Congratulations to “Weird Al” Yankovic, who just topped the Billboard charts with his latest album, Mandatory Fun. I’ve seen some sources claim it’s the first comedy album to top the chart since 1960, when Bob Newhart unleashed the monster hit that was The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (14 weeks at #1!). In fact, there were a bunch of other chart-topping comedy albums in the early 1960s: in 1961, for example, Newhart had a #1 followup, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! And Allan Sherman (now best remembered for “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh!”) released three chart-topping albums of song parodies: yes, he was the Weird Al of his day. My Son, the Folk Singer (1962) was followed in 1963 by My Son, the Celebrity and My Son, the Nut. As far as I can tell, My Son, the Nut was the last #1 comedy album before Mandatory Fun, making for a gap of 51 years. Steve Martin came close in 1978, though, hitting #2 with A Wild and Crazy Guy.
There was one other early-60s comedy album to hit #1: The First Family, by Vaughn Meader. In case you aren’t familiar with Vaughn Meader: he was a JFK impressionist whose career was stratospheric before November 22, 1963 (The First Family won the Grammy for Album of the Year and sold over 7 million copies) and over after it. Famously, at Lenny Bruce’s first gig after the JFK assassination, he went onstage and opened with the line, “Man, is Vaughn Meader fucked!”