“Surreal comedy”… Could there possibly be a better term to describe and define Firesign Theatre? Their creativity knew no bounds, their fans are legion, their irreverence unmatched and they continue to shine bright lights on the absurd while remaining purveyors of insight into the preposterous aspects of life in the 21st century.
Robin Williams referred to Firesign albums as “the audio equivalent of a Hieronymous Bosch painting.”
Entertainment Weekly ranked the Firesign Theatre among the “Thirty Greatest Comedy Acts of All Time”.
Rolling Stone named their album Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers “the greatest comedy record ever made”.
The Firesign Theatre (also known as the Firesigns) was an American surreal comedy group which first appeared on November 17, 1966, in a live performance on the Los Angeles radio program Radio Free Oz on station KPFK FM. They continued appearing on Radio Free Oz, which later moved to KRLA 1110 AM and then KMET FM, through February 1969. The group produced fourteen record albums and a 45 rpm single under contract to Columbia Records from 1967 through 1976, and had three nationally syndicated radio programs: The Firesign Theatre Radio Hour Hour in 1970 on KPPC-FM; Dear Friends (1970–1971) and Let’s Eat! (1971–1972) on KPFK. They also appeared in front of live audiences, and continued to write, perform, and record on other labels through 2012, occasionally taking sabbaticals during which they wrote or performed solo or in smaller groups.
The brainchild of Peter Bergman, all of the group’s material was conceived, written, and performed by its members Bergman, Philip Proctor, Phil Austin, and David Ossman. The group’s name stems from astrology (all four were born under the three “fire signs”: Aries (Austin), Leo (Proctor), and Sagittarius (Bergman and Ossman).
The performance group’s popularity peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and then ebbed during the Reagan Era as the political climate changed. They then experienced a revival and second wave of popularity in the 1990s and continued to write, record and perform until Bergman’s death in 2012.
This live performance took place in 1977 at The Roxy, so sit back, don’t close your eyes and open your mind to the absurdist surrealism and satire of Firesign Theatre, LIVE.
1977 / 124 minutes (live) / Standard Def un-restored 4 x 3 / Director “unknown”
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Watch the trailer