It’s very nasty out tonight. Really very.

And while it is not below-freezing cold, it is also not really weather that makes the idea of going outside at all appealing…

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” by Frank Loesser, as sung by Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt:

Video courtesy of Dragon Blast

This is another one of those songs that everyone, but EVERYONE, has covered. Recent pairings include Sara Bareilles and Seth McFarland, Idina Menzel and Michael BublĂ© (which has a video I find more than slightly creepy), and Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker. The one I brought in–from “Lady Gaga & The Muppet’s Holiday Spectacular”–I find especially charming. Don’t they seem to be having a blast? I love that!

And the role reversal helps pull the teeth of a bit of controversy that arose around the song over the years–the “wolf” and “mouse” aspects of the song bothers some people. And of course, if you just look at the lyrics (or listen to some of the recorded duets), it can certainly be read as a man pressuring a woman to submit to sex. It seems to me only fair to the songwriter, however to bear in mind that the song was originally written by Loesser to sing with his wife at parties as a signal that things were starting to wind down. (And indeed, if your hosts are singing that to each other in front of you, it does become clear that you are looking at two people who would very much rather you left…now!) His then-wife, Lynn Garland, in fact, was not in the least bit happy when he sold the song to MGM, Oscar or no Oscar (and it did win the Oscar for Best Original Song), since it was supposed to be “theirs.” And I think this Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Lady Gaga duet makes it just as clear as the Loesser’s duet must have done that there’s no coercion going on here, it’s all just flirtation.

Besides, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Jewish, so that’s an extra tick mark!

And, of course,

(Because that’s what I am doing. Pay attention!)

the songwriter, Frank Loesser was Jewish too. Loesser (pronounced “lesser”), the son of German-Jewish parents, is probably best known for writing the songs for the Broadway musicals Guys and Dolls and How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (he won Tonys for music and lyrics for both shows), but that barely scratches the surface. Loesser wrote or co-wrote (as lyricist) over 700 songs, including the lyrics to Hoagy Carmichael’s “Heart & Soul,” which you will definitely recognize even if you do not know the lyrics:

Video from MusicOverYears

I know this is just a taste–watch out from more about Loesser down the line!