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Sunday, February 15, 2009


What the hell is it with theatre gigs and annoying radio "personalities"? Why do commercial radiots (I just came up with that nifty portmanteau!) need to come out before every big show and announce who the audience is going to be seeing in thirty seconds? We know who's coming up. The name's right on the ticket. Secondly, who are you? Nobody listens to your shitty station. With the vast number of radio outlets available to us these days, either on our sets or computers or beaming down from outer space, your two-bit station might get 300 listeners tops.

This isn't petty jealousy because the co-op station that airs What's So Funny? gets maybe three listeners. Honest. I just think this practice is the most redundantest thing. Plus, I must admit, commercial radio people kinda give me the creeps. They stride to the stage all cocky, giving their names and affiliation, pausing slightly for the applause that never, ever comes, before carrying on with their well-modulated voices.

It also must be horribly humbling for them. Everyone on commercial radio thinks they're God's gift to humour, what with their slide whistles and dingers and raucous laughter from their sycophantic sidekicks. And then they find themselves on stage before real live comedians and they're not getting even a pity guffaw from an audience ready to laugh. This is just a lose-lose situation all around. It must be stopped.

At the River Rock once I was introduced to some radio woman on some big station I never listen to. She does lots of these types of intros. I was given her name so I greeted her with a respectful hello. Since I didn't appear to get all excited at the mere mention of her name, she jumped in with, "I'm the hag in the sky." Or some such thing. I said, "I don't know what that means." I immediately felt awful because you could tell she was wounded. I think she was expecting me to be a big fan. But she was doubly screwed because the only thing I hate more than radio personalities are traffic news reporters. Those people are the laziest buggers on the air, getting us to call them and supply them with all the info. Athough it works for me because when I'm running late and the traffic is bad, I just call in and say there's been an accident on my route. They report it and, presto!, the street opens right up. (Okay, I haven't done that, but I will someday, I promise.) Anyway, despite my non-responsive greeting this hag in the sky went out there on that stage like a trooper and announced who was coming up to the best of her a.m. ability.

Maybe these "personalities" don't even want to be there. Maybe their bosses think it would be a great way to plug the station. Like we're all sitting there thinking, "That horribly unfunny person who went up there at the beginning who told us what we already knew sure had a well-modulated voice. I think I'll start listening to his show."

I'm not a fan of heckling or booing actual comics but I think the best way to get rid of this horribly ill-conceived practice is to boo mightily and heckle mercilessly the next time a radio deejay steps to the microphone prior to a big comedy show. Even if you happen to like the person. Just do it. Knowing them, their egos won't even allow for the fact that it was directed their way so it won't sting too bad. But it just might stop the organizers from putting the next local pseudo-celebrity out there where they don't belong.


Ezio Pinza said...

A couple of years ago at the jazz festival media launch party I was introduced to this blonde chick. The way she was introduced to me it seemed that not only was I supposed to know who she was but I was supposed to be honoured that a lowlife like me was even meeting such a luminary. I know what Madonna looks like so I knew it wasn't her. So I grinned and grabbed another canape and went outside for a smoke. Ten minutes later the speeches began and this person got up to orate about the stupefyingly fantastic jazz scene in Vancouver and how the festival will be the hippest thing in the history of the universe, etc., etc.

"Who the fuck is that?" I asked one of the other nonentities. Turns out she was the local TV weather personality. Later I went up to her and asked, "So . . . what was the last jazz album you bought?" She closed her eyes and thought for a long, long while and said, "What?"

Guy MacPherson said...

Classic! But you gotta admit, Tamara Taggart is pretty damn cute. I'd make an exception if she were to introduce a comedian.