The Firesigns weren’t for everyone, but they sure worked for me. I was a devout acolyte of their intelligent, absurd comedy years before I ever heard of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
“Waiting for the Electrician Or Someone Like Him,” “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All,” “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers,” “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus,” “The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra,” “Everything You Know Is Wrong” — I have all of them and more, in vinyl and/or CD.
Some of my oldest friends originally coalesced around an impromptu recital of “The Further Adventures of Nick Danger, Third Eye” in a Greeley living room one night in the early 1970s. A bunch of us saw the Firesigns perform in Denver some years later, and as quickly as they delivered a line the audience fired it back at them. I don’t know whether that would be gratifying or exasperating.
The Firesigns — Bergman, Philip Proctor, Philip Austin and David Ossman — had their roots in Bergman’s Radio Free Oz, a nightly radio show on Pacifica’s KPFK. It seems safe to say that without Bergman, there would have been no Firesign Theatre — no Bozos, no Nick Danger, no Porgie Tirebiter, and a damn’ sight less laughter in the world, a commodity that is always in short supply.