When Frantic Times was on the air, the guy had to come up with new material on a weekly basis. When you have that kind of immediacy, using topical humor is a sure-fire way to go. To wit, sometimes The Frantics would delve into the pop culture scene at the time. One of the bigger movie in the early 80′s was the big-screen adaptation of the classic Conan the Barbarian. I thought since the remake is now in theaters, it’d be fun to re-visit the lampooning the Frantics gave the sword-wielding Schwarzenegger.
First up, Conan the Librarian. This is a play on words joke that has been done many times over the years, notably in “Weird Al” Yankovic’s classic UHF. Chronologically though, the Frantics tread that ground first. As always, they are ahead of their time! Let’s listen:
Next up is “Bill from Bala Buys a Movie Ticket”. While Conan is the subject of some throwaway jokes, the real focus here is on the character of Bill From Bala. Bill is a recurring character on Frantic Times, but oddly I’ve never featured him before. I thought it was high time to rectify that!
And there you go. More later, bye for now!
Today’s column is just coming under the wire for a Friday post so I’ll keep it simple. In this sketch, two men are discussing all of the dirty words in the paper. The video isn’t as good to me as the audio, because not only is it a poop joke, it’s a poop joke regarding my hometown Cleveland Browns. Enjoy!
This is one of my favorites. Today’s clip comes from the first full episode of Frantic Times I ever heard. I sought it out, because I really liked “Last Will and Temperament”, which I’d heard on the Dr. Demento 20th Anniversary CD. Between that and the classic Tae Kwon Leep, I had to hear more from these talented guys. Admittedly I didn’t want to slough through 30 minutes trying to hear the one clip I wanted to hear, but I am glad I did. With this episode, I learned that the Frantics were great at satire, slightly risqué humor, and best of all, they were comic geeks! While probably not the very best bit from episode 30 of Frantic Times (I’d give that to “Last Will” or the running bit with a certain private eye), it did speak to me the most, being the unabashed comic geek that I am. So I am happy to share with you “Superhero High School Reunion”, along with the song that accompanies it. The song title ruins a good gag in the bit itself, so I won’t reveal it here. Also, I’ve left the end credits to this episode intact. After all, while the Frantics are great, you can’t make a radio show without staff, so I wanted to recognize some of the people who made FT as great as it was. ‘Til next week, enjoy!
This week, I promised something a bit special, and I think I’ve found it. As fans of the Frantics know, the foursome made the transition from radio to TV with their show: 4 On The Floor. For Americans like myself, this is one of the most coveted pieces of Frantics material to get our hands on. Even clips on YouTube are difficult to find. That’s why I’m glad to share this clip I (well let’s just say obtained). It’s a video version of one of my favorite Frantics skits, Heaven is for Presbyterians. I’ll let the bit do the talking, but I am going to include the version from the Frantic Times CD for comparison.
And I’ll leave you with this note: Between Thomas Hatton and Richard Richardson, the Frantics sure seem to have a “beef” with butchers, killing them off like they do.
Hey Frantics Fans! I of course apologize for missing Frantic Fridays last week, and I have something special planned to make up for it, but not until next week. Instead today, I wanted to share a couple of favorite skits, both revolving around one of the most famous characters in literature, Sherlock Holmes!
A friend stopped by and we watched the first series of the BBC’s Sherlock. It was excellent, and it got me thinking about other interpretations of the character over the years, and of course the Frantics came up. During the course of the Frantic Times radio show, everyone’s favorite be-deerstalkered detective was featured twice. Each time was a slightly different take, but both kind of play on the idea that maybe Holmes isn’t super-brilliant. Maybe the people he surrounds himself with are just incredible dim-witted. In the first case, this works in the favor of Holmes, not so much in the second. Have a listen and laugh along.
First: The Case of the Avenging Heiress!
Next up: The Mystery of the Gloved Hand!
Today, we’re looking at a true evolution of the Frantics over the years. Very early in the lifespan of Frantic Times a certain song was created that has continuously popped up over the years. Even so, it has only appeared on CDs released after their reunion in the mid-2000′s. It’s a favorite of mine, and I suspect a favorite of Rick Green’s who does the vocals in each iteration. There is a lot of cleverness to be had in casting Albert Einstein (Big Bad Al) to his friends as a physics-based Wild West gunslinger. Geeky references you may catch are Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the real life rivalry between Einstein and Niels Bohr, and of course the debate on the theory of relativity.
Surprisingly, the song hasn’t changed terribly much over the years. Sure, production values have gotten better, and the intro has changed, but it’s remarkable compared to other Frantics material that’s been recycled how little has changed, content-wise. I’ve included the original from the radio show, the version from the Official Bootleg CD and the most recent version from the Frantic Noises CD, which you can still buy here, so stop freeloading and buy some merch! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do, but if you don’t, it’s not like your paying to listen! Until next week!
I’ve mentioned the Frantics Reunion Special from 2005 multiple times in this column. The reason for that is that, for me, it was the first time I saw the Frantics perform visually. Like many Americans, I learned about the Frantics from the Dr. Demento show, and as such my exposure was limited. I had tracked down some bootleg episodes of Frantic Times on my own, and had heard about their show 4 on the Floor, but I hadn’t seen it. Flash Forward to 2005, and once again, Dr. D was there with the news that the Frantics were coming back! I pretty much instantly ordered the “Official Bootleg CD“, and once I learned about the actual on stage reunion special, I got a Canadian friend to tape it for me.
That’s great, but why am I bringing it all up again? Well, being a member of the Frantics mailing list, I got this email the other day…
Are you interested in our super special DVD? We’d like to know.
We’ve found some spare time in our schedules so guess what we’re doing? Redecorating the Vatican? Tracking down lost episodes of Jeff Unlimited? Tweeting rude picture of Dan….(no wait, he just woke up, forget that)…Any one of these answers would be highly entertaining… and dangerous. But, no. We are putting together our first DVD. It’s called The Frantics Reunion Special.
It will feature……
* our reunion special from the Comedy Network – If you missed it now’s your chance to own it.
* our live performance at the Royal Theatre to mark our 30th anniversary with many fan favourites in the show.
* “The Bad Dog Sessions”, rare footage of us working up new/twisted/bent/weird/funny material in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Bad Dog Theatre in Toronto.
If you’d be interested in pre-ordering your copy, please let us know now by replying to this email. The cost will be $20 plus shipping and handling.
Need we remind you that nothing says Happy Labour Day-Halloween-Thanksgiving-Grey Cup-Merry Christmas-Pete’s Birthday-Happy New Year……. than The Frantics’ Reunion Special on DVD.
Looking forward to hearing from you….
Jerry? Who the hell let him in here? Get him out. Now!
Sorry about that. Jerry keeps barging into our thoughts uninvited. We’ve asked him to leave so many times, but he keeps coming back. Of course, he doesn’t have much of a home life, poor bugger, so you can’t really blame the guy. But still…. Jerry’s our problem, not yours….. You just make sure you have yourself a damn swell summer. Unless of course the utterance of damn offends you, in which case we just wish you a fine summer.
To say I was thrilled was an understatement. The original special plus some incredible extras (that I’ve never seen)? That’s a no brainer, so I instantly replied saying I would pre-order the bejeezus out of that DVD. I also took the opportunity to ask about the long-promised CD Box Set of the Frantic Times radio show, I figured that it even if I didn’t get an answer, they’d know people are still interested in purchasing that, too. I was pretty thrilled when Paul Chato himself replied to my email. It was short and to the point, but the fact that he replied at all, made my day. This is what he said:
Next up will be the History video then the boxed set. We are very slow.
So, there you have it, the future is looking bright for fans of Canadian comedy! Before I sign off on this column, I’d be remiss without bringing some laughs, so here are a couple of clips from the aforementioned Reunion Special.
Today was kind of a depressing day for me. Details aren’t important, but suffice it to say, I wasn’t in a very great mood to post the funny-ness this Friday. That is, until I realized that the Frantics could be the cure for the doldrums. As I’ve stated many a time before, I really enjoy the music the Frantics come up with, and I also really enjoy wordplay. Therefore this linguistic bit of cleverness (sung deftly by guest Carolyn Scott) really made my day. I hope it brings a smile to your face as well!
Today’s Frantic Fridays delves into the very beginnings of the famed Frantic Times Radio show. I’m even including the first skit from the first show! Anyway, back when it started, each episode of Times had a bit called Frantic Times Goes to Press. While still very funny today, it is very much like Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, as it delves into a lot of then-current topics. Made up newscaster Mike McMichaels and Huey P. Carp, go over the week’s events with aplomb and the Frantics signature wit. I don’t know why the skit was dropped (possibly that similarity to SNL), but the Frantics would go on to insert topical humor into their normal skits as time went on, and I think that it was probably the best decision.
As the show went on, when there was a need for a newscast-type of framework, Mike and Huey would still be used to great effect. I want to present to you the first three Goes to Press installments, but with a small disclaimer, there is a joke in the third episode regarding homosexuals that could be considered pretty offensive even today. I won’t apologize or censor it though, as that’d defeat the purpose of preserving these, but be aware. All I can say is it was a different time. Enjoy the show!
Today we’re revisiting Mrs. Sarnicky! Also known as “Mrs. Average Shopper”, Sarnicky will eventually have her own commercial empire where companies beg to have her shill their product and the waiting list for just 5 minutes of her time is six weeks long! I’m getting ahead of myself, though. For now, let’s just enjoy Mrs. Sarnicky selling products for Simon’s Cake Mix, Anacidic, and Simon’s Pizza Mix. Things must not be going to well for her when she offers a shoe in trade for some cake. Don’t worry about her though. The next time we see her, she may be already running Mrs. Sarnicky International!