Code Monkey

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Code Monkey
ReleaseThing a Week Three
Release date04-14-2006
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{{#song:Code+Monkey }}

"Code Monkey" is a song on Jonathan Coulton's sixth album, Thing a Week Three. It is one of Jonathan's most recognizable and best known songs, a concert staple and an identifier of his place in the geek rock genre.


"Code Monkey" was released as the twenty-ninth Thing a Week on April 14th, 2006. Jonathan claims in the blog entry for "Code Monkey" that the song isn't autobiographical, though he did use the term "code monkey" to refer to himself and his co-workers.

Shortly after its release, "Code Monkey" was linked to on; the resultant traffic overload caused to go down for over twenty-four hours.

The song was accidentally mastered and released in mono on Thing a Week Three. Jonathan Coulton later acknowledged this error, remixing and rereleasing the song in stereo for his compilation album JoCo Looks Back.[1]

Other versions[edit]

Quick Stop Entertainment sponsored a "Code Monkey Remix" contest from November 11th, 2006, to December 19th, 2006. Contestants were able to download the source files for the song and remix them as they saw fit. Four of the five winning entries can be found here. One of the winners, Kristen Shirts, has since gone on to cover other Jonathan Coulton songs; she has also accompanied Jonathan live at several concerts in New York City as well as at the San Francisco DVD show.

Fred Leo created a version of Code Monkey with an additional guitar track after Jonathan made a remark as to how boring the existing guitar parts sound. It is available from one of his blog posts. [2]

Jonathan has also created two "PG" versions of "Code Monkey", where the "cuss words" ("goddamn" and "crap") have been blanked out (blog entry here) and one with the "bad words reversed" (blog entry here).

The Grammar Club has also released their own version of the song, which includes a rap between the second and third verses.

It has also been covered by Scottish musician Ross Gilchrist, and is available on his Facebook page.

Here's a version with an overdubbed Rickenbacker 12-string:

Live performance[edit]

"Code Monkey" is one of Jonathan's most regularly played songs; it is believed that Jonathan has performed it in every concert since its release. In live performances, the song is typically slowed down tremendously from the Thing a Week release, becoming more of a ballad. When performing with Paul and Storm, they usually accompany Jonathan with backing vocals. In addition, the song has been played in multiple variations; while accompanied by Kristen Shirts on ukelele, with Emily doing the Code Monkey Dance, or Jonathan himself using a Tenori-on.


  • "Code Monkey" is listed as one of the four most popular songs on Jonathan Coulton's Listening Suggestions page.
  • This song was used as the theme song for the G4TV series, Code Monkeys.
  • Fritos is a brand of corn chip.
  • Tab is a diet cola, and Mountain Dew is a citrus soda. Both are known for being heavily caffeinated. Tab was discontinued in 2020.
  • Spiff's World of Warcraft machinima video for "Code Monkey" has been viewed over 5,000,000 times.
  • The online rhythm game 'Osu!' has "Code Monkey" as one of the downloadable tracks; it includes the aforementioned machinima video as the background.
  • Code Monkey was no. 6 on CNN's list of The Top 10 Geek Anthems of All Time.



"Code Monkey" is available for purchase in the Jonathan Coulton MP3 Store as an individual track or as part of Thing a Week III. Of course, this song is also included as part of the "Everything" playlist.

Downloadable FLAC versions of the above are available in the Jonathan Coulton FLAC Store


"Thing a Week III" is available for purchase as a CD here.

Other versions[edit]

A karaoke version of "Code Monkey" (studio recording version) is available on the Jonathan Coulton Karaoke Store.

suuuupaadave's Lesson a Week[edit]

[1] (Live version lesson)



Thing-a-Week Three
1. Madelaine · 2. When You Go · 3. Code Monkey · 4. The Presidents · 5. Just as Long as Me · 6. Till the Money Comes · 7. Tom Cruise Crazy · 8. Famous Blue Raincoat · 9. Soft Rocked By Me · 10. Not About You · 11. Rock and Roll Boy · 12. Drinking With You · 13. Pizza Day
JoCo Looks Back
1. Code Monkey · 2. Ikea · 3. I Feel Fantastic · 4. Mandelbrot Set · 5. Tom Cruise Crazy · 6. Shop Vac · 7. Chiron Beta Prime · 8. I'm Your Moon · 9. My Monkey · 10. Skullcrusher Mountain · 11. I Crush Everything · 12. When You Go · 13. A Talk with George · 14. You Ruined Everything · 15. Creepy Doll · 16. Mr. Fancy Pants · 17. Baby Got Back · 18. First of May · 19. Re: Your Brains · 20. The Future Soon
Best. Concert. Ever.
1. The Future Soon · 2. Ikea · 3. Shop Vac · 4. I'm Your Moon · 5. Baby Got Back · 6. Kenesaw Mountain Landis · 7. Chiron Beta Prime · 8. Tom Cruise Crazy · 9. Code Monkey · 10. Creepy Doll · 11. Still Alive · 12. Mr. Fancy Pants · 13. I Crush Everything · 14. Skullcrusher Mountain · 15. Mandelbrot Set · 16. You Ruined Everything · 17. Re: Your Brains · 18. A Talk with George · 19. I Feel Fantastic · 20. First of May