Friday, May 04, 2012

Weekend Listomania: Special "The Human Comedy" Edition

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental Michelle Bachmann body double Fah Lo Suee and I are -- well, actually, we're not doing anything, so I have no joke. By way of making it up to you, please click on this link and download the "Doink! Doink!" sound effect from Law and Order for use as you see fit. Me, I'm putting it on my iPod Touch as the sound effect for incoming e-mail.

Okay, and with that out of the way, and because things will doubtless be a tad quiet around here for a couple of days, here's a fun little project to help us wile away the hours:

Funniest Post-Elvis Pop/Rock/Soul Song or Single Record!!!!

No arbitrary rules, you're welcome very much, except it has to be an actual song or record that's amusing without being an obvious novelty -- The Singing Dogs "Jingle Bells," for example -- or (I'm talking to you, Weird Al) a parody. Although I'll bend the rules if I damn well feel like it, so the hell with you guys.

No, seriously, I may bend the rules but I love each and every one of you more than food.

And my totally top of my head Top Five is/are:

5. The Who -- Boris the Spider

John Entwistle at his creepy-crawliest. Subject for future research: Smash Your Head Against the Wall.

4. The Beatles -- You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)

"Good evening, and welcome to Slaggers!" Heh. Brian Jones drops by to play the sax -- a part that, it is perhaps not unkind to note, lacks the lapidary beauty of his dulcimer work on "Lady Jane."

3. Harry Chapin -- Taxi

Anybody who can listen to the lyrics...

You see, she was gonna be an actress/ And I was gonna learn to fly/ She took off to find the footlights/ And I took off to find the sky/ Oh, I've got something inside me/ To drive a princess blind/ There's a wild man wizard/ He's hiding in me, illuminating my mind.

...not to mention "Harry, keep the change," without laughing should seek immediate medical attention.

2. Circle Jerks -- Golden Shower of Hits

Okay, okay, I know it's a novelty record, but it just cracks me up. Also, it was much beloved of an ex-girlfriend who, alas, has departed this sad vale of tears, and I'm including it in her memory.

And the Numero Uno stop-you-kill-me! ditty of all time clearly has to be...

1. Warren Zevon -- Werewolves of London

There's a live version of this one from somewhere where he changes the lyrics to "I'd like to meet James Taylor." Heh.

Alrighty, then -- what would YOUR choices be?


dave™© said...

"Gitarzan" or "Along Came Jones" from Ray Stevens.

Agree with "You Know My Name" - honest to God, that was my favorite Beatles song in '69 - the flip of (IIRC) "Let It Be" and I listened to it endlessly. I memorized John's grunting at the end perfectly!

dave™© said...

And speaking of Harry Chapin... when I worked at the Largest Record Store in the Known World, there was this understanding that when you were the main cashier, you got to pick the music that got played in the store. The day after Chapin died, this guy who was a HUGE Chapin fan ran the reg and played nearly four hours of nothing but Harry, including a double live album. By hour four, people were sharpening knives...

danny1959 said...

The whole first Devo album is hysterical and horrifying in equal measure, particularly "Jocko Homo."

steve simels said...

By hour four, people were sharpening knives...

I'll bet...

Sal Nunziato said...

"Mexican Wine" by Fountains Of Wayne is pretty damn funny. Opening line- "He was killed by a cellular phone explosion."

And if I may--

I saw Tom Chapin open for Todd Rundgren at the Northstage Theatre, soon after Harry had died. It was dinner theatre and people were clanking their silverware and chomping on swordfish during Tom's ultra-douchey set that was mostly filled with him rhapsodizing his brother. Some woman a few seats down was visibly annoyed that no one cared and shouted "Show some respect!" The guy next to me shouted back,"When this asshole joins his brother, I will."

steve simels said...

The guy next to me shouted back,"When this asshole joins his brother, I will."

Okay, just spewed coffee on my monitor.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I nominate "Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes" by Kevin Ayers.

I walked into this bar
And the man refused;
He said, "we don't serve strangers
In blue suede shoes;
We don't give credit, and
We don't give way--
We have to think about what the people might say..
Uh, you know what I mean..."
I said, "sure, man"

Oh, he gave me a smile that was sickly and wet,
And I offered him one of my cigarettes.
He took it, afraid that he might appear rude,
Then proceeded to sell me some second class food.
Nice guy - meet 'em everywhere.. .

He said, "my oh my, I have suffered too long,
And this cigarette seems to be very strong;
I don't make the rules
I just get what I take
And I guess every rule was made to break.
You can take what you like, it won't hurt me
Cause I'm just working for the company."

From the green cigarette, he took a long drag,
And said, "i think I'll pick my travelling bag.

I'm tired of cheating, and wasting my head
And filling the boss's bags with bread.
I want to get out in the sun and rain,
And feel the wind on on skin again;
The world is large, and I've got time yet.
And, by the way, thanks for that cigarette..
Thank you very much."

"you know, I feel like a new man
Yes I do, I don't know why;
I'd just like to say
Thank you very much(indeed)
It's a beautiful day
I think I'll be on my way (right away)
I'd just like to say
Thank you very much.
Yes, I'm getting the hell out of here
Yes, I am - bye, bye.
That's the end of the message
Thank you very much.
Bye bye..."

Blue Ash Fan said...

The man who wrote the definitive review of Tonio K's Life in the Foodchain includes nothing from that album? Not even "H-A-T-R-E-D?" A senior moment, perhaps?

steve simels said...

Actually, these days I'm listening to the "La Bomba" EP.

"Mars Needs Women" may be the funniest thing Tonio ever wrote....

Blue Ash Fan said...

I never owned "La Bomba," oddly enough.

Feral said...

I still get a grin from The Kinks' "Apeman" every time I hear it.

For a total hoot, give a listen to The Austin Lounge Lizards covering "Brain Damage". It's all the better because it works!

And I still have a 45 of "Let it Be" with "You Know My Name" on the flip side.

Feral said...

D'oh, forgot the link to ALL.

edward said...

Pretty much anything by the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, though Intro to the Outro is a particular fave with "And Adolph Hitler on vibes..."

T-Bone Burnett's take on Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend is funny and creepy at the same time.

Not in a funny mood, must think more

Gummo said...

There's one and ONLY ONE way to listen to that execrable "Taxi" --

And for a variation on this theme sometime, how about songs that were supposed to be funny but aren't? In that category I nominate the just-sad "Intergalactic Laxative" by Donovan....

Anonymous said...

Hello all...please, remain seated.

Oooo...good one. I present for your pleasure, the song Wiggles & Ritalin by Reckless Kelly:
song on youtube:

Lets put on the Wiggles & pop a couple Ritalin
Don't blame mama or tell her how lazy shes been
Its been prescribed by a doctor and the doctor said it aint no sin
So lets put on the Wiggles & pop a couple Ritalin

Lets put on MacGyver & chow a couple Xanax bars
I dont need no college counselor to tell me how lucky I are
I lay the blame on a clinical name and its got me this far
Yeah, Lets put on MacGyver & chow a couple Xanax bars

If only Dad would have spanked me instead
Of dopin me up and messing with my head
I might have turned out to be a regular guy
But its all that I know and I gotta get high

So lets put on some Soul Train and snort a little cocaine
Ill chop some lines maybe one at a time till were feeling no pain
Ill bite my tongue till its numb and I'll talk till I drive you insane
Yeah, lets put on some Soul Train and snort a little cocaine

So lets put on some Scooby Doo & smoke a couple doobie doos
Ive been high since I was just a little guy in my Underoos
I sit around on my ass smokin grass and watchin classic cartoons
Yeah, lets put on some Scooby Doo & smoke a couple doobie doos
Yeah, Lets put on some Scooby Doo & smoke a couple doobie doos

Don't care how juvenile it makes me laugh.


buzzbabyjesus said...

"Success" by Iggy from "Lust For Life". Actually a lot of his songs are funny.

The Kenosha Kid said...

Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps

billy b said...

I always got a kick out of Dr. Demento. One of the funniest tunes the Doc used to play was Freddie Blassie's "Pencil Neck Geek". Freddie was billed as "The Fashion Plate of Professional Wrestling".

steves said...

Holy crap! One mention of "Apeman," but none for "Lola"??? I'd bet Ray peed his knickers as he was writing that one.

Anything by Allen Sherman, though again, that might fall under the novelty heading.

One that probably doesn't, and never fails to crack me up, is Dan Bern's "Talkin' Woody, Bob, Bruce & Dan Blues." Unfortunately, I can't locate a video clip for it. But here's a passage I especially like:

Then Patty his wife came in
I said, "Jeez, I'm sorry about your husband's incurable disease.
I'm here to help any way I can
You know, Woody and Bob, Bruce and Dan."
She said, "Honey, what am I hearing?"
He said, "Baby, you know I'm in the prime of life."
I said, "Down to two million in sales last time out.
Read the signs, Patty!"

Shriner said...

"Take the Skinheads Bowling" always brings a smile to my face.

As does "Punk Rock Girl" by the Dead Milkmen.

Can't also forget "Institutionalized" by Suicidal Tendencies (where I first heard on the Repo Man soundtrack...)

"DOA" by Bloodrock is unintentionally (?) hilarious, too.

TMink said...

Damn Shriner, stole my songs right out from under me! And to add to Dave's comment, I think Ray Stevens is the best at writing funny songs that are actually funny.

H-A-T-R-E-D is a jewel obviously.

Much of Devo is funny.

Some of Zappa is funny, not ths stuff that is supposed to be funny, but some of that is, but the more subtle things like The Dangerous Kitchen are great to me.

Ben by Michael Jackson always makes me laugh, as does Mickie.

Take it like a man indeed.


And God speen and blessings to MCA's family. He was part of some important stuff, and died too young. The Beasties did some funny stuff, but my heart is not in thinking about them that way for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

"I'm in love with Your Mom" by VOM
"How Are you Getting Home?" Sparks
"White Punks On Dope" Tubes
"Music box Dancer" Frank Mills
"What's New Pussycat?" Tom Jones

These are the funniest songs ever made off the top of my head.

steve simels said...

"One Man Army" by the Guess Who.

Just saying.

Dan said...

I second "Take the Skinheads Bowling" and nominate, "Steven's Last Night in Town" by Ben Folds 5, and "Endicott" by Kid Creole and the Coconuts, both rather dry, character-based humor.

Not to mention some other Ben Folds songs: "The Battle of Who Could Care Less," and "Rockin' the Suburbs."

Brooklyn Girl said...

Anything by The Coasters: "Charlie Brown", "Poison Ivy", "Yakkety-Yak"

"Love Potion #9" (doesn't matter which version)

The Fab Four: "Rocky Raccoon" and "Why Don't We Do It In The Road"

Kinks: "Dedicated Follower of Fashion"

And the master himself: Bob Dylan's "115th Dream"

cthulhu said...

Steve, are you listening to "La Bamba" via vinyl or digital? If digital, where did you get it? AFAIK, LB was never released on CD or other digital media (except for the demos as part of "Rodent Weekend" on the Gadfly label). Also love the cover of Cream's "Politician" on LB.

Yes, "Werewolves" is great (the version from the "Stand in the Fire" live disc has several great lyric ad libs), but I sometimes think that "Detox Mansion" is just as funny, and with a riveting slide lead from David Lindley.

I know that the Rutles were a joke, but it was so well done that they should get an exemption...

Jerry Lee said...

"Wrong Haircut" The Ben Vaughn Combo
"In France" Frank Zappa
"I Told Her Lies" Robbie Fulks
"We're A Happy Family" Ramones

steve simels said...


I got a very good vinyl rip download of LA BOMBA somewhere online last year. If you want it, e-mail me and I'll send you all five songs as attachments.

GLLinMO said...

Some good ones above. I would add pretty much all of Nick Lowe's Pure Pop for Now People / Jesus of Cool. Pretty much all tounge in cheek.

Funny - no mention of Spinal Tap.

Jerry Lee said...

"A Pop Song" Wreckless Eric
"Ugly And Slouchy" The Morells
"Dry Up And Blow Away" NRBQ

Anonymous said...

YES to Nick Lowe, songs on labour of Lust like Switchboard Susan and Dose of You.

senormedia said...

Anonymous Blue Ash Fan beat me to it.

That SS-SR review helped make me a lifelong Tonio K fan.

Alex said...

I'd choose the Weakerthans' "One Great City" (aka "I Hate Winnepeg")... or the Hoodoo Gurus' "Dig It Up," probably the best serious rock song ever about necrophilia.

Anonymous said...

There's a hefty amount of chuckles in most of the They Might Be Giants catalog. I always liked "Rhythm Section Want Ad" and "Kiss Me Son of God."

I second Zevon's "Detox Mansion" and Ben Folds Five - "Army" springs to mind. And FoW have a lot of humor to balance the pathos

Also, King Missle had some funny gems, like "The Commercial" for example.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah - just remembered Bare Naked Ladies, who although I don't have a huge affinity for them, "If I Had $1000000" is pretty damned funny.

John Fowler said...

First one that came to my mind was "Punk Rock Girl" - thanks Shriner!
"And someone played a Beach Boys song on the jukebox
And it was 'California Dreamin'
So we started screaming'
On such a winter's day!"

Amy Rigby can be quite funny & biting, treading into territory that's more usually seen in country music - e.g., "Balls", "Cynically Yours", and "20 Questions":
"Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you still love me? Did you =ever= love me?
Do you still find me attractive?
What time do you have to get up in the morning?
Oh, and by the way, when are you gonna get a real job?"

Can't believe no-one has yet mentioned Randy Newman, who has a career of humor - some of my favorites are "Short People", "Harps and Angels", "It's Money That I Love" and, of course, "Political Science" -
"They don't respect us
so let's surprise them,
let's drop the big one,
and pulverize them!"

Pete Townshend's "Misunderstood" off of Rough Mix is perhaps a more sly humor than the others here, but it's one of my favorites off of an incredible album:
"I want to be obscure and oblique
Inscrutable and vague
So hard to pin down"

The last line of Tom Wait's "Frank's Wild Years" usually gets a chuckle out of me -
"Never could stand that dog"

Finally, a bit of too-close-to-life humor, Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science" -
"I don't believe it!
There she goes again!
She's tidied up, and I can't find anything!"

Dave said...

I'm a little surprised there's been no mention of The Ramones, so I'll mention them. But I think their humor descendants are The Queers. Probably the funniest of their songs to me is the immortal "I Only Drink Bud" ( And how many punk songs have Yiddish in them?

The Queers were quite obsessed with Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, and did a wonderful cover of "Don't Back Down: ( but didn't know about their song, "Brian Wilson," while an earnest tribute in some ways, is as weird and funny as Brian Wilson's "Johnny Carson." (

"Brian Wilson, it's a good thing we got you around
...Cause you've got your feet on the ground."

Sweet and hilarious at the same time.

MJConroy said...

Almost the entire album - "Sold for the Prevention of Disease Only" by Wilerness Road. (Read about it here:

steve simels said...


That Wilderness Road album is indeed a gem...I think I posted the their blues parody a while ago.

"I've got just the thing
To re-arrange your mind
Some asshole on a sitar
Playing 'My Darling Clementine" ".....

jackd said...

I don't think Guadalcanal Diary intended any of these as novelty tunes, but what they did intend isn't real clear:
Watusi Rodeo, I See Moe, Cattle Prod.

Then there's the conundrum that is Jonathan Richman.

cthulhu said...

One last Zevon song - "My Shit's Fucked Up" from Life'll Kill Ya. The theme song of getting older.

Dan said...

It takes a while to remember the funny songs... but speaking of Nick Lowe, don't forget "All Men are Liars," with the Rick Astley line that everyone loves.

Also -- Amanda Palmer's "Oasis."

John Fowler said...

Yay to jackd with Guadalcanal Diary, and Jonathan Richman!

DB said...

Man, is this post late to the party or what? Been away from everything for a while and I'm catching up on this beloved blog.

You wanna laugh? Ben Folds' "The Bitch Went Nuts" is hilarious.

As for Harry Chapin, his ode to the dreary city of Watertown, NY -- "A Better Place to Be" -- is so freaking sad it's funny. Not what he intended, but that was his entire career.

nosmo king said...

I'll sew this one up, like I usually do (at leasat I'm in the right month!).

Harry Chapin is horrible, no doubt, but occasionally he had a glimpse of the truth. His "Six-string Orchestra" actually seems a little bit self aware, and is actually kinda funny.

From the ridiculous to the sublime, everybody get yerself a copy of the LP version of "History of the Bonzos" and listen to side 2. One tasty slab of mind melting greatness after another-- "Canyons of your Mind", Jollity Farm" "You done my Brain IN", "My Pink Half of the Drainpipe" (their best ever IMO), "Mr. Apollo" (Wrestle poodles and Win!). The rest is pretty great too, one of the rare cases of a compilation easily besting the originals.