Thursday, October 22, 2009

Road Trip Album Picks: "NPR Funniest Driveway Moments"

WHAT: Collection of interviews with comedians and amusing interviews from NPR
LABEL: HighBridge Company, 2008
GOOD IF YOU LIKE: NPR, but don't listen to it much, and comedy new or old
WHERE TO FIND IT: Your library, book stores, online
LENGTH: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Depending on your entertainment affiliations, you may listen to either a massive amount of NPR or none at all. As I listen to a lot, much of NPR Funniest Driveway Moments had already graced my iPod through podcasts of shows like Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and others. If you permanently have your tuner set to your local NPR affiliate, odds are you've heard many of these, and the bulk of the collection is pretty timely. Some of these segments were older, some are newer, and there's a really good mix of the new generation of comedians with some of the older ones, plus a segment with Richard Pryor that sort of sticks out because he's not really involved as such. Also sticking out is a bit with Justice Stephen Breyer, who is not a comedian so much as a member of the judiciary. It's not so much a comedy thing, it certainly qualifies as amusing but it also doesn't fit here particularly well.

Since this is a collection of radio broadcasts with new segments introducing them, what you have here is essentially a perfect driving companion for fans of comedy. It isn't always funny so much as it is informative, but there's quite a bit to enjoy here if you're already a fan of the personalities on the discs, like Demetri Martin or Phyllis Diller or Sarah Silverman. Or Dame Edna. (Which we are not.) If you already have it in for these people, clearly, skip that segment-- but the whole collection is great. It's a delight to hear Steve Martin's early stories about making two cents at Disneyland, or how Mel Brooks used to play music with comedians before getting involved with Your Show of Shows.

Unlike most things I post here, this is one of very few family-friendly collections in the sense that if you're reading this, odds are you could pass it along to your parents and they probably wouldn't have a problem with it unless Lily Tomlin really pissed them off for some reason. Besides, they're going to need an introduction to Larry David, and this collection has all that and more. Heck, it's worth hearing just to hear another interview with LD, so be sure to track this one down for your next road trip. Just do it soon as it's starting to feel a little dated as some comedians go on to new things or, in some cases, retire from the business.

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