Welcome to Next Question With Michael Musto, a regular feature in which the veteran La Dolce Musto writer uses his time-honed skills to interrogate big celebrities, former celebrities, and wannabe celebrities. Musto is a pop culture icon, regular TV presence, and the author of four books, including his latest collection, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back.
Messy moms have a gay best friend in Adam Barta, the 33-year-old Bronx-born singer who seeks out drain-circling scandal stars and makes them “sing” with him. Some might find these four-minute homages to 15-minute stars appalling, but that’s the point, and besides, Tan Mom’s video “It’s Tan Mom” (which Barta appears in) is a hilariously self-mocking, brown-‘n-serve romp full of messy behavior that’s at least scripted this time. The clip may well be the all-time high/low watermark of kitsch culture, replacing his sadly video-less Octomom duet “Sexy Party” for that illustrious honor. Here’s how Barta defends himself.
Hi, Adam. What attracts you to these dizzy D-listers?
It happened serendipitously. I have a manager, Gina Rodriguez, who’s worked with a lot of outrageous media personalities. She turned me on to Octomom and said, “We’ll have her do a cameo voiceover on your ‘Q&A’ video.” As soon as we did that, it got 600,000 views. On the video, we had her say “Let’s do a duet on my new album.” Everyone thought it was a real thing. Gina said, “Now that they’re reporting on it, let’s do it.”
And she was available! But isn’t Octo a horrible person for bringing all those tiny reality stars into the world that she can’t support?
Yes and no. It was irresponsible, but she realizes that and she loves them and is trying to take care of them. It wasn’t the best thinking, but you have to look forward.
I’m trying. You also did “It’s Too Big!” with Jonah Falcon, who is famous for being better endowed than NYU. But to me, his thingie looks like a growth or a goiter. Does it delight you in some way?
It’s big. I don’t know if it’s for me, but a helluva lot of people are into it. It defused sexual tension, that’s for sure. I wasn’t trying to get into his pants. It kept things professional!
Speaking of professionalism, Tan Mom was incoherent when I met her last year, falling and screaming epithets at everyone in the nightclub. In your video, why does she talk like her mouth is full of molasses-covered marbles. Because it is?
We said, “Let’s make it a total train wreck and have you dancing in a bikini and slobbering on me.” She has her ups and downs. There were days when she got stressed out and she was screaming. I was like, “Patricia!” And there were times when she had her stuff together. She was a little nervous, a little crazy. Obviously she’d had a few drinks before she was in the recording studio. It contributed to the genius.
Was she brown?
No, she was actually white, with really nice skin, and her hair was really pretty. She has done a 180. She’s the Post-Tan, Un-Tan mom. She still tans, though. For the video, she brought a spray tan machine—seriously. She used it on the set!
Eek. Do you ever feel guilty about working with these lukewarm messes?
No, adamantly. They’re making money and getting their names out and it’s helping them. It’s a 50-50 split. They’re just as vested in any project as I am. They’re trying to get people to laugh with them.
Will your credibility survive this?
At the end of the day, good music is good music. When I put out a song that’s good and serious, they’ll know. I’m just including more people into my fan base.
Where do you draw the line with your duetting partners?
At any anyone who’s a criminal. I don’t think a Casey Anthony or Jody Arias song is coming any time song.