I write and produce a short-form comedic web series and I occasionally like to make references to popular songs by quoting their lyrics. For example, in one of my episodes a character was telling a story of how they were driving and got lost. The dialogue for that scene goes:
"On my way home, this song came on the radio that I really liked. So, I kinda started to zone out, you know... 'Gettin' lost in the rock and roll and driftin' away.' And I must have missed by turn 'cause when I came to, I didn't know where the heck I was."
That line "Gettin' lost in the rock and roll and driftin' away" is paraphrasing a lyric from "Drift Away" by Uncle Kracker. I'm not trying to claim that I wrote those lyrics, but I'm also not directly citing the original work. I think of it as an inside joke for anyone who's familiar with the song. I occasionally do the same thing with movie quotes.
My question is this, am I in anyway at risk of copyright or trademark infringement? I can certainly think of other films or series that make similar references ('Psych' and 'The Big Bang Theory' come to mind), but for all I know they may be obtaining necessary licenses for these uses.
To be clear, I'm not asking, "Can I get away with this?" I just want to know if it's wrong. I am not really concerned that I am going to be sued, since my little show is small potatoes. But, it's my small potatoes, and I want to be sure that everything is aboveboard. I'm already familiar with the ambiguous "fair use" doctrine, but I don't like to just plead "fair use" because I belive that many people misunderstand and abuse the purpose of it. I want to know if anyone has any firsthand knowledge or experience in the legality of making references to other works for comedic purposes.
Some additional information:
I am earning a profit from my series, as it is only available through purchasing on Vimeo On Demand.
We're not singing or using the melody of the songs, just the words. In some cases it's a paraphrase, in some cases it's a direct quote. But it's never more than one line, and it's typically used within the context of the scene to create some sort of alternative or double meaning (as in the above example).
Thank you in advance for your insight, and please let me know if you have any further questions.