Bad Lip Reading is a YouTube channel that takes film segments, footage of politicians, and music videos of pop songs and writes new dialog to designed to match the lip movements of the people in the video, with little to no regard for making sense. In the case of music videos, they produce complete original songs, and substantial editing of the original video is also involved. They got their start in March 2011 with "Gang Fight", a Gag Dub of Rebecca Black's notorious viral video "Friday", which took a song about having fun on the weekend and made it into a song about gang warfare and chicken. Most of their works execute a similar dramatic shift in style and tone from the original.Thanks to an anonymous interview, we now know that BLR is produced by a single man in Texas, a "music producer, songwriter, and musician," but his identity remains a mystery. His songs are being sold completely legally on iTunes (being original works) but the videos may yet fall victim to copyright claims (as "Dirty Spaceman" and "(Rockin') All Nite Long" already have). A few, like "Trick the Bridesmaid," are based on public domain works and so safe from takedowns.YMMV page here.
AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: Although most of their lyrics are quite natural, BLR is sometimes guilty of this, as in this line from "Russian Unicorn":
I want to shave that mustache and then have gelato!
From Black Umbrella:
"I'ma get dumb and bang a wizard!"
Actually Pretty Funny: Michael BublÚ loved "Russian Unicorn." Gotye and Josh Hutcherson thought "Kicked Your Monkey" and "Hunger Game" respectively were good enough to pass on via Twitter, and Miley Cyrus actually tweeted "Black Umbrella" to Snoop Dogg.
Judging by the comments, Ron Paul supporters, a notoriously touchy contingent, appeared to have this reaction when he got the BLR treatment. Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain all loved their videos, too.
Harry from One Direction thought Shadow Pico was hysterical as well, and linked to it on his personal Twitter.
An NFL fan actually made a giant orange peanut and brought it to a Minnesota Vikings game, where he asked Adrian Peterson to sign it. Peterson gladly accepted.
Adaptation Distillation: Some of BLR's videos are taken from more than one song. For instance, "Morning Dew" is taken from three songs, "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars, "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga and "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
Also seems to apply to Rick Perry in his soundbite, where he spontaneously lists food and proclaims that he is "bored by famine."
Obama in Trick the Bridesmaids lists food America has been short on.
The Yeti, who even gets called out on it.
Bob Schieffer seems to have a thing for bacon-crusted rolls, comparing them to crack-filled sandwiches. This is followed by Mitt Romney proclaiming his love for ground meaton spinach and "scum brownies".
Deconstructed with Jacob Black. Apparently, even werewolves have problems with soul food, especially if it's made with porpoise meat.
Give Herman Cain a large plate of McDonald's special, and he'll sing, sing, sing about it.
Adrian Peterson has exotic interests in food which includes egg rolls, cookies, stingrays, and double-sided Scooby-Snacks. He also has a thing for orange peanuts, and publicly accepted an interviewer when she offered one.
Peter Parker ate Gwen's pig, Mr. Peaches, and feathered duck, Ruffles. He likes juicy pork.
Crossdressing Voices As noted earlier, BLR is all the work of one man, which means he ends up gag-dubbing with female voices a lot. Though there's probably some studio trickery involved, his female singing voice is pretty convincing.
Fake Shemp: "Yeti" has added footage of Chris Martin running after the Yeti. Since they couldn't get the real Chris Martin, they used a lookalike wearing his outfit from the video, who is almost always filmed from behind (except for one quick shot incorporating green-screened footage from "The Scientist")
Foreshadowing: One of the things said by Gary LeVox near the end of "Asian Baby", the first BLR based around Justin Bieber and Rascal Flatts' "That Should Be Me," is "Cheese fries, next time," said directly to the viewer. The second BLR based around "That Should Be Me?" The food-themed "Hot Jumping Beans".
The still of Ludacris and his "magic goose" in "Magic Man" (shown right after the "Gang Fight" Call Back). It's shown just long enough to register, but the pause button is needed to make out the funnier details.
Happens again in "Dirty Spaceman", with a reflection of the Dirty Spaceman in the tv screen before it's switched on, and will.i.am edited to look like a pink bunny at 3:23.
Yet again in "Morning Dew," with a monkey appearing on Jay-Z's shoulder at 1:41. The still of Jay-Z edited to look like Han Solo might also count, but it's up for a bit longer than most such shots. There's also a shot around 3:23 where Bruno Mars holds up a picture he drew of a pink ice castle, a green hotdog, and 'three light snacks.'
There are a few quick shots in the buildup part of "Shadow Pico" that shows one of the members of One Direction turning into a vampire.
Hotter and Sexier: BLR's naughty reinterpretations of Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, and Michael BublÚ have left many YouTube commenters finding them more attractive than before, despite all video clips being taken straight from the original videos.
Whoever the song "Beard With Glue" is about. He sneaks off and punches little orphaned Brazilians, and he drowned his friends in blood. He's so bad that a bullfrog hates him and James Blunt hopes he falls on his burger and fries.
Gotye kicks monkeys, has wonderful dreams about strangling people, works with the Sith, and if you don't buy his song on iTunes, he'll use your goat, whatever that means.
The girl at the end of the "More Mitt" video. She interrupts Mitt's speech to call out "I wish you would drown".
Possibly also Mitt Romney himself. He tied up a chicken and gave a whipping to a disabled, he ate Fifi, and he will force spiders and badgers on his enemies. He might also be mildly racist.
Edward Cullen. In "More Twillight", he suggests making stew out of Bella's dead rabbit, forgets to buy Bella's Christmas present, and slaps a fish for some reason, and in the first video he screams at Bella for eating a leftover piece of cake.
Joe Biden said in a debate that "poor people can suck it!". Paul Ryan claims he's made out of ice.
One of the NFL coaches calls himself a jerk because he told a girl to pick up her floor bags because she ain't living in Southeast Asia.
A midget told Lady Gaga to speak with an accent, so she did, just so she could steal his Porsche while he was tied to a stake.
Literal Music Video: Although not strict literal music videos, many of the lyrics are inspired by things going on in the video, like in "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)": "Dude's so crazy, he tryin' to sell me hubcaps." and "Please help me down from this swing"
"Kicked Your Monkey" does this deliberately to fill a segment left lyric-less in the original.
"Lines, lines, intersecting. Ooooh, lines, lines, intersecting now with paint."
"I play all the parts and sing all the vocals. Even the girl parts are me. It's a party-trick of mine: I can do a girl voice. I used to call up my friends and speak in the girl voice and they wouldn't know who it was. It's just a thing I can do. But there's also some electronic trickery involved."
Jacob: I'm not good... looking. [Beat] I's just kidding. Yeah I am.
My Name Is Not Durwood: Poor President Obama gets called two different names by two different debate commentators: "Ahmed" by Jim Lehrer and "Percy" by Bob Schieffer. Lehrer also calls Mitt Romney "Matt."
One of Us: Mitt Romney is apparently quite a gamer.
One Steve Limit: Leaving out the Nicki Minaj bits in "Magic Man" while she gets due focus in "Dirty Spaceman" seems influenced by this trope. Averted with two Justin Bieber videos out (though the second seems like a deliberate followup to the first).
Only Sane Man: In the Newt Gingrich clip, Michele Bachmann comes across as this during the debate.
Parody: (Or satire, depending on your point of view) Either one is protected under United States fair use law and BLR makes an effort to present the video clips differently from the original video, potentially to avoid copyright violations. Whether this works is yet to be determined.
"Gang Fight" fast forwarded through the part of the "Friday" video where Rebecca Black sang the infamous "Yesterday it was Thursday..." lines and goes straight to the rapper in the car, apparently because they didn't write anything for that part of the video. This makes "Gang Fight" about 40 seconds shorter than the original video.
The images for "Everybody Poops" are (until the end) flipped from the original version of "Boom Boom Pow" and the part where Fergie sings "People in the place..." is used twice in "Everybody Poops" so she can be seen singing "When I'm on the pot..." twice.
Clips from rap videos are inserted into "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)" and "(Rockin') All Nite Long", both parodies of songs not containing any rapping. Of special note, the clips of Wiz Khalifa come from "Black and Yellow" which actually were black and yellow but have been tinted blue here.
"Magic Man" actually omits all of Nicki Minaj's footage from the original, in favor of the apparently random Bee Gees clips from "Too Much Heaven".
"Dirty Spaceman" is edited so that it appears you are watching the video via a monitor on the ship of the Dirty Spaceman.
It didn't stop UMG from taking it down, though.
Putting certain words on screen may also be an effort to ensure the videos are recognized as parody.
"Russian Unicorn" appears to be the least altered from the original, although it does have the usual BLR trope of putting certain phrases on the screen.
At the other end of the scale, since "Morning Dew" has clips from three videos, it would be the most altered of all the BLR vidoes.
Like "Everybody Poops", "Beard With Glue" flips the original video for "You're Beautiful" (unlike the above mentioned, however, this stays the same for the entire video). It also adds around another 40 seconds to the video by reversing the part where James Blunt empties his pockets, making it look like after he puts everything out, he puts them back into his pockets, and then puts them out again. The video also uses a similar "watching from a screen" technique like from "Dirty Spaceman", except there are multiple screens, as shown in the beginning and end.
"Kicked Your Monkey" does this very subtly, adding a strobe effect to just the border, which melds perfectly with the new Eurobeat sound so you don't even notice it's there at first. The random triangle shapes created by the "lines, lines, intersecting" on the walls also flicker with light in time to a quick series of synth notes (that are also heard at the end, with random paint splotches appearing over Gotye and Kimbra in perfect sync with the notes).
Rule of Funny: The only way to explain the random lyrics that are sung when the video is not currently focused on the singing. For example, in "Black Umbrella", the lines about the Padawan and Tiny Timmy Tokyo both come up when the camera is not on Miley Cyrus' face.
Secret Identity: As noted above, the man behind BLR is hiding his real name, reportedly "because he doesn't want the levity of the Bad Lip Reading series to impact his more serious work."
Sequel Escalation: "Yeti" broke new ground by adding whole footage cut from cloth; "Edward and Bella" and "Hunger Games" actually shake off some of the Word Salad Lyrics and manage to turn out continuous back-and-forth dialogue. "Paul Ryan's Video Diary" goes one step further by replacing the background, completely changing the context.
Shown Their Work: Yes, that is a real graph of the inverse cosine in "Black Umbrella (The Right Stuff)".
Their Jay-Z sounds good enough that you'd swear it was him.
Their Miley Cyrus voice is pretty darn good too, especially in the talking segments (the diet Snapple part and "And I'm pregnant").
Why is Wiz Khalifa edited into Taylor Swift's video? It might be because the Pittsburgh Pirates logo on the T-shirt he's wearing has been altered to replace the word "PIRATES" with "TAYLOR." But BLR didn't do that. It was shown that way in Khalifa's original video (The Pirate's face was also altered).
When BLR added their own hands to footage of Lady Gaga in "Morning Dew", there was a tattoo of a peace sign on the left wrist. Lady Gaga actually has a tattoo like this.
"Beard with Glue" could also count, being devoid of the usual hiphop flavor.
"High School" starts a new trend by using movie footage.
"Shadow Pico" takes it even further by posing music video footage as movie footage into a Real Trailer, Fake Movie. Also, most of the dialogue is lip read as some sort of foreign-language sounding gibberish.
"THE NFL", of course, is the first-ever reading consisting of sports footage.
Spoken Word In Music: Every song, save for a select few, features a spoken word section, but "Trick the Bridesmaid" is almost exclusively this (save for the chorus).
The Stinger: After every video, a short part of the video is played again, except with vastly different and equally nonsensical lyrics.
Vocal Dissonance: It says a lot that this is averted except (arguably) in two cases - Gary LeVox (voiced similar to Larry The Cable Guy even though his real voice is more like the one used for Justin Bieber here) and Michele Bachmann (whom you'd probably expect to sound like a guy anyways).