|The following are a few references to Joycean allusions in comedy, radio, or spoken word sketches. They are organized by date.
Shelly Berman (1960?)
Commentary by Tom Barran:
Sometime around the beginning of the 1960s, a comedian named Shelly Berman issued an LP recording of some of his routines. I will render it as well as I can, but I no longer have the record, so the quotation marks are there just for the decorative effect. It goes something like this:
I cant stand it when Im at a party, and someone starts a conversation with me about a subject I know positively nothing about; someone, for instance, whos read something by James Joyce. Especially when Im the guy who thinks James Joyce wrote Trees. And what is worse, I say so.
Inevitably, the man in question gives me a pompous, patronising laugh, Ho, ho, ho, my dear fellow. James Joyce didnt write Trees, Joyce Kilmer wrote Trees.
Then I ask Who is she, and destroy myself completely.
Firesign Theatre (1969)
Commentary by Gregory Cosby:
I was browsing through the Brazen Head when I discovered that one of the most famous appearances of Joyce in another medium was missing from the Influence section. This is, of course, the classic 1969 album by the Firesign Theater, entitled How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When Youre Not Anywhere at All. At the end of the first side, the fast-talking used car salesman Ralph Spoilsport suddenly drops out of his salesman patter and begins reciting the closing lines of Mollys soliloquy.
The actual description of the piece, as described in the new liner notes of the CD reissue of the album, can be found at: http://doctechnical.com/fst/notes/hcyb-cd.htm
Chris Lockhart elaborates:
The album starts off with Ralph, a used car dealer, and his typical radio ad. In this story the nameless main character buys a car because he cant wait to get away from it all. The main character enters a pyramid which turns out to be a hotel. Hes asked to fill out a card at the front desk, which already has the name Mr. and Mrs John Q. Smith from Anytown, USA and from this point on he represents everyman at least in the USA, also the little guy, as well as America itself... across him all we flung one shining steel rail. And the sound of the train is imitated with the words rockefeller and home of the free. Adolf Hitler is parodied, in a scene in which the Nazi shout seig freud; and John Smith gets enlisted in the military.... Anyway, the album ends by returning to Ralphs ad, only now hes selling smuggled marijuana handpicked by froggy little native boys by the sea o the sea crimson sometimes like fire. etc.
Prairie Home Companion (2000)
The March 4, 2000 edition of Garrison Keillors A Prairie Home Companion was aired live from RTE studios in Dublin. Joycean references were rife throughout the day, and one sketch was even called James Joyce Business School. You may hear the entire program and read through the scripts at the Prairie Home Companion Web site.
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