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Help me choose a funny song to sing
April 18, 2007 6:30 AM   Subscribe

I need a "character" song for my voice class...any recommendations? I'd like evil or funny, or ideally both! Or tragic-funny? Words for a female (or non-specific), please.

Fagen's "Reviewing the Situation" from Oliver! would be ideal, if it wasn't for a man (the fingers she would wag at me, the money she would take from me, I think I better think it out again!). Key doesn't matter, I can transpose it to work...there must be similar songs for women! Disney? Musicals?
posted by sLevi to Media & Arts (42 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cruella deVille's gotta have a number in there somewhere! (Haven't seen the 101 dalmations films so can't be sure but first thing that came to mind!)
posted by TwoWordReview at 6:42 AM on April 18, 2007


Depending on how risque you can be, "Tits 'n Ass" from A Chorus Line is great. Might not be as character-y as you want it to be.

How about "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets" from Damn Yankees? She is a sultry seductress.

The best one is probably Poor Unfortunate Souls from the Little Mermaid, sung by Ursula.
posted by sneakin at 6:45 AM on April 18, 2007


How about Miss Hannigan from Annie doing Little Girls? Evil and funny.
posted by poppo at 6:49 AM on April 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Zebra by the Magnetic Fields

If you really loved me
you'd buy me the Great Pyramid
Oh, I'm so forgetful, you already did...

posted by Methylviolet at 6:50 AM on April 18, 2007


If you think the devil can be gender neutral, or a woman, I'd go with Those were the Good Old Days in Damn Yankees. Pretty darkly funny.
posted by piratebowling at 7:02 AM on April 18, 2007


The song My Simple Wish (aka Rich, Famous and Powerful) by Daniel Friedman covers both the evil and the funny:

Ever since I was a baby I have had one dream in mind
And each Christman I think maybe it will finally come true
It's a simple wish that everyone has had form time to time
So I know you'll understand me when I share my dream with you

I wanna be rich famous and powerful
Step on all my enemies and never do a thing
I wanna be rich famous and powerful
So all I have to do in life is sit around and sing

I don't wanna dork, struggle or compromise
When I set a goal I wanna reach it right away
Cause paying your dues, that's for other guys
As for me I want what I want and I want it all today

I don't wanna audition I don't wanna take class
I wanna be discovered while I'm sitting on my ass
I should not have to struggle I should not have to sweat
I tried that once for ten minutes look, what did I get?

I'm still not rich, famous, and powerful
Barbara Streisand has it all and I can do what she can do.
So why is she rich, famous, and powerful?
While I'm still shleping through my life like all of you

What does it take to be famous and powerful?
Regis, if you're listening, just tell me what to do!
What do I have to fake to be famous and powerful?
I've done everything I can. The rest is up to you

Se I tried being good I tried being nice
I even tried pretending I was listening once or twice
But the really big stars, they made it without it
Was Betty Davis nice? I seriously doubt it

Still she was rich
Everyone adored her. The world was at her feet
She was a bitch
It's obvious I've gotten nowhere being sweet

I wanna be rich, famous, and powerful
Comon don't be so shoched. You feel the same as I
If we were rich, famous, and powerful
We could take all those agents and casting directors
Tiny appartments and fat tax collectors
Critics and casting calls, chilly rehersal halls,
People who bore, us jobs in the chorus
and kiss their balls good-bye!

Now is that too much to ask?
posted by elkerette at 7:05 AM on April 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Gooch's song from "Mame"

"Little Girls" from "Annie"

"100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man" from "Wonderful Town"
posted by amtho at 7:06 AM on April 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


What about "The Last Midnight" from Into the Woods? Or the witch's song "Greens" is good too, though doesn't require much vocal range.
posted by np312 at 7:12 AM on April 18, 2007


"Short People" by Randy Newman - it's from the perspective of an individual that's bigoted against short people, thus making the point of how stupid bigotry really is.
posted by krark at 7:22 AM on April 18, 2007


Adelaide's Lament from Guys & Dolls.
posted by penchant at 7:27 AM on April 18, 2007


Another vote for "Miss Hannigan" and "Little Girls"
posted by briank at 7:28 AM on April 18, 2007


"A Summer in Ohio" from The Last Five Years? Or "I Can Do Better Than That."

Love that musical.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:39 AM on April 18, 2007


Ooh, "Little Girls" is good, but "Poor Unfortunate Souls" was my first thought.
posted by walla at 7:42 AM on April 18, 2007


"Whore's Lament" from Amour, if you can find the music.

Nowadays business is hard for a whore
Not like before, during the war
Then there were lines to the end of the street
I was worked off my feet
Soldiers were risking their necks
Nowadays nobody thinks about sex!"


It just gets better and better.

On preview: songs from The Last Five Years aren't "character" songs.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:42 AM on April 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


How about "SHY" from Once Upon A Mattress? Hope you can find a clip of Carol Burnett singing that, it's hilarious.
posted by hermitosis at 7:44 AM on April 18, 2007


"Popular" from Wicked?
posted by that girl at 7:46 AM on April 18, 2007


Rupert Holmes - Escape (not sung by a women, but its a damn good song)
posted by deeman at 7:51 AM on April 18, 2007


"If You Hadn't But You Did" (Jule Styne/Comden and Green).

Performed by Kristen Chenoweth here.
posted by La Cieca at 7:59 AM on April 18, 2007


Although by a man, Voltaire's When You're Evil is a good, non-genderific, funny/evil song.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:09 AM on April 18, 2007


"It's just my little tribute to Caligula, darling," from the Pet Shop Boys' musical Closer to Heaven.
Do you like my new look?
It's very classical, don't you think?
It's just my little tribute to Caligula, darling!
Haven't you seen the movie?
It's a masterpiece!
All that history and sex!
I love it!

Caligula was a bastard
Like most important men
And, over the years, I've known
Quite a few of them
I wish I'd poisoned
As my little tribute to Caligula, darling!

It's just my little tribute
To Caligula, darling!
It's just my little tribute
To Caligula, darling!

He was a Roman emperor
Which makes him almost certainly bisexual
If not actually gay
But then
So many men
Are that way inclined
Don't you find?
I mean, can you believe he's straight?

It's just my little tribute
To Caligula, darling!
It's just my little tribute
To Caligula, darling!

Murder and mayhem
In the eternal city
Poison and torture
He knew no pity
Pain is always best
inflicted at home
Down in your dungeon
Live back and think of Rome!

It's just my little tribute
To Caligula, darling!
It's just my little tribute
To Caligula, darling!
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:23 AM on April 18, 2007


It's not a showtune (I don't think) but Tom Leher's "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" is fun.
posted by np312 at 8:24 AM on April 18, 2007


Another vote for "Poor Unfortunate Souls" from Little Mermaid- Ursula has always scared the crap out of me!
posted by kidsleepy at 8:31 AM on April 18, 2007


It's not evil, but it's a fun little character to try: "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys and Dolls.

Do you have to sing an entire song? "You Gotta Get A Gimmick" from Gypsy is a fun character song.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:32 AM on April 18, 2007


And each Christman I think maybe it will finally come true

Someone types Dvorak!
posted by kindall at 8:44 AM on April 18, 2007


Little Girls

The Worst Pies in London from Sweeney Todd, immortalized by the batty Angela Lansbury

I'm Just a Girl (Who Cain't Say No) from Oklahoma! (ditzy not evil)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:10 AM on April 18, 2007


It's perhaps more scheming than evil, but you could do the Duchess' aria "On the day that I was wedded" from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:24 AM on April 18, 2007


The Mariner's Revenge Song by The Decemberists? A femal could easily do the mother's part as well as the main character.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 10:10 AM on April 18, 2007


or even a female
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 10:11 AM on April 18, 2007


An Eliza Doolittle number is always good. Just You Wait and Loverly are classics.

nthing Adelaide's lament, as well.
posted by crayolarabbit at 10:23 AM on April 18, 2007


Cabaret! (Add your own evil characterization!! Awesome!)
And just about anything from Chicago.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:19 AM on April 18, 2007


er, also Mein Herr from Cabaret. Can be very cruel and vampy.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:20 AM on April 18, 2007


I'm a big fan of "My Strongest Suit" from Aida - all about clothes and fashion, and a great belter tune as well.


From your cradle via trousseau
To your deathbed you're on view, so
Never compromise, accept no substitute
I would rather wear a barrel
Than conservative apparel
For my dress has always been
My strongest suit

posted by sarahsynonymous at 11:59 AM on April 18, 2007


Otto Titsling, sung by Bette Midler in Beaches is hilarious, and heaps of fun to sing (and to dress up for).

Youtube;lyrics.
posted by goo at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2007


"All you have to do is wait" from City of Angels (one of my favorite musicals) is a good character piece. It's not quite evil, though he's got it in for detective Stone and speaks excitedly at the prospect of his execution.

I don't have the lyrics handy but I don't think there's anything about it that would be difficult to change gender-wise.
posted by phearlez at 12:42 PM on April 18, 2007


Hard to believe no one's mentioned anything at all from Funny Girl (the movie soundtrack is a bit catchier than the Broadway songs) -- check out Streisand doing Funny Girl, My Man for tragedy, I'm the Greatest Star for tragi-comic, and for straight laughs, You Are Woman. When Nick Arnstein invites Fanny to his private dining room/hotel room, she sings soto voce:

Isn't this the height of nonchalance
Furnishing a bed in restaurants
Well a bit of dinner never hurt
But guess who is gonna be dessert?
posted by thinkpiece at 12:46 PM on April 18, 2007


If you like Oliver, why not do "Pick a Pocket or Two"?

In this life, one thing counts
In the bank, large amounts
I'm afraid these don't grow on trees,
You've got to pick-a-pocket or two

You've got to pick-a-pocket or two, boys,
You've got to pick-a-pocket or two.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:56 PM on April 18, 2007


A few thoughts...

I Am Easily Assimilated or Glitter and be Gay from Candide. (In the case of the latter, the humor is all in the delivery, not the lyrics themselves per se.)

I'm a Stranger Here Myself from One Touch of Venus. (That link seems to have the lyrics adapted for a man, but it's originally for a woman.)

I Wanna Be Evil from New Faces.

Pirate Jenny from Threepenny Opera. (You may want to look for other translations too.)

It's All the Same or Aldonza from Man of La Mancha.
posted by j-dawg at 12:59 PM on April 18, 2007


"Santa Baby". The Eartha Kitt version is what I'm thinking of.
posted by konolia at 2:02 PM on April 18, 2007


the ladies who lunch!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:12 PM on April 18, 2007


How risqué is too risqué? Actress/performance-artist Ann Magnuson's work with Bongwater is about as character-laden as it's possible to get.
posted by mykescipark at 2:45 PM on April 18, 2007


Ella Fitzgerald's a tough act to follow, but Everything I've Got Belongs to You is pretty nasty.

I have eyes for you to give you dirty looks.
I have words that do not come from children's books
there's a trick with a knife I'm learning to do
And ev'rything I've got belongs to you.
I've a powerful anesthesia in my fist,
And the perfect wrist to give your neck atwist.
There are hammerlock holds,
I've mastered a few,
And ev'rything I've got belongs to you.
Share for share, share alike,
You get struck each time I strike.
You for me- me for me-
I'll give you plenty of nothing.
I'm not yours for better but for worse,
And I've learned to give the well-known witches' curse.
I've a terrible tongue, a temper for two,
And ev'rything I've got belongs to you.
posted by Kensational at 4:39 PM on April 18, 2007


I immediately thought of Pirate Jenny from The Threepenny Opera. It's amazing, scary and dramatic and really fun to sing. Nina Simone's version is the most well known (and it's mind-bendingly amazing).
posted by Wroksie at 1:20 AM on April 19, 2007


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