So I was reading the recent Newsweek with the cover story about Rush Limbaugh, David Frum, the future of the Republic, yadda, yadda, and I finally came across news I can use — Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer did a double-bill concert in Utah! After all the snark, the reviewer finally does his job and comments on the performance: “The harsh truth is, these songs are giddy and infectious, just as much now as then. A mite odd, yes, but as Friday night entertainment in Utah, perfectly legit.” As entertainment anytime, anywhere, pal.
Strangely, this is probably not the most surreal Vanilla Ice double-bill ever.
Like most men in contemporary America who are happily married and want to stay that way, I get dragooned into watching lots of reality competition shows that delve deeply into topics I really couldn’t care less about. Cooking? OK, maybe. But designing clothes? Interior decoration? Ballroom dancing? I draw the line at the one about cutting hair.
But one distant, magical summer (2007), I was able to turn the tables with Ty Murray’s Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge. It brought together a bunch of c-list celebrities (Stephen Baldwin, Leif Garrett(!), Vanilla Ice, etc.) to ride actual rodeo bulls in competition. It was the product of some kind of twisted programming genius, and for all I know was actually the result of some other meta-reality show in which aspiring television producers are brought together to come up with the most ridiculous premise imaginable, and then try to get the show on the air.
The great part of it was the recognition by these performers that this wasn’t play. Leif Garrett wussed out the morning of their first real ride, and left the show in disgrace. Stephen Baldwin broke his shoulder in another episode. So you can laugh at the Iceman all you want, but he’s gotten up on a live bull — how about you?
Anyway, in one episode the boys all have a BBQ at Ty’s ranch. It turns out that his girlfriend is the singer Jewel. Naturally. Of course they all want her to sing that song that, like me, you probably remember but can’t name. She was reluctant, but Ice goaded her into it by promising, yes, an acoustic version of “Ice, Ice Baby.” Which he then delivered, Old Skool.