Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.
Although I’d prefer to think of my time as an undergraduate in college radio as dominated by edgy, cool music, all of us bold in every selection, that wasn’t really the case. Yes, we spun amazing music by creative artists that left the mainstream perplexed and even a little scared. We were also collectively susceptible to novelty, whether kitschy covers or tracks that had a prankish energy. It’s not for nothing that Too Much Joy was essentially our house band, an unofficial position they really secured when the DJs spent a whole summer fishing the band’s debut, Green Eggs and Crack, out of the stacks to repeatedly spin the “The Otter Song,” an a capella tribute to the water-inclined mammal. Certain cuts spread from playlist to playlist with the persistent pervasiveness of a cold sore in a cuddle puddle.
When the LP The Simpsons Sing the Blues arrived in the station in late 1990, we put it into rotation. Why not? This new animated show on the upstart Fox network was a pop culture sensation and the tracks on the album were amusing enough. A few folks on the on-air staff might get a kick out of plopping one of these little bundles of gags into the mix. As I recall, the album didn’t get that much play until the station’s sports director locked onto “Deep Deep Trouble,” a song so reminiscent of the chipper oeuvre of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince that the former contributed record scratches to the track. To this day, the lyrics “I go, ‘Woah!’ Homer goes/ D’oh! Now you can’t go to the boat show!” are embedded in my psyche like a long-held mantra.
Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.