"Welcome to The Unbelievable Truth, the panel game show about incredible truths and barely credible lies. I am your host, David Mitchell. The rules are as follows: each panelist will present a short lecture that should be entirely false save for five pieces of true information which they should attempt to smuggle past their opponents – cunningly concealed amongst the lies. Points are scored by truths that go unnoticed while other panelists can win a point if they spot a truth or lose points if they mistake a lie for a truth."
Having recently concluded its 13th series, the show has amassed 81 episodes. For your listening pleasure: [more inside]
You say you just learned of the passing of comedian Eddie Lawrence last week at the age of 95?
He was best known for his 1956 routine "The Old Philosopher"
, in which he gloomily described a litany of sometimes absurdly funny mishaps then changed gears into a cheerleading chant ending in "NEVER GIVE UP (BANG! BANG!) THAT SHIP!*" It was a big hit single (and Dr. Demento staple**) and led to a series of follow-ups, including "Son of the Old Philosopher"
, the Christmas-themed "Merry Old Philosopher"
, "The Radio DJ's Old Philosopher"
(filled with inside-the-biz jokes) and "The Old Philosopher On The Range"
, as well as radio commercials based on the bit: "Leave It To (John) Leavitt"***
. [more inside]
In 1972, National Lampoon
expanded into recorded comedy with Radio Dinner
. The album
was largely a star turn for a young NatLamp
contributor named Christopher Guest; when the magazine followed up on Radio Dinner's
success by sponsoring an off-Broadway "satirical joke-rock mock-concert musical comedy semi-revue,"
he was tapped to perform in it alongside a drummer named Chevy Chase and a 24-year-old John Belushi. National Lampoon's Lemmings
(original cast album
) was another hit, running for 350 performances of Woodstock parody and Joe Cocker mockery
editor Michael O'Donaghue decided the time was right to take the brand to a weekly radio show. He brought the stars of Lemmings
back for it, together with Belushi's old Second City castmates Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, and Brian Doyle-Murray. Harry Shearer, Doug Kenney, and Richard Belzer helped round out the cast of The National Lampoon Radio Hour
. [You should probably just assume that all YT links are NSF playing out loud at W.]
There was no wink and they never sold it out for these half-hour, densely, beautifully produced pieces, which is, for all possibilities, obscuring that this doesn’t at all sound like a comedy show. It is all the production elements you would use in a full-scale news production. All the gravitas, but just inflated to a point that it has no gravitas whatsoever. And I think that is where it became this excitingly subversive thing because it just showed that BBC Radio 4 and everything it stood for was just a big bag of shit.
John Oliver on why he's a fan of On the Hour. On the Hour
, of course, is the legendary BBC news radio program created by, among other people, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It
, In The Loop
), Christopher Morris (Jam
, Brass Eye
, Four Lions
, Why Bother?
), Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up comic ever
), and Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge
, I'm Alan Partridge
). Short-lived but influential, On the Hour
mimicked the tone and production of other radio news shows but replaced the content with what Oliver describes as "unremitting bullshit". On the Hour
was aired in two six-episode series (S1E1 S1E2 S1E3 S1E4 S1E5 S1E6
; S2E1 S2E2 S2E3 S2E4 S2E5 S2E6
), and begat a television series called The Day Today
. That show in turn added Graham Linehan (Black Books
, Father Ted
, The IT Crowd
) to On the Hour
's already all-star lineup, upped the already-insane levels of overproduction, and ran for six short-but-glorious episodes (one two three four five (WAR!) six
), as well as a special 9/11 radio report
. [more inside]
Actor and writer James Urbaniak
(Venture Brothers, American Splendor) has a wry, occasionally upsetting "fictional podcast" with every episode written by a new author. Getting On With James Urbaniak
The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946
[mp3 at bottom] lingers on in the memories of record collectors
, radio historians
, and a generation of post-war vulgarians from Dr. Demento to Howard Stern
. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's vivid recording of the contest (conceived at a company stag party) inspired legions of LP cover artists: an early public airing was encased in a sleeve
designed by one of the earliest proponents
of the illustrated album cover. Later editions were adorned with shockingly detailed renditions of the Great Contest, created by a variety
of anonymous geniuses
. (Speaking of art, it was also a rumored favorite
of Salvador Dali). Though it has inspired various lurid myths
, we've learned a little bit about the deepest roots
of the contest right here on Metafilter
. [more inside]
A profile of legendary Black comedian Pigmeat Markham
by Kliph Nesteroff
) [more inside]
Radio comedy call-in powerhouse The Best Show on WFMU
is available in delicious bite sized jems
of Alan Partridge's brand new series, Mid Morning Matters from North Norfolk Digital (SLYT) (previous
End of an Era / Mental Health Care Announcement: Doctor Demento
is retiring from the airwaves after 40 years in the looney biz. If you're one of his patients, that's the bad news: "He has come to agree with his manager and his family that it's necessary. The broadcast has been losing money for some time."
The good news is that he'll continue producing shows for his own website's
visitors every week for $2 a pop, for all you junk music junkies.
Oregon! Oregon! A Centennial Fable in Three Acts
is a musical comedy by famed radio comedian and Looney Tunes voice actor Stan Freberg that was commissioned in 1959 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Oregon statehood. This year, on the 150th anniversary, Stan Freberg and Pink Martini will revive the musical with a new 4th act written by Freberg
(check out the complete Pink Martini concert on the page). For more Freberg goodness check out these 15 episodes of his radio show
and this 1999 interview
which includes some of his classic sketches (sketches in RealAudio format).
"Wally Ballou here, reporting for the Matinob with Ray and Bob
from the World Wide Internets..." Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding
are better known as Bob and Ray
. Spending over four decades
on the radio
, and Broadway
, beginning in Boston in 1946, they pioneered absurdist, satirical, dry, improvisational sketch comedy, influencing a legion of future comics (and others). The duo was inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame
in 1984. They last appeared on the radio in NPR's "The Bob and Ray Public Radio Show"
from 1982-1987. [more inside]
The Goon Show
was a popular and influential radio comedy produced by the BBC from 1951 - 1960, starring Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.
Here, you can listen to it whenever you like.
Los Angeles! he walks again by night... ...out of the smog, into the fog. Relentlessly -- ruthlessly -- ("I wonder where Ruth is?") -- doggedly! ("Woof woof!" *)
For the past 42 years the Firesign Theatre, the best comedy group of the 1960's, has been putting their art in cans from Canada to Kashmir. Up for the Grammy in 1998
, Firesign at their best combined clever, multilayered writing with pitch-perfect satirical performances as Rocky Rococco, Ralph Spoilsport, Art Holeflaffer, Hemlock Stones, Uh Clem and Barney, and many more. Back in the day, it would have been astonishing if at least one of your peers couldn't recite all of The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye
, including the sound effects. [more inside]
British comedian Linda Smith dies of cancer. Linda Smith
, president of the Humanist society
and a regular on BBC Radio 4's flagship comedy shows such as The News Quiz
and Just A Minute
, plus her own A Brief History of Timewasting
, her wonderfully deadpan style and the ability to transform moaning into an art form will be missed by many.
The recent post that revived the rude ‘Rainbow
’ kids show sketch reminded me of the our (that is, British) obsession with comic double entendre
- the ability to accept the filthiest things as long as there is a parallel innocuous interpretation. I think it is something to do our love for wordplay and subtext, our innate hypocrisy and the belief that sex is, in fact, rather naughty. Perhaps the prime example are the Julian and Sandy
sketches that ran on the BBC Radio show ‘Beyond Our Ken’
from 1964-69. Over Sunday lunch, millions (there was ONLY the BBC in those days) listened to two very camp characters saying outrageous things in Polari
(underground gay slang). A much earlier prime example is the great dirty joke
(it’s the one in blue at the bottom of the page) that got comedian Max Miller (died in 1963) banned from the BBC for 5 years. A more recent case of innuendo is, of course, Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy
. Of course the double entendre
can also be unintentional
The Funniest Brits Since Monty Python, The Fast Show And The League Of Gentlemen
are definitely Ricky Gervais
* and Stephen Merchant
whose giggly, gloriously silly and shockingly juvenile improvised radio antics can be heard every Saturday on xfm
is so often overlooked and underestimated as a vehicle for comedy
that it hurts
. This is probably more so in America
than in the UK
. [Don't know about Canada or Australia, although they produce so many excellent comedians.
] Sooooo... What's your
idea of radio comedy gold?
*Gervais, in case you've never to have heard of him, is the star of the magnificent The Office, recently aired on cable, along with Ali G, and returning to America in a bastardized version; already featured on MetaFilter.
FM morning radio show comedy at it its finest. Of course, in Pittsburgh we appreciate the finer things in life. Sadly, this is the only episode I could find on the web.
WNEW Dumps Opie And Anthony
I guess we know how far too far is now. How long before they make their triumphant return on another ratings-starved radio station?
Funniest man on radio.
There are hundreds of television channels, and multimillion dollar movies being made, but I'd rather listen to an AM talk show. You can also listen on the internet here
Harry Secombe passes at 79.
I just saw the Peter Sellers bio on American Movie Classics the other day, and found out how important The Goon Show
was in the history of comedy. A Hard Day's Night
and Monty Python had their roots in this groundbreaking British radio show that ran from 1949-1960.