Interview - Scotty Crane and Johnny Seattle

Interview: Scotty Crane & Johnny Seattle, Broadcasters, WCKG 105.9FM Shaken, Not Stirred

The following interview was conducted with Scott Crane, upon request, on the 5th March 2004, after Scotty sent us a request to showcase some of his work, including his parody of Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of Christ'. Scotty got his request, and we got what we wanted - the interview, and new friends "in the business" up in Chicago.

Scotty and Johhny tell it straight in this entertaining interview (much of which was prepared in the past), but the interviewer at that time didn't run it, so we will! (that's the disclaimer folks).

"Welcome back to 'Shaken, Not Stirred' --we meet once a week and systematically alienate 95% of the American public. You, my friend, are part of the five percent. What does that mean? Well, I'm not sure there really is a common denominator-- but you're probably not a Christian Scientist, a fundamentalist, a right wing extremist, a left wing extremist, or a cop. And there's a very high probability that you get hammered once in a while, and-- say, call your high school gym teacher, stalk a meter maid, live in a tool shed, that sort of thing. Whatever your problem may be, and you do have one-- Scotty and I are willing to accept you for whoever you are-- as long as you're doing the best you can. That's all we ask."

- "Shaken, Not Stirred" radio show
Broadcast 10.06. - WCKG 105.9 FM - Chicago

How do you define political correctness, and what is hypocritical about it?

SCOTTY: Well, I think the underlying principle of political correctness is probably a good one-- one grounded in sensitivity and understanding and tolerance -- the problem, I think, is the PRACTICE and EFFECT of political correctness -- which seems to be a
sort of collective suppression--

JOHNNY: Right. It's become a convention-- like politeness.

SCOTTY: It's kind of ironic, really. I mean the whole idea is to embrace multi-culturism -- but in practice, it seems to have the opposite effect -- people don't speak their minds because they're afraid of crossing some line. So in effect people QUIT acknowledging differences -- because they quit having dialogues.

JOHNNY: Diversity is supposed to be our strength.

SCOTTY: Instead, people want to pretend it doesn't exist. We should know. We're middle-class white guys.

JOHNNY: Yeah. We're down.

SCOTTY: Our idea is to fight suppression by lampooning everything and everyone we possibly can.

JOHNNY: It's better than our original idea -- which was chia neckwear.

SCOTTY: Really, though. You can call our humor centrist, or politically incorrect, whatever, the fact is we're creating dialogue -- And we're doing it with laughter and painful subject matter. We'll offend people - it's inevitable. It comes with the territory. But we don't exclude anyone - especially not ourselves.

JOHNNY: Without diversity we'd be sunk.

What would you say to those you have offended?

Both: Oops!

Can you tell me what's funny about: Homeless Native Americans? Paraplegic Viet Nam Veterans? Homosexuals? and Prostitutes?

SCOTTY: I give up. What?

JOHNNY: There are certain things that those types of people do, that in the right context can be extremely funny.

SCOTTY: There's no categorical imperative for humor. But every joke has a voice and a motive, and we trust ours. Sometimes we push the envelope. There's been times when we feel we've crossed our own lines, and we won't air a skit, because it's too dark, or the motive isn't clear enough.

JOHNNY: And to tell you the truth, we've done a bit of audience research, and the people who've seen the dark side of life, seem to laugh the hardest when they can relate to the material -- when the jokes hit home.

SCOTTY: So basically were doing a public service, were like Bob Hope in a war zone.

Your skits are imbued with a pervasive cynicism and futility - what happened to innocence?

SCOTTY: It killed the cat didn't it?

JOHNNY: That was curiosity.

SCOTTY: Well, anyway -- joking about painful stuff is a defense mechanism, right? So in a sense it's there to perserve innocence.

What's gone wrong with radio today?

SCOTTY: Where to begin? I guess for starters, it's unimaginative.

JOHNNY: This is liable to sound kind of hoaky: But in a general way, in a collective way -- radio just doesn't believe in itself, anymore.

SCOTTY: TV took all the wind out of its sails. Then cable TV. Then the Internet.

JOHNNY: Radio just doesn't look at itself as a medium for art anymore.

SCOTTY: So it sets the bar too low. It panders. When it does find a good thing it tries to stretch it out, or water it down, in order to "maximize its inventory value." I guess the root of the problem, like just about everything else in our culture these days -- is money.

JOHNNY: Yeah. Have you ever called the ad department of a radio station? Jesus, they're like sharks. And it's that way all the way up the ladder.

SCOTTY: You've got radio executives implementing practices like this new compressor -it takes the pauses out of peoples sentences -- all so they can squeeze an extra thirty seconds of "inventory" into an hour's worth of programming. No matter that it destroys cadence, and rhythm, and dramatic pauses-they've generated a couple hundred bucks of revenue.

JOHNNY: It's backwards.

SCOTTY: Right. Why not create better programming and sell your "inventory" for higher prices. Create a demand. That way your sales reps don't have to act like telemarketers.

JOHNNY: Yeah. They can drive red Fiero's and wear cowboy boots.

SCOTTY: The bottom line is -- that radio has largely abandoned the Theatre of the Mind. It's abandon it's greatest asset -- this collaborative relationship between program and audience -- the creative dynamic between storyteller and listener. It's completely unlike the cinematic sensibility, which is dictatorial -- Radio, at it's best, is suggestive; it relies on the listener's input. Now, radio executives will argue that radio is more collaborative than ever.

JOHNNY: I guess you could say that our personal target audience doesn't even listen to the radio anymore, beyond background-- because there's very little worth listening to.

SCOTTY: We're here to bring those people back.

JOHNNY: At least the ones with nothing better to do.

What is right with radio today?

SCOTTY: I think there are a few smart radio executives that are looking forward and seeing that they need to reinvent, or the ships gonna sink. Most radio programmers just copy what successful stations do. So all it takes is a couple of cutting edge radio programmers to really make some waves. When you look at it that way, it almost seems hopeful. Then you sober up and realize that the ship started sinking 20 years ago. And then you try and figure out where you parked the car last night.

Who do you like on the radio currently?

SCOTTY: Speaking for myself, Harry Shearer, Phil Hendrie and Howard Stern are all radio gods. Although, since 9.11, both Hendrie and Stern have been sounding pretty conservative. It's a phase. I also think Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla can be very funny.

What do you think of: Tom Leykis, Opie and Anthony, Rush Limbaugh, and Dr. Laura?

JOHNNY: They're all considered innovators of a sort. How scary is that?

How would you describe your show?

SCOTTY: If it's adjectives you're after, I'd say: Unpredictable. Audacious. Irreverent. A variety show hosted by two diametrically opposed personalities, who share the same mental illness. I see the show as a forum for philosophic inquiry and potty humor.

What is unique about your show?

JOHNNY: Well, there's nothing else like it. The format is unusual. The perspective is unusual. And the content is unpredictable.

SCOTTY: Yea, and where else are you going to hear Ronnie James Dio and Dean Martin in the same hour?

What is the goal of your show?

SCOTTY: To make people pee their pants laughing.

Do you think it will succeed?

SCOTTY: Yes. We're extremely confident it will work. And in many ways it's already quite a success. I think it's a much different listening experience than what people, especially young people, are accustomed to. It's much more of an active listening. We've had a number of people tell us that it's a great group listening experience, as well -- which I think is a very unique quality for a radio program -- radio listening is usually an insular activity -- alone in your car and all that.

Tell me about your cast, who does the voices?

JOHNNY: Daryl Affleck, Andrew Higgins, Jerald Armstrong, Scotty's mom-- and of course me and Scotty-- the six of us handle the bulk of it.

SCOTTY: Our cast is about the most eclectic group of people you could assemble in a small room. A video game designer. A kaleidoscope salesman. A gay waiter. A professional Football player. A retired Mob henchman. And a Hollywood sex symbol.

JOHNNY: They are a diverse and extremely gifted group of people who feel as if they've somehow been lured into the depths of Scotty and I's depravity -- but the truth is, I think they like it.

SCOTTY: They all have one thing in common. They've all got a healthy sense of humor. And they can all laugh at themselves. Except for Johnny. I really think he has problems.

JOHNNY: It's true. I'm the one with problems. Scott has the bad teeth.

Why are there not more women in your cast?

JOHNNY: It's just a coincidence really. I mean there's about four of us who do the majority of the voices -- and we all happen to be male. Aspiring female cast members are encouraged to send us demo tapes.

SCOTTY: Because, as John Belushi said "women aren't funny." I'm joking, of course. But seriously, he really did say that. It's a good thing Lorne Michaels didn't listen to him. Other wise we wouldn't know Gilda Radner, Tina Fey or even Maya Rudolph. I think part of the answer to your question is that society in general has never really encouraged girls to impersonate anyone other than June Cleaver and Barbie. Consequently, it's harder to find women interested in this form of art. Sad as that is to say.

How do you create your characters?

SCOTTY: More often than not, they just sort of impose themselves on us. Our only rule is that each character must represent one or more of the seven deadly sins. (Pride, envy, gluttony, lust, wrath, greed, sloth.) With that as a foundation, you'll never run out of dilemmas.

How much is spontaneous and how much is pre-meditated?

SCOTTY: 85% is spontaneous. 14% is premeditated. And the remaining 3% is both.

JOHNNY: I'd say most of the show is definitely post-medicated.

Can you name your influences for "Shaken, Not Stirred"?

JOHNNY: Late night Television, beer, and a lot of L.S.D.

How are your on air personas different from your real personas?

JOHNNY: In many ways we're quite opposite. The volume's about the same, though. And I am a drunk.

Why so many drug references?

JOHNNY: The dark side of drug culture can be pretty disturbing, but also pretty funny -particularly in retrospect.

Do you think it's wise to promote drugs?

SCOTTY: I don't think that anyone who really listened to our show would think we are "promoting drugs." We paint a pretty bleak picture of drug abuse.

Where do you see the show taking you-- what lies beyond?

JOHNNY: I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it-we've talked about changing mediums-- but our plate's plenty full at the moment, so we'll just see what sort of opportunities the future brings.

Is there anything you'd rather be doing?

SCOTTY: More of the same. The only way I can think of improving our present situation is to not have to concentrate so much on business dialogues, sponsorships, promotions, etc., and be in the studio or at the typewriter creating more.

Tell me about your upbringing?

JOHNNY: We'll let you know when we're finished.

Well then, tell me about your parents?

SCOTTY: Both of my parents were actors. Actually, my Dad started out on radio. He was labeled "the King of the L.A. Airwaves," and he was "#1 in the morning" on CBS radio in L.A. for about five years. He broke a lot of rules and is considered one of talk radio's innovators. I remember when I was about four or five, he'd set me up with a tape recorder, a turn table and a microphone - and let me play DJ. Basically I'd just introduce Kiss songs, talk to myself, and sing along. So I guess for me, a better answer to the question about my influences, would be my parents. They taught me everything I know. So blame them.

JOHNNY: My father is 67-year-old bodybuilder and my mom likes wicker.

When you grew up you wanted to?

SCOTTY: Be a bank robber.

JOHNNY: I wanted to live above a gas station. I liked the smell.

Who were your heroes?

JOHNNY: Willie Mays and John Steinbeck.

SCOTTY: The usual, Kristy McNichol and Gene Simmons.

In 5 words or less, say something funny?

JOHNNY: Regis Philbin.

SCOTTY: Moose Poop.


That's the interview folks. Stay tuned for another totally original interview and skit, brought to you by Media Man Australia and Scotty and Johnny at Shaken, Not Stirred.


Interview - Scotty Crane - 8th March 2004

Shaken, Not Stirred

Sample audio

"Moses: King of Men" skit - with Sylvester Stallone as Moses
(audio from Scotty Crane's Shaken, Not Stirred

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