Show of hands: Who loves Harry Shearer?
To those of you not raising your hands; I’m assuming you’re too young to have tapped into this comedy legend’s genius, so let me give you a quick recap:
He’s the voice of Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, and Smithers on the Simpsons; he’s Derek Smalls from This is Spinal Tap, a film he also co-wrote, and he’s the guy with the mustache in the SNL skit below:
Le Show, Shearer’s public-radio program has been on the air since 1983. I’m clearly late to the game on this one. This could be a result of proximity and limited syndication (I live in Atlanta), but KCRW in Santa Monica has aired the the hour-long program, a satirical look at news and current events with a touch of sketch and a smidgen of music, weekly for 30-plus years. And this is the first time I’ve heard of it. And of course, it’s also available as a podcast.
Shearer’s voice is so distinctive and reminiscent of ’70s broadcast conventions, that one need only listen to a few sentences to fall in step. His subtlety and humor lead you from one obscure news segment to the next. It’s rainy afternoon talk radio at its finest.
I can’t say I like the music interludes — not a big fan of Dr. John. But that’s on me. I did hear a ditty about the yule tide snows of Toronto, as sung by Montgomery Burns, I enjoyed. Take a listen. I’m kicking myself for not knowing about this show.