Howard Stern clearly has the best show on the radio, especially now that Artie Lang is a fulltime member of the show. After that, it’s a close competition between Phil Hendrie and Coast to Coast AM. I mean, which one is funnier; Phil’s Art Bell parody, in which he interviews a man on a quest to find Jack Frost, or Art ending a recent episode by announcing–quite seriously–that the next episode would be dedicated to the Mothman?
There are three basic types of guests on Coast to Coast, each with his/her own special appeal.
- The Legitimate Scientist or Journalist. Such guests are rare, of course, but occasionally Art will have on a legitimate researcher and ask interesting questions about cosmology, military technology, quantum physics and so forth. One of my favorites was a woman who used to work on war games for the military at a base under some mountain in Colorado.
- The Semi-Loon. These are people who believe in UFOs or secret societies or ghosts and are able to make cases for their views that, while not convincing, can be fascinating. These segments take me back to childhood, when I was captivated by the possibilities of Bigfoot and aliens. Sometimes it can be tough to tell if you’re listening to type one or two because it’s the middle of a broadcast and the guest is saying something that seems possible, but far-fetched. Art calls him “professor,” but is he a professor at the University of Washington or the Interdimensional Correspondence College of Grenada?
- The Frothing Madman. Some of these people are just boring, like the “life number lady.” For four hours she talks about how adding up the number of letters in your first name, your date of birth and some other arbitrary crap, she can tell everything about you in vague detail. Spell your name ‘Sara’ instead of ‘Sarah’ and your life number, and therefore your entire personality, will be different. For example, instead of desiring to succeed in life, you might value close friends, long for emotional fulfillment or be characterized by some other line of fortune cookie bullshit that applies to 99% of the population. Other frothing madmen are pure gold. The best example is David Icke, who not only believes that the entire world has been under a conspiracy headed by bankers and royalty for thousands of years, he believes that those people are actually lizards from another dimension and that they have revealed their ultimate plans for us in a mural a the Denver International Airport. I love that man.
My favorite thing about the show is when Art “critically” interviews a frother with whom he agrees. He’s like the “skeptical” host of an infomercial.
Art: Now, wait just a second. How can the president be a Bigfoot? He was born in Connecticut and everyone knows that Bigfoot resides in the
Guest: That’s a great question Art, and there’s a simple explanation. The President in the White House is not the man who was born in
Connecticut. That man was killed by Illuminati working under the direction of Greys.
Art: Oh… I seeeee.
Finally, we have the callers. Out and out loons, every single one. Most callers not only have seen Satan in their basement, but they got a ghost in their kitchen, an alien in the toilet, a shadow person under the bed and their car can bend gravity so they can travel to Venus. Seriously, like 95% of the callers would swear to any of that in court. I find it hilarious that this show–this show–has a “wild card” line. “I’m not some mainstream sheep like that guy who just claimed to be a time traveling werewolf. No, it can’t be “East of the Rockies” for me. It must be the Wild Card Line!”
But there’s more. On a show where every superstition, delusion and paranoid fantasy is true, one revelation stood above the rest. Art announced that they would no longer be screening calls, which nearly caused me to swerve off the road because of the implication that they had been screening calls up to that point. Like a week earlier when a fortyish woman called in to say that aliens had landed in the tree behind her house, taken up residence in her garage and were controlling her father’s mind by poisoning the milk. I’m guessing that woman was the benchmark before the screening stopped. “You must be at least this sane to talk to Art.” Now, even that standard is gone. God bless you, Art Bell.