Jeff Richards' brand of musical comedy is a little bit like taking a tour of the '80s on acid…while wearing a leotard. Watch a few seconds (or more) of his latest video for the song "Muscle Bitch" and you can see that the former MADtv and SNL cast member (remember "Drunk Girl"?) enjoys getting down on some really weird shit. But this mix of mad scientist techno pop is only one flavor that is represented in his latest comedy CD, The Shingles (out now). We talked to Jeff to find out what inspires him to keep pumping out these hilarious jams.
OC Weekly (Ali Lerman): When did you first realize that you could do impressions?
Jeff Richards: When I was in like sixth grade I used to do different impressions of teachers to make kids laugh. That's how I kind of came out my shell.
Did it annoy the shit out of your parents?
Yeah. I mean, there is this audio of me impersonating my uncle when I was three so that was pretty cute I guess. I moved to Italy to study abroad and we didn't have a TV or movies in English over there so I would do impressions of people and movies. That's when I realized I was kind of good at that.
I feel like impersonating is such a skill. I can impersonate a dog barking but that's about it. Which do you find the most rewarding for you between stand-up, acting, and making music?
They're all different kinds of fun. Doing the music thing is a real passion of mine though. I like playing songs live too. They're all different though, they're so completely different.
Let me rephrase. If someone held a gun to your head and said you have to choose one, could you?
Yeah well right now, I'd say music. [Laughs.] We're starting to make a lot of music videos so that is so much fun.
Gotcha. Who are your musical influences when it comes to making your own? It would seem that your genre is all over the map.
My favorite stuff is Pet Shop Boys, The Cure, Erasure, Morrissey, The Smiths…that kind of stuff. I like the dance stuff that is like a throwback 'c80s thing. I'm also liking Dubstep, which is more current, but I'm into that as well.
So regarding your new album "The Shingles," is it somewhat of a "best of" for you?
Yeah, it's a greatest hits for that time period. Hopefully from now on I'll have a new music video out every two months. I have five of them ready to shoot now. The next one is probably going to be "Def Wanna F" or "Bend You." I don't know, it depends. I kind of want it to be "Def Wanna F" but we will see…