There’s a special kind of magic that happens when music is added to the equation of a proper comedy. What would How High be without Redman and Method Man? How would we know when to party on, or that mullets were so fashionable, without Wayne’s World? We’ve put together a list of some of the most memorable music-related comedies for you to add to your watch list.
Whether it’s John C Reilly turning the legacy of Johnny Cash upside down in Walk Hard or Rachel McAdams putting on her best (read: worst) Icelandic accent alongside Will Ferrel in Eurovision Song Contest, these are the comedies that are guaranteed to hit the high notes while splitting your sides in the process.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007) Directed by Jake Kasdan
Released merely two years after the Johnny Cash biopic that inspired it,Walk Hard chronicles the rise and fall of Dewey Cox, America’s greatest country musician that never was. Starring John C. Reilley in the lead role, the film is unabashedly committed to making a mockery of every biopic that predates it, recreating history with far too many cameos to count, most notably being Jack White as the slurred-spoken Elvis. But it’s the soundtrack, primarily written and performed by Reilly himself, that elevates the movie from generic satire to something far more noteworthy.
House Party (1990) Directed by Reginald Hudlin
Bursting with explosive spirit, House Party has the unique ability to turn any good-natured movie night into an all-out dance party. Starring 90s hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play, and featuring Martin Lawrence five years before Bad Boys, the film takes place over one legendary night at one banger of a house party. Dance-offs and freestyle battles abound, backed by the hip-hop-centric soundtrack that will all but literally blow the roof right of your own house.
Airheads (1994) Directed by Michael Lehmann
It was apparently just as difficult to make it as a band in 1994 as it is today. With that in mind, Airheads follows the members of rock band, The Lone Rangers, who hold a radio station hostage in a desperate attempt to get their music played on the air. Airheads is exactly the kind of thing that happens when you mix Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, and Brendan Fraser with the time-period’s strange obsession with comedies about vacant-headed, rockstar wannabes (see Wayne’s World, Bill and Ted etc). Brendan Fraser with long hair is worth the price of admission alone.
Popstar: Never Stop Stopping (2016) Directed by Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer
The Lonely Island music-comedy trio were always destined to make this film, and although Popstar missed the mark at the box office, Andy Samberg’s follow-up to MacGruber and Hot Rod (let’s just forget about The Watch) provides more than a few laughs. Poking fun at the idolization of modern-day celebrities, Samberg is on point as insecure bad boy, Conner4Real, and the long list of celebrity cameos in combination with a slew of shenanigans, such as a memorable scene in which Seal (played by Seal) is mauled by wolves, make this a respectable addition to the Lonely Island catalogue.
Wayne’s World (1992) Directed by Penelope Spheeris
With humble beginnings as a segment on the good ol’ CBC, what would then become a Saturday Night Live sketch and, subsequently, a box office smash, was the world’s introduction to the torturously wacky brain of Canadian comedy icon, Mike Myers. Air guitars, backseat Bohemian Rhapsody singalongs, and trucker hats reign supreme in this cult classic. We’re not worthy!
A Mighty Wind (2003) Directed by Christopher Guest
Legendary comedians Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy take a loving jab at the 60s folk music revival and the toll the drug-fuelled psychedelia took on all those involved. Told in the form of a mockumentary, Levy and Catherine O’hara (Schitt’s Creek fans unite!) steal the show, playing off each improvised yarn and punchline with a sincere conclusion that will have anyone feeling nostalgic for a time long since departed.
How High (2001) Directed by Jesse Dylan
How High is the epitome of stoner comedies, with a premise so ridiculous it only really makes sense if you’ve hit the bong a few times. Two knuckleheaded pot smokers, played by rappers Redman and Method Man, make it into Harvard after getting assistance on their exams from the ghost of a dead friend they conjured by smoking the poor friend’s ashes. 2001 was, apparently, a much simpler time. “I figure if I study high, take the test high, get high scores!” is all the logic we needed to give this film a passing grade.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) Directed by David Dobkin
When two small town musicians from Iceland miraculously make it into Eurovision, a journey complete with over the top musical performances, a blonde-haired Will Ferrell, and murder, begins. The unlikely duo of Ferrell and Rachel Mcadams is surprisingly watchable, with a soundtrack of well-produced songs that only augment their absurd fake Icelandic accents. It’s a movie that, on paper, sounds like it would suck, but by some twist of fate, exceeds expectations and will, at the very least, put a smile on your face.