There are very few songwriters who can write a funny song that doesn’t lose its charm on repeated listens. Top of this game perhaps is the work of Barenaked Ladies, songwriters who have managed to create moving musical works that also make us laugh, time after time.
Is there a secret to writing funny songs that won’t become tired?
Where are you aiming?
Comedy often relies upon surprise (the punchline), and is an art form which tickles the brain. The appeal of music more typically comes from its ability to touch the heart, evoking an emotional response. Naturally, evoking an emotional response is easier to maintain on repeated listens.
Any attempts to maintain a humour response within a song will rely on the songwriter’s ability to deliver comedy that is not based on surprise. Once the brain knows the punchline, it’s impossible to surprise again unless our audience is conveniently forgetful.
Take it To The Limit
Maybe the secret is using comedy that is based in abnormal reality. Perhaps a laugh that comes naturally because we are led to consider a reality far from our own – one which would be ultimately sillier or funnier than our reality – can withstand repeated listens, because our listener is left in their normal world in between listens. Non-musical examples come to mind: Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First”, which is funny on repeated listens because of the absurdity of the situation, compounded by the growing irritability of Costello’s character as the sketch unfolds.
Hit ’em High and Hit ’em Low
To give your comedic songwriting a helping hand, find an emotional angle to your comedy song that marries the funny with the emotional. Tickle the head and touch the heart. Write a song that listeners will respond to, emotionally, time after time, and marry that with humour that will stay fresh.
Have you discovered the secret to writing funny songs that don’t lose their charm after a few listens? Let us know!
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