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Pic of the Week: Firesign Theatre Comedians Share Their Story

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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, Hand Me the Pliers,” 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.

UPDATE: Watch the video of the presentation here.

Comments (13)

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

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

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

  4. More sugar!

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

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

  7. Love Firesign Theater

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

  9. I am the webmaster for – 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. 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. Please Please Please…place this on your webcast page … head is on fire in anticipation

  12. June 27, 2022
    “Back from the Shadows, again…”
    Thank you Library of Congress for making this wonderful performance by Phil Proctor & David Ossman ~ The Firesign Theatre ~ available on-line_.

    The Truth masked in Satire…
    “in government inflicted simulation”, on the verge of THE GREAT RESET 2030_…
    “The Future can’t wait; No place to hide.”
    “Live in The Future. It’s just starting now…”

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