Another day, another strip club in a music video that’s too good to be true. Then again, unlike Rihanna’s “Pour It Up,” this one is actually too bad to be true. Today, we bring you Bruno Mars’s video for his new single, “Gorilla.” Apparently Mars and the director, Cameron Duddy, did an “exhaustive amount of research,” and determined that regular strip clubs are just too boring. Duddy said, on record, that they would visit a club and have “one drink and leave.”
Gee, thanks guys.
Frieda Pinto plays the new girl, Isabella, who’s “stealing” business from the house girls. This particular club features live music. (Who’s worked in a club with a live band? I have, once. Ever try to scream, “WOULD YOU LIKE A PRIVATE DANCE?” over a middle-aged dude warbling his version of “Hotel California”?) She enters the stage, does a few pole tricks, then tears her clothes off the way every stripper on film does: like Hulk Hogan. Sparks come out of the ceiling, people throw dollars, and she sets a guitar on fire.
Typical Monday night.
The only thing this weird, fictional strip club has in common with any place I’ve ever worked at is the fact that an O.S.H.A. investigator would probably have a field day in the building. And yet—I kind of enjoyed it. The song reminds me of “Dirty Diana”—one of my favorite throwbacks. And even though the video creates one of the weirdest strip clubs I’ve ever seen, both the song and the visuals capture the way the a strip club’s environment appeals to our basest, most animal desires.
It is generally considered bad form to leave the club to fuck staff in a car, and that’s not good stripper behavior to model. But while I agree with Josephine that the strip club in “Gorilla” is unrealistic, I actually loved it and hope that somewhere, maybe in Guadalajara, there is a club called La Jungla where a live band plays as Isabellas slide down poles. And can we talk about how perfect Luis Guzman1 is as a strip club DJ? So believable! You could tell he was into the role, too. The rest of the video esta pura telenovela, and I am cool with that. I get enough strip club reality at work.
The song is good except for the part when it sounds like Lenny Kravitz instead of Prince. And someone pointed out on Twitter that it’s bonobos, not gorillas, that you want to fuck like, since apparently gorillas are serious minute men. But it’s a metaphor, right? What I get from it is that Bruno wants you to pound your fists or something in the manner of a riled-up gorilla. There are sexier animals, Bruno! Maybe it’s hard to think of ones with three-syllable names. Most of the sexy animals are in the cat family and I can’t think of any cat species that fit into that rhyme scheme.
The director pretty much admits that they used a stunt poledancer, but that’s preferable to having Pinto do awkward new-girl moves on stage. And she already had to contend with the sparks. And tearing her top off like Demi Moore in Striptease. And the hazards inherent in setting a guitar on fire with tequila. And then getting jumped in the dressing room, which the video doesn’t show but is a certainty in this place. Kudos to the anonymous poledancer and Luis Guzman, good work.
1. In July I was in New York, walking to have dinner at Mission Chinese, when we saw Luis Guzman hanging out on the sidewalk under an umbrella and my companion said “That’s pretty much the most Lower East Side thing you could ever see, Luis Guzman on Orchard St.” It was perfect.↩