The Credibility Gap

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For the political term, see Credibility gap.

The Credibility Gap was a satirical comedy team comprising Harry Shearer, Richard Beebe, David L. Lander and Michael McKean.[1] Lew Irwin, John Gilliland, Thom Beck, and Len Chandler also performed in their early days. They emerged in the late 1960s doing comedic commentary on the news for the Los Angeles AM rock radio station KRLA 1110, and proceeded to develop more elaborate and ambitious satirical routines on the "underground" station KPPC-FM, Pasadena, California.

Lew Irwin and The Credibility Gap with (left to right) John Gilliland, Thom Beck, Len Chandler, Richard Beebe, and Lew Irwin from An Album of Political Pornography


Lew Irwin and The Credibility Gap[edit]

KRLA 1110 news director Lew Irwin formed The Credibility Gap in 1968 with his radio colleagues John Gilliland, Thom Beck, Richard Beebe, and folk singer Len Chandler. They took their name from the Vietnam-era term Credibility gap, a euphemism for political dishonesty, and broadcast their comedy along with the news on KRLA. [2] In 1968, they released An Album Of Political Pornography for Blue Thumb.[3]

The Credibility Gap[edit]

The Credibility Gap with (left to right) Harry Shearer, David L. Lander and Michael McKean from A Great Gift Idea. Not pictured: Richard Beebe.

In 1969, they performed on KRLA's Pop Chronicles music documentary,[4][5] where their lineup included Bob Goodwin.[6][7] As radio professionals left the group, the group came to be dominated by comedians.[1][8] KRLA dropped the show in 1970.[9][10][11] Mark Deming writes of this transition:

[I]n late 1968, Thom Beck left the group, and Lew Irwin followed in early 1969 ... . Joining the Credibility Gap in their absence were Harry Shearer ... and David L. Lander... . By 1970, Len Chandler and John Gilliland had drifted away from the Credibility Gap, and ... Michael McKean, had joined the team, though the troupe's relationship with KRLA had soured and their show had been shrunk from 15 minutes to a mere 180 seconds. However, after Shearer landed a side gig as a disc jockey on an FM "free form" outlet, KPPC, the Credibility Gap found a new home on the station, and the group's satire gained both sharpness and depth.[2]

KPPC-FM fired all of its airstaff, including the members of The Credibility Gap, as part of a mass format change in 1971.[11] Then they started performing in various clubs and concert venues.[12][13][14][15] Harry Shearer writes of this time: "the radio years were followed by two records we'll still speak about--1974's 'A Great Gift Idea' (Reprise), and 1975's 'The Bronze Age of Radio' (Waterhouse Records)".[1]

After The Credibility Gap[edit]

The group disbanded in 1976, but the members have had occasion to work together since—notably the pairings of McKean and Lander as Lenny and Squiggy on the situation comedy Laverne & Shirley (recording an album in character as "Lenny and the Squigtones") and Shearer and McKean as members of the mock-rock band Spinal Tap. Three of the surviving members (Shearer, McKean, and Lander) held a reunion at the Museum of Television and Radio in 1999.[16]


Lew Irwin and The Credibility Gap[edit]

The Credibility Gap[edit]

  • Woodshtick and More (1971)
  • A Great Gift Idea (Reprise, 1974)
  • The Bronze Age of Radio (Waterhouse, 1977)
  • Floats & A Great Gift Idea (Double LP) (Sierra, 1979)


  1. ^ a b c "Projects : Radio". Harry Shearer. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b Deming, Mark. The Credibility Gap at AllMusic. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  3. ^ a b "Magic of JuJu: Political Porno". 2006-12-21. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  4. ^ Hopkins, Jerry (October 4, 1969). "'Pop Chronicles' Chronicle Pop". Rolling Stone (43). p. 34. 
  5. ^ "Index to "Pop Chronicles" — University of North Texas Libraries". 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  6. ^ "Show 34 - Revolt of the Fat Angel: American musicians respond to the British invaders. [Part 2] : UNT Digital Library". 1969-08-03. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  7. ^ "X-Files chief not moving". Vancouver Sun. April 20, 1998. Retrieved 2007-06-15. 
  8. ^ "An interview with Shearer, Lander and McKean". L.A. Weekly. November 12–18, 1999. Archived from the original on 2003. 
  9. ^ Murphy, Mary B (Jun 17, 1970). "Credibility Gap Trio Dismissed by KRLA". L.A. Times. p. F18. 
  10. ^ Murphy, Mary (1970-07-26). "The Credibility Gap-KRLA Battle". Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  11. ^ a b "Albums by The Credibility Gap". Rate Your Music. 1971-10-23. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  12. ^ Plume, Kenneth (2000-02-10). "Interview with Harry Shearer (Part 1 of 4)". IGN. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  13. ^ Plume, Kenneth (2000-02-10). "Interview with Harry Shearer (Part 2 of 4)". IGN. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  14. ^ Plume, Kenneth (2000-02-10). "Interview with Harry Shearer (Part 3 of 4)". IGN. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  15. ^ Plume, Kenneth (2000-02-10). "Interview with Harry Shearer (Part 4 of 4)". IGN. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  16. ^ Lloyd, Robert (1999-11-18). "Film+TV - Sketch Artists". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 

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