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So you have a musical number. The music is absolutely beautiful, and hearing the instrumental part just makes you want to cry or go "Awwww...". But wait, something's wrong. There is something that is keeping you from bursting into tears. What could it be?


You're hearing a Mel Brooks number, which is not necessarily a bad thing unless you're a drama person. This kind of song can be classified as one of the following:

  • A song with beautiful or classic-sounding orchestral arrangements but that features humorous, gay, or inappropriate lyrics.
  • A song with said orchestral arrangements and gorgeous lyrics, but the actors move in a humorous way while singing it, or they just look funny.
  • A song that sounds like the perfect Tear Jerker...unless you knew what it was really talking about.

This kind of song is always Played for Laughs. Named for the quintessential example, Mel Brooks, who became master of this trope after he started writing musicals.

Examples of The Mel Brooks Number include:



  • "Something Has Happened", from the little-known musical I Do! I Do!
  • Chicago has "Class", which has a beautiful melody but is packed with swearing and grammatical errors.
  • The Book of Mormon is full of these.
  • While the entire show is hysterical, "You Won't Succeed On Broadway" from Spamalot is definitely one of these... especially since the song talks about Broadway shows flopping if they can't get Jews in the cast.

Western Animation

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