Talk:The Firesign Theatre

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Quick Comments[edit]

Brian: I've removed the RFO link as it now points to a sales page belonging to YesDirect Inc, looks to me like Peter has let the site go. --BloodyL 05:19, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Al: Bozo's release month was missing from the discography. It is listed on page 139 of the Big Book Of Plays as August, 1971. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Al Kossow (talkcontribs) 15:33, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

More audio recordings than any other comedy act?[edit]

I'd like to know the source of the information for this quote in paragraph 3 "they have sold more audio recordings in total than any other comedy act." Is this verifiable? I would have thought it would be Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, or George Carlin -- you know, somebody whose records are actually in print more often than they're out of print and who actually have Gold Record Awards.

well they have sold like 30 albums and they still making em' there last one was released like 3 weeks ago. :)


What was the album released 3 weeks ago? This is the first I've heard about any new album.

And as far as the quote from the article goes and the last response to it, just because they have 30 albums doesn't mean they've sold "more audio recordings in total than any other comedy act." It just means they have more titles. My question is whether or not that statement I quoted above from the article is verifiable or not. It doesn't seem to be.

Comedy albums generally do not sell well and most record companies don't like to talk about how well albums sell unless they're doing really well. About the only really reliable way of verifying album sales for someone other than a record company employee comes from looking at the RIAA Gold and Platinum awards records (and as much as I hate the RIAA it's hard to admit that). The RIAA doesn't award the "Gold" or "Platinum" status unless the record company that wants the award submits accounting and sales records to verify that the album really has sold enough to meet the RIAA's criteria. The Firesign Theatre has never had an album go gold or platinum. Bill cosby has had 6 records go platinum and 3 gold. That's at least 7.5 million records sold. Richard Pryor has 2 platinum and 4 gold. That's at least 4 million records sold. And all of those figures are verifiable. If The Firesign Theatre had ever sold half that many records then Columbia would have re-signed them and they wouldn't have started making records for Butterfly, Rhino, Lodestone, Whirlwind, or Artemis. And their Columbia albums would be available on CD from Columbia instead of Laugh.com.

Don't get me wrong here, I love The Firesign Theatre. I just really doubt that "they have sold more audio recordings in total than any other comedy act." It seems incredibly unlikely to me when you compare their popularity to Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy (one of the only comedians to have a record go multi-platinum), or Jeff Foxworthy. In order to beat Bill Cosby's number of 7,500,000 records sold - even with 30 titles under their belts - The Firesign Theatre would have had to have averaged 250,000 sales per album. I really doubt that this has happened. Especially considering titles such as JUST FOLKS and LAWYER'S HOSPITAL. /Will1410 22:52, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

As the person who put that sentence in, I'm now taking it out. It may have been true at one point, but even if it was, Jeff Foxworthy probably has taken over. Richard K. Carson 05:14, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Hang on one moment. The Goon Show, the best example of radio comedy ever produced must have surely outsold all other audio comedy of the same format. P.s. why doesn't this article mention that many of the techniques and comedy ideas used in The Goon Show were copied by The Firesign Theatre? The_Goon_Show#The_Sincerest_Form_of_Flattery --AlbertW 17:16, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Source of the Name[edit]

Is the source of the name based solely on astrology ("fire sign") and a take off on the name of the old radio serial?

I always thought that the name was based (at least partially) on badly designed movie theaters that have very bright fire-exit signs located too close to the movie screen, thus distracting the audience.

69.39.172.84 01:25, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Why would you think that? In interviews they've said it was because they were all fire signs by coincidence, and to evoke the old broadcasts (think of their album "Just Folks...A Firesign Chat," or the parody of Roosevelt's Fireside Chats in How Can You Be... Speaking of which, why is that unlikely and utterly un-sourced speculation "It may also refer to a gospel song by Ralph Stanley, which includes the lines 'God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, but the fire next time'" in the article? 184.175.5.163 (talk) 18:28, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Retail/online availability mentions[edit]

The article makes the mention "...and most of their current and back catalog is available from Laugh.com." There are other outlets as well, and other current publishers of their work. I propose available sources, or popular sources be split to its own secion, and this reference removed. I leave it the judgement of others, as I have a professional conflict of interest in this arena.--Bubbas Brain 15:18, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Firesign Theatre Video Projects?[edit]

I don't see any mention of Firesign Video programs. especially "The Case Of the Missing Yolks". Another I recall the Mid 1980's on my local PBS station(was it a promo of sorts?) possibly Firesign in origin. The plot I vaguely recall takes place in Kudzu County and dealt with the rapidly accelerated growth of the creeping Kudzu vines. that's all I recall. 24.73.232.50 19:28, 13 November 2007 (UTC) gsdheman

That would be "Eat or Be Eaten". The video version is significantly different from the album, and was produced for Cinemax. There is also "Martian Space Party" and the video version of "Everything You Know is Wrong." Bubbas Brain 14:41, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Deletion by Kathryn[edit]

Kathryn has deleted a mention of the Firesign Clones performances from the Miscellaneous section, with the edit summary "I'm sure many people perform Firesign skits." Your "surety" is not a justification for deleting the information, which was supplied with citations. This was a series of on-stage performances, mentioned on both the SubGenius website and one of the primary Firesign fanzines, and featured notable authors including Donald Michael Kraig, Ian Corrigan, and Rev. Ivan Stang. Do you actually have examples of anything remotely comparable? If not, this should be replaced. Rosencomet (talk) 18:52, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Again, I state that this mention of a series of performances of Firesign Theatre skits done by notable authors is acceptable in the "Homage" section of this article. The argument "I'm sure many people perform Firesign skits", especially with not a single example, IMO does not justify deleting the entry. Kathryn is free to add any other homages she can cite. I would prefer if someone else returned it, so it doesn't lead to a revert war, since IMO this editor is not objective when it comes to my editing. Rosencomet (talk) 23:42, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and returned this mention, removed the name Jeff Rosenbaum, and adding XM Radio personality Bill Kates (who is referenced in the citations provided). As I have said, the only reason Kathryn gives for deleting this work of another editor is "I'm sure many people perform Firesign skits", giving not a single example to support her "surety", and this particular series of performances features notable authors with their own Wiki articles. I see no reason it does not belong in the "Homage section"; especially since she seems to have no problem with the only other thing in this section: an uncited characterization by a comedian with no Wiki article. It's clear that the only real problem Kathryn has with this is her prejudice against mentions of Starwood. If she can find any other performances of Firesign Theatre plays by notable individuals and citations for the same, she is of course free to include them, but I feel she should stop deleting others' work based on her "surety".Rosencomet (talk) 01:34, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Doesn't actually tell the reader anything about the type of humor[edit]

I came to read up about The Firesign Theatre - I know nothing of them other than they are a comedy troupe. The article doesn't actually tell the general reader about what type of humor or comedy they do other than to say it's like "The Goon Squad." I checked that out - that was a little help, but not much. Someone who is familiar (as I am not) should add a brief overview as to what type of comedy they do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.159.98.1 (talk) 20:21, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Their type of comedy[edit]

I don't know how to add this, and it's subjective. They spoof all sorts of trendy fads, foibles, and sacred cows, and turn the zeitgeist against itself i.e. render it rediculous via reducto ad absurdum, bizzare juxtaposition, and exageration or reduction. Current popular fads, fancies, and manias are thus rendered obvious and transparent if not exposed as mass insanity. There are elements of real satire, if not a little black humor of an amiable sort, in their humor in as much as American culture and human nature itself are called in to question and exposed to ridicule. Their technique uses a livlely patter and amusing characters creatively and entertainingly portrayed. These guys combine old fashioned moxie (down-to-earth, wordly knowledge, not just 'street smarts') with the gift of gab. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.212.95.130 (talk) 20:13, 6 December 2009 (UTC)

Writing method[edit]

This sentence, which I wrote who knows when:

"The group's writing method demands the consent of all four members before a line can be included."

links to a footnote that in turn links to a copy of what I originally wrote here.

Since Wikipedia is not supposed to use itself as a reference, the footnote is invalid, and possibly the sentence as well, for which I don't have a reference at the moment. Richard K. Carson (talk) 06:07, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

The fact that all four members had to agree is mentioned in the Ossman Radiola Episode "Still Waiting For The Electrician" 3/7/1993 part 2, "Writing The Album"

"Theatre"[edit]

Why does the title of this article use "Theatre" instead of "Theater"? I have in front of me a copy of their first album, Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him, and it uses the latter spelling.

I had followed the spelling here in creating a Commons category before noticing this. - Jmabel | Talk 15:15, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

While a few albums (including the front cover of a Rhino "Nick Danger" release, but not the back) use the 'theater' spelling, the majority of their work uses 'theatre', as does their official website. DonWW (talk) 23:37, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Movie in which Bergman (I think) plays a Samurai warrior[edit]

I've this memory of going to one of the student-run movie halls at the University of Maryland in 1975 or 1976 to watch a movie created by one or two of the memebers of Firesign Theater in which Bergman, I think, plays a dummy of a Samurai warrior in a store window who comes to life to aid a woman in distress. I don't see that movie in the movie listing for Firesign Theater. Can anyone remember the name of that movie? I did a google search and searched IMDb and found nothing. Of course, perhaps I'm nowhere at all.Dli04b (talk) 13:03, 27 March 2013 (UTC)