(New York Jewish Week) – Is it only a parody? Is it also an unironic hit? Questions aside, “Planet of the Bass,” a song that has gone viral on TikTok and beyond, is the earworm of the summer.
Millions have watched the song’s accompanying kitschy videos of a male and female performer — DJ Crazy Times and Ms. Biljana Electronica — dressed as 90s Europop stars, dancing and lip syncing along to lyrics such as “All of the dream/how does it mean” and “Life, it never die/Women are my favorite guy.”
The real person behind the song is Jewish Brooklyn-based standup Kyle Gordon, who has earned millions of TikTok followers through his many comedic videos — several of which include Jewish characters.
“I’m over the moon. It’s fantastic. I absolutely did not expect the crazy, massive, enthusiastic response that it’s gotten,” Gordon said of the videos, which have been viewed over 200 million times across social media platforms.
Complete with rotating shots and inventive camera angles, Gordon said the “Planet of the Bass” video footage was captured on an iPhone by his brother Sam at the Oculus, the the mall attached to the World Trade Center and the Fulton Street subway station.
“We did it on a Sunday, so there were a lot of tourists around just staring at us because we’re like going crazy dancing. I mean, I have red hair and swim goggles on,” Gordon said. In other interviews, Gordon mentioned that the police eventually told him he couldn’t film at the Oculus.
(The fact that Ms. Biljana Electronica is a different woman in each video — actresses Audrey Trullinger, Mara Olney and Sabrina Brier — is a spoof on the way these types of bands tended to switch out their female members with little to no notice. The real vocals for the song were recorded by singer Chrissi Poland.)
The three videos he’s put out are only promotions for the song — the full version of “Planet of the Bass” will drop on Aug. 15, as the first single in a parody album that Gordon will release in the fall. The record spoofs several genres of music, from 1960s bossa nova songs to early 2000s “Shania Twain-type, female pop country songs.” It will be produced and engineered by Brooks Allison, a writer on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and Jamie Siegel, a music producer and sound engineer.
“I was really proud and happy with everything and I’m really excited for people to hear the album,” said Gordon.
“DJ Crazy Times” is not Gordon’s first viral character. In fact, Gordon, who began posting on TikTok in November 2020, has made a made for himself by creating a plethora of different made-up personalities, including several Jewish-related characters, including, but not limited to: “Kenny Greenblatt,” a Hebrew school teacher who brings a guitar to class to talk about Shabbat; the overly enthusiastic “Bar Mitzvah emcee”; the “Jewish bubbe” who offers her audience delectable “greyish, purplish, brown” Ashkenazi Jewish food; and “Kid at Camp trying to become Color War Captain” — who talks about how “Yonatan is awesome counselor” and implores other campers to be quiet by saying “Guys, they said sheket [quiet in Hebrew]!”
Many of these characters, like DJ Crazy Times, have also been part of Gordon’s live comedy act, which he has been honing over the past nine years doing standup comedy in New York.
“It was never a conscious decision to incorporate Judaism or my Jewish life into my comedy. It just happened naturally because it is such a big part of my life and how I grew up,” Gordon said.
Growing up in Westchester, Gordon’s family was Conservative and “moderately observant.” They observed Shabbat every Friday night, and his parents still keep kosher at home.
“My dad’s great regret is he didn’t send me to Solomon Schechter,” Gordon joked.
Early on, Gordon developed a love for the classic Jewish New York experience, and his New York Jewish comedy icon became Larry David.
“My dad literally fell asleep to Seinfeld reruns every night,” he said.
As for food? “I’m a complete sucker for Jewish deli,” he said. “I love tongue, so my order is pastrami and tongue on rye, and I usually put Russian dressing on it.” On the side is “sour pickles only, and Diet Dr. Brown Cream Soda.” His favorite Jewish deli in the city, he said, is Midtown’s Ben’s Kosher Deli, which merged with Mr. Broadway earlier this year.
Many of his Jewish bits are based on real life experiences and people from his life.
“There was a guy who came to Hebrew school and he’d be the fun Birkenstocks-wearing, tie-dye shirt, guitar guy. That is based on a very real person. The bubbe type character is very much based on family members of mine,” Gordon said. Both sides of his family are “the classic New York Ashkenazi Jewish family.”
Not everyone understands the Jewish characters, said Gordon. When he went on tour last spring, crowds in New York loved the Jewish content, while those in Tennessee had no idea what he was talking about.
One of his favorite Jewish-themed videos was at the “Gathering of the Kyles,” filmed at a convention for all people named Kyle in the city of Kyle, Texas, about 20 miles southwest of Austin. Gordon went to the convention to find out one thing: if he was the only Jewish Kyle in attendance.
Spoiler: he found none, at least at the convention.
“It was just perfect,” he said. “The Jewishness in my comedy just naturally finds its way there.”