Hold on to your hats and roll with the punches, Valley radio listeners.
A veteran news reporter and an East Valley comedy aficionado are launching a new program on Clear Channel’s KFYI (550 AM) that will attempt to make the politically incorrect correct, or at least make people laugh if they don’t find the content appalling.
A “test run” of the one-hour show “Live Wire” will begin at 9 p.m. on Saturday with co-hosts Gregg Paul of KFYI and Tony Vicich, who oversees the Funnies Room and the popular Class Clowns Comedy School at the Tempe Improv.
Two other stand-up comics also will be sitting in on the program, which has a round-table format with co-hosts and their guests discussing hot-button issues throughout the region as well as politics and culture presented through a comedy perspective. It’s similar to the way friends would be trading witticisms at the local bar or while tapping into a keg of beer at a party.
Paul, who said he wants liberal government out of his back pocket and conservative government out of his bedroom, said he presented a proposed outline of the show to program director Smokey Rivers about a month ago, and Rivers liked the idea.
“I think the program is going to stand out like a drunk who crashes a cocktail party,” said Paul, who has worked for KFYI for five years and does a weekly segment called “The Political Observer Moment.”
“The program is set up like “The McLaughlin Group” (on PBS), only ours is featuring a panel of people you wouldn’t let park your car. This will be like watching the train come off the tracks because people who listen to it will either say, “I can’t believe they said that,” or they’ll like it.”
Paul, who also does some stand-up comedy at the Tempe Improv, said “Live Wire” is aimed at a younger audience which often goes to other information sources for news such as “The Daily Show” or “The Colbert Report.”
“It’s not going to be your grandfather’s radio talk show,” Paul said. “On Saturday, this might be the only opportunity people have to listen to it, if it crashes and burns. But, we’re hoping that listeners tune in and it catches on. We want to bring the attitude of FM radio to AM.”
Some examples Paul gave of the show included them discussing illegal immigration issues, the size of Republican congresswoman and presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann’s forehead and how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio needs new material for his ongoing publicity campaign since everyone already knows what he is going to say before he says it.
There also will be a feature called “The Stun Gun Truth Detector,” an imaginary device hooked into personalities or guests of the show that allows a panel to ask them any question, and blasts them if they are discovered to be untruthful.
Vicich, who has been a pillar of the Valley’s comedy scene for at least a decade, said he is excited to be a part of a show like this and glad he was asked to “opine and make mirth” of the news of the week.
“Even if you give a cursory look at news on the local, county, state, national or world level, it’s depressing, but if you can make fun of it, you can find solutions,” Vicich said. “Not that Gregg and I can find any solutions because we both have a hard time with button-fly pants, but we’re going to give it a shot.”
Paul and Vicich also plan to tackle issues such as the nation’s debt ceiling, the Gap beginning to sell skinny jeans for toddlers, the upcoming presidential race and how people try to recreate or re-interpret words in the American Constitution so it fits their agenda.
If the show catches on, they plan to have other guests such as national touring comedians, journalists, politicians, and Valley celebrities — people who can roll with the punches and punch back.
“I think the Valley needs a program like this,” Paul said. “We, as news reporters or journalists, rarely get to give our points of view, and this will be a good way of doing that. I’m addicted to the truth, and whoever’s feet I step on, I don’t care. We hope to set the table for this correctly so it will be an effective show and grow into something.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or firstname.lastname@example.org