There are a lot of musicians that have incorporated comedy into their acts, but many people don’t understand that it takes more than some funny one-liners, on top of a decent melody, to make it work. Those who make it work are the ones who use melodies that are great, regardless of what type of song they’re for. In other words, the average listener would enjoy the melody in a funny song, or a serious song. The next step is to write lyrics that are clever, funny, and have some sort of meaning. There are two entertainers that come to mind, when I think about this: Tim Wilson and Unknown Hinson. Tim Wilson is, first and foremost, a comedian, but early on, he tried making it as a songwriter. After he got into comedy, he was able to combine the songwriting with the comedy, and make memorable songs that we all still laugh along to today. You can’t tell me you don’t even grin during “Chucky Cheese Hell” or “Jetpack”. Even his most recent material lives up to expectations. Something like “Who The Hell Puts A Handicapped Tag On A Black Corvette” is just as funny as his early stuff. This is also a key point in this. If you’re serious about doing comedy songs (serious about comedy…ha ha…contradictions are wonderful), you need to dig deep, and make sure you can keep doing it for years. I’ve heard people do a few funny songs, then they just stop, because that’s all they had. Somebody like John Prine is a great example of the right way to do this, in that situation. John Prine didn’t build his reputation on being a funny guy, but some of his stuff is hilarious! That being said, some of his stuff will make you cry your eyes out! Don’t put yourself in a box, if you’re not willing to close the lid. Now, Unknown Hinson is very similar to Tim. Stuart Baker started playing in Rock bands, at a young age, then later playing in a Honky Tonk Country band, to build up his chops. He made a couple of records, under his own name, and they didn’t sell well, so he ended up creating the character of Unknown Hinson. Unknown is the combination of Stuart’s mastered craft of singing, writing, and playing, mixed with hilarious lyrics of abusive relationships, sex, blow-up dolls, etc. Being able to keep a straight face when you sing a comedy song, as if you mean it in a serious way, makes all the difference in how seriously you’ll be taken as an artist. Tim Wilson and Unknown Hinson are still around today…that’s why.
Tim Wilson – Handicapped Tag: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW5whIAH3Sg
Unknown Hinson – Man To Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akuACgDryuU