On “Yo Cousin Vinny” Joe Pesci’s acting and singing careers collided

On “Yo Cousin Vinny” Joe Pesci’s acting and singing careers collided

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we asked: “What’s your favorite song sung by an actor?”

This question’s a toughie for me, so I’ll go with something that I’m absolutely positive isn’t one of my favorite tracks of all time, but something that I certainly enjoy the existence of: Joe Pesci’s “Yo Cousin Vinny.” In execution, the jokey lounge song isn’t actually that good, but I find myself drawn to it all the same. Growing up in Cleveland, the song sat in what must have been heavy rotation during one of the local morning radio shows, and I’ve heard it about 10,000 times. It exists in the back of my brain in its entirety, so when I hear it again for whatever reason, I’m once again reminded that, yes, I know every single word. 

Off the actor’s second studio record, 1998’s Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You, “Yo Cousin Vinny” finds Pesci returning to his hit role from 1992’s My Cousin Vinny. Pesci plays on every mobbed-out Italian stereotype as he bemoans having to help out his many cousins with their legal troubles, massive wedding bills, and ham-fisted questions like, “Is there anything that you could do for me?” Only hearing the radio edit growing up, I wasn’t privy to the number of “fuck”s sprinkled throughout, but they do add that certain something a song about a crooked lawyer needs. 

I’d like to say I’m interested in hearing the rest of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just For You, but that would mean listening to tracks like “Robbie Hood” and “Take Your Love And Shove It,” and, even though I’m only 31, I remain solidly convinced that my life’s just too short for that at this point.

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