Daily Archives: April 19, 2011

I got to thinking about Bob & Ray after yesterday’s post about Ernie Kovacs…

Ray Goulding and Bob Elliott hosting The Name'...

Ray Goulding and Bob Elliot in 1955

Bob and Ray were to radio what Ernie Kovacs was to television (although the famous radio team, who met as announcers at Boston’s WHDH in 1946, also did television, film and live performances on Broadway in their 43-year career), and were as influential on generations of comedians as Kovacs was, if not more so.

Performing right up to the late 80s when Ray was too ill to work (he died in 1990), Bob Elliot & Ray Goulding developed many characters who became treasured and respected names among listeners: Wally Ballou, Mary McGoon, Webley Webster, the McBeebe brothers, Biff Burns and so many others.

I often think that the reason their characters seemed so real over time was that Bob & Ray believed they WERE real… that there really was a radio soap opera producer named O. Leo Leahy (who they often put in their credit list after a show) or that Wally Ballou really was out on the street interviewing ordinary people and always being upcut by the broadcast engineer. I suppose when you perform the same characters for decades in so many different situations they DO become real.

Their comedy was performed without a single bad word or objectionable situation. They were rarely political (although the one exception may be the poke they gave to Senator Joe McCarthy on their soap opera parody “Mary Backstayge Noble Wife” in the late 50s) and never offensive, but remained much funnier than most of their competition.

Here’s a Wally Ballou interview sample (this is from “Bob and Ray, The Two and Only”, their Carnegie Hall performance in the 1980s):

I played that last piece because it is one of my favorites and so typical of their work… which they talked about in this interview with a very young David Letterman, who was very much influenced by them:

Letterman, of course, gave a major career start to Bob’s son Chris Elliot… and Chris’ daughter, Abby Elliot is now on Saturday Night Live, making Bob Elliot, 88 years old this year, the head of three generations of funny people.

Fortunately there is a large quantity of recordings of Bob & Ray’s work going back to the late 40s available on CDs, cassette tapes and DVDs. YouTube has a nice collection as well. These are certainly worth your time whenever you are feeling down… they never cease to provide a laugh.

My favorite publishing atheist, P Z Myers, addressed the Global Atheist Convention in Australia last year…

Here’s the video of his speech which was just released by Myers:


What is going on with the Republican presidential choices?

Republicans Don’t Like Their Candidates

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds just 43% of Republicans are satisfied with their choices in the 2012 presidential field, far below the 65% who said the same at this time in the 2008 race.

The Fix: “Put Simply: The opportunity is ripe for someone with the fiscally conservative focus of an Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels or, less likely, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to get into the race and immediately begin winning over Republicans dissatisfied with their current options.”

And what is even more interesting, the leading candidate, with around 26% of the Republican’s approval, is Donald Trump. Trump is entertaining the Press with statements pertaining to the “Birther” movement, demanding Obama’s birth certificate and spreading misinformation about his birth location, citizenship, education, etc. At the same time he is attacking  both Democrats AND Republicans, tearing down Mitt Romney last week by insulting his professional business record, his gross income, and, of course, his Massachusetts health plan which has a great similarity to our Affordable Health Care plan passed last year. I won’t even get into the statements he made this week about foreign policy.
Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

The Donald

How someone like Trump can have such a lead in the polls is either because they are polling Democrats who are masquerading as Republicans and would dearly love to have Trump running against Obama (perhaps with Michelle Bachman as the VP candidate), or Republicans are using this as a front to lure out someone like Mitch Daniels that they would really like to have running. It is hard to believe that Republicans are that unconcerned with the stability of this country to really want someone like the Donald as our National Leader.
You would think that the Press would ignore all this and focus on the real news in the world – there’s plenty of it that we should talk about and understand how to respond as a people. You’d think so, but between this garbage about Trump and the Royal Wedding, a whole lot of our broadcast news not worth turning on.
Thank goodness for the internet.