Comedy rock

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Comedy rock is rock music mixed with comedy, often satire and irony. [1]

Comedy music music genre

Comedy music is music that is comic or humorous in nature, encompassing a wide variety of music genres. Popular types of comedy music include parody music, novelty songs, comedy rock and comedy hip hop. Some comedians, such as Bo Burnham, Tim Minchin, and Tim Hawkins, use songs in stand-up in addition to more traditional joke-telling methods, while others, such as "Weird Al" Yankovic and Lil Dicky, focus entirely on comedy music as their sole medium of humor.

Contents

History

Early bands and songs

Early American examples include Stan Freberg, who lampooned artists such as Elvis Presley, Harry Belafonte and the Platters, and Sheb Wooley. [2] The latter's "Purple People Eater" reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart in 1958 and stayed there 6 weeks. [3]

Stan Freberg American author, actor, comedian

Stan Freberg was an American author, actor, recording artist, voice artist, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer and advertising creative director, whose career began in 1943. He remained active in the industry into his late 80s, more than 70 years after entering it.

Elvis Presley American singer and actor

Elvis Aaron Presley, also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

Harry Belafonte American singer

Harry Belafonte is an American singer, songwriter, activist, and actor. One of the most successful Jamaican-American pop stars in history, he was dubbed the "King of Calypso" for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. His breakthrough album Calypso (1956) is the first million-selling LP by a single artist. Belafonte is perhaps best known for his recording of "The Banana Boat Song", with its signature lyric "Day-O". He has recorded and performed many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes, and American standards. He has also starred in several films, including Otto Preminger's hit musical Carmen Jones (1954), Island in the Sun (1957), and Robert Wise's Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).

In Britain during the 1950s and early 1960s comedians such as Charlie Drake and the Goons frequently appeared in the top ten with humorous rock 'n' roll records—the latter, along with Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, were to influence the word-play of John Lennon's lyrics. Later British groups specialised in comedy: these included the Scaffold, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias. Later in Britain, in the 2000s, Mitch Benn released several studio albums that satirised current affairs using various musical genres, but mainly rock. His 2012 Breaking Strings album was critically acclaimed for its rock sensibility. [4]

Charlie Drake English comedian, actor, writer and singer

Charles Edward Springall, known professionally as Charlie Drake, was an English comedian, actor, writer and singer.

Lewis Carroll English writer, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English writer of world-famous children's fiction, notably Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass. He was noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy. The poems Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark are classified in the genre of literary nonsense. He was also a mathematician, photographer, and Anglican deacon.

Edward Lear British artist, illustrator, author and poet

Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet, now known mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. His principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals; making coloured drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, sometimes as plates for his travel books; as a (minor) illustrator of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poems. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense collections of poems, songs, short stories, botanical drawings, recipes, and alphabets. He also composed and published twelve musical settings of Tennyson's poetry.

Allmusic described Frank Zappa as the "godfather" of comedy rock. [5] The pop rock and folk rock band the Turtles released a comedy rock album, The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands , in 1968, though the band had previously incorporated humor into their songs. [6] Two of its members, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman later performed more explicitly comedic songs as Flo & Eddie with their own band and with Frank Zappa.

Frank Zappa American musician

Frank Vincent Zappa was an American multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, and bandleader. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his era.

Pop rock is rock music with a greater emphasis on professional songwriting and recording craft, and less emphasis on attitude. Originating in the 1950s as an alternative to normal rock and roll, early pop rock was influenced by the beat, arrangements, and original style of rock and roll. It may be viewed as a distinct genre field, rather than music that overlaps with pop and rock. The detractors of pop rock often deride it as a slick, commercial product, less authentic than rock music.

Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that the Beatles and other British Invasion bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their preexisting folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way previously discouraged in the U.S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was initially used in the U.S. music press in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music.

Contemporary bands

Several modern comedy rock bands have experienced mainstream commercial success. Duos Tenacious D and Flight of the Conchords both released platinum-selling albums and starred in their own respective comedic television series. Dan Finnerty with his The Dan Band has made comedy rock appearances in the Todd Phillips films Old School and The Hangover spoofing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Candy Shop", as well as his live show, which parodies female cover songs and was filmed as a one-hour TV special directed by McG and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Stephen Lynch from New York developed a following with several Opie and Anthony appearances which led to two specials on Comedy Central. He performed on Broadway with the production of Grease .

Tenacious D American band

Tenacious D is an American comedy rock duo, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1994. It was founded by actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass, who were part of The Actors' Gang theater company at the time. The duo's name is derived from "tenacious defense" - a phrase used by NBA basketball sportscaster Marv Albert.

Flight of the Conchords New Zealand-based musical comedy duo

Flight of the Conchords are a New Zealand comedy duo composed of musicians Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement. The duo's comedy and music became the basis of a BBC radio series and then an American television series that aired for two seasons on HBO. They previously referred to themselves as "New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo", but as of 2014 refer to themselves as "the almost award-winning fourth-most-popular folk duo in New Zealand".

Dan Finnerty American actor and singer

Dan Finnerty is an American comedian, actor and singer.

With over 12 million albums sold, song parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic remains the highest-selling comedy act in history, with his 2014 album Mandatory Fun having debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, the first comedy album to do so since Allan Sherman 's My Son, the Nut in 1963. [7] Rock has been the target of many spoofs and several spoof bands have gone on to have hit records, for example Spinal Tap in the U.S., and The Hee Bee Gee Bees and Bad News in the UK. The band Steel Panther has become a fixture on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip with their parody of 80s glam metal, [8] and their success has opened the doors for other spoof bands such as The Jimi Homeless Experience. Other spoof bands such as Dread Zeppelin, Beatallica and Those Darn Accordions rely on unusual or intentionally contrasting genre-mixing for comic effect. The Residents are well-known for their unusual, heavily distorted covers of pop and rock songs. Comedy rock duo Ninja Sex Party, who have collaborated with Steel Panther on occasion, blend rock and synthpop and have produced songs that parody the dubstep and heavy metal genres. They have enjoyed success from their online popularity. [9] Another band, Primus, is known for their wacky lyrics and comedic music videos. Gorillaz is a British virtual band whose fictional, animated members parody contemporary trends in popular music.

"Weird Al" Yankovic American singer-songwriter, music producer, accordionist, actor, comedian, writer, satirist, and parodist

Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, satirist, actor, voice actor, music video director, comedian, and author. He is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts, original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.

<i>Mandatory Fun</i> 2014 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Mandatory Fun is the fourteenth studio album by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic. Self-produced, the album was released by RCA Records in the United States on July 15, 2014. Yankovic had previously released Alpocalypse in 2011, and toured in support of it when he first spoke of his next record. When he began to work on what would become Mandatory Fun, Yankovic found himself listening to older acts, many of which he would stylistically spoof on the album.

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.

Many bands within the alternative rock and college rock spectrum are known for their incorporation of humorous and satirical songs, with bands such as Mindless Self Indulgence, They Might Be Giants, [10] The Presidents of the United States of America, Bloodhound Gang, System of a Down, Ween and Camper Van Beethoven finding both mainstream and independent success in the United States, as well as successful foreign bands such as Parokya ni Edgar and Knorkator. Punk rock and pop punk has made its contribution to the comedy rock ranks, with such bands as The Aquabats, Blink-182, Bowling for Soup, Patent Pending, Dead Kennedys, The Dead Milkmen, The Meatmen and The Radioactive Chicken Heads.

Heavy metal has also produced many humor-oriented and satirical bands, including Green Jellÿ, Lawnmower Deth, Massacration, M.O.D., Big Dumb Face, Eskimo Callboy, Nanowar of Steel, J.B.O., Psychostick, Crotchduster, Ludichrist, Spinal Tap, Okilly Dokilly and Scatterbrain, whose comedic shtick mostly revolves around embracing pornogrind themes, parodying heavy metal cliches and ironically spoofing the seriousness of many traditional metal bands, while other bands such as Gwar, Lordi and Rosemary's Billygoat utilize outrageous costumes and over-the-top stage shows. The virtual band Dethklok is death metal spoof featured in the Adult Swim animated TV Show Metalocalypse [11] and their album entitled The Dethalbum debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard Top 200 list. [12]

In the German rock scene, Die Ärzte are known for their often humorous songs and videos that sometimes parody popular rock, punk, metal or pop cliches, and Die Toten Hosen have released several ironic, humorous songs as well. Some famous Neue Deutsche Welle acts, most notably Falco and Trio, were also known for their often humorous, ironic and satirical lyrics.

See also

Related Research Articles

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<i>Poodle Hat</i> 2003 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Poodle Hat is the eleventh studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on May 20, 2003. It was the seventh studio album self-produced by Yankovic. The musical styles on the album are built around parodies and pastiches of pop of the early-2000s. The album's lead single, "Couch Potato", is a parody of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. The single failed to chart, although the album's song "eBay" eventually peaked at number 115 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007.

<i>Running with Scissors</i> ("Weird Al" Yankovic album) 1999 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Running with Scissors is the tenth studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on June 29, 1999. It was the fourth studio album self-produced by Yankovic. It was the first album for Volcano Records after leaving Scotti Brothers. The musical styles on the album are built around parodies and pastiches of pop and rock music of the late 1990s, largely targeting alternative rock and hip-hop. The album's lead single, "The Saga Begins", however, was a parody of the 1971 single "American Pie" by Don McLean, and it recounts the plot of the film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which was released around the same time. None of the album's singles charted domestically, although "Pretty Fly for a Rabbi" charted at number 67 in Australia.

<i>Off the Deep End</i> 1992 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Off the Deep End is the seventh studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released in 1992. This album was the first album self-produced by Yankovic, after six albums with Rick Derringer. Recorded between June 1990 and January 1992, the album was a follow-up to the unsuccessful soundtrack to Yankovic's 1989 film UHF. Off the Deep End and its lead single "Smells Like Nirvana" helped to revitalize Yankovic's career after a lull in the late 1980s.

<i>Even Worse</i> 1988 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

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Come Out and Play (The Offspring song) 1994 single by The Offspring

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Ween American alternative rock band

Ween is an American alternative rock band formed in New Hope, Pennsylvania, in 1984 by childhood friends Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, better known by their respective stage names, Gene and Dean Ween. After meeting in a middle-school typing class, the two began playing music and immediately chose the name Ween as well as their Ramones-inspired pseudonyms. Ween performed as a duo backed by a Digital Audio Tape for the band's first ten years of existence before expanding to a four- piece act. The band's highest charting single is "Push th' Little Daisies", which was a hit in the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

Smells Like Nirvana 1992 single by "Weird Al" Yankovic

"Smells Like Nirvana" is a parody of Nirvana's song "Smells Like Teen Spirit", written and performed by "Weird Al" Yankovic; it was released both as a single and as part of Yankovic's Off the Deep End album in April 1992. "Smells Like Nirvana" was written during a three-year career low for Yankovic after the financial failure of his film UHF, but captured the quickly-rising popularity of grunge and Nirvana's success. The song was written to poke fun at the fact that many people had a hard time understanding Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain's lyrics in the original song. After being unable to contact Nirvana by conventional means, Yankovic called Cobain while the band was on the set of Saturday Night Live, where Cobain quickly gave permission to record the parody.

Black or White 1991 single by Michael Jackson

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Steel Panther American band

Steel Panther is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California, mostly known for their profane and humorous lyrics, as well as their exaggerated on-stage personae that reenact the stereotypical "glam metal" lifestyle.

<i>Feel the Steel</i> 2009 studio album by Steel Panther

Feel the Steel is the debut studio album by American heavy metal band Steel Panther. It was released on October 6, 2009 on Universal Records. The tracks "Fat Girl", "Stripper Girl" and "Hell's On Fire" are re-recordings from the band's 2003 EP Hole Patrol while "Death to All But Metal" is a re-recording from their 2004 contribution to the Metal Sludge compilation Hey That's What I Call Sludge! Vol. 1. Unlike the debut album and their Metal Sludge compilation tracks, Feel the Steel is composed entirely of songs, lacking any spoken word comedy skits present on earlier releases. The video for "Death to All But Metal" features comedian Sarah Silverman. The album debuted on #123 and peaked at #98 on the Billboard 200 chart and peaked at #1 on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart.

<i>Alpocalypse</i> 2011 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Alpocalypse is the thirteenth studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on June 21, 2011. It was the seventh studio album self-produced by Yankovic. The musical styles on the album are built around parodies and pastiches of pop and rock music of the late 2000s and early 2010s. The album's first single, "Whatever You Like", was released almost two and a half years prior to the release of the album, and the single peaked at number 104 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's final single, "Perform This Way", was released digitally on April 25, 2011, but failed to chart.

The original use of the term "parody" in music referred to re-use for wholly serious purposes of existing music. In popular music that sense of "parody" is still applicable to the use of folk music in the serious songs of such writers as Bob Dylan, but in general, "parody" in popular music refers to the humorous distortion of musical ideas or lyrics or general style of music.

Word Crimes 2013 song by "Weird Al" Yankovic

"Word Crimes" is a song by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic from his fourteenth studio album, Mandatory Fun (2014). The song is a parody of the 2013 single "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I. The song spoofs misuse of proper English grammar and usage, reflecting Yankovic's own rigor for proper syntax and semantics. Yankovic chose a topic that would be distinct from those used in many pre-existing parodies, and that would avoid the misogyny issues that had arisen from the source material.

"Handy" is a song by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic from his fourteenth studio album, Mandatory Fun (2014). The song is a parody of the 2014 single "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea, featuring Charli XCX. Yankovic met Azalea in person for permission to spoof the song, and he completed his track shortly before the album was mastered and released. "Handy" focuses on a character who brags about his abilities regarding various handyman tasks. The music video was released on July 17, 2014 and features Yankovic assuming the character portrayed in the song. "Handy" received a mixed response from music critics.

Jarrod Alonge American comedian and musician

Jarrod Michael Alonge is an American comedian, songwriter and music producer from Orlando, Florida. He is best known for his parodies of the artists, sub-genres and stereotypes within alternative music. He has released three independent full-length studio albums, Beating a Dead Horse, Friendville and Awkward & Depressed, all of which reached number one on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart. He is also the lead songwriter and guitarist of post-hardcore project CrazyEightyEight. As of September 2017, his YouTube channel has amassed over 200,000 subscribers with more than 33 million total views.

Comedy hip hop or comedy rap, is a subgenre of hip hop music that is comedic in nature, often incorporating satirical lyrics. While many examples of comedy hip hop could be considered a parody of the hip hop genre, in the case of artists who merely incorporate humor into their more serious, purist hip hop styles, such as Eminem and Ludacris, this is not necessarily the case.

References

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  2. The 10 Best Novelty Songs of the '50s-ThoughtCo.
  3. Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number. Billboard Books. p. 38. ISBN   0-8230-7677-6.
  4. Stephenson, John-Paul (10 February 2012). "CD Review: Mitch Benn & The Distractions – Breaking Strings". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  5. "Comedy rock". Allmusic.
  6. Ofjord. "The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands > Review" at AllMusic . Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  7. Caulfield, Keith (23 July 2014). "'Weird Al' Yankovic Gets First No. 1 Album On Billboard 200 with 'Mandatory Fun'". Billboard . Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  8. "Feeling The Steel Panther: Interview with Michael Starr". Nightlife. The Aquarian Weekly. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  9. Milne, Gregory (11 July 2013). "Ninja Sex Party: Tales of Strawberries and Cream". Living Myth Magazine. Living Myth Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  10. Comedy Issue: Laugh tracks by Frank Zappa, Ween, They Might Be Giants and more-Creative Loafing
  11. allmusic.com
  12. "Dethalbum Debuts At #21 On Billboard Top 200 Archived 5 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine " 9 October 2007