Pic of the Week: Firesign Theatre Comedians Share Their Story

Phil Proctor and David Ossman of the Firesign Theatre. Photo by Shawn Miller.

Phil Proctor and David Ossman, two of the four members of the comedy troupe Firesign Theatre, took to the stage in the Coolidge Auditorium on September 28 to perform and discuss the history and impact of their work. They are shown here presenting a new sketch, “The History of the Art of Radio, Revised.”

With fellow troupe members Phil Austin and Peter Bergman, the pair got their start on Los Angeles radio station KPFK in 1966 doing live half-hour comic plays. In 1968, they began producing comedy records, and they went on to make syndicated radio series, musicals, films and other works.

Their 1970 album, “Don’t Crush That Dwarf,” was added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in 2005.  ”Dwarf” is a one-act play that satirizes radio and television programs to comment on political, social and literary topics of the day. It was recorded using sophisticated production techniques that enabled the use of surreal sound effects and layered storytelling.

12 Comments

  1. Mark & Cindy
    September 29, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Thank Dave and Phil, and and the LOC staff for a memorable evening I will never forget.

  2. Frederick
    September 29, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    The album is titled “Don’t Crush That Dwarf – Hand Me The Pliers”. FYI.

  3. Kathleen Treat
    October 1, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Oh, how wonderful to hear these guys again! Thank you so much,
    dear Library of Congress. (A sigh of pleasure.)

  4. Dan Schwartz
    October 1, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    More sugar!

  5. Vic Harrison
    October 1, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    These guys were and are a national treasure. Pretty sure they have no inkling how influential they were on us Boomers.

  6. Tom Luminello Jr.
    October 1, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    I really enjoyed the opportunity to see the funniest group of comedians ever. They should get the Mark Twain Prize next year!

  7. Jeffrey Kammes
    October 1, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    Love Firesign Theater

  8. Chuck Anziulewicz
    October 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Live in the FUTURE! It’s just starting now.

  9. Thomas O’Neill
    October 2, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I am the webmaster for firesigntheatre.com – what a wonderful show, the guys knocked it out of the park. Will the LoC be making the video of this show available for viewing on the LoC site at some point? Thanks.

  10. Tom Gaffigan
    October 5, 2017 at 6:33 am

    They gave us the under-used phrase,”Our veneered and generated leader.” It is a shame educators did not recognize this novel approach to learning. Dr. Fud’s first law of opposition!

  11. mark roseman
    November 6, 2017 at 10:43 am

    Please Please Please…place this on your webcast page …..my head is on fire in anticipation

  12. Wendi Maloney
    November 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you for your inquiry to the Office of Communications of the Library of Congress regarding videos or transcripts of recent or upcoming events.

    Most events at the Library are taped and made available via streaming video from our site at //www.loc.gov/webcasts/. Most videos are made available 3-5 weeks following the event. These generally include both captioned video and downloadable transcripts.

    We also make our new videos available on YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/libraryofcongress ).

    The best way to learn when a new video is available is to subscribe to our “New Videos” feed, available by RSS at //www.loc.gov/rss/pao/webcasts.xml or via email by clicking here: http://service.govdelivery.com/service/subscribe.html?code=USLOC_10

    Thanks for your interest in the Library of Congress.

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