The 'SNL' "My Darling Joan" Parody Is Actually a True Story, But It Isn't As Dark & Twisted As They Made It Seem
Look, not everyone should host Saturday Night Live. It takes a special person to hold a show for an hour and a half, and it takes an even more special person to hold the show as host and musical guest, which is what SNL host and musical guest Blake Shelton did on Saturday night. So how do you make that double duty role work for someone like Shelton? Have him sing "My Darling Joan," inspired by real life "My Sweet Lorraine," and make the viewers forget he's not actually a comedian.
It started off with a local news segment in Topeka that had 97-year-old Russell on the show to talk about his huge hit, "My Darling Joan," which he wrote about his late wife, Joan. He teamed up with Tyler (Shelton), a music producer who set the song, written by Russell, to music. If this sounds familiar, it's because it actually happened — back in 2013 — but the real life version wasn't as dark as SNL's version.
On SNL, Tyler starts singing the song for the news anchors, which seems like a good idea at first, but then things go horribly wrong. What starts off as a song about Joan's "sweet and tender smile," turns into a melodic roast of Joan's "nasty remarks," "hatred for animals," and calling her a monster. Everyone but Tyler and Russell are shocked by the twisted turn the song takes, because it turns out Russell wasn't too crazy about his late wife Joan.
In real life, Fred Stobaugh was recognized for writing a song about his late wife, Lorraine, who he had been with for almost 73 years. The song was called "Oh Sweet Lorraine," and it is actually a touching song and doesn't go in the same direction the SNL parody went. Fred's song became such a hit in 2013, he made it on the Billboard Hot 100. Here's the song SNL's "Oh Darling Joan" was modeled after. (Note: Grab the tissues, because it's a tearjerker.)
The melody is actually pretty similar in the SNL version, but there's just something about Shelton's version of the song that doesn't have the "aww, the feels," reaction that Fred Stobaugh's version does.