Music & Comedy

musiccomedyI have written and recorded many “comedy” “songs” over the years, mostly between 1997 and 2005, many of them originally for The Garrens Comedy Troupe. The CDs I released — Snide Remarks (2000), Will Make Jokes for Food (2003), and Monkeys and Pirates Are Funny (2006) — don’t exist anymore (unless you have copies, in which case they do), but you can listen to most of the material from them on this page. (You can also listen on Soundcloud, if you prefer.)

I wrote the music and lyrics and performed everything you hear except as noted; also, the ones that sound like they have karaoke accompaniment do. Recording dates (or as close as I could narrow them down) are indicated. If there was a gap between when I first wrote and performed the song and when the recording was made, that is indicated as well.

If you would like to download these ditties and play them whenever you want on, you can buy ’em here — $5 for the General Merriment batch, $5 for the Mormon/BYU/Utah-oriented batch, $10 for the whole pile. All proceeds go to me, Eric D. Snider.

General Merriment

“Accents”

Recorded at a Garrens Comedy Troupe show. We did sketches, songs, and improv, not stand-up per se, but sometimes something stand-up-ish would emerge during the between-sketches emceeing. (9/24/1999)


“Back to the Fair”

I became uncomfortably familiar with county fairs in the summer of 2004, when I toured Utah playing keyboards for some friends of mine, and again in 2005, when I toured the same circuit as a solo act, and the idea for this song nestled in my head for a while. Then I heard Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and, yet again, wanted to write a parody just so I could play it on the piano, and the two ideas were joined together. I originally played the song at its correct tempo throughout, but it didn’t go over very well. The song is much more fun (and hence a little funnier) when played at the jaunty pace heard here. (Parody of “The Scientist,” music by Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion and C.F. Martin.) (11/14/2005)


“Big Joe Biden”

When VP Biden debated Paul Ryan during the 2012 campaign, some descriptions of the deed painted Biden as a larger-than-life folkloric hero, thus causing this song. (10/12/2012)


“Clash of the Titanic”

In Feburary 1998, at the height of “Titanic”-mania, I wrote a Snide Remarks column in the format of an abbreviated version of the screenplay. This column, “Clash of the Titanic,” subsequently became one of those “anonymous” funny emails that people forwarded to each other in the late ’90s, and earned a fair bit of notoriety. In 2000, looking for things I could record and put on an album, I had my friends Lisa Valentine Clark and Randy Tayler help me perform a reading of the column, recorded and engineered by our other friend Mike Masse. Guest performers: Lisa Valentine Clark, Randy Tayler. (2000; written in February 1998)


“Darth Says It Best”

Some friends of mine conceived this parody in 2000. I happened to be in the room when they wrote it, and I contributed a few lines. These friends performed the song at a Garrens Comedy Troupe show, to mixed reaction. A few years later, I dusted it off, rewrote some of the lyrics, and started performing it. I would gladly give credit to the specific friends whose idea it was, except I don’t remember exactly whom to credit, and I’m not in touch with any of them anymore. Dave, Dan, maybe Leif? Jesse, perhaps? Mack? Some combination of those? Anyway, thanks, guys. (Parody of “When You Say Nothing At All,” music by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz.) (9/27/2004; written in 2000)


“Give Me a Call (A Song for Mom)”

Commissioned for an advertising campaign (they went with somebody else’s but still paid me), honoring all the moms who need their kids to explain computers to them. (4/27/2015)


“I Can’t Stand to Fly”

Another example of wanting to parody a song solely because I enjoyed playing it on the piano. In addition, I like the way the guy from Five for Fighting sings the original version, all high and goofy-like. The first line, “I can’t stand to fly,” very naturally suggested a song about commercial air travel. (Parody of “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” music by Jon Ondrasik.) (11/14/2005)


“I’m Handsome”

This thing sat around, half-written, for maybe four years before I finally finished it and performed it. I don’t remember what (or who) inspired it, specifically. (10/13/2003; written 1997; first performed February 2001)


“An Interview with Harry Potter”

I did a solo podcast for a couple of years of weekly film reviews. When the fifth Harry Potter came out (coinciding with the final Harry Potter book release), I decided to pep things up with this goofy mash-up interview. The format came from The Dr. Demento Show’s Whimsical Will, who got it from Dickie Goodman, who was doing this sort of thing back in the ’50s. (7/11/2007)


“An Interview with Indiana Jones”

This was just for fun (I wasn’t doing that podcast anymore), and because I enjoyed making these when I was a teenager and enjoyed it even more with digital technology to help me. (5/23/2008)


“Is It Weird? (The Lord of the Rings Song)”

One of my favorite things is to introduce this song as being about “some people’s religious beliefs,” and to watch the audience grow more and more uncomfortable as the first verse progresses. Then, when I sing “Oh, my lord … OF THE RINGS,” there is an audible sigh of relief as they realize I’m not being sacrilegious after all. (9/27/2004; written late 2003)


“It’s the Most Fantastic Time of the Year”

A tribute to Fantastic Fest, the Alamo Drafthouse’s face-meltingly awesome film festival. (Parody of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” music by George Wyle.) (8/31/2017)


“The Lady Is a Trump”

From the before times, when nobody thought he would win.  (Parody of “The Lady Is a Tramp,” music by Richard Rodgers.) (6/5/2016)


“Megan the Vegan”

I recall meeting someone who claimed to be a vegan, yet who was rather noticeably overweight. I thought: He seems fat for a vegan. “Fat for a Vegan” struck me as a good idea for a song, and eventually it evolved into this, an old-style love song about a trend that didn’t exist when old-style songs were “in.” (11/14/2005)


“Mel Gibson”

This was a direct response to the incident where he got pulled over for drunk driving and ranted about Jews and called the cop “sugar t*ts.” (Parody of “Moon River,” music by Henry Mancini.) (8/3/2006)


“Mr. Bright Guy”

I loved “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers and wanted to do a parody just so I could play it on the piano. (That was the impetus behind several parodies, actually.) The chorus begins with the word “jealousy,” and it’s positioned in such a way that many listeners think that, not “Mr. Brightside,” is the title of the song. So I toyed with “jealousy” and came up with “Jeopardy,” and thought briefly of making up a story where I appeared on “Jeopardy!” before I remembered that “Weird Al” Yankovic already did that. I had pretty much abandoned the idea when it occurred to me, out of the blue, to sing about Ken Jennings, the Utah fellow who won 74 games straight in 2004. The song’s references to the Final Jeopardy question that finally defeated him are accurate. (Parody of “Mr. Brightside,” music by Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, and Ronnie Vannucci.) (11/14/2005)


Songs from Musical! The Musical: “Give It All up for You”; “Why Would I Go out with You?”; and “Everyone I Know (Is in Love) (Except Me)”

From a musical I’d like to write someday that would explore all the tropes of musicals. Explanations of the songs are included in the recording. (10/13/2003 and 11/14/2005)


“Not Fooling Anyone”

A song about someone who is gay but doesn’t want to tell anyone yet. When I wrote this, I myself was out to most friends and some family, but not all the way, and not publicly. Without knowing that it comes from a place of empathy and understanding, the song probably seems kind of mean. (Parody of “Bad Day,” music by Daniel Powter.) (10/22/2006)


“Randy Newman’s Title Song from ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin'”

I know I’m not the first person to record a fake Randy Newman movie song. I don’t remember why I chose this particular film (an indie release that many people never heard of) other than its general inappropriateness, but I was delighted later to interview its star, Ezra Miller, and learn that he’d heard about it. (1/7/2012)


“Randy Newman’s Title Song from ‘Skyfall'”

This song is too long, but I was pleased with myself for incorporating the James Bond theme music into the tune. Incidentally, the actual “Skyfall” score was by Thomas Newman, who is Randy’s brother. (11/8/2012)


“Randy Newman’s Title Song from ’12 Years a Slave'”

I wanted to do another one of these for something from the 2013/2014 awards season, and “12 Years a Slave” was the obvious inappropriate choice. (1/11/2014)


“The Randy Tayler Show with Chewbacca”

An improvised scene from The Garrens Comedy Troupe. We did this format a few times, where Randy the talk show host had the audience suggest a famous fictional character and I had to be that person (or Wookiee). Again, all improvised, so blame that if it’s not funny. Guest performer: Randy Tayler. (11/5/1999)


“Rocky: The Musical”

They announced that they were working on a musical version of “Rocky” (for real), so I envisioned the opening number. (12/7/2011)


“The Scully Song”

I had a major crush on Agent Scully of “The X-Files” for a long time, even after the show got tiresome and stupid. When there was a minor radio hit called “David Duchovny,” I thought What about Scully?! and wrote this. (10/13/2003; written September 1999)

Here’s another version, recorded at The Garrens Comedy Troupe with my own spoken introduction. You can hear me laugh at the very end because one of the male cast members had surprised me by coming out onstage in a skirt and a red wig. (12/4/1999)


“Songs About Rainbows”

It’s about time someone pointed this out. (10/13/2003)


“That’s a Moore-ay”

An acquaintance of mine wrote a parody of “That’s Amore” about something extremely local to Utah Valley, and I was impressed with how clever and fun it was. For some reason, that translated into wanting to do my own parody of “That’s Amore,” even though “That’s Amore” is not exactly a current popular song or particularly fun to play on the piano or anything like that. But that’s what I wanted to do, and by gum, I did it. It also provided a nominal counterbalance to “Why Do You Hate America?” (Parody of “That’s Amore,” music by Harry Warren.) (11/14/2005)


“Those Were the Days”

I remember where I was when I conceived the idea for this future-nostalgic song: lying in bed in a hotel room in Monticello, Utah, where the next day I was playing keyboards for a band that was touring the county fair circuit. What thought process led to the idea, I don’t remember, but the lines “I remember the thong/That you wore to our prom” came to me instantly. (9/27/2004)


“The Titanic Song”

This song addresses most of the points of my semi-famous “Titanic” column, i.e. that the film is too long and features heroic characters who are morally questionable. (Parody of “My Heart Will Go On,” music by James Horner.) (10/13/2003; written early 1998)


“Vincent Van Gogh”

Don McLean also wrote “American Pie,” which is a more familiar tune. Do you like the “Holland days”/Hollandaise pun? I sure do.(Parody of “Vincent (Starry, Starry Night),” music by Don McLean.) (10/13/2003)


“When I Was Six”

I love the basic joke of this song, not a word of which is true. (10/13/2003)


“Why Do You Hate America?”

On a “Simpsons” episode in early 2004, the Simpsons visited a county fair where a country band played a song with this same idea: If you’re against the war in Iraq, you must hate America and all of its symbols. It was just a verse, heard in passing, but I thought it was a great idea so I wrote my own version. Guest musician: Mike Massé on everything but piano. (7/2004)

And here’s the live version. (9/27/2004)


“You Make Me Want to Be Good”

This one has a very basic idea: A guy sings about how he’s cleaned up his act since falling in love, and the joke is how much his act really needed cleaning up. (Secondary, subtextual joke: Now he has no personality at all.) I like the music a lot; it’s very fun to play, very Ben Folds-ian in its strict left-hand rhythm and syncopated right-hand shenanigans. Ideally, the part where I sing “ba-ba-da” instead of lyrics would be filled in by a horn section (like in Ben Folds’ “Army”). (11/14/2005; written summer 2004)


“Your Thong”/”Don’t Know Why”

The first part is a parody of the version of Elton John’s “Your Song” that Ewan McGregor sings in “Moulin Rouge.” Then there’s a response from the point of view of the person being described, which helps soften the meanness by establishing that she realizes her mistake, too. (Parody of “Your Song,” music by Elton John and Bernie Taupin/”Don’t Know Why,” music by Jesse Harris.) (10/13/2003)







Mormon/BYU/Utah Culture

“The General Authorities Song”

In which I sing the names of all the current General Authorities of the LDS Church. I first wrote this in 1996 for the Garrens Comedy Troupe and have updated it periodically. Here are some of the versions that survive.

1998:

2003:

2005:

2010:


“Hold on, the Light Will Change”

This is a parody of “Hold on, the Light Will Come” by Mormon pop songwriter Michael McLean. I make fun of him here, but he’s really a talented guy and certainly one of the nicest famous people I’ve ever met. I wanted to do a parody of one of his songs, and I read once where he said “Hold on, the Light Will Come” was the one he considered the most special or something, so I figured that should be the one I mocked. In 1998, I had the extreme pleasure of performing this at a Michael McLean concert at BYU, in front of Michael McLean. He and his audience loved it. (Parody of “Hold on, the Light Will Come,” music by Michael McLean.) (10/13/2003; written February 1997)


“It Had to Be U”

Lisa Valentine Clark and her sister Gina James were asked to put together some entertainment for a BYU alumni function, and they recruited me to help out. The three of us wrote this, figuring it would be easy laughs from a BYU alumni crowd. We were right. (Parody of “It Had to Be You,” music by Isham Jones.) (10/13/2003; written October 2000)


“Livin’ la Vida Utah”

When the Ricky Martin song was a hit, this parody pretty much wrote itself. (Parody of “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” music by Desmond Child and Robi Rosa.) (10/13/2003; written January 2000)


“My Siamese Twin Fiancee”

I came up with this while sitting in church one Sunday afternoon, and swiped some of the tune from a song somebody sang that day. The lyrics continue in the tradition of “Since My Best Friend Got Engaged.” I don’t know if people outside of Utah will appreciate just how pivotal engagements are to the local culture, so they might have to take my word for it.(10/13/2003; written February 2001)


“Piano Man”

This is an old one, written in 1996, I think, about the vagaries of being a Mormon (a BYU student, really) who plays the piano. I always felt like it needed one more verse to wrap things up, and since I never wrote one, I always felt like the song was unfinished. Consequently, I rarely performed it — once in a Garrens Comedy Troupe show, I think, and now and then for friends. Imagine my surprise when, upon performing it in a couple of Provo shows (including the one recorded here), it got some of the best laughs of the night. (Parody of “Piano Man,” music by Billy Joel.) (10/13/2003; written 1996; first performed 2000)


“The Pioneer Song”

I’m very proud of this, which was as perfect a Garrens parody as we ever had. It was written in 1997, the year of the Mormon Pioneer Sesquicentennial celebration, so the timing was great. The song is upbeat and peppy, which equals audience energy, which is a good thing. And the song it’s a parody of is one that was played at every BYU dance for about five years straight, so everyone knew it. (Note: The LDS Church-produced pioneer film “Legacy” is no longer in regular rotation, so I offer these alternate lyrics: “When it’s nighttime, I get frightened, I get scared, because the plains are full of death and that’s a fact / It’s not glamorous, it’s not cool, it’s not romantic, no it’s not a thing you’d want to reenact.”) Guest musicians: Mike Masse, Lincoln Hoppe, Scott Reinwand. (Parody of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” music by Craig Reid and Charlie Reid.) (summer 1999; written March 1997)

A live version, with Mike Masse on guitar and backup vocals. (10/13/2003)

Another live version, this time with video! It’s from The Garrens Comedy Troupe 20th Anniversary Reunion Spectacular. Guest musicians: Mike Masse, Lincoln Hoppe, Brent Hoppe. (9/14/2013)


“Since My Best Friend Got Engaged”

This is an old Garrens standard, inspired by the chaste, marriage-centric culture at BYU (and in Mormonism generally). Each verse is based on a different specific engaged couple I knew at the time, though the thing I heard most often from audiences is how applicable everything was to every engaged couple. It has an undercurrent of sadness, especially when you know it’s about a closeted gay fellow whose friends keep leaving him for girls (which nobody did know back then, but you know now). (10/13/2003; written July 1996)


“UVSC”

That’s Utah Valley State College, the institution just up the road from Brigham Young University that was viewed as BYU’s younger, dumber brother, the place you went when you couldn’t get into BYU. I used to make fun of it a lot in Snide Remarks. It became Utah Valley University in 2008, completing ruining this song. This song, by the way, was the idea of Howard Tayler, who wrote a version of it for the Garrens Comedy Troupe in 1995. I wasn’t in the group at the time but saw the performance and thought the song was great. In 2004, I asked Howard if I could use it in my show, only to learn Howard hadn’t kept the lyrics and couldn’t remember any of them. There was no recording of the show, either, and none of the cast members who performed it had kept the lyrics. (We’d have had a record if I’d been in the group at the time, believe you me.) So with Howard’s blessing, I wrote my own “UVSC” parody lyrics from scratch, save for the last two lines, which are the only part of Howard’s version I could remember. I wish to stress how annoyed I was to only get four years of usefulness out of the song before the place became UVU. (Parody of “Under the Sea,” music by Alan Menken.) (9/27/2004)


“A Whole New Ward (The Young Ambassadors)”

This was the Garrens’ first big song-and-dance number, done in the style of BYU’s cheesy song-and-dance troupe The Young Ambassadors (hence the badly acted dialogue and warbly singing). The song was conceived by original-cast Garrens Jenni Smith and Julia Burden, and co-written by them and me. Guest performer: Lisa Valentine Clark. (Parody of “A Whole New World,” music by Alan Menken.) (10/13/2003; written March 1993)


“Work at the MTC”

When young Mormons go on their two-year missions, they spend the first few weeks at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, being taught by BYU students (it’s technically an on-campus job) who have already completed their own missions. I wrote this parody for someone else to perform, a friend of mine who needed a song to sing for a talent show, or a big group date, or something. In fact, the idea for the song might have even been his. Who can say? Who can say without calling him up and asking, I mean. (Parody of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” music by Todd Pipes and Toby Pipes.) (10/13/2003; written 2000.)