What’s So Funny!

We’re back – as a podcast!

It’s the reboot of the radio show What’s So Funny! and there’s a new spin on things! Our host, Dave Schwensen, returns and this time he’s brought three of his friends: Logan, Kelly, and Tom. Join in as we listen to comedy albums from the 1950s, ’60s, or ’70s. We’ll take a look at the life of the comedian as well as the cultural relevance of the album then and now. So sit back, relax, and get ready to laugh!

What’s So Funny! Episode #1

One of the most controversial comedians of his time, Lenny Bruce, was the original bad boy of comedy. In this episode we will be listening to his 1961 album “American.” We will find out how Lenny got his start doing stand up, the influence of jazz on his comedy, and why he wore a trench coat on stage. The original sicknick of comedy.

What’s So Funny! Episode #2

During this episode of “What’s So Funny!” we are listening to the first recorded modern comedy album, “The Future Lies Ahead” by Mort Sahl. He’s the master of political satire, the first modern-era standup comedian to be on the cover of Time Magazine and has been called the original comedy game changer. Listen in to find out how Mort Sahl transformed the comedy scene one newspaper at a time.

What’s So Funny! Episode #3

We all know Steve Martin as an actor, but in this episode we go back in time to his comedy roots with the album “A Wild and Crazy Guy.” From Disneyland to sold out stadiums Steve Martin’s career exploded onto the scene forever changing the way people viewed comedy. He can juggle, he can lasso, he can play the banjo, he appreciates art, and he’s been on SNL almost as many times as Alec Baldwin. Is there anything Steve Martin can’t do? We don’t think so. The album we are listening to is “A Wild and Crazy Guy”, written and performed by Steve Martin, Warner Bros. Records, 1978.

Mike Nichols and Elaine May

What’s So Funny! Episode #4

It’s hard to believe, but the parents of improvisational comedy didn’t even like each other the first time they met! In this episode of “What’s So Funny!” we take a listen to the live recording of their Broadway show “An Evening With Nichols and May,” by Mike Nichols and Elaine May. This comedy duo rose to fame in just two short years and paved the way for improvisational comedy that we see today. The album we are listening to is “An Evening with Nichols and May,” written and performed by Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Mercury Records 1961.

What’s So Funny! Episode #5

In this episode of “What’s So Funny!” we meet Lily Tomlin’s famous character Ernestine the Telephone Operator in her 1971 album “This Is A Recording.” Throughout this album Ernestine shows us what a day in the life of the telephone company is like. She persuades Gore Vidal to pay his bill, introduces us to the hunky Vito the Repairman, and we get to hear about the upcoming telephone company pageant. Lily Tomlin has done it all from being the first woman to have a solo show on Broadway to starring in numerous films and television shows, listen in to find out more about Lily Tomlin! The album we are listening to is This is a Recording, written and performed by Lily Tomlin, Polydor, 1971.

What’s So Funny! Episode #6

Dick Gregory broke barriers for African American comics. He was the first black comedian to sit next to Jack Paar on “The Tonight Show,” becoming a trailblazer for other black comedians. He had a very successful comedy career, but felt the call of civil rights activism which took priority over making people laugh. * Not only did Dick Gregory run for mayor of Chicago, a year later he ran for President of the United States and even put his face on the $1 bill. He went on to become an actor, a health guru, and an author. The one thing he was committed to throughout his whole life was justice. * The album we’re featuring today is: “In Living Black and White,” written and performed by Dick Gregory with introduction by Alex Dreier, Colpix Records 1961.