is one half of the popular comedy musical duo Garfunkel and Oates. None of her song picks feature the instrument she is famous for – the ukulele -- but her trademark humor is fully intact. She shares sad songs that make her happy, retro sounding soul that makes her dance and a Harry Nilsson classic.
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1. Harry Nilsson - Coconut
2. Laura Marling - New Romantic
3. Jack Haley - You've Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby
4. Big Star - Thirteen
5. Mayer Hawthorn - Your Easy Lovin Ain't Pleasin Nothin
Valida: Hi. I'm Valida and I'm here with Kate Micucci, one half of the popular comedy musical duo Garfunkel and Oates and star of the TV show “Raising Hope”. The ukulele is her instrument of choice, but today we'll talk about all kinds of music that has inspired her throughout her life as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Hi, Kate!
Kate Micucci: Hi!
Valida: How are you doing?
Kate: I'm good. Thanks for having me.
Valida: What did you bring for us today?
Kate: I brought a few of my favorite songs of all time, I guess you could say, and I began with Harry Nilsson and "Coconut". This is one of the first songs I ever learned to sing when I was a kid. I can remember my brother and I in the living room of our house in New Jersey putting on a show singing the song.
I learned about the song because Kermit sang it on The Muppet Show. I just remember us singing for our mom and doing a show and that was one of my first performances ever, probably.
I love it too, because he says instead of to relieve this belly ache it’s ‘relieve this flipper ache’. And I guess, looking back, I didn’t know…I thought for years that Kermit was the guy that sang “Coconut” until I grew up a little bit and realized, "Oh no," it's actually this great songwriter named Harry Nilsson.
Valida: Do you think that music and comedy go hand in hand?
Kate: They definitely do. I think that even comedy that doesn't have music, like standup, is very much a musical thing.
You can watch a comedian and know that it's all about rhythm and it's kind of like riding a wave or something like that. You wait and you wait and you wait and then you say the joke and that feels very musical in a way. It's also very satisfying when a rhyme and a joke sync up and it's good. There's a real great satisfaction in that.
Song: Harry Nilsson - Coconut
Valida: So that was Harry Nilsson's "Coconut". Not the Kermit version. So, tell us what's next.
Kate: The next song is "New Romantic" by Laura Marling and I just think that she is one of the greatest newer singer/songwriters that’s out there, this song in particular when I first heard it…I remember someone sent me a link to Noah and the Whale on YouTube. They sent it because it has a ukulele in it and I play the ukulele. Then I clicked to the left of it on this girl and it was Laura Marling and this song. I was just blown away and she is so young. I think she was 17 at the time. I just remember sending this song to everybody I knew because I just thought it was so good. It blows my mind that someone so young can be so wise in lyrics and musically. Also, just the feeling it gives you. Somehow this song is just one of those for me where every time I hear it makes me so happy. Even though I think it's about young love and I think about a young love sort of ending, but it still makes me happy. (laughs)
Valida: Looking at the songs, none of them really have ukulele in them. Do you feel like you are a spokesperson for the ukulele at this point?
Kate: Yeah, I sometimes do. I get emails every week from people saying that they've learned the ukulele because they saw me playing it and that feels really good because I think it is an instrument where it's simple and it's fun. I guess if you're going to learn an instrument it's a good one to start with. It also is portable. There are a lot of good things about the ukulele. It's a happy sound, you know?
Song: Laura Marling – “New Romantic”
Valida: So that's Laura Marling's "New Romantic" and it’s the choice of our guest DJ, comedian Kate Micucci. So Kate, what's next?
Kate: The next song is called "You've Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby" and it is one of the most fun, weird songs. It's sung by Jack Haley, who was the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz”, Alice Faye, and Shirley Temple. Its three people singing about how you should eat your spinach.
Well, Shirley Temple's character is kind of against it, which I love, because she is representing the kids of the world. It talks in it about how kissing is bad for you. The message is really that you've got to eat your spinach so you can live longer so I can love you longer. I love how they try to scare Shirley Temple and say the Boogey Man will come out if you don't eat your spinach. You know, she's like ‘Look, we're not going to buy that, okay. I'm smarter than that.’ In the end, it just says that eating your spinach will make you a better person.
Song: Jack Haley, Shirley Temple, and Alice Faye -- "You've Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby"
Valida: That was "You've Got to Eat Your Spinach, Baby" by Jack Haley, Shirley Temple, and Alice Faye. So, tell us what's next.
Kate: My next song I have is Big Star with the song "Thirteen". I recently learned about this song I guess about a year ago and it just sounds so sad and at the same time it makes me so happy. Sad songs make me happy, I should say. I often don't really listen to the lyrics. It's more about the feeling of the song. Although, in this song, I do know it's about, again, a young love of 13 years old and it's forbidden, I suppose. It's funny to think that 13 year olds would have those feelings. I definitely was not worried about love at 13. It was, you know, playing outside with my trains.
Song: Big Star – “Thirteen”
Valida: So that's "Thirteen" by Big Star. So, Kate, we are down to your last choice. What did you leave for us for the end?
Kate: Mayer Hawthorne's "Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin'” because I like words that have an n and an apostrophe, which he does well in this title.
I just think this song is sort of the song of the moment for me right now. It's what I've been playing in my car a lot. It's just so happy. You know, you have a good day and you're driving down the street and there is nothing better than blasting this out your car windows.
Song: Mayer Hawthorne -- "Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin'”
Kate: I discovered Mayer Hawthorne through KCRW actually. I was listening to Morning Becomes Eclectic and bought the CD right away. I just thought this is fun. It's like a throwback, but yet it still sounds new. There's something great about a feel good song that you can sing along to and it kind of makes you want to dance. I definitely have danced to this song in my apartment like a dork by myself jumping off the couch.
Valida: Kate, thanks so much for joining us on KCRW.com.
Kate: Thanks so much for having me.
Valida: For a complete track listing and to find these songs online go to kcrw.com/guestdjproject.