One of my on-going projects compares the lifestyle and reputation of medieval ‘guitar’ players (cittern, citole, etc; I don’t go quite as late as lute) with that of their 20th century rock and roll brethren. I’ve given several papers on the topic, including one at a British Museum symposium a couple years back. Everyone else were proper musicologists and some really venerable academics, but they did get a kick out of my use of the footage of Keith Richards cold-cocking a fan with a guitar.
I published an article that made references to a couple episodes of The Mighty Boosh, one of David Mitchell’s appearances on QI, and the episode of *Rex the Runt *about Johnny Saveloy.
I suppose because I do a lot of writing on rock and roll, though, that all sorts of nutty pop culture refs appears in my papers – there is actually the Popular Culture Association which holds an annual national conference in the US every year as well as numerous regional ones.
I used to have to write a letter of explanation for library purchases (why the particular item had academic merit); the one I wrote for the Partridge Family dvds is apparently the stuff of legend.
I do also write on ancient history, and have included numerous pop culture references in those works as well, but again, one of my areas of interest in classical reception in modern culture (especially film and TV), so it’s inevitable.