Four decades ago, Marlo Thomas—with the help of the Ms. Magazine Foundation and a number of willing celebrities—launched Free To Be… You and Me, the television special and album that encouraged generations of kids to be themselves, embrace diversity and not get too bogged down in strict gender roles. The likes of Carl Reiner and Rosey Grier taught kids it was alright to cry, it was okay for boys to want to play with dolls and that prissy princesses who acted with an unwarranted sense of entitlement were fed to hungry tigers.
But now it is 2012, and today’s kids have different needs and different lessons to learn. And Marlo Thomas’ flower-power opus is getting an anniversary skewering from a number of funny people. Rooftop Comedy’s upcoming compilation, It’s OK To Do Stuff, features an all-star lineup of comedians and musicians, including Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos performing the title track, Eugene Mirman, Wyatt Cenac, Samantha Bee, James Urbaniak, Megan Amram, a parody of “William’s Doll” called “Wally Wants a Real Doll” and Collin Hanks and Kimmy Gatewood performing a number called “Divorce Makes A Family Twice As Big.”
The album drops today, and you can sample two tracks online. Former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page offers the folky “Be Yourself… Unless,” advising kids to express themselves, but not overshare, with couplets like “Be yourself will be in awe / but keep that self under wraps when meeting your in-laws.” Elsewhere, Lizzy Caplan and Fred Willard assume the roles of Marlo Thomas and Carl Reiner, altering the original dialogue between babies to feature discourse that transcends the gender binary, and is decidedly more NSFW. Listen below.