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: Jimmy Pardo has been a working comedian for almost 25 years, having started in Chicago in the late ’80s. He’s released three comedy albums—Uno, Pompous Clown, and the excellent Sprezzatura—and has hosted a number of television shows, including AMC’s Movies At Our House. He’s also been the warm-up comedian for both The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien and Conan. A.V. Club readers might know him best as the host of Never Not Funny, his hilarious podcast, now in its 15th season.
Pardo also hosts the annual Pardcast-a-thon benefit show, raising money for Smile Train, a charity for children with cleft palates. This year’s 12-hour-marathon, the Pardcast-a-thon’s sixth, runs from noon to midnight on Friday, November 28.
The hated: Bryan Adams, “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” (1995)
The A.V. Club: Why is this the song you picked?
Jimmy Pardo: Because it’s horrible. That’s it. It’s horrible. It’s worse than having someone drive an ice pick into my eardrums.
I actually like Bryan Adams; please make sure that is part of this. I enjoy Bryan Adams. I grew up in the ’80s and “Cuts Like A Knife” was one of the first videos that I dug and then I saw him in concert. Holy shit, how many times have I seen Bryan Adams in concert? Let’s call it eight times! That’s crazy, right?
He opened up for Journey back in ’83 and I would always see him opening for people and then he was headlining and now he’s back doing these double bills with people.
And then I don’t know what happened. God, he turned into a pussy for like two years. He’s since come out of it. He’s no longer stuck in that, but for those two years—not a fan; not my bag.
AVC: Before the interview, you said you don’t like “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.” Why is this the Bryan Adams song you hate even more?
JP: Here’s the thing. I actually hate “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” more. But it’s almost hackneyed to hate that song. I also hate this song.
This was hard to do, by the way. If you were to spend any time doing Jimmy Pardo research, you will find that I like a lot of shitty songs. I like a lot of bad music, so it’s hard for me to find a song that I’m like, “Nah, I hate it.”
Arguably, one would say “Kokomo” was one of the worst songs ever. And I would say, “You know what? You’re right.” But, yet, when it comes on the radio, I don’t turn it off. Because a few seconds in, you’re kind of digging it. You’re singing along with it, you’re having fun; it puts a smile on your face. Same with the “Macarena.” Horrible song, but it’s like, “What the hell, it’s fun.” “Tubthumping,” what the hell? It’s fun. But they’re all horrible songs. Even “Lady In Red” by Chris De Burgh is a horrible song, but it comes on and memories are connected to it and you’re like, “You know what? I’m not going to be mad at ‘Lady in Red.’” But this song—I can’t rationalize it at all.
AVC: Maybe you just don’t like the flamenco guitar at the beginning.
JP: Ugh! And I know the guy who plays the flamenco guitar is some kind of legendary flamenco guitarist if I’m not mistaken. But even then, it’s contrived, it sounds so written for [Don Juan DeMarco]. We have a formula. We have to tie it in to that movie, we need somebody that can pull off playing flamenco guitar and because Bryan Adams had another hit playing flamenco guitar from a movie, let’s have Bryan Adams write it and sing it.
AVC: Until you mentioned this song, I had forgotten that Don Juan DeMarco even existed.
JP: Is it Johnny Depp? He’s become a cartoon, too. It’s like, what the fuck is going on? This whole song ruined Bryan Adams and Johnny Depp! I’m going to bring Johnny Depp in on this song, too.
AVC: Maybe he loves it. Maybe it’s his favorite song.
JP: I’d imagine it is and he sits around wearing his costume smoking his weirdo cigarettes.
AVC: Did you watch the video for this song while you were refreshing your memory?
JP: I didn’t because I ended up buying it on iTunes and listening to it in my car and trying not to drive my car into a pole. Does the video have clips from the movie?
AVC: It does have some clips from the movie, but it also has Bryan Adams wearing what looks to be a Zorro mask.
JP: Oh, it does! It’s horrible, right? God, yes. What’s he doing? I wish I had watched the video now. That’s horrible research on my part.
AVC: So you like Bryan Adams, but you just think this song was a real shitty move on his part?
JP: I thought it was nothing more than a cash grab. I can’t imagine a real Bryan Adams fan likes this song. I think it’s the same person who liked “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” going, “Oh, I love Bryan Adams! He’s got another one that I can sit around and talk about with the ladies at canasta!”
Ugh, I so dislike it I can’t even put into words. But, again, based on my music, it’s hard for me to hate a song.
AVC: For me, the lyrics are the killer on this song. “You gotta touch a woman how she needs to be touched,” and, “You’ll see your unborn children in her eyes.”
JP: Like I said, it’s so grasping for a hit. You know what I mean? Every aspect of it: musically, lyrically. Somebody is going to pull on someone’s heartstrings.
I’m sorry I can’t be more articulate about this.
AVC: It’s totally okay. If you hate something, you hate something.
JP: And wasn’t it No. 1 for, like, five weeks?
AVC: It was No. 1 for five weeks and it earned an Oscar nomination.
JP: An Oscar nomination? Jesus Christ!
AVC: It was very of a time.
JP: What was it, ’95? It was right when I was dating a girl in Chicago so maybe we were listening to that song. Who knows? Maybe that’s what we put on and had sex to.
AVC: It definitely seems like the kind of song that gross people slowly kiss to in front of some soft candles.
JP: I think you just nailed it, Marah. It seems fake romantic, like a dumb guy, a dumb rube saying, “This is what women like, let’s light some candles. Oh, they like wine, I’m going to have a path of rose petals to the bedroom and I’m going to put on this Bryan Adams song.” That’s it. You just nailed it.
AVC: But what if Bryan Adams really feels that way? What if this is his song for the women he loves?
JP: When Survivor did “Burning Heart” for Rocky IV, I think it was the same deal. You had a hit with “Eye Of The Tiger,” let’s see if the same band can do another song. I think some lazy producer said, “Bryan Adams had a huge hit with that song. Let’s try to recapture that magic.” And Bryan Adams was like, “You know what? I like yachts. Why wouldn’t I do that again?”