Well, tomorrow is the big day. I imagine that many of you readers will be too busy to read any GdL posts made on Halloween, which is why I’m posting this notice now. I want to stress to you all that Gravedigger’s Local 16 will stay open (and active) after October 31st ends. We won’t post every single day like we do for the Halloween Countdown, but we won’t vanish into thin air like in 2008.
Returning readers might remember that we had attempted to do this last year, but this was cut short due to certain issues keeping the gravediggers from posting. By the time everything was resolved and I was doing several updates a month, most of our audience was gone and many of the new entries went more or less unnoticed. So if you’re wondering why so many posts made for the 2009 countdown reference (and link to) older GdL entries, now you know. My sincerest thanks goes out to those of you who stuck with us doing those times.
So please keep visiting come November. At the GdL, the spooky stuff doesn’t stop after October. We’ve got a lot of cool stuff waiting in the wings and you definitely don’t want to miss it. See you then!
As a special bonus, Greg from the Opie and Anthony Audio Archive was kind enough to upload “Evil Barney on Halloween” on his site for me after I sent in a request. Last year, a chance discovery of a YTMND featuring audio from one of Opie and Anthony’s old “Evil Barney” sketches prompted to me look for the rest of the sketches online. I was mostly unsuccessful and my plan to use the Halloween one (my favorite, naturally) as a GdL update had to be put on hold. However, the search itself led to me rediscovering Opie and Anthony.
Back in the mid-to-late 90’s, I was a big O&A fan. Like the Evil Barney YTMD, I had discovered the show by accident while my younger brother and I were flipping through radio stations on a particularly boring day in 1995 or 1996. It wasn’t until we stopped on 107.3 FM that we found something interesting enough to make us spend more than a few seconds listening. I’ve long since forgotten what Opie and Anthony were talking about when we first tuned it, but I’ll always remember the bit they led into: “Evil Barney on Masturbation.” After the vaguely menacing opening theme played, Anthony Cumia did his dead-on impersonation of the hated purple dinosaur and immediately launched into a lengthy list of masturbation innuendos for the benefit of some boy named “Billy.” When the bit ended, listeners were treated by a Spanish version allegedly translated by the “Funky Puerto Rican.”
The very idea of someone doing something like that on the radio blew our minds. Needless to say, we were hooked. WAAF became our station of choice and we listened whenever we got the chance to. I have many happy memories of my brother and I blasting each other in Goldeneye 64 deathmatches while a radio tuned to WAAF played in the background. If one of us was in another room when the telltale evil music started, the sibling by the radio would frantically calling for the other to get into the room for another evil Barney sketch. But all that came to an end after Opie and Anthony got fired over an April Fool’s Day prank in 1998. Oh, we tried to keep listening to WAAF, secretly hoping that O&A would return from their new gig in New York, but it just wasn’t the same without our favorite hosts. We eventually moved on to other stations and our increased workload from school kept our free time to a bare minimum.
Having caught up with the duo thanks to Youtube uploads, I’ve since learned that Opie and Anthony are embarrassed by their old material, especially the Evil Barney material. They’ve even been known to play old tapes and let their comedian friends tear it apart while they suffer in the background. While I agree that a lot of stuff from their WAAF days isn’t as funny as it seemed when I first heard it (sometimes I even cringe at their new material and wonder why I listen), I still have a soft spot for Evil Barney. Sure, the “cute/innocent figure doing violent and nasty acts” is a very easy (and often hacky) form of comedy and the production values are very bare-bones. However, I will maintain that most of the ones I heard had at least one really good line in them (that would work in sketches not involving a “cute” character gone bad). Barney’s reaction to getting a Hersey Kiss in the bus driver sketch is a good example of this and I recommend waiting for the bit involving baseball in the Halloween sketch.
Barney and Friends was about three or four years old when I first listened to Opie and Anthony and despite the show still being on the air, one would think that the hatred of Barney’s sugary-sweetness that immediately arose when the show first came out would have faded a bit. After all, a show from 1992 is downright ancient by today’s standards. But Barney is still intensely loathed to this day. The popularity of Youtube videos and YTMNDs dedicated to killing Barney (including ones based around O&A “Evil Barney” bits) are a testament to that fact. Maybe it’s the over-the-top happiness of the cast. Maybe it’s how the show never seriously tackles difficult issues, whereas programs like Sesame Street are willing to tackle subjects like death. I think it was a writer from Animaniacs who once noted the implausibility of children willingly staying at school after the last bell rang like they do on Barney. I guess good educational children’s programming should feel like the real world with somewhat unreal characters in it, rather than taking place in a world completely removed from reality.
As regular readers might have noted, I usually use the “Linger Longer” title one the occasions when I post an Opie and Anthony video. I chose not to do it for this post, as it was originally intended just to tell people to stay tuned. Then I got a last minute surprise after being informed of the Evil Barney upload and needed to place to put it (as I’d already put together a special post for Halloween). I figured that readers would probably appreciate a little extra surprise in an otherwise boring “site news” post. From what I’ve been told, “linger longer” is a reference to a phrase uttered by radio host Doug Tracht that was adopted by O&A. Apparently, it’s often used after a reference to an older show is made, as a way of telling listeners to tune in more and pay attention so that they don’t miss out/learn what’s going on. I think that ties in nicely both with the audio file and with the general theme of this entry. Okay, that’s enough writing for me; just enjoy the comedy sketch and keep checking out the blog.