If you didn’t know the name Molly Dworsky before last Tuesday, by now you should be one of the over 500,000 people who have viewed Borde, a parody of Lorde’s “Royals.”
A 2005 graduate of Hopkins High School, Molly was inspired by Lorde’s song to create her own version about how quickly life moves on from your high school years. And within 24 hours of publishing the video it went viral, eventually getting picked up by Yahoo Music, the Huffington Post, Funny or Die, and more. It’s amazing exposure for Molly, and it’s clearly just the beginning of what to expect from this crazy-talented member of the Tribe.
So how did this all happen to a 26-year-old Minnetonka native? In Molly’s own words:
Back in September, I was waiting tables in LA (where I’m currently hustling to live and try to make it somehow in the comedy scene), and a customer told me I looked just like Lorde. I had heard “Royals” a few times–it had just started playing on LA radio–but it wasn’t totally on my radar yet, and I didn’t know who Lorde was. So I googled her when I got home, listened to the song some more, and then saw that she was seven-f*@*ing-teen!! So then I started feeling totally bad about myself and how I’ve accomplished nothing at 26 while this little girl is a superstar before she can vote. While I’m excellent at self-loathing, I’m also good at self-laughing. Having been a Royal at Hopkins, I was tickled by the song’s personal connection, thinking about how funny it was that I actually WAS a Royal, and that I’d never be one again, and that Lorde IS in high school, and is actually going to be royalty in the music scene now. And then at some point I found a gray pubic hair (just one!), and that lyric just wrote itself. So the parody was ultimately inspired by the fact that “love affair” and “pubic hair” rhyme so well.
Molly’s parody of Lorde’s song seems to have struck a chord with people of her generation. Molly recently explained to a friend: “Our graduation class is like a bag of popcorn – some kernels popped early while they were in high school, some later, and some not at all. By now, [10 years later], there seems to be a critical mass of popped popcorn. We’ve spent our whole lives becoming the people we want to be. Now we have to actually BE those people, and it’s not so easy.”
Molly always thought she would study musical theater until she was cast in a dramatic production in high school and hated it. From that experience she realized that whatever she might pursue had to have a comedic element.
She started taking improv classes when she was 17, taking her first class in town at the Brave New Workshop with local improvisor Jen Scott. Later she took Improv 101 with John Haynes, and the night of the 101 class showcase she was so terrified she would suck that she threatened to not perform. John gave her a pep talk that she thinks changed the course of her life. She learned to just “go for it” and not let that fright inhibit her. She had a great show and has been addicted to improv ever since. Jill Bernard, the current Education Director at HUGE Improv Theater in Uptown, coached Molly though Brave New Workshop courses and eventually urged her to audition for ComedySportz, where she became a regular performer until she moved to LA in 2012. Molly is currently taking improv classes and performing in LA. She does musical improv with a group called “Robot Teammate and the Accidental Party.”
The parody thing is a new exciting avenue she hopes to do more of. One of the comments on her YouTube channel calls Molly the next “Weird Al” Yankovic, which doesn’t sound so bad to her. Molly’s idea of success is to be around while funny things are happening and to contribute to the funniness as much as possible.
Background, Jewish Connection, Jobs:
When Molly and I started to talk about her Jewish connection, she talked about how there are a good number of Herzl Camp alumni living out in LA, and she moved there in part to connect and collaborate with the other MN Jews she knows who are trying to make it in comedy. Not only are many of the people in the video Jewish (and Minnesotan), but the humor is definitely of the Jewish variety. The whole song is one big kvetch!
Molly, like many struggling artists, has a variety of jobs in California. She waits tables at Hugo’s in LA, which is a favorite of celebrities like Jewish female comedy icon Sarah Silverman; she’s an assistant to a landscape designer; and she works with the 1st and 2nd graders at Temple Isaiah in the family Shabbat program. “This is the perfect age group,” she says. “They don’t know how weird I am.”
Molly appreciates the poetry in Lorde’s lyrics and made sure her own lyrics meticulously stuck to Lorde’s original structure. She ran the lyrics by a lot of people to get feedback and went through countless drafts before she was satisfied with the tone and content.
They shot the video on a cold day in Minnetonka over Thanksgiving weekend. Molly rounded up the Hopkins High School letter jackets used in the video by literally driving all around the metro area to pick them up from the parents of friends who no longer live in town. She wore one of the jackets during the shoot to keep warm, but she eventually had to give it to one of the actors for a shot and thus directed the rest of the video without a coat!
Because of budget, time, and weather concerns, Molly took a very improv-like approach to the shoot, sticking to the mantra of whatever happens is perfect. Her editor was shocked at how little footage he had to work with in making the final version. After reviewing a first draft of the video—shot by Matt Houchin and edited by Sam E Mark—Molly and Sam spent four hours perfecting it. And that was that. Molly thinks the most important edit was adding in shots of smiles and laughing people at the end. She thinks it’s important to see that her generation isn’t taking it all so seriously, this march towards and through adulthood. They’re still having fun.
There are definitely more musical comedy videos in her future. Beyond that, she’s just touched by all the love and support, and by how many people are sharing the video with their communities and passing it along.
When asked for advice for other aspiring young people Molly echoes the advice she was given the first time she went to perform improv: “So much of it is about follow through. Just do something.” And that’s just what Molly did. Hopefully this is just the start of her way more than 15 minutes.