The Five Funniest Onstage Banterers
Photo by Mark C. Austin
Being a front person of a band is a lot like being a stand-up comedian or a radio-show host. The worst thing is dead air. Yes, you want your music to breathe, but you also can't leave the crowd hanging for too long before they get restless.
Some fill those gaps between songs by thanking the audience, but that's boring. The best are those who use it to be completely crazy and hilarious, and those are the singers we celebrate today. We might not even mind if one of these folks pulled a Having Fun with Elvis on Stage on us.
Liam Gallagher Being drunk onstage has its perks. Your songs may come out completely butchered, but damned if it doesn't lead to some entertaining banter. Some people just turn into natural performers when drunk, and Liam Gallagher is one of those people.
Tom Waits Everyone knows Tom Waits has a strange, dry sense of humor, but it was on Nighthawks at the Diner that he revealed his talents as a comedian and as a natural-born storyteller. Each song on the live record features a spoken, often hilarious intro from Waits that gave the album a tossed off, lounge singer feel.
Kanye West Seeing Kanye West live is always an experience, a big part of which is his insistence on filling time with elaborate rants on whatever is pissing him off that day. Only some of these rants feature actual jokes, but they're all pretty damn funny just because it's Kanye and he's angry.
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Cedric Bixler-Zavala When At the Drive-In was together the first go-round, they were angry, dark and shrouded in mystery. By the time they reformed, they had lightened up a lot and front man Cedric Bixler-Zavala had come into his own as a performer and entertainer, working his way through any gaps or technical difficulties with his weird-ass sense of humor.
Frank Zappa The ultimate bridge between musician and comedian, Frank Zappa was one of the greatest storytellers and humorists in musical history. His songs were funny, but he could also talk funny between songs. This guy was a born stand-up who also happened to be a born composer. Is there anything Zappa couldn't do? Since his passing, the world has been deprived.
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