2021: Return to Normalcy?

2021 was supposed to be the opposite of 2020. It didn’t quite turn out that way, as six days into the new year, we were treated to the culmination of four years of lunacy (and not the good kind), and that mutated virus we’d been dealing with decided to hang around as long as possible (and so did Covid-19). But, to misquote the nameless hero who survived being turned into a newt, we got better.

This year’s Funny 25 features a lot of classics and familiar faces to comfort us and to bring back a sense of the kind of insanity that we actually appreciate around here. A couple of notes…

“The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati” first appeared in 1974 under the name Possum, because the band (Rose & The Arrangements) wanted to hide their identity. It shows up this year for the first time since 1978.

Sadly this year, we lost the purveyor of gadgets nobody knew they needed (and really didn’t), Ron Popeil. Fun fact: Ron’s sister, Lisa Popeil, has been a backup singer for Weird Al, including on his homage to the father of the infomercial, “Mr. Popeil”.

I don’t believe I have ever heard the B-side to one of my least favorite songs ever: “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks. They say that “Put The Bone In” was intentionally bad, so the DJ’s would know which side of the record to play, but if it were up to me, I’d be paralyzed with indecision…about whether to burn the record or simply smash it with a hammer.

My favorite springtime anthem, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” by Tom Lehrer, makes just its third appearance in the Funny 25 since its debut in 1978. I really thought that one would be in the Top 100 by now, but this is its first showing in almost 20 years.

Here are the changes to Dr. Demento’s TOP 100 (or so) DEMENTED HITS (from Funny 25’s) – 1974 to 2021

  • The “Smoke-Off” by Shel Silverstein moves up from #12 to #11, passing “The Scotsman” by Bryan Bowers.
  • Doctor Demento’s version of “Shaving Cream” goes up a spot to #29, returning for the first time in 30 years. If it were combined with Benny Bell’s version, this song would be #7 on the Top 100.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “The Time Warp” makes a jump from a tie at #66 all the way up to #36.
  • Jonathan Coulton’s “RE: Your Brains” moves way up from a tie at #54 to #37 all on its own.
  • By virtue of its return to the countdown after 40+ years, “The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati” moves up from a tie at #42 to a tie at #40 with Travesty, Ltd.’s “Rock and Roll Doctor” and “Last Will And Temperament” by The Frantics.
  • “The Vatican Rag” by Tom Lehrer was dropped off the Top 100.

#25 The Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati – Rose & The Arrangement
#24 Mr. Popeil – “Weird Al” Yankovic
#23 Put The Bone In – Terry Jacks
#22 Shaving Cream – Dr. Demento
#21 Mr. Biden (Bring My Vaccine) – Randy Rainbow & The Robinettes
#20 Titties And Beer – Frank Zappa
#19 Poisoning Pigeons In The Park – Tom Lehrer
#18 Eleanor Rigby – Doodles Weaver

#17 Existential Blues – Tom “T-Bone” Stankus
#16 Fish Heads – Barnes & Barnes
#15 I Like – Heathen Dan
#14 Re: Your Brains (live in Santa Monica) – Jonathan Coulton
#13 The Smoke-Off – Shel Silverstein
#12 Fart Patrol – Steam Powered Giraffe
#11 Racist Sexist Boy – The Linda Lindas

#10 Jesus Horse Camp – The Other Favorites
#9 Little Bobert Sunshine – Barnes & Barnes
#8 The Time Warp – The Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast
#7 I Wanna Be A Teen Titan – Knuckleheadz w/ Stimulator Jones
#6 Locked In The Closet With You (2021 version) – SuLu
#5 Dead Puppies – Ogden Edsl Wahalia Blues Ensemble Mondo Bizzario Band

#4 Lazy Day – Knuckleheadz
#3 They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! – Napoleon XIV
#2 Talking Media Fear Makers Blues – Izzy Zimmerman & The Sal Nation Army Band

#1 Peed In My Pants – Knuckleheadz

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