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Music / Does Humor Belong in Music?

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The CD cover.
Alternate album cover
The video cover

Does Humor Belong in Music? is a Live Album by Frank Zappa. Released in 1986 through EMI, it is the companion piece to a 1985 Direct to Video Zappa Concert Film of the same name. However, while the film is all live material from the same concert, the CD sometimes features different tracks from different gigs.

The movie was Zappa's first Direct to Video release and the album his first to be oriented primarily for the Compact Disc format rather than LP; in fact, to this day the album is only available on CD. In 1995, the album was reissued with a different cover, designed by Cal Schenkel. This reissue also adds an extra minute of percussion effects during the track "Let's Move To Cleveland".


  1. "Zoot Allures" (5:26)
  2. "Tinsel-Town Rebellion" (4:44)
  3. "Trouble Every Day" (5:31)
  4. "Penguin in Bondage" (6:45)
  5. "Hot-Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel" (6:43)
  6. "What's New in Baltimore?" (4:48)
  7. "Cock-Sucker's Ball" (1:05)
  8. "WPLJ" (1:31)
  9. "Let's Move to Cleveland" (15:43)
  10. "Whippin' Post" (8:23)


  • Frank Zappa: vocals, lead guitar
  • Ray White: vocals, guitar
  • Ike Willis: vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Bobby Martin: vocals, keyboards, saxophone
  • Allan Zavod: keyboards
  • Scott Thunes: bass
  • Chad Wackerman: drums
  • Dweezil Zappa: guitar solo on "Whippin' Post".

Do Tropes Belong on This Page?

  • Alternate Album Cover: The original release and 2012 UMe reissue use a photograph of Zappa below large metallic title text, while the 1995 Rykodisc reissue uses a new illustration by artist Cal Schenkel (who also did the cover art for the 1995 reissue of The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life).
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: "Whipping Post" turns into an epic battle of guitars between Zappa and his then-15-year-old son Dweezil.
  • Brick Joke: At a concert in Helsinki during the Seventies (later released on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2), an audience member kept requesting for the band to play The Allman Brothers Band's "Whippin' Post". Zappa's band at the time didn't know it, but he responded by going into a version of "Montana" with lyrics changed on the fly to refer to the Allman Brothers song. Zappa finally covered it for real here.
  • Bawdy Song: Cock-Sucker's Ball.
  • Call-Back and Continuity Nod: All material appeared on earlier Zappa albums, except for "Cock-Sucker's Ball".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Cock-Sucker's Ball", much like the original, is full with vulgar swear words.
  • Concert Film: The 1985 home video has renditions of "The Dangerous Kitchen", "He's So Gay", "Bobby Brown Goes Down", "Keep It Greasy", "Honey Don't You Want A Man Like Me?", "Dinah-Moe Humm", "Cosmik Debris", "Be In My Video" and "Dancin' Fool" that don't appear on the CD.
  • Cover Version: "Cock-Sucker's Ball" is a Doo-wop cover by The Clovers. "Whippin' Post" is an The Allman Brothers Band cover which first appeared on Them or Us.
  • Doo-wop and Doowop Progression: "Cock-Sucker's Ball", a cover by The Clovers that actual has that Refuge in Audacity title.
  • Drugs Are Bad: In the video Zappa talks how he doesn't take drugs and doesn't recommend it to anyone.
  • Face on the Cover: Zappa's face appears on all three covers.
  • Fan Disservice: In the video Zappa informs an audience member at the start of the concert: "No, we're not going to play "Greggery Peccary" ". Later during "Honey', Don't You Want A Man Like Me?" the audience sings along "Helen Reddy", but Zappa informs them it's now "Twisted Sister", interrupts the song and starts over from that line again.
  • Live Album: The renditions of "Zoot Allures", "Tinsel Town Rebellion", "Trouble Every Day" and "Whipping Post" in the video aren't the same as on the CD. The CD also adds tracks that don't appear in the video at all: "What's New in Baltimore?", "Cock-Sucker's Ball", "WPLJ" and "Let's Move to Cleveland".
  • Ms. Fanservice: At one point during the video Zappa is called by a couple standing outside and the woman flashes her breasts to him, with support of her husband. Zappa views this from inside the building looking through the window and he just acts amused, as if it's nothing out of the ordinary.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The title doesn't appear in any of the songs.
  • Questioning Title?: "Does Humor Belong In Music?"
  • Record Producer: Frank Zappa.
  • Sarcastic Title: Zappa didn't need to ask whether humor belongs in music because he added comedy to his work from the very beginning.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the rendition of "Tinsel Town Rebellion" the band quotes from the theme of The Twilight Zone, "I Write The Songs" by Captain & Tennille, "Too Shy" by Kajagoogoo, "Rock You Like A Hurricane" by Scorpions , "Whip It?" from Freedom of Choice by Devo, "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" by Culture Club, "Sunshine Of Your Love" by Cream from their album Disraeli Gears, "Light My Fire" by The Doors from their debut The Doors, the theme from I Love Lucy and the Woody Woodpecker song. The line "One Adam Twelve" references Adam-12.
    • During "WPLJ" the band sings "Jungle Boogie now!", a reference to "Jungle Boogie" by Kool & the Gang.
    • In every other version of "Whipping Post" that Zappa released, during the guitar solo the band would go into a light reggae vamp. In this version, the band plays a humongous version of the riff from Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy", probably a reference to the youth of guest guitarist Dweezil, who was 15 at the time.
  • Speech Balloon: Zappa asks the title in a speech balloon on the cover.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Dweezil, Zappa's son, plays the guitar solo during "Whippin' Post".
  • Take That!:
    • During "Tinseltown Rebellion" after the line: "Who gives a fuck if what they play is somewhat insincere?" the band quotes from "Let's Dance" by David Bowie, a song Zappa mocked earlier as "Be In My Video" from Them or Us, and "I Write The Songs" by Captain & Tennille. When Zappa mocks leather groups the band sings "rock you like a nincompoop", in reference to "Rock You Like A Hurricane" by Scorpions. When "really queer bands" are mentioned "I'll Tumble For You" by Culture Club is quoted.
    • Before launching into "Cock-Sucker's Ball" Zappa announces:
    Hey, this is for all the Republicans in the audience!
  • Talking Heads: The concert footage in the video is intercut with Zappa being interviewed.
  • Time Marches On: During "Tinseltown Rebellion" Zappa's band sings "It's the '80s again."