20th Anniversary Show (sort of)

by | Jun 28, 2023

We did things a little differently on today’s show—an understated, somewhat belated, acknowledgment that June marks the 20th anniversary of “Talking Animals.” I launched the program in June of 2003 at KUCI in Irvine, CA, moving to WMNF not quite three years later. Twenty seems like kind of a big anniversary. But owing to a confluence of factors—including my own unusually busy schedule, and the demands of the summer fund drive earlier in June—I didn’t have a chance to plan an Anniversary Show, much less a string of such shows, or a retrospective…or anything, really to acknowledge two decades of assembling this program. But on this show, I took a small step in that direction. For example, a few months ago, I thought about some guests I’d like to interview or re-interview—for the Anniversary–and my initial thought was Jane Goodall, whom I’d first interviewed on the show in 2009.  I decided to shoot for another interview with Dr. Goodall in June—a tall task, given the endless requests for interviews she receives, and other demands on her time, not to mention she’s 89 years old and not doing as much as she once did So imagine my surprise when I landed the opportunity to interview Dr. Goodall in March! So it seemed fitting to replay that interview as part of this quasi-anniversary show, alongside some other “Talking Animals” signature elements, including animal comedy (two pieces today!), animal songs—sometimes by animal bands, like the EELS’ “Little Bird” (EELS singer-songwriter E is pictured)—and “Name That Animal Tune.”


ALSO: I spoke with Drennon Davis, a multi-talented comedian, musician, and sketch player, who also makes cat videos. But these aren’t just any cat videos–not by a longshot, pal. These short pieces feature his four cats (Newt, Frog, Toad, & Doug) engaged in an assortment of dialog-driven adventures—yes, these are Talking Animals, along with a Talking Human (who’s come to be known as the “Ugly Giant”) You could say these videos re-define the costume drama—or maybe the costume comedy—in that this quartet of cats is often wearing ties, or t-shirts, or costumes, or other outfits, including business attire. The videos have become an online sensation, racking up tens of thousands of views on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, spawning something of a cat-cottage industry. You can buy cat apparel or other related merch (https://www.buisnesscats.com/), though Davis noted that some feline finery is temporarily sold out. In our chat, Davis also recalls how the four cats came to live with him, how the videos began—chiefly involving his feline stars doing one-word impressions—and explains how the videos have evolved. And been embraced. In offering these various accounts, he sounds mystified and deeply self-effacing. (https://www.tiktok.com/@drennondavis?lang=enhttps://www.instagram.com/drennondavis/https://www.facebook.com/drennondaviscomedy/)

COMEDY CORNER: John Mulaney’s “Baby Grandma (https://www.johnmulaney.com/), Robert Schimmel’s “Punching A Shark In The Nose”

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” the EELS’ “Little Bird,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Jefferson Starship’s ”Ride The Tiger”


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In Memoriam

Otis McGarr
(Nov. 1989 – Jan. 4, 2006)

John Taylor
(Sept. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 2011)