When she introduced her new song "Ayo" on Twitter Tuesday (Oct. 18) via a tastefully salty snapback against the Chainsmokers, it remind fans of a fact too often forgotten: Lady Gaga can be pretty goddamn funny.
Of course, most of Gaga's most amusing early moments haven't been quite as obviously jokey -- the majority of them came through her brazen bizarreness in the face of a placid pop culture, where she would appear (figuratively and sometimes literally) as a creation from a fairytale fantasia in a room full of Muggles, and dare you not to laugh at the discrepancy. But whether or not they have a punch line -- or whether the punch line is just Gaga herself, or us watching -- they've certainly ranked among the most uniquely humorous moments in 21st century entertainment. Here are seven of the best.
7. "I AM MY HAIR"
Gaga made this declaration of, uh, follicular independence on "Hair," the keys-soaked, Jim Steinman-approved slice of dance-rock whimsy that served as the centerpiece of second LP Born This Way. As melodramatic as it was silly, "Hair" was mostly funny because Gaga refused to let you see her winking in her delivery, unflinching in her earnestness as she proclaims "I've had enough, this is my prayer/ That I'll die living just as free as my hair." Bon Jovi only occasionally got this anthemic, and never got this funny.
6. The "Telephone" danish
The slapstick surrealism of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's epic "Telephone" video had no shortage of memorably comedic moments, but the one that most stands out a half-decade later might be the cheap danish that Gaga and Bey intensely and wordlessly chomp on in the front of their Pussy Wagon -- the quiet climax of the clip's dramatic absurdity. Stefani has often stated that soundtracking New York corner delis was one of her premier life goals, so perhaps this was her sly nod to having finally achieved bodega omnipresence.
5. "Gimme Shelter" with the Rolling Stones in 2012
Shimmying onstage in a striped body suit, ass-length silver hair and platform heels that could level Tokyo, Gaga was determined to make the most of her cameo at the Rolling Stones' 2012 gig at New Jersey's Prudential Center. Howling and strutting in such a full-bodied frenzy that even Mick Jagger had to get a little bug-eyed, Gaga came within inches of eating the Stones alive, making the World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band seem hilariously small-time in comparison.
4. "It's another of my very thoughtful metaphors for a cock"
This was Gaga explaining to Rolling Stone about her infamous use of the phrase "disco stick" in the hook to 2009 single "LoveGame," one of the more attention-grabbing lyrics of her early years. Her explanation was notable not only for its refreshing frankness and its amusing self-awareness, but also its disarming casualness -- as if to (rightly) ask "Well, what other explanation could you possibly have expected?" (Honorable mention here, by the way: "Got my ass squeezed by sexy Cupid" from the same song never quite got the attention it deserved.)
3. The costume changes at the 2010 VMAs
The Meat Dress got all the attention -- surprise -- but the real joy of Gaga's trip to the 2010 VMAs were in her stealth wardrobe switch-ups. One minute she'd be dressed in medium-rare trying to keep Drake from taking a bite out of her purse, then the next she'd be on stage next to a disquieted Eminem looking like this. Her costume changes certainly provided more suspense than the awards themselves, which Stefani unceremoniously swept.
2. "Some of us just like to read"
Gaga's 2013 comeback single "Applause" was a pretty conventional dance-pop song by her standards -- at least, if you kinda skimmed over the lyrics. The song's second verse in particular was an exceedingly peculiar rejoinder to not-clear-who, protesting "I've overheard your theory, 'Nostalgia's for geeks'/ I guess sir, if you say so, some of us just like to read." Maybe it was Gaga sticking up for her artistic pretensions on previous album Born This Way, maybe she was defending its title track against criticism from Madonna fans (and reading Sex at the same time?), maybe it was a famous-person inside joke us non-celebs will always be clueless about. Any which way, it remains a riotous moment of pop WTF-ness.
1. Puff Daddy's stunned reaction shot to "Paparazzi" at the 2009 VMAs
Or pretty much the entire performance, a gloriously stupefying piece of Andrew Lloyd Weber kabuki that served as Gaga's unofficial pop cotillion. But the performance's most indelible moment might not have happened on stage, but in the crowd, where the MTV cameras inexplicably cut to an expressionless Sean Combs, presumably attempting (and failing) to process the melange of opera, performance art, and rock 'n' roll suicide transpiring before him.
In retrospect, the cutaway is absolutely side-splitting -- but to be honest, in the moment, we were all Diddy.