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Is that what's botherin' ya, bunky?

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]
posted by oneswellfoop on Mar 31, 2014 - 22 comments

Dinner, Lemmings, and the Hour

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. NatLamp 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.] [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Dec 10, 2013 - 32 comments

"Ask Dr. Science. Remember he knows more than you do."

The comedy troupe Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre started in 1975 when five University of Iowa graduate students hoped to score some free beer. You may have heard Ask Dr. Science (Wikipedia) sketches on All Things Considered. Ask Dr. Science first ran in 1982 (or maybe on New Year's Day 1981) as a project of Duck's Breath members Dan Coffey and Merle Kessler on KQED. [more inside]
posted by knile on Sep 20, 2013 - 15 comments

John Oliver: "The most formative comedy of my teenage years."

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, Veep), 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]
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 10, 2013 - 64 comments

"I have thrown a terrarium of land crabs on the floor at a party in a drunken rage, I have known regret. "

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.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 19, 2012 - 23 comments

Gertrude Berg

Winner of the first Emmy Award for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, winner of a Tony Award in 1959, a pioneer for women as writers and producers in radio and television, and the inventor of the situation comedy, Gertrude Berg is - in the words of her film biographer Aviva Kempner - "the most important woman in America you never heard of". [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 3, 2012 - 10 comments

...this symmetric aperture is called the "fenetre de breeze", roughly translated meaning the "zephyr window".

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]
posted by bubukaba on Apr 24, 2012 - 14 comments

Here Come Duh Judge

A profile of legendary Black comedian Pigmeat Markham by Kliph Nesteroff (prev prev) [more inside]
posted by jtron on Feb 3, 2011 - 12 comments

Best Show Jems

Radio comedy call-in powerhouse The Best Show on WFMU is available in delicious bite sized jems.
posted by The Devil Tesla on Feb 2, 2011 - 20 comments

Great banter

First episode of Alan Partridge's brand new series, Mid Morning Matters from North Norfolk Digital (SLYT) (previous)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 5, 2010 - 20 comments

Don't forget to STAAAAAY DEEE-EE-EE MENTED!

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.
posted by not_on_display on Jun 8, 2010 - 57 comments

Freberg! Freberg!

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).
posted by Kattullus on Mar 26, 2009 - 40 comments

Matinee with Bob and Ray

"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, television, print, 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]
posted by not_on_display on Nov 17, 2008 - 27 comments

Waits for applause...not a sausage

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. [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Apr 5, 2008 - 37 comments

Who's that ugly dwarf with his hand in your mouth?

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 and 2001, 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]
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit on Jan 31, 2008 - 91 comments

How big a boy are 'ya?

Roy D. Mercer asks Bill Goldberg if he's ready for an ass whoopin.[more inside]
posted by bigmusic on May 11, 2006 - 18 comments

Comedian Linda Smith dies of cancer

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.
posted by ceri richard on Feb 28, 2006 - 31 comments

The world of double entendre

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.
posted by rolo on Feb 27, 2004 - 8 comments

Ricky Gervais And Comedy Radio

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. Radio 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.
posted by MiguelCardoso on May 4, 2003 - 34 comments

Mullet Talk,

Mullet Talk, 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.
posted by Recockulous on Sep 25, 2002 - 10 comments

WNEW Dumps Opie And Anthony

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?
posted by BGM on Aug 22, 2002 - 42 comments

Funniest man on radio.

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.
posted by Doug on Jun 17, 2001 - 20 comments

Harry Secombe passes at 79.

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.
posted by aflakete on Apr 11, 2001 - 12 comments

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