A SONG I HEARD TODAY: VOLUME 16. Shadowboxer by Fiona Apple – by Rich Karski.

Welcome to another edition of Rich Karski’s A SONG I HEARD TODAY: the only online music review column that is more feminist than all of the Mad Max movies put together and projected onto the back of a lesbian couple making out at Hilary Clinton’s inauguration.

One question I get asked a lot is “Why do you do this?” This is in reference to my comedy, my writing, the dumb jokes I put online, etc. It usually comes right after someone hears or reads something I’ve written, and I guess the way they ask the question isn’t so much “Why do you do this?” but more “Why do you keep doing this? Why are you STILL doing this?”

It is not an unfair question. I’m sure a lot of people think I do it for the money. While the money IS great (you ever seen somebody buy a TWENTY DOLLAR SCRATCH TICKET???) that isn’t the reason.

Others think I do it for the fame, and that couldn’t be further from the truth because then my accusers would find a way to bypass my PO Box.

Do I do it for the power? I mean, sure, I could shut this website down with a few clicks of a mouse because Shawn and Christa gave me the log-in information, but then everyone would have to go to Reddit to find open mics in the city and that is a fate worse than death,

The rest believe that narcissism is what drives me, but let me posit this question: If I were, in fact, a narcissist, would I not wear shorts in public without being terrified of everybody seeing my gross white legs?

So… what is my motivation for all of *dramatically gestures around my room past the trash bags full of clothes, Gatorade bottles full of urine, pictures of Glenn Danzig, and scattered gummy bears* THIS? Well, let me tell you, because you don’t have a choice, because I’m the one writing this thing, because Shawn Carter makes a lot of mistakes. So you’re not letting me do SHIT. I’m doing what I tell you I’m doing and I’m going to tell you I’m doing it and then do it because that’s the order of things AS I HAVE JUST DICTATED TO YOU THROUGH THE POWER OF THE WRITTEN WORD!

Oh, sorry, right. Why do I do this shit? My entire life, everything I have ever done has been with one final goal in mind: to make Fiona Apple my girlfriend. Fiona likes guys who are dirty and weird? I’ll live in the trash and then brag about it to my friends WHO I HAVE ALSO MADE OUT OF TRASH. Fiona likes guys who are sad? I am sad literally all the time unless I see a dog so keep me away from dogs Fiona and I will never smile again. Fiona likes guys who are magicians? I will learn literally one magic trick because I love you Fiona but I REF– USE TO BECOME A SLAVE TO THE DARK ARTS!

Well, this is all to say that I have yet to give up on this dream. And this week, I’m going to delve into the classic “Shadowboxer” by Fiona Apple to see if I can find any tips that I can use to finally make her mine.

The artist this week, as I’m sure you could have surmised, is the glorious and captivating vision of heaven that we know as Fiona Apple. Fiona is the angel that helps you out of the gutter after you drank too much whiskey and are trying to remember whether or not you had teeth when you left the house. Fiona is the ER nurse that watches the doctor staple your scalp closed and then slips you a couple of Vicodin even though he explicitly stated that you were not to receive Vicodin. Fiona is the Mother Theresa of useless white dirtbags who squandered every advantage they had and are desperately hoping for one more undeserved shot at life that they are sure to appreciate about as much as the paper their Xanax prescription is written on. Fiona is my dream. Fiona is my love.

Once my lover/Now my friend/What a cruel thing/To pretend

Fiona I promise you that I would never pretend cruelly towards you. We could do some fun pretending maybe? Like I’m pretending to be Alex Trebec and I’ll ask you some Jeopardy questions and if you get them right I’ll give you a smooch but I make them really easy because guess what? I secretly wanted the smooches the entire time!

via smosh.com

via smosh.com

What a cunning way to condescend/Once my lover/Now my friend

I swear Fiona I am not trying to be cunning, and I would never be condescending towards you! You won a Grammy when you were seventeen years old! When I was seventeen I peed all over my leg one time because the cops came to the park that I was drinking at and I had to run away before even putting my thing back in my pants. I’m not here to throw stones Fiona, I’m here to be your friend/lover.

Oh you creep up/Like the clouds/And you set my soul at ease

Is that what you need? For me to creep up like the clouds? I can do that! I promise! I am very light on my feet and I am also white and mostly made of water vapor. I’m basically a ghost. Actually a poltergeist, because I will regularly get drunk and knock things over in your apartment when you’re trying to sleep. BUT WILL YOUR SOUL NOT BE AT EASE IN MY CLOUDLY PRESENCE???

Then you let your love abound/And bring me to my knees

Hell yeah I let my love abound *looks up “abound” in the dictionary*… sure.

Oh it’s evil babe/The way you let/Your grace enrapture me

*at a job interview* “So what would you say is the most evil thing about you?” “Good question. I would say it is the way I just let all of my grace enrapture the people around me.” See Fiona? People are always getting enraptured up in my grace. This was not a sentence I just made up for the purposes of this column, this actually happened to me. On 9/11, of all days.

You made me a shadowboxer baby/I want to be ready for what you do

See? We’re already finishing each others’ boxing moves. This is a sign Fiona. You ARE ready for what I do. And what I do is love.

I’ve been swinging all around me/Cause I don’t know when you’re gonna make your move

It’s lucky for our lasting relationship that I’m not one of those guys whose arm-over-the-shoulder-lean-in-for-the-kiss-move isn’t deterred by being repeatedly punched in the face. Basically Fiona I’m perfect for you.

Oh your gaze is dangerous/And you fill your space so sweet/If I let you get too close/You’ll set your spell on me

Wow, this is incredible. Fiona already knows three things about me that she is conveying through these lyrics. Firstly: yes, these are new sunglasses and they had better look dangerous because I asked the man at Sunglass Hut to give me the sunglasses that the Unabomber wore. Secondly: I have been working out, thank you for noticing my sweet space-filling. And thirdly: I am one quarter gypsy so you better believe I will set a spell on you if you come within a cubic yard of my dangerous gaze. The sunglasses are to prevent collateral damage.

I just wanna say/Just in case I don’t come through/I was on to every play/I just wanted you

Oh sure, NOW you’re going to pretend like yo- WAIT WHAT?! You know that I’m an evil pee-pantsed gypsy poltergeist who will trick you into kissing with a Jeopardy inspired ruse and you STILL want me???? Oh Fiona. Oh baby I don’t know what to say. You’ve made me so happy. I am so happy and I love you so much. Yes, yes of course I will marry you, and of course we can have our honeymoon at Val Kilmer’s ranch in New Mexico. Yes I will hold off on my “fat batman” jokes. No you’re right, you’re right, “fatman” sounds better, but I just don’t know if he’ll really get it, you know? He probably hears regular “fat man” a lot now from people who don’t even know who he is. Sure, we can figure it out when we get there. By the way: This man is a delusional manic-depressive with substance abuse issues who loves Fiona Apple. What did you say? “Who is Rich Karski?” You’re right again babe. I owe you a smooch…


UnScene Comedy is the best place to find essays, articles, and media from some of the top Boston comedians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *