Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death

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Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death
Studio album by The Firesign Theatre
Released September 1998 (1998-09)
Genre Comedy
Label Rhino
The Firesign Theatre chronology
Pink Hotel Burns Down
(1996)
Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death
(1998)
Boom Dot Bust
(1999)

Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death is a comedy album by The Firesign Theatre that was released in 1998 on Rhino Records.

Synopsis[edit]

The album takes the form of a fictional radio broadcast on the night of December 31, 1999. Radio Now is a radio station in FunFunTown (apparently modeled after Los Angeles, California) whose format changes approximately every hour at the slightest whims of overzealous market researchers and focus groups. The album chronicles Radio Now's attempt to operate normally on the final day before the year 2000, a day riddled with apocalyptic omens, rampant computer errors, and dangerous doomsayers. The station is populated by DJ Bebop Lobo (Phil Austin), Dwayne, his producer (Peter Bergman), news anchors Harold Hiphugger (David Ossman) and Ray Hamberger (Philip Proctor), sports commentator Chump Threads (Bergman), and self-help guru O'Nann Winquedinque (Austin). Also reporting from outside the station are celebrity stalker Danny Vanilla (Ossman) and helicopter-bound traffic reporter Col. Happy Panditt (Proctor).

Themes[edit]

The album, made in 1998, lampoons the various world-threatening results which were being predicted from the Y2K bug. It also satirizes the media exploitation of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Joe Camel controversy, and the Art Bell radio show.

A running gag involves eyeballs, which at one moment represent binary digits (the digit 1 resembles the letter I, a homophone of "eye", while the digit 0 is in the shape of a ball) and at other times seem to be an allusion to The Residents ("Guyz in Eyeball Hats"). Another is "U.S. Plus", an apparent multi-national conglomerate with intentionally vague commercials that hint at their all-encompassing presence ("We're U.S. Plus. We own the idea...of the idea of America!"). The urbane, sophisticated Goddess Airways commercials promise "no bloody babies" on their flights.

The album consists almost entirely of new ideas, the only significant nods to the past being a reappearance of Proctor's Ralph Spoilsport character (introduced in How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All), the presence of Harold Hiphugger and Ray Hamberger (introduced in Everything You Know Is Wrong), and a telephone conversation with Caroline Presskey from Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Unconscious Village: Wake Up
  2. Eyeballs In The Sky
  3. U.S. Plus: Pork
  4. The Celebrity Stalker
  5. Sports In Your Shorts
  6. Ralph Spoilsport's Going Out Of Body Sale
  7. The News Drought Continues
  8. Goddess Air Presents 'Hullo, Don't Worry!'
  9. A Developing Chase Situation
  10. Pull My String
  11. Princess Goddess Escapes The Celebrazzis
  12. Chump Takes Some Hits
  13. Polar Pro: Texas Trots
  14. Miss Shelob's Feelin' Poorly
  15. Unconscious Village: Last Days Sale
  16. Mr. Coffee Comes Up Zeros
  17. Glacier
  18. Gridlock At Homeless Stadium
  19. Polar Ice: Party Vertical
  20. Going, Going, Gone A La Blonde
  21. Sex With My Hat
  22. Trippple Rippoff
  23. Night Whispers
  24. Bebop And Dwayne Feel No Pain
  25. Smokin' Joe Says Farewell
  26. U.S. Plus: Zeros And Ones
  27. Chump Makes A Resolution
  28. The Doll Drop
  29. Radionow Says Good-By And Hello