Who says rock stars can’t be funny, eh? In 2014, filmmaker Brett Morgen – the man behind the camera for fantastic Kurt Cobain documentary Montage Of Heck revealed the full details of the accompanying soundtrack album. And among all the snippets of unreleased material and rare tracks that range from “thrash to ragtime and everything in between”, there’ll also be a “sketch comedy routine”. Of course, to anyone who’s read any classic interviews with Cobain, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise at all – for all the visceral rage and anger to his music, there was always a dry, sarcastic, hilarious side to his personality, too. He’s not the only musician who’s chanced his hand at comedy, either – here’s 11 others who’ve tried putting down the guitar and to tickle your funny bone…
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s another singer who’s taken up an offer from Gervais, popping up in Extras to play a grossly extorted version of himself as an egotistical blowhard only interested in charitable work to boost his CD sales. But his finest comedy moment has to be this 12-minute Red Nose Day sketch, in which he forces the stars of HBO’s Game Of Thrones to take part in a madcap idea for a musical spin-off, with songs including ‘Wilding’, Red Wedding’ and ‘Rastafarian Targaryen’.
Canadian singer Alanis Morissette fits seamlessly into the world of Seinfeld creator Larry David with her turn in Curb Your Enthusiasm: here, he curmudgeonly and cantankerous David is determined to find out exactly who Alanis’ scathing song ‘You Oughta Know’ is really about. Watch it here.
There aren’t many laughs in Purple Rain, but Prince knows how to get a belly laugh out of you. Witness his amazing cameo on US sitcom New Girl, as the Purple One offers to make Zooey Deschanel’s Jess pancakes, schools her at ping-pong and settles down for a lengthy chat about boys.
We all know Radiohead as studious, serious chaps. But no! Not only are Thom Yorke and co funny, they’ve got a wicked, brutal sense of humour, as shown by their appearance on foul-mouthed cartoon South Park. Watch below, as Oxford’s finest head to the small Colorado town to make fun a boy who’s been crying because he’s been tricked into eating his own parents.
All hail the heroic Annie Clark, who’s deadpan disbelief when she comes face-to-face with a mansplaining muso bore on Portlandia will never not be funny (It’s worth noting that Portlandia, the brainchild of Sleater-Kinney hero Carrie Brownstein, is a rich source of dry, satirical laughs in general).
Chrissie Hynde and Chris Isaak
Behemoth-of-a-sitcom Friends ruled the airwaves for so long, it had no trouble pulling in A-list guest stars on a regular basis. Here are just two of ‘em: first up, ‘Wicked Game’ singer Chris Isaak turns up to play a duet with Phoebe, who has a giggling fit at his trademark falsetto vocal and tells him to “pick a more masculine note”. And then there’s The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, a rival musician who steals Phoebe’s spot at Central Perk but later joins forces with her for a rendition of ‘Smelly Cat’.
Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt ham it up as their musical alter-egos Rudy Van Disarzio and Spider Dijon in this Mighty Boosh episode. Among their many spats is an argument about Woodstock, where Rudy forced Spider to stay behind and help clean up the mess. “We should have just split like The Who,” he grumbles. “They were off in a shot. I didn’t see Roger Daltrey in no flipping apron… Daltrey doesn’t hoover for no-one. He is his own man!” Inevitably, a certain curly-haired rocker turns up at the end, pushing a vacuum cleaner around…
Anyone who’s heard Josh Homme’s show on Beats Radio will be well aware of his dry, weird sense of humour. He’s shown it in the past, too: as well as his well-publicised cameo in Matt Berry’s strange, off-kilter comedy series Toast Of London, he’s also responsible for gems like this, as the Queens Of The Stone Age man auditions for the role of RD-D2 in Star Wars…
One of the greatest musician cameos in a film ever, as Alice Cooper lampoons his image as a wild, rock’n’roll beast in favour of being a local history nerd instead. Michael Myers’ lovable but dim rock’n’roll nut blags his way to the backstage area at an Alice Cooper gig, flanked by his nerdy sidekick Garth. And what do they find: drugs, booze, debauchery, hedonism? No chance. “I think one of the most interesting aspects of Milwaukee is that it’s the only major American city to have ever elected three socialist mayors,” declares Cooper, to bewildered stares.
Not content with just being the world’s greatest rockstar ever, the late, great David Bowie proved his comedy chops with this scene-stealing turn from Extras. Here, the Thin White Duke meets Ricky Gervais’ Andy Millman in a swanky bar and decides to serenade him with a song he’s written on the spot: “He’s banal and facile, he’s a fat waste of space,” he sings. Bowie also made appearances in other comedy films, too, including Zoolander.