The Flaming Lips are known for a lot of things. Operatic rock. Epic live shows. And, of course, psychedelic imagery that includes robots and karate masters. What they aren’t often thought of is straight up funny. And yet, as we prepare for their appearance on the sixth season premiere of Portlandia tonight at 10P, we’re reminded that Wayne Coyne and his band of rock misfits have never been afraid to crack wise. “Do You Realize” just how funny these dudes can be?
10. “Wayne Coyne Wears a Halloween Costume,” Comedy Bang! Bang!
Scott Aukerman may have been dressed up as his favorite Wayne for the occasion, but it was Wayne Coyne’s world on this classic Halloween episode of Comedy Bang! Bang!. The Flaming Lips frontman dryly delivered absurd lines, like his favorite scary movie being The Lord of the Rings, all while playing it super cas’ in a blood drenched Carrie costume. In a series full of game rock star cameos, this was by far one of the best.
9. “A Fairy Tale Song,” Yo Gabba Gabba!
When we were kids, children’s programming was there to sell us toys, as God intended. Now, shows like Yo Gabba Gabba! are so hip, they feel like they’re made in some cool bar underneath Brooklyn that you’re too lame to be invited to. And so, of course, The Flaming Lips found their way onto the popular kid’s show, and turned their indie rock hit “I Can Be A Frog” into a ridiculous costume party full of breakdancing monkeys and oversized keytars. If ever there was a video that recreates the experience of seeing The Lips live, it’s this one.
8. Wayne In The Bubble
The Flaming Lips are famous for putting on a one-of-a-kind show. They encourage their audience to dress up like giant stuffed animals. They have inflatable characters do battle on stage. They create an environment where the psychedelic can meet the absurd. But in the end, it all comes down to this: Wayne Coyne trying not to fall over as he crowd surfs in a giant, inflatable bubble.
7. Vine’ing Like the Kids Do
How does a band stay relevant? Well, if this video is any indication, it’s just to do as the kids do. Wayne Coyne took his first cautious steps towards being a Vine star with this short video shot at Funny or Die, in which some overeager interns try to impress the Lips frontman with their take on the band’s popular song “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.”
6. Wayne Coyne and Miley Cyrus: BFFs
There’s another way to stay young forever, and that’s to have a unique friendship with a pop ingénue. A happy birthday tweet from the former Hannah Montana to Coyne got fans scratching their heads back in 2014. Was this a joke, or could the fifty-something Coyne really be friends with the former-Disney star-turned-pop-performance-artist? The two have since become paparazzi targets, collaborators and full on BFFs. While this friendship may not be intentionally funny, the out there visuals the pair have produced have offered more than a few laughs.
5. Wayne Stops By The Gorburger Show
The Gorburger Show‘s premise is simple: A giant monster has taken over a Japanese television station so that he can interview his rock star heroes. Pretty standard stuff. T.J. Miller voices the corpulent creature, who has interviewed everyone from Tegan and Sara to Carson Daly. Coyne stopped by for the show’s 15th episode to discuss his love of spectacle and making movies in his backyard. It isn’t often that Coyne isn’t the weirdest guy on set.
4. Playing Pictionary on The Tonight Show
Sometimes Wayne Coyne’s funniest moments are the ones where he is in the most mundane situations. And what could be more mundane than playing Pictionary with Demi Lovato? Coyne joined the pop star, along with Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen and The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, for a game of Pictionary that grows weirder and more amusing as it goes along. If Coyne had been a famous musician in the ’70s, it’s safe to say he would’ve been a regular on Match Game.
3. The Flaming Lips Pull An April Fools’ Prank For The Ages
On April Fools’ Day 2014, The Flaming Lips teamed up with Funny Or Die to pull a prank that was as ridiculous as it was unbelievable. Out of the blue, the band performed a companion piece to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon that synced up perfectly with the classic album. Having dropped their Dark Side of the Moon tribute, The Lips decided to full on sell out. Jon Daly played a slick exec in this FOD video, telling the guys, “We need to stop thinking of this as a band, and start thinking about it as a brand.” Because, as he pointed out, “Wayne could sh*t in a paper cup, and Pitchfork would give it an 8.7.” It was time to cash in.
2. Michael Bay’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Feature Film
Selling out led to a natural collaboration between the band and Michael Bay. Who hasn’t listened to “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and wanted to see a bloated, big budget action movie version? While this was a big joke, the fact remains that we would LOVE to see this movie.
1. Portlandia’s own Fred Armisen Joins the Band
And with the sell out in place, there was only one more thing to do, and that’s find a new lead singer. After all, Wayne had a lot going on “with the Comcast deal” and all. That’s how Fred Armisen found his way into the band. If you liked this collaboration, then you’ll want to see what Wayne and Fred have come up with on the season premiere of Portlandia, which airs tonight at 10P/9c on IFC with guest appearances from The Flaming Lips and Natasha Lyonne.