garfunkel and oates
garfunkel and oates

We’re All Sleeping on Garfunkel and Oates

Why isn’t everybody obsessed with their music?
July 23, 2018
3 mins read

It’s time for comedy lovers to take a stand.

Not in the sense that Hannah Gadsby’s been doing in her glorious special “Nanette,” (though, you know, people should probably take her advice too) but in a much smaller way that means comparatively much less.

That’s right, it’s time to more broadly spread the word about Garfunkel and Oates.

This isn’t a technically “big” deal, but these ladies do not get the credit that they deserve for creating really funny songs that are also catchy and kind of beautiful — the exemplar being “Such a Loser.”

To be clear, this crusade isn’t necessarily formed for the women themselves, both of whom have successful careers and have appeared in film and television on numerous occasions. But most people regrettably can’t link them to their most famous song, the piercingly critical yet strikingly vulgar “The Loophole.”

The pair’s real names are Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates), and their songwriting’s overlap with political comedy will please fans of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and, even in some sense, fans of The Lonely Island (though their tone is a bit different).

The duo also had a short-lived TV show on IFC, which was recently removed from Netflix to the dismay of this writer but likely for few others. Their songs are often more than they appear at the start, but never lose their sense of fun, which is easy in a political song.

They have just started releasing new music on their YouTube channel, starting about a month ago with “Both Sides Can Laugh,” about the idea of neutrality in comedy. Garfunkel and Oates draw on experiences recognizable to any woman in conversation with a man who thinks they’re smarter than they are.

The song addresses itself to “a man who’s never written music but thinks he can / a republican cryptocurrency guy like Dan,” or someone who suggests that women should be more politically neutral in their comedy.

YouTube player

The song, of course, proceeds to be unbalanced as ever, but the narrative Lindhome and Micucci create shows that it’s only as unbalanced as the world, rather than just rebutting neutrality for its own sake.

These two also aren’t afraid to have fun, though, with a kind of insensitivity that somehow just works. For the beginner new to their music, “Pregnant Women Are Smug” is a good place to start, or maybe “I Don’t Know Who You Are.” Both of these are searing, and full of the wordiness that gets all the way up to the edge of too many words, but never passes that point.

YouTube player

For fans of comedy, and especially for women who have heard men in their lives claim that women aren’t funny, Garfunkel and Oates provide a balm for an increasingly saturated world of neutrality in comedy. Their musicality and showmanship should be lauded by more people.

You can start on their YouTube channel, Spotify or their comedy special available on Netflix, “Trying to be Special.”

Karena Landler, Georgetown University

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Karena Landler

Georgetown University
English, French

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