Comedian Jon Daly on why he hates Green Day’s “American Idiot”

Comedian Jon Daly on why he hates Green Day’s “American Idiot”

In HateSongwe ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.

The hater: Jon Daly—the comedian, not the brash golfer—is best known for his numerous roles on Kroll Show and his endless appearances on Earwolf podcasts. Earlier this year he made a foray into music: Just before the Super Bowl this February, he released a faux new Red Hot Chili Peppers song, “Abracadabralifornia,” which was downloaded more than 300,000 times before the actual Chili Peppers played the halftime show. Kroll Show was recently renewed by Comedy Central for a third season, and he’s also slated to appear on the new Garfunkel And Oates show, set to premiere on HBO in August.

The hated: Green Day, “American Idiot” (2004)

The A.V. Club: Besides the obvious, why do you hate “American Idiot”?

Jon Daly: There’s just so much to say. At some point Green Day had some soul and they were trying, and then they just became the regurgitation of the repackaging of the shit that punk rock shit out and died. It’s a commodification of rebellion made into pure capitalism. Everything Green Day does turns into an echo chamber of profit. It all comes to a head with “American Idiot.” It’s about George W. Bush, who was president when the song came out, and it’s calling George Bush an American idiot, but I feel like George Bush would probably think it was funny. I think Dick Cheney would work out to it.

AVC: If Dick Cheney ever worked out.

JD: If Dick Cheney worked out, which we should hope he doesn’t. But if he did work out, he would probably blast the whole musical American Idiot.

 The fact that it’s a musical just because they thought they could make some cash, so they hired some nerd to make it into a story and just shout out this thing. The names of the lead characters are enough to make you want to vomit. I think the lead is like Jesus or something like that—and Rebel Man.

AVC: There’s a female character named Whatsername.

JD: Yeah. It’s like the musical Hair, just generalized rebellion. All of this is obvious: They are making a Broadway musical. They’re kind of like Def Leppard, but Def Leppard never put their dick on your face like Green Day. They were just like, “We’re a cool band, our lyrics are retarded. [Sings in a hair-metal voice.] ‘Wham bam, get along, I wanna have sex with youuuu.’” At least they were about partying. Green Day has stepped over the line to just being vaguely, in the dumbest possible, jocked-out, three-fourths shorts-wearing way, [adopts Billie Joe voice] “Fuck you to nothing in general.” Like some dickhead oil executive would get into his Hummer and drive down the street and put on “American Idiot” and be like, “Fuck yeah, this rules. I’m gonna go beat up my son!”

AVC: There’s a line in the song where he sings sarcastically, “Well maybe I’m the faggot America.”

JD: Yeah, let’s talk about the fact that he says, “Maybe I’m the faggot America.” First of all, there’s a faggot that has to be reckoned with and we have to deal with the faggot in the room. What are you saying there? Who is the faggot? It’s me, Billie Joe. “I’m not part of the redneck agenda.” You could just watch an episode of The O’Reilly Factor and shit out these lyrics. “Information age of hysteria. It’s calling out to idiot America.” What is their net worth? I want to hear the number. They should have to state their worth before they sing this song. They should do a Cribs with all of Green Day. Everybody should be able to see where they live.

AVC: It’s offensive that he’s comparing his plight to that of a gay person. He’s saying, because he wears eyeliner and he’s in a quote-unquote “punk band” that he’s the counterculture.

JD: “Maybe I’m the faggot.” I think maybe it all worked out for you. I think he’s the bully in this scenario. And the fact that they say that word is just disgusting.

AVC: Growing up, did you listen to concept albums?

JD: I love concept albums: The Dark Side Of The Moon, 2112 by Rush. I still love Tommy. I love Jesus Christ Superstar. Concept albums are fantastic. They’re fabulous. Can you quote me on that? Concept albums have to be a concept though. They can’t be Billie Joe ranting against nothing in general from his insanely expensive easy chair from where he lives in—probably—San Diego. If Billie Joe doesn’t live next to Mitt Romney, I’ll be blown away. He probably vacations with Donald Rumsfeld. 

No band is more prepared to go into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame than Green Day, even in a way that Red Hot Chili Peppers aren’t. They keep on making music, and people aren’t as into it, but at least they’re trying to keep it real and make interesting things. Regardless of whether you like it or not, they started putting out music and were like, “Holy shit, people like this and fuck you if you think it’s bad.” I totally respect that. And Green Day started like any band started, but eventually—how can they live with themselves? 

Some artists need to tear it all down and start over from scratch. It’s necessary to confront yourself. It’s pure delusion from the minds of three billionaires just sitting in their mansions and masturbating and getting jerked off by beautiful women, just cumming everywhere and saying, “Why are we not doing this? I was just talking to Elton John and he made billions from The Lion King. I was talking to Phil Collins and he made millions from Tarzan, which was a flop. These things are just all profit, dude. And pretty soon, you, Tré Cool, me, Billie Joe, and the other dude are gonna be fucking surfing the frosting all the way to money town.”

AVC: Billie Joe recently said “You can take us out of punk rock, but you can’t take the punk rock out of us.”

JD: They took themselves out of punk rock! They realize that, but that’s why people just keep making money and doing sequels. Are you going to stay in Green Day and know they are garbage and keep making money? Yeah, sometimes.

AVC: Did you listen to Green Day in the early 90s?

JD: My brother gave me their record Kerplunk!, but by the time Dookie was out, I was like, “No, no more.” And I was only like 12. But my brothers trained me in punk rock very early, so I was predisposed to the good stuff. So I don’t blame anyone for liking that. Dookie is at least fun. It’s funny. Dookie—they are talking about masturbation, and slacker, suburban stuff. Now it’s these slacker, suburban, SoCal, three-fourths shorts douchebags telling us that the president—the one they probably voted for—is an idiot. [Adopts Billie Joe voice.] “Yeah we voted for him twice, but lets make that money!” I’d rather hang out with George Bush. I would literally rather hang out with George Bush.

Did they make a movie about that musical? Because I want to star in it. Despite everything I’ve just said, I’ll star in the musical.

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