Throughout the award’s history, Grammy voters have tended to bestow Best Comedy Album upon trusted favorites: Bill Cosby closed out the 1960s with six straight victories; Richard Pryor took home three trophies in the ’70s and two more in the ’80s; and Peter Schickele opened the ’90s with four consecutive wins of his own. Lately, Chris Rock, George Carlin, and the Daily Show/Colbert Report nexus of talent have dominated the category, with Flight of the Conchords providing the only surprise. This year, however, the award is pretty much up for grabs. Full rundown below.
The Lonely Island, Turtleneck & Chain
WHAT: White guys rapping: That’s funny, right? Actually, with the Lonely Island, it kind of is, particularly when they get Michael Bolton to sing the soaring hook on “Jack Sparrow” and Nicki Minaj to help them popularize a new dance craze on “The Creep.”
PROS: The group’s Saturday Night Live connection has given them plenty of exposure, and guest spots from Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Beck and others will attract voters with less interest in comedy records.
CONS: Many of the songs, including “Sparrow” and the “The Creep,” work better as music videos than mp3s.
IS “WEIRD AL” INVOLVED? No. In fact, this trio has helped make him mostly irrelevant.
Louis CK, Hilarious
WHAT: The star/writer/director of TV’s Louie releases his first stand-up album since 2008’s Chewed Up with bits about everything from “the going-out-to-get-laid dudes” who wear striped shirts and walk in formation to the miracle of cell phones and that time his three-year-old daughter shit on the floor, then slipped and fell into the mess.
PROS: The best comedy record of the year, hands down.
CONS: Will voters be able to make it past an intro that compares the number of killed by Ray Charles and Adolf Hitler?
IS “WEIRD AL” INVOLVED? No.
Patton Oswalt, Finest Hour
WHAT: Patton Oswalt offers stories and jokes involving his usual subjects: the absurd contradictions of the religious right, his slobbiness (there are multiple bits involving sweatpants), comic books, and Jesus.
PROS: Werewolves and Lollipops was robbed at in the 2008 Grammys, not even nominated.
CONS: Finest Hour, though very funny, isn’t as funny as Werewolves and Lollipops
IS “WEIRD AL” INVOLVED? No, but Patton did have a role in this.
Kathy Griffin, 50 & Not Pregnant
WHAT: Kathy Griffin looks to become the first woman to win the Grammy for Best Comedy Album since Whoopi Goldberg in 1986, and the second since Lily Tomlin in 1972.
PROS: “This year I was a Grammy nominee… and also a Grammy loser.” Starting your special out with a bit about what fun you had at the previous year’s awards never hurts.
CONS: Listening to the record, you miss the fact that Griffin is delivering these jokes while wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the nickname “KATH-ETER.”
IS “WEIRD AL” INVOLVED? No.
“Weird Al” Yankovic, Alpocalypse
WHAT: When you reach the point where you’re writing “Whatever You Like (‘Whatever You Like’ by T.I.),” you should probably just give it up. Ditto “Party in the C.I.A.”
PROS: He’s still “Weird Al,” plus “Perform this Way” got nominated for Best Short Form Music Video.
CONS: Have you listened to this? Yes, it’s that bad.
IS “WEIRD AL” INVOLVED? Barely.
FINAL PREDICTION: Louis C.K., who’s moved far enough beyond “cult favorite” to actually pull in votes.