Ben Folds Jokes About Online Impersonator in ChatRoulette Set

March 22, 2010 11:42 AM ET

When a pianist named "Merton" began improvising piano ditties for the people he encountered on ChatRoulette and posted the clips on YouTube, many — including New York's Vulture blog — speculated that the hooded performer was actually Ben Folds performing in disguise (the resemblance is pretty uncanny). As Merton's videos became increasingly viral — he's collected over four million views in 11 days — Folds' publicist finally denied the singer is the ChatRoulette star, according to EW. Merton's video description was later updated, reiterating that he is not Folds. However, at a concert this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, Folds impersonated his impersonator by performing an "Ode to Merton" live onstage and on ChatRoulette in front of 2,000 fans, penning impromptu odes to the random strangers Folds and the crowd encountered on the video-chat site.

Folds' video, like Merton's, opens with a disclaimer that the clip will feature dirty words. (Folds also says the video was edited to omit all penises, which anyone who uses ChatRoulette knows is a creepy epidemic on the site.) Some of the strangers Folds meets include a man on the toilet and "Bobby," a dude holding a sideways sign that reads, "If you turn your head, I win." Odd, odd characters, and Folds, donning a hoodie, does his best to ensure his own viral ode to a viral video replicates the success of its predecessor. We're hoping both Folds and Merton keep this up, as watching songs about ChatRoulette users is almost as fun as using the site itself. Check out the original Merton clip below:

Related Stories:
Matt Taibbi's 2000s Playlist: From Ben Folds to A Tribe Called Quest
Ben Folds Five Revive "Reinhold Messner" at Inaugural MySpace "Front to Back" Show
Ben Folds Five Reunion: "The Chemistry Is Back"

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

More Song Stories entries »