “How do we stay relevant? We follow trends.” That’s basically what they said. And you know, that works for a lot of people. But that explains a whole lot about this song.
Do you remember at the beginning, he’s sitting there and he’s half-asleep and he’s just sort of tickling very tenderly at this piano that’s out there in the desert… it’s so bizarre!
And Jennifer Love Hewitt, she’s a beautiful person, she’s got great tits, but in this video I felt really sorry for her. I wanted to come save her. I hope she was making a whole lot of fucking money. At one point, she’s just sort of licking a lollipop just like you would in a bad music video, only this is a bad music video and she’s actually licking a lollipop in a bad music video.
And then, Mickey Rourke—look: I love Mickey Rourke. He’s still recognizable in this one, and I think he’s an all-American classic. He’s great. But then fucking Enrique Iglesias hits him, and this is the guy that dedicated his Oscar to his puppies! You can’t do that!
AVC: The other thing about this song is that it came out right before September 11th.
AVC: September 3, 2001.
BE: Oh my god, that’s right! Oh my god, oh no. People were playing this all over the place! Why did you have remind me of that? Maybe that’s the real sense memory that I’m dealing with here.
I originally thought I should’ve picked a Jewel song, like that “Hands” song, “My hands are strong I know…” She appointed that as her own 9/11 anthem at the time, and that was a very delicate time in our city’s history, of course, but it doesn’t help having people coining their own songs as anthems to this time. Oh, god. That’s horrible.
AVC: With “Hero,” radio DJs made a mix that combined the track with sounds of firemen on the radio and policemen and newscasts from 9/11.
BE: No… I know what I’m going to be [doing] for the rest of the day now.
AVC: That’s one of those things that might’ve seemed at the time, like “this is what I need to hear” but now it’s just mortifying
BE: Oh, no. I want to hear Whitney Houston or Celine Dion lifting me up in those moments, you know? Some real money notes, and heart, not some guy just like with a beanie and a horse-and-buggy voice out in the middle of the desert—no thanks.
AVC: He just got lucky because it was called “Hero.”
BE: You can either dedicate this song to the heroes of our nation or think about finger-banging some girl at your high school dance.
AVC: Sadly for you, this song did very well. It sold eight million copies, and it was on the top of the Billboard contemporary charts for 15 weeks. It got the 9/11 bump.
BE: But who loves that song? Is it a high school kid? Is it a soccer mom?
AVC: A sad mom?
BE: Is it a sad mom? Or a lonely dad alone on Thanksgiving, no babies, when he thinks about what he’s lost and why he drank too much? Who is it? It’s a peculiar thing to think about. I get who’s buying Taylor Swift’s albums.
AVC: You really don’t get a good picture of people just sitting there listening to this song.
BE: No. And it’s not like if you’re walking on 34th street and there’s a concert about to happen at Madison Square Garden and you see people dressed a certain way. You’re like, “They’re going to see Madonna, they’re going to go see Katy Perry, they’re going to go see Billy Joel.” What does the Enrique Iglesias fan look like? That’s a good question. It’s probably like Ed Hardy and everybody is wearing a little stocking cap on August 14th, you know? In the middle of dead fucking summer. They’re just in the streets and they’re wearing a beanie on their head.