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What can one person do about racism, gun violence, climate change, income inequality, bigotry, homophobia, ignorance, war and greed? Write funny songs, says Roy Zimmerman. And while the world is full of funny songs, Zimmerman’s hilarious, rhyme-intensive originals are also incisive calls to action, smart, savvy and undeniable.
On twelve albums over twenty years and on stages, screens and airwaves across America, Roy has brought the sting of satire to the struggle for Peace and Social Justice. His songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime. He has recorded for Warner/Reprise Records. His YouTube videos have garnered over seven million views. He’s a featured blogger for the Huffington Post.
Zimmerman has shared stages with George Carlin, Bill Maher, Kate Clinton, Bill Clinton, John Oliver, Dennis Miller, Sandra Tsing Loh, kd lang, Andy Borowitz and Paul Krassner. He’s done several shows with The Pixies’ Frank Black, swapping songs in a solo acoustic setting and provided comic commentary to the live premiere performance of Blacks score for the classic silent film Der Golem. Zimmerman also founded and wrote all the material for the comedy folk quartet, The Foremen.
Steeped in musical theatre, Roy was fascinated at an early age with the ingenious economy of Irving Berlin, the witty innuendo of Cole Porter and the high-wire rhyme and reason of Stephen Sondheim. You can hear The Beatles and The Beach Boys in there, but folk influences loom large as well: Phil Ochs’ unapologetic blend of humor and politics, Pete Seeger’s unflagging commitment to social justice, and The Roches’ eccentric soulfulness.
“Zimmerman displays a lacerating wit and keen awareness of society’s foibles that bring to mind a latter-day Tom Lehrer.”
–The Los Angeles Times
“I congratulate Roy Zimmerman on reintroducing literacy to comedy songs. And the rhymes actually rhyme, they don’t just ‘rhyne.'”
“Roy’s lyrics move beyond poetry and achieve perfection.”
“Roy Zimmerman lifted the evening with his song ‘Chickenhawk’ ridiculing the military policies of Bush administration officials who didn’t serve in the armed forces. Zimmerman’s squawking and clucking conveyed his scorn with contagious irreverence.”
— The New York Times
“Zimmerman is a guy on the left skewering folks on the right with rapier-sharp lyrics … underneath the caustic satire is a man who is surprisingly optimistic.”
— Sing Out!
“It was great to hear all those old Foremen songs again, and to be reminded of your lyrical brilliance. Just excellent.”
— “Weird Al” Yankovic
“…this was no ordinary man. This was Roy Zimmerman, a unique type of superhero who possesses the power to nearly coax urine from the unwilling bladders of his audience members (via laughter). He delivered some of the smartest satirical songs that I’d ever heard.”
— Jeff Penalty, lead singer of The Dead Kennedys
“Roy Zimmerman has a rare gift for songwriting
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Bobby Kennedy meets Bobby Dylan”
— The Marin Independent Journal
“You’re brilliant. Just brilliant!”
— Terry Jones, Monty Python