"Funny" is not the first adjective most people would use to describe Beck, especially around the release of his achingly earnest new album Morning Phase. But the singer-songwriter cracked a joke on a promo for his appearance this weekend on Saturday Night Live.
In the clip, Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons, this week's host, notes his ubiquitous catchphrase "Bazinga!" before asking SNL cast member Cecily Strong and Beck their own phrases. After Strong exclaims, "This is gettin' ca-ray-zy," Beck stoically replies, "Mine is, 'I am Beck.'"
"Okay, we might need to work on that one, Beck," says Parsons.
In the second clip, the trio trade off on praising each other with one awkward, uncomfortable exception. The appearance will mark Beck's seventh time on the show.
Beck will presumably only perform music on Saturday's show, but now that Bill Hader has left SNL, there's room for Beck to take over Stefon's character. Fingers crossed.
The roots of Morning Phase go back almost a decade, Beck told Rolling Stone's David Fricke last year. The singer had decamped to Nashville in 2005 to record an album, but failed to complete it. "I recorded a bunch of things real quick. Then I thought, 'I need to come back and try this again," Beck said. Two years later, he returned to record a one-off single for Jack White's Third Man Records and ended up recording Phase's "Waking Light," "Blackbird Chain" and "Country Down" for the album.
Our four-and-a-half star review deemed the album a "folk-rock classic" from the "master of pastiche." "At its core, Morning Phase is a record about what to do when the world seems totally fucked. Irony doesn't cut it anymore; truth, beauty and resolve are the best weapons. Coming in the wake of a back injury so severe Beck couldn't pick up a guitar for a number of years, Morning Phase's struggle toward the light feels as personal as it does universal."