Follow TV Tropes


Music / Blue Man Group

Go To

"TV Tropes Wiki Editing Movement #1: The Page Quote."

"Ready? GO."

Blue Man Group is a creative group founded by Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton. It produces theatrical shows and concerts featuring music, comedy and multimedia; recorded music and scores for film and television; television appearances for shows such as The Tonight Show, Las Vegas, Scrubs, FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman and Arrested Development, and a children's museum exhibit, "Making Waves".

All of the organization's appearances star a trio of performers called Blue Men, who appear to have blue skin and no voice, hair or ears. The original founding Blue Men still perform occasionally, but they have since then taken on administrative roles in the company. Because of the success of Blue Man Group, a parent company called Blue Man Productions was created, which produces all the Blue Man Group shows in the world. In 2017, the group was bought out by Cirque du Soleil.

They have released three studio albums, Audio (1999), The Complex (2003), and Three (2016), and one live album, How To Be A Megastar Live! (2008).

TV Tropes Wiki Editing Movement #2: Providing Examples. Ready? GO.

  • The Adjectival Man: The Blue Men are certainly a group of blue men.
  • Affectionate Parody: "It's Time to Start" parodies rock concerts by explaining what rock concert tropes the audience should carry out, ranging from the realistic ("Rock Concert Movement #1, the basic head bob", and "#2, the one-armed fist pump") to the ridiculous ("#4, the behind-the-head leg stretch", which the Blue Men proceed to actually do). #3 ("the up-and-down jumping motion") receives a step-by-step explanation, though in live performances it's been replaced with #10 ("getting a closer look at the audience") which involves footage from a miniature camera supposedly being shoved down an audience member's throat.
    • The rock tours as a whole are one for rock n roll culture, mocking every imaginable rock n roll cliche while also being a really, really awesome concert.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: It's not made clear where the Blue Men are from but they are there and largely the only people on stage.
  • Audience Participation
    • "Time to Start," which introduces the concept of the "rock concert movements."
    • "What is Rock?" continues the theme from "Time to Start".
      "Rock concert movement #6: The two-armed upward thrust with yell. Ready? Go."
    • "Your Attention":
      "Your attention please. Please yell if you are paying attention." note 
    • At one point, they would play the song "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, while each of them held up an LCD lightboard. The first message on each one was, respectively:
      "Read this sign if you know the words to this song
      Read this sign if you don't know the words to this song
      Read this sign if you don't care for this song."
    • Before the Las Vegas live show, scrolling text across monitors asks the audience to participate in various tasks. Among these are speaking "Happy Birthday" ("Don't sing. Just speak."), and "making that noise they used to make on Arsenio Hall".
    • If there are latecomers, the Blue Men are interrupted by a really catchy song as the camera focuses on the latercomers entering.
    • During the rock tours, an audience member would be selected at random to read off the names of the musicians as part of the "Rock Concert Movements."
    • Their song "Meditation for Winners" has a lot of call and response between the narrator in the audience, leading them in chants and screams.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Conceptually, the Drumbone is a pretty cool instrument: a percussive whose pitch can be modified by sliding two segments of pipe, and by detaching its pieces and playing them separately you get an even wider range of notes. But it requires all three Blue Men to play (two to slide, one to drum) and creates a similar timbre to the PVC pipes and the Tubulum, each of which can be played individually, which is probably why it's only heard in the song named after the instrument.
  • Butt-Monkey: As one of the themes of the group is that three is the minimum needed for majorities and minorities to form, much of the humor comes from one Blue Man being treated this way. Typically, it's whichever one is currently standing on the right.
  • Concept Album: The Complex tells two simultaneous stories, one of the boisterous, exciting rock n' roll world ("Time To Start," "Your Attention") and one of the joyless corporate world ("Sing Along," "Persona"). The two eventually meet in "What Is Rock."
  • Cover Version: "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer and, in concerts, "Baba O'Riley" by The Who and "One Of These Days" by Pink Floyd.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Complex is easily the group's most angst-ridden creation, with themes of becoming a soulless slave to convention in a grim corporate world.
  • Double Entendre: "Please give us our balls back." The Las Vegas production, which was revised in 2012 to include the "Shake It" segment, has run with this double entendre in magazine ads and posters: "Blue Man Group: Now with Balls".
  • Epic Rocking: "Rods and Cones" (5:57) and "Klein Mandelbrot" (8:03) on Audio, and the title track of The Complex (6:25). Also, the "Exhibit 13"/"Mandelbrot No. 4" track on The Complex is nearly nine minutes, but the two individual songs are about four minutes each and the latter is a Hidden Track.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Do not come in late to a Blue Man Group show. Or DO come in late if you want to laugh.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Rods and Cones," the big screens show the text as the voice-over guy is saying it. As he's describing the cones in your eyes, he explains that they specialize in color vision, and come in three types: those that respond to the color red, those that respond to green, and those that respond to... (NAKED PEOPLE) ...the color blue.
  • Iconic Song Request: There is a mole in the audience that shouts out "FREEBIRD!" at one point in the show.
  • iPhony: Some shows feature the GiPad, a reference to Apple's iPad. Each of the Blue Men would make use of the three extra large tablets. They even come with apps!
  • Kayfabe Music: In their very earliest appearances, the Blue Men would speak directly to their audience with a short question and answer session. Nowadays, they remain in character as The Voiceless Cloudcuckoolanders, treating items carried by the audience (such as cellphones and cameras) with a combination of awe and mystification.
  • List Song: The new finale "Shake It" mostly consists of (largely made-up) synonyms for the human rear end.
  • Meaningful Name
    • One track on Audio is entitled "Synesthesia," a perceptual phenomenon that can sometimes result in people seeing colors when they hear certain sounds. A big appeal of the Group's performances is emphasizing musical sounds with colorful visuals.
    • The album Three, which is a play on the Group consisting of three members and the fact that it's their third studio album.
  • The Mole: In the audience! During some concerts, a member of the BMG's crew will be planted into the audience with the express purpose of shouting "FREEBIRD!" during the concert. The band will then start playing the beginning guitar riffs of "Freebird".
  • Mood Whiplash: About three quarters though The Complex Live Tour, the Blue Men perform Exhibit 13 — a subdued, solemn piece that includes recitations from scorched documents found in Carroll Gardens during the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: A recurring theme is that the Blue Men don't know what any object's purpose is, and will investigate it in the most unusual fashions.
  • No Fourth Wall: The audience are very much a part of a Blue Man show, whether it's being invited into the stage to participate in skits or the Blue Men themselves coming out to their seats to mess with them. The finale of the Las Vegas also requires them to push enormous paper streamers being fed from the back to the theater down to the stage.
  • Numerological Motif:
    • Except for the original Blue Man Group performance, "The Funeral for the Eighties", there have always been three Blue Men. This is because this is the smallest number for minorities and majorities to form, which many of their acts and sketches revolve around. This does not include the other performers behind stage who use their limbs for some impossible stretching or bodies to fake teleportation or the musicians in a dark corner of the stage who wear completely black clothes with some glow-in-the-dark green straps on them.
    • Each of their studio albums contain 14 tracks. The Complex actually contains 15 songs, but "Mandelbrot No. 4" is a hidden song after "Exhibit 13" on the 14th track.
  • Overly Long Gag: The song "Shake Your Euphemism".
    • You will need to start shaking your rear end, or as some people call it...
    • Your hindquarters, your backside, your bottom, your buttocks, your rump, your posterior, your heiney, your keister...
    • Your tush, your buns, your bumcakes, your junk in the trunk, your badonkadonk, your squash tart, your fanny, your double slug,...
    • Your wiggle bags, your mud flaps, your rump rockets, your flesh pot, your second face, your bounce house, the jiggle twins, Jar Jar Binks...
    • Your bubble pop, your medicine ball, your sonic boom...
    • Ladies and gentlemen, please stand up.
  • Perpetual Expression: While they can be very expressive with their bodies, the blue men's faces are absolutely deadpan.
  • The Power of Friendship: The entire "Drumbone" routine is a subtle version of this: two Blue Men have tubes, another has sticks. Alone, they have nothing, but when the one with sticks plays on the tubes individually, he gets a simple melody. It isn't until the tubes are connected and all three Men work to play it that the song fully forms.
  • The Rival: The Orlando, Florida production is Universal Orlando's answer to Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba at nearby Walt Disney World.
  • Shaving Is Science: One blade mocks the hair, another shoots tiny arrows.
  • Silent Snarker: The minority Blue Man is often shut down in his antics with a curious look.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The voice-over guy in the song "Rods and Cones."
    Each of your eyes has over 3 million photoreceptors called rods and cones. These receptors convert light into electrochemical signals that travel through the optic nerve and into the brain. Here, these signals trigger the neurological process scientists call "the hellawhack shiznit that happens inside your brizzle."
  • Spoken Word in Music: The Complex is loaded with spoken word excerpts, most commonly through the Rock Concert Encyclopedia bits, and live shows provide more exposition into the encyclopedia (mostly narrated by drummer Todd Perlmutter). Three contains some spoken word in "3 To 1" and "Robots".
  • Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "Shake Your Euphemism," which actually uses the word "buttocks" as one of the less absurd euphemisms for the human posterior.
  • Take That!: Some of the things on the Rock Instruction stuff.
    If you don't have a lot of natural charisma, you can give yourself a descriptive name like Slash, The Edge, or Scary Spice.
  • Trash-Can Band: One of the band's trademarks is their self-invented instruments made out of unusual materials, their two most famous being the PVC pipes struck with foam paddles or drumsticks, and boat antennas which are waved about to create rhythmic "swooshing" sounds.
  • The Triple
    Periodically, you may want to check with your fans to see if they are "with you". If so, you can reward their devotion by handing out a few special souvenir items - such as drum sticks, guitar picks and Courvoisier.
  • Unreadably Fast Text: All three Blue Men simultaneously flash cue cards filled with lots of text to the audience, waiting just a few seconds before moving to the next one. One of the cards says you can't read all of them and should just pick one Blue Man and stick with him.
    • Even if you can read fast enough to read all three cards each round, they eventually get into stuff like Greek text, numbers, bar codes...
    • In 2012, the Las Vegas production updated this segment with giant "GiPads" that the Blue Men "flip" through. One pad has "Twit that Lit!" (really condensed versions of classic literature), another has mock ads, and the last has facts about the increased role of technology in people's lives.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The song used in the finale of the current show rattles off a lengthy list of pretty much every (reasonably family-friendly) euphemism for the human posterior that one can possibly think of. Toward the end, most of these get to be a bit of a stretch...
    • And then they announced a contest, part of the prize being that the winner's submitted euphemism would be added to the song.

TV Tropes Wiki Editing Movement #3: The Stinger.

"Ready? GO."