Music has always been a part of comedy. From the old traveling vaudeville shows, to era of the novelty song, the parody song, through to todays more modern take on musical comedy. These five musical comedy acts are the latest wave of a tradition that has included the Smothers Brothers, Weird Al Yankovic,Lonely Island and so many others.
With their guitar and ukele playing, performers Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci are popular talk show and podcast guests, have four albums, did a digital series for HBO, and will star in their own series in 2014 for IFC. Taking their name from Art Garfunkel and John Oates, they are considered a comedy-folk group…in the tradition of the Smothers Brothers. Most of their songs address big issues such as their general dislike for smug pregnant women, douchebags at parties, and their support of gay marriage, the last of which spawned the viral hit Sex With Ducks. When they aren’t acting in movies and TV, and Micucci isn’t appearing in her one woman show Playing with Micucci, they pop-up at comedy festivals and clubs around the country.
Remember that girl who sang about wanting to have sex with Ray Bradbury? The Robot Chicken writer is still best known as a comic for her music videos, usually done in an over-produced pop style. With a strong voice, excellent production values, and her humor blending awkward adolescence and crazy-chick horniness, her song titles are as varied as You Can Touch My Boobies, I Steal Pets, I Put Pictures of Your Dick on the Internet, and Jazz Fever…about syphilis. She’s released two albums, including an all Chanukah Holiday album, is producing a series for Showtime, and was named one of the female comics to watch for by Cosmo and Time Out in 2014.
As comic Scott Aukerman’s sidekick/one man band on the surrealist talk show Comedy Bang Bang, Watts is as good a musician as he is a comic. His compositions and beat-boxing has been used by many music groups, and before becoming a comic himself, several comic sketch groups turned to Watts for ways of infusing music. As a solo comic/musician he found popularity as a frequent guest on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and was Conan’s opening act when he went on tour after the Tonight Show. He improvised the world’s greatest song about pancakes when he was a guest on Ron Bennington’s Unmasked. He is best known for his stream of consciousness improv, his beat-box and jazz influences, and theatrical showmanship.
Known in the 90s for the MTV series Austin Stories, Kremer is a writer, podcast host and stand-up who lives by the mantra “Have a Summah” which was successful enough to base a tour and festival around. But when performing under his stage name Dragon Boy Suede, he produces comic raps about his less than “street” life. Topics included his obsession with summer vacation, his love of chai soy lattes, his tendency to sleep in, and the high price of plane tickets during the holidays.
Was it that surprising when Trey Parker and Matt Stone became the darlings of Broadway in 2011 for The Book of Morman? They’d been including music in South Park since the show started, and Stephen Sondheim called the South Park movie the best screen musical in over a decade. With all these projects they continue their goal of winning every award possible. Their project have already earned them a Grammy, 5 Emmys, 9 Tonys and an Oscar nomination. Still running strong with South Park, almost every episode uses at least one musical number, whether composed originals, parodies, or covers-often performed by Eric Cartman, who always gives an original rendition.