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Kazoos Mean Silliness

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Guaranteed to put the "fun" in funeral, or your money back!
"Great. He spends skill points on Perform (Kazoo), and now I need to make a Knowledge (Limits of My Own Sanity) skill check."
Roy, The Order of the Stick #198

Aside from maybe a slide whistle, there are few musical instruments that are as associated with whimsy or comedy like a kazoo, mainly due to its unique buzzing tone. While many musicians have legitimately used kazoos as instruments, they're often used to either introduce an element of silliness into a piece of media or highlight the silliness that's already there, especially in works that aren't primarily music-based. They can also be used to lampshade or enhance a moment of Stylistic Suck. Theme Tunes are very good instances of this, especially if there's a transition from a more normal instrument to a kazoo. Remaking a piece of music using kazoos in part or entirely is also very effective.

Comic relief characters also sometimes get associated with kazoo music, usually through a fanfare of some kind played on one or by starting to play one out of the blue. In the latter case, other characters who don't find this amusing may comment on the annoyance it creates.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Zig-Zagged in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Big Bad Kazundo Gouda has kazoos incorporated into his theme music. At first it seems like an aversion since they sound surprisingly metallic and menacing. As time goes on, it becomes clear that he's a Smug Snake with an inferiority complex, and he's often humiliated despite his plans coming to fruition. Ultimately, everything he's worked for is undone by a simple order from the prime minister, and he's shot dead with a smirk on his face trying to call Section 9's bluff.

    Audio Plays 
  • In the third story on a Bugs Bunny album circa 1977, Bugs wanted to play the kazoo in Elmer Fudd's symphony orchestra. Despite being rejected by Elmer, Bugs sneaked into the orchestra with his kazoo.

    Comic Strips 
  • Foxtrot: One strip had Jason post a lot of fake spoilers for The Phantom Menace to keep fans away and ensure he could get tickets for the film, one of which was claiming that John Williams "is big on kazoos now".

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Escape from New York: At one point, Snake is moving through Manhattan, which has been turned into a prison colony. He comes across a group of prisoners singing a song called "Everyone's Coming to New York", which prominently features kazoos as part of its Stylistic Suck.
  • Mary Poppins: The penguins' entrance is accompanied by a kazoo, which was played by composer Richard M. Sherman and then sped up to make it sound sillier.
  • Sixteen Candles: A kazoo rendition of "Hungarian Dance# 5" plays on the soundtrack while Sam is going home on the school bus.
  • Special Friends: The entry "YOU on KAZOO" has Brett trying to get his friends to play kazoo with him.
    Brett: They want ME to kazoo with THEM?! WOW!

     Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Schmigadoon!: Following Melissa's advice, Josh tries to progress his story along the lines of The Music Man, where the protagonist gives his love interest's little brother a trumpet. Instead, the only thing he can pick up on short notice is the inherently more hilarious kazoo and gives it to Carson. The little boy is delighted and starts blowing out silly kazoo notes.
  • The theme to Las Vegas Gambit uses kazoos in an otherwise brassy Vegas-y sounding piece of music.

    Music 
  • Ghost (Band): During Papa Emeritus III's time as the band's singer, they occasionally did acoustic performances of their cover of Roky Ericson's "If You Have Ghosts" and their songs "Jigolo Har Megiddo" and "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen". For the latter song, Papa would play the keyboard parts on a kazoo, lending a song about an undead ruler an odd air of silliness. He would also dramatically announce it as "the Kazoo of Destiny" when it came out.
  • P.D.Q. Bach often scored for kazoos in his larger-scale works, usually along with various other unconventional instruments. One set of program notes explains that though the kazoos used were modern, they were equipped with 18th-century tissue paper for the sake of authenticity.
  • SiIvaGunner presents a high-quality "Vocal Mix" of "One-Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII performed entirely on kazoos.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic often uses kazoos for comedic effect in his song parodies:
    • In "Smells Like Nirvana", a parody of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", part of the bridge is sung with a chorus of kazoos.
    • "Headline News", a parody of Crash Test Dummies' song "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm", ends with an instrumental consisting of Al on accordion and a chorus of kazoos.
    • "Achy Breaky Song" (a parody of "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus) features a chorus of kazoos at the end of the song.
  • Pink Floyd's "Corporal Clegg", a song from their A Saucerful of Secrets album about a Shell-Shocked Veteran, uses kazoos on the chorus for a darkly humorous effect.
  • A few songs on Freak Out by Frank Zappa use kazoos to comic or satiric effect, most notably on the songs "You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here" and "Hungry Freaks, Daddy."
  • Spike Jones's recording of the title track from "Der Fuehrer's Face" features a repeated refrain of the singer Blowing a Raspberry to mock Hitler. As the raspberry sound was considered too racy for radio in some markets, some recordings bowdlerized it to, you guessed it, a kazoo.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Radio 
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue: The game round "Swanee-Kazoo" revolves around trying to recreate famous tunes, such as "Winter Wonderland", with a swanee whistle and a kazoo, with predictably zany results. (Generally speaking, though, whoever is playing the kazoo will have the job of actually holding the tune together, since the swanee whistle has a harder time hitting the correct notes.)

    Video Games 
  • Banjo-Kazooie: Kazooie the bird is named after the kazoo. In the game's opening sequence, which contains a fast-paced and comical song, she plays the Mocking Sing-Song tune on kazoo as part of the song.
  • The Jackbox Party Pack: "Civic Doodle" from Party Pack 4 is a game about designing murals for the eccentric, elderly mayor of a small town, and its soundtrack and theme song heavily features kazoo music.
  • Outer Wilds: If you achieve a particular Non Standard Game Over, a sillier version of the credits plays, with a kazoo rendition of the game's main theme and many comedic Freeze Frame Bonuses. For bonus points, at the very end of the track, you can hear someone comment "it's so obnoxious, it's great!"
  • Toontown: Corporate Clash: The new Level 1 Sound Gag is the kazoo. Since the premise of Toontown revolves around fun-loving Toons defeating corporate-minded robotic Cogs with No Sense of Humor, Toons using silliness and slapstick humour for attacks (known in the game as 'Gags') is to be expected.

    Web Videos 
  • JoJo's Copyright-Free Adventures, The Abridged Series of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, replaces the intro music with kazoo covers as part of its theme of dodging YouTube's copyright rules.
  • Joueur du Grenier:
    • In the second RPG special, the segment on the The Lord of the Rings SNES game has Frodo recruit Pippin, playing the triumphant theme from the films, which almost instantly degenerates into a butchered kazoo version as Pippin's Artificial Stupidity takes over and he heads in the opposite direction from Frodo.
    • In the second joke FAQ video, one fan asks if Seb and Fred play any instruments. Cue a sketch where Seb starts elegantly playing a cello‚Ķ and then Fred comes to accompany him with a kazoo.
      Fred: The world was not ready.
  • During one of Mori Calliope's streams, she started talking about having received two kazoos from online shopping. She thought they were broken, since blowing into them produced no sounds. Then someone suggested she hum into the kazoo instead. Hilarity Ensues.
    Calli: "Hum into the kazoo"? Okay, fine. [doot] [gasp] [doot doot doot doot] What the f...WHAT?! [continues dooting into the kazoo] ...I hate this. I hate it so much. I ordered another kazoo!
  • For several years, Youtuber Tsuko G. made Kazoo covers of famous video game songs. The associated videos frequently had multiple versions of Tsuko G. gesturing in wild and hilarious movements in time to the various parts of the multi-kazoo performance.
  • The Whiskey Vault: One of the show's Running Gags is that for Titans of Whiskey who have repeatedly contributed whiskeys to the show after getting the title, their intro video is increasingly sped up. However, once the "speed" got to 10X and beyond, it was eventually replaced by a hilariously low-budget remake of the video, which included the background music being recreated (badly) with a kazoo.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • 2 Stupid Dogs's theme is played on kazoo, foreshadowing the silliness on the show proper.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In "The Man Who Killed Batman", as the coffin containing Sid is rolled into the acid vat, Harley Quinn plays "Amazing Grace" on the kazoo. Word of God is that during this scene, the crew were cracking up laughing while Arleen Sorkin played, the rest of the cast lost it once she stopped, and Paul Dini was very happy that she nailed it in one take as he didn't think they'd be able to keep themselves composed for future takes if she hadn't.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: The music is played with children's instruments, including kazoos, appropriate for a show about kids' Imaginary Friends. Furthermore, main character Bloo has the full name Blooregard Q. Kazoo.
  • Jellystone!'s opening theme switches from soft woodwinds to frantic kazoos when the town starts collapsing in the intro, letting the viewers know what kind of show they're in for.
  • King of the Hill: In "Propane Boom", Hank and several coworkers whose businesses were closed because they couldn't compete with Mega Lo Mart plan to disrupt the Chuck Mangione concert by blowing on kazoos, because as Hank explains: "They're portable, they're annoying, and Mega Lo Mart sells them for three bucks a case."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "Hearth's Warming Eve" has the ponies putting on a play about the founding of Equestria from the early hostile tribes. When the leaders arrive, Princess Platinum and Commander Hurricane are both introduced with trumpet fanfares, while Chancellor Puddinghead (played by Pinkie Pie) is heralded by kazoos.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Dr. Doofenshmirtz plays a kazoo solo in the timeskip episode "Act Your Age", during his song about how he wants to have a midlife crisis.
  • Recess: In "Speedy, We Hardly Knew Ye", the Junior Crossing Guards play "Taps" on kazoos during Speedy (the class hamster)'s funeral.
  • The Simpsons: Melvin Van Horne was once forced to conduct an orchestra of kazoo-playing monkeys. When he pleaded with Krusty to not force him to do it, Krusty simply shouted at him to "shut up and conduct".
  • Sofia the First: Prince James' favourite childhood toy was a kazoo, which he often used to blow in his twin sister Amber's face. In the episode "Two Princesses and a Baby", a de-aged James, now a goofy toddler due to a magical mishap, finds the kazoo again and resumes this action, to Amber's annoyance. However, after baby-James accidentally breaks the kazoo, Amber ultimately seeks out the royal sorcerer Cedric to use magic to repair it and return it to him (as his regular self) as a birthday present.
  • South Park: The B plot of "Margaritaville" has Stan trying to return Randy's Margaritaville margarita mixer, with his quest taking him all the way to the US Treasury, whose members "consult the charts" regarding economic problems...by cutting the head off a chicken and letting it run around a floor labelled with different options while one of the members plays a "Yakety Sax"-style tune on a kazoo until the chicken finally falls over dead.

 
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Video Example(s):

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Eggman's Victory Kazoo

Eggman blows a kazoo after his garbage finally gets taken out.

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Main / KazoosMeanSilliness

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