For the comedy duo who recently finished the first season of their IFC series, writing funny songs requires work.
Saturday, comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates will play the House of Blues, and I’ll have a story on them in Friday’s New Orleans Advocate. We talked about the impact of their IFC Channel show, the impetus behind their videos, and their differing levels of comfort with some of their songs including “The Loophole.”
We covered more ground than there was room for in my story, so here is some additional material.
Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci have appeared on Chris Hardwick’s comedy riff fest on Comedy Central. I asked if being on the show was fun or pressure.
Kate Micucci: It’s kind of both
Riki Lindhome: It’s really fun or we wouldn’t do it, but it’s hectic. You’re like Ohgodohgodokayokay. Having to be fast is not what we’re normally good at. We take our time with writing. It’s not really in our strength, so it’s a challenge for me.
Micucci: I’m the same way. I was really nervous going in. Riki had done it one other time when we did it together, but the greatest thing was having Pete Holmes on it with us because it’s really nice to be able to do it with your friends.
Lindhome: And you know Pete’s going to talk, so that takes some of the pressure off.
On Writing Funny Songs
Since the duo made their name writing funny songs, I asked how they do it.
Micucci: I think people think that it’s a lot easier than it is. It takes a long time to really land jokes in ways that are musical and fit in musical phrases. Crafting a comedy song is the biggest math problem.
Lindhome: And finding subject matter that can sustain itself for a whole song, not just one joke.
I was thinking about that, and how often funny songs are funny for a verse and chorus, but keep going anyway. Have you written any songs that worked for a verse and chorus?
Lindhome: Sure, but those songs don’t make it into the show
What’s your writing process?
Micucci: We found this stride that really works. We brainstorm on a subject for as long as it takes to get a lot of material. We might have 20-page word documents about—you know, ‘The Fadeaway’ is this song we have, and we have 20 pages of material about things that fade away and attitudes toward dating. We’ll talk about it until we can’t talk about it anymore. Then Riki will go off and do a lot of the lyrics and I’ll work on the melody. Then we’ll get back together and it’s a free for all until we figure it out.