5 Hilarious Times Rush and Neil Peart Impacted Pop Culture

All through the weekend, tributes and memorials poured in for Rush drummer Neil Peart, who died last week of cancer at 67. The band’s progressive and distinctive yet ever-changing sound made a lasting impact on music fans during their 40-plus-year career, and it also affected pop culture, by tapping the minds of creative types who went on to reference the band in countless films, TV shows, novels, comics and more. The list of Rush name-drops runs the gamut from “SCTV” and “Gilmore Girls” to films like “High Fidelity,” “School of Rock” and Rob Zombie’s 2007 “Halloween” remake, which used “Tom Sawyer” in a climactic scene. There are plenty more — and true to their self-deprecating senses of humor — the members of Rush have never had any problem making fun of themselves — the band often played along. Below five of the best and funniest times Rush made an indelible mark on pop culture.

1. South Park
South Park” co-creator Matt Stone is a huge fan of the power trio — he told the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, “Rush was the first band I ever loved” — so it’s no surprise that there are multiple Rush references across South Park’s 23 seasons. In the hilarious 2011 “Royal Pudding” episode, Rush is tapped to perform at a vigil after the princess of Canada was abducted before her wedding. The group is shown on stage playing a mock version of Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind,” sung as “Flower Breaking Wind,” which results in guitarist Alex Lifeson and some members of the audience committing suicide.

The band also featured South Park characters in a video they showed live before they played “Tom Sawyer” during their last few tours.

In 1999, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson teamed up with Trey Parker and Matt Stone to record a rocking version of “O’ Canada” for the film “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.”


2. Family Guy
The writers at “Family Guy” tapped Rush and their rabid fanbase for quite a few jokes over the years. From a cheetah snorting Cheetos dust and exclaiming that “God, there is no better f—ing drummer in the world than Neil Peart” to multiple “Tom Sawyer” jokes, the show highlighted the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers many times. The funniest moment is when “Brian” the dog, is explaining a tough situation saying, “It’s a disaster, like the time Peter was the only person not wearing black jeans to a Rush concert.” The flashback scene cuts to “Peter” standing in a crowd at a Rush show. Peter says, “Play Tom Sawyer.” A voice portraying Geddy Lee exclaims, “We’ve already did, and what are you wearing?” “Peter” says, “What? These are my concert khakis.” Lee responds, “Beat him, beat him in 6/8 time and don’t let him escape to the completely unoccupied ladies room.”


3. Fanboys
In the 2009 film “Fanboys,” the Hutch character, played by Dan Fogler, leads a group of guys who take a road trip to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” before its release. When they hop in “Hutch’s” van to begin their journey, the band’s 1981 track “Limelight” plays as one of the guys looks through a collection of cassette tapes, all of which are labeled Rush. When asked for some variety in his music, Hutch fires back “Rush is variety!” and defends his obsession, saying that “Rule number one in my van: It’s Rush all the time! No exceptions!”


4. Trailer Park Boys
In a 2003 episode of “Trailer Park Boys,” aptly titled “Closer to the Heart” after the band’s 1977 song, the Ricky character  kidnaps guitarist Alex Lifeson after being ripped off when trying to buy Rush tickets. Robb Wells’ character acts as Lifeson’s guitar tech in an effort to get a key to his hotel room — the number of which is, of course, “2112” — and forces him to the trailer park to perform for his crew. After Lifeson is freed, he gives “Bubbles” a guitar lesson, and they play “Closer to the Heart” to end the episode.


5. I Love You, Man
Jason Segal has never hidden his fanaticism for Rush. Starting with “Freaks and Geeks,” where his character is obsessed with having a drum set larger than Neil Peart’s, he also drums along with “The Spirit of Radio,” and gets a life lesson from his step-father played by SCTV alum Joe Flaherty, who notably did a video intro for “The Weapon” on the 1984 “Grace Under Pressure” tour. However, it was his 2009 film “I Love You Man,” where the band became the central focus of the film and his character’s bromance with Paul Rudd.


The film made such an impact that Rudd and Segal reprised their characters and teamed up with Rush to shoot a “Funny or Die” skit a few years later.



More TV


    Karlie Kloss Reveals Voting Plans After 'Project Runway' Kushners Viral Moment

    Andy Cohen wasted no time addressing the elephant in the room when Karlie Kloss visited “Watch What Happens Live” on Thursday night. Though Kloss “was honored to be one of the first memes of the decade” — referring to her now-viral moment with booted “Project Runway” contestant Tyler Neasloney, who referenced her in-laws, the Kushners, [...]

  • Marta Kauffman Television Producer

    Norman Lear Award Recipient Marta Kauffman Got Her Start From the TV Icon

    As fate would have it, Norman Lear gave Marta Kauffman, recipient of this year’s Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television at the PGA Awards, her first job in television development close to 35 years ago. The result was “The Powers That Be,” which Kauffman created with David Crane and Lear executive produced. The NBC sitcom [...]

  • Bill Hemmer Prepares for New Spotlight

    Bill Hemmer Prepares for New Spotlight at Fox News

    Bill Hemmer has for years helped boost some of the best-known personnel on Fox News Channel. Now he’s about to get his own spotlight. Hemmer on Monday will take over Fox News’ 3 p.m. slot. That’s the time period  previously anchored by Shepard Smith. The one that’s supposed to be the showcase for the network’s [...]

  • 'Servant' Boss Breaks Down Season 1

    'Servant' Boss Breaks Down Season 1 Finale Cliffhanger, Plans for Season 2

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the first season finale of “Servant,” streaming now on Apple TV Plus. Tony Basgallop’s “Servant” for Apple TV Plus began with a young woman named Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) being brought into a couple’s home to care for their reborn doll. Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) [...]

  • peacock-ads-NBCU

    NBCU's Peacock Marks Media's Latest Try to Connect Consumers, Commercials

    In an era when consumers feel more empowered to avoid TV commercials, NBCUniversal is the latest media company to try to get them to bring ads back into their TV lives. One of the key selling points of big streaming-video services like Netflix and Disney Plus is that subscribers don’t have to endure the commercial [...]

  • Our Planet BTS BBC

    U.K. Entertainment Industry Moves Beyond London

    When Channel 4 launches its daytime current-affairs program “The Steph Show” this spring, it will mark a milestone in the U.K. broadcaster’s output.  Like most of the British film and TV industries, Channel 4 has been heavily London-centric. By contrast, “The Steph Show,” starring journalist and presenter Steph McGovern, was commissioned by the network’s new [...]

  • Hillary Clinton Chelsea Clinton

    Hillary Clinton Urges Dems to 'Vote for the Person Most Likely to Win' in 2020

    Hillary Clinton called for Americans to come to grips with “basic facts” of reality in an appearance at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Friday. “We’ve got to somehow understand that you can’t make good decisions in a democracy if we can’t even agree on basic facts, if we cant have some understanding [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content