HPN Rio 2016: The Alternative #Olympics Opening Ceremony

Let’s face it: the Opening Ceremony is a bit naff. Listening to local commentators misrepresent the cultural heritage of the host country sounds good on paper, but gets tiresome after half an hour, let alone four.

And the endless parade of nations competing for the right to have the ugliest official outfits while recording the action on their smartphone of choice only works on fast forward.

So why not skip the ceremony and let HPN get you excited for the Games with a dose of some of the best Olympics related comedy and music going?

Act 1

Monty Python

Not many did absurdity as well as Monty Python in the 70s, and this is a pretty good effort from their Live At The Hollywood Bowl special. Still, all of these events are better than watching the dressage.

But it pales in comparison to the Olympic Hide and Seek sketch, which is one of their greater sketches period. We’re not going to spoil it; the pay off at the end is fantastic. Bonus note: there was an actual real life call to include hide and seek as an Olympic sport earlier this year, which would be amazing.

And still it wasn’t the best Monty Python sketch about sport. Philosopher’s football is utterly brilliant, and one of the first things both halves of HPN talked about as a shared appreciation. This version of the sketch comes from their German Language special Fliegender Zirkus, for extra bonus points.

Saturday Night Live

Something something Russian Olympic Team in Rio something something. Man, check out Dennis Miller’s hair here…that flow is insane. From SNL’s golden era, back when they had a solid punchline or two.

Twenty Twelve

This was a loose rip-off of the Australian series The Games (mentioned below), and whilst it isn’t as good, it had moments. This one about the faces of Britain is alright.


Limbo! At the Olympics! Quality bit from Hermes here. Bonus Content – Bender’s perfect score:


This might not be The Simpsons’ finest moment, but it’s alright. I was looking to include Lisa’s First Word, and the references to the Soviet boycott of the LA Olympics, but this gif was the best I could do. Sorry world.


URINE SAMPLES. The Bondi Hipsters did an entire series on the London Olympics, so we might  revisit them later on for more #kontent.

Act 2 (Musical Portion)

All songs featured have some tangential link to the Olympics. Some are pretty tenuous.

Allison is awesome and so are the Pixies. The high point of Bossanova, written by Black about blues musician Mose Allison. This is on the list because it is earthshatteringly good and was performed at the Amsterdam Olympic Stadium. Bonus #kontent: the trip to the stadium, performed to the only-slightly-less-awesome Dig For Fire.


The video for this is amazing – just perfect. I (Cody) interviewed Roots Manuva once for radio, and I spent about 5 minutes just talking about the video. Apparently he still had the Ferrari in the video a few years on.

Regurgitator had flirted with songs about sport before, most specifically with Tu-Plang’s Music Is Sport.

Crush The Losers, however, is their ode to the 2000 Olympic Games, a very non-traditional take on the events of the day.

Carl Lewis did a pop single? Carl freaking Lewis did a pop single, and it was bad. Very bad. Just watch it. We don’t need to say anything else.

One half of HPN hates Fuck Buttons, but the damn song is called Olympians and it was played at the London Games in 2012. Abrasive electronica, so give it a miss if that’s not your thing.

Kraftwerk are absoluetly obsessed with cycling, their one overriding passion other than music. So when they dropped the Tour De France album no-one was really surprised. This is the band riding their bikes to the song.

OK, not strictly Olympics related, but the men-in-balaclavas do a rowing dance in the middle so I claim it. Greg! The Stop Sign is a freaking CHOON. No debate.

Kurtis Blow was one of the first big hip hop stars, and one is from 1984. None of the players mentioned still play, some aren’t even alive anymore. Yeah, it’s a bit dated, but the break is pretty solid.

This song is ingrained into the minds of almost every sports fan in Australia. ELP are playing this one live at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, which qualifies it twice.

Act 3 – Unavoidable Patriotism

Roy and HG are long time staples of Australian popular culture, and The Dream was probably their biggest moment in the sun. Some of the stuff from this series doesn’t hold up as well, but this bit does alright.

This section was going to have a lot of clips from The Games, maybe the best fictional show about the Olympics. Unfortunately, ABC have tried to pull all the vision from the internet in the last month, which sucks. This is the second half of the famous 94 metre bit, which is great. If you can get it streaming, watch it as fast as you can.

This is only notable for the presence of a young Eric Bana. It’s not that funny. Worth half a look for the mullet though.

What better way to bring it full circle than to get the Bondi Hipster’s pretty on point take of Opening Ceremonies.

Actually, we still have to light the flame, and there’s only one option at play here…

Let the games begin.

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