Harry Hill

Funny Times

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With the added pressure of having to be both hilarious and musically interesting enough to listen to once the jokes have worn thin, the comedy album is notoriously difficult to pull off. Weird Al Yankovic and Adam Sandler are perhaps the only artists to make it look effortless, but with the exception of Chris Moyles' recent parody collection, very few contemporary British comedians even attempt the transition. Even Peter Kay, who's scored three number ones under various guises, has yet to record a full studio album. So it comes as a surprise that TV Burp host and standup Harry Hill, who has previously never shown any indication of musical prowess, should take the plunge, having recorded 15 largely self-penned comedic songs for his debut album, Funny Times. With titles like "Nuggets Nocturne" and "I Wish My Brother in Law's Voice Didn't Go Up at the End of Every Sentence," it's clear from the outset that it's a continuation of the surreal and absurdist humor that has endeared him to Saturday night prime-time audiences. Like the show that made him a household name, Funny Times is obsessed with the world of television, from the affectionate teasing of gardening chat show hosts "The Alan Titchmarsh Song" to a caustic dissection of Sarah Jessica Parker and company on the vaudeville cabaret of "The Disappointment Song (Sex and the City)." Elsewhere, there are duets with Coronation Street's Bill Roache on the spaghetti Western-inspired "Ken," ABC's Martin Fry on a relatively straight cover version of Burt Bacharach's "This Guy's in Love with You," and Bruce Forsyth on a rendition of the Paul Anka ballad "I'm Not Anyone," alongside a cod-reggae tribute to Susan Boyle ("Subo") and an amusing homage to Eminem's "Stan" on the stalker anthem "Never Be Holly Willoughby Symphony." Unsurprisingly, the majority of the songs are musically pretty terrible, with Hill's foghorn vocals often echoing the sound of nails being scraped down a blackboard, while "I Wanna Baby" and "Phone Up Yer Mum" recall the irritating Cockney pub singalongs of Chas & Dave rather than the infectious comedic tones of Monty Python they are obviously striving for. However, Funny Times does manage to encapsulate the BAFTA-winning star's unique brand of mischievous and madcap humor, and while it doesn't quite bear up to repeated listens, it's a consistently entertaining and chaotic journey into Hill's wonderfully unique mind.

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