The original post for this episode can now be found here.
Transcriptions by: Masha Latvinava
Episode #123 – Last Night a DJ Saved My Life - January 7, 2021
JESS: Hello, I'm Jesse McAnally.
ANDREW: And I am Andrew DeWolf.
BRIANNA: And I'm Brianna Jones.
JESS: And welcome to Musicals with Cheese, a podcast where I try to get Andrew and Bree to like musical theater. And today we've got an extra special returning guest.
ANDREW: The special-est returning guest.
JESS: Ah yes, very, very special. Please welcome this week's very special guest: the host of Movie Nights, a YouTuber, and the authority on David Hasselhoff - Allison Pregler. Applause, standing ovation, add it here now, Bree.
ALLISON: Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you.
JESS: So, what have you been up to for the last nearly two years?
ALLISON: I don't know - making videos, watching Baywatch. Nothing too terribly exciting. But keeping on keeping on.
JESS: Well, I'm going to assume it was your watching Baywatch that led you to this thing we're covering today.
ALLISON: Oh yeah. I was looking at David Hasselhoff’s IMDb and I saw that and I'm like, “What is DJ Saved My Life?” And Tubi provides.
ANDREW: Oh boy, is this a something show.
JESS: All right, Bree. Cue the music so we can dive into this.
(Even Now plays)
JESS: Last Night a DJ Saved My Life is a musical, a jukebox musical of sorts, with a book and direction by Jon Conway, and also “created by David Hasselhoff” as well, whatever “created by” means.
ALLISON: But if you watch it, you know this is specifically made for David Hasselhoff.
ALLISON: Because all of these Hasselhoff in-jokes. This is a show that was never put on before and never will be put on since.
ANDREW: No one else can play the role. No one else can fill the role.
JESS: That's the thing that's crazy about it. It premiered at the Blackpool Opera House in October of 2015 and then went on tour around the UK. So, it was a big event that everyone came out to see. And it's - I'm going to read you the plot synopsis written on Jon Conway's website, because it is just the wackiest thing ever. Alright, so, “The Hoff - ” They don't even use his character name, they call him The Hoff, “- is an out of touch DJ clinging to his misspent youth. His life is thrown into a hilarious tailspin when his estranged, free-spirited teenage daughter moves in. Now that cad must become a dad. Includes hit songs from the 80s and 90s. The hilarious hit fest is also a touching father-daughter drama set against a background of sun, sea, sex, drugs and rock and roll. And taking us back to the 80s and 90s, when we were wearing denim overalls, girls had hair scrunchies and guys played Nintendo Gameboy. Think Mama Mia on speed.”
ALLISON: None of that happens though.
ALLISON: He wasn’t even that much of a cad. He was just a guy who wore shiny shirts and did not like drugs. He didn't really seem like that much of a bad guy in this.
ANDREW: Wasn’t even a period piece at all either?
ALLISON: It took me a while, because watching it, it took me a while to realize it was a period piece. Because it's like, “Wait, he's like stuck in the 80s, but then they're singing Spice Girls songs. And then what is going on now?” She's talking about when she was a kid with her Care Bear doll. And then he has his cell phone, this big blocky cell phone. But by the time the Spice Girls were out, the cell phones wouldn't even be like that. And I don't even know where True Survivor fits in.
ANDREW: The cell phone joke is the most bizarre thing ever. He just pulls out the cell phone and the audience is laughing but I don't quite understand what's happening.
JESS: He had a cell phone. It's hilarious. Isn't it so much bigger than the ones that we have now?
ANDREW: Isn’t it funny that cell phones were big?
ALLISON: But it doesn’t even seem accurate to any sort of period. It's just a mishmash of things that they could get at Party City or whatever the UK equivalent is. And whatever costumes they had at home. They were terrible. They were from all sorts of different decades. You had hammer pants and then you had these weird pantsuits. And then you had Baywatch suits that were bought – they’re Halloween costumes. They're literally Baywatch Halloween costumes. You could buy one right now. Nothing made sense.
JESS: Okay, so let's talk a bit about Jon Conway for a second. The gentleman behind this, alongside David Hasselhoff. He is a “theatre maker.” But he's most known for making stunt shows for theme parks, including Spider Man. The Spider Man stunt show was created and developed by Jon Conway.
ANDREW: It makes sense.
JESS: So this is the perfect –
ANDREW: It’s all coming together now. This is a stunt show for David Hasselhoff.
ALLISON: Oh, full circle.
JESS: Allison, it is so serendipitous.
ALLISON: I didn't know that. That makes a whole lot of sense, knowing that.
ANDREW: This is like the Baywatch show at Universal Studios or something.
ALLISON: No, they had Baywatch at SeaWorld. That's where they did their stunt show.
ANDREW: SeaWorld? This is that but on tour.
ALLISON: It feels like a stunt show. Or - what I was thinking watching it was cruise ship-y. It feels like something where they’re like, “Yeah, get in on the dance.”
ANDREW: And the audience is so uncritical of it. They're just laughing –
JESS: No, they loved it.
ANDREW: There are shots of the of the audience in the version we watched, where they're singing along with the songs and stuff, and it's like, “How are they enjoying this so thoroughly?”
ALLISON: Were they, though? I felt like there was a lot of drinking and they must have given these tickets out for free or something. And you saw a lot of empty seats. I'm just gonna say.
ANDREW: There was people standing up. It was weird. I don’t even understand.
ALLISON: When they had like the beach balls at the end? They threw the beach balls into the audience. Audience participation.
ANDREW: Yeah, is this a Broadway show? Because they don't usually do that stuff.
JESS: It's not a Broadway show. Very specifically, this is a West End show. And -
ALLISON: See, we could have been talking about Jekyll and Hyde if we wanted a Hasselhoff Broadway show.
ANDREW: That's true. We've already done that, I don't want to do that again, please.
JESS: I will say - this is more suited to Hasselhoff’s acting and vocal abilities. Like, it's fun to kind of make fun of his goat vibrato, but it works for these songs.
ALLISON: I don't know. I gotta disagree on this one. I thought he did better in Jekyll and Hyde, but they weren't the best version of Jekyll and Hyde. I think he has a vocal range and Jekyll and Hyde is not in it. And this isn't either, but it doesn't fit very well. I thought it all sounded like really bad karaoke. And I've heard Hasselhoff do better.
ANDREW: I think Hasselhoff just isn't that great in general.
JESS: No, no. I’m gonna disagree there. There's something there. It is like charm and charisma that even if he's not the best singer in the world, that comes through enough where you're like, “I don't mind listening to this guy singing.”
ANDREW: Oh, there's definitely charisma. I just don't think he has a singing voice.
ALLISON: He has a very limited vocal range and he really wants to be the big Broadway, big moment singer. And that's just not his range.
ANDREW: I think this show is more fitted for him just because it's all music people know already, so it is like karaoke.
ALLISON: I didn't know all of it. But I knew it was a jukebox musical. So, whenever something happened I never heard of I was like, “Maybe this was something that was really big in the UK that didn't make its way over.” I didn't know the Ebeneezer Goode song and I'm like, “I guess this this must be something.” But it was stuck in my head afterwards.
JESS: Well, exactly. All these songs like are catchy enough and - I wanted a song list, because there's nowhere on Earth where I could find a song list of what was in it. I waited through the credits to get to wherever it's like, “Oh, this was written by whoever,” and I'm like - nothing. I have no idea what songs were chosen for this and why and I'm not –
ALLISON: Did they ever sing Last Night a DJ Saved My Life or it was just in between the used bits of the song? Because I don't remember them actually singing the song.
JESS: Now that you mention it, I don't think I heard it either.
ANDREW: No, I don’t think they did sing it.
JESS: It's like if you go to Mamma Mia and they never sang Mamma Mia, I'd want my money back.
ALLISON: Cus I'd never heard of the song Last Night a DJ Saved My Life until this and I looked it up and I'm like, “Okay, so it's a real song.” And it's weird to have it based off of this. At no point do they say it and I don't think – He's the DJ and he doesn't save anyone's life. I guess she has the drug overdose. But Hasselhoff- I don't know. I guess?
JESS: Okay, okay.
ANDREW: We gotta talk about the plot.
JESS: We gotta talk about the plot. Andrew, please tell us what happens in this show. Please. Let's just go through that real quick.
ANDREW: So, David Hasselhoff isn't in the beginning. Cus at the start of it, they're on a plane and it's his daughter and just two of her friends. I think that they’re friends, I can't even really tell. Honestly. They're flying to –
ALLISON: I can’t tell how old they're supposed to be. They keep talking about being underage and stuff, but I have no idea what –
ANDREW: Yeah, they look like they could be 30 so I honestly have no idea.
JESS: They're either 46 or 16. One of those two.
ANDREW: It’s somewhere in between those two ages. So, they're flying to wherever David Hasselhoff - Did they specify a city?
ALLISON: Ibiza is where they’re at. Ibiza? Ibiza? Is she's saying it stupid and I'm saying it stupid now?
ANDREW: Ibiza? We’re gonna say Ibiza the entire time and the audience just has to deal.
ALLISON: Cus she said things - They're kinda chavs, right? They're kind of chavs. So they're kind of douchey British kids who say things kind of silly. And Ibiza, I think, is a popular tourist place where there's lots of Spanish influence? Stuff like that? There's a big drug scene as well, but I'm not sure where exactly it is. It’s some island, I think.
JESS: There's a lot of cultural stuff you gotta go in, trying to unwrap as an American. David Hasselhoff’s got the American accent yet everyone else has these very lower-class British accents, and -
ANDREW: This feels very autobiographical, too, because right now, he is married to a British blonde woman who's significantly younger than him.
JESS: Sounds about right. That’s the “created by” credit. That's why he got that “created by” credit .
ANDREW: Created by because he lived it first and then they made it the show.
ALLISON: I think at the time, he had just declared that he was broke, because he had gotten divorced from his previous wife, Pamela Bach, who was not British, but a young blonde woman. And yeah, he was paying a lot of money. So, he said he had like $4,000 in the bank at the time, so that might explain a little bit about why this play happened.
ANDREW: He’s so desperate for cash, he's like, “I'll do anything.”
ALLISON: I feel like I'm doing a lot of dunking on here. I don't want to be really mean-spirited. I think Hasselhoff is great. He was having a good time doing this.
ANDREW: He's fun. You know, it's just he's always in embarrassing things. That's really the problem.
JESS: I think this show would be less than nothing without The Hoff is the way to say it. It is something because he's here.
ANDREW: We couldn't even be talking about this if Hasselhoff wasn't in it, so I mean -
ALLISON: No, everyone else is terrible. Can I just say – they’re terrible.
JESS: She said it.
ANDREW: Yeah, she said it first. Yeah, no, they are.
JESS: But they’re not nobodies is the thing. The main girl - her last name’s Tiddy, she was from The Voice.
ALLISON: Oh, was she?
JESS: Yeah, Hasselhoff was not the only celebrity. All these people were, like, people.
ALLISON: I think the guy that plays the DJ that she's in love with is the son of some famous actor or something? He's someone junior and I think maybe that's why he got it on this? These are people I am not familiar with. And you wouldn't know that they're singers that could actually sing. Because being on The Voice, you have to have some vocal talent, right? And I don't know. I don't know if they had some bad equipment where you couldn't hear yourself either because it seemed like Hasselhoff was off with the timing on the songs as well?
ANDREW: No monitors or something? Who knows?
JESS: It felt like they had one go at it. And I like whatever happens, happens.
ANDREW: So, they're flying to Ibiza? Did we agree it was Ibiza? They're going to Ibiza, where David Hasselhoff owns his own club. And his daughter is very upset with him because he's dating a woman that is much younger than him. And there are people working at his club that are just selling drugs to people.
JESS: And he's cool with it. Until it's his daughter.
ANDREW: Yeah, he's cool with it until it affects him personally.
ALLISON: This is a very corrupt thing going on -
ANDREW: I was gonna say - Corruption saves the day at the end.
ANDREW: The moral of this story is corruption = pretty sick.
ANDREW: Yeah, they sell drugs to his daughter. He tells them to get lost. And they're like, “No, we're not gonna get lost because we'll go to the police and your club’s gonna go under if that happens.” But he calls the police and sacrifices his own club and livelihood and everything. But the police are like, “Yo, we're friends. So like, you're not going to jail.” “Sick.” And that's the end. They bring the bad guys to jail and David Hasselhoff, who was complicit in the entire thing, just gets off because the police like him.
JESS: “We’re buds.”
ALLISON: I didn’t get the point of his sacrifice. Am I being dumb here? Like, he puts like a bag of acid or whatever in his jacket and then –
ANDREW: Why does it do that?
ALLISON: Why does he do that? It doesn't get anyone else off?
JESS: For trippy drug scene.
ANDREW: He calls the police to turn himself in. But he has no reason to directly implicate himself as well.
ALLISON: Yeah, I didn’t understand. Like, he made some big sacrifice and it’s like, “For what?” For the Ebeneezer guy? Like, who are you sacrificing yourself for?
ANDREW: He puts the drugs in his pocket and he’s just like, “Yep, it was me. I did it.”
ALLISON: I did have some trivia about the LSD tripping scene.
ALLISON: So there's a bit where David Hasselhoff takes some LSD, and they have this whole music medley where people are having an orgy like Eyes Wide Shut or some –
JESS: “Woa, so trippy”
ALLISON: There's people in bodysuits. And they apparently would - when they did the show - they would do it interactive with the audience. So he would always ask them, “Should I take it? Should I not?” His daughter's like, “Well, how do you know what it's like unless you take it?” And he’s like, “What do you think, audience?”
ANDREW: This is so ridiculous.
ALLISON: And then the audience will tell him yes or no. And I don't think it affects the outcome much except whether he purposefully takes it or whether he accidentally takes it like a dumbass.
JESS: Choose your own adventure, musical style.
ANDREW: Accidentally takes it like a dumbass.
ALLISON: And then the police when they show up, they're like, “Yeah, he did the acid but he was only doing it to see what it was like.” And that’s how they let him off.
JESS: I'm gonna try that one. I'm gonna try that one next time I get caught with drugs.
ALLISON: The tone of this movie/musical - I mean, it's just a filmed play - The tone of this is like, it's so all over the place because they have - You know, it's fairly kind of goofy jukebox musical stuff. And then they get to the parts where they get this skeezy drug dealer who's wearing a shirt that's like, “Acid is great,” so you know he's bad. And he's giving acid to everyone. They're like, “Yeaaah,” and then that's when Penny, the daughter, gets involved with this. And she's like, “I don't know, I guess I’ll take it,” and then she has an overdose. And she falls over. She passes out in the club. And then Hasselhoff like, “Oh, no, get my daughter out of here. Go to the hospital.” And then it's very serious. You get a flatline on the screen on the back.
JESS: Hold up, hold up. Then you go into the intermission. Where the intermission would be, you'd go out and be like, “Man, I wonder what's gonna happen in Act Two.” And what happens when you sit back down? Baywatch.
ANDREW: Yeah, Baywatch.
ALLISON: Baywatch happens. We go from flatlining, evil laughter, the drug dealer is laughing evil-y over it like, “Ahaha, my plan.”
ALLISON: And then a Baywatch musical number where Hasselhoff is dressed in the trunks, they're all in Halloween costumes, they're dancing. He is singing the Baywatch theme song. I believe he forgets the words at some point. I think he gets it wrong. They kind of do a remix. And I'm thinking like, “Sir, your daughter could be dead.” For all we know, his daughter is dead. We saw a flatline. And then she shows up in the Baywatch costume, like “Dad, it’s no big deal.”
JESS: Wait, wait, wait. I want to talk about that moment specifically because he's so wiped out from the barely-dancing he did that when she's like, “Dad, what are you doing?” And he's like, “When did you get into drugs?” Like, you could have said that right on the floor, eating your Wendy’s, David Hasselhoff, and I would have just as easily believed you.
ANDREW: When David Hasselhoff first shows up, the first thing he says is slurred. He's drunk.
JESS: I think he's tired.
ALLISON: I don't want to get into those jokes. Because he was recovering alcoholic.
JESS: Oh, I did not know that. I am so sorry.
ANDREW: Is that true? Okay.
ALLISON: But I mean, I did notice some slurring. He might have been tired. They did have some mistakes in the show. Like, for instance, there's a part where the guy - the DJ, the other DJ in training, whatever he is –
ANDREW: I don’t know that guy’s name.
ALLISON: Yeah, I think Rik was the name of the character?
JESS: Yeah, Rik.
ALLISON: Is that why he does the rickroll?
JESS: Oh, the show rickrolled us.
ANDREW: Yeah, you’re right. He’s definitely Rik.
JESS: I hate it.
ANDREW: He tries to put his foot on a box, kneel on it, and he misses at one point?
JESS: You could have cut around that, you know, you can just do a quick editing thing and not have that there, but it's just The Disco Saved My Life - or The DJ Saved My Life.
ALLISON: The whole - the props and the staging and all this on this show - It's almost like a version of Our Town or something. Like, it's a lot of boxes and very minimal products. Just a screen on the back.
ANDREW: They have a couch and they have a DJ stand. And that's the whole set.
ALLISON: The bar had digital drinks in the background. They couldn't afford to get any drinks, but the guy has a bar and then a single crate and a single red solo cup, which he uses as his stage business. Like, they go out and they're walking away and he's like, “Aha, single cup into this -” Done.
ANDREW: It's so cheap.
JESS: But some of that kind of is charming. Like, I don't mind the use and all that in something like this. Because it is a tongue-in – Like, this isn't asking us to take it seriously, is the thing.
JESS: Sometimes it tries. Like with the drug overdose scene.
ALLISON: Well, they talk to the audience a lot. They're very much breaking the fourth wall and like, “Whatever, we're here to have a good time.”
ANDREW: This is like an after school special level of take it seriously.
JESS: I wouldn't even call it that bad because it's trying to have fun. First and foremost it's fun before story, before message, before all that. I imagine every one of our parents would probably enjoy going to see this because, “Oh, these are the songs from my childhood.”
ALLISON: It is a very nostalgia-based thing.
ALLISON: And I guess that's why you go to something like “David Hasselhoff sings the greats”, you know? But it does end with him saying, “Horny,