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BE FUNNY 1980 hear Tom at age 23 hosting one of the original episodes of Be Funny in the summer of 1980! On this edition, Tom asks listeners to "Tell Me A Lie". Legendary late-night talk show host Long John Nebel returns from the dead to take listener calls. And so much more!
Once again, we have annotated the entire episode for your further enjoyment so you know who all of these 1980 characters were.
- This episode of Be Funny began with an explosion sound effect and then a lot of music because WBAI was returning to the air after the often-problematic transmitter had become overheated. The reason so much time passed before you could hear Tom speaking and the reason he was joined mid-sentence is because the delay was being restarted and the other sound was to fill the time until the content of the delay could be heard. As a result, this episode aired an hour later than usual, from 6-7 AM.
- “The number of phone-in comedy shows continues to dwindle here in town” – Tom said this because the show Tom had once written and produced with Mark Simone had just been canceled from WPIX-FM. You can hear an aircheck of Simone in which he uses Tom’s line that a chick was “so fat she had more chins than a Chinese phone book!”
- While we’ve tried to present these episodes of Be Funny unedited, a couple of WBAI promos were edited out by the curator of these tapes, one-time Be Funny regular (and Long John Nebel imitator) Paul Hiatt.
- Bob Fass was the legendary WBAI host of Radio Unnameable. Among his regular guests was Bob Dylan, who used to simply drop by and sit in on his show. At the time of this recording, Fass was in the middle of a five-year banishment from WBAI for his part in an occupation of the station’s transmitter site, yet people continued to call WBAI and reference him. He returned two years later. There is an excellent documentary about Bob, also called Radio Unnameable. which contains scenes shot at the WBAI studio where Tom once worked.
- Long periods of silence occurred when the delay was hit. Such was the technology of 1980.
- Brother Theodore was a New York-based comedian of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
- The voice of the aircheck of the commercial for the Carnegie Delicatessen was New York radio late-night legend Leon Lewis, an influence of Tom’s. Recently-deceased Ray Taliaferro formerly of KGO/San Francisco claimed to be the “first African American radio talk show host”. He wasn’t. Leon Lewis preceded him.
- Melanie Chartoff was a comedic actress primarily known for being a member of the cast of the ABC late-night sketch comedy show Fridays along with then-unknowns Larry David and Michael Richards.
- A caller asked if Tom had ever heard of the “new movie” called The Reincarnation of the Pink Panther. That’s because the star of the Pink Panther films, Peter Sellers, had just died on July 24, 1980 (a clue as to the approximate date of this show in the summer of 1980).
- The frequent threats of a caller who said he was “coming down” to the station were actually references to the many crank call threats to Long John Nebel by radio pirates “Hank Hayes” and “Jim Nazium”.
- Dr. Carlton Fredericks was one of the original hosts heard on the talk radio format of KABC/Los Angeles in 1960. He hosted what might have been the first talk show about health and nutrition. At the time of this Be Funny episode in 1980, his show appeared on WOR/New York.
- No idea who Rabbi Bender was!
- WKTU/New York was the first “all-disco” radio station in the country. It went from having a 0.9% share of the New York audience in 1978 to Number One, becoming the first FM radio station to beat legendary top-40 station WABC/New York as well as the first FM radio station to become Number One in a radio market. This feat signaled the beginning of the irreversible decline of AM radio as it had once been known. At the time of this episode of Be Funny, WKTU was New York’s Number One radio station.
- Bess Myerson was, among other things, the first Jewish Miss America, a frequent game-show panelist and, ultimately, the first Commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. When this show aired in 1980, she was running for the U.S. Senate Democratic nomination. She later lost to Elizabeth Holtzman, who then lost the election to former senator Al D’Amato.
- Joe Franklin was an overnight TV host on WOR-TV/New York who was frequently parodied, most famously by Billy Crystal on Saturday Night Live.
- Steve Post was a WBAI host and author of a favorite book of Tom’s called Playing In The FM Band.
- Chuck Scarborough was a TV news anchor at WNBC-TV/New York, and he still is.
- Megan Marshack was a 25-year-old aide who was with married former New York governor and former vice president Nelson Rockefeller when he died of a heart attack in 1979, a year before this Be Funny episode.
- Tom Dunn was a TV news anchor on WOR-TV/New York.
- Barry Farber was a radio talk show host on various New York radio stations and in syndication in the 80s.
- Barry Gray was a legendary New York radio host who, for a few years, preceded Long John Nebel on WMCA.
THERE'S ONLY ONE SURE WAY TO END THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN It's not going to matter what happens between Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi. It's going to take something more radical. This episode includes your calls!
Write Tom directly with your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONEY Tom continues with recommendations for getting your money act together in 2019. Find out how a website can help you figure out your net worth, your spending habits, and how to get on a budget. Also, Tom answers listener email questions including how to get a higher credit limit on your credit cards, whether it's a good time to invest in marijuana stocks, ETFs, whether it's a good idea to attend company events that encourage fraternizing with other employees in the #MeToo era, and more!
Send Tom your money questions for a future episode: email@example.com.
WHAT'S THE MOST POLITICALLY INCORRECT THING YOU CAN THINK OF? A prime example of why we live behind a paywall. Tom asked listeners to call in and say "the most politically incorrect thing" they could think of. Yikes!
Write Tom directly with your questions, complaints and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO END THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN The politicians can't (or won't) end our federal government shutdown. But someone can. Will that someone have the BALLS to do what needs to be done? Tom lays it out!
Do you agree or disagree with Tom? Write him here: email@example.com.
GILLETTE ATTACKS ITS OWN CUSTOMERS An ad campaign from razor blade company Gillette accuses men of something they call "toxic masculinity" and goes into details about what men are supposed to do about things such as "bullying" and "saying the right things". Does it make sense for a company to attack its own target audience in commercials? Tom speaks out!
What do you think? Write directly to Tom by clicking here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONEY what do the Federal Government shutdown and the Los Angeles teachers' strike tell us about money? Tom tells you all about it!
Send your responses or your money questions directly to Tom by clicking here: email@example.com.
TOM RETURNS TO THE SCENE OF THE CRIME There was no new podcast on January 9th. That's because, on January 8th, Tom had to bring his pickup from the ranch in Northern Santa Barbara County to Burbank to begin collecting his gear, numerous possessions, and many memories of six-and-a-half amazing years. What was that like? Who was there? How did it feel to be back? How does Tom feel knowing that he's giving the keys back in just a few weeks? It's all right here.
MONEY Tom gives you step-by-step instructions on how to get your money act together in 2019. Also, Tom answers a flurry of your money emails!
Send your money questions here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MONEY what are some things you can do for yourself financially as the new year begins? How many credit cards does one person need, anyway? Whose fault is when people live paycheck-to-paycheck? Tom answers these questions and more!
Send your comments or money questions directly to Tom at email@example.com.