The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 6, No 3 (2018)

Lyrical lessons: The potential of informative comedy music as supplementary teaching material

Matthew McKeague


The comedic arts have provided opportunities for humourists to spread information to audiences, sometimes intentionally and other times as a side effect while trying to create laughter. Educators have also found success incorporating comedy into the classroom with humorous activities. While research regarding comedy as a tool to spread information or educate audiences has focused primarily on literature, broadcast media, and film, the area of informative comedy implemented through music remains relatively unexplored. In this paper, the researcher defines ‘informative comedy’ and takes a critical literacy approach analysing song samples of comedy musician “Weird Al” Yankovic—one of the notable comedic music artists in the 20th and 21st centuries—and discusses how his music could be used in a classroom setting. While comedy such as Yankovic’s is not designed to be an educational tool, the researcher suggests that his songs could be used as supplementary materials in the classroom to reinforce concepts specifically regarding cultural issues through commentary as well as lessons in science and grammar. A central aspect of this exploratory paper involves Yankovic’s mix of comedy and
informative content focused on culture in the United States, using the popular music genre to convey ideas in ways that may be more palatable for wider audiences and that could be used to assist classroom instruction.


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