Silliness

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This all started out with me looking for a clip that featured “The Witch Doctor” by David Seville that I could stand to post (didn’t find one I liked enough).

See, I’ve never quite outgrown my love of novelty songs.  One of the earliest albums I owned was a compilation of terrific oldie novelties, like Allen Sherman’s “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.”  I’d sing gleefully along with “The Monster Mash” when it was played at Halloween.  And like most people who grew up during the 70s and 80s, I spent quite a bit of time listening to Dr. Demento.  Before I’d ever heard any of it, my older brother used to torture me by singing “Fish Heads” (which I ought to thank him for, since I love that song now).  But somewhere around puberty, Dr. D and his crazy playlist became something I wanted to hear.  I didn’t love it all, but there was enough stuff that made me laugh to keep me coming back week after week.

I still listen to these and a lot of other novelty songs today.  I’m not quite sure why they got the label “novelty.”  Maybe Billboard or radio programmers or somebody didn’t know what to do with them.  I know itunes today doesn’t have a humor/comedy category, so it lists the genre of these songs as “unclassifiable.”  I guess that’s as good a description as any.

Thanks to Dr. D, I discovered some really wonderful stuff.  I’ve posted about some of the silly songs that really aren’t so silly when you think about it (here and here).  But this stuff is just plain silly.  Weird, even, in the most wonderful way.  My sense of humor tends toward the cerebral, so any smart humor works for me.  And these are smart–although they’re not all songs.

The Frantics are a Canadian comedy troop who have performed some very funny bits about booting people in the head.  Not very cerebral on the face of it, but smarter than it sounds.

I heard this one first, and almost fell over laughing.  Then I heard the next one; I think I got some bruises when I hit the floor.

I’m glad there’s no visuals for this one.  Imagination does a great job of filling in the blanks.

But the ultimate of novelty songs for me, the peak of silliness, is this classic from Tom “T-Bone” Stankus.  There’s a clip of him performing “Existential Blues” on YouTube, but it isn’t the recorded version, which is the one I love best.  This loving mash-up of pop culture and (phony) intellectualism makes my day.  I hope it makes yours, too.

“Music, Sex, and Cookies”

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Everybody has a theme song or two.  It’s part of being a human being in the age of (television/cinema/information/digital downloads/choose your poison).  Depending on your mood, it could be soaring and inspirational or the saddest emo ever known to humankind.  Or it could be amazingly silly, with just a hint of truth.

There really are a lot of songs that resonate with me on a very deep level.  I can “hear” myself in a lot of music; it’s part of what makes music such an important part of my life.  There’s even a few that I keep coming back to, over and over, as being representative of the person I am and the person I want to be.  But I find myself so oddly connected to this little ditty, that I’ve always considered it my theme.  I heard it on the Dr. Demento show many, many years ago.  (I think Dr. Demento must represent some sort of adolescent rite of passage.  Just about everyone I know started listening to him somewhere around puberty and quit right about the same time they started/ended college.)  I had no idea who performed it or when it was recorded.  For all I knew, it was a listener sending the good Doctor his homemade demo tape, a la Weird Al Yankovic.  I’ve got a little more information now, but this will always be the song I heard late one Sunday night and said, “My god, that’s me!” (except for the fact that I’ve never heard anything by the Pousette Dart Band).  As life philosophies go, it’s not bad.  A little hedonistic, but harmless.  The main purpose I think “Music, Sex, and Cookies” serves, and the one thing I think we all need to keep in mind, is that it reminds us not to take things too seriously.  Enjoy life.  Stop and have a cookie once in a while.  I’m partial to chocolate chip myself.