Tuesday, August 21, 2007

XM Radio Humor:

Last week I rented a car that had XM digital radio. Driving down to Virginia, I listened to six hours of non-stop standup on channel 150. On the way home, the genre was starting to pall. I switched often among three humor channels -- 150, 151 and 153 – to stay entertained.

Channels 150 and 153 featured uncensored comedy, focusing mostly on recent comics. Channel 151 is “family entertainment” with many clips from long-established and dead comedians. 151 was clearly the funnier channel, not surprising when you have the pick of the best of fifty years instead of the unwinnowed present to play. An old-time comedian named Myron Cohen did a remarkable piece on 151.

I have a great interest in standup, and how it is done. I was pleased that I recognized many of the comics’ voices, and a good thing too, because my XM car radio had a lousy user interface. At the beginning of each routine it briefly displayed the comedian’s name. If you got interested later, it was too late to check. And when I got home, I found no playlists on the XM website to help me figure out whom I had heard.

I enjoyed one comedian named Larry the. (My radio displayed only ten characters, and the programmer apparently never heard of a marquee-style scrolling text display.) Larry had a mellifluous voice, nice timing, and, some original material.

On the way home, XM may have lost a satellite. I often heard five seconds of hissss, and as you can imagine, when a hiss replaces the punchline, life gets pretty frustrating. I would like to have XM radio humor in my life, and I know I’d manage not to listen to it all the time.

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