Hey I like writing comedy songs, but I find it a real challenge
is there anyone else doing this?
Any tips? Any possible collaborations?
Mine seem to be all on the humorous side. I don't think I can write a serious one lol.
i think i write comedy songs, i try to amuse myself and to try to find things that have a common chime with people. in the same way a joke has a punchline a song has its strong landing points, like the last word of a 4 line rhyming scheme. i try to have fun with language. i try to play and have fun and let the song be whatever it is, though saying that i haven't managed to get started yet this year. good luck!
I find comedy songs easier than serious songs. If one is making light of a subject, one is necessarily distancing oneself from it to a certain extent. You can be clever with the conventions of poetry and songwriting without being too distracting. Writing about an issue seriously involves taking ownership of any associated pain and suffering, and responsibility for understatement, overstatement, missing or downplaying certain perspectives etc. Any misuse of dramatic conventions becomes more glaring and more jarring.
While it is said that many a true word is spoken in jest, if your modus operandi is just to speak true words, there's more of an onus to do it with wisdom and perception.
There is an old theater saying "Dying is easy, but comedy is hard!"-- and to some extent that's true, too- writing a serious song, one can just jump into the emotion and swim in it a bit, but threading the needle to just the right way and the right timing to tell something funny- not easy!
I certainly try to write songs sometimes that approach things from a less-then-serious angle-- the hardest blend, and in some ways the best, is a writer who can write comicly about dark subjects- some of Loudon Wainwright's stuff comes to mind, for example, also Richard Thompson, Dan Bern, and many others, but those come to mind...
I think a lot of comedy is about taking a familiar expectation and turning it in a surprising, unexpected way. Take the simple joke,
Patient: "Doctor, I really need your help. It hurts like crazy here, here, here, and here" touching his knee, ribs, hip and foot. "It's excruciating, what is wrong with me?"
Dr: "Stop whining, your finger is broken."
The expectation of a massive malady is replaced by the surprise of the broken finger.
Violating social norms is another way to achieve this twist. For example, fart noises as the opening notes to an Opera would likely be funny, as it is a high-class event, and the violation of the norm with low-class noises could come off funny.
For songs, I've written a few for FAWM that were funny, and usually I would take an idea that I thought was funny, or one joke, and base the song around that funny idea or joke. I wrote a song about how the Earl of Grey became the king of tea. I wrote a song basing movie choices off of distaste for the words in the titles. I wrote a song about being in love, with a reveal halfway through the song that the partner was actually a cell phone. I wrote an ode to my new coffee pot.
@Fuzzy had one I liked a lot during FAWM about running from zombies, coming to eat your brains, and all the likely problems you would actually encounter running from zombies.
I think if you get a kernel of a funny idea and explore it, you can end up with a funny song. As with all great songs, I think the key is building up good anticipation, and adding a twist to the resolution.
I'm pretty sure that a lot of what I write is comedy-like. Subverting expectation is a lot of it. I love amusing stories and word play so that's where my humor comes from. I think just like comedians have to find their voice, if you want to write comedy songs you have to find your voice. Use your natural humor in your song writing. There's also the idea of translating existing humor. For instance, last year I wrote a song using limericks as the verses (I wrote my own, but you could use established limericks). I also wrote one based on an improv game I used to play called 99 (it's kind of a quick fire 99____ walk into a bar and the barman says _______ thing). I also like leading my audience to a place and then surprising them. Like setting up a rhyme scheme that sounds like I'm about to use profanity and then explicitly not. I also like non sequitur humor. One of my best songs I ever wrote was a love song about jelly fish.
A lot of folks laugh when I play... but don't run away. Does that count?