I took a few years off travel writing from 2013 until 2016 and found myself in Portland, Oregon working as a tour guide. I soon found myself as part of a strange crew of radio puppeteers producing a semi-regular comedy show for KBOO, 90.7 FM, Portland, Oregon and at http://kboo.fm/. I co-wrote, produced and did voice work for a show called Puppet Radio Theater.
The concept behind Puppet Radio Theater was simple: After the station closes down, a group of deranged puppets – Floyd, Hazel & Lucky – take over and rummage through an amorphous box of comedy sketches that they’ve inexplicably gotten their fuzzy paws on, offering post-sketch commentary.
The sketches themselves are (with the exception of one or two) unrelated to puppetry, written and performed by an expanding core troupe of talented individuals in Portland and produced at the KBOO studios.
Our Pilot Episode (“MacArthur Park”), introduces the puppets and their relation to fictitious food-giant Soylentco. Other Sketches include Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Christmas and Patchouli Moonbow: Hippie Time Traveler, as well as several inspirational segments featuring Puppet Radio Theater’s in-house motivational speaker Mahatma Jones.
It was only after recording Episode One as a half-hour broadcast that word came down that the station needed us to do an hour, hence the final 25-minutes of music (provided by Lucky’s breaking and entering skills and a few explosives).
Below, in full as-broadcast glory, the first three episodes of Puppet Radio Theater. They aren’t terribly safe for work, but if you’re listening to an hour long comedy broadcast at work you probably aren’t the sort who cares about this.
Clicking Links will take you to the KBOO archives in a brand-spanking new browser window!
Episode One: MacArthur Park
Join Floyd, Hazel and Lucky, three deranged well-meaning hand puppets as they take over KBOO’s airwaves for a full hour, rifling through the contents of the station’s mystical comedy box to bring you a series of sketches performed by talented folks from the theater, comedy & radio circuits of Portland and beyond.
Episode Two: Technical Difficulties
Originally titled The Chinese Show, Episode Two has since been rechristened as “Technical Difficulties” due to a series of malfunctions. The broadcast show began as a free-form comedy jam before all the various electronics decided to play nice (at around the 9 minute mark), allowing us to run the actual show. This show features Patchouli Moonbow jamming with Confucius, introduces acerbic film critic Clarissa Rothminder, and offers a Dan Carlin (of Hardcore History fame) inspired jaunt into the past (featuring an all star cast!) sketch called The Foppish Prince Rallies The Troops. Episode two also introduces Portland’s renowned Hobo blues-man Blind Willie Can’t Smell Lemon Hatchet.
Episode Three: Sponsors!
Episode Three is our best one yet, thanks in no small part to two great sketches written by my long-time (but alas separated by a continent) Comedy writing partner Rick Deming, who penned both of the coffee-themed sketches. There’s also more character development from the puppets when Hazel comes back from touring with Blind Willie, Floyd gets political and Lucky reveals a sensitive celebrity relationship.
Other sketches include Eddie Vedder Therapy (with Vedder performed by the amazingly talented Dan Zinder) and Bad Baby Orphanage, featuring Portland’s own amazingly talented Kristine Levine!
No Time to take in a full show? Individual sketches archived here!