Top 5… Funniest Musical Moments

It’s Rhimenocerous extraordinaire Bret McKenzie’s 36th birthday today, so in honour of him and his Flight of the Conchords cohort Jermaine Clement, let’s have a look at the Top 5 Funniest Musical Moments in film.

5. Watchmen – Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen
This is a moment of unintentional hilarity rather than spot-on comic timing, but the scene after Nite Own and Silk Spectre II (Patrick Wilson and Malin Akerman) save a load of civilians from a burning building made me laugh hysterically in the cinema. What should be a moment of glorious triumph and outright erotic victory becomes downright ridiculous because Akerman’s face is contorting into orgasmic ecstasy to the strains of Leonard Cohen’s fairly melancholic Hallelujah. (I’m at work right now, so I’ll post a picture of this one later on tonight).
4. Hot Rod – You’re the Voice, John Farnham
There were two choices I could have used for this underrated bega-low-budget comedy classic, but the Cool Beans scene never really did it for me that much. Instead, we see what looks to be the stock training montage set to the inspiration classic You’re The Voice. Opening with a creepy fisherman oiling down Andy Samberg’s amateur stunt rider Rod Kimble as he limbers up by a lake, this soon joins him as he makes the long walk into town to complete his famed jump over fifteen school buses so he can raise money for a heart operation for his abusive stepfather Frank (Ian McShane), just so Rod can eventually beat Frank up. One by one, Rod is joined by his crew (Jorma Taccone, Danny McBride, Bill Hader), before the entire town starts following them. The masses sing along to Farnham, and then start looting, setting alight to cars, beating up the handicapped and making out in the middle of the street. A police riot team and a marching bagpipe orchestra show up for good measure too. The sheer unexpected level of escalation makes this scene so goddamn wonderful, and the fact that I love the song doesn’t hurt either. Best bit? McShane’s subtle head-shake of disbelief and disapproval in the window as Rod heads out.
3. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – Seinfeld Theme
This wonderful gem of a movie is absolutely full to brimming with hilarious music scenes (“SO SAD”) but the one that means the most to me, and makes me laugh the hardest, is the simple Seinfeld cue that leads in to a perfect little riff on the sitcom format, as Scott (Michael Cera) returns home and recounts his night with Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to his roommate Wallace (Kieran Culkin). The whole scene relies on those instantly recognisable beats to set the sitcom tone, and its just another completely unexpected pop culture parodies in the film. I’m always amazed at home few people have seen, or even heard, of Seinfeld over in the UK. In my opinion it’s easily in the top 3 sitcoms ever made (with probably Fawlty Towers and Frasier, or maybe Curb) and is a lot funnier than Friends, but as the latter is far more accessible it gets played an awful lot more, which is just a massive shame.
2. The Muppets – Man or a Muppet
Well Bret McKenzie had to be on here somewhere, didn’t he? And of course it had to be with the song that won him an Oscar, Man Or A Muppet from last year’s The Muppets. So why does it make the list? Well, not only does it feature the classic line “If I’m a man, that makes me a Muppet of a man,” as well as Jason Segel dropping to his knees and singing his lungs out in the rain, but it also has the film’s cameo that made me laugh the most hysterically in the theatre, as wannabe Muppet Walter discovers his human alter-ego in the mirror. I won’t ruin the surprise, but as soon as Segel’s Gary looks in the mirror and sees his own felt reflection, its clear that Walter will be doing the same. I racked my brains for who would be the celebrity they picked, and I never guessed they’d get it so perfect.
1. Little Shop of Horrors – Dentist

Steve Martin’s Orin Scrivello reveals his talents for inflicting pain upon others, and the perfect profession that led him into, in what is in my opinion the funniest musical scene from any film (though it’s only the second best scene in the film, because it doesn’t have Bill Murray in it). Whilst riding on his motorbike, Martin snarls how a childhood spent shooting puppies and bashing kitten’s heads in has led him to be the perfect candidate for only one possible career path – dentistry. This was during Martin’s golden period, back when he was a delight to watch on screen, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching the ‘leader of the plaque’ crooning from the position of a patient’s mouth’s eye view.

Honourable Mentions
Anchorman – Afternoon Delight/Aqualung
Beetlejuice – Day-O
Office Space – Photocopier
American Psycho – Hip to be a Square
Shaun of the Dead – Don’t Stop me Now
There’s Something About Mary – Build Me Up Buttercup
The 40 Year Old Virgin – Aquarius
Young Frankenstein – Puttin’ On The Ritz
Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Knights of the Round Table
Wayne’s World – Bohemian Rhapsody
Big – Chopsticks
This Is Spinal Tap – Dwarfs Stone Henge
Team America – I’m So Ronery/America, Fuck Yeah!
Enchanted – Housework song
…and the Worst (or the least funny)
 La Vie en Rose – Je Ne Regrette Rien

Marion Cotillard rounds out this 2007 biography of Edith Piaf by summing up a life of hardship and struggle in a powerhouse rendition of Piaf’s classic Je Ne Regrette Rien (that, for me, has since been ruined by SpecsSavers commercials). It’s a perfect note to finish the film on, and Cotillard is marvellous in the role. After all that Piaf has endured, her face completely embodies that, though nothing went the way she had planned or wanted, it was still her life and she wouldn’t change a second. Tremendously heartwrenching scene, but in no way is it at all even slightly funny.

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