Vying for the heart of Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers isn’t for the weak. So “American Idol” alum Jackie Tohn, who stars in the Netflix wrestling comedy “Glow,” threw herself into the ring, recruiting Stern song parody veteran Eli Braden for a pair of parodies that had Stern and his SiriusXM listeners in stitches.
Tohn’s two collaborations with Braden — raunchy love songs to Quivers set to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s sultry duet of “Shallow” from “A Star is Born,” and a positively filthy take on Cher’s “Believe” — both received big praise from Stern, who said the “Shallow” duet, which encouraged Quivers to try hooking up with girls, gave him “chills.”
“Fred is tearing up right now,” he laughed.
Getting the song on the show, Tohn said, and having Stern give her a big plug was one of the “biggest highlights of my career,” she tells Variety.
“I’m a super fan of the Stern show. I’ve been listening since [Stern was on the New York radio station] K- Rock, and I used to watch the E! show and I’ve just been obsessed with Howard,” she said. “I haven’t actually read the new book yet, but I read the first two books and the movie [“Private Parts”] was my favorite forever, and I always wanted to be on the Stern Show and I just felt like this was the way in and I can’t believe it worked.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sKG52YRdusThe road to Howard Stern glory is long, but Tohn seized the moment when she met Braden by chance at the Improv in Hollywood. After finishing her set, Braden introduced himself with an idea to collaborate on musical projects, and the lightbulb went off, as Tohn knew exactly who he was.
“I don’t know why, but my brain put it together, and I said to him we can work on comedy songs but we need to work on Stern show parodies,” she said. ” I sent him songs that I think we should parody and then we decided we wanted them to be Robin love songs, because Robin never gets women singing to her.”
The wheels were set in motion, and completed — on Braden’s laptop in Tohn’s living room — in the midst of her crazy schedule of wrestling training and prepping to shoot the third season of “Glow.”
“Jackie’s legit, one of the funniest performers,” Braden added. “She does original comedy music songs that she wrote that are hilarious. When we finally cooked [the songs] up, Howard played it within like two days of us sending it in and made a huge deal of it., which was really cool.”
Tohn’s vocal prowess isn’t exactly a secret to viewers of “American Idol.” She made it all to the top 36 on Season 8, bonding with Adam Lambert (“he’s just so talented and such a good dude, I just adore him,” she said) and being name checked on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” by then-“Idol” judge Paula Abdul as one of her favorites. Couple that singing ability with her long resume of acting chops, including roles on “The Nanny,” “The Sopranos,” “Strangers With Candy,” and the pieces were in place.
After it aired, Tohn’s phone started blowing up, she said.
“In all the years I’ve been listening I’ve never heard them respond that way to a parody song,” she said. “So I was like crying in my car.”
As for the future, Tohn and Braden have “more tricks up our sleeves,” she promises. Braden hints at a parody set to The Fugees’ version of “No Woman No Cry” aimed at Stern show producer J.D. Harmeyer
“Working with Jackie is great because there’s still a lot of female songs that I could never touch, and she could make it sound amazing,” he said.