Here is a nice video of a performance by Johann Lippowitz of his ‘signed’ version of Torn. It is really a classic performance of which many movies have been shown earlier. Only this time, Natalie Imbruglia joins him halfway, and the two add some nice touches to the routine.

Johann Lippowitz (real name David Armand) performs his mime version of Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’.
Yes, we all know that he does the guitar slide wrong. Get over it. It’s still really funny.

Without a doubt, his quasi-signing has pissed off many a serious singing-to-signing translator, because, needless to say, it is not any real sign language that he uses. So, is he making a mockery out of signing? Could be. Is that a bad thing? Only if you think that ASL or any other sign language needs to be put on a pedestal and glorified. In general, as any politician will tell you, being the butt of a joke is something to take in full stride. Just laugh along with all the rest, and if you can, play along and take the joke to a next level. Mind you, I am not saying it is weird to take offense at the joke if you are Deaf and proud of your sign language. But if you can’t beat the joke, join the laughers. It is the only effective strategy really.

It turns out, after a bt of ‘tubing’, that Johann Lippowitz (real name David Armand), has done quite a few songs in this way: