Neil Innes may play guitar and sing, but you come for his wit, not his guitar chops. You may know Innes from his work with Monty Python's Flying Circus or the psychedelic jazz and art-rock crazies in The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Or maybe you thought The Rutles had a keen place in British rock invasion history, only to learn (spoiler alert) that the band contains only satirists dressed in Piccadilly parody.
When Neil Innes came to NPR, he was armed with just his guitar and ukulele; he played three songs in less than 10 minutes and then made a quick getaway. An entire public media outlet breathed a sigh of relief after an awful lot of chuckles.
Innes played two Bonzo Dog Band tunes in his brief cameo at the Tiny Desk — including, more famously, "I'm the Urban Spaceman," as well as, less famously, "Democracy," for which he pulled out an appropriately tiny ukelele. As he spied what he thought was a Hard Day's Rut poster in our office — it was really The Beatles, not The Rutles — Innes put on his best Rutles accent and belted out "I Must Be in Love," and then poof! He was gone, never to be forgotten.
- "I'm The Urban Spaceman"
- "I Must Be In Love"
Michael Katzif (cameras); edited by Bob Boilen; audio by Kevin Wait; photo by Michael Katzif