By Jett Wells
Sometimes a fart joke just works better with a melody. Of course, combining the two is an art form mastered by only an elite few … a select group of artists who can not only master quality songs, but make us all squirt milk out of our noses at the same time. And, thanks to “Saturday Night Live” and Andy Samberg, we’d like to welcome a new member to that, uh, exclusive club: The Lonely Island, a so-called “joke band” that truly stands alone.
Don’t worry if the name doesn’t ring a bell, because chances are, you know their hits … classics like “I Just Had Sex (feat. Akon),” “The Creep (feat. Nicki Minaj)” and, of course, “I’m On a Boat,” their parody of all things T.Pain that also, amazingly enough, features T.Pain himself. Comprised of Samberg and his pals Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, the Lonely Island just announced the release of their sophomore album, Turtleneck and Chain, featuring all the aforementioned hits, plus new jams like “Attracted To Us,” “No Homo” and, of course, “No Homo Outro.”
And, with Turtleneck peeking over the horizon, we figure it’s time to start wondering whether Samberg and crew deserve to be in the running for best “joke band” of all time. Sure, it’s still early, but here’s who they’d be going up against.
Spinal Tap – You can’t start a list of joke bands without beginning with the granddaddy of them all, Spinal Tap. The fictional metal band, originally created for a 1979 TV pilot on ABC, rose to fame with the legendary 1984 mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap,” and kept performing for its cult-like following till at least 2009. And, truth be told, they could keep the good times rolling if they want … no complaints here. Not only is Spinal Tap awesome because it’s comprised up of real actors, Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer, but because they finally put the classic badass rock star facade to shame. Oh, and because their amps go to 11, of course.
“Weird Al” Yankovic – Picking up were musical weirdos like Frank Zappa and Allan Sherman left off, Yankovic has reigned supreme over the parody genre for more than three decades (and yet, he still can’t get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame). From early, honest-to-goodness hits like “Eat It” (his take on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”) to 2009’s “White & Nerdy” (a reworking of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty,”) he’s withstood the test of time, and sold more than 12 million albums in the process. And as long as guys like Eminem still pay homage to his goofy music videos, we don’t see any signs of him slowing down any time soon.
Tenacious D – From humble beginnings on HBO, the hard-riffing duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass broke through to the mainstream thanks to songs like “Explosivo,” “Wonderboy” and, of course, “F— Her Gently,” parlaying their success into a 2006 feature film, “Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny.” With their love for savage rock solos, epic narrative anthems and their love handles, no band like Tenacious D makes you pump your fist with a giggle so hard.
Adam Sandler – All of us need to campaign to get Sandler back to music, because no comedian mixed axe-shredding with totally goofy voices quite like Sandler did. His early albums — like 1993’s They’re All Gonna Laugh At You and the follow-up, ’96’s What The Hell Happened To Me? — are the stuff of legend, and even to this day, famous hit “The Chanukah Song” is still a holiday hit. While he’s on his music career comeback, it also wouldn’t hurt for him to grow back his old Robbie Hart haircut from “The Wedding Singer,” either. Just sayin.’
Honorable Mention: Liam Kyle Sullivan – Okay, he may not be a household name, but all you have to do is think of word “shoes” and you’ll know exactly who I’m talking about. While he’s not all that much of a musician and he’s mostly known for his YouTube hit that shook the planet (“Shoes” has garnered more than 41 million hits since 2007). The comedian single-handedly added a permanent punch line to common footwear for the rest of eternity. Good luck topping that, Islanders.