Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

When Comedy Is No Joking Matter

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

When Comedy Is No Joking Matter

Article excerpt

Every Tuesday morning, I wake up at 3:45 PST to prep for my nationally syndicated radio segment, "The Zany Report;' Despite my touring schedule, I am usually able to phone it in from my home office in Southern California, although I have broadcast live from Atlantic City, the Bahamas, Israel and countless airport lounges. Except for the time I slept through my alarm in--where else?--Las Vegas, 1 haven't missed a show in 14 years.

So, on Sept. 11, 2001, I did what I always do: got up before dawn, made some coffee, and scanned the paper for last-minute joke ideas. And since it was my birthday, I indulged in my discreet annual glance at the "Celebrities Born Today" column in the Los Angeles Times. Like every year, actress Kristy McNichol and writer O. Henry' were listed, but there was no mention of me. Come on, not even on my 40th birthday?

My first call was to the team of "Two Guys Named Chris" on Rock 92 FM out of Greensboro, N.C. At 5:46 AM my time, while I opened with a throwaway joke about actor Marlon Brando's permanent weirdness, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. 1 finished the call with no knowledge of the unfolding events, jostled my sleeping wife, an actress/'comedian scheduled to shoot a makeup commercial that day, and did a little packing for our birthday trip to Orlando, Fla.

What turned out to be 12 minutes after United Airlines Flight 175 had crashed into the South Tower, I phoned 'The Big Dogz" on KJ-108 FM in Grand Forks, N.D. Although I have to assume that the radio station was beginning to receive news, I finished my report unaware. My third call was to the nationally syndicated "Bob & Tom Show." When the producer answered the phone, all he said was, "I don't think we'll do any more comedy today."

My first thought was that he was having some sort of a breakdown. The "Bob & Tom Show" was, and remains, one of the most popular morning drive-time comedy programs in America. 1 had been in radio since 1980 and I knew that formats changed without a lot of notice, but this didn't make any sense. So I walked into the bedroom and turned on the TV That woke up my wife. "How did it go?" she asked, as she did every Tuesday morning. "It didn't," I answered, still preoccupied by the last call. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.