Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him

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Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him
FT Waiting.jpg
Studio album by The Firesign Theater
Released 1968
Genre Comedy
Label Columbia
Producer Gary Usher, The Firesign Theatre
The Firesign Theater chronology
Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him
How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The New Rolling Stone Record Guide 2/5 stars
The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide 1.5/4 stars

Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him is the first comedy album recorded by The Firesign Theatre. It was originally released in 1968 by Columbia Records.

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Temporarily Humboldt County" - 09:14
  2. "W.C. Fields Forever" - 07:39
  3. "Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde" - 07:19

Side two[edit]

  1. "Waiting for The Electrician or Someone Like Him" [1] - 17:48

Detailed track information and commentary[edit]

As originally programmed on vinyl, side one consisted of three short pieces:

  • "Temporarily Humboldt County" is a compressed timeline of the European expansion into North America and the displacement of the Native Americans, a theme the group would revisit often (the group had been told by friends in Humboldt County, California, that the local Indians added "Temporarily" to the county's name as a way of saying no one could really own the land).
  • "W. C. Fields Forever" is a plotless series of vignettes satirizing hippie culture and philosophy, through a parade of characters at a commune (referred to by a narrating character as "The 'Lazy O' Magic Circle Dude Ranch and Collective Love Farm") who variously take drugs, eat "natural" foods, practice yoga and embrace Eastern religions. The commune's spiritual leader, "Tiny Doctor Tim", who speaks as if he is very drunk, appears to be a parody of counter culture figure Timothy Leary. The title was inspired by the American comedic actor W. C. Fields and the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever".
  • "Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde" imagines what the world would be like if the counterculture of the 1960s were the mainstream. People are arrested for not possessing drugs, politicians use the word "groovy" in their speeches, and bomber aircraft drop copies of Naked Lunch.

Side two consisted of one 18-minute long track:

  • "Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him" begins as what appears to be a Turkish language instruction record and quickly becomes a Kafkaesque fantasy of paranoia in which an unnamed innocent (played by Phil Austin) is manipulated by mysterious strangers and authority figures into situations beyond his control. (In the written script, the character is called simply "P." for Phil, a reference to Kafka's use of "K." in The Castle.)

A highlight of side two is the "Beat the Reaper" sketch, a mock game show in which the contestant is injected with a disease and must guess what it is in order to win the antidote (if the contestant fails to self-diagnose, he is sent home with the disease). This segment is also featured on both the Shoes for Industry: The Best of the Firesign Theatre and Forward Into The Past compilation albums.

Issues and reissues[edit]

Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him was originally released on Mono LP, Stereo LP, and 8-Track. [2]

  • Mono LP: Columbia CL-2718
  • Stereo LP: Columbia CS-2718
  • 8 track: 18C-09518

It has been re-released on CD at least three times

  • 1992: Mobile Fidelity MFCD-762 [3]
  • 2001: Sony
  • 2001: Laugh.com LGH1071 [4]

Some of the 2001 Sony CDs omit the first 16 seconds of the beginning of track 4 due to a mastering error. The defective Sony re-release and some non-defective copies also end with an un-marked bonus track "The Mantras and The Chakras". This track, lasting 4:08, is not included on any other Firesign release. For more information about the defective CDs see: http://www.firesigntheatre.com/media/html/wfte_bad.html


On the cover of the LP the name of the group is rendered "Firesign Theater." On their next album, How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All, the name is spelled "Firesign Theatre." The latter spelling has been used consistently since that time.


  • ^ Marsh, Dave, and Greil Marcus. "The Firesign Theatre." The New Rolling Stone Record Guide. Ed. Dave Marsh and John Swenson. New York: Random House, 1983. 175–176.
  • ^ Smith, Ronald L. The Goldmine Comedy Record Price Guide. Iola: Krause, 1996. 124–127.
  • ^ Firesign Theatre. Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him. Columbia, 1968.
  • ^ "FIREZINE: Linques!." Firesign Theatre FAQ. 10 February. 2006 <http://firezine.net/faq/>.
  • ^ "Firesign Theatre — Waiting for the Electrician CD — AUDIO ONLY." Laugh.com. Laugh.com. 11 February. 2006 <http://store.yahoo.com/laughstore/firtheatwait.html>


External links[edit]