The Fat Jew’s Major Lazer Cover Band Is Accidentally Funny

'Major Behavior' attempts to parody the unparodiable, but you might laugh anyway.
September 14, 2016, 8:05pm
Photo courtesy of Major Behavior

Everyone's favorite problematic-Instagrammer-cum-inescapable-culture-virus the Fat Jew—aka Josh Ostrovsky—is belly-flopping into the sordid petri dish of EDM parody with a new Major Lazer "tribute band" called Major Behavior. In a new video, Billboard dance editor Matt Medved conducts a straight-faced interview with the humorist and his hype man, the New York DJ Maachew Bentley. After introducing himself as "Diplo" before clarifying, "no, I'm Josh!" Ostrovsky explains how "all of the greatest musical acts throughout history have had tribute acts. Major Lazer are one of the greatest musical acts in history, and they needed a tribute act."

"Who are the greatest Jamaicans?" he continues. "Bob Marley, Hailie Selassie, and Diplo."

Ostrovsky's humor has less to do with what he's saying than how he says it—he's skilled at milking monstrous amounts of affect from his hammy physical presence, even when the material is thin. That talent comes in handy here. When Ostrovsky humps a speaker at Guitar Center his body ripples like flan. He rescues a weak joke—"I was in a Skrillex cover group called wooomp"—with an eyes-closed expression so lugubrious you can't help but chuckle. Ostrovsky is funny in the elemental way that sports mascots or rubber balls are funny.

Major Behavior's effectiveness as satire is limited, though, because Diplo doesn't take himself too seriously to begin with. Major Lazer—which started out in the late 00s as a sincere attempt to bridge Caribbean dancehall with American electronic pop—has since metastasized into a winningly goofy brand that provides a tongue-in-cheek Twerking Experience at festivals and undergrad Spring Formals. Headlines like "Diplo Attempts to Break Twerking "World Record" With Twerk-Wall at Electric Zoo" and videos like "Bubble Butt" demonstrate how Major Lazer have immunized themselves to parody through winking exaggeration.

As such, Major Behavior feels less like a biting critique of the group and more like a brand extension. Presumably this all culminates with Ostrovsky taking the stage at a Major Lazer show, clad in gold hot pants and slapping his belly to the beat of "Pon De Floor." You may be in the audience, and you may laugh. You won't be able to help it.