I saw this clip almost a week ago, and it’s just so mind-blowing that I had to find out where the hell it came from. Is this some Tim-and-Eric-esque public access diamond in the rough? And is that the same guy that used to sell us boner pills?
Turns out that this isn’t an extended commercial for Enzyte (no pun intended there). It’s a TV appearance by Edward Gil (Russian: Эдуард Хиль; also translated as “Eduard Hill” or “Khil”). Gil was a music and TV star, one of the relics of the old Soviet Union. This particular performance, a lip-synching which comes off to us Westerners as garden-variety “so bad it’s good” internet filth, was actually perfomed without any intended irony.
The song he is interpreting, “I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home,” is an Ostrovskii composition, and it is meant to be sung in the vokaliz style, that is to say sung, but without words. I have seen a number of comments online, ever since a flurry of interest in Hill began just a few days ago, to the effect that this routine must have been meant as a critique of Soviet censorship, but in fact vokaliz was a well established genre, one that seems close in certain respects to pantomime. –Justin Erik Halldór Smith
Gil was trained at the Leningrad Conservatory in what is now St. Petersburg, Russia. He also performed in Paris for a while during the 1970s, and the Russian Wikipedia [English translation] regards Gil as one of the greatest performers during the Soviet regime. And all I can add is, “Thank you again, internet.” One country’s Cold War rubbish is another’s weekday afternoon entertainment. Big big ups to @ChimpanzeeRage at the Deuce for the original link.
A not-so-recent interview with Gil on Soviet TV.