Laughter is medicine for the soul and body. It been linked to healthy blood vessel function, a reduction in stress and can even have an effect on physical pain thanks to the endorphins released when you crack up.
Stand-up comedy is a great way to get your fix, and many comedians turn to music in a bid to make us laugh. Today I’ll be highlighting a few hilarious, accomplished comedians from around the world who have turned to using music to make us laugh.
One of England’s finest comedians, Bill Bailey has been performing, acting and making the general public laugh since his career began in 1989. As well as regular TV appearances (notably for the BBC comedy Black Books and musical quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks) he has appeared in films alongside the likes of Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz) and had plenty of well-received international tours.
Bailey’s brand of comedy often involves jokes about his “troll-like” appearance (dubbing himself a “wizard in a call centre” and “Klingon motivational speaker”) and parodies of famous musical acts like Billy Bragg, Chris de Burgh and theme tunes like The Magic Roundabout and the BBC’s “breaking news” music.
Born in the UK and raised in Perth, Australia, Tim Minchin enjoys success in both hemispheres thanks to his unique and talented brand of musical comedy. In 2005, he appeared at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival which shot him to fame with a tour called “Darkside” which he then took to the Ediburgh Festival Fringe at which he was one of the most successful debut acts ever.
He’s been entertaining large crowds and TV audiences ever since with several DVDs released in Britain and Australia, as well as six live albums of his work. Minchin considers himself a musician before a comedian, stating that his songs just happen to be funny.
Those of you who are easily offended might want to glaze over this one as it features some very….unique humour from US musical comedian Stephen Lynch. Born in Abington, Pennsylvania; Lynch decided he wanted to perform for a living after seeing the 1984 classic film This Is Spinal Tap.
Since then he has been reducing audiences to gasps, sharp intakes of breath and eventually tears of laughter as he deals with some sensitive subjects in his own signature way. There are far more offensive comics out there than Lynch but few who maintain such a stage presence with just a guitar and a few choice expressions.
New Zealand duo Bret and Jermaine, better known as Flight of the Conchords, have been performing together since 1998 and are probably best known for the 2007 HBO TV series of the same name. While their songs featured heavily in the series which cast them alongside a plethora of other comedians (Arj Barker and Kristen Schaal to name but a few) many were written before the show existed.
The pair found success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2002 and 2003 before they were approached by the BBC to make a radio show which earned them critical acclaim. From here HBO stepped in and launched the pair into the spotlight as two struggling musicians attempting to find fame in New York City.
Flight of the Conchords are planning a comeback tour in 2012 and have also expressed interest in making a film.
Performing under the tagline “Same Mother, Different Fathers” Smart Casual are one of the most promising comedy acts to come out of Australia for years. Surely destined for great things, the pair performed their first full-length show at the Melbourne Fringe in 2009 entitled “Art vs Smart Casual” in which the pair square off a variety of different art forms against their own take on musical comedy.
There’s not a lot of their material floating around online at the moment aside from the fantastic Hawk Song which can be seen below.
There are so many more musical comedy acts out there that I have to extend a request for as many hilarious performances as you can remember or find.
Who are your favourite musical comics? Have you seen any of the acts live? What did you think? Let us know who your favourites are in the comments below!