Make 'Em Laugh

Album: Singin' In The Rain (1952)


  • "Make 'Em Laugh" is performed by Donald O'Connor in the classic Singin' In The Rain. Although Gene Kelly was the star of this film, O'Connor was an incredibly gifted performer and arguably as good a dancer as Kelly. After first playing a bit of introductory piano, he dances and otherwise meanders his way through this number aided by a series of props, including a dummy.

    "Make 'Em Laugh" was written for the 1952 musical by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, but any similarity with the Cole Porter track "Be A Clown" is not coincidental.
  • Although Arthur Freed (1894-1973) was a lyricist, he was best known as a producer, and produced many, many musicals in the 1940s and 1950s. By the time the film was ready for shooting, they had no song for O'Connor's character to perform solo, so co-director Stanley Donen suggested that Brown and Freed write a new song, indicating it should be like "Be A Clown".

    The result was called 100% plagiarism by Donen, but although Porter could have sued, he owed a personal debt to Freed for commissioning him to write the score for The Pirate after two of his musicals had flopped consecutively on Broadway. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music Scene

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Janis Ian

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Second Wind Songs

Second Wind SongsSong Writing

Some songs get a second life when they find a new audience through a movie, commercial, TV show, or even the Internet.

Philip Cody

Philip CodySongwriter Interviews

A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."