Monkey Around

Yale grad turned software developer turned geek comedy songwriting icon Jonathan Coulton had me at the line “Welcome to my secret lair here on Skullcrusher Mountain.” It’s the first line of the first song I ever heard by Coulton, and it kicks off a first-person love letter from a mad scientist to a woman he’s captured and is attempting to woo with a half-monkey, half-pony monster he created in his evil underground lab. "Skullcrusher Mountain" and songs like "Code Monkey," the story of a frustrated software developer, have become Internet sensations, and Coulton has cashed in with savvy use of the Web and self-marketing at

You can buy all of his songs and albums on the website (where they’ve been published with a Creative Commons license), or, if you've already stolen the downloads from somewhere else, you can, for a dollar, support the comedian by buying monkey, robot or banana icons to publish on his site. Coulton belongs to a small cadre of comedians (like his friend Ze Frank) who have used the Internet to circumvent traditional album sales models in order to better control their publishing rights and keep a larger percentage of the (small but enviable) amount of money that comes over the Web from fans.

The DIY ethic has earned Coulton a cult following whose members will likely turn out in droves to see him, along with Washington, D.C.-area comic songwriting and improv duo Paul & Storm, tonight at 9 p.m. at the Soiled Dove Underground, 7401 East First Avenue. Tickets are $15; for more information, go to
Fri., Jan. 16, 2009

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Sean Cronin

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