Critical Reviews


"Joel Kopischke has come out with the 'must-have' holiday CD of the year, 'I Got Yule Babe.' … Slapping original parody lyrics on traditional and original songs is Kopischke's specialty and he's flying higher than Rudolph on triple eggnogs here."
-- Patrick Fineran, Racine Journal Times

"Holiday music 'Weird' Al Yankovic-style with hilarious results."
-- Gemma Tarlach, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Goofiness…irreverent and funny…a dead-on mimic."
-- Tom Strini, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"It's fantastic. Not only a hilarious writer, but the performances and arrangements are first rate, right on the money, artful and impressive."
-- David Friedman, Broadway/Hollywood songwriter, arranger & conductor

"I Got Yule Babe"

December 8, 2005 CD Review by Patrick Fineran

Joel Kopischke has come out with the 'must-have' holiday CD of the year, 'I Got Yule Babe.' If you"ve ever heard of the Cudahy Carolers and their unique spin on the season, you"ll know where this disc is going. Slapping original parody lyrics on traditional and original songs is Kopischke"s specialty and he"s flying higher than Rudolph on triple eggnogs here. Polka ('Criminy Cripes, It"s Christmas'), pop ('If I Had A Secret Santa'), traditional ('A Merry Tourette"s Christmas') and even rock ('Shopping Mall Of Broken Dreams') arrangements are all included on the 16-song collection.

For a quick sip of holiday cheer, here are some sample lyrics courtesy of Joel Kopischke (Joelkster Music ASCAP). On the parody of Barenaked Ladies" hit 'If I Had A Million Dollars,' Kopischke sings 'If I had a secret Santa, I would buy him some elves, a Keebler or a Presley.' With a spoof of 'That"s Amore,' Kopischke reaches out good-naturedly to those of the Hebrew faith: 'When you"ve lit holiday lights, but you don"t believe in Christ, that"s a Menorah. When your religion is older than Moses" candleholder, that"s a Menorah.' Other artists who don"t escape Kopischke"s wit include the Violent Femmes, Sonny & Cher and Bobby Darin. My favorite might be the hilariously bleeped out 'A Merry Tourette"s Christmas.'

Local guitarists Ralph Bruner of Feet of Clay and Mike DeRose of pretty much everyone else play on the CD. The CD was engineered by Caledonia native Steve Comeau of Feet of Clay and Pipitone along with Bruner on two tracks. As a nice touch Chris Kringel and Noel Crowder play on the CD as well. You can get all the information you need at

Copyright 2005 Racine Journal Times

Noteworthy in music

Dec. 9, 2005 Gemma Tarlach

Milwaukee theater mainstay Joel Kopischke, whose resume includes the Skylight Opera Theatre, First Stage Milwaukee and In Tandem Theatre, takes aim at holiday music "Weird" Al Yankovic-style with hilarious results on his new CD, "I Got Yule Babe." Spoofing the styles of Frank Sinatra, the Violent Femmes, Green Day, Sonny and Cher and the Barenaked Ladies, among others, Kopischke and a cast of helpers created 16 original songs and parodies such as "Bowling Wonderland" and the slightly racy "I'm Your Snowman, Baby." Kopischke, who played "Pee Wee Kaputish" in "The Cudahy Caroler Christmas" for three years, even includes an ode to Festivus. To sample tunes or purchase the CD, visit

Copyright 2005 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Kopischke brings goofiness to Christmas

Dec. 12, 2005 Tom Strini

Warmth, reverence, joy and good cheer are part of the Christmas music we hear on our radios every day at this time of year. What's missing?

Goofiness, and Joel Kopischke, singer and entertainer-about-town, is here to fill the gap. On his timely CD, "I Got Yule Babe," Kopischke sends up the songs we all know, love and tire of all on an annual basis. He also attaches holiday lyrics to tunes we might not associate with Yuletide - the Violent Femmes' "Blister in the Sun," for example.

On that tune, the Kopischke nails the patented Gordon Gano nasal whine. There and throughout the album, Kopischke is a dead-on mimic. His imitations of a morose Jewish cantor in "That's a Menorah" (to the tune of "That's Amore," of all things), Bobby Darin, lounge-lizard jazz stylists, classic Cudahy dialect in a couple of polka numbers, and both Sonny and Cher on the title track are a lot of fun. [note: Kelli Cramer sings Cher – JK]

The lyrics Kopischke devised are irreverent and funny without being nasty. Arranger Larry Moore and producer John Tanner nail the varied target styles on the 16 tracks, from the heavy metal of "A Harry Potter Christmas" to "Shopping Mall of Broken Dreams," after the Green Day song.

You can buy the disc for $14.99 at; get there via

OK, I am generally not a big fan of comedic holiday albums. Novelty CDs tend to have extremely limited utility, amusing perhaps one time through, but without lasting value. In addition, a great CD should reflect solid musicianship, as well as creative writing, and the funniest artists are often weak performers.

That being said, Joel Kopischke pulls off I Got Yule Babe with brilliant aplomb. If you are a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic, you will adore this album. Kopischke is a consummate professional. A Milwaukee native, this well-known cabaret performer is an exceptional singer and a very smart writer. His many talents gel perfectly on this hilarious holiday album.

I Got Yule Babe opens with the title track; Kopischke manages remarkable impressions of both Sonny Bono AND Cher singing their classic I Got You Babe duet. The parody lyrics are spot on, and I love the backing vocal (ho-hoing, listing the reindeer et al.). The execution is flawless.

From that notable opening, Kopischke moves through polka, klezmer, big band, pop, just about everything imaginable. It's a wild ride, and always fun. I especially enjoyed Kopischke's parodies of Bobby Darin (Mack the Knife/Santa's Back in Town, Beyond the Sea/Beneath the Tree), the Violent Femmes (Blister in the Sun/Christmas in the Sun), and the Barenaked Ladies (If I Had a $1,000,000/If I Had a Secret Santa). Kopischke nails them all (figuratively speaking), using instrumentation and vocal intonations that are perfection. And his Stupid Christmas Song (parody of the traditional German folk song Schnitzelbank) had me laughing out loud, which almost NEVER happens when I'm playing a comedy album.

Want to entertain your friends and family this holiday season with a CD that's funny, well-crafted, and perversely demented in the most positive way? Try Joel Kopischke's I Got Yule Babe and prepare to laugh.

- Carol Swanson,

And in other ventures...

Listen To My Heart - The Songs of David Friedman


"Joel Kopischke performs a broad range of songs. He proves to be quite versatile, playing a perfectly modulated comic piece (If You Love Me, Please Don't Feed Me), proceeding through heartfelt love (Trick of Fate) into existential longing (Catch Me)."

- Russ Bickerstaff,

A Cudahy Caroler Christmas - In Tandem Theatre Performer

"When Kopischke's character dons a bowling glove and belts out 'O Bowling Night,' he brings down the house."

- Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Hooray For Hollywood - Broadway Baby Dinner Theatre

Writer, director and performer

"Kopischke has added material and reworked the show since it was first staged at Broadway Baby, making it tighter and giving it more personality. As the director, he has continued the improvement, transforming what had been a rather bland series of songs, chatter and comic material into a sharply focused and crisply entertaining two hours of fun. ... Kopischke and Miller are terrific as Groucho and Chico Marx..."

- Damien Jacques, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Chess - Stepping Out Productions


"Joel Kopischke (Freddy Trumper) effusively portrays the aggressive petulance of the American player... Kopischke's finesse in evolving his character's turbulence and self- awareness is superb and essential to the unfolding of this intricate story."

- Dianna DeMond,

Early Songs and Sketches by Noel Coward - In Tandem Theatre


"Every word of Coward's witty lyrics is clearly heard, even in Kopischke's rendition of 'I've Been to a Marvelous Party,' throughout which he becomes more and more hilariously inebriated."

- Elaine Schmidt, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Spitfire Grill - American Folklore Theatre


"The folky sound of Sheriff Joe Sutter (Joel Kopischke) provided a perfect AFT familiarity."

- Keith Nordahl, Door County Advocate

Le bourgeois gentilhomme - Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra


"...a cleverly distilled script conjured a rich picture of the Moliere comedy..."

- Tom Strini, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Mozart Finale - Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Writer, performer

"With narrator Joel Kopischke portraying the composer's friend Franz Sussmayr, and music director Andreas Delfs leading the MSO in appropriate underscoring, the dramatic elements of the evening were largely successful."

- Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel