The Funniest Leonard Cohen Music Videos: #1. First We Take Manhattan German TV 1988

The Five Funniest Leonard Cohen Music Videos

The humor of these videos starring Leonard Cohen, aka Poet Laureate Of Pessimism, aka High Priest Of Pathos, aka Master Of Erotic Despair, aka Gloom Merchant… is self-evident so only minimal annotations have been added. Today’s post features the #1 Funniest Leonard Cohen Music Video (see criteria at the end of this post).

1. First We Take Manhattan – German TV 1988

For laugh out loud funny, the German TV promo version of First We Take Manhattan is the prizewinning entry.

Leonard Cohen Video Or Saturday Night Live Skit Gone Bad?

Originally broadcast February 17, 1988 on German TV, this odd performance of First We Take Manhattan offers a number of noteworthy elements:

The set itself (shown below) is – well, it’s a tad oppressive …

especially when compared to the 1980s decorator’s dream composition in glass, mirrors, chrome, stainless steel, and all things bright and shiny that is the set on the French version of the same promo.

The big question, however, is “Who are those two women with the big hair who assist Leonard Cohen in miming and pantomiming the song – and who lose the three-handed arm wrestling championship to him?”

Yes, they dance, too.

Très groovy.



The Other Funniest Leonard Cohen Music Videos

Funniest Leonard Cohen Music Videos – The Criteria:

  1. The videos must feature Leonard Cohen in a professionally staged and directed performance intended to be viewed in the video medium.
  2. Videos of live performances, such as concerts, are ineligible.
  3. Home-brewed cut and paste videos, Leonard Cohen impersonations, and parodies are ineligible.
  4. “Funniest” includes funny-ha ha, funny-weird, and combinations of both.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted June 24, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

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