Comedy Troupe Reunite After 25 Years

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In 1979, five college friends from Middlesex County College in Central New Jersey got together to make each other laugh. Soon they were making others laugh with their energetic combination of TV show parodies and improvisation. The five funny men performed in clubs around New York and New Jersey and even created a half-hour radio comedy show for WRSU in New Brunswick, NJ.

The team broke up soon thereafter and four out of the five stayed in touch. Then, 25 years later, earlier this year, former "Liquid Comedy" member Joe Bevilacqua, now a veteran, award-winning radio personality, did a story for National Public Radio's "Day to Day" magazine in which he unsuccessfully searched for the missing fifth member/friend.

"It brought the rest of us closer together and we realized we had something special," beams Bevilacqua.

The result: "The NEW Liquid Comedy" (the fifth member is now Bevilacqua's wife and writing partner, Lorie Kellogg.) The team, which also includes Kenny Savoy, Jim Folly, and Tom Giannazzo, have added political satire to their repertoire. In their latest one-hour they make fun of everything from Dan Rather to George W. Bush to Laurel and Hardy (who are presented as bumbling members of Homeland Security, in 1930s Nazi Germany!)

The one-hour program also features veteran satirist Al Franken and veteran public radio host Bob Edwards as themselves.

“We’re trying to have a little fun, something for which today’s radio is not exactly known,” explains Bevilacqua, who has just published the biography of his mentor, Daws Butler (the voice of Yogi Bear), and has been writing, producing and performing radio comedy on his own since 1979. He likens his work to the modern equivalent of Fred Allen, Jack Benny and Fibber McGee and Molly. “In 1930s and ‘40s, these show weren’t just funny. They created entire imaginary worlds that tickled the imagination,” notes Bevilacqua.

Radio listeners will spend the hour with Ranger Joe and Ranger Lorie at their dilapidated Catskills kids camp, “Camp Waterlogg,” located in the bucolic woods of Napanoch, New York. While Ranger Joe is off talking with Al Franken, Ranger Lorie must contend with a wacky cabal of nutcases, the day before the Presidential Election. Meanwhile, Bob Edwards reports on the events occurring at the fictional camp. All this is interwoven with political satire sketches and TV parodies, heard through the character's own TV sets and radios.

In one reoccurring bit, Dan Rathernot (played expertly by another protege of Daws Butler: Matt Hurwitz), reports on 200 Right-wing protesters at the Catskills Camp and ends up being held hostage by a group of "Insurgent Chipmunk Terrorists," as Rathernot puts it.

The hour's most pointed political moment comes during a conversation between Ranger Joe (Bevilacqua) and Al Franken in which they play President Bush's 2001 Inaugural Speech, edited down to what they think he really "meant" to say.

"They are all the President's own words from his Inaugural speech. It is kind of eerie that by taking out other third word, you can literally HEAR between the lines."

The Comedy-O-Rama Hour is a weekly audio magazine of humor and stories about humor, written, produced and hosted by veteran radio producer Joe Bevilacqua. The show includes original sketch comedy, radio theater, satire, parodies, monologues, storytelling, standup comedy, songs, mini-documentaries and interviews, and airs five times a week on XM Satellite Radio's Sonic Theater Channel 163, as well as public radio stations around the country. The special will also be made available streamed on the web at: http://www.comedyorama.com.

"The Comedy-O-Rama Hour is one of the most unique and original productions out there these days. With Joe's talent for different voices, I never know what's coming next, or what it will sound like. Another thing that makes these shows stand out is that it is quite obvious to the listener that Joe and his cast are having fun making these shows, and that makes them fun to listen to as well." - Steve Karesh, Program Director, XM Satellite Radio Sonic Theater Channel, 163.

(For more information about XM Satellite Radio, go to http://www.xmradio.com.)

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