Friday, January 06, 2012

Quick Take: Odd Radio Jokes

Listening this morning to the podcast of last week's Car Talk, a stray thought occurred to me: The list of joke "staff" names they close the show with is really a very odd, inverted joke for radio, because it's essentially a visual trick.

How each name sounds is actually the punchline of the joke; how it looks is the setup. That is, their Customer Service Specialist has what looks like a perfectly cromulent name: Begonia Payne-Diaz. It's only when it's said aloud that you realize it's begone, you pain in the ass.

Except, of course, that the radio (and podcast) audience never sees the name, but only hears it. In effect, we get the punchline of the joke first, and then have to infer the setup. It's upside down.

And yet, somehow, it's hilarious (at least to me). The fact that this bit totally works on radio, even though it totally shouldn't, is almost as weird as the fact that Edgar Bergen became a star on radio... er, what's that? Who's Edgar Bergen? A great ventriloquist... y'all might know him as Candice Bergen's father... um, who's Candice Bergen?

Oy, it's hell getting old! Oh well, here... and here. ;^)

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