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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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

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

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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