There was a time when the pop charts had a smattering of songs that were there for comedy reasons. Jilted John, Joe Dolce, John Otway, Barron Knights, Fred Wanklock to name but a few. TOTP would have the comedy performer squeezed between two serious musical acts. They would provide light relief from the weighty subject matter tackled by the more radical political bands that followed punk – your Shakataks, your Liquid Golds and Your Dooleyses.
The genre was big enough to have also-rans who released non-charting comedy songs regularly and probably did OK on the live circuit. Ivor Big Penis (IIRC) was one such act.
Did we actually buy these records? No – we didn’t. It was the civilians. A chance hearing of a funny line or two in “Shuddup ya face” propels them straight to Woolies with their 99p. “I bought that!” they would say down the pub and learn all of the words for the pleasure of the bar staff and the underage drinkers trying to keep a low profile by targeting shit pubs, desperate for custom.
My days of listening to the top 40 rundown are over – I wouldn’t even be surprised if Mark Goodier doesn’t do it any more (it’ll be someone new and young like Zoe Ball I expect). But the last comedy record I remember being s smasheroo is “Because I got High!” by Afroman. I may be wrong (often am) but it appears to me that the genre is dead. What wax the last out-and-out comedy song to get airplay?