Stages of Grief for the 'BPP': Anger The Bryant Park Project has three shows to go, moving producer Dan Pashman to the second stage of grief. Pashman plays a song from Digital Underground, "The Humpty Dance," and attempts to set a wrong world right.
NPR logo Stages of Grief for the 'BPP': Anger
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Well, we're winding down the final days of the Bryant Park Project, and we're marking the time by taking you, and well, frankly, us, through each of the five stages of grief in the form of our regular feature, The Best Song In The World Today. Yesterday, we did denial. Today, it's anger. Here with his best song in the world today is producer Dan Pashman.

DAN PASHMAN: The great preacher William Sloane Coffin said the world needs more anger. But, he said, anger should be distinguished from bitterness, because anger leads to action, while bitterness leads to apathy. I think that's pretty smart advice. And you know, Ali, I think I'm a friendly-enough kind of guy...

STEWART: You're very friendly.

PASHMAN: Thank you. But there are times, I will admit, that my temper gets the better of me. I try not to get bitter, which is easier said than done, but there are things that make me angry, like when I'm riding the subway, and people don't move all the way into the train. They just block the doors, and then you can't get in. That makes me angry.

STEWART: Ugh, I'm with you.

PASHMAN: The fact that airlines charge you to change your flight, even if you are changing from more desirable flight to a less desirable flight. Then they wonder why they're in bankruptcy? That makes me angry. Humidity, that sucks.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: And when the BPP staff orders breakfast sandwiches from the deli downstairs, and I order bacon-egg-and-cheese on a roll with the eggs scrambled, and the eggs come fried...

(Shouting) That makes me so angry!

But the truth is, in most diners and delis, fried egg is the standard on an egg-based sandwich, and when there is an established way of doing things, those of us who want to scramble up the status quo often find ourselves fighting an uphill battle.

(Soundbite of song "Humpty Hump")

Mr. GREG "SHOCK G" JACOBS: (Rapping) All right! Stop whatcha doin', 'Cause I'm about to ruin The image and the style that ya used to. I look funny, But yo, I'm makin' money, see? So, yo, world, I hope you're ready for me.

Now, gather round. I'm the new fool in town, And my sound's laid down by the Underground. I drink up all the Hennessey ya got on ya shelf. So just let me introduce myself, My name is Humpty...

PASHMAN: Now, I believe that, in the future, we'll all eat cheeseburgers with the cheese on the bottom instead of the top, because that puts the cheese is closer to your tongue and thus maximizes cheesy goodness. That's how I do it now, of course, but I'm confident society'll catch up.

Ali, you remember that TV show, "Freaks and Geeks"? That show was cancelled quickly. Now, its creator, Judd Apatow, is the king of Hollywood. "Arrested Development" got canned. Now it's becoming a movie.

STEWART: Part of the brilliant-but-cancelled series!

PASHMAN: That's right. You know, the great newsman, Edward R. Murrow, had serious doubts about moving from radio to television, but he overcame those fears. When he advertised his now-legendary TV report on Joe McCarthy, CBS wouldn't even let Murrow use the network's logo in the ads. This is true. The idea of a TV news show doing an investigation of one particular U.S. senator was foreign and scary at the time.

STEWART: How weird!

PASHMAN: Clearly, CBS and the other networks have come around.

STEWART: (Coughing) "60 Minutes"!

I'm sorry.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: You know, but I'll bet Mr. Murrow was pretty angry when CBS made him pay to advertise the program himself. Being misunderstood, or not understood, makes me angry, too. Now, am I suggesting that the BPP is Edward R. Murrow? Hardly. I'll be the first to admit, we've got plenty of kinks left to work out. Instead, I like to compare us to another great historical figure, someone who wasn't ashamed of being different, who wasn't afraid to take risks, someone who was also ahead of his time. He's the kind of guy who'd use a word that don't mean nutin' (ph), like looptid (ph). And he's the man who sings the song that's my submission for Best Song In The World Today.

So, today I am angry, but not bitter. I'm going out with my head held high, proud of what the BPP has accomplished, just like ol' Humpty would want.

Mr. JACOBS: (Rapping) All ya had to do was give Humpty a chance. And now I'm going to do my dance.

The Humpty Dance is your chance to do the hump. Come on, yeah, sexy ladies, Dance. Do the Humpty Hump, come on and do the Humpty Hump. Oh, sexy baby, do the Humpty Hump. Everybody, come on, do the Humpty Hump. (Oh, do it, baby.) Do ya know what I'm doin', doin' the Humpty Hump, y'all. (Oh, do it, baby) Do the Humpty Hump, just watch me do the Humpty Hump.

Oh, yeah, that's the break, y'all. Let me hear a little bit of that bass groove right here.

Ah, yeah!

Now that I told ya a little bit about myself, Let me tell ya a little bit about this dance...

STEWART: You know what makes me angry? People who are rude to waitresses. That makes me angry.


STEWART: That lady in the parking lot at Twice Upon a Bagel out in the Hamptons with her yoga outfit...

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Who wouldn't get out of the parking space and caused a traffic jam in the parking lot. She made me angry.

PASHMAN: Yeah. I got angry at a bunch of smug, yuppie parents in the park yesterday who reserved all the picnic tables in the park for their three-year-old's birthday and then only used half of them.

STEWART: And her name was Madison, wasn't it?

PASHMAN: Probably.

Mr. JACOBS: (Rapping) No two people will do it the same. Ya got it down when ya appear to be in pain...

STEWART: You know what makes me angry? When a store says it closes at six, and then it locks the doors at 5:50.

PASHMAN: Very annoying.

STEWART: That makes me angry.

Mr. JACOBS: (Rapping) Step off. I'm doing the hump.

The Humpty Dance is your chance to do the hump...

STEWART: People who litter make me angry.

PASHMAN: Yes. Some people will blatantly drop something right at their own feet in the middle of the train and then look around.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: And then I always make eye contact with them. Just like, I know that you did that. I saw you do that.

STEWART: I saw you!

PASHMAN: And it made me angry. And if I wasn't afraid that you might be carrying firearms, I'd say something.

STEWART: Being cancelled makes me angry.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: I think we can call it right there. That's the winner.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: That's my submission for Best Song In The World Today, "The Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground. Peace and humptiness forever, as the man says.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: I'm impressed with you, though, Dan. I was expecting a Doctor David Banner moment.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: You made me a little nervous. I thought your eyes started to turn green, and you were going to say, you won't like me when I'm angry.


STEWART: But I thought you were quite subdued.

PASHMAN: Thank you. I try to use my anger for good instead of evil.

STEWART: Exactly. We'd like to stay on 'til Friday.

(Soundbite of laughter)

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Next on the show, tips for what to do when you've been dumped. Liz Tuccillo wrote a handy guide, "He's Just Not That Into You." She's with us next. This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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