S2E14 Dope Humor of the Seventies (w/ David Ossman)

Called “The Beatles of Comedy” by The Library of Congress, the four-man Firesign Theatre wrote and performed together for over forty years, but their early studio work (1968-1975) for Columbia Records remains their best known and most influential. Innumerable phrases from their albums have entered the English lexicon: What’s all this brouhaha? More Sugar! What you don’t mean won’t hurt you! Not Insane! Forward Into the Past! Shoes for Industry! Your brain may no longer be the boss!

The iconic comic voices of the counter-culture generation, Firesign chronicled pop, politics, media, and technology in a tense one listener called “the Future Inevitable.” The Firesign Theatre has been compared to Kurt Vonnegut, Ken Kesey and Bob Dylan in their original use of language, and to the surrealists in their psychedelic story-telling methods, including the time-and-space altering concept of “channel-switching.” The original albums, intricately produced in multi-track recording, were designed for multiple listenings and meanings—an audio Theatre of the Absurd.

Entertainment Weekly ranked The Firesign Theatre among the “Thirty Greatest Comedy Acts of All Time”. The group received Grammy Award nominations for three of their albums: The Three Faces of Al (1984), Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death (1998), and Bride of Firesign (2001).

Founding member David Ossman joins us to discuss their new release, DOPE HUMOR OF THE SEVENTIES which goes on sale Friday November 27th. DOPE HUMOR OF THE SEVENTIES is an extremely belated sequel to Firesign’s 1972 double-LP “Dear Friends”—a freewheeling demolition derby of old-time radio tropes seen through the subversive lens of Nixon-era Los Angeles freeform radio. The record will be Firesign’s first new vinyl release since “Eat or Be Eaten” in 1985.

DOPE HUMOR OF THE SEVENTIES contains 34 tracks spread over four record sides. Meanwhile the download version of the record is greatly expanded, and includes 46 tracks totaling over two hours.

Customers who buy the download directly from Stand Up! Records will also get a 56-page PDF which includes scans of scripts used in the original radio broadcasts.  The new release includes soon-to-be-classic chunks of surrealism like “Pluto Water”, “Shakespeare Sunday Sunday”, and “Bob Dog Dog & Dog Hot Dog Son & Foot Tires”.

You can purchase DOPE HUMOR OF THE SEVENTIES directly from their website, firesigntheatre.com. As mentioned by Dave in the episode, you can pick up a free copy of Drop Ins from their Bandcamp page.


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