Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Barry Manilow? King of Comedy? Isn’t he the ‘Copacabana’ guy?” Well, yes, he is. And while Manilow might not be a conventional comedian or comedic actor, his influence on comedy is undeniable and largely underappreciated. Born on June 17th, 1943, Manilow’s music has been a staple in comedy routines, TV shows, and movies, often used to great comedic effect.
The use of Manilow’s hits in comedy is a testament to their cultural ubiquity. ‘Copacabana’, in particular, has been a recurring joke in “Family Guy,” used whenever they need a rousing number to lighten the mood. Meanwhile, “The Simpsons” had an entire episode centered around a Manilow concert. Marge, a massive fan, (or Fanilow, as they’re known), joyfully singing along to ‘Mandy’ is pure comedic gold.
It’s not just animated sitcoms that are in on the joke. “Friends” had a running gag about how Barry Manilow is Chandler’s guilty pleasure. In one memorable scene, Chandler is caught out when Joey hears him singing along to ‘Looks Like We Made It’. The punchline? Joey’s a closeted Fanilow too.
And let’s not forget the movies. There’s a hilarious scene in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” where the bumbling Charles (played by Hugh Grant) scrambles to switch off ‘Can’t Smile Without You’ before his friends discover his secret Manilow obsession. Talk about comedy gold.
Even Barry Manilow himself has embraced his unlikely comedic role. He’s appeared as himself in a host of comedy shows, from “Will & Grace” to “American Dad,” always willing to play up to the joke. What a guy!
So, on this June 17th, let’s raise a glass to Barry Manilow, the unexpected King of Comedy. Thanks for the laughs, Barry! Oh, and the songs. We can’t forget the songs. Happy Birthday, Barry!