British rock stalwart Nick Lowe hadn't made a music video in 18 years, but in producing a video for his new song "Sensitive Man," which premiered today on NPR.org, Lowe went an unusual route -- casting a bunch of American comedians.
Lowe, whose colorful life in rock-and-roll includes producing Elvis Costello's first five albums, marrying a daughter of June Carter Cash and penning the hit "Cruel to be Kind," released his latest album "This Old Magic" to favorable reviews in late 2011.
"Sensitive Man" was directed by Scott Jacobson, who formerly wrote for "Daily Show" and currently works on "Bob's Burgers." Jacobson took a similar route by casting comedians in other very funny, yet quietly sad videos he directed for The National and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, among others.
This video opens with a conversation between Maria Thayer and Marc Maron (who recently interviewed Lowe on "WTF"), introducing the idea that Maron's character feels he must attend "sensitivity classes." The class, taught by a New Age-y, flute-playing Tim Heidecker, teaches sensitivity having his students smack pillows with tennis rackets, wrestle each other in gorilla masks and something called "rollover whispers." Attendees also include comedian/actor/writers James Urbaniak, Ted Travelstead, Todd Levin, Brian Stack and Andres du Bouchet. (If the latter three look familiar, it's because they're writers and frequent performers on "Conan.")
Also in brief cameos are punk legend Robyn Hitchcock and the entire band Wilco, who invited Lowe to open for them on their last tour.
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