How to dance properly on get lucky
Stephen Colbert on making 'Get Lucky' spoof
Credit: Image credit: The Asylum
Back in August, French electro-duo Daft Punk bailed last minute on a scheduled Colbert Report performance, citing a contractual obligation to MTV. But instead of scrambling like a headless chicken for a replacement act, Stephen Colbert jumped and danced for joy, literally. He and his writing team took the booking snafu as an opportunity to create an ecstatic music video set to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which featured a beaming Colbert dancing with various celebs (Bryan Cranston, Jeff Bridges, Hugh Laurie and others), crashing three other shows (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,America’s Got Talent and Charlie Rose), and shocking exactly one political dignitary (Henry Kissinger).
“The universe conspired for us to have a show that seemed highly planned, but it was actually a series of extremely happy accidents,” Colbert says. Though the cancellation was a producer’s nightmare, he loved the challenge of figuring out how to fill Daft Punk’s place: “You do 1,300 shows, and anything different is like a holiday.” EW spoke with Stephen Colbert (decidedly out of character) about the logistical hurdle of filming guests in both New York and Washington D.C., as well as how The Big Lebowski and Michael Jackson served as inspiration. As for his thoughts on Daft Punk’s VMA performance? Colbert still hasn’t seen it. “I never watch the VMAs. I think I was probably helping my kids with their homework,” the comedian said. “I got nothing against the Daft Punkers, and they wrote me and said they really liked [the video], and I hope they did. I’d love to have them on.”
Click here for more of EW.com’s Best of 2013 coverage.
As told by: Stephen Colbert
The video itself came about starting three weeks before the show. We had already booked Daft Punk to come on the show, and we were pretty excited because they don’t do TV and they don’t talk. We thought “Oh great, they’ll come on and talk into a [fog] and this’ll be a real coup.” And then they said, “Well, they don’t wanna talk.” So I said, “Oh I can get around them not talking. We can figure out something.” And then the next week they called and said, “Oh, and they also don’t wanna do the song.” [Laughs]
I thought, “So wait, we’re flying them from Paris and they’re not gonna sing and they’re not gonna talk? What are we doin’?” And they said, “Do you want us to cancel?” “No, no, no, this is actually a really interesting challenge.” What could we do that’s interesting, where they don’t do anything, and yet it’s still a Daft Punk appearance? And I looked up at my board, and we don’t do a lot of actors or performers on the show, but for whatever reason, we had more than our normal raft of people. Like that night I had Jeff Bridges, and next week I had Matt Damon, and the next week I had Hugh Laurie, and I thought, “Oh, we got some people up here we can talk to.” And so I said, “What if tonight I just dance with Jeff Bridges?” Because I had the image immediately of Lebowski dancing on the big steps in the dream sequence from [The] Big Lebowski. I said, “Oh, what if we played their song, and it’s me trying to convince Daft Punk that their song is so catchy? Like maybe they forgot just what a deep hook that song has?” That’s the first thing we shot.
And then I said, “I’ll just dance out of the studio, and I’ll end up dancing with other people all over, like, New York and Washington.” And that night was Jeff Bridges and he goes, “Far out. Yeah, I’ll do that, man. I like those guys.” So he danced with us on the steps outside. We shot it in like five minutes. And uh, that’s why the lighting’s so poor on that one shot.
Stephen Colbert and actor Jeff Bridges (Image Credit: Comedy Central)[/caption]
I said, “There are two things: People can either dance with me, or I can dance through their reality.” Like I can dance through whatever they’re doing, and I’ll just dance in and dance out. And we also knew that [Breaking Bad‘s] Bryan Cranston was coming on, and we loved his scene from Malcolm in the Middle where he roller skates, and I thought, “Oh, [I] wonder if Bryan Cranston would roller skate with me to Daft Punk?” And at the same time, Charlie Rose had said, “Yes, you can dance through my show. ” And we said, “By the way… Who’s your guest? I wanna know whom I’m interrupting.” And they said, “Well, it’s gonna be the cast of Breaking Bad.” And I said, “Well, that’s perfect.” So I danced on and took Bryan Cranston with me, and that’s why the piece is in that order.
Stephen Colbert crashes Charlie Rose and the cast of ‘Breaking Bad’ (Image Credit: Comedy Central)[/caption]
‘Breaking Bad”s Bryan Cranston and Stephen Colbert (Image Credit: Comedy Central)[/caption]
I wanted some people who were appropriate — who were performers — and I wanted some people who were completely inappropriate, like Henry Kissinger. And I just wanted some places I could interrupt and sort of borrow status from other people’s worlds. It was just so great… Probably the first person who said “Yes” was Jeff [Bridges] that night, and [Jimmy] Fallon said, “Yes,” and then the Rockettes, and then America’s Got Talent, and it just kind of piled up… And then Daft Punk couldn’t show and we said, “Well, okay, we’ll change the meaning of it now. We’ll use the video.”
We were offered Robin Thicke for that show, and I said, “Oh, have him on, too, because Daft Punk will end up not performing but I still need a song of the summer,” and they said, “Oh, he’ll do the song of the summer.” It was all very serendipitous. It worked out to this nice, finely cut show, but it was actually a series of extremely happy accidents and people who were willing to play — including Daft Punk. They were willing to play along with this entire game, it just turned out to be a bump with the VMAs that turned the whole thing into a train wreck. But a beautiful train wreck.
My two favorite moments are dancing with Bryan Cranston on roller skates, and interrupting America’s Got Talent. That was probably the nicest moment of the entire thing. Right before I went on stage, one of my producers, Paul Dinello, turned to me and said, “Put this hat on!” [seen here around 3:45] You’ll look incredibly stupid!” And I said, “Yes, but only if I feel incredibly sexy. ” And he goes, “YES!” So I walked out on stage and tried to appear as sexy as I could in that hat and there’s no greater assurance that something will be ridiculous than me attempting to be sexy. Once you put the hat on and you think, “I’m Michael Jackson from ‘Smooth Criminal.'” [Laughs] That’s who I was.
When I went over to shoot with [Henry Kissinger], he wanted to talk to me first, and I thought he was gonna cancel, and it turned out he just wanted to talk about how much his grandkids like the show. I said, “Well, while I’ve got you here, let me ask you about your trip to China in 1971,” and he told me all these great stories about going to China. It was fascinating.
Once we started putting pieces together, about four or five days before the show, [we knew] that we had a piece here… And I was also very confident that Daft Punk was gonna come. And so were they. And they actually came to New York. We flew them in. It wasn’t until 1 p.m. the day of that show that we knew for sure that they weren’t coming [to the show].
From my point of view, I’m thrilled how it turned out. It was, you know, frustrating from a producer’s point of view having to scrap everything at the last minute. But from a creator’s point of view, or a writer’s point of view, and the comedian’s point of view, it’s only fueled the joy of having to do something right away… As soon as we knew what my character’s emotional state was, we knew exactly what the first act would be and how to do it. And it just poured out of us in this sort of quick fugue. By “quick,” I mean like two hours. If you don’t know what you’re doing at 1 p.m. in the afternoon, and you’ve got a show that you have to rehearse at 5 p.m., that’s pretty tight. Generally speaking, we’ve started work on scripts at 9 a.m., and part of the show has been written the day before. So it was a lot to do in a single day.
It tends to be the more ambitious you get, the more the opportunities get given to you. We do our show in a little bubble. Generally speaking, I don’t know how people react to the show, because I do the show and I go home. But the more we interact with the world, it’s exciting to find out that there are people out there who wanna play along with us. And we have found that that has generally been the case. We try to make them have a good time, and for it to be a fun experience for them and different than doing another show — just because you’re having to deal with a character, and there’s usually some sort of narrative, and it’s almost like doing a scene as opposed to appearing on the show. And so it turned out that there were a lot of people who were excited to play that game with us, and that was really gratifying. When we reach outside the show, we’re always so surprised and thrilled that people want to play.
I love a challenge. I’m so proud that my staff was so nimble to pull something new together in such a short period of time on top of doing this ambitious video. Everybody in the building pulled together to make it happen.
200 Greatest Dance Songs – Rolling Stone
What do we mean by “dance songs”? Good question. In a sense, any song that ever got any one person moving in any perceptible direction is a dance song. The Beatles made great dance songs — as did Slayer. Nearly all the hip-hop and reggae ever made is great dance music. But to make our list of The 200 Greatest Dance Songs of All Time, a song had to be part of “dance music culture.” It’s a more specific world, but an enormous one too, going back nearly fifty years and eternally evolving right up to today and into the future.
After paying homage to the godfather of the extended groove, Mr. James Brown, our story of dance music begins in the mid-1970s with disco, and moves into early Eighties club sounds like electro and Latin freestyle. It gets born again when disco is re-engineered as house music in Chicago and techno in Detroit, and mutates with almost comic velocity into the Nineties rave explosion that produced everything from jungle to trance to gabba to garage, and eventually the EDM and dubstep bonanzas of the 2000s. These sounds all had peak moments of exposure, but they never fade away: drum ”n’ bass is having a new moment right now, and there are house songs here from the past few years.
The list doesn’t attempt to incorporate every ripple in this oceanic confluence of sub-genres. We were looking for tracks that seemed to transcend and feel more universally canonical, and we were especially mindful of the moments where dance music has intersected with the wider musical world– with synth-pop, hip-hop, funk, Miami bass, R&B, indie-rock, Latin music and pop. That’s why you’ll see Prince, Robyn, Britney Spears, Shakira, and Justin Bieber in here bumping up against Adonis, Frankie Knuckles, Moodymann, Goldie, and SOPHIE.
If you’re wondering how we got to a summer where Drake and Beyonce are suddenly releasing house records, this is that story — or, at least, our version of it.
Video Editor, Brian Lynch for Rolling Stone
Visual Credits (in order of appearance): Kylie Minogue – Can’t Get You Out of My Head, Crystal Waters – Gypsy Woman, Beyonce – Blow, Corona – The Rhythm of the Night, Madonna – Sorry, Britney – Till the World Ends, Madonna – Vogue, Daft Punk – Get Lucky, Robyn – Dancing on my Own, Joey Beltram – Energy Flash, Azealia Banks – 212, Rihanna & Calvin Harris – We Found Love, DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down for What, Sylvester – You Make Me Feel, Piri – Soft Spot, Chic – Le Freak, Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart, Donna Summer – I Feel Love, Prince – When Doves Cry, Erik B & Rakim – Paid in Full, First Choice – Let No Man Asunder, Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ’Til you get Enough, A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray, Grace Jones – Bumper, Marshall – Move Your Body, Internet sensation kid 1997 in Berlin, Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right. Licensed Tracks/SFX (in order): Biodynamic modulated stutter riser, Dance like crazy – Ikoliks, Our Vibe – Superlative, Dance Out There – Alejandro Molinari, Pineapple Disco – Audiopanther, Bring It – Naems, Blurry Stars – Nbdy Nprtnt, Dark Future – Skygaze, Taika Promo (Rolling Stone VO). Song Samples (in order): Erik B & Rakim – Paid in Full, Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart, Madonna – Vogue, Azealia Banks – 212, Sylvester – You Make Me Feel, Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop ’Til you get Enough, Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body, DJ Snake ft. Lil Jon – Turn Down for What, Dee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart, Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right
How to learn to dance from scratch: 6 key tips
Dreaming of learning to dance, but something stops you? All beginners have fears. And The Challenger has ideas on how to start dancing, even if you've never tried it.
Forget your fears
If you think that you do not have a sense of rhythm, flexibility, age is not right, this does not mean that you cannot sign up for dancing. All fears live in the head. Modern types of dances perfectly develop all these qualities. In dance studios you will be in a group for beginners or individually, the trainer will show and tell you what to do and how to do it. Training takes place gradually, from the basics - you will be taught everything. nine0003
Try different dances
There are many dance directions: European, Latin American, Caribbean, modern, oriental, fitness, classical. How to decide? Go to trial lessons and find something of your own - so that this particular dance ignites you, gives you strength. Maybe it will be not one, but two directions. In the first lesson, you will get acquainted with the basics, starting with the simplest. If you have chosen a pair dance, you should not worry about the lack of a partner - the studios will always help with this. nine0003
Dance for yourself
Here is the main secret. Dance at home, in the hall, on the street. A little practice - and you will dance anywhere without hesitation. Enjoy the movements, do not think about how correctly and well you do it. Let at first it doesn’t work out the way you would like, but the more you practice, the easier the elements are given. Desire is all you need. A competent coach will teach technique and inspire confidence. Nobody dances the first time like Baryshnikov - tune in to success, and you will succeed. nine0003
Attend classes regularly
Yes, learning to dance after two or three lessons is unlikely to succeed. Regularity is important here - then you will definitely see progress. You can learn the basics in a couple of months by attending two or three classes a week at a school or dance studio. The main thing is not to stop. At home, too, dance whenever possible.
Do not compare yourself to others
Level yourself. Everyone needs a different time and amount of effort to achieve the desired results. History knows examples when people learned to dance professionally and successfully competed even in adulthood. But you need to put in the best effort. A person who lives by dancing can do it all. From scratch. At any age. nine0003
Don't forget your dream
Dances inspire, ignite, change from the inside. If you try, you will probably not be able to live without them and you will regret only one thing - that you did not come earlier. Thanks to dancing, you develop a sense of rhythm, flexibility, improve health, improve your overall mental state (dance is recommended as a therapy), the body becomes more toned, and posture improves. The dancer moves in a different way in life - he flies, proudly carries himself. It's beautiful. nine0003
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How to dance at a party: advice from British GQ Editor-in-Chief Dylan Jones
The main thing to remember when throwing yourself on the dance floor: no one is looking at you. Do not be afraid that you will be laughed at and that everyone is just waiting for you to get tangled in your own feet. Believe me, no one is interested in this, especially if you behave decently. nine0003
In the event that you have zero experience in dancing - or if you have ever tried and didn't like it - there are two simple truths to begin with. Firstly, women like it when a man dances well, so if you are a complete layman in this matter, you should strain yourself. Secondly, no one expects great things from you in all your endeavors. Personally, I am able to dance to anything, but when a DJ puts on I'm So Excited by The Pointer Sisters or something in the style of drum and bass, I immediately leave the dance floor. Not because I don't like such compositions - although at my age it would be forgivable - but because they are difficult to dance to. Not everyone can rock to any song, so if it has too many beats per minute, or a particularly jagged rhythm, or is too slow (like Just Be Good to Me by the SOS Band), feel free to go to the bar. Don't like reggae? Run to the toilet. Can't help laughing at the new Coldplay hit? Sit down. nine0003
If you don't know how to dance at all, but circumstances require it, move by feel. Do not kick your legs - work with your body; bending your elbows, squirm with dignity to the beat of the music. It's really easy! Soon you will become bolder and begin to vary your dance moves; do it in proportion. No one expects you to turn into John Travolta - all his exploits in "Saturday Night Fever" were staged by a professional choreographer, so you should not go out of your way. nine0003
A few more important points. Don't slow dance unless you're holding a woman in your arms. Don't try to act like Bruce Springsteen from the Dancing in the Dark video or Kevin Bacon from the movie Loose and dance like a rocker, throwing out your arms and legs at the same time, like a drunken doll. It would also be nice to learn some traditional dance - for example, tango. The easiest way to learn is the twist, which can be danced to anything from Chubby Checker to George Michael's Faith.