Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music That Makes Me Laugh

 

Growing up without a television in the house, we got our entertainment from LPs (long playing records), and from books. Along with mostly classical, children’s, and some fold or pop with good harmony, we got my parents’ taste in comedy.

My parents met in Philadelphia as the 1950s became the 1960s. Perhaps the hottest comedy act of that time was Nicols and May, Mike Nicols and Elaine May. These two took improv comedy to a whole new level, starting with Improvisations to Music. Stan Freberg was already an established talent, and generated a send up of Lawrence Welk in 1957.

Nicols and May take us “Back to Bach:”

From there they went less musical but riotously funny:

Stan Freberg “Wun’erful Wun’erful:”

Of course, the intersection of classical music and comedy was, in those days, covered by Victor Borge:

Then came Peter Schickele and his tireless work to elevate that lesser known member of the Bach family, P.D.Q. Bach:

What music makes you laugh?

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  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    We still have a few open days this month. Stop by and sign up to write about “Music that makes me . . . .”

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #1
    • June 23, 2020, at 4:00 PM PDT
    • Like
  2. RightAngles Member

    I would’ve posted Borge and PDQ Bach as well. I saw The PDQ Bach guy at Orchestra Hall in Chicago once, where he performed “Eine Kleine Nichtmusik” haha! Hilarious 

    • #2
    • June 23, 2020, at 4:20 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. KentForrester Moderator

    I always felt sophisticated when I watched May and Nichols. They were so darned clever and smart. 

    • #3
    • June 23, 2020, at 4:20 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Clifford A. Brown: My parents met in Philadelphia as the 1950s became the 1960s.

    Clifford, this is completely off point, but my parents met in Philadelphia just a few years after yours, and I was born there in 1967. Are you a Philly native?

    • #4
    • June 23, 2020, at 4:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: My parents met in Philadelphia as the 1950s became the 1960s.

    Clifford, this is completely off point, but my parents met in Philadelphia just a few years after yours, and I was born there in 1967. Are you a Philly native?

    Sorta. Born in Abington, first memories from there (through kindergarten). Have hardly been back since.

    • #5
    • June 23, 2020, at 4:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  6. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown: My parents met in Philadelphia as the 1950s became the 1960s.

    Clifford, this is completely off point, but my parents met in Philadelphia just a few years after yours, and I was born there in 1967. Are you a Philly native?

    Sorta. Born in Abington, first memories from there (through kindergarten). Have hardly been back since.

    Cool. I was born in South Philly, though we left when I was 2, so I have no memories of living there. I do have memories of going back, on occasion. My first house was within walking distance of: (1) Pat’s cheesesteaks, and (2) the church where Rocky and Adrian got married.

    My mom grew up in Germantown, which would have been pretty close to you, I think.

    • #6
    • June 23, 2020, at 4:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Arvo Coolidge

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ney1VWrcyw

    • #7
    • June 23, 2020, at 5:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Richard O'Shea Coolidge

    Allen Sherman. 

    To Greensleeves:

    “In Sherwood forest there dwelt a knight

    Who was known as the righteous Sir Greenbaum”

    And the schticks and stones at the end of each album.

     

    • #8
    • June 23, 2020, at 5:29 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. tigerlily Member

    Here’s a few;

     

    “Wet Dream” by Kip Addotta

     

    “Shaving Cream” by Paul Wynn

    “You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd” by Roger Miller

     

     

    • #9
    • June 23, 2020, at 5:31 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Dotorimuk Coolidge

    The Bonzos:

    • #10
    • June 23, 2020, at 5:50 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. JosePluma Thatcher

    Tom Lehrer:

    Funniest line: “And everybody hates the Jews”

    The Kingston Trio:

    Funniest line: “They’re rioting in Africa.”

    And of course, Randy Newman:

    Funniest line: “College men from LSU, went in dumb, come out dumb, too.”

     

    • #11
    • June 23, 2020, at 6:38 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    Tom Lehrer:

    Funniest line: “And everybody hates the Jews”

    I think The Vatican Rag is funnier:

    Get in line in that processional

    step into that small confessional.

    There the guy who’s got religion’ll

    tell you if your sin’s original.

    If it is try playing it safer

    Drink the wine and chew the wafer

    two four six eight

    Time to transubstantiate.

     

     

    • #12
    • June 23, 2020, at 7:36 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. The Cynthonian Member

    Listen closely to the lyrics.

    Carrot Juice is Murder, by the Arrogant Worms:

     

    https://youtu.be/KmK0bZl4IL

    Carrot Juice is Murder

    • #13
    • June 23, 2020, at 8:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

     

    Primer mi carucha (Chevy ’39)

    Going to El Monte Legion Stadium

    Pick up on my weesa (she is so divine) Helps me stealing hub caps Wasted all the time

    Fuzzy Dice Bongos in the back My ship of love /Is ready to attack

    • #14
    • June 23, 2020, at 11:26 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It’s great to see Stan Freberg get some love. After his radio program ended, he made an album that was supposed to be the radio version of Pay TV: “You have to go into the record store and buy it, so welcome to the New Medium, Pay Radio!”

    I snagged a copy of “Tip of the Freberg” from Rhino Records, so I have good copies of some of Freberg’s amazing 60 second radio spots. He didn’t invent funny commercials, but he perfected them. I think my all time favorite is “Today The Pits, Tomorrow The Wrinkles” for Sunsweet Pitted Prunes.

    Freberg did a series of radio ads for Kaiser Aluminum Foil that were aimed at distributors rather than customers, to get shelf space in groceries for Kaiser foil. They were incredibly funny: “Clark Smathers, Kaiser Foil Salesman, Faces Life,” complete with cheesy soap opera organ and June Foray doing voices. According to Freberg’s autobiography, the ad agency didn’t want to run them because they insisted that advertising can’t affect distribution. All the MBA programs said so. Freberg challenged them to run his ads for six months, and if they didn’t work he would not charge them. Six months later Kaiser had tripled their shelf space in grocery stores. Freberg went back to the agency executive and said “I thought advertising couldn’t affect distribution.” He replied, “It can’t. Something must be wrong.”

     

    • #15
    • June 24, 2020, at 5:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Ontheleftcoast Member

    mild language warning:

    • #16
    • June 24, 2020, at 8:22 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  17. James Lileks Contributor

    Seconding (or thirding) the kudos for Lehrer and PDQ. The former had an amazing skill: his parodic versions of the various genres were as good, if not better compositions than the thing he parodied. Peter Schickele – a fellow former Fargoan! – was just a delight, and the Unbegun is its own cultural literacy test. The best part about hearing it performed live is the laughter as people get the jokes and puns.

    (Just listened to it again, and that modulation at 8:04 is just brutal)

    • #17
    • June 24, 2020, at 9:59 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  18. Michael Brehm Member

    Weird Al is always good for a laugh

    • #18
    • June 24, 2020, at 10:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    Yeah as a young burgeoning comedian, Dr. Demento was a healthy part of my Sundays staying up too late to tape on a cassette deck, doing my best to keep the clicking down.

    Tom Lehrer is my fave, but he’s been discussed. Love Freberg. Will post a few more songs I love. 

    My favorite genre is the one with no regard for copyright law, the sketch that uses real music as dialogue

    • #19
    • June 24, 2020, at 1:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. Cosmik Phred Member

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    Primer mi carucha (Chevy ’39)

    Going to El Monte Legion Stadium

    Pick up on my weesa (she is so divine) Helps me stealing hub caps Wasted all the time

    Fuzzy Dice Bongos in the back My ship of love /Is ready to attack

    I just adore “Uncle Meat.” There are many signature compositions there and, of course, this topical gem…

    Caress me…

    Caress me Aunt Jemima…

    • #20
    • June 24, 2020, at 1:12 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  21. Jim Beck Member

    Evening Gary,

    I have been trying to improve the ugliest part of my body, not easy work. Much easier to make the water turn black.

    • #21
    • June 24, 2020, at 2:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. JoshuaFinch Coolidge

    • #22
    • June 24, 2020, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 2 likes