Music videos are some of the most creative ways to present music to the masses; while their ranking on the priorities list of channels like MTV, BET, VH1, and even Fuse has drastically changed since the inceptions of these networks, the art of the music video remains a vital promotional tool. OK, so there are some songs these days that can chart without a video, but that’s beside the point. Often times, music videos tend to play themselves very serious as the artist has some kind of message they’d like to get out to the people and will try to get it across as artistically and sometimes sophisticated as possible. And then there are videos that have a formula, such as dancing, luxuries of a rich lifestyle, and just plain performances by the artist. But you know what’s always a joy to watch: comedic music videos. That’s what this countdown is about. And yes, as the title says, I’m leaving out videos by artists that are categorized as comedy musicians. Why? Because it’s just way too easy to throw “Tribute” or “Jack Sparrow” or “Smells Like Nirvana” on here. This time around, I’m looking at artists that don’t always aim for laughs, but went for it with certain videos of theirs that should be spotlighted for the hilarious gems that they are. Hope you get as much of a laugh out of them as I did!
#10. Drake “Hotline Bling” (2015)
Probably the funniest thing about this music video is the fact that it likely wasn’t meant to be as funny as it was taken. We’ve all been there; jamming to a song, singing along to the words while doing dance moves most appealing to people who can’t see them. It’s OK; not everyone can be Michael Jackson or Janet Jackson or Britney Spears or Chris Brown or anything. But Drizzy here gives hope to us all by doing his embarrassingly silly dance moves in front of a camera and practically daring us to give him a ton of views and a hit song out of it. And that is exactly what happened; not only did this song peak at #2 on Billboard, but the video was widely viewed and let a million or so replayable memes, GIFs, and Vines in its wake. Ok, maybe in retrospect Drake’s dance moves weren’t that level of embarrassing; I wouldn’t be shocked if he was being silly with his dance moves on purpose here. Still, it’s hard to get through this music video without laughing; if not for the dance moves, then for the terrible lip-syncing.
#9. Mumford & Sons “Hopeless Wanderer” (2013)
I do not listen to much Mumford & Sons; a number of folk bands have received at least a glimmer of mainstream relevance in the last few years and Mumford & Sons are definitely one of the top acts to get big from it. However, has that ever convinced me to buy one of their albums? Not really, but I can listen to their singles just fine, even if they all sound the same; I’ve been known to strum an imaginary acoustic guitar to “I Will Wait” and I’ve found myself randomly singing the hook to “Little Lion Man” on occasion. But I wonder if even their fans knew they had this much of a sense of humor about themselves. If not, they found out with this track accompanied by a music video that features comedic actors portraying them in extremely over-the-top fashion. This video features SNL alums Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte, along with actors Ed Helms and Jason Bateman, starring as the members of the band who do everything from humping instruments to drinking to silly dancing while strumming away at banjos to the tried-and-tested comedic staple that is guy-on-guy kissing. And if you think this is the only example of an band bringing in other people to hilariously portray them on film, think again; this is just the first example listed.
#8. Foo Fighters “Learn to Fly” (1999)
As I said, I decided not to include artists whose names you might find under the “comedy” tag on iTunes, meaning there was no way the musical duo of actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass as Tenacious D was gonna wind up on this countdown. However, they ended up appearing on here anyway courtesy of their cameos in this Foo Fighters classic (hey, lead singer Dave Grohl did play The Devil twice for Jables & Kage before). They make up only two of the cast members in this VMA-nominated music video with the rest of the cast pretty much being played by the members of the band themselves. Dave Grohl, for example, plays the role of two female characters; one slim, nerdy, and shy while the other is fuller figured and easily amused. Dave also plays the pilot, the flight attendant, and who I assume is supposed to just be himself as a passenger on a plane. This video is always on funny music video lists on the internet; I know I’m not the first person to put it on one. But there is a reason why it’s always on these lists; it really is that funny. But then again, when the Foo Fighters go for funny, they always knock it out the park because Dave Grohl is a naturally funny dude. Remember that video where he was a soap opera star crushing on Rashida Jones, for example?
#7. OutKast “Roses” (2004)
Andre 3000 and Big Boi may not be an actual comedy duo, but they have such eccentric personas that they’ve been known to add at least a little bit of lighthearted fun into their music videos. I think that’s because OutKast is one of the more cartoony acts in hip-hop history and its gone hand-in-hand with their amazing rapping abilities and memorable songs. And when it comes to OutKast comedy, I don’t think it gets any more silly than “Roses”, a video which features The Love Below crew going at it against the Speakerboxxx crew in an all-out Battle Royale for the attention of that beautiful Caroline! Featuring cameos from Paula Abdul (who was relevant at the time because of American Idol), Katt Williams (shortly after breaking out as Money Mothereffing Mike), and Fonzworth Bentley (not the last time we’ll see him on this list), this video was practically made to make a list like this one. Also, bonus points to the guy near the end of the video who hit an Attitude Adjustment. It’s about 4:40 in, shortly before Katt Williams ends up being the one who leaves with Caroline.
#6. Eminem “The Real Slim Shady” (2000)
Eminem was bound to be somewhere on this list; from The Slim Shady LP to Relapse, Eminem loved releasing funny comedy songs as the lead singles to his albums. “My Name Is” was enough of a hit that it broke him into the big time and people look back on it fondly to this day. But sometimes, what we get is songs like “Just Lose It”, an in-my-opinion catchy song that still contained so many flaws that Rap Critic and Todd in the Shadows have already ripped to shreds. But perhaps his most epic comedy single was the “The Real Slim Shady”; it’s the first of two Eminem videos to win Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards and it has so many elements that contribute to it. His making fun of that stupid Tom Green video and boy bands in the first verse, Fred Durst (as himself) and a fake Carson Daly fighting over “Christina Aguilera”, Eminem spitting on onion rings (though I’d hate if that happened to me at Burger King), as well as the dozens of Slim Shadys being created in it. Oh, and Kathy Griffin is in it too; not the funniest thing about it though. I said that “Without Me” was a better video plot-wise than “The Real Slim Shady” but this one has more laughs though.
#5. Maddie & Tae “Girl in a Country Song” (2014)
So we’ve already seen Eminem lampooning boy bands and Tom Green, as well as Mumford & Sons lampooning themselves. And the lampooning does not end here as this video lampoons an entire subgenre of music. If you’ve paid attention to country music the last couple of years, you’ll notice it’s been dominated by something called “bro-country”, where male country singers perform songs about drinking, trucks, and sexy country girls, then repeat that formula ad nauseum. The music videos that usually accompany these songs don’t exactly portray women in the most empowering light; in fact, they’re basically just rap videos with instruments. Enter Maddie Marlow & Taylor Dye, two blonde cuties from Texas and Oklahoma respectively who’s first ever music video featured a hilarious role-reversal, where instead of the women being on display as eye-candy, the men were the ones to be over-the-top objectified in the name of parody. It’s basically a way of making us think about the way we treat women in music videos, but doing it in a way that so creatively silly you can’t help but to laugh along with it. The girls won the CMA Award for Video of the Year for this and boy am I glad they won. And from the looks of things, they’re not done bringing the funny.
#4. Kanye West “The New Workout Plan” (2004)
Kanye West is an artist who takes his (and Beyoncé’s) work very seriously; you’ve seen what happens when he (or Beyoncé) lose on an award show. The results are not pretty and will live on forever. But this doesn’t mean that Kanye West can’t get silly too. In fact, his first album College Dropout featured Kanye at his most down-home and lighthearted. OK, so there were serious themes on there as shown with singles like “Jesus Walks” and “Through the Wire”, but when I say Kanye could be lighthearted and silly, I would like to present “The New Workout Plan” as Exhibit A. This music video is an infomercial for a fitness product that does not actually exist, but if it did, what benefits it has, as Kanye says you may be able to pull a rapper, a ball player, or a dude with a car. And Kanye has enlisted help from Fonzworth Bentley (yes, rappers REALLY loved putting him in videos back then), the late Anna Nicole Smith, & Tracee Ellis Ross to get his point across. Ross, in-particular plays a couple of characters, including one who puts on a pretty bad French accent, as well as herself (while reminding us that Girlfriends existed). I can definitely confirm this is my favorite infomercial aside from the one for the Miracle Blade III: Perfection Series (really, the Miracle Blade infomercial is actually fun to watch).
#3. Taylor Swift “Blank Space” (2014)
Making fun of Taylor Swift seems to be a popular pastime with most people. Whether making fun of her dating life, her country-to-pop transition, or the fact that she takes her image so seriously to the point of supposedly taking legal action, Taylor Swift is one of those musicians you either love and adore or hate and make fun of. (I‘m a longtime fan, for the record.) Well, you know who else loves making fun of Taylor Swift: Taylor herself. More specifically, she loves making fun of the way people perceive her and that’s exactly what she aimed to do in the “Blank Space” video. I’ve mentioned previously about the time I walked into class once and we watched the video together and everyone was laughing their asses off. That’s because Taylor does everything she can to create such a silly situation in such a beautiful environment. This was the second time in a row Taylor made fun of herself in a music video; she took pride in her bad dancing in “Shake It Off”, but “Blank Space” outdoes in the LOL department.
#2. Busta Rhymes – Pass The Courvoisier Part II ft. P. Diddy, Pharrell (2002)
Doesn’t this song bring back any memories? I assume some of you remember it as it was an inescapable hit in the early-2000s, I know I do. This was back in the heyday of al parties involved, when Diddy was actually a successful (albeit mediocre) rapper, when Busta Rhymes could still chart (and before he want overkill on the speed-rapping) and long before Pharrell adopted that cartoonish hat into his wardrobe and regularly popped up on one kids movie soundtrack after another. Out of all three of these artists, Busta Rhymes is easily the one that has made the best music videos in his career. In fact, I could probably make a list of Busta Rhymes’ funniest and most creative music videos in general. The reason the “Pass The Courvoisier” sequel makes the list is because 1) They start the video big with a Mr. T cameo, 2) Busta Rhymes gets into an alley argument with Mo’Nique, 3) the crossed-eyed dude who’s obviously had too much to drink, and 4) their Rush Hour 2 parody (with Jamie Foxx) leads to one very silly fight. It’s not Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker, but it’s something. This won Video of the Year at the BET Awards in 2002 and for good reason.
#1. KoRn “Twisted Transistor” (2005)
So earlier in the list, we saw Mumford & Sons lampoon themselves by recruiting comedians to play them. Well in 2005, metal band KoRn decided to do so as well for the lead single of their album See You On The Other Side, but instead of getting every day funnymen to portray them, they casted four (at-the-time) relevant rappers to portray them in a long day-in-the-life kind of music video. Lil Jon, Xzibit, David Banner, and Snoop Dogg fill Korn’s shoes and the video features them in a number of amusing scenarios: Lil Jon getting mad at a guy at a CD store bringing an ad for the KoRn album that contains my favorite KoRn song, Xzibit constantly vomiting and having no clue how to play a bass guitar, David Banner starting a modeling career and it going into jeopardy thanks to a kid who looks kind of like former WWE star Brian Kendrick, Snoop Dogg getting angry at the very suggestion of him having an anger management problem, and the band trashing a hotel room with hordes of groupies. Don’t worry, Korn fans: the actual band appears at the end, as record executives who aren’t feeling Korn’s latest video because “rock is dead” and it doesn’t have enough “booty”. What a funny commentary on record labels and the rock n roll lifestyle. I think from the second I put this list together, this was bound to be #1. Maddie & Tae lampooning a subgenre, Taylor Swift lampooning herself, Foo Fighters on a plane, a Kanye West infomercial, and Busta & Diddy paying homage to Rush Hour 2 are all funny, but it’s not topping KoRn being portrayed by rappers for me.
Who would’ve thought that one of the most infamous things a rapper as unorthodox as ODB ever did artistically was largely based on someone else’s work from 1975?
That’s right, you dance, Christopher Walken! Show off those moves, Christopher Walken! Win Fatboy Slim a ton of VMA’s all in one night, Christopher Walken!
Who knew Jennifer Nettles could play a crazed stalker so well? OK, so she’s not quite Misery-level seeing as she’s still rather adorable in this, but it still has a funny edge.
Well, he’s not lying; so many of us are cooler online than in real life (such as myself; trust me). And this is certainly funnier than other music videos with Jason Alexander.
You probably don’t remember this song, video, or band, but when I was younger, I thought the fighting in this video was hilarious. Kinda wish it was the entire video though.
Biz Markie may be a one-hit wonder, but the video for that one hit gave us the memorably comedic visual of Biz in a white wig, singing badly at a piano.
P!NK is like Eminem in that she’s a not really a comedy artist, but she regularly makes silly music videos, and she hilariously lampoons mid-2000s celebrity culture in this one.
This probably would have made the list if “Roses” didn’t; it has a catfight just as funny as the Saving Jane video had, as well as a Roddy Piper reference!
What do you think of this edition of Tuesday Top 10? Leave a comment or tweet me up @FearlessRiOT with your opinion or even to suggest a topic for a future edition!