There are countless parody songs on youtube that range from terrible to unfathomably terrible. There are also a handful of great ones hiding amongst the gigantic garbage heap. What makes a great parody song? It’s hard to pin down exactly why some of these work, but aside from being funny, it should get to the point, have a great concept, and at be at least passable musically.
Many of these songs aren’t technically “parodies” because they aren’t takes on well-known, established pop music, but it’s my article and I don’t give a shit about technicalities If you’re like me and love simultaneously listening to music and laughing, you WILL enjoy these songs.
But also be forewarned, you will absolutely hate me for showing you some of these. They crawl into your head like a bot fly and lay their melodic larvae in your ear canal where it will hatch into an endless loop driving you slowly insane. But they’ll also make you laugh!
6. Tim Minchin – F Sharp
The first entry is a too-clever-for-it’s-own-good song written by British comedian Tim Minchin. It’s a flawless example of joke telling in musical form. The set up is, to use a snooty british turn of phrase, spot on, as the melodic piece and backing orchestra lull your brain into a sense of comfort before the punchline brings it to a hilarious screeching halt. Tim’s impeccable timing makes the joke land extra hard.
He also doesn’t belabor the joke anymore than it needs to. It’s so anti-music in the chorus yet still mysteriously catchy. It also makes me laugh every god damn time.
5. Pusswhip Banggang – Don’t Call Me Uncle
Tim and Eric’s fictional band has amassed such a catalog that it’s hard to pick my favorite. I went with “Don’t Call Me Uncle” because it’s the creepiest and catchiest. I also believe it to be the pinnacle of their career before the darker, more experimental later stuff. I give the honorable mention to “Kiss Me Once” as it’s definitely the pop crossover they’re most remembered by.
The real magic isn’t so much the music as the recreation of the late night 80s/early 90s informercial that is almost too good to be a parody. Before everything devolves into weird anti-comedy and awkward stares like most Tim & Eric sketches, it’s a completely believable infomercial you would see late at night after getting too stoned and eating an entire bag of cereal.
4. Young Nigga – She Won’t a Young Nigga
Loiter Squad is usually an inconsistent, ADHD fueled mix of sketches that hit fully or miss completely. “Young Nigga”, Tyler, The Creator’s alter ego, is the rare character that works almost every time they use him. It’s also a great example of satire for those who listen to mainstream hip-hop. Tyler doesn’t mind taking aim (literally) at his peers who go for the lowest common denominator and lazily rap their way to a paycheck.
The song could be legit if it weren’t for a few lines that give it away (I don’t fully get the pasta thing, llamas, dick shooting) but it’s the little things in the video that make it one of my favorites. The tiny car, sleeping machine gunner, rapping in a public restroom, “nigga with a rocket launcher”, and shitting in a urinal. Like most good satire, it straddles the line between real and absurd.
3. Lil Dicky – Lemme Freak
Parody aside, this is probably the best song musically on the list. the fact that it contains hilarious and brilliant commentary on the state of modern relationships is a bonus. Lil’ Dicky has had a few songs that I enjoyed once or twice, but none that I have watched as many times as “Lemme’ Freak”. Dicky deftly blends comedy with his legitimately good rapping skills to produce something that’s funny, heartfelt, relatable, and catchy as all hell.
Seriously, try not to watch it more than once, I dare you. He’s such a lovable guy and the production makes the video look like it was directed by Spike Jonez. Favorite part? June 16th, 2074 “Life sucks/legs hurt/friends dead/real terse” Old age in 8 words.
2. Unknown – My Dick’s All Shitty
I first heard this on the Opie and Anthony show and sang it to myself for 3 weeks straight. The awful karaoke backing music, the commitment to a terrible joke, and simplistic lyrics combine to form a masterpiece. Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City” has thousands of parodies on youtube, but this is shockingly the only one about the dangers of anal sex.
I wanted so badly to put this at #1 because it’s extremely stupid and yet beautiful in it’s simplicity. I looked all around and couldn’t find the gifted composer who blessed us with this work of art, but it’s safe to assume he went mad trying to recreate the genius of “Dicks All Shitty” and spends his days listening to this on a loop in a dark basement crying.
1. Casper Kelly – Too Many Cooks
This first aired unannounced at 4:00 AM on Adult Swim which I would say is the best and only delivery method for something this insane. I have to shout out Justin Brooks for first posting this and showing me the absurdist, surreal, 11-minute 90s sitcom intro that is “Too Many Cooks”. I got about a minute and a half through before looking at the red youtube bar and thinking “THIS IS 11 MINUTES?!?” But not a single second is wasted, or all of it is depending on your point of view.
As the intro jumps into every conceivable 90s sitcom genre before coming apart at the seams and devolving into madness. It jumps across every genre conceivable and has a serial killer who methodically starts murdering the huge cast of characters. Most importantly, it has a gratingly catchy theme song that morphs into at least 5 separate versions that are equally annoying but unforgettable.
Again, be careful with this one, it may drive you to the brink of insanity after 5 minutes if you’re in a fragile mental state. Which you probably are if you made it this far in the article and have the 5 previous songs bouncing around in your head. Just learn to live with it, there’s no going back now.