Humor in Music

Today is April Fool’s Day, the unofficial cultural holiday devoted to laughter and pranks. There are plenty of new releases today from Weezer and DYSN, amongst others, that are definitely worth a listen, but it seemed more appropriate to celebrate the holiday by recognizing artists, songs, websites, and videos that appreciate the intersection of comedy in music.

Pitchfork’s “Over/Under” and Noisey’s “Back and Forth”

One of the bonuses that comes with seeing any live show is onstage banter between the band and the audience, and amongst the band members themselves. Music websites Pitchfork and Vice’s Noisey have facilitated their own banter with their video series “Over/Under” and “Back and Forth,” respectively.

“Over/Under” sets a musician or comedian under a white backdrop and has them deem people and activities underrated or overrated. Past raters have included Mac DeMarco, The Lonely Island, Hannibal Burress, Danny Brown, Vampire Weekend, DJ Khaled, and Action Bronson. Topics can range from Guy Fieri and Taylor Swift, to the Hamburglar and elephants. The artists are almost encouraged to make ridiculous claims. Mac DeMarco refers to himself as looking homeless while checking into an airline’s platinum club and refusing to drink craft beer in light of binging on cheap beer. The former rap group Das Racist jokes about searching for Cee Lo Green nudes on google and not washing their hands after using the bathroom.

“Back and Forth” encourages two musicians, typically collaborators, to simply have a conversation. Past combos include Dillon Francis & Flosstradamus; Diplo & The Clash; and A$AP Rocky talking with everyone from ScHoolboy Q, Danny Brown, and RiFF RAFF, to Kathy Griffin and Snoop Dogg. In one interview, Childish Gambino sits down with then up-and-coming Chief Keef, and the young drill artist answers monosyllabically to awkward results. Dillon Francis and Flosstradamus refer to the gross antics of their fans, strange drug turns, and the rampant play-on-words for Tallahassee, Fla.

The Lonely Island

This should go without saying. The Lonely Island had a key role in shaping YouTube with “Lazy Sunday.” They’re probably one of the most important acts in the intersectionality of music and comedy since Weird Al Yankovic. The group will be returning this summer with the movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, a parody of Justin Bieber’s concert film Never Say Never.

While many of us are aware of the classics “I’m On A Boat,” “J*** in My Pants,” and “D**k in a Box,” here are a few deep cuts worthy of a chuckle and a listen: “Santana DVX” is a hilarious rap about a little known champagne produced by Rock ‘n’ Roll legend Carlos Santana, who on this song is played by rapper E-40. “Spring Break,” anthem is a frat-bro parody of the gross debauchery of Spring Break juxtaposed to arranging a gay wedding. Lastly, “We’re Back,” in which the three members spend nearly two minutes insulting their own genitalia.

Big Body Bes

Big Body Bes is the cousin and hypeman for rapper Action Bronson. He is not an actual musician, but merely appears on several of Bronson’s songs to shout non-sequiturs and tirades at the end. While Bronson has amazingly hilarious lines including “I feel so alive, I think I s**t myself,” Body’s role truly transcends that humor with pure nonsense. At the end of “The Rising,” off of 2015’s Mr. Wonderful album, Body discusses that he never has to go to court because of his “stupid f***ing lawer.” Bes also gets away with insulting people for wearing three piece suits and smoking marijuana. Body also appears repeatedly on Action Bronson’s cooking show F*** That’s Delicious, usually getting himself into some kind of trouble.

Run The Jewels’ Meow The Jewels

Remixes are an awesome part of the music industry that have only become more prominent in the age of the internet. El-P of Run The Jewels understands that and also completely undermines its ability at the same time. Last fall, the group released a remix album of their 2014 release Run The Jewels 2 with cat sounds completely replacing the instrumentals. For the fairly impressive feat, El-P invited The Alchemist, Blood Diamonds, and Just Blaze to put their cat fueled spin on RTJ2 songs. Maybe not worth an entire listen, but definitely worth a peek into this meme-fueled remix album.

Nick Dye

Nick Dye

Nick Dye

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