BYD on Dr. Demento. The Steamroller Skit.

3 guys, no waiting

Pat, Tom and Scott - c. 1987 at Syracuse Univeristy

In ’87, we mailed the good Doctor a reel of some of our latest skits and bits we were working on, and he sent us a few release forms in the mail. He liked a bunch of them,  so we signed so he could air them on his show. To say were were psyched would be an understatement. More after the break.

I grew up listening to The Dr. Demento Show – like most of us, it was one of the few ways I could hear some of those oddball comedy and novelty songs on the radio. Kip Addotta, The Frantics, Martin Mull – They all came to my attention from his program.

In 1985, one of my first paying radio gigs was at WHEB-FM in Portsmouth, NH playing his show. I did live assist on ‘The Sunday Night Six Pack’ – basically playing syndicated programs on lps and commercial breaks from 6 – midnight.

One of the shows was Dr.Demento. I was in nirvana. Producing morning show bits, playing one of my idols on a local station. Next up – submitting material to him to air. And it happened – a few months after we sent back the release forms, one week I got an air check lp, and the cue sheet said: ‘Boffo Yux Dudes’ – “Steamroller”.

Wow. A show I had been listening to since childhood now was playing something I had done. It was a very cool feeling. It was the first of several he played over the next few years. I’ll be posting them later.

About the skit –
Scott found it hard to believe, I didn’t like this one. I had written it in a notebook in my early Newswatch years as an exercise – I wanted to do a Monty Python style skit, but didn’t think it was up to their standards. So it stayed in the notebook until he uncovered it and said – why didn’t you do this one? He liked it, and we reworked it for the aired version. I did like the ‘aside to the audience’ – The Pythons would do that on their lps, but never on the TV show.

So we cut it at the WHEB studios on one of his trips up to visit. It ended up on our 1st cassette – Stays Funny…Even in Milk!’

And the funny thing is – he just replayed this skit last March – almost 22 years later.  Enjoy.

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5 Responses to BYD on Dr. Demento. The Steamroller Skit.

  1. Scott Mercer says:

    Dr. D replayed it! Damn!

    That was probably about the same time a few months ago that TV Guide channel replayed Club Fed…just about the only movie I was in where you can actually see me (I did extra work on a few other ones.) They still cut out my only line, in my scene with Karen Black. Here it is, since the expanded DVD with deleted footage is not out yet…

    Sally Rich (Karen Black’s character): Get out of my way, you piece of shit!

    (She pushes giant luggage cart into my torso)

    Me: (grabbing my genitals in pain) Aaaaarrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhh!!!

    Anyway, on to the sketch in question:

    Total Python RIP-OFF. I should have sent a licensing fee to John Cleese, although towards the end I sort-of morphed into a half-Cleese, half-Palin. I do remember throwing in the “packet of crisps” line as an ad-lib for extra added Britishness. Half of the jokes make no sense at all, especially the “surprise twist” ending. But I guess that just adds the element of surrealism that we so loved about Monty Python.

    Tom, you sound more like a lesser Benny Hill sidekick crossed with one of the Two Ronnies (I forget which one, I think maybe the smaller one).

    I’m sure the good Doctor realized we were aping the Pythons and liked it anyway.

    • boffoyuxdudes says:

      I forgot about Club Fed! I just put it in my Netflix DVD queue to I can lift your scenes. Allan Morgan and Scott were both on screen as bellhops for that choice movie!

      I agree – this was a big Python ‘Homage’ if actually taking wholesale lines from some of their skits and putting them into it isn’t a full Rip-off. I did like the throw away lines you put in to make it more British – I think ‘fiver’ and ‘Packet of Crisps’ stuck in my brain – as much as ‘Lift’ for an elevator.

      I still don’t know what my voice was there. Vaguely Light Cockney that kept wavering to something much worse for wear.

      For some reason, the line people laughed on was ‘…As an aside to the audience’ . Maybe breaking the 4th wall (or is it the 3rd wall in Audio?) makes it that much more novel and ludicrous.

      I had sent Dr. D. a email early last year, when I had learned he was ‘retiring’ from radio – I thought he was stopping the show entirely, but instead he was going internet only. So he suggested we send in a cd with material. I plan on it when I finally master the Speculation Theater CD.

      Tom

  2. Scott Mercer says:

    Yeah, the “aside to the audience” bit was something I threw in there to keep in a visual joke in what was originally intended to be a videotaped sketch. It’s funny because it’s just so absurd.

    I will admit that over the years I have become much less enamored with the “breaking the fourth wall” technique, since I think it has been relied on too much by hack comedy writers in the past 20 or so years. It must be used sparingly, and only when appropriate. In this case, I think it was. Appropriate, that is.

  3. Russ Rogers says:

    When I was in 7th Grade (so, around 1975), I transcribed Monty Python scripts on an acoustic typewriter (didn’t even have an electric one). And I listened to Dr. Demento religiously. I would memorize the countdown, and tape record the episodes. I remember actually placing the microphone to the tape recorder in front of the radio speaker, forcing everyone in the house to be quiet because “Shaving Cream” was on. I was not very technically minded.

    Dr. D. has long been a hero of mine. I’m very impressed that your bits have been on his show.

    • boffoyuxdudes says:

      Manual Typewriters. Always liked them, tho I’d go too fast and the keys would stick together.

      I’m there with you. Before home VCRs were around, I used to use Super 8 film and my portable cassette recorder to grab the Mr. Bill skits off the TV from SNL. My HS friends revered Mr. Bill – we did our own episodes, and actually wrote a full length movie parody ‘Mr. Bill in OZ’.

      I almost got as far to make diorama sets in my basement out of play-dough until I was sucked in to be model maker for a SFX film.

      I have a lot of respect for the good Doctor D. He’s shamelessly helped a lot of people the last 40 years. Glad they did something with him at w00tstock.

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