Last week, Billboard announced that “Weird Al” Yankovic earned his first number one album with his latest release Mandatory Fun selling a little under 104,000 copies in its debut week. This marks the first time that a comedy album has landed in the top spot since 1963.
Though a number one album is a rare feat for a comedic musician, several acts have been entertaining legions of fans by combining the best elements of music and comedy for years. In honor of Yankovic's chart-topping release, here is a look at five great comedic bands and solo artists.
Flight of the Concords, “New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,” won the hearts of fans all over the world with their eponymous HBO show and live appearances at the South by Southwest Music Festival and the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Songs like “Hurt Feelings,” “The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)” and “Robot” highlight Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement's quirky sense of humor and stellar songwriting ability. The duo won a Grammy for their 2007 EP The Distant Future and McKenzie won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Man or Muppet" from the 2011 film “The Muppets.”
4. Tenacious D
The comedy rock duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass known as Tenacious D simultaneously celebrate the metal genre while poking fun at its over the top theatrics. With hilarious songs like “Tribute” and “The Metal,” Tenacious D have gained fans amongst rock royalty, earning them spots opening up for Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters.
The Lonely Island are best known for their parody music videos that appeared on “Saturday Night Live” when Andy Samberg was a cast member and Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer were writers from 2005-2011. After their first song “Lazy Sunday” went viral in 2005, Lonley Island went on to win a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics in 2007 for “D*** in a Box,” their hilarious collaboration with Justin Timberlake.
2. Weird Al
“Weird Al” Yankovic is the king of music parody. From classic tracks like “Like a Surgeon” (based on “Like a Virgin” by Madonna”) and “Eat It” (based on Michael Jackson's “Beat It), to modern hits like “Foil” (based on Lorde's “Royals”) and “Word Crimes” (based on Robin Thicke's “Blurred Lines”), Yankovic uses his humor and musical talent to transcend genre with good old fashioned fun.
1. Spinal Tap
For a parody band, it does not get any better than Spinal Tap. Songs like “Stonehenge,” “Hell Hole” and “Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight” are not only hilarious, but they are irresistibly catchy thanks to the talented members of the band: Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel), Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins) and Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls). Spinal Tap reached levels of success that most bands only dream of, having played “Saturday Night Live” and being immortalized in “The Simpsons,” for which Shearer is a voice actor. Spinal Tap have also performed at the Glastonbury Music Festival and “Live Earth.” Not too bad for a group of guys who started as a skiffle group.
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