The music video is, by all accounts, as much of an art form as the feature-length film, although too often these mini musical movies are too serious. Still, plenty of artists have been able to show that they do, in fact, have senses of humor — not just in general, but even when it comes to their own public personae. Here are some of the best, many of which feature cameos from famous funny people to ensure the musicians don’t have to quit their day job.
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists — “Bottled in Cork”
Tom Scharpling of The Best Show on WFMU (RIP) broke into the music video-directing biz with this hilarious video in which Ted Leo and his crew plan a Broadway musical á la American Idiot. The video features gut-busting appearances by Julie Klausner and Paul F. Tompkins.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard feat. Kelis — “Got Your Money”
The video for ODB’s catchy hit was inspired by blackspoitation films like Dolemite, and still borders on hysterical and unsettling.
Yo La Tengo — “Sugarcube”
Is this a Yo La Tengo video, or an episode of Mr. Show? Either way, we win.
The New Pornographers — “Moves”
Another Tom Scharpling effort, this time featuring no one from the actual band whose song is set to film. Instead, Jon Wurster, Julie Klausner, Horatio Sanz, Ted Leo, and Wyatt Cenac portray members of the band in this fake trailer for a biopic about frontman A.C. Newman. Oh, and Paul Rudd and Bill Hader show up in a teaser for the fake film Expectant Dads.
Fatboy Slim — “Weapon of Choice”
Fatboy Slim + Spike Jonze + Christopher Walken’s dance moves = comedy gold.
Blur — “Coffee and TV”
That poor milk carton! I should probably be more sensitive about its feelings, but I can’t stop laughing.
Pavement — “Cut Your Hair”
The original alt-rock bros offer up an absurdist slant while still making a video for a song called “Cut Your Hair” that is set in a fucking barbershop.
David Lee Roth — “Just a Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody”
I can attest that this one is actually really funny, but only if you watch it on mute.
Aimee Mann — “Labrador”
Jon Hamm plays music video director Tom Scharpling, who convinces Aimee Mann to recreate, shot-for-shot, the video for Til Tuesday’s hit “Voices Carry.” Layers upon layers of music video humor!
Beastie Boys — “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)”
I mean, to be fair, I’d be as nervous as those nerds if the Beastie Boys brought all of those people over to my apartment. You gotta fight for your right to be clean.
Mumford & Sons — “Restless Wanderer”
Mumford & Sons, as a rule, are not really funny dudes. Thankfully, they hired a couple of hilarious guys (Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, Will Forte, and Ed Helms) to lend their comic chops to this video.
Wild Flag — “Romance”
Yes, it’s another Tom Sharpling-directed video. But Wild Flag prove that Carrie Brownstein isn’t the sole funny lady in the band as the supergroup embarks on what is perhaps the most awesome lunch break in the history of lunch breaks.
Foo Fighters — “Learn to Fly”
Comedy is subjective. This one is for the type of people who love seeing rock dudes dressed as fat ladies.
Pulp — “Common People”
This borders on unintentionally funny, but there’s something endearing about watching Jarvis Cocker and company dance around like dummies in front of a green screen. If you don’t giggle just a little bit, you have no heart.
Electric Six — “Gay Bar”
Electric Six’s “Gay Bar” is the dumbest song ever written and the best song ever written. Naturally, the video should feature a bunch of Abraham Lincolns running around shirtless and flexing and wearing bondage gear.