Author Topic: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.  (Read 5321 times)

dr_christian_troy

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #60 on: August 15, 2019, 04:16:26 PM »
Aside from the name and connection to not just one obvious one but also several comedy series, The Divine Comedy. Often witty and melancholy tunes with interesting stories told throughout.

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #61 on: August 15, 2019, 04:23:49 PM »
In that case we can have Cherlene Tunt, whose lyrical choices often warrant a response of, "phrasing."

QDRPHNC

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #62 on: August 15, 2019, 04:32:09 PM »
I wouldn't say Weezer are brilliant, but they're pretty good.

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #63 on: August 15, 2019, 04:44:35 PM »
I thought The Beastie Boys were a comedy group to begin with, especially the Cooky Puss EP and the second track on their Rock Hard 12", Party's Getting Rough (where they have an Alvin & The Chipmunks style argument with the producer halfway through).

Sin Agog

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #64 on: August 15, 2019, 05:04:13 PM »
It's mostly just Mott the Hoople's Morgan Fisher playing with himself, but The Hybrid Kids new wavey parodies are way more up my alley than Weird Al.  Not too dissimilar from Renaldo & The Loaf.

One of my favourite mock-psyche trax is Jefferson Handkerchief's I'm Allergic to Flowers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK8Psykvlso

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #65 on: August 15, 2019, 05:38:12 PM »
Mention of Renaldo & Loaf reminds me that we should include label mates The Residents in here, for sure.

I also nominate Beck.

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #66 on: August 15, 2019, 05:43:09 PM »
The Happy Flowers

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2019, 05:56:15 PM »
I thought The Beastie Boys were a comedy group to begin with, especially the Cooky Puss EP and the second track on their Rock Hard 12", Party's Getting Rough (where they have an Alvin & The Chipmunks style argument with the producer halfway through).

Not a shameful conclusion being as they were essentially parodying frat boys on their first album and stayed in character for it. In fact them making a song called the Bruhaha cos they thought it was a funny thing to do a song about nods to that.

Anyway, Tism 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSwrN-SeSrk

alan nagsworth

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #68 on: August 15, 2019, 07:32:54 PM »
Not a shameful conclusion being as they were essentially parodying frat boys on their first album and stayed in character for it. In fact them making a song called the Bruhaha cos they thought it was a funny thing to do a song about nods to that.

Yeah, a lot of the early stuff was based on goofy little life situations as well. "Egg Raid on Mojo" is about a seriously cool looking guy called Mojo that hung around hip venues and record stores when they were teenagers who they wanted to throw eggs at just to break his cool exterior.

Not a comedy group though.


That's why I've been mentioning bands who aren't afraid of having a sense of humour in what they do, perhaps as opposed to viewing themselves as "comedy groups".

One of the joys of going to see "serious" free improvisation artists like Derek Bailey, Han Bennink or Tristan Honsinger was to see what humorous antics they would incorporate into their performances.

This is far too broad a definition to fit in with the thread though, as you could include any sort of stage banter and say it's relevant to the discussion. I saw Zu play the other night (they were excellent, prog/noise rock fans will be pleased to hear) and the drummer would occasionally yell or whoop or shout "wait, wait!" in between some of their hallmark stop-start punchy sections, to the delight of the audience. He was also charmingly funny in between songs. But that doesn't make Zu a comedy group. There's nary a trace of humour in their recorded output. They just know how to put on a fun show. If this was a "Musicians who don't take themselves too seriously" thread it would be ten pages long by now.

Somewhat similarly, this is why I was also quick to dismiss They Might Be Giants and Ween as supposedly being "comedy groups" on the first page of the thread. Ditto someone mentioning HMHB on the previous page. It doesn't take a person with as much of a disturbing Ween obsession as I have to know they aren't a comedy group, just because they have funny lyrics. To me a comedy group would consist of a much more focused concept or pastiche, like Flight of the Conchords, Spinal Tap or Lonely Island. Ween have a great number of pastiched styles under their belt but they have their own sound and style that transcends even that, and admittedly they have some songs which have way more intentional humour than others, but they're not a comedy group, and TMBG are even less so - they're way too much a pair of smart-arsed geeks to ever allow themselves to be labelled that.

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #69 on: August 15, 2019, 09:10:01 PM »
Mc Pitman

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #70 on: August 15, 2019, 09:11:14 PM »
This is far too broad a definition to fit in with the thread though, as you could include any sort of stage banter and say it's relevant to the discussion. I saw Zu play the other night (they were excellent, prog/noise rock fans will be pleased to hear) and the drummer would occasionally yell or whoop or shout "wait, wait!" in between some of their hallmark stop-start punchy sections, to the delight of the audience. He was also charmingly funny in between songs. But that doesn't make Zu a comedy group. There's nary a trace of humour in their recorded output. They just know how to put on a fun show. If this was a "Musicians who don't take themselves too seriously" thread it would be ten pages long by now.

I think you probably missed my point about the free improv guys; they were incorporating the humour into the music; Tristan Honsinger waddling off the stage with his cello still between his legs and playing whilst making strange howling noises and disappearing from the venue through one of the exits and later reappearing via another exit. Derek Bailey making an announcement about upcoming events (read from a roll of toilet paper) mid performance (he rarely stopped playing if he spoke). Han Bennink takes a drum solo whilst Derek Bailey slowly unrolls a huge chart from the left of the stage that looks like some sort of score which Bailey would helpfully point to at certain times as if it was something to do with what Bennink had just played. Eventually the chart obscured the view of the stage and the player (and was definitely nothing to do with what was being played). Probably trying to make a point about how composition took away from the players involved (free improv is anti-composition, particularly in the hands of Bailey et al). Bennink is later playing a saw with a bow but ends up sawing up the actual stage with it. People complained that free improvisation was not music, just noise, so Peter Brotzmann made the album Machine Gun in response ("no, this is noise"). A healthy chunk of Dada at every performance.
And then there was the amazing performance (staged with about 30 guests) that Henry Cow gave at the Rainbow Theatre, which began as you entered the beautiful art deco foyer (which helped to heighten the experience) before the "start" of their set (they were supporting Faust, who staged their own kind of Dada later on). So Henry Cow had gathered a whole bunch of free improvisers and dancers and spread them around the whole venue in small groups, the costumed dancers/actors moving in very slow motion while the players responded to one another and the echoes of other groups nearby. We eventually found our way to our seats and the band kicked into their first number (opening track of their 2nd album) as it ended a huge noise erupted from behind us as the all 30 of the guests made their presence known. By the time our attention returned to the stage the band had vacated it and were wandering around the venue playing along with their guests. The stage was decorated like an old victorian drawing room and a guy did his ironing all the way through the set, oblivious to all else. Eventually all the musicians made their way back to the stage for a version of Teenbeat from the first album, whilst the oddly dressed dancers (i remember one was dressed like Sherlock Holmes, complete with pipe and deerstalker) started making strange slow motion mimes in the aisles. It was a confounding spectacle in contrast to the boring seriousness of other live bands of the time (like Pink Floyd).

It doesn't always communicate through the music, perhaps, but then there's little gems like this (which always makes me smile): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1nuLKwI2ss

Like it said on the cover of Iskra 1903's first album (another DB group); "You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose; but you can't pick your friend's nose."

alan nagsworth

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #71 on: August 15, 2019, 09:40:10 PM »
that all sounds like great fun, but my own point still stands that just because there's humour in the performance that doesn't make the act a comedy group, and that's what the thread's about, sooo... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

i mean i saw a big band play some venue or other in dorset years back and there was all sorts of quips and japes and bonzo-esque shenanigans but i still wouldn't consider that band to be a comedy band

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #72 on: August 15, 2019, 09:43:18 PM »
Try and stop me posting... come on.

alan nagsworth

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #73 on: August 15, 2019, 10:07:40 PM »
maybe i'm just desensitised. the only stuff i find funny nowadays are things like cot death and alzheimers - if there's any bands who deal solely with those two subjects maybe i can learn to laugh at the arts again

alan nagsworth

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #74 on: August 15, 2019, 10:08:33 PM »
only joking dunno what i'm on about here, pretty tired

Brundle-Fly

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #75 on: August 16, 2019, 12:28:21 AM »
Finding the definition of what constitutes a 'comedy group' slightly annoying on this thread. Having wit or a sense of humour in music doesn't make you a 'comedy artist' or a 'novelty act'. The Barron Knights, Weird Al Yankovic, Morris & The Minors fair enough but TMBG, HMHB, The Residents, Laibach, Slade? 

Naa.

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #76 on: August 16, 2019, 01:58:41 AM »
Some of their best stuff isn't even on an album, like

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoS8DrrlnTQ

I know I’d seen that before, but this is the first I’m realizing it samples Aphex’s Avril 14th.

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #77 on: August 16, 2019, 02:38:47 AM »
Shit man, I mean I'd seen Lizzo on a big stage (on the telly etc.) but this is intense. Goosebumps everywhere.

Bloody love it that she plays the flute as well. Nuts.

Mate. Was lucky enough to see the live experience in person at Primavera. Instantly rocketed into the top 5 gigs ever (I mean instantly - literally 5 seconds in I knew it was going to be incredible - and it just got better and better as it went on). She is a megastar.

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #78 on: August 16, 2019, 02:39:23 AM »

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #79 on: August 16, 2019, 08:52:41 AM »
Finding the definition of what constitutes a 'comedy group' slightly annoying on this thread. Having wit or a sense of humour in music doesn't make you a 'comedy artist' or a 'novelty act'. The Barron Knights, Weird Al Yankovic, Morris & The Minors fair enough but TMBG, HMHB, The Residents, Laibach, Slade? 

Naa.

Sorry to contribute to the annoyance with my pigeon holing of HMHB as such. I was attempting to expand the definition of ‘comedy group’ to reach them rather than shooing them into what’s commonly (and incorrectly imo) thought of as the limits of that definition. My point was that the definition of ‘comic author’ or ‘comic director’ isn’t as narrow as what’s commonly thought of as a ‘comedy music group’ and so the definition should be expanded to match other mediums. To wit, the term ‘comedy artist’ should not be synonymous with ‘novelty act’ (a term which, though you quote it, no one’s actually used in this thread) as it is often unfortunately conflated in popular regard. Comedy is not a ‘novelty’ element in literature or film or any other medium, why should it be in music?

Tbh though while there’s a bit of a point there I’m not entirely convinced by my own argument. I hope it’s at least food for thought on this topic though.

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #80 on: August 16, 2019, 09:40:04 AM »
"Proper" comedy groups are generally on the same level as when a comedy sketch show does a musical number on TV; slightly naff and my least favourite thing about the show.

Absorb the anus burn

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #81 on: August 16, 2019, 10:16:46 AM »
Half Man Half Biscuit.

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #82 on: August 16, 2019, 10:23:34 AM »
Stackridge.

NoSleep

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #83 on: August 16, 2019, 10:46:38 AM »
If you listen to Patto's albums there was not much indication of what you might expect at one of their gigs (apart from a couple of skits on Roll 'Em, Smoke 'Em, Put Another Line Out). Even the live recordings I've tracked down don't represent the set that I witnessed from them (in the early 70's) where they swung 50/50 between playing some pretty amazing jazz-rock (Ollie Halsall was an astonishing guitarist and way ahead of his time) and doing a musical comedy act, which included a version of Shakin' All Over, played at miniscule volume (featuring Ollie jumping from a chair to deliver the quietest ever "kerrang" of all time) and a special acapella version of Strangers In The Night that Mike Patto explained was "unusual" because the band were going to sing the whole song in the "time signature of 5/4" after which scholarly introduction went, "Strangers in the fucking night, exchanging fucking glances. Wondering in the fucking night, what were the fucking chances, etc".

Happy now, Alan?


Brundle-Fly

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #84 on: August 16, 2019, 11:09:33 AM »
Sorry to contribute to the annoyance with my pigeon holing of HMHB as such. I was attempting to expand the definition of ‘comedy group’ to reach them rather than shooing them into what’s commonly (and incorrectly imo) thought of as the limits of that definition. My point was that the definition of ‘comic author’ or ‘comic director’ isn’t as narrow as what’s commonly thought of as a ‘comedy music group’ and so the definition should be expanded to match other mediums. To wit, the term ‘comedy artist’ should not be synonymous with ‘novelty act’ (a term which, though you quote it, no one’s actually used in this thread) as it is often unfortunately conflated in popular regard. Comedy is not a ‘novelty’ element in literature or film or any other medium, why should it be in music?

Tbh though while there’s a bit of a point there I’m not entirely convinced by my own argument. I hope it’s at least food for thought on this topic though.

And I wasn't annoyed. Too strong a word. Overly defensive, I suppose. Now, Overly Defensive really were a zany bunch of nutters.

dr_christian_troy

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #85 on: August 16, 2019, 12:06:51 PM »
I remember this debate came up when we tried to do the Top 100 Comedy Songs on CaB Radio. It was an interesting debate then and for what it’s worth, it still is.

Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #86 on: August 16, 2019, 03:02:22 PM »
Either I've scanned the thread too quickly or no one's mentioned the Doug Anthony Allstars yet.

Norton Canes

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #87 on: August 16, 2019, 03:20:38 PM »
Or The Macc Lads.

wosl

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #88 on: August 16, 2019, 03:22:34 PM »
Laibach, Slade?  Naa.

I agree with you that Laibach don't really fit the remit.  I only brought them up as a counter to the idea that Rammstein might belong in here.  Laibach aren't a comedy group; they are - or were - conceptual/performance art satirists, I suppose you might call them, but their wry, purposeful subversions of the pomp and rhetoric of totalitarianism pack more of a punch than Rammstein's lumbering macho bombast, for sure.  Doing a cover of the entire Let It Be album (and pointedly leaving out the Let It Be track itself, in order to give a possible indication of how useful they think the 'advice' suggested by the title track/album title might be to those faced with living under repressive regimes) might not induce out-loud laughs, but it's probably about as close as conceptual art gets to 'funny'.

alan nagsworth

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Re: Comedy groups that are actually brilliant.
« Reply #89 on: August 16, 2019, 07:17:45 PM »
Continuing from my establishing Ween as not being a comedy group, Dean Ween's side project Moistboyz definitely were a comedy group. The same blunt shtick fisted into every song: dumb, macho dick rock. It's great just how many fun ballsy riffs and amusingly aggressive lyrics they managed to flog out of that gimmick as well; five albums is a pretty good run, considering if you like some of it you'll probably like all of it. I can usually stomach about two of their albums in one sitting, and I usually hate that sort of one-note crap.