Red Nose Day is on the horizon, and 6 Music is getting involved by letting two comedy veterans hijack the playlist for an hour each over the next couple of Sundays.
First up, on 3 March, is award-winning actress and erstwhile Harry Enfield collaborator Kathy Burke. The following Sunday sees the turn of Spinal Tap and Simpsons legend Harry Shearer.
Comedians usually claim to have an affinity with music, but letting them loose in a recording studio can lead to unpalatable results. Of course, there are always exceptions. In no particular order, here are six of the best tunes by comedy acts from the past few decades.
Eddie Murphy: Party All the Time: Ok, so it’s more funky than funny, but Party All the Time is actually a pretty decent Michael Jackson pastiche. Producer Rick James gives the track a credibility boost and also allows his fabulous “Carlos Valderrama on Soul-Glo” hair to star in the video, as Eddie and the lads horse around eightiesly in the studio. Turn this one up loud and try not to dance; it’s impossible.
Flight of the Conchords: Business Time: It’s tough to choose one track from the Conchords’ potpourri of parodies, but the “erotically charged” Business Time perhaps showcases the duo’s talents best of all. Jermaine’s rubber-faced falsetto combines with Bret’s lascivious strumming to electrifying effect.
The Rutles: Cheese and Onions: Ah, the Rutles — only the band the Beatles could have been. Cheese and Onions is so sublime it could almost pass for a lost Fab Four composition from 1968; and there’s no higher praise than that. George Martin’s production is aped beautifully, while Neil Innes’s vocals are even more Lennon than John himself.
Spinal Tap: Big Bottom: It’s crude, it’s childish and its squelchy keyboard sound is horribly dated, but it’s a virtuoso skit of bands like Judas Priest, Scorpions and Saxon. And it contains the priceless line “how could I leave this behind?”
Steve Martin: Tonight You Belong to Me: This dainty ditty from 1979’s The Jerk manages to combine humour with genuine poignancy. An accomplished bluegrass banjo plucker, Steve Martin has quite a few LPs under his belt, and a new one is on its way next month.
Monty Python: The Galaxy Song: We’re a bit sick of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, aren’t we? So here’s The Galaxy Song from the Pythons’ final film The Meaning of Life: as educational, existential and statistically accurate as comedy songs get.