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Walk Hard John C Reilly

Spoof Hard

10 Parody Songs That Totally Nailed It

Catch Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story this month on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

As long as there’s been music, someone has been making fun of it. German composer Jakob Paix wrote a “parody mass” all the way back in 1587, and if I know anything about 16th century church music, it must have been hilarious. Still, it wasn’t until the last few decades that song spoofs became as much a part of our culture as the hits that spawn them. Whether you’re making fun of a radio hit that you can’t stop humming, or a whole genre of music that leaves you scratching your head, these joke songs give us a way to laugh at the music industry’s self-importance, while still loving them for it. Before you catch Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story this month on IFC, check out some funny songs that totally nailed the whole spoof thing.

10. “L.A. Deli,” Kroll Show

Comedian Nick Kroll is an expert at parodying the clusterf*ck we call pop culture these days, where no two-bit celebrity will ever be forgotten as long as they have their own reality show. That’s how we meet hair metal superstar Nash Rickey, fronting a show about his quest to get the old band back together. And what song propelled him to these middling heights of fading fame in the first place? None other than “L.A. Deli,” a pitch perfect spoof of the David Lee Roth era of music videos. Seedy ’80s L.A. nightlife? Check. Slice-of-life footage that shows some “boys will be boys” goofiness? Check. A perfectly coiffed lead singer sexualizing everything from matzo ball soup to pickles? Checkmate. This song is both funny and could easily have been a hit in 1987.


9.”A Mighty Wind is Blowin’,” A Mighty Wind

Christopher Guest is a master at lovingly sending up different genres of music, and A Mighty Wind shows his appreciation for the mellow eccentrics in the folk music scene. There are a number of great songs in the film, from “Never Did No Wanderin‘” to “A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow,” but none straddle the chasm between parody and legit hit better than the title track, which has the complex harmonies and sprawling geographical lyrics of the best folk music from the 1960s. The movie’s soundtrack scored a Grammy back in 2004, further blurring the line between spoof and the genuine article.


8. “Straight Outta Locash,” CB4

Chris Rock got to play rap star in the 1993 cult hit CB4, sending up the gangster rap that had taken over the genre at the time. Rock played “MC Gusto,” a regular guy who takes on the hard persona of a felon to get ahead in the industry. That is never more evident than in “Straight Outta Locash,” a NSFW play on “Straight Out of Compton” where the “Cell Block 4” gang sings about their hard life on the streets from the safety of a soundstage.


7. “Catalina Breeze,” The Blue Jean Committee

Fred Armisen is a master of the musical homage, having created fake bands ranging from punk legends Ian Rubbish and the Bizzarros to the monsters of soft rock in the Blue Jean Committee. First introduced back on SNL, the band’s rise and fall was chronicled on the IFC series Documentary Now!. Fred and fellow BJC member Bill Hader actually released a music video for the song “Catalina Breeze” and a EP of tunes on the Drag City label. Put back a watered down wine cooler, light a schwaggy doobie, and give this one a super mellow listen.


6. “I’m on a Boat,” The Lonely Island

Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer have made a career out of creating hilarious songs and music videos that poke fun at hip hop tropes. One of their earliest SNL successes was this tribute to rappers and their obsession with hanging out on boats.


5. “Walk Hard,” Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

The music biopic, taking our Top 40 heroes through the rocky road of fame, is a movie staple these days. Walk Hard, coming hot on the heals of the one-two punch of Ray and Walk The Line, was a perfect spoof of the genre at a perfect time. John C. Reilly’s rendition of the title track nailed all the formulaic nonsense these movies celebrate, and it’s a catchy number to boot.


4. “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” 30 Rock

Tracy Morgan got a lifelong anthem with this little ditty, poking fun at the “Monster Mash”-style novelty songs that became hits in the early ’60s. Here, Morgan gets to sing about boys becoming men, and men becoming wolves. Really, this song serves as an important reminder that wolfing out is all the more complicated when you also have Torah studies to get to. As the song progresses, it starts to fold in on itself, fully aware of its own absurdity. No matter how much the producer calls wrap, the lyrics just keep coming, refusing to end. It doesn’t matter if the song’s premise can sustain itself, Tracy Jordan has more singing to do.


3. “Abracadabralifornia,” The Pepper Men 

Back in 2014, a new Red Hot Chili Peppers track started blowing up the Internet. Reactions were mixed, but no one doubted that this was the work of the funky, punky California rock band. Well, no one but fans of the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, because the song was actually the work of RHCP superfans Zach Galifianakis and Jon Daly, and their tribute band The Pepper Men. First released on the podcast, the spot-on Peppers parody seeped out into the larger world thanks to the ironic tweeting of some influential comedy friends. The brilliance of writing a song that makes fun of a band’s style, while also passing for it, lands this spoof high on the list.


2.  “Tacky,” Weird Al

And then we come to the master. No one has done more with the song parody form than musical genius and Comedy Bang! Bang!’s new band leader Weird Al. He is the king. There are any number of his hit songs to choose from, but the one we still can’t get out of our heads is “Tacky,” his spin on the 2014 Pharrell Williams hit “Happy.” Be sure to check out the new season of IFC’s Comedy Bang! Bang!, to see what else Al has in store for us.


1. “Big Bottoms,” This Is Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap changed the game when it came to music parody. With their loving look at the absurdities of metal, stars and cowriters Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean found the perfect balance between spoofing overblown rock egos while also penning legit hits. Perhaps their most famous single, “Big Bottoms,” covered the beauty of the female posterior years before Sir-Mix-A-Lot was even knighted. Bands will forever be indebted to this movie for teaching them how to turn it up to eleven.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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