In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.
The hater: An eccentric comedian who’s often mistaken for Reggie Watts just because he also has big hair and a beard, Chris Cubas is a favorite of shows like Doug Loves Movies and @Midnight. A resident of Austin, Texas, Cubas has been doing stand-up for almost 10 years and can be heard on a regular basis on his podcast, Canceled, which dissects shows that aired for one season or less.
The A.V. Club: Why is that the song you picked?
Chris Cubas: It’s personal for me, why I hate that song so much.
When Titanic came out on VHS, I was working at a Sam’s Club, which is already the worst. I don’t know what you know about working for the Walton family, but it’s horrific. You have to do a cheer in the beginning of every shift. “Give me an S, give me an A…” I’ll still remember it to this day. This was 1998, so this was a long time ago, but I still remember it. It’s “Sixty-two oh-one, we’re the team that’s having fun!” We had to do it every shift. It’s a horrific experience, so you’re already miserable at the beginning of your shift.
Anyway, I’m working in the electronics department, and all we played for two months straight, on loop, on 45 televisions, was a teaser clip for Titanic coming on VHS. It was a little bit of making-of and the video for “My Heart Will Go On,” on a loop. The whole thing is maybe 10 minutes long. So you’re talking an eight-hour shift, and every 10 minutes you’re hearing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
AVC: 50 times a day.
CC: At least. At least.
It was a nightmare. I would go to sleep and hear it, like when I closed my eyes. There was a time where I was playing way too much Tetris—I would get really high and play Tetris—and I would just see it in my eyes. I would close my eyes and just see that video and hear that song. To this day I think that song ruined me.
AVC: What were you doing in the electronics department? Selling TVs?
CC: Selling piece-of-shit computers to people who didn’t know anything about computers from someone who knew barely more than them about computers.
I wasn’t even shitty. I would never sell someone the highest-end thing, because it’s like, “You’re just a family, you don’t need it,” but I’d be like, “Yeah, you want the one with the more RAM because, you know, it’s more.” I didn’t know shit. I just sold them.
It was a shit job. I was three years out of high school, not going to college. It was brutal.
AVC: My husband didn’t go to college and instead, among other things, worked at grocery stores for years. He still knows the codes to a lot of the produce. 4011 is a…
CC: Banana. Always going to know bananas. I was that way with tires for a long time, because I worked in the tire department for a minute.
AVC: That seems like an interesting skill to have.
CC: Not really, because I only worked in the register part, so I couldn’t change a tire for shit, but I could tell you what the price was.
I remember one time this woman came in and she was like, “I locked my keys in the car”—she came to the tire department—and she was like, “Do you guys have one of those slim jim things or something?” We actually did have one, because we would lock people’s keys in their cars or whatever, so we’re like yeah, “Actually there’s one over here.” I grabbed it and gave it to her, and she was like, “Oh, you can’t do it?” In my head I know she meant like, “You work in a garage, you must know how to do it,” but I’m a dick so I was like, “Not all black people know how to break into cars, lady!” She got all beet red and I felt a little bad about it, but it was still pretty funny.
AVC: Your time in the electronics department sounds like the Michael McDonald bit in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
CC: Yeah, that’s true. I forgot about that movie, but yeah.
AVC: That was when you had a lot of giant TVs happening, too.
CC: Yeah. Projection screens. This was back when you sold someone a TV it took three people to move that shit outside, because it wasn’t a plasma, it was some 500-pound TV.
AVC: You’d have to get a van to pick it up.
CC: Titanic was still on VHS; it wasn’t even DVD. It was on VHS. It was a fat two-tape-sleeve VHS. It was so funny.
AVC: You must have sold so many of those at Sam’s Club.
CC: You have no idea. You couldn’t keep them on the shelves. That movie was still the most popular thing in the world. And this was right when VHS—like VHS used to be rental price, and so it was like $99.99 to buy it. Titanic was one of the first ones that was $19.99 or $24.99 or whatever. Fucking people lost their goddamn minds.
AVC: “Two tapes! What a value!” But that’s also ridiculous, because why would you want to switch the tape?
CC: I don’t know. I didn’t even like that fucking movie, to be perfectly honest with you.
AVC: At the time, I liked it, but it hasn’t aged well. It’s like Avatar.
CC: Oh, I hated Avatar from the jump. And I like James Cameron. I’m not opposed to James Cameron. But I fucking hate that movie. Unobtanium?! Go fuck yourself. That is the shittiest writing I have ever heard. Unobtanium.
AVC: There was an article that came out this January about how Avatar made 2.7 billion dollars but still doesn’t really have an active fan base. Who actually likes that movie?
CC: Right? There was a whole thing at the time where people were like, “I want to be the Navi” or whatever “and paint myself blue.” Yeah. No. That’s gone. That shit is gone. That is disposable art. That movie made 2.7 billion dollars? I don’t know a single person that’s like “Avatar is my favorite movie.” It never even comes up. I don’t know anyone that will defend that movie. I don’t even think it’s on like Netflix. You can’t even just watch that movie if you want to. You have to own it.
AVC: And they’re supposed to make a second one, and maybe a theme park.
CC: I bet somebody will fund it. It was one of the biggest movies ever at the time, right?
AVC: Yeah. Maybe it won’t do well in America, but it’ll kill in China or something.
CC: Hopefully. We’ve come somewhere as a nation if we’re not all clamoring for Avatar II. But probably not. I mean, there’s still trash, right?
AVC: There’s always all the Transformers movies.
CC: I guess. I don’t know if the last one did as great. I feel like they do great overseas, but I don’t know if it did well here. Although I loved those last three Fast & Furious movies and they’re trash but they’re super fun trash. I feel like the action is great, and I legit teared up at the end with Paul Walker and that song. I’m not a Paul Walker fan or anything, but he pulled up in the car and that song is playing and I got a little teary-eyed about it; I’m not going to lie.