Stan Freberg with TS

Stan Freberg spends an hour with Tom Snyder. (36m) This dates from November 1991 – the time of Stan’s one-shot NPR special. The feed for the interview came from WICC-AM, and they had the “D” team running the board this particular night, as you’ll hear during those moments when the program is drowned out by extraneous material. And speaking of extraneous material…

The interview includes clips from the special, including one that would have been much more funny had Freberg simply performed it without introduction. Instead, fearing that his audience had no familiarity with Stephen Foster song titles, he carefully and painfully sets up the sketch with background material the audience ‘needs’ to get the jokes. Not only is this condescending – it’s annoying. This is my gripe with later Freberg material – he started talking down to his audience, became more concerned with his ‘message’ (usually quite obvious) and lost track of what was funny. It’s almost as if he came to believe than anything he said was funny, so long as he said it with a sneer and dragged the pronunciation out.

The interview is far more fun than the NPR Special (59m) itself.

Imagine if Stan’s great record, “Wun’erful, Wun’erful!” [Side Uh-1 (4m), Side Uh-2 (3m)] had started with a detailed explanation of who Lawrence Welk was, what kinds of music he featured on his show, that he always thanked his audience for the cards and letters they sent, and the manner in which Welk created the sound of a champagne cork popping by using a finger in his cheek.

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