Friday, February 27, 2009

Bad Trip Down Memory Lane

I was still quite little when The Firesign Theater first began broadcasting their comedy show in LA in the mid-sixties. I was as more into the Funny Papers read every Sunday morning. They were well established (early 70s) by the time I sat down and listened seriously to what they were saying… and found out that I enjoyed them. I’m sure that it had more to do with being aware of the world, than being receptive to humor. Much of what was used came from current events and actual geographical locations. The latter was easy for me. I spent a month each year of my summers in Eagle Rock, a burb of LA with a great-grandma that was always dragging me off somewhere to see something or other of interest to her. I had LA streets and landmarks down pat. Whoever knew that time with great-grandma would pan out so happily?

That was a good point in time for audio comedy. We had Dr. Demento, (who eventually led us to Weird Al Yankovic) , Monthy Python’s Flying Circus and every radio station had it’s own set of nutty DJs who put on a show. Weird Al and Monty Python of course moved on into the video world. I enjoyed Fawlty Towers on the BBC as well as the regular Monty Python show. The players exploded out into our movies and televisions from the Flying Circus. I love A Fish Called Wanda. Jamie Lee Curtis married a Python.

Humor is so important. It was good to turn on a record that could play in the background (yes, big generally black things that spun on a turn table that date me as the antique I am.) while you visited with friends… doing whatever you did with your friends at that point in time. College days for me and yes, it was party time. We laughed often and found the bits and pieces of these delights made their way into our everyday lives, to be repeated when applicable. Most of it was just plain silly. Some was very smart. All of it was fun.

Recently my visiting husband attempted to engage our boys in listening to Firesign Theater when he happened on their web site ( (For the curious.)
I have heard them all and know most by heart. I moved around the house at leisure and chuckled when I wanted. The dad guy had the boys sitting in hard back chairs next to the computer to listen. They did not get a lot of the jokes due to a lack of insight to the period of time. I was cleaning the bathroom when Squeaky showed up looking panicked. “Help me!” he begged. Max had already bailed and Squeaky did not want to let down the dad guy, but he’d had enough. He had the same look I used to get when my grandpa would want to lecture me on marsupials… because we had zero common ground on which to base a conversation.

I took pity on him and rescued him by demanding that he take out the trash… which he did with unusual zest and then ordering him to go clean his room, which he did with relish. It worked out well for me in that I got work out of a kid who thanked me for the opportunity. But, I ended up losing too. I became the meanie who ended the fun and I got stuck with dad guy walking down memory lane and his hurt feelings that they did not enjoy it the way he did at their age. Times change. Poor old dad guy… the world has moved on without him. He was pretty ticked off at me for the rest of the day. Oh well. I am soooooooooooo used to that!

It’s good to be open to new things. Being open keeps us moving in time with the world. And good memories have their place. The trick is to be able to blend them without disrupting the flow or imposing on others. I have good boys, both tried to be interested for as long as they could stand. I respect that about them. And I respect that the dad guy wants to connect and share with them. But I think this weekend we’ll go with Monopoly.


  1. I can barely get my daughters to sit and watch a black & white movie, but somehow, the magic of Monty Python drew them in. We took them to see Spamalot and they enjoyed it very much. They can finally share in our Python humor inspired quotes which used to go right over their heads.

    BTW I thought Jamie Lee was married to one of the guys from Spinal Tap?

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  3. Sorry, spelling errors drive me nuts. My fingers don't want to type correctly today. Perhaps I am wrong about Jamie Lee. I will check it out. Don't want to spread irresponsible gossip... only responsible gossip. I have never seen Spamalot, but would love to! My boys do like Monty Python, just not Firesign Theater. But Python is timeless and never really gets old.

  4. My parents made me listen to Firesign Theater when I was little too. I never quite enjoyed it the way they did, but I remember liking some of it well enough. I love Fawlty Towers though.

    Always remember, whatever you do, don't mention the war...

  5. Hey checked my facts on Jamie Lee... and Cube is correct! I was wrong. Apologies, I will try and be certain of my facts from here out. Her husband is Christopher Guest who is not connected at all with Monty Python's Flying Circus. Thanks for the correction Cube!