If you love obscure references in comedy, then you must know the work of Dana Gould. Across several HBO specials, two comedy albums (Funhouse and Let Me Put My Thoughts In You), and seven years writing for The Simpsons, Dana may well have been the spark for more runs to Wikipedia than anyone this side of Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football. Between shoots for The Green Room with Paul Provenza at The Vanguard in Hollywood, Dana sat down for Buzzine with fellow LA comic and Satirista Gary Shapiro to talk a little about the roots of that referencing ability, but mostly to showcase their mutual love of classic commercials and interview non-sequiturs…
Dana Gould: [Opening up the ¡Satiristas! book] Look at that! I opened it up to my name. That’s knowingness right there… That is somewhat creepy.
GS: …we’re in the middle of an interview with Dana Gould. He has just opened the book…
DG: To my own name.
GS: …Right to his own page.
DG: Wow. That is the power of narcissism. [Laughs]
GS: … to find yourself in anything.
DG: Who am I interested in here? Well clearly, only me.
GS: Dana has used some all-time classic references [on The Green Room]. Last season, he pulled out the demons of Pellucidar, as I recall…
DG: I did. A nice Edgar Rice Burroughs reference.
GS: … because comedy should be educational.
GS: This is the first episode of my own show. I’m so happy. My guest: Dana Gould.
DG: But it’s true. I’ll give you an example: When I was 12…
GS: I’m sorry, we’re out of time.
DG: Oh, thank you very much for having me.
GS: I’m sorry. When you were 12…
DG: And now let’s go back to what’s happening now. When I was 12, my brother came home from the Army with Cheech & Chong’s Big Bambu… Let’s Get Small… and FM & AM. And on FM & AM, George Carlin had a joke about a musical group – it was Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Pierce, Sacco & Vanzetti.
GS: Oh wow.
DG: And the audience went crazy. I had no idea why, so I asked my father, and he was like, “Oh, Sacco & Vanzetti were these guys…”
GS: The first time we had to look up a joke…
DG: But it was before the Internet – so I had to ask my dad. But then I was a 12-year-old kid that could make a Sacco & Vanzetti joke…
DG: Because I knew.
GS: Kids today, before the Internet, we actually had to go and look things up…
DG: You had to look stuff up.
GS: And speak to our fathers, which was a problem for many of us.
DG: Exactly. This is one of our longest conversations…[distracted]…oh, that’s one of them new fangled cameras.
GS: ‘New fangled’ is also an old reference for you kids out there that don’t know a word…
DG: Right. It was regarding… And do you know what it was regarding?
GS: What was it?
DG: [Singing] “Pringles new fangled potato chips.” I’m 80.
GS: Wow. Hands on your buzzers: Jingles for $400. [Singing] “Put a Tic-Tac in your mouth and get a bang out of life….”
DG: [Singing] “…It’s a clean fresh explosion of mint.”
GS: [Laughs] You know Julie Warner?
DG: I do know Julie Warner.
GS: Julie Warner’s dad wrote that song.
DG: No kidding!
GS: He wrote that, he wrote the Fig Newton thing, I think, pretty much.
DG: Really? [Singing] “The big Fig…”
GS: [Singing] “Newton.”
GS: And “There are lots of chewy Rolos and a Rolo for you,” I think, was his.
GS: And Freakies. “We are the Freakies…”
DG: [Singing] “We are the Freakies and this is a Freakies tree…”
GS: We used to be able to make money… Kids at home…
DG: [Singing] “We never miss a meal because of our cereal / this is the big boss, we call him Boss Moss, make sure you spell it right.”
GS: This is why I interview him and not the other way around. Thank you.
DG: [Laughs] The freaky song.
GS: Dana Gould, ladies and gentlemen. In The Green Room.
DG: We’re already over?
DG: It must have been so nice for you to talk to me.
GS: I’m so excited. Would you please come back on the show next time?
DG: I’d love to come back. I’m gonna be right over there - in the shot the whole time… [Laughs].
The Second Season of ‘The Green Room with Paul Provenza’ premieres new episodes on Showtime every Thursday night at 11pm ET/PT beginning July 14, 2011.