Peter Bergman, founding member of Firesign Theatre, died last week. If you haven’t heard them, break out your headphones and check out my two favorite albums of theirs (both on Spotify and iTunes): “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers” and “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All”
Their work was a huge influence on me – I first heard the Firesign Theatre in college, when I played their albums so many times that the grooves on the records wore thin. These weren’t merely comedy recordings; they redefined spoken word recorded performance: stereophonic cinematic plays, best through headphones, even better with dwarves. They played with language not just as hipster word-poetry, but to reveal important truths about the nature of conscious experience – while managing to be as ghastly funny and frightening as the expanding universe itself. Many consider “Dwarf” to be the greatest comedy record ever made, although I tend to play “How Can You Be…” more often.