10 Comedy Musicians You Need to Know


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Music has charms that soothe the savage beast, but comedy does the exact opposite. When you combine the two, you get something truly amazing. Laughs and melodies are very congenial bedfellows (as you’ll see when College Humor’s Comedy Music Hall of Fame airs June 19th at 10P on IFC). We all love Weird Al, The Lonely Island, Tenacious D and other superstars of the comedy music world. But what about the up-and-coming funny people who perfectly combine music and laughs in their act? Here are 10 rising stars who represent the next generation of comedy music superstars.

10. CDZA

This collective of over 150 highly trained New York City musicians have become YouTube superstars thanks to their clever breakdowns of nostalgic favorites like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song.

9. The Gregory Brothers

Unlike a number of performers on this list who were comedians first and musicians second, the Gregory Brothers started out as a full-on band before finding unlikely viral success with an auto-tuned remix of a ludicrous news report. They were even nominated for a Grammy for their take on Charlie Sheen’s “Winning” catchphrase.) Recently they created the catchy theme song for Tina Fey’s Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

8. Tim Minchin

Australian comedian Tim Minchin brings a theatre background to his unique form of cabaret, which features glam-influenced tunes with wickedly funny lyrics. His off-beat takes on religion and its adherents have made him a figure of some controversy. Cool fact: Minchin’s latest work is designed to be performed with a full orchestra.

7. Patrick Noth

Hip-hop and stand-up comedy have a lot of parallels –- some of the earliest rapping came from black comedians like Rudy Ray Moore, who added a rhythmic element to his delivery. New York comedian Patrick Noth might be white, but the UCB veteran busts some pretty great rhymes as part of his set.

6. Allie Goertz

Satirical songwriter Allie Goertz uses YouTube as a platform to deliver charming takes on pop culture stalwarts like Breaking Bad and The Jerk. She crowd-sourced a very successful album and currently works on @Midnight.

5. Trevor Moore

One of the founding members of New York City’s Whitest Kids U Know comedy group, Trevor Moore’s parents were Christian folk-rockers who had a minor chart hit in the ’80s. He combined his musical upbringing with comedy to create some incredible material. His album Drunk Texts to Myself touches on a flabbergasting variety of musical styles.

4. Bo Burnham

One of the youngest comedians on the scene, Bo Burnham rode a wave of YouTube popularity to a massive career before he was old enough to drink. He started coming up with comedic songs in between play rehearsals in 2006, uploaded a few and things exploded from there. He’s had his own MTV show and released four albums.

3. Rachel Bloom

Actress and writer Rachel Bloom just landed her own musical comedy series, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, on The CW, so expect to see a lot more of her in the future. She’s already landed a Hugo award nomination for a YouTube video about wanting to have sex with sci-fi legend Ray Bradbury, which seems like a joke but is actually very, very serious.

2. Jon Lajoie

YouTube has been a godsend for comedy musicians, as the short video platform is probably the best way to consume their material. Jon Lajoie started blending tunes and laughs in 2006 and quickly became a viral sensation, leveraging it to a recurring role on The League and several albums.

1. Reggie Watts

One of the coolest things about combining humor and music is how it lets performers experiment with new comedy concepts. Reggie Watts is a true original in that regard, creating beat-based sound collages with his expressive voice that make you laugh and think in equal measure. He just exited his role as bandleader on Comedy Bang! Bang!, and we still haven’t gotten over it.

Watch the trailer for College Humor’s Comedy Music Hall of Fame below.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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