5. I Told You I Was Freaky – Flight of the Conchords
The short lived, New Zealand-based duo of Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement is best known for their unique, often awkward and always hilarious television show on HBO, but they also have two critically acclaimed albums to their name. While their self-titled debut is iconic, the the sing-ability and irony of their 2009 sophomore release which slightly edges it to the top.
Tracks like “Sugalumps,” and “I Told You I was Freaky,” ironically play on the tropes of sexualized music of the time, while “You Don’t Have to be a Prostitute,” and “Too Many Dicks,” round out the excellent track list. “We’re Both In Love With a Sexy Lady,” is probably my favorite moment on the record, brilliantly blending absurdist dry humor in a way that only Flight of the Conchords can.
4. I’m Black, You’re White & These Are Clearly Parodies – Rucka Rucka Ali
Certainly the most offensive entry on this list by a mile, Rucka Rucka Ali made his name in the mid to late 2000’s with vulgar, raunchy parodies of popular music which he posted to his very successful YouTube channel. While his work today tends to be a bit over the top, and hasn’t adapted well to popular music’s shift toward trap and rap influences, this 2010 release, his most successful album to date, is simply fantastic.
Tracks like “Emo (Like a Nazi)” and “Don’t Be a Playa Haiti” stand out to this day as highlights, as do “Go Cops!” “I Love Minorities,” and “Ima Korean.” Ever parody is at once hilarious and jaw-droppingly juvenile and offensive. Nearly three decades after the debut of Weird Al Yankovic, its fascinating to see his style and genre reinvented in such a popular way. It’s certainly worth a listen, but not meant for the easily offended.
3. Words, Words, Words – Bo Burnham
Bo Burnham revolutionized modern comedy with back to back specials “What.” and “Make Happy,” in 2013 and 2016 with a hectic combination of musical comedy and pure standup. Before this, he’d built a massive audience as a Youtube personality in the sites earliest days. But after his online success and before reaching the status of revolutionary, he released the live recording of Words, Words, Words.
Burnham’s manic energy is very much still present on this record, but channeled into the clever word play on “Oh, Bo,” or the quick witted title track. Even relatively juvenile songs like “Men & Women,” and “Ironic,” are dripping with his unique brand of postmodern absurdism. Contrasting this, Bo writes quite introspectively on “Art is Dead,” and the spoken tracks like his Shakespearean porn, and “One Man Shows,” are heartfelt and hilarious.
2. Even Worse – Weird Al Yankovic
Choosing just one album from the godfather of comedy music was, to say the least, difficult. His self-titled debut is historic, 2006’s Straight Outta Lynwood showed tremendous longevity, and the back to back releases In 3-D and Dare to Be Stupid in ’84 and ’85 jockeyed heavily for the top spot but, after much deliberation, I settled on 1988’s Even Worse. Here, even more so than the rest of his career, Yankovic is simply in rare form, dancing through elements of absurdist, geek, and ironic humor.
The opener, “Fat,” is a highlight of Al’s career, while “Lasagna,” and “Alimony,” are impressive tracks on their own. “Melanie,” is easily his most impressive original track, and “I Think I’m a Clone Now,” is an instant classic. This album, from front to back, is nothing but a celebration of what musical comedy can be, and the inherent absurdity which comes along with it. The amount of hard work and dedication which goes into making something so goofy really captures the essence of what makes this genre so endearing.
1. Tenacious D – Tenacious D
Today, Tenacious D is generally known a goofy side project for the likes of Jack Black and Dave Grohl, as well as a main project for Kyle Gass. But three albums, one movie, and about a decade ago, the duo burst onto the musical comedy scene with a record that was witty, creative, and raunchy as all hell.
Tracks like “Wonderboy,” and “F*** Her Gently,” as well as short riff tracks like “Inward Singing,” and “Drive-Thru” played directly into the brand of vulgar stoner humor which formed the groups wheelhouse. The nine minute epic, “City Hall/I Believe/Malibu Nights Medley,” is an incredible closer, and, of course, this album can’t be discussed without mentioning the greatest and best song in the world, “Tribute,” which is easily one of the funniest tracks ever written.
HEAR FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2lRyvAihjwylPfhGqydQbC
HEAR RUCKA RUCKA ALI: https://open.spotify.com/artist/77avA3qzF6itxvXlb2mmNy
HEAR BO BURNHAM: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2Waw2sSbqvAwK8NwACNjVo
HEAR “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1bDWGdIC2hardyt55nlQgG
HEAR TENACIOUS D: https://open.spotify.com/artist/1XpDYCrUJnvCo9Ez6yeMWh