Radio comedy, or comedic radio programming, is a radio broadcast that may involve sitcom elements, sketches or any other form of comedy found on other mediums.
Background and history
Although comedy was once a significant part of American broadcast radio programming it is now mainly found in the archives of Old Time Radio enthusiasts and in internet streaming of comedy recordings. Exceptions to this are WSRN's "Audience of Two", Garrison Keillor's work on Minnesota Public Radio: "A Prairie Home Companion" and "Comedy College", and NPR's Car Talk, a comedy show thinly disguised as car advice.
In Britain and Canada, however, the BBC and CBC respectively have continued right on making new comedy and drama for radio up to the present day and into the foreseeable future and there are always a few comedy shows in the week's programming on RTÉ in Ireland. British radio comedy also has a home on Australia's Radio National.
Many of the BBC's most successful television comedies began life as radio shows. These include Goodness Gracious Me!, Knowing Me, Knowing You, The League Of Gentlemen, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Room 101, Have I Got News For You, (based on Radio 4's The News Quiz), Steptoe and Son, Dead Ringers and most recently Absolute Power. The science fiction comedy "Red Dwarf" was developed from ideas in a radio show called "Son Of Cliché ". Another science fiction comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy went from radio to television but also to books, website and various forms including the h2g2 project (which is both like and unlike Wikipedia).
Examples of American radio comedy can be heard on streaming internet radio stations. Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard on public radio stations in the United States and a different version of the shows can be heard on BBC7 and RTÉ under the name "Garrison Keillor's Radio Show". Old shows can be listened to online at the websites of "A Prairie Home Companion" or RTÉ. British radio comedy can be heard on BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2 and BBC7. Minnesota Public Radio maintains a website where it is possible to listen to episodes of "Comedy College". A British commercial station "Oneword" broadcasts American vintage radio comedy as part of their 24 hour-a-day programming of books, comedy and drama and this is streamed on the internet.
Interest in radio comedy and radio drama is currently enjoying a resurgence. Epguides.com ( http://www.epguides.com ) which provides encyclopedic information on television shows has recently begun to build a similar list of radio shows at: http://www.epguides.com/menu/radio.shtml .
List of radio comedies
Produced by or for the CBC
Produced by Minnesota Public Radio
Produced by or for RTÉ
- The Apocalypse of Bill Lizard
- The Comedy Improv Radio Show
- Beyond the Back of Beyond
Produced by or for the BBC
- The Mark Steel Lectures
- The Mark Steel Revolution
- The Mark Steel Solution
- The Mel and Sue Thing
Mitch Benn's Crimes Against Music
- The Museum of Everything
- The Very World of Milton Jones
Last updated: 08-07-2005 07:06:08