About Harry Shearer: He co-wrote and starred in the seminal rock mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap; he's the voice of Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Kent Brockman, and nearly a dozen other characters on the long-running FOX-TV hit, The Simpsons; and he was a cast member and writer on Saturday Night Live. Le Show, has been on the air since 1983.
Delivery: Weekly (Tuesdays)
(P) and © Century of Progress Productions
"Le Show is one of the best shows on modern radio." (Entertainment Weekly)
"In the long nightmare that is America in the late 20th century, no one has given voice to the worst in all our natures better than Harry Shearer. His rants are funny, and his depth of knowledge on certain matters, from digital TV to Lewinskygate, is impressive." (San Francisco Chronicle)
If Harry Shearer's talents were limited to mimicry alone I'd STILL recommend Le Show to fans of satire. His impressions of distinctive voices from across public life are eerily suggestive and musically understood, as perhaps only Peter Sellers has done before. Clinton, Carville, Brokaw, Rather, Bushes 41 and 43, O.J. Simpson (savagely funny), Access Hollywood's Pat O'Brien, Newt (remember him?), Mr. Blackwell, and bygone Shearer star turn, sportscasting legend Curt Gowdy. His Michael Jackson's way off, but by and large the man has GAME. His Jesse Jackson is brutally funny without alienating us from the public figure. His brilliantly scripted ClintonSomething, in another medium, would have earned him a major acting award for his portrayal of Clinton: sly, genial, confident of his long game, reflective, yet no stranger to a good time.
He spins records he likes, sometimes intentionally pertinent, sometimes seemingly not. I seldom enjoy every cut, but it's almost always something good and fresh and occasionally something longed for. He likes Ella and Fountains of Wayne. He always brings in a few pre-recorded dialogue sketches, typically very smart and very funny. It's breathtaking when you first realize he's playing every part, like when you first learned all the instruments were being played by Stevie Wonder.
He takes some fair criticism for filling out the hour with what seems like a straight reading of buried news. Somehow it works for me as a kind of outraged Fiorello LaGuardia on the radio, reading from the back of the newspaper, piling on evidence we may have missed that our world is in the hands of monkeys.
Le Show feels offhand but impetuous, and some hours seem more inspired than others. (As bad news accrues through the week, I begin to anticipate a great show.) It's clearly a labor of, if not love, then of bitter laughter. In so much as Shearer seems every bit the sourpuss LA lifer, Le Show seems an apt expression of graciousness.
Having done well reading other people's lines, Harry Shearer somehow got the idea that he himself was funny. His show is painfully slow and awkward as he tries to fill an hour of time with about 5 minutes worth of ideas, most of which are trite and not particularly original. Occasionally it's so bad it's funny, but those few times, you laugh at him, not with him. Once you subscribe to this audio train wreck, there's no way to turn it off.
if you don't listen to this and you are at all interested in politics, humor and/or the media (in all its crazy forms) then you just don't rate. Harry's labor of love, more impportant than anything else he does (which is a lot). by turns mordant, droll, inexcusable, biting, witty, there's ne'er a cliche to be found here.
nothing else like it; too original to be categorized.
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