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Comedy loves Music loves Comedy

Welcome to WEEK 190 of 4T! (Video Episode #16) Early Eighties Comedy Albums (1982-83)

Musicians & comedians have been in love with each other since forever. Talk to any musician or comedian and it’s likely they’ll tell you how much they revere the other profession. I mean, look at how Stephen Colbert & Jimmy Fallon salivate over music of all kinds, and even do some themselves. Yes, you could say artists tend to do and love more than one thing – Kevin Bacon & Jared Leto both have working bands. Tony Bennett & Jim Carrey are painters. J. Lo acts and dances and sings. Etc. Etc. But the love affair between musicians & comedians goes well beyond that. Timing. Delivery. Tone. Pacing. Sets. Breaking up your art into digestible portions that are still somehow cohesive. All of this and more flows back and forth between music and comedy, I’d argue more so than any other two disciplines.

I can’t even count the times comedians have crossed over into music (Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Sarah Silverman). Musicians crossing into comedy has not been as prevalent, but it’s happened. Two BIG ones are: Ricky Gervais, who may be known for his comedy now, but started out as a serious musician & even had a new wave hit back in the ‘80s; and the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, who any self-respecting Philly-ite knows was first and foremost a rapper. True music/comedy hybrids – i.e. music intended to be funny – are all over the place (Alan Sherman, Spike Jones, Mel Brooks, Beastie Boys, Flight of the Conchords, Elaine May, Judy Tenuta, Bridget Everett – even the Beatles). Then there are those who do both equally well, with little to no intended crossover (like Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino).

I’m old enough to vaguely remember the first season of SNL, a show that has always featured/debuted/respected comedy, music and so many hybrids of the two (like the Blues Brothers). I’ve ALWAYS been as much a fan of comedy as I have been of music. I grew up watching my dad perform countless songs, and he always had moments of straight-up comedy every single night. When I perform, no matter how serious some of my songs are, I am always looking for a laugh. This week’s three albums – Eddie Murphy’s first two (and really his whole early career) and Bob & Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, and really ANYTHING to do with SCTV, still my second favorite sketch show behind Mr. Show) – are albums I bought with my own allowance, money that could have gone to music. That’s how much they meant to me. And don’t forget, both Eddie Murphy and the McKenzie Brothers had big hit singles – “Party All the Time” and “Take Off” (with Rush’s Geddy Lee) respectively. So there you go.

At some point in the near future, I’m going to tick stand-up comedy off my bucket list. Until then, here are two perfect examples of how comedy has infiltrated my music:

What other music-comedy crossover peeps do you know? What/who are your favorite sketch shows or stand-up comics? What bands/singers might people not know also did funny stuff? Discuss dammit!

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