Here’s a Canada-Themed Sneak Peek of ‘CollegeHumor’s Comedy Music Hall of Fame’

CollegeHumor and IFC are teaming up this Friday for the first-ever Comedy Music Hall of Fame, a celebration of all things comedy music-related hosted by Paul F. Tompkins. Ahead of its premiere, CollegeHumor has given us a sneak peek music video from the show called “If Canadians Made A Rap Diss Video” starring Siobhan Thompson and Patrick Cassels, which you can check out above. (To all the Canadian viewers out there: Sorry.)

We reached out to Comedy Music Hall of Fame producer and CollegeHumor’s president of original content Sam Reich to find out more about how the special came about and what to expect when it airs on IFC this Friday at 10:00pm and 11:00pm on CollegeHumor’s website:

How did the idea for the Comedy Music Hall of Fame come together?

Well, I’ve been a comedy music fan my whole life. I won a summer camp lip sync battle to Weird Al’s “Phony Calls” once. Weird Al actually more or less introduced me to comedy, not to mention to music — I don’t think I listened to any popular music before I listened to the real versions of Weird Al parodies to see what the source material was. But then as a company, CollegeHumor has been doing parody music since I started the original content department in 2006. One of our first hit videos was “Brohemian Rhapsody,” and then the most popular CollegeHumor video of all time is a “Gangnam Style” parody called “Mitt Romney Style,” which is super relevant right now. [laughs]

We do some original music too — in fact, in the Comedy Music Hall of Fame there’s a couple of CollegeHumor original music videos in it. So it’s a space that we love, and we were talking about doing something big in the space and someone said “Is there a Comedy Music Hall of Fame like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?” And the answer was of course no, so then we all looked at each other and said “Well, why don’t we just make it? How official does it have to be? Let’s just be the authority.” And we wanted to approach it in kind of a mock-serious way — after all, this is a fun medium; we don’t need to celebrate seriously, we need to celebrate it whimsically. We started talking to IFC about it because we thought their sensibility was perfect for it, and it all just kind of came together.

You said you didn’t want to approach it too seriously, but considering it’s a Hall of Fame, how historical does this special get?

That was actually one of the biggest challenges in producing the show. “Comedy music” is kind of a term we had to invent. I mean, it’s a term that’s out there, but there’s this grouping of talent that you look at and you go, “These people are definitely comedy musicians,” right? Like Weird Al, Tenacious D, Bo Burnham, The Lonely Island, Flight of the Conchords — those are all comedy music people. But then what about Broadway musical comedies? Those are technically comedy music…so in the end, we had to be very selective about what we included as part of the show, and really, it’s more the former category.

We don’t broaden that too much in the definition of comedy music — we celebrate what we feel like are the biggest voices in the medium and the emerging artists in the medium, who for the most part come from the internet. And we do get a little historical. There’s one wonderful piece that we partnered with this New York musical comedy group called CDZA on, which is the history of comedy music. It’s kind of a medley that takes us from “Monster Mash” all the way up until now.

And you have the perfect host in Paul F. Tompkins. How’d he get involved?

Oh my God, that was one of those cases where we knew we wanted to do this Hall of Fame setting, and we knew we wanted an emcee character who would nail that mock-serious, James Liptony kind of tone. So we were always writing with Paul F. Tompkins in mind, and then every once in a while we’d turn to each other and go “Who can we get to do this if not Paul?” And when we reached out to him our fingers were crossed so hard they were bleeding, and he said yes. Thank the Lord, because were writing all the material in his voice. In the show, he speaks our material, then he turns around and does interviews with the talent that are totally improvised. So thank goodness. He’s such a great performer — he’s so quick on his toes and seamless. The interviews are some of the funniest material on the show.

How much of the show is interviews versus performances or music videos?

It’s really a potpourri. [laughs] There are three of what we’d call emerging comedy musicians that we celebrate — Trevor Moore, Rachel Bloom, and Patrick Noth — and they’re all live with us in the studio. Then there’s a handful of more well-known comedy musicians that we celebrate — Tenacious D, The Gregory Brothers, and we do Weird Al at the end of the show with a Lifetime Achievement Award. And then obviously there’s a lot of music in the show — some of our favorite comedy music videos, then there’s comedy music that we created to live as a part of the show. We actually collaborated with a lot of younger YouTube comedy music talent to create a kind of remix of all of them combined…we did something where everybody riffs in the key of G and then we combined them into this big comedy music medley. So the show’s like a multimedia explosion.

…I said the word “explosion” so deadpan just then. It’s an explosion.

CollegeHumor’s Comedy Music Hall of Fame airs on IFC this Friday at 10:00pm and on CollegeHumor’s website at 11:00pm.

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