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Radio Ha Ha Episode 37

Geez, I know this was a month ago now, but it feels as though all I did was blink and the time passed. I wonder if I lived in some rural midwest backwater I'd be claiming that aliens abducted me, did the anal probe thing that aliens are wont to do, and that no time actually seemed to go by at all, to explain the break in updates!

Truth is, in the time since my last post, I've spent a week in Melbourne and… hang on, I did something else, otherwise I'm going to have to resort to the interstellar proctologist excuse.

Oh, whatever, more updates will fill you in on the hours whiled away in the face of comedy…

For now, the issue at hand is Episode 37, which consisted of an extended chat with Shane Dundas, the Umbilical Brother without wavy hair.

We talked at length about what the Umbies do - which consisted of a bit of cheating on my part, since I already broadcast a bit of an interview discussing what they did as part of Episode 32 (download it here or listen online here) when we showcased the four nominees of the inaugural Helpmann Award for Comedy (eventually won by Lano & Woodley). In addition to playing excerpts from the excellent Speedmouse DVD, the episode includes another airing of the Umbies' underrated novelty single, 'Don't Dance To This'.

In the same episode, I got to play an interview with with Paul Livingston - aka Flacco. It was probably a bit of a mistake to put Flacco in the same episode as the Umbilical Brothers and dedicate such a fair whack of the show to deconstructing the comedy of both — a bit heavy-going for the casual listener, not least of all because both Flacco and the Umbilical Brothers depend on physicality as well as wordplay and silliness. But for fan, it's rare to get the opportunity to get Paul Livingston, or Shane Dundas, to talk so much about their work.

The Livingston interview was originally conducted for a glossy, Sydney-based magazine called Last - which failed to live up to its name. After a year of existence as a weekly, it started coming out monthly before being shut down. But before it ended, I got to do a 'cover story' - on Flacco's show, Releasing the Imbecile Within. That was for a Sydney run at the Studio of the Sydney Opera House. At the time I was still doing stuff for ABC NewsRadio, so I got to record the interview in a studio, and edit it for broadcast.

This is an entirely different edit (okay, a significantly different edit), featuring soundbites from the likes of DAAS Kapital, the excellent Doug Anthony Allstars comedy that lasted all of two seasons during the early 90s, in which Flacco appeared, plus Live at the National Theatre, a live recording of a Doug Anthony Allstars performance for which Flacco was the support; thanks to Dani Solomon for entrusting me with her Allstars video collection in the pursuit of those sunbites). There are also bits from Flacco and the Sandman Live in the Corridor of Uncertainty a recording of a live show I saw at the Seymour Centre in Sydney in the mid-90s (perhaps I saw Further Down the Corridor of Uncertainty!) released on CD. The one thing I regret is that I failed to include the big finale from the live DAAS video, in which Flacco delivers an excellent cover of Roy Orbison's ("the Big O's, the Big Nothing's the Big Zero's…") 'In Dreams', accompanied by the Allstars. I thought the episode was a bit long… and it was… but maybe that would have brightened it up at the tail end somewhat. Doesn't matter though - when I finally catch up with Ted Robinson, legend of Aussie comedy, I will stick that bit in somewhere!

In all, a lot of ground covered.

Read the transcript at the Radio Ha Ha blog, if you like.

Or, more importantly:

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Meanwhile I promise to get to the more recent episodes sooner, rather than later!