Saturday, April 4, 2009


I have no memory of this, yet there I am, 20 years old, with my new writing partner Jim Buck, who was 22. When I saw Jim last weekend in Indy, the first time we laid eyes on each other in 18 years, he found a shitload of pics and posters from our Kamakaze Radio days while visiting his parents. The above photo is from 1980, when Jim, Mike Owens and I quit stand-up and formed a group, though many of our early bits were adapted from our solo acts. I don't know if this was a rehearsal, or us fucking around for the camera. But it's a snapshot from the beginning, when Jim and I spent countless hours discussing comedy and what we wanted to achieve through our work.

Those were high-minded if very raw days. Jim and I stumbled around and experimented with form, oftentimes abandoning bits that just wouldn't gel. Mike, who was older (I think 30-31), brought a weird, vibrant energy of his own, but Mike tended to do his own stuff, and was brusque when it came to material he did not like. That forced me and Jim to re-write and polish more than we probably would have on our own; but once we clicked, we didn't need any push from Mike or anyone else. Our material got better, funnier, edgier. Within a year, KR began selling out shows.

Seeing Jim not only brought these memories back, but reminded us of how much we missed the natural energy we share. At the end of our little reunion, Jim and I riffed in the front seat of my car, as you'll see below. We dash all over the place -- at least I do, excited and manic from being around my old partner. I was the more hyper of the two, Buddy Sorrell to Jim's Samuel Beckett. But here I'm extra-jazzed, cutting Jim off in order to . . . I'm not sure what. Jim didn't mind. He was always quieter than me, always thinking through a piece or gag while I spat out lines rat-tat-tat. That was our chemistry, and it worked well for us.

Jim and I are discussing a new collaboration. We always wanted to try video, but back then we didn't have the means or the outlets to adequately realize most of our concepts. Now we do. If KR started today, we'd be an exclusively online group. I don't know how many members a 21st century KR would have, but in the end it always boiled down to Jim and I, knocking out scripts right up to rehearsal, sometimes re-working bits during a theatrical run. And here we are again. The two of us.