Note: Top Five, a wholly original idea entirely un-lifted from any Nick Hornby novels slash John Cusack films, is a feature we’re hoping to run fairly regularly on the blog, wherein one of us lists our Top Five favorite something or others, (often related to musical theater, sometimes, perhaps, not) and then you tell us how wrong we are.
Rhyming inherently makes things more hilarious. For proof of this phenomenon, you need look no further than the twenty or so dirty limericks I pretended to understand in sixth grade.
Now, if you take a clever, hilariously unexpected, brilliantly concise rhyme and add to it a super geeky literary allusion or an unnecessarily impressive vocabulary word, you’re left with pure lyrical gold.
For what it’s worth, here are a few of my favorites:
- “Splendiferous”/”Vociferous” – Chicago (Fred Ebb). Sure, splendiferous isn’t a real word. But vociferous? That’s twelfth grade SAT vocab at its finest.
- “Mo’ dough”/”Frodo” – In the Heights (Lin-Manuel Miranda). For a nerdy white boy, there’s nothing better than secretly loving rap. (With the possible exception of publicly loving Weird Al Yankovic). Throw in a reference to perhaps the greatest nerd work of literature of all time, and you’ve got a hell of a rhyme. What’s the matter, Lin, you couldn’t work Hitchhiker’s Guide in there somewhere?
- “Heinous”/”Coriolanus” – Kiss Me Kate (Cole Porter). Surely “kick him right in his Coriolanus” can’t be the first historical ass joke made at the expense of this often overlooked Shakespearean play. Right? Right? Somewhere in the span of 400 years, somebody had to have made that one before. But that doesn’t take away from its English major hilarity. It’s like the Uranus jokes in ET and Spaceballs, only better, because you can feel intellectually superior whilst you chuckle approvingly.
- “See ya”/”Gonorrhea” – Avenue Q (Bobby Lopez/Jeff Marx). The combination of a polysyllabic medical term with the sophomoric rhyming of an STD? My inner middle school dork is still cracking up.
- “You’re the Top” – Whole Song – Anything Goes (Cole Porter). This song rhymes and/or references Dante, Keats, Shelley, O’Neill, and broccoli. It’s like “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Only nerdier. And way more awesome.