Musical comedy is a hard thing to pull off. Not only do you have to be funny, but you also have to be a good singer, play an instrument and write songs that are worth listening to over and over again. At least the comedians on this list get a little help from their partners. These are the five essential musical comedy teams you need to check out.
2. Flight of the Conchords (Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie)
New Zealand import Flight of the Conchords (really Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie) formed in 1998, but didn't really began making a splash in the U.S. until their successful HBO One Night Stand comedy special in 2005. That special launched their cult HBO series, Flight of the Conchords, in 2007, which lasted for two seasons. The Conchords -- New Zealand's "fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo" -- have also released a Grammy-nominated self-titled record in 2008 and a follow-up, I Told You I Was Freaky. The Conchords mixture of style parody (each song references a different genre) and deadpan absurdity makes them clever and funny, while the quality of the music makes the totally relistenable.
Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome formed Garfunkel and Oates in 2007 after meeting at L.A.'s UCB theater while both were on bad dates, and the rest is comedy folk history. Unlike some other musical comedy duos, Micucci and Lindhome aren't limited by a concept or schtick -- their funny, catchy songs work as extended jokes on a number of observational topics: "Pregnant Women are Smug," (self-explanatory) "This Party Took a Turn for the Douche," about L.A. club guys in Ed Hardy t-shirts, and "Sex with Ducks," which makes fun of same-sex marriage opponents are all examples of G&O's clever, often biting social commentary. These are some funny, funny ladies. Plus, they're awesome at Doug Benson's "Leonard Maltin Game."
4. Hard 'n Phirm (Chris Hardwick and Mike Phirman)
Forming once in the mid-'90s and again for good in the early 2000s, the Chris Hardwick/Mike Phirman musical comedy team of Hard 'n Phirm are probably best known for their successful Radiohead parody "Rodeohead." In addition to that web hit, the pair released an album, Horses and Grasses, in 2005 and provided all the music for the Rob Zombie animated film The Haunted World of El Superbeasto in 2009. Their half-hour Comedy Central Presents special debuted in 2008, and they wrote and perform the super-catchy theme song for Doug Benson's regular I Love Movies podcast. These two guys have shown just how far you can go as a musical comedy team with just a guitar, a keyhorn and a dream.
5. God's Pottery (Gideon Lamb and Jeremiah Smallchild)
Though they could have easily been written off as just a one-joke pony, the musical comedy pairing of God's Pottery have demonstrated a real knack for building on their major premise. Essentially a parody of a Christian folk duo, Gideon Lamb and Jeremiah Smallchild sing songs songs like the ode to chastity "The Pants Come Off When the Ring Goes On" or the anti-alcohol ditty "Jesus I Need a Drink." Audiences didn't seem to know quite what to make of them when they were finalists on season six of the NBC reality series Last Comic Standing (they were eliminated fairly early), probably because they never dropped character. That's what made them so funny. The duo has released an EP, Live at Comix!, and a book, What Would God's Pottery Do?