“When bad things happen to good ideas.” Episode 27

“Worst Case Scenario” is an old radio show I loved as a kid. Tom Silver, the host, is interviewing Arthur Köeppler, a leading expert on traffic safety.

“Bring Your Cousin To Work Day” is Sid Steiber’s favorite holiday. He loves it so much, he celebrates it once a week.

“Listener Response” is where we get to hear some of Jonathan’s favorite responses to the question he posed last week.

For next week’s question, Jonathan talks with Israeli physicist, Jonathan Devor, about the likelihood of audio fossils dating back as far as ancient Egypt. And then he poses the following question: “If you could hear any sound that was generated in the last 5,000 years, what would that sound be, and why?” The number to call in with your response is: 617-866-8000. Thanks for listening.

“The Work Force.” Episode 26

In this episode I deal with the subject of THE WORK FORCE from three different angles; I talk to many hardworking Americans with “thankless jobs.” I also asked my old friend Sandy Briscoe — the British naturalist — for a letter of recommendation to Cornell Medical School where I have been offered a teaching positiion. And finally, I reflect on a time when I was the principal at my daughter’s high school — a truly thankless job. I also pose the following question: If someone was to offer to donate $10,000 to your campaign, would you: a) accept the money, b) point out that you are not running for office, or c) say something else. I would like to know. Please leave me a message at 617 866-8000.

“Women’s Lib and Pop Music” Episode 25

Where do I start? Thanks for your patience. In this episode I have strayed from my usual format because of an interview I did with singer/feminist Helen Reddy. We met years ago in NYC and I interviewed her for my old radio show, “Peas in the Pod.” Listening to this latest recording, I was surprised how much and yet how little has changed.

When I do episode 26, I will return to my older format. I’m in it for the long haul.

“Growing up Franklin (Ben Jr.) and my Jewish Roots.” Episode 24

In this episode, I explore my Jewish roots, tracing all the way back to New York City in 1959. I am also proud to introduce “America’s Next Top Optician”. At least once a week, I pretend that Benjamin Franklin was my dad. Now you get to hear how that works….It works for me.

“Good Dreams Sidney Katz” Episode 23

This episode, number 23, begins with a relapse. I fall back into my “city and listing” habit and I do it all in the name of one of the dopeyest jokes I have ever made. Then I get in the car and call my favorite local radio show with a question. It might be off subject but it is on my mind. Because of my sense of fair play and good manners I take my answer off the air. Then I go to one of my favorite places: the past. We hear my Dad Sidney talking to his friend Abe Allen in 1979. Trust me, these guys really know how to share a mic. Then I get a little groggy and drift off into a really good dream, a good Dr. Katz dream.

If there are any Little Feat fans that listen to this you may recognize a piece of their music called Old Folks Boogie.

We here at Albion Producitions like to think of this episode as the launch of a new season with a new producer, Katie Covett. We hope you like it.

“HEY WE’RE BACK!” Episode 22

In this episode I pay a visit to a dentist. I learn, once again, that my comedy is not for everybody. She feels the same way about my teeth, but is surprised to learn that my comedy comes with a fee attached.

Then I try once again to heal the wound I created in the heart of my friend Sandy Briscoe. He is the British entomologist whose research I interrupted not so long ago.

Several years ago I managed a high-end audio store in New York City. Even then, people thought my hiring practices were unusual.
Better Safe Than Sorry is a radio show I created about an overcautious detective. In this episode he really rises to the occasion without putting himself in harm’s way.

The actors featured in this episode are Wren Ross, Maggie Surovell, Beth Oblongato (as the saleswoman), and author Jonathan Wilson.

Thanks for listening,

Jonathan Katz

“HEY WE’RE BACK!” Episode 21

The first segment of episode 21 is a conversation with Wendy Liebman—a woman who has been making me laugh for years. Wendy reminded me how much fun we have talking to each other—a lot of fun. Comedians talking about comedy is boring; comedians trying to make each other laugh is fun. I am pro-fun.

A few years ago I made a pilot (trial first episode of a TV show) for CBS. I asked my friend David Mamet whom I should cast, and he said “America’s best character actor is David Paymer.”. So, the cast included Paymer, Marcia Gay Harden, Jane Adams, and Robert Klein. The dialogue in the scene you’ll hear is between me (reading the role of Paymer’s dad) and Paymer—a guy who, like me, is smaller-than-life as an actor. The audience was made up of studio and network executives, writers, and cast members. One of the executives was Gene Stein. He was the guy who championed this show.

And finally, you hear about my fear of overstaying my welcome in comedy. Thanks for listening, and please let me know what you think by writing to me.

“HEY WE’RE BACK!” Episode 20

This episode was actually recorded in front of an audience in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a group of people so willing to laugh it was depressing. They were sweet, playful and most important, punctual.

The show begins with me breaking the first rule of radio—it’s what the audience hears, not what they see. I started the night by showing the audience a clip from the series of biblical shorts I have been doing for nextbook.org. This is the one where I play Him to Todd Barry’s Moses. You get to hear what they saw.

Then I tell jokes—what i have been doing since 1981 when there were not that many jokes. I sing the theme song from my CD Jonathan Katz Caffeinated. Why does my CD need a theme song?

Finally, I remember that I am on hold, and I pick up the phone and talk to Miss Kiley, voiced by Jane Brucker.

Doing a fake radio show in front of real people is fun. Improv Boston is a great place. They made me feel at home. I don’t even feel at home at home.

Thanks for listening.

-Jonathan

“HEY WE’RE BACK!” Episode 19

This episode was recorded live at Logan Airport in Boston — until airport security realized I wasn’t going anywhere. They suggested that I go home. I did, but I made one stop on the way: The Orpheum Theater in Boston, where I recorded another round of my new game show Six Months On A Desert Island. Laura Silverman was my guest. While at Logan, I took calls and gave financial advice to anyone who asked. I had another difficult encounter with telephone information, and my wife tried to sell me land. Maybe I am too available.

Jonathan Katz

“HEY WE’RE BACK!” Episode 18

The first stop is my favorite cafeteria in NYC, at the Cornell medical building. I used to meet my dad there for lunch. After lunch I decided to take the day off. I walked home and caught my wife in the act with another man and even though I have imagined this a million times I never thought I would have such a “violent” reaction.

The Hip Hop communiy…it sounds so cute, but most people do not consider themselves members of this group.

More than twenty years ago I became friends with a guy named Frank Morgan. I called hime about 15 years ago and last week he returned my call. We spent New Year’s Eve together and reconnected almost immediately. He is a wonderful singer/songwriter so I took a break and shut up