More audio comedy for my 8-year-old son.
October 1, 2011 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Please help find more audio comedy for my 8-year-old son. Touchstones: Hitchhiker's Guide, Cosby, Nick Danger.

My son, who is 8, listens obsessively to the BBC broadcasts of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy — every day, sometimes for hours. He also loves Bill Cosby's standup records, and just now he listened to the Nick Danger side of Firesign Theatre's How Can You Be In Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All, and loved it. (Side One mostly alienated him.)

I think he likes the density of allusion, the chance to listen over and over and get more each time.

On the other hand, he's very sensitive and averse to anything ominous or scary sounding, and he found Bob Newhart boring to the point of becoming enraged. So it goes.

What more might he like?
posted by argybarg to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
He might like Bleak Expectations, which I loved, and has that goofiness and density of allusion which it sounds like he appreciates.
posted by vacapinta at 2:23 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How about Nebulous? British sci-fi, more silly than scary, with lots of catchphrases that I bet an eight-year-old would love to repeat constantly.
posted by nonane at 2:39 PM on October 1, 2011

This may be a little below his level, but I highly recommend Shel Silverstein narrating Where The Sidewalk Ends.
posted by dudeman at 2:46 PM on October 1, 2011

I loved The Goon Show at that age.
posted by hot soup girl at 3:08 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Hank the Cowdog series has audio books that my boys loved (20 years ago). Might be some issues with political correctness regarding American Indians though.
posted by LiverOdor at 4:07 PM on October 1, 2011

Seconding The Goon Show. I've had many hours listening pleasure from it over my life, from kid to middle aged, its a little silly and surreal but repays repeat listening and there are lots of episodes so he'll have lots to listen to.
posted by wwax at 4:41 PM on October 1, 2011

In addition to the Goonies, look for recordings of a show called "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again".

And when you get to video, nothing is better for the 8-18 set than the PG-rated Pink Panther movies starring the incomparable Peter Sellers (involved with both TGS and ISIRTA, IIRC).
posted by megatherium at 5:12 PM on October 1, 2011

He needs The Vestibules; example BULBOUS BOUFFANT.
posted by scruss at 6:07 PM on October 1, 2011

Maybe the radio version of Red Dwarf? I haven't heard the radio version, but the books were very funny and have those space/ sci fi elements like Hitchhiker's Guide.
posted by sharkfu at 6:29 PM on October 1, 2011

The Smothers Brothers maybe, or Emo Philips? In terms of movies/video I second Peter Sellers - A Shot in the Dark is hysterical. He might also like the Marx Brothers.
posted by gudrun at 6:45 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's older, but... Bob and Ray.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:14 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh my God DEFINITELY the Goon Show. Be prepared to contextualize some of the casual racism for him, because to a modern ear it's pretty rough, but my family can reduce each other to tears with single-line recitations at this point.
posted by KathrynT at 7:30 PM on October 1, 2011

There's lots of BBC radio comedy he'd like. There's lots of very silly panel games such as "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" and "Just a Minute" which are full of daft but clever word play and have been going for decades so there's an endless supply.
posted by joannemullen at 7:30 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here are 200 downloadable Bob and Ray shows, in MP3 format.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:04 PM on October 1, 2011

N-thing the Goon Show. I also loved another Douglas Adams work, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and the Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul
posted by angiep at 8:09 PM on October 1, 2011

Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks's 2000 Year Old Man.

Also if he's not adverse to musical comedy, Tom Lehrer, Gilbert & Sullivan, and of course Weird Al.
posted by fings at 9:07 PM on October 1, 2011

Best answer: I recently successfully introduced an eleven year old I know to BBC Radio 4's sitcom Cabin Pressure. Lots of funny accents (Benedict Cumberbatch does a wonderful terrible French accent), silly word games, and plenty of scenarios a kid can appreciate. Very rarely there are moments that seem scary (it's about an airplane, and sometimes things go wrong) but they are always brief.

I know clips of it are on You Tube. Why, here's one now!
posted by That's Numberwang! at 11:53 PM on October 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

As a longtime Hitchhiker's Guide fan, I came in to recommend the old BBC radio series I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again - turns out I'm seconding megatherium. I found it hysterically funny as a child (by which time it was already twenty years old).
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 12:43 AM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

When my nephews were around that age, they waited in my car with my sister while I went grocery shopping and they came across my tape of Wayne and Shuster: The Best of the Best. They loved it.
posted by bentley at 7:44 AM on October 2, 2011

I'd actually recommend against Dirk Gently, as it's much more layered, nuanced, story-driven, and requires at least a passing familiarity with Coleridge to get too much out of it.

On the other hand, the Marx Brothers are impossible to top, and BBC's production of Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel is spot-on, with the Groucho impersonator even ad-libbing in character from time to time. Definitely recommend that series.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:35 AM on October 3, 2011

One of my top reccomendations is Old Harry's Game. Although set in Hell, it's not really any darker than The Hicth-hiker's Guide. The style of Humour is actually pretty similar to the Guide; a mix of absurd situations, funny one-liners and lots of satire. I think I first listened to it when I was about 9 or 10. I missed a lot of the satire and cultural references at that age, but it was still brilliantly funny. Despite being set in hell, I don't think there's anything in there to be scared of.

Everyone should listen to The Goon Show. It sounds ideal for this question actually: never scary or ominous, and a lot of the episodes are Spike Milligan at his very best. As the series progress, various in-jokes develop and recurring characters become established, but there's no continuity between episodes so it really doesn't matter where you start.

I'd offer a cautious vote in favour of Dirk Gently. I agree that there's a lot in there that would pass over a child's head, but I think there's enough absurdity and wit that it's worth a shot. It comes with the caution that one of the characters is a ghost. Not a scary ghost -- he's just a bit confused and morose -- but it might qualify for "ominous or scary sounding".

Finally, he might be old enough to try the Terry Pratchett audio books. They're popular enough that you'll probably find them in a local library, and well worth listening to. Again, some of the vocabulary and cultural references will be beyond him at first, but the stories are understandable without them, great and very well read. The Tiffany Aching (audio)books in particular are aimed at a young audience, and serve as a good introduction to Pratchett's style and to the Discworld. Maybe start there?

There's lots of very silly panel games such as "I'm sorry I haven't a clue" and "Just a Minute" which are full of daft but clever word play and have been going for decades so there's an endless supply.

Yes, definitely look these up. Comedy genius, and freely available through BBC Radio 4 and/or BBC 7.
posted by metaBugs at 7:00 AM on October 3, 2011

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