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This thread is an attempt to spur conversation about sorts of music not normally thought about on the forum.
Off the top of my head,
Weird Al - Albuquerque
Weird Al - Smells Like Nirvana
Mad TV - Posin'
National Lampoon - Positively Wall Street
National Lampoon - Deteriorata
National Lampoon - Right Across The Bay
National Lampoon - John Lennon Interview
Allen Sherman - Camp Grenada
Flight Of The Conchords - Think About It
Flight Of The Conchords - Robots
The Rutles - Cheese And Onions
The Rutles - I Must Be In Love
The Rutles - Hold My Hand
Bryan Adams - Summer of '69
Excellent! BillAdama, I think I’ve been secretly waiting for this thread!
Off the top of my head:
Mel Brooks, “The French Mistake” (from the movie Blazing Saddles)
The Goons, “I’m Walking Backwards for Christmas”
Spike Jones, “Der Führer’s Face”
Spike Jones, “Hawaiian War Chant”
Monty Python, “Camelot”
Monty Python, “Every Sperm Is Sacred”
Monty Python, “Henry Kissinger”
Monty Python, “Never Be Rude to an Arab”
Monty Python, “The Penis Song (Not the Noel Coward Song)”
Martin Mull, “Men”
Allan Sherman, “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda”
Spinal Tap, “Big Bottom”
Spinal Tap, “Stonehenge”
Peter Gabriel, “Red Rain”
I must also mention the complete works of Richard Cheese (and his band, Lounge Against the Machine). If you don’t know the stylings of Mr. Cheese, go Google him immediately! (Teaser: Vegas-lounge-style version of Nirvana’s “Rape Me.” It will change your life.)
I know there’s a ton I’m not remembering right now, so more to come, probably (and if anybody mentions the Smothers Brothers, I’m gonna soap their windows).
The D's first album
Most of it. Still, there hasn't been a musical comedy album of new material as funny as that since then.
Am I the only one that doesn't think Monty Python songs are funny?
You're not alone, John.
Music and comedy DO NOT belong together.
But, Anthony ... these go to 11.
John: "Am I the only one that doesn't think Monty Python songs are funny?"
I'm not surprised - (no offense but) you Americans never did seem to connect with quintessential British music and comedy...
Yeah, Spinal Tap is great.
Music and dry, British humor don't go well together. Maybe it can happen but I've never been into Monty Python songs.
You can't throw all Americans under the bus. I've just never been able to catch on to the nuances of the humor and the British references. There are definitely Americans who appreciate it.
Like many Americans with one foot in the geek camp, I was an absolute Monty Python addict for a few years. But John, no, you're not the only one who feels that way about their songs. In fact, of the songs on their albums, there are probably more failures than successes. But I really like the successes.
Anthony, that's an...interesting assertion. Care to elaborate?
That comment was more or less just personal opinion -- I've just never found the combination of music and comedy to be funny, or even entertaining on any level -- to the point where I feel that the two artforms are best left separated. Whether it's Monty Python, Spinal Tap, Adam Sandler (that "Hanukkah Song" is awful), or just any comedian who decides to strap on an acoustic guitar, it just doesn't do anything for me; in fact, it's makes me reach for the remote. Possible reasons: 1) my brain is wired to only enjoy "serious" music; 2) I haven't heard any "good" musical comedy yet? (but I've heard a lot); 3) musically, comedy songs are often quite simple in form, melody and structure, and therefore, not appealing on that level since they seldom strive to be different (ie. it's about content over form -- the lyrics are the focus, music comes second... is that fair?)
schleuse -- you touched on "artless" music the other day (which was well said, btw). For me, both Sandler and Yankovic fall into this category; one of them knows only chords, and the other does a pop-culture infused, humorless version of karaoke. Neither of them are talented singers, so basically their schtick involves crafting funny lyrics and putting them to either G-C-D, or someone else's song -- something which I don't find much talent in.
At any rate, I'm certainly not judging anyone who enjoys it, but I just don't find it appealing.
Fair enough, Anthony. Your point about the lyrics usually taking precedent over the tune is well-taken--although for Spike Jones, the music itself is most of what’s funny (any other examples? Besides P.D.Q. Bach?).
Enjoyment of comedy seems much more subjective than enjoyment of music. I’m pretty much an omnivore when it comes to humor; however, I agree with you about Sandler, who once said (I’m going from memory here): “I am not very smart. I am not very talented. I am not very attractive. And yet, somehow, I am a millionaire” (he gets points for self-awareness, anyway).
Weird Al is a different case; he really is a gifted mimic and pasticheur (there’s your 25-cent word for the day). However, mimicry is more of a one-dimensional talent (like juggling) than the musical creativity we usually talk about around here. I actually find many of his songs very funny, but only the first two or three times I hear them.
I wonder how you feel about “serious” pop music that incorporates humor; there’s an awful lot of it. Even a quick glance around this site turns up very funny music by Fats Waller, LaVern Baker, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Who, the Rolling Stones, P-Funk, Talking Heads, Ian Dury, Robyn Hitchcock, Motörhead, Prince, Blur, Pulp, OutKast, and almost every single punk band. And most rap artists. Hell, I’ll even throw in Morrissey’s mordant irony. And all that's just for starters. Rock has a lot of funny in it.
How is Peter Gabriel's Red Rain a comedy song?
actually he sings for a few seconds...robiN williams in "shakespeare (a meltdowner's nightmare)"
The Peter Gabriel thing was a joke, Dan.
I've always found the album SO, with the glaring exception of "Sledgehammer," extremely somber and humorless. Gabriel has his funny songs--"Games Without Frontiers" is the best--but most of his stuff seems earnest to a startling degree. I mean, "Biko" and "In Your Eyes" are very good songs, but they're amazingly...sincere. And for me, that gets tedious pretty quickly.
I'm a comedy fan myself -- Carlin, Hedberg, Attell, Seinfeld (yes, guilty); but had any of those guys ever carried any type of instrument onstage, I probably wouldn't revere them as highly, if at all. In a way, maybe I think that performing comedy with an instrument is a cop-out... it's cheap. It's almost like saying "hey, I can't make you laugh with words, so I have to hide behind an instrument". Of course, with a statement like that, I'm opening myself up to attacks of "so, an artist can't incorporate other forms into their act...?", and I'm not necessarily saying that, but it just seems that with comedy especially, less is more. All four of those comedians that I mentioned found their voice and stuck with it; they didn't need anything else to improve it.
And regarding bits of humor within "serious" music, well, I don't dislike it, but I don't necessarily enjoy it much either. I'm willing to overlook it if I know that an artist is capable of (hell, known for) doing more -- eg. the Beatles, Dylan, Prince. But even with that said, it still irritates me. I want my music serious, and my artists brash, arrogant and acerbic. I want my comedy funny, intelligent, clever and instrument-free. Don't combine 'em.
This one is very funny. Bob McFadden's The Mummy:
But the funniest song I've ever heard is this one. Sadly for most of you it's in Norwegian, which leaves it to, well, only me, to understand. I think even Swedes and Danes will miss most of the lyrics.
If anyone wants it translated I can do it (quite poorly)
Also, this is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. It's originally a dutch song, but it sounds like Norwegian, and it's drop dead funny.
Steven Wright occasionally plays "songs" in his stand-up act, but they're essentially just strings of his brilliant deadpan non sequiturs recited to some minimal guitar strumming. The funniest part of these musical segments is an intro in which Wright mutters, "This next one doesn't go a little something like this, it goes -exactly- like this..."
The thing that's always impressed me about Weird Al Yankovic is his knack for not merely setting new words to existing music (just about anyone can do that) but managing to precisely mirror the delivery and inflections and verbal structures/cadences of the original versions, which is quite a feat considering that he's been doing a lot of hip-hop parodies the last few years. He also did a particularly impressive Jerry Springer-themed song set to "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies (yeah, I know, a parody of a song that was already goofy to begin with), and his last album features an elaborately extended riff on R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" (called "Trapped in the Drive-Through") that has to be heard to be believed. I'm not making any claims that Weird Al is one of the great artists of our time or anything, but the guy's managed to stick around for almost 30 years now - he knows what he's doin'.
I will give credit where it's due and admit that Weird Al Yankovic does have a bit of talent -- 1) in the way that he's able to perform those various vocal nuances; and 2) write clever lyrics, but it's not enough to overshadow that fact that for the better part of three decades, he's essentially been capitalizing on the success of others. And his career longevity doesn't impress me much either, since he's basically the sole artist in a genre that only has room for one anyway. Plus, I'm not sure how enlightened those people are who buy Weird Al records are. I mean, how many of you bought his last one (or any of them for that matter)?
Good Stephen Wright reference, Harold. Reminds me of a song introduction I've heard from Neil Innes (of the Rutles, Bonzo Dog Band and sometimes Python):
"Ladies and gentlemen, I've suffered for my music. Now it's your turn."
I think Harold is right. there's something about this humour that's so black... it's like.. ho-ow much more black could this be...
none more Harold.
oh pleease, mr. multifunctional mind machine:
let. me. die.
I like the Weird Al songs where he actually puts effort into being absurd instead of just replacing the lyrics with different kinds of food.
I totally forgot about Spinal Tap. I should add some of those songs to the list.
My baby fits me like a flesh tuxedo, I want to sink her with my pink torpedo!
The thing about Monty Python songs, they're hilarious in context, but take them out of context they don't fare as well.
I should have probably put almost every song from Lemmings on the list, instead of just a few.
How could we be so remiss in forgetting "Trapped in the Closet"? Unintentional comedy can sometimes be the funniest. The line about trying to put his phone on vibrate had me rolling.
And Weird Al actually comes up with a classic parody of Trapped In the Closet (how that song can be parodied I don't know) with Trapped in the Drive-Thru.
I'd say the funniest guy to ever "sing" was an American: Tom Lehrer. His piano bashing is no huge musical treat in itself (and hardly intended to be), but if you know the words, just hearing somebody whistle three notes from "We will all go together" is likely to send you rolling on the floor laughing.
Whitest Guys You Know: Hitler Song
Biker Joe: Dingleberry Blues
Big Dick Dan
And Tom Lehrer wasn't only a musician/comedian, he was a statistician too!
Shel Silverstein's Inside Folk Songs is a bit dated by still pretty funny.
What about the works of Stan Freberg, the Bonzo Dog Band, and the comedy productions of George Martin before he worked with the Beatles (also, from their Christmas flexidiscs, there are daft throwaway fun things like "Please Don't Bring My Banjo Back")
Re: George Martin, this is the perfect place to mention a recording I brought up last year during Bracketology: a Martin-produced "cover" of "She Loves You" by Peter Sellers. It's a brilliant, darkly absurdist recording in which Sellers recites the verses in his Dr. Strangelove accent, reassuring his German friend that his girl still 'luffs' him. The friend makes frequent, sinister asides:
She says you HURT her so ...
She almost lost her mind ...
[Goot! Ist goot!]
But now she says she knows that you're not the HURTING kind.
She says she LUFFS you!
As the record fades, the two men's lusty repetitions of "ya, ya, ya" give way to the crowd noise of a Nazi rally.
I love the Dr. Demento show :-) I used to like when he played the songs "fish heads," "Shaving Cream" Adam Sandler's "the Car Song" and "I'm Getting Nothing for Xmas." I also like the song "Rehab" by Tony Award winning (as of yesterday) Stu from the Negro Problem.
Sarah Silverman "I'm F**king Matt Damon" (best appreciated with accompanying video)
Oh, yeah. I'm not even a particularly big Silverman fan (her ooh-I'm-SHOCKING humor can be breathtakingly transgressive, but a little of it goes a -very- long way), but "I'm F---ing Matt Damon" is easily the funniest thing I've seen or heard within the last year - mostly because Damon himself is so spectacularly game and hilarious. "On the bed, on the floor, on a towel by the door, in the tub, in the car, up against the mini-bar!"
"I'm F**king Ben Affleck", the response, is not bad either.
Ooh, I thought of a few I left off.
Trey Parker - Pearl Harbor Sucked (And I Miss You)
Trey Parker - Blame Canada
Trey Parker - What Would Brian Boitano Do?
Weird Al - Dog Eat Dog
Frank Zappa - Flower Punk
Frank Zappa - Who Needs The Peace Corps?
To know Brett from FLight of the Conchords personally and sit in the same Desk Jermaine did when he did English 101
Just thought of one that always cracks me up:
Frank Zappa - Valley Girl
"Barf out! Gag me with a spoon!" Hilarious.
Frank Zappa - Welcome To The United States
'I'm So Lucky...'
Must be from New Zealand