Classical Music Buzz > Classical music | The Guardian > Can classical music be funny? | ...

It's hard to find any truly comedy classical, but record covers are another matter. And as for classical critics doing standup ...

Can you think of any funny classical music? Haydn string quartets? They might induce a self-congratulatory Wigmore Hall-style titter, but that's about it. Rossini overtures or Charles Ives? Possibly, but Tom Lehrer or Flanders and Swann they ain't.

The problem is that, with a handful of exceptions (such as Malcolm Arnold's A Grand, Grand Overture, originally composed for Gerard Hoffnung and performed here at the Proms a couple of years ago by a cast of celebrities on vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, and rifles), you need words or images to really be funny.

Instead of looking for the most hilarious piece of music, what about a search for the best, funniest or most toe-curlingly kitschy classical music record cover of all time? Here's my contribution, something I found in Boston the other week: Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops present: Saturday Night Fiedler! – which may be the greatest musical pun of all time, even with its rather disturbing suggestion of nocturnal geriatric fiddling. Apart, that is, from the puns I visited upon an unsuspecting Comedy Store audience as part of Stand Up for Comic Relief.

I was one of the BBC radio presenters who tried their hands at standup, with hopefully risible – in a good way – results. As Charlotte Higgins's arts diary mentioned, you've got until 7pm tonight to vote for Dev, Tony Blackburn, me, Jenni Murray, Tony Livesey, and Shaun Keaveny you like – but ideally, for me. And remember, you can vote by phone as many times as you like to do your bit for Comic Relief!

Tom Service
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

3 years ago |
Tag
| Read Full Story
Soap Box
Add to the conversation. Log In or Sign Up now.
InstantEncore