When Tom Green was just an unfertilized egg in his mother's ovary, Jim Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco working their special brand of guerilla improvisational comedy. "Disguised" in business suits with a tape recorded hidden in a briefcase, these two would assault strangers with unusual requests and suggestions, capturing their reactions. Some of the best of these recordings are forever captured in the digital pits of Audio Visionaries, recordings that were originally rejected by the record company that signed Lenny Bruce as being "too sick."
Each of the hysterical vignettes on the CD starts with the duo posing an almost plausible question and then slowly leading the victim down the path to absurdity. For instance, on one track they offer someone an interesting job where they work in a pit. The person is interested and as the discussion continues, flames, bats, maniacs and almost certain death are added to the mix as the interviewee continues to consider the job offer. Another track finds Coyle and Sharpe drafting a third person into a new religion called "Three-ism" where three individuals join together and make decisions as one. They follow this man onto a bus, determining where and what they will have for dinner that evening, overriding any objections this man may have with a two-to-one vote. Elsewhere, they try to persuade people to implant a microphone in their brain in order to hear their thoughts before they think them, to trade a valuable word ("you can use it all day") for a cake, and attempt to persuade a woman to grow feathers as a fashion statement. Amazingly, most of the participants are taken in by the honest-sounding Sharpe and the dead-pan master Coyle. While most of the recordings on this CD are from 1963, they are not dated. In fact, many of the absurdities suggested to the unknowing victim have basis in the reality of 2000. If you enjoy The Daily Show correspondent segments, The Upright Citizens Bridge, Monty Python, or Tom Green, you must hear the insanity on this little silver platter.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, June 2000.