Once comedy music was the realm of novelty tunes and one-hit wonders from the likes of Benny Hill and Dad’s Army’s Clive Dunn. In the last decade, comedy acts such as Flight of the Conchords and Bill Bailey have made funny songs a serious proposition. So much so that Jack Black’s Tenacious D could launch a festival with a comedy-only line-up and keep a straight face, as it were (with The Mighty Boosh and Sarah Silverman on the bill).
One comedy troupe that has been fusing funnies with music for a while now is The Lonely Island, formed of former Saturday Night Live regulars Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg. Mixing early Beastie Boys hip-hop with early Beastie Boys fraternity humour, they’ve worked with the elite of American pop: Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj and Kendrick Lamar. And, erm, Michael Bolton.
With the release of the band’s third album this week, here’s our pick of their clips:
Dick In A Box
The band’s breakthrough track, featuring Justin Timberlake, with Bridesmaid’s Kristen Wiig and Maya Rundolph the recipients of the titular packaged appendage.
I’m On A Boat
R’n’b singer T-Pain joins the boys as they climb buoys and board 40m superyacht to send up the overblown pre-recession hip-hop videos of the Noughties. It got nominated for that year’s best hip-hop song gong at the Grammys.
Like A Boss
Seth Rogen stars in the performance review that you only wish that you could give (unless you have, in which case you probably wish you hadn’t).
Justin Timberlake returns with this ode to treating your mother, and your best mate’s mother, right. Susan Sarandon and Patricia Clarkson play the mothers in question.
Threw It On The Ground
Disrupting dinner between “Hollywood phonies” Elijah Wood and Ryan Reynolds, among other things.
Spring Break Anthem (Between Two Ferns Version)
A tale of gay abandon/coming to terms with the responsibilities of being a modern gay man, told here as part of an episode of Zach Galifianakis’ Funny Or Die chat show Between Two Ferns, with the surly host interviewing James Franco.
The Lonely Island's celebration of grammar's unsung hero; features Beyoncé's younger sister Solange.