October 10, 2011
Comedy and Music have a stormy relationship but the recent success of musical comics like Tim Minchin, Bill Bailey, Flight of the Conchords and Isy Suttie has brought the funny song into the mainstream. So with that in mind, and also the fact that it's comedy month, we've picked out some of our favourite humorous little ditties in celebration of the union of Comedy and Music.
A Few chpoices are a little NSFW... just a warning...
Adam Sternberg - The Boy From...
This bossa nova tune from Stephen Sondheim and Mary Rodgers ruthlessley mocks the breathy Latin delivery of Linda Lavin's "The Girl From Ipanema" as the lovelorn narrator lusts after a boy from the Latin American Village of "Tacarembo La Tumbe Del Fuego Santa Malipas Zacatecas La Junta Del Sol Y Cruz" wondering "Why are his trousers vermilion? / Why does he claim he's Castilian? / Why do his friends call him Lillian?" It's such a spot on parody that you might hear it without realising it's meant to be funny.
Alice Chorley: Being a ****head's Cool
Sure, the hipster is an easy target with their moustaches and low cut vests, loafers with no socks, jobs in media etc but the fact that you can't help but hum this when walking through Shoreditch is a testament to how catchy a tune it is. From the self-consciously warbly 80's delivery to the shopping list of fashion crimes, it's enough to make you question every item in your wardrobe for fear of being *one of them*...
Thomas Gorton: Half Man Half Biscuit - All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit...
There are few bands who could claim that one of their B-Sides has influenced their fans dress sense, but Birkenhead satirists Half Man Half Biscuit managed it with "All I want for Christmas..." (Fans of the band still dress in old school replica shirts from the little known Czech) side. An examination of the various obsessions and desires of pre-adolescent boys that carries with it an unmistakable pang of childhood jealousy over a friends Subbuteo set that "had all the accessories required for that big match atmosphere"
Ben Lloyd Evans: Pete and Dud - Grooving the Bag, Mamaa
As a fellow Oxbridge graduate and former sketch comic, this musical skit was no doubt ringing in Hugh Laurie's ears when he, a fabulously wealthy white British man, decided to make a Blues Album. It's profoundly silly and importantly, looks like it was fun to perform (if only the same could be said for the next song...)
Watch the Video Here
Duncan Clarke: Joe Dolce - Shaddap You Face
Terminally uncool, undeniably lazy and possibly a little bit racist, Joe Dolce's broad swipe at Italy is probably the reason that Musical Comedy had such a bad name in the 80s. But when you remember that it kept Ultravox's terminally po-faced Vienna off the number one slot, it gains a certain comic charm that goes beyond its wacky stereotype-humour. The thought of a trench-coat wearing, pencil moustached Midge Ure gnashing his teeth at the words "Wassa madda you?" will keep anyone warm through the long winter nights.
Garreth Owen: Joe Cornish - Dr Sexy
"I diagnose that you have Sexy Disease" wuzzes Joe Cornish in a vocal delivery that's part mush-mouthed David Bowie impersonator and part amorous Roger Moore, all performed over a Sample from David Matthews' "Sandworms". It takes a very pure kind of comic genius to sample a piece of music inspired by the many-toothed giant worm from Frank Herbert's Science Fiction epic 'Dune', and then use that as the background for a song about a Sexy Doctor who's medical credentials are, at best, dubious. But that's the exact kind of comic genius that Adam and Joe's Song Wars competition throws up on a regular basis. The album is well worth a listen.
Jane Moore: Victoria Wood - Lets Do It
It takes real skill to write a song about 'the act of love' without using any dirty words - it takes even more skill to deliver such a song in a way that no one notices the lack of dirty words. Wood's tale of a physically neglected wife trying to convince her repressed husband to "Smear an avocado on me lower portions" cleverly mixes the mundane with the bizarre whilst all the while reminding us that eventually the flame of passion will be extinguished in all of us... and then we will die.
Sarah Thorniley-Walker: Desiree - Life
There's funny songs and then there are songs that are funny. This is the latter. “I’m afraid of the dark, especially when I’m in a park[…] I don’t want to see a ghost it’s a sight that I fear most, I’d rather have a piece of toast and watch the evening news” Those are the kind of lyrics that have made Desiree such an enduring artist and have allowed her to keep such a high profile all these years later.
Charlotte Ward Caddle: Flight of the Conchords - Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros
They were bound to turn up in here somewhere. New Zealand's finest export take a typically adorable stab at 'doing' Hip-Hop by adopting their rhyme spitting alter egos Hiphopopotamus and Rhymenoceros, offering a distinctly 'Kiwified' take on the chest-beating bravado of the genre "Yes, sometimes my lyrics are sexist/But you lovely bitches and hoes should know I'm trying to correct this."
Sophie McCarthy: R-Kelly - Trapped In the Closet
R-Kelly's Trapped in the closet is a many layered thing of wonder. His 20-something part Rn'B Soap Opera that tells the tale of... *something*, is plenty funny on its own before you start wondering whether or not it was meant to be. R-Kelly is a spectacularly unhinged pop star (as evidenced by his walking out of a tour with Jay-Z, going to his nearest Burger King, leaping behind the till and serving customers for a couple of hours) and the very thought of him just writing the lyrics is hilarious and that's before you factor in midgets, cherry allergies and the fact that the whole thing is essentially the same song repeated 20 times with different words.
What are your favourite funny songs? Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments!