40 Years Later, 'Free to Be...You and Me' Gets a Parody Album
The '70s classic celebrated individuality among kids; the new album -- not so much.
Released in November 1972, Free to Be ... You and Me was a kids album and later a TV special that encouraged individuality and looser definitions of gender norms.
The project was spearheaded by Marlo Thomas and featured such stars as Alan Alda, Diana Ross, Cicely Tyson, Carol Channing and football great Rosey Grier performing songs and sketches with touchy-feely titles including "It's All Right to Cry," "When We Grow Up" and the memorable "William's Doll," a tale performed by Alda and Thomas about a boy who likes playing with a doll.
To call Free to Be ahead of its time would be an understatement. If they tried to release it today, One Million Moms likely would be readying their next big-box store boycott around it.
To commemorate its 40th anniversry, Rob Kutner (a writer on TBS' Conan), Stephen Levinson (Channel 101, Funny or Die's Noah's Ark) and Joel Moss Levinson (a musician-comedian who hass appeared The Tonight Show With Jay Leno) have released It's OK to … Do Stuff. It's a sequel album, of sorts, of songs that "didn't make it into the original."
The writers have gathered some of their funniest friends -- Lizzy Caplan, Colin Hanks and former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page -- to serenade our now-disillusioned, 40-plus selves with tracks like "Be Yourself … Unless," "Divorce Makes a Family Twice as Big" and "William Wants a Real Doll."
Here's their take on "Boy Meets Girl," the Carl Reiner-penned sketch voiced by Mel Brooks and Thomas in the original. This time around, it's Caplan and indie cinema aficionado Fred Willard playing babies meeting for the first time in "Girl Meets Boy."
Digital downloads of It's OK to … Do Stuff sell for $5 starting Nov. 20. Buy them here.