For those of you, who have not yet had the pleasure,
allow me to briefly describe BartCop Radio.
Every show begins with an intro, (Howard Beal
kicks off each show) recorded after all of the pieces have been recorded,
followed by the actual show, and a signoff, also
recorded after the show. Bart began with a checklist during the intro
earlier shows, but seems to have memorized it
somewhere along the way, so he no longer has to refer to it to be sure
all of the bases. I suppose this means
he is getting better. Sometimes the intro is short, generally
describing in brief what is to come.
The fun ones, though, are those in which he, in
the middle of the intro, does something like, “Oh…oh…let me tell you about…”
or words to that effect. Rarely a rant,
this is usually a light, often humorous, aside that may or may not have
anything to do with the upcoming show.
Which leads me to Bart’s style. Somewhere
along the way, probably show 62?, Bart (or Tommy) played a jazz guitar
version of My Favorite Things. You know
the kind of thing. It starts out playing the theme exactly, once
or twice, then starts to play
around the theme, and then goes off into wonderlands
never imagined by Richard Rodgers, before returning to the theme to remind
That’s kind of how Bart does his parts of the
show. Think of My Grandfather’s Goat, but mostly on-topic,
and with an end. It’s kind of like that.
Bart is a jazz essayist, except his essays are
verbal. He couldn’t write them for the page any more than jamming
musicians could write down
their riffs and have them remain vital and alive.
(I don’t know if he writes them before he does them, or if he has some
notes, or what, but if
we can believe Bart, and if you can’t believe
Bart, who can you believe?, he sometimes does an impromptu cold reading
of the newspaper,
so maybe he never writes down a bit?)
He’ll read a headline from the US Whore Today,
for example, and spend two or three minutes dissecting it, and following
divulged by the entrails into related, often
orthogonal, topics, and finally return to the article in hand.
Then a sentence or two, followed
by something like, “And another thing that I
just don’t get…” and off he goes into another sidebar exposing his almost
stream of conscious,
punctuated by the occasional gaffe (always flagged
by the catchword, “Ready?” and a repeat of the flubbed line, sometimes
two or three times over)
or Bart laugh. It’s distinctive.
Bart has many voice styles, not as an imitator
(though he does a creditable Pig Boy), but more as an indicator of the
tone of the piece
he’s reading. Angry, bemused, scared (ohhhh,
you don’t want to get between Mrs. Bart and her Survivor!). He uses
some catch phrases,
my favorite of which is, “You know it; I know
it; Bob Dole knows it; the American people know it.” See what I mean?
It just doesn’t fly
as written words. It has to be heard.
Let’s get on with the Big Big Show! Apparently
Bart records his stuff, and sends it to Tommy Mack to produce. Somewhere
along the way
there are brief musical interludes placed between
sections of the show. Usually these are unrelated to what’s been
or to be, but not always.
Lots of Shirley, sometimes Dean Martin, or Satchmo,
or other surprisingly unZeppelinish music. Probably Tommy.
There will often be a
segment of brief clips from Leno, Dave, Stewart,
Maher or David Spade with no real unifying theme, just funny bits that
can stand rehearing.
We’ll often be treated to La Perspectife Femme,
from Tally, a professional voice among the children. Not nearly often
enough a conversation
between Tommy and Bart during which they cover
every topic it’s possible to cover. Occasionally Bart inserts a whole
segment of a comedian
covering a topic, though rarely Richard Pryor.
Sometimes we get treated to letters from listeners. Very rarely we
get Monkey Mail.
Pretty often we get letters to the editor of
Time, or the US Whore Today, or one of the dailies.
Every show ends with a complete song from somewhere.
And there you have it. Bart Cop Radio.
You gotta listen to understand.
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