Books-on-tape versions of NPR programs are always really popular in my library system, so I've been waiting months to receive a copy of NPR Funniest Driveway Moments on CD. When it finally came in, I was pumped. I love listening to comedy routines on tape.
Imagine my disappointment, then, when I found out that these sixteen (or so) tracks were mainly of NPR commentators interviewing comedians about comedy.* I'm not saying it was a dull listen, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I thought it would. Comedians spoken with include Dame Edna, Steve Martin, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Larry David, so they did break out the heavy hitters for this collection.
There were, however, two very bright moments. One was David Sedaris's track, which was indeed Sedaris reading one of his essays (which is rather what I thought the whole collection was going to be). He talks about his experiences with health care in France, where he had a ton of dental work done for a mere $40, and once went to the emergency room, where all of his care cost a total of $100. He further points out that if he had been a French citizen, he would have been reimbursed for those costs, and that no one ever asked him if he was insured or how he would be paying before they cared for him. (Ahem--how do they make THAT work? That's the system we need.) He concluded his essay by asking his male nurse for an ashtray--which was brought and which he used--and how that was the moment when he realized there was no real reason to ever return to the United States.
The other bright spot, if you can call it that, is a quote from a 1983 interview with Richard Pryor, in which he replied to a question about the obscenities in his routines by saying, "You know what's obscene to me? The president of the United States stands on television and tells people that we are helping to fight communism in South America by killing the people. I would never do that."
What I have learned from this is that I have got to go find some Richard Pryor routines on CD, somewhere.
*Also? Sometimes the commentators sound like they're forcing their laughter, and I found that very annoying. I don't think they were forcing it, but it didn't sound quite right.