It’s the viral hit of the week: Josh Groban crooning selected bons mots from Kanye West’s Twitter account in his most sonorous tones. Since airing on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! and being posted on YouTube, the hilarious skit has racked up more than 1.2 million views.
“I’ve been blown away by the response,” Groban tells the Music Mix. We spoke with him today to find out how “Josh Groban’s The Best Tweets of Kanye West” came to be. Hit the jump to see the clip again and read our Q&A.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Whose idea was this skit? Is this something Jimmy came to you with?
JOSH GROBAN: Any talk show host can have you on to sing your song of the moment, but from day one, when nobody else was giving me couch time, Jimmy was finding me fun things to do — whether it was buying pot brownies from Snoop Dogg at the AMAs or giving me such a glorious moment in the ‘F—ing Ben Affleck’ video. He always let me express the funny bone a little bit…So his team basically said, “If you’re coming on again, would you be open to doing another skit?” I said, “Sure.” They came back with about five different ideas. The most obscure was, I think it said, “Something musical with Kanye’s tweets.” In theory it sounded funny just because his tweets are so funny. So they set up a piano and a mic and a little white backdrop. I dressed in my Sunday best. [Kimmel's] amazing production team put together this hilarious infomercial around what was essentially just me sitting there and improvising these things. We would pick our favorites and I would just play the first melody that came to mind. That’s basically what you’re seeing.
How did you pick which tweets to immortalize this way?
When it comes to Kanye’s tweets, it’s like, how do you pick the prettiest child? They’re all gems. In the end, I think probably it was the ones that created the best melodies. There were a few that we did that didn’t make the edit. But we’ve recorded all 783 of them. You’re just going to have to buy all 48 CDs.
No, I’m just kidding.
That would be awesome.
Had you been following Kanye’s tweets on Twitter before this?
Yeah, I had read all of these before. I’ve followed him for almost the whole year.
What’s the response to the skit been like?
It’s cool. Even Kanye retweeted it. Hopefully he gets the joke. Nothing about it in my mind was meant to be mean-spirited. I never like to make less of others, especially in the entertainment industry. I know how it feels, and it’s not cool. Whenever you want to jest about someone or something, you want to make sure that it’s in a way where they should be in on the joke. Really, we wanted to make it more a celebration of how entertaining he is. More, “Isn’t this wonderful? And if I can lend my voice to them, great,” kind of thing, rather than anything negative. But I expected it to get, like, 20,000 views. I expected it to just be a funny little thing and move on to my next song. I’ve gotten more texts from my friends than I normally do on my birthday!
You mentioned that Kanye retweeted it. Has he reached out to you beyond that?
No. I’m sure he’s probably asking around to figure out just who the hell I am. So no reach-outs yet.
If he ever does get in touch, would you be interested in making music with him?
Oh, absolutely. I would never do something like this if it wasn’t for somebody that I completely respect. He’s an unbelievably brilliant musician. It’s fun for me to see, not only with Kanye, but in hip-hop in general and the way music is right now, genres are melding like never before. Jay-Z’s performing with a rock band, Kanye’s experimenting with classical music and ballet dancers. It’s amazing to see how art and culture and pop culture are becoming intertwined. To even think about a record store having the words “rock” and “pop” and “easy listening” — it doesn’t mean anything anymore. Everybody’s doing everything. So I’m always open, and it’s always been fun for me to collaborate with people that have been unexpected.
Given the response to the skit, do you think there’s any possibility you’ll ever pursue this project further?
I think sometimes when you’ve done something that people connect with, sometimes it’s better to leave it as the thing it is and let it live in infamy rather than gild the lily. We’ll see. If something really funny comes up in the idea room and we think of something else, we’ll follow it up. Otherwise we’ll just let it have its life.
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)