Of the many, many, many pleasures of 30 Rock, Tina Fey’s masterpiece sitcom, one of the greatest flashed on screen for just under eight seconds.
It came about nine minutes into episode 202. Tracy Jordan, the ebullient fictional comedian played by the ebullient real-life comedian Tracy Morgan, is going through a bad breakup, and his wife delivers a box with his most treasured possessions. Among them is a gold record for a novelty song. It’s called “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.”
Cut to a music video, a bad spoof of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Wearing cheap make-up and wearing shiny leather outfits, Tracy and his dancers deliver the song’s refrain: “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah / Spooky scary / Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves.”
It’s a bling-and-you’ll-miss-it type of joke, the kind that made the sitcom such a treat. But as an extended version was released online, the song took on a life of its own, becoming, arguably, the greatest Halloween song ever written.
“I imagined that Tracy probably went to a bar mitzvah and thought, ‘Why are there no bar mitzvah songs playing at this party?’” Robert Carlock, who wrote the segment along with Tami Sagher, told The New York Times when it was first released.
Listen to the lyrics, however, and you’ll see that juxtaposing Halloween and Bar Mitzvahs works surprisingly well:
I was working late on my Haftorah
When I heard a knock on my bedroom-doorah
I opened it up and to my surprise
There was a werewolf standing there with glowing gold eyes
He says tomorrow my son you will be a man
But tonight’s the time to join the wolfen clan
Tomorrow you will stand at the bimah and pray
But tonight let’s gaze at the moon and bay
To start Halloween on the right note, then, here’s the song’s extended version:
And here’s a dance remix that’s every bit as great:
A happy Werewolf Bar Mitzvah to all!