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: A stand-up comedian who’s performed at SF Sketchfest, Bridgetown Comedy Fest, and on Viceland’s Flophouse, Kyle Mizono is an odd bird. A self-proclaimed nerd who still collects Beanie Babies, Mizono is an absurdist comedian—simultaneously thought-provoking and slightly confusing.
The A.V. Club talked to her backstage at Riot LA in January.
The A.V. Club: Why did you pick this song?
Kyle Mizono: I was nervous about choosing this song, because it’s a very popular song that I think would be someone’s favorite song. I don’t want people to hate me, but I don’t like this song, because I feel like it’s the kind of song you hear when you’re around one other person at a grocery store or in a coffee shop, and then you meet eyes. I’m always like, “Are we supposed to kiss or…?” I feel so uncomfortable when it comes on for that reason. You never hear it when you actually want to get it on.
AVC: Or if you do want to get it on, you don’t play that song, because it’s so on the nose.
KM: It’s very on the nose, and it’s also very urgent. He’s like, “Let’s get it on.” Not only are the lyrics very forward, but the music encompasses the act of getting it on. It all just works in this way that creates a very uncomfortable song.
AVC: It’s like this song describes the idealized version of sex, too, not actual sex. There’s a lot of romantic caressing, smooth skin, and soft lighting.
KM: It’s so smooth. Actual physical interactions—or at least the ones I have—are not like that. It’s more robotic, and it’s…
AVC: More awkward. You laugh.
KM: I don’t know why, but this song reminds me of when I was younger and I started going to see movies with boys. There was just this assumption that we were going to kiss at some point. I feel like what actually a lot of sexual interactions are like, where you’re just like, “Um, is this right? Should I… make a move?”
Going to the movies with one other person still makes me uncomfortable to this day. There’s just something about sitting so close to someone.
AVC: You can always do the buffer seat like bros do. You leave one seat in the middle between you.
KM: That’s a good idea, but I feel like, that’s what I want to do, but I feel so bad being like, “Hey,” or if I just did it and they’re like, “Oh, do you want to just sit here?” and I’m like, “No, no, no… this is good.”
AVC: The story behind the song is allegedly that Marvin Gaye was into his guitarist’s 17-year-old daughter. She was still in high school, but she was in the studio at the time that he was recording this, and he was singing it to her. They got married shortly after and had kids.
KM: So we were right. There is a creepy, creepy thing going on in this song. I guess that’s what I was feeling? Because that’s creepy, right? Like, 17? Right?
AVC: Why does that always happen? Provocative male singers marrying teen girls?
KM: The interesting thing is that because I knew I was doing this, I was actually listening to this song and to other Marvin Gaye songs. For some reason “Sexual Healing” doesn’t bother me as much. There’s something silly and light about it and not as intense, like something’s going to happen right now.