''Behind the Music'' brings the laughs -- The VH1 series of specials inspire ''Saturday Night Live,'' ''South Park'' and others

By Carmela Ciuraru
April 02, 1999 at 12:00 PM EST

What’s not to love — or at least mock? VH1’s Behind the Music, with ads featuring banal musings from rockers like Mick Jagger, has emerged as the target of choice for satirists. First, Comedy Central took aim with Behind the Menu, which had musicians reminiscing about the musical influence of South Park‘s bawdy Chef. But the takeoffs really took off when Saturday Night Live began airing dead-on lampoons of the series. (Chris Kattan, as John Oates [above], reveals it was his idea to clap on Hall & Oates’ ”Private Eyes.”) Funny thing is, VH1 is thrilled. ”We’ve entered the pop-cultural lexicon,” declares exec VP of programming Jeff Gaspin. ”We love that people think of us as something worth parodying.” The music channel was so amused it ran the SNL spots as a sort of Behind the Music promo. SNL staffers, meanwhile, are awaiting more grist for the spoof mill. ”We’re addicted to Behind the Music,” says writer Steve Higgins, self-proclaimed VH1 fan and co-creator of the skits. ”You couldn’t find something better to parody.” Except maybe Before They Were Rock Stars.