Call it a tribute turducken – comedian and musician Nick Chambers is paying tribute to Black Panther opening this weekend with an homage to another hero, Meteor Man, in the form of a CeeLo Green song parody. Chambers is a huge fan of The Meteor Man, the 1993 film about a high school teacher turned super hero, written, directed, and starring Robert Townsend. He’s also a very musical comedian, frequently releasing new videos on his Fake Song Fridays Instagram account. To boot, he does a killer CeeLo.
Chambers put all of that together two years ago when he was asked to do a Valentine’s Day-themed comedy show in Boston. He wrote and performed the CeeLo parody “For the Lovers,” which comes on as a seductive romance tune, but is really about how great The Meteor Man is. Since Black Panther is opening the same week as Valentine’s Day, and all of that coincided with the 25th anniversary of The Meteor Man, it was the perfect time to make this video, produced by Tres Gatos TV. You can find out more about them and see their videos here.
It led to an incredible opportunity for Chambers. “When the video came out, we tweeted about it to Robert Townsend and he responded pretty quickly and positively,” he says. Brooklyn Academy of Music was running a series called Fight the Power: Black Superheroes on Film, featuring a screening of The Meteor Man and a Q&A with Townsend. Chambers felt dutybound to attend – dressed in the Meteor Man outfit from the video. Chambers arrived at the screening in-costume. “I put my jacket on over the costume when I walked in because I didn’t want the youths out front to make fun of me,” he says.
It was his first time seeing the film in a theater, and he was thrilled to do so with a sold-out audience. “After the movie, Robert Townsend came out and talked about his experience making it,” says Chambers. It only got better from there. “He happened to say some of the same things I mentioned in the song like if there was a sequel, he would have his daughter be in it. I don’t think that was a coincidence.”
If you’re going to attend a movie screening with one of your idols in costume, why not make the most of it? When it was his turn to ask a question, Chambers unzipped his jacket and let his Meteor freak flag fly. “When I stood up to ask my question, he saw a bit of the costume and yelled, ‘You’re the guy from that video!’ “ says Chambers. “He told me to take off the jacket so people could see and they cheered! I’ve never unfurled a cape in a movie theater but I don’t think I can live any other way now. I asked some question about Sinbad then sat back down. He was really funny. I actually got to talk with him after and take a picture which I never expected when we started working on the video.”
Meteor Man wasn’t the only film screening at the festival, which let to the icing on the cake for Chambers. “I left the theater and Spike Lee was just kind of standing right there,” he says. “That night, BAM was also celebrating the 30th anniversary of his movie School Daze so Spike was in the lobby taking pictures and signing autographs before his screening. Now Spike Lee is one of my favorite directors but I was still in the damn Meteor Man costume. I talked to him briefly and he signed a Crooklyn hat for me.”
Those who aren’t familiar with Townsend’s work should, at the very least, seek out his 1987 film Hollywood Shuffle. It set the tone for “In Living Color” three years before that show began. It’s the story of a young black actor trying to make it in Hollywood peppered with sketches, in line with Kentucky Fried Movie and Amazon Women On the Moon. It’s satire with belly laughs.
“I don’t think Townsend gets the credit he deserves,” says Chambers. “When we put the video out, so many people had no idea who or what it was referring to. Hollywood Shuffle is great and unfortunately still so relevant, he directed Eddie Murphy’s Raw, Five Heartbeats is a classic. He mentioned he has some things in the works so I’m looking forward to finding out what those are.”
Look for more music videos from Chambers in the future. “Seeing what is possible through working on this was really encouraging,” he says. “I definitely have more ideas for music videos.”