NMT COUNTDOWN: Top 10 Comedic Character Songs
It’s back to school season and The Green Room is looking out for you. All this month, the NMT Countdown series is bringing you a guide to the best-selling songs on NMT from the last year. Are you planning a cabaret and looking for the perfect stand-alone song? Are you a soprano looking for audition material that shows off your classical skills? The NMT Countdowns will guide you to some of the best songs NMT has to offer. PLUS: for today only, get 20% off the songs on this list with the code NMTCOUNTDOWN. Happy singing!
Let’s be honest – the crazy, fast-talking characters are often the most fun to play, and with good reason! The songs that result when you get one of those crazy characters talking are often hysterical, and trying to pick from the many that exist can be hard. To help you narrow down your search, I present NMT’s top 10 best-selling comedic character songs from the last year!
1. “Two Little Lines” by Drew Gasparini
Why I Love It: A story about a teenager waiting for a pregnancy test result, the song starts with “Shit, shit, shit” and just gets better from there! The girl wonders what her family will think of her, comments on how dirty the bathroom is (then decides it will be her new home), and bemoans how she’ll look in her prom dress if it’s positive. Amidst the humour, though, is heart, as the girl reassures herself that her future is bright, tells herself she has nothing to be scared of, and wishes for her mom beside her. The way Drew Gasparini blends the two makes for a great character song.
2. “Calm” by Adam Gwon
Why I Love It: The song starts with fast paced rambling, clearly setting the tone for the rest of the piece as the character details how her crazy day has driven her… well, crazy! She begs for a place that she can just be calm, and details all the ways she’s tried (including a hysterical description of how her life coach, who told her to “just breathe,” chokes to death on her scarf). The piano plays upbeat and rolling in the background, adding to the irony of the song. Eventually, she pays for an apartment in Jersey that she stumbled upon, simply because it’s calm – only to realize that it’s a little too calm for her, and she misses the craziness of the city. It’s a hysterical journey from beginning to end!
3. “Nothing Short of Wonderful” by Pasek & Paul
Why I Love It: As Rose rambles, the audience gets a glimpse into her inner monologue as she tries to prepare for her impromptu date – what should she wear? What should she do with her hair? She comically refers to herself as butternut squash at one point, and later on, calls herself a “loon” and a “mess.” She also wonders what the date will bring – what if they dance, what if they kiss? Overall, the song is sweet and funny, and perfectly sums up how one feels on a first date, ending with a hushed, awed “Oh my gosh.”
4. “In Short” by Pasek & Paul
Why I Love It: The character cheerfully tells her ex the many ways she can kill him, then lets him know about damage already done in this song that just gets funnier and funnier. She takes a break from her description of how she hopes he suffers to tell him, most sincerely, that she actually wishes they could get back together… but is quick to remind him that the reason they can’t is because he’s a terrible human being, and that she hopes he dies. My favourite part? The monologue near the end about the ex falling on his tweezers in the bathroom, because he always cared about his eyebrows more than he cared about her. (And by the way, his eyes aren’t hazel – they’re brown!)
5. “On Monday” by Ryan Scott Oliver
Why I Love It: Ryan Scott Oliver gives us a glimpse at the journey of a brand new couple, starting with the first meeting – on a Monday, normally a terrible day but “good for you” – and ending with a wedding (maybe). Along the way, we see the frustration at how long their relationship is taking to develop –they don’t kiss, they don’t see each other as much as the character would like, they don’t go away for the weekend – but are reminded that it’s ultimately worth it because “the greatest love takes the greatest while.” Not to mention the soft rock accompaniment is amazing!
6. “TMI” by Carner & Gregor
Why I Love It: The character can’t help but get side-tracked as she gives way too much information to the guy she’s on a first date with. She talks about how she noticed his ripped abs first, her sexual relations with a guy in her freshman year of college, the size of her brother’s junk, and the medications in her bathroom cabinet – then notices that her date looks uncomfortable, and asks if she’s said too much. Her complete openness and naivety as to how she makes others uncomfortable with her over sharing makes her character, and the song, charming and funny.
7. “And I Breathe” by Salzman & Cunningham
Why I Love It: The character, Luke, tells us about his struggle to quit smoking, despite his promise to his girlfriend. He “quits” several times throughout the song, each time needing just one more to satisfy his craving before he says goodbye. Comically, he tells the audience of the relief he feels as he takes that first drag from a cigarette – his vision clears, his craving disappears, and he feels like he can breathe. He finally says a farewell to his little buddies, promising that the next time he gets the urge to smoke, he’ll just breathe – not just for his girlfriend, not just for himself, but for their relationship.
8. “…But I Don’t Want To Talk About Her” by Salzman & Cunningham
Why I Love It: A first date goes hysterically awry when Austin can’t stop talking about his ex-girlfriend. Every topic introduced seems to bring him back to her and he tells his date how wonderfully smart and beautiful his ex-girlfriend is, until his date has finally had enough. She begins to list all of the things she doesn’t want to talk about, and he calls her whiny, at which point in time she reminds him that he spent most of the conversation talking about his ex-girlfriend, bringing the song full circle.
9. “Generation Apathy” by Nick Blaemire
Why I Love It: In this song, the character sums up the problem with our generation: apathy. He lists the ways our generation has managed to avoid effort, and reminds us that by avoiding effort, we also avoid heartbreak and happiness – both things necessary to make us better people. The song is funny because it’s true – and the character is so frank about the “generation apathy” that you can’t help but love it.
10. “A Hypochondriac’s Song” by Ryan Scott Oliver
Why I Love It: This is another song that allows us a glimpse into the character’s inner thoughts – but this time, it is the fear that overtakes her every time any kind of affliction is mentioned. She is certain that she has every ailment, and that if she doesn’t, she will. Her slight craziness is humorous, but the true fear and frustration she feels in her situation strikes a chord in anyone who’s been afraid of illness. (Performers, I think we can all relate to that!)
What are your favourite comedic character songs? Any that didn’t make the list? Let me know in the comments section below!
Click here to stream today’s NMT Countdown playlist. Remember, the code NMTCOUNTDOWN is good for these songs today only, so if you’re planning for a comedic audition anytime this fall, you’ll want to get your sheet music today!