Andrew, Zubin, Ross, Rob, and Joe
Tally Hall is a five-piece band based in Ann Arbor, Michigan
. They're best known for their color-coordinated ties
, irreverent and dark sense of humor
, and clever lyrics. They formed in 2002 at the University of Michigan
with five members: Rob Cantor (yellow tie, guitar and vocals), Steven Gallagher (gray tie, drums), Joe Hawley (red tie, guitar and vocals), Andrew Horowitz (green tie, keys and vocals), and Zubin Sedghi (blue tie, bass and vocals). When the band decided to take themselves more seriously as musicians, Steve bowed out and was replaced by Ross Federman.
They released an eleven-part online comedy series
called “Tally Hall’s Internet Show”
(often abbreviated to T.H.I.S.) in 2008 and 2009. Each episode is roughly ten minutes long and sometimes debuts a music video.
- Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum (2005, re-recorded in 2008)
- Good & Evil (2011)
Tropes featured in Tally Hall:
- Affectionate Parody: Many quick ones in the music video for “Good Day.”
- Album Title Drop: MMMM in "Welcome to Tally Hall"; Good & Evil in “A Lady”.
- Alliterative Name: Henry Hume.
- Not to mention the title of their first full-length album, Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum.
- Amnesia Loop: Ross encounters one of these in T.H.I.S. when he wakes to discover a string on his finger, which reminds him that he needs to remember something. He forgets that he needs to remember something, discovers it again, and then is reminded again that he needs to remember something. He forgets that he needs to remember something, discovers it again, and then…
- Animated Music Video: Many: “Ruler of Everything,” “Hidden in the Sand,” “The Whole World and You,” “Turn the Lights Off,” and parts of “Banana Man.”
- Audience Participation Song: Often happens in their live sets at the end of “Welcome to Tally Hall,” with the lines, “we think we’re playing in a band, but we’d love to give you all a hand.”
- Bachelor Auction: Literally in “The Bidding.”
- Background Music: An instrumental version of “Haiku” is playing in “Convenience Store Musical.”
- An instrumental version of “Banana Man” is playing in Joerilla’s car when he attempts to parallel park in “Gorilla Parking”. It’s abruptly replaced with Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 1” (Joerilla’s Leitmotif) when he damages the other car.
- Big "NO!": In T.H.I.S. episode two, Rob does an impressively long one (and ends it with an explosion sound effect) after Zubin dies.
- Also done in “Henry Hume’s Muffin Collection” by Henry and the narrator.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: They love to do this in T.H.I.S.
- Call-and-Response Song: “Can I get a T?” in “Welcome to Tally Hall”.
- Also, “is my amp too high?” with the response, “no, turn it up more!” in the same song.
- Catch Phrase: Joe’s is JOEHAWLEY, repeated ad nauseum, while “attacking” a victim (usually Rob).
- Due to Bora’s pranks, Joe also has “is this a video?”
- Colour Coded Characters: Their signature ties:
- Andrew is green
- Joe is red
- Rob is yellow
- Ross is gray
- Zubin is blue
- Bora, who is basically an honorary member of the band, is orange
- Casey Shea, who replaced Joe on the 2010 tour, is black
- This originally was used to make them stand out from other Ann Arbor bands, and the colors were chosen based on their instrument colors. Ross “inherited” Steven’s gray tie when he replaced him in the band.
- They’ve said before that purple can be the tie color for fans.
- Crocodile Tears: Rob and Joe, almost immediately, during Andrew’s argument for killing Zubin in “Death Request.” Lampshaded when we see Rob putting eye drops in his eyes.
- Death by Irony: In T.H.I.S.: when Rob, Joe, and Andrew are unsure whether to kill Ross (because his death request was not to be killed, something they could only fulfill if they killed him), a Mexican Standoff takes place. The four of them runimate what should be done, when finally, Ross eats one of Andrew’s cupcakes, unaware that they were poisoned.
- Demonic Possession: Well, something's going on at the bridge of "Turn the Lights Off"...
- Including a reading of The Satanic Bible by Bora, & Ross' voice being manipulated to sound like a demon.
- Dream Sequence: Each member of the band has their own “Dream Journal” in T.H.I.S.
- Duel to the Death: Subverted in their video “Duel.”
- Dumb and Drummer: Absolutely averted in that Ross is frequently referred to as the smartest member of the band by the other members, but parodied in T.H.I.S. episode two: once by Joe ("Ross is just a drummer") when he's trying to reason why Zubin would want them to kill Ross, and again when Andrew is making his argument for killing Ross.
- Fake Guest Star: In a way, Bora Karaca. Bora is unofficially the sixth member of Tally Hall; he’s recorded with them, filmed several vlogs for them, been a roadie for them, and has his own 15-second segment (called “15 Seconds of Bora”) on each episode of T.H.I.S. During their Good & Evil tour in 2011, he donned an orange tie and played onstage with them.
- Fan Communities: Tally Halligans, Hall Monitors, Tally Hallics…Tally Hall fans go by many different names.
- Five-Man Band
- Fun With Palindromes: One of the fake bands in the music video for “Good Day” is called Partyboobytrap, which is the name of a Tally Hall EP, and also was considered among possible band names before they decided on Tally Hall.
- Genre Savvy: In their "Club Can't Handle Me" cover, Rob's rap bridge.
Showed it to FloRida but he didn't like it
Hurts the pride, but we tried it
Maybe it's the song
We didn't write it
- The Golden Rule: Referenced in Andrew's Why We Should Kill Ross speech in T.H.I.S. episode two.
- Also referenced in the song "&".
- Green Aesop: "Slap Brigade," though it's averted, since the offender doesn't seem to learn anything about not littering.
- Hidden Track: “Hidden in the Sand”
- Hypocritical Humor: “Salt”, a sketch appearing in T.H.I.S.:
Joe: A lot of people say that we’re silly, but it’s not necessarily the phrase that can be used to completely describe us, you know. We do a lot of things that I would consider to be serious, although it isn’t always, uh… (he passes a giant canister labeled “SALT”) it isn’t always ridiculous, sometimes we try to... (he digs in his pockets, pulling out a handful of salt, and sprinkles it into the canister)
- Identical Stranger: Joe Hawley and Christian Camargo.
- Incredibly Long Note: Tally Hall is very fond of this trope, in performances and sketches alike.
- Andrew begins the “Convenience Store Musical” with this.
- Done using some Vocal Tag Team among Joe, Rob, and Zubin when the band performed their cover of Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You.”
- The “Directions” and “Enchirito” videos rely on this.
- Invisible Backup Band: “Convenience Store Musical”, though it features some very real backup singers and dancers.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Rob released a song called "Shia LaBeouf" in which he describes Shia as a murdering, man-eating madman.
- Last Request: Made by Zubin in T.H.I.S. episode two, aptly titled “Death Request”. He asks that Rob, Joe, & Andrew kill Ross. A Mexican Standoff then leads to Gunpoint Banter when Ross' Last Request is that the other guys not kill him.
- Joe, Rob, & Andrew take this request to startling degrees of commitment.
- Layman’s Terms: Subverted by Rob in Boralogue VI:
- Leitmotif: Joerilla’s is “Gnossienne No. 1” by Erik Satie.
- Lemony Narrator: Played by Rob in an episode of T.H.I.S., narrating the story of Henry Hume IV. Rob is not only an Interactive Narrator, he also turns out to be the one who ruined Henry’s prized muffin collection.
- Long Runner Line Up
- Lyrical Cold Open: Plenty. "Good Day", "&", "Mucka Blucka", "Hymn for a Scarecrow", and "You". "The Bidding" counts if you're feeling generous (it starts with "mms").
- Make a Wish: The first episode of T.H.I.S. features a Questions Answered sketch in which each band member is asked what they would do if they had one wish. Joe wishes for advancements in the field of renewable energy; Andrew wishes to create the most beautiful piece of music ever; Rob wishes for more wishes; Ross copies Joe’s wish; Zubin wishes to be the greatest basketball player of all time. Hilarity Ensues when Andrew wishes to be a greater basketball player than Zubin, allowing Ross to steal Andrew’s wish and play the background music for a very short basketball game between Zubin and Andrew.
- Also in T.H.I.S., a fish appears to Rob and Ross, claiming to be a magical being who will grant them anything they wish for. Rob and Ross exchange an excited glance, and then it jump cuts to the pair of them eating the fish.
- Motor Mouth: Joe during the stunning bridge to "Ruler of Everything" (which peaks with three people singing the Motor Mouth line simultaneously).
- At the end of "The Bidding", one can barely make out Ross speaking like an auctioneer in the background. The isolated audio can be listened to here.
- Musical Nod: To "The Chicken Dance" in parts of "Mucka Blucka".
- My Parents Are Dead: In T.H.I.S. episode three, “Taken for a Ride”.
- Negative Continuity: T.H.I.S., and how. Or else Zubin would be dead for most of the series.
- So would Ross. And Rob, depending on your interpretation of his Dream Journal. You know, probably all of them would have been dead by the end.
- Obsession Song: “Two Wuv.”
- Orphaned Punchline: Ross does this a few times in T.H.I.S.
- "And so the whole experience was really amazing. I couldn't even tell whether she was a hologram, or a robot, or what."
- ”I ended up being airborne for more than five minutes. That’s how I got the nickname Ross.”
- Parody Commercial: A few nonsensical ads for raisins appear in T.H.I.S.
- Performance Video: Very cleverly done in “Good Day”; the band is not only performing in many different places, but the medium displaying their performance is constantly changing.
- “Two Wuv,” until the clown stops the whole thing dead.
- Photo Montage: The music video for "Welcome to Tally Hall".
- Planet of Steves: Every girl shown or mentioned in T.H.I.S. is named Sally.
- Post Modernism: Zubin’s Last Words in T.H.I.S. episode two are “these are my last words.”
- Precision F-Strike: Rob hushes Joe with one of these in T.H.I.S., episode two. Notable because the members of Tally Hall almost never swear on camera, and when they slip up, it’s bleeped out (as seen in the Boralogues).
Andrew: Guys! I came as soon as I heard. We should definitely do it.
Joe: Oh, this is ridiculous.
Rob: Shut the f—k up! Go ahead, Andrew.
- Public Service Announcement: All of the "What You Don't Know" segments from T.H.I.S. parody it. Doubly subverted in "Practice":
”Everyone knows that practice is a recipe for success. What you don’t know is that it’s also a recipe for acid rain .......which can be chemically treated, boiled, and used to prepare delicious jambalaya!”
- Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The recap of “The Ross Show” at the beginning of the second episode of T.H.I.S.
- Running Gag: Several times in the Boralogues, Bora pranks Joe by telling him to pose for a picture, when he’s in fact taking a video. Joe falls for this every time, posing until he realizes Bora’s filming.
- This has led to the creation of a Catch Phrase for Joe, who usually asks some variation of “is this a video?” when he suspects he’s being set up.
- Joe lampshades this during Boralogue II, realizing with mild frustration, “it’s a video, isn’t it?” when Bora tells him to smile in the hotel room.
- Scatting: Sort of done in “Haiku”, during the only actual haiku in the song:
Lah dah dee diddum
Lah dah dah dum doo ditto
Dum doo lah dee doh
- Self-Backing Vocalist: Zubin’s “ooh” segment in “Fate of the Stars” could be considered this. In the studio, he recorded his entire vocal range, note-by-note, shown in this Boralogue.
- Bora likes to employ this in the Boralogues, too.
- Self-Demonstrating Song: “Haiku” is about the protagonist’s inability to write a haiku. With the exception of one phrase of nonsense lyrics, the entire song is written in almost-haikus (syllabic structures of 5-7-6, instead of traditional haiku form, 5-7-5).
- Series Continuity Error: Parodied in Pepperoni 2, with Rob's hat being on in some scenes and off in others without any explanation.
- Shave And A Haircut: After a few random honks, Ross instigates the Honk War with this.
- Shout-Out: Zubin does this in “Welcome to Tally Hall”; “gray in the back sipping ‘gnac” is a reference to Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says.”
- A line later he references Detroit Pistons player, Bill Laimbeer.
- In the same song, Rob says “on booty duty like your name was Eddie Thatch.” Edward Thatch is one of the names (others including Edward Teach) thought to be the real identity of the pirate Blackbeard.
- Several shout outs are placed in the music video for “Good Day,” although most of them are probably intended as affectionate parodies.
- When Rob and Joe find a treasure chest in T.H.I.S. episode two, the “unlock secret” sound from The Legend of Zelda plays.
- It plays again when they find a second treasure chest within the first.
- Siamese Twin Songs: “Good Day” and “Greener”.
- Also “Welcome to Tally Hall” and “Taken for a Ride.”
- Side Effects Include…: Parodied in Boralogue VI.
- ”Placidiomaxecia. Talk to your doctor.”
- Singer Namedrop: “Welcome to Tally Hall” (obviously)
- Single Stanza Song: "A Lady"
- Smoking Is Cool: Parodied in the music video for “Good Day,” when Rob smokes a cigarette, exhales, and smokes another cigarette in the other hand.
- Subverted in the music video for “Welcome to Tally Hall,” when Joe is seen enthusiastically smoking and then immediately coughing afterwards.
- Solo Side Project: Andrew Horowitz is "edu" when left to his own devices. He released his debut album only on cassette tape in 2012. Rob Cantor also began a solo career in 2012.
- Song Style Shift: The band appears to be fond of these, as there are several of them in “Fate of the Stars,” “Good Day,” “The Bidding,” “Hymn for a Scarecrow,” “Taken for a Ride,” &c.
- Sophisticated as Hell: Their cover of “Club Can’t Handle Me” with Casey Shea. Complete with piano flourishes, Rob’s brilliantly Genre Savvy rap in the middle, and an a cappella chorus near the end.
- Speaking Simlish: Quite literally—they re-recorded “Good Day” in Simlish for The Sims 2: Apartment Life.
- Spin-Off Babies: At the end of the video for "Good Day," brief baby videos of each member of the band are shown.
- Spit Take: Rob does a fantastic one in T.H.I.S. when Ross tells him that Zubin is dying.
- Spoken Word in Music: Used rather often.
- Cacophonies of it in "Good Day" and at the beginning of "Haiku"
- "If they would just give me a chance..." in "Two Wuv"
- The bridge of their cover of "Just a Friend"
- Standard Snippet: In "Something Extraordinarily Satisfying", Rossini's "William Tell Overture (Finale)," during the agonizingly slow crawl of the steamroller.
- Stealth Pun: "OH MY GOD. Where's Colonel Popcorn?"
- Step Up to the Microphone: Ross sometimes sings lead vocals when the band covers songs on tour.
- Andrew sings the lead vocals on "You", "The Whole World And You", and "Taken for a Ride", all of which are songs he wrote.
- Stop and Go:
"The actor with his world renown was thinking 'bout his last real day of silence...was it over?"
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Very cleverly done in the song "Haiku":
I've never thought much of formulaic verse anyway
And rhymes are not my forte. [correctly pronounced as "fort"]
- Surreal Humor: Most episodes of T.H.I.S. feature this, particularly episode three, “Taken for A Ride”). For example, “Spaghetti Bath”.
- Surreal Music Video: “Banana Man”, like whoa.
- “Good Day”, to an extent.
- Talky Bookends: Nearly the entire music video for “Two Wuv” is the band going on a road trip to Los Angeles to find Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. The actual song doesn’t even come in until the last few minutes, and even then, it’s cut off when Zubin is knocked out by a clown.
- Temporary Substitute: Casey Shea filled in for Joe, who chose not to tour with the band in 2010. Casey wore a black tie for the occasion.
- The Cameo: The band makes one in Ludo’s video for “Love Me Dead”.
- The Wiki Rule: Hidden in the Sand, an excellent source of information pertaining to the marionette quintet.
- Theremin: Used in their Good & Evil tour in 2011; they held a contest in which winners would get to come on stage to play the theremin alongside the band in the song “The Trap”.
- Tomato Surprise: Bizarrely zig-zagged in "Natural Ketchup."
- Travel Montage: Parodied in Boralogues V-IX; it shows their journey from what is presumably Bora's house to the studio, but it's a very short distance on the map.
- Troll: Many instances of this (scripted and in Real Life), but notably in the segment “Craigslist Caller” from T.H.I.S. They call someone who’s listed a washing machine for sale on Craigslist literally only to let the hopeful seller know they’re not interested in it.
- Tyop on the Cover: “There’s lots of pretty people here sharing sotries and passing letters” in “The Whole World and You”. Sotries is, of course, supposed to be “stories” but was misprinted in the lyrics booklet. Andrew, who wrote the song, said in an interview with Fearless Radio that he doesn’t back down from a mistake, and left it in the lyrics.
- Lampshaded in the music video—there's a shelf labelled "SRCEWS."
- Uncommon Time: The verses of “Good Day” are in 13/4 time.
- Vocal Tag Team: All members (with the exception of Ross) have sung lead vocals.
- Ross does sing lead vocals on covers they do in live performances sometimes, however, and sings a line at the end of “Hymn for a Scarecrow.”