When Music Decides to Be Funny…

Where do comedy and music meet? It has to be more than just Weird Al Yankovic and Adam Sandler, right? Thankfully, the answer is a giant and resounding YES! Put away your lyrics about lunch ladies and forget that song where white boy tries to rap about being white and nerdy. We’re onto BIGGER and BETTER things in this article. Let’s take a closer look at comedy and music—why they work so well together and way funnier examples of tunes and jokes colliding.

Comedy and music are both art forms that rely on rhythm to connect with their audience. In comedy, it’s all about how you time your jokes in a performance. In music, if the rhythm is off or out of tune it can ruin the song and end up sounding like a bunch of garbage. The union of both art forms can be quite enjoyable if done right (or done wrong with humorous intention).

Every genre of music has a funny side–even classical music! From the LOL rock n’ roll ballads of Tenacious D to the catchy and often hilarious stylings of Outkast, it’s so easy to fall in love with these bands and sing-a-long to them in the car over and over again. (Fight me on the Tenacious D reference because Jack Black is still one of the funniest human beings to ever exist and I can prove it).

But let’s take a look at the important difference between intentionally funny comedy-inspired music and the unintentionally funny. We can start with Bob Dylan’s Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart (2009). It was his 34th studio album and, honestly, one of his greatest in the last twenty years if we are considering it’s humorous existence over it’s musical or vocal mastery. A 67-year-old Bob Dylan singing “Winter Wonderland” is something the world never needed to hear. However, it exists and we have to cope with it by simply laughing, never listening to it again, and then blogging about it at least a few times. On this related note, who else could not stop watching Fergie demolish the National Anthem this past year at the NBA All Star Game? A great example of music accidentally meets comedy.

And then we have the more nuanced comedic music with songs like “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. Many people have a hard time using irony correctly. Looking at the lyrics in this song, most of the examples Alanis gives of irony are not actually ironic. Some people stop reading the song there and make fun of how stupid Alanis is for writing it. BUT! If you dig a little deeper, it’s actually VERY ironic to write a song about irony and have none of it be ironic! Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Some of my favorite funny songs come from back in the day when people couldn’t sing about smoking weed so they used to sing about how much they loved eating spinach instead. And then other times they didn’t care and just sang explicitly about it which was also funny and awesome.

But ultimately comedy is a personal taste and different for everyone! I happen to think “Mind Your Own Business” by Delta 5 is one of the most fun and hilarious songs to sing-a-long to, but so far no one who has ever listened to it with me finds the humor in it. Also, if you haven’t been obsessed with the wonderful weird and funny world of Tierra Whack, check it out right now.

Maura Campbell-Balkits co-hosts Pink Noise every other Monday night, 10pm to midnight.

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