With that and yet another entry in the Now That’s What I Call Music! series taking up the top two slots, the highest-charting debut belongs to the Lonely Island, which checks in at number three with around 68,000 albums sold.
That’s a pretty impressive number, especially when you consider the variables. While Turtleneck & Chain is both hilarious and fantastically catchy (which is important, because the jokes can’t last forever), it also consists largely of songs that people have heard before in various other forms, mostly as digital shorts on Saturday Night Live, and appeals to an Internet-savvy audience less likely to actually go out and purchase music (the same can be said of the sales of Tyler, the Creator’s Goblin, which also had a respectable debut this week).
So who are the Lonely Island’s peers on the Mount Rushmore of comedy albums? Glad you asked.
The Lonely Island have a long way to go before they can count themselves among the most potent forces in comedy-on-record. Released in the wake of the incredible viral-before-viral-was-a-thing success of “The Chanukah Song,” Adam Sandler’s What the Hell Happened to Me? spent 57 weeks in the Billboard album chart on its way to going double platinum. Chris Rock’s third album Bigger & Blacker ruled the summer of 1999 on the back of the MTV hit “No Sex” (which was a parody of “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”).
Of course, those releases had the benefit of skits and stand-up bits breaking up the pace between the songs. Has anybody done it solely (or mostly) with music?
That’s an even thinner list. “Weird Al” Yankovic is obviously the cornerstone; his albums and singles have often been as successful as the superstar releases he is parodying. He achieved gold status with his 2006 album Straight Outta Lynwood, while Even Worse, Off the Deep End, Bad Hair Day and Running With Scissors all moved a million copies each.
Tenacious D also managed to earn themselves a platinum record for their self-titled debut that consisted mostly of tunes. After that, it’s basically a desert.
So offer up your congratulations to the Lonely Island by cranking up “Jack Sparrow” and letting us know who your favorite musical comedy artists are in the comments below.
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