Fascism But Make It Jazz Hands: The Weird Broadway Backstory to the Proud Boys

The hilarious musical theatre origins of the far-right, straight men's rights group.

Over the weekend, Proud Boys started trending yet again—though this time it was Million MAGA March-related, and not cheeky Twitter users co-opting their hashtag to share photos celebrating gay love.

But one important aspect of the all-male group—a Boy Scouts for fascists, without the sash—always bears repeating: The group’s origins already couldn’t be gayer.

See, when Aladdin was adapted into a Broadway musical from a movie, a song was added that didn’t make it into the film. “Proud of Your Boy” finds a shirtless, ab-rippling Aladdin grinding the musical to a halt to sing to his dead mother, promising to mend his bread-stealing ways. When Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes heard it at his daughter’s recital, he found it an offensive apology for being a boy. (Having seen Aladdin on stage, he’s giving the show and the song a lot more depth than they possess.)

As any self-respecting defender of Western culture does, he promptly took this earnest song sung by a Middle Eastern character and made it his group’s anthem. Because nothing says “let’s make men great again” he-man heroics like a Broadway ballad that Clay Aiken routinely covers.

But we have it on good authority that “Proud of Your Boy” wasn’t McInnes’ original choice! He had already considered and rejected several other Broadway standards, including Gypsy‘s “You Gotta Get a Gimmick,” “Memory” from Cats, and “On My Own” from Les Misérables (the latter was unfortunately already the theme song for incels). Having watched the inexplicable rise of the group coincide with the rewarded bad behavior of the last four years, we have one more recommendation: “I Hate Men,” from Kiss, Me Kate.

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