Saluting the new year at First Night in Morristown was a crosscultural- even intergalactic- experience. Where else can you encounter Delta blues, Japanese drumming, South American woodwinds, celtic harp, Native American dancers, American jazz and a smattering of Klingon, all in one town in one evening? Down at the Market Street Mission, songwriter/comedian Carla Ulbrich made sure no one had time to feel blue about any blown 2010 resolutions, thanks to her lineup of clever lyrics and parodies. She began the evening with a song â€œabout finding the perfect man. It's fiction. "Won't you please do something stupid so I can get over you? If you really cared about me, it's the least that you could do." A South Carolina native, she mused on moving to New Jersey with her husband " that is true love” and (mis)perptions of her home state. "My neighbor didn't even know there were two Carolinas, she confided, so I told him it was East and West." She reminded the audience of some of the Southern state's great celebrities "We're very proud of Vanna White because she can spell.” and its motto: "Thank God for Alabama." One thing you don't have in New Jersey, and I do miss them: You don't have any Waffle Houses, she said. It's a crime. It's the crossroads of America. Everybody goes to Waffle House ” except y'all. The guy who changes the light bulbs changes everything, she said, noting the frequency of inoperable lights in Waffle House signs, and the odd lettering that ensues. "Waffle House is awful House without the W. What is Waffle use? Displaying a little cultural diversity, she then announced: I've written a duet for myself and a Klingon. Her husband Joe Giacoio "we have all our arguments in Klingon” joined her onstage for a rendition of "I say potato, you say [insert indecipherable Klingon dialect]. Let's call the whole thing off! Don't you know any English? she finally asked. Surrender or die! he replied. Ulbrich also addressed holiday disappointments, to the tune of "Let it snow." "You didn't get what you wanted for Christmas, even with your 10-page wish list. But it's 25 years ago. Let it go, let it go, let it go!"
She's one of Dr. Demento's favorites, and now we know why. How many women can sing in Klingon, after all? Carla Ulbrich, the Queen of Parody, can make surgical procedures a laughing matter, as she ably demonstrated Friday at the Minstrel in Morris Township, where she crooned about losing one's derriere, stealing boyfriends and experiencing hospital life in all its invasive glory. If you want to start your Monday on an upbeat note, check out Carla's song about copyrighting everyone's favorite four-letter word. Our only quibble with the Minstrel show was its sparse attendance. The good news, however, is that this endearingly silly South Carolinian now makes her home in Somerset, NJ. So your odds of catching this funny bone infection again should be pretty good.
“Our patients really loved Carla’s visit to our lupus support group. Not only did she share her story with us , but she brought with her music and laughter. So, not only did our group members feel understood and identified with her story, but they were uplifted at the same time.”
Carla's act was funny, entertaining, and interactive. She also took the extra mile to customize her show to our event. We highly recommend her!
In order to have a successful music career, you sometimes have to be patient. In the case of Carla Ulbrich, she had to become a patient -- a medical patient. In the 1990s, Ulbrich was a singer-songwriter who toured all over the eastern seaboard despite coming down with Lupus in 1992. "It took two years before I was diagnosed," she told AOL News, and during that period, she suffered fevers, joint pain, kidney pain and was anemic. Carla Ulbrich had a fair-to-middling career as a songwriter, but after two strokes and a bad case of lupus, she turned her pain into success as the Singing Patient, and now makes medically-related music. But she found her true muse in January, 2002, after a stroke of good fortune. Scratch that. It wasn't a stroke of good fortune. It was just an actual stroke. Two of them in a three day period. "I had one in the left foot and one in the left hand," Ulbrich said. "I woke up and my left foot was asleep. I could walk on it, but I couldn't feel it. I remember driving to a gig and got dizzy. Then the strength went out of my left hand." It was so bad that she could only move the index finger. "I believe that the show must go on so I sang all my songs while playing one note at a time," she laughed. Ulbrich was out the rest of the year and because she had no health insurance, she spent eight days at a teaching hospital. "It was like the one on 'House,' except the doctors had his social skills, but not his talent," she said. Ulbrich got sick of the chronic illnesses and says it was only when a friend helped her co-write a ditty about Maxi-Pads that she felt her spark come back. Yes, in order to get well, Ulbrich needed to use her sick sense of humor. "I remember one day when I was doing a medical test that required me to pee in a jar for 24 hours," she said. "I borrowed a ukulele because it was easier to play and had a music book that included the old song, 'Little Brown Jug.' "Sure enough, the jug they gave me to pee in was brown, so I started writing a song about peeing in a jar that was to the tune of 'Little Brown Jug.'" From there, Ulbrich became "The Singing Patient," and was inspired to write other forms of medical music, such as a ditty inspired by countless encounters with phlebotomists who can't find veins. "I took the Huey Lewis song, 'Stuck With You,' and changed it to 'I'm So Happy To Be Stuck By You,'" said the singer, who lives in Somerset, N.J., with her husband. Ulbrich also turned "On The Road Again" into a ditty called "On The Commode Again," and wrote about her distaste with using the steroid Prednisone to the tune of the march in "Bridge On The River Kwai." "Prednisone will make you get real fat/ Prednisone will give you cataracts/ Prednisone it will destroy your bones/ So get some Prednisone/ Destroy your bones today." As much as Ulbrich's medical music is meant to make people laugh, there is a point behind songs like this. "Obviously, this is a song about the conundrum one is placed in when your choice is dying or being very ill, and taking this known toxic drug, knowing that if you stay on it long enough you'll be even worse off than you are now," she said. "Unless something else kills you first." Ulbrich's debut album as the Singing Patient came in 2004 and, oddly, she's making more money off her satirical song parodies than she ever did writing love songs. "I play four gigs a month all over the country, even to England," she said. "Some gigs for medical personnel and some are for patients. But I am making more money than I was as a folk singer. You know how you make a million dollar as a folk singer? Start with $2 million." Although Ulbrich hasn't yet reached the mainstream, her popularity in the medical community is such that a friend whose house she stayed at was able to auction off a bar of soap she used for $20 on eBay. In addition, she has been able to parlay her fan base into other kinds of writing. Her debut book, a collection of essays called "How Can You 'Not' Laugh at a Time Like This?" (Tell Me Press) will be published Feb. 1, and she is working on a new collection of even sicker songs that are designed for two types of audiences. "I want caregivers to know that they really do make a difference and I want to make patients laugh about something they usually cry about," she said. There is another group she'd like to reach as well: People who think of the word "lupus" as a punchline. "Lupus isn't a joke," she said. "It's the only disease that seems to have an anti-awareness campaign. Problem is, on 'House,' Hugh Laurie always says, 'It's not lupus!' so that's the first thing anyone says when you mention it."
"She writes funny material, and yet there's always a message," Deitz said. "When we're doing what we do at our best, we're entertaining people, but we're also teaching them something, sending a message or conveying what we think about a topic."
She is quite funny. I love her parody songs. She is a hoot!
"Ulbrich said that the hardest part about writing the book was “deciding whether or not to out myself as having lupus.” She added, “I didn't want to be the girl with the scarlet L, the poster-child for lupus.” ...
When she was in the hospital, Ulbrich wrote parodies of songs. She said laughter is important. Ulbrich's CD, “Sick Humor, The Lighter Side of Illness,” was recorded five years before she wrote the book."
To get on the mailing list, check out the signup box in the top left corner of this page.
To book Carla for your event, please e mail or call: