Okeh Laughing Record – The Creepy 100 Year Old Audio-Meme That’s STILL Going Viral

Imported into the United States in 1922, the “OKeh Laughing Record”–as it has come to be known–is one of the most unusual, (in its way) influential, and surprisingly enduring novelty records ever recorded.

There is nothing overly complicated about the recording itself. A solo cornet begins a rather slow, sad performance only to be quickly interrupted by a woman’s high-pitched, unrepentant, seemingly unforced laughter. She is quickly joined by a second laugher–a deep-voiced male–who, too, seems unable to contain himself. The mystery woman and man’s continuing, building chorus of giggles and guffaws eventually come to drown out, even usurp, the musical selection.

Because it was originally released with no credits or names attached, various “histories” of the “Laughing Record” have come into existence over the years. Generally accepted however is that the original recording was made in Berlin, Germany, in 1920 for the Beka label. The recording itself was an update/remake of an earlier purposefully laugh-centric recording, “The Misfortunes of Youth,” made by Henry Klausen in 1903.

newspaper ad & poster

The recording’s inexplicable, surprising success inspired a host of imitators, copy cats and pseudo sequels. The OKeh label itself issued the self-explanatory “Second Laughing Record” and “The OKeh Laughing Dance Record” as well as the equal-time-inclined “OKeh Crying Record” all before the end of the decade.

Perhaps because they were easy and quick to produce, a host of other “laughing” records also soon flooded the market, effectively creating their own bizarre subgenre. How they were ultimately used—as party background noise or for cheering up its listeners—is, of course, open to speculation.

advertising sticker

Even after its initial notoriety died out, the “OKeh Laughing Record” remained strangely, firmly embedded within American culture. Radio humorist Jean Shepherd (whose original short stories developed into the beloved holiday classic “A Christmas Story”) used it regularly in his broadcasts as did Chicago children’s television icon Ray Rayner. Later, the recording would become a staple of Dr. Demento’s weekly radio show.

Cary O’Dell
Courtesy of The National Registry, Abridged

Amusing Halloween Memes, Photos & Comics to Get You in The Spooky Mood

Here is a small collection of memes, comics and photos. I found most of them last year so you might have seen many of them already. Most of these were posted to the Twitter and Tumbler accounts. Feel free to steal them.

Don’t forget to tune in to FunHouse Radio when the calendar says October. You’ll hear the greatest Halloween songs of all time. It gets EPIC during the last week.

Superheroes Start Wearing Safety Helmets – Shocking Announcements From DC Comics & Marvel Entertainment

In a four-page joint press release published this morning, DC Comics and Marvel Entertainment have pledged to portray their superhero characters with safety helmets on their heads. The reasoning is due to child safety concerns.

“We recognize the tremendous responsibility placed upon us to keep our young fans safe. In order to set a good example for young media consumers, from this point forward, all of our heroic characters will be seen wearing safety helmets of some kind. This includes our top-shelf properties such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Wolverine, Spiderman, and The Hulk”

So reads the press release. It goes on to say,

“We understand that children may model their behavior after what they see in comics and in the movies.”

That is quite a public admission considering all of the litigation that has occurred in the past. As recently as July 2021 a parent successfully sued for damages in a Minnesota court after a child sustained a traumatic brain injury while imitating the action from one of the many Batman films.

Fans were immediately outraged by the news and took to social media to air their discontent. On the other hand the move was immediately applauded by the Children’s Helmet Initiative, a grass roots organization dedicated to preventing brain injury.

There are a lot of questions about the thinking behind this change and about the plans for the films that are currently in production such as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is set to release on November 11th.

We reached out to both corporations but have not received any replies as of the time this went to press.

Hero illustration by Sketch Iwerks

* This is satire. Don’t freak out.
** Re-share this on you social media! Get in on the joke!

“Take The Skinheads Bowling” by Camper Van Beethoven

U.S. Bowling League Day is recognized every year on September 3rd. Why not celebrate this grand occasion by actually going to a bowling alley? Take it up a notch and shave your heads before you head out.

Bowling is a lot of fun and it is healthy exercise. Pop this track in the car stereo on your way to the bowling alley to really get in the mood.

“Take The Skinheads Bowling” by Camper Van Beethoven was released both as a single and on the album Telephone Free Landslide Victory in 1985. It enjoyed significant airplay in the UK and was featured on the Dr Demento Show here in the USA.

The song was written by band member David Lowery. In his blog he writes,

“The Skinheads Bowling as just a weird nonsensical song. The lyrics were purposely structured so that it would be devoid of meaning. Each subsequent line would undermine any sort of meaning established by the last line. It was the early 80′s and all our peers were writing songs that were full of meaning. It was our way of rebelling.”

Patrick Stewart & Yule Brynner

We found lyrics on genius.com, but cannot verify that they are 100% correct.

[Verse 1]
Every day, I get up and pray to Jah
And he increases the number of clocks by exactly one
Everybody’s comin’ home for lunch these days
Last night there were skinheads on my lawn

[Chorus]
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling

[Verse 2]
Some people say that bowling alleys got big lanes
(Got big lanes, got big lanes)
Some people say that bowling alleys all look the same
(Look the same, look the same)
There’s not a line that goes here that rhymes with anything
(Anything, anything)
Had a dream last night but I forget what it was
(What it was, what it was)

[Chorus]
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling

[Verse 3]
Had a dream last night about you, my friend
Had a dream–I wanted to sleep next to plastic
Had a dream–I wanted to lick your knees
Had a dream–it was about nothing

[Chorus/Outro]
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling

Before I end this blog, I wanted to remember a cool drone video that was shot at a bowling alley in Minneapolis. The place is called Bryant Lake Bow and I’ve had great times there back in the 2000s.

Get out there and go bowling folks! It’s a great time!

“Dad, I’m in Jail” by Was (Not Was) – Animated for MTV’s Liquid Television October 1992

Imagine that it’s the 90s and you’ve just arrived home. The first thing you do is press PLAY on your answering machine. Then you find out that your son is currently in jail. Not only that but he’s gone nuts. He claims to love it there.

Was (Not Was) wrote a song about it. The track features a mix of acoustic and electronic instruments. I would classify it as experimental jazz. It’s weird as hell and certainly not a traditional pop song. “Dad, I’m in Jail” was the final track on their 1988 album What Up, Dog?.

courtesy of RYM

I got my first CD player in 1989 or 1990. I quickly joined both Columbia House and BMG music services. I got What Up, Dog? on CD from one of those two. I checked to see if I still have it in my collection and sadly I do not.

The video here is not the official video for the song. The band itself never made one. This is actually an animation piece made for MTV’s Liquid Television. It first aired on October 1, 1992, part of season two.

At the time animation was not as ubiquitous as it is today. The technology to create animation was nothing like what we have now. Liquid Television was one of the only places that a casual viewer could see animated works of art. It also is where future popular shows like Beavis and Butthead were first tested out on an audience.

This upload looks like a VHS recording from live TV. As a result it is in mono and does not sound very good, so for your reference, I found a better sounding recording of the track here.

“Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers As seen in Beavis & Butthead Do America

The Peppers are releasing their second album this year with returning guitarist John Frusciante. Beavis & Butthead are back with a recent movie and new episodes on Paramount Plus. Both of these GenX favorites are hot again. I love it!

Fans will remember that the movie Beavis & Butthead Do America features a song performed The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was 1996 and Dave Navarro was the lead guitarist in the band.

In the film, the boys find themselves at a Las Vegas casino dancing to the music of a cover band. The band is dressed in look-alike blue suits. They look nothing like Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It cracks me up that The Peppers played a cover band in the movie. They could have just covered any RHCP hit but it’s a lot funnier having the band play a cover as a cover band. RHCP also made an animated video for it, but it’s just not as entertaining as the scene from the movie.

Decades before Beavis and Butthead were seen dancing to this song as performed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1996, it first made famous by The Ohio Players in the 1970s. Here is footage of them playing live-to-tape on Midnight Special as introduced by Wolfman Jack.

The RHCP version was released in North America and Spain as a CD single that also functioned as a promo for FM radio. It included three mixes of the song. Today it’s a collector’s item.

courtesy of discogs

The song was released as a single on cassette as well as CD in the UK. The UK release was different than the North American one. The UK version featured only one mix of the song but also included Engleberth Humerdinck’s version of “Lesbian Seagull”.

Believe it or not, “Lesbian Seagull” was not written for the movie. The song was first released in 1979 by an obscure folk singer called Tom Wilson on his album Gay Name Game. That makes it a cover version also.

courtesy of discogs

If you came to this page just to rock out on the song, here you go!

“Addicted To Spuds” by Weird Al Yankovic – LIVE on MTV’s New Year’s Eve Party 1987 – A Parody of “Addicted To Love” by Robert Palmer

First off let me just say that today is National Potato Day. Personally I love potatoes. I like them prepared any which way. If it has potato in it, I’ll eat it. I’ll probably like it too. When I was a kid my Grandma made me the best potato pancakes on earth.

Yes I love the tuber but I am not ready to admit it. I am NOT “Addicted to Spuds”.

This track first appeared on Weird Al’s 1986 release, Polka Party. There is no official music video for it but Al did perform the song live many times. His 1980s performances featured a back up band of giant Mr Potato Heads.

There are a few instances of this on YouTube. All of them are low quality recordings. The audio on this is terrible but the performance is keen. Luckily someone found this on a VHS tape and uploaded it.

“Big Lizard” by The Dead Milkmen

This is basically the title track to an amazing album Big Lizard in My Backyard. Of course it contains their big hit “Bitchin’ Camero”. I also love “Swordfish”, “Right Wing Pigeons”, & “Nutrition”. It’s a blast to just listen to the album straight through.

The story behind the song reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors. Rather than a plant that grows too large and gets out of control, it’s a big lizard.

Back in the early 90s my best friend had the album on cassette. I have it on CD now but I would love to find the LP in good condition.

I got to see The Dead Milkmen perform at the Phoenix Amphitheater in Pontiac. They were great and lived up to their zany reputation.

courtesy of discogs

The image above is of the cassette release. It’s sideways or “landscape” rather than the typical “portrait” orientation.