Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The 10 funniest music videos of the 1980s

Before YouTube, if you wanted to watch a short, funny video, you had essentially two choices: America’s Funniest Home Videos and MTV music videos. Neither was efficient because you’d first have to wade/wait through a lot of non-qualifiers.

The following is not a list of the unintentionally kind of funny—those are too numerous to rank.

I liked Richie better than Fonzie, Paul better than John, Brandon better than Dylan, so you may find some of my choices a bit...square? (But you remember what Huey Lewis and the News said about that.)

I did not count parody artists like Weird Al. (Maybe he’s the only one.)

I compiled the list by memory rather than study, so let me know favorites of yours that I may have overlooked.

None of these videos overlap with any of the videos in round 1 of my “girl in the video” interview series…but one (almost two) will be seen in the upcoming round 2.

Before watching the videos, can you identify which of them include the following fisheye/close-up shots? 

The list:

#10 – “Paranoimia” by Art of Noise (1986)

Not laugh-out-loud funny but fun in watching the elasticity of Max Headroom, which easily could have been an influence on Jim Carrey.

#9 – “All I Need Is a Miracle” by Mike + the Mechanics (1986)

Again not an all-out riot, but the exchange between the band’s hapless manager and the menacing club owner is wry.

#8 – “Bust a Move” by Young MC (1989)

Some goofiness throughout (facial expressions as opposed to fashion—though you will see pants made of stuffed animals), amplified by the whimsical lyrics.

#7 – “Stuck With You” by Huey Lewis and the News (1986)

Because of the iconic heads sticking out of the sand, “If This Is It” would be the more obvious choice, but the partygoers in the opening vignette of this video elicit a smile. A slightly less wacky motley crew than the David Lee Roth players (who appear below).

#6 – “Love Shack” by the B-52’s (1989)

The song is called “Love Shack” and the video delivers. Ranks primarily for the dancing.

#5 – “Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel (1983)

I especially like the way both the Ed Sullivan audience and the young brothers sway to the music like human metronomes and the times when characters break the fourth wall and shoot a look to the viewer. (Without them, would we have Dramatic Chipmunk?)

#4 – “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon (1986)

Chevy Chase.

#3 – “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” by David Lee Roth (1985)

Though the jabs at fellow ‘80s musical icons land flat, the kooky ensemble and Dave himself are aces. Simple but winning character sketches. 

#2 – “Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins (1985)

Say what you want about Phil Collins, but the man has good comic timing. He double-takes as well as he drums. The cast of characters is clueless, the highlight being the sandwich-sponging, fake-blood-spurting gentleman. 

#1 – “Yankee Rose” by David Lee Roth (1986)

The opening convenience store free-for-all is as entertaining as the rest of the video (and the song itself) is forgettable. I still laugh out loud after nearly 30 years.


As you can see, with five entries, the funniest year was 1986. Tied for second with two entries each: 1985 and 1989. (That leaves you, lone 1983.)


Corey said...

My funny videos from the 80s:

Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" and "We're Not Gonna Take It", Genesis' "Invisible Touch", Beastie Boys "You Got Fight For Your Right To Party", The Clash's "Rock The Casbah", and The Spoons' "Tell No Lies".

Old School said...

Definitely agree with your Top 4. Fun topic!

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