The Greatest Weekend of All Time

(A Tale in Four Parts)
The Genesis of “Weird Medicine” on XM Channel 202

October 11, 2007
I’ve been planning WEIRD MEDICINE for months now; it all started when Opie put a call out for “Pest Radio” ideas.  He said there would be space on 202 for ideas from the fans, if only they’d come up with a viable idea.  I wrote Steve Carlesi with my idea for a medical show that would appeal to the 202 listeners.  He liked the idea and passed it on to Danny Ross who eventually got us the green light.  I’m not sure if they knew that I’d never been on the radio before.  We picked a date so far in the future I didn’t have to worry much about it–it seemed an infinitely long time away.  As the weeks passed, I started collecting topics I thought people would be interested in: “Swamp Butt”, vasectomy stuff, vaginal hygeine, beer bloat, genital warts and STDs of all kinds and a host of other things.  I picked my friend P.A. John to be my on-air partner and I figured we’d be spending the whole time talking to each other about the various topics we’d collected.  Little did I know the callers would eventually take over the show, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The day finally came for us to leave for NYC and we had to admit it was really going to happen and we had no idea if we’d s*$ the bed.  I figured the show would be a mild success or a total train wreck.  At the very least it would be a weekend to remember.
Our plane was delayed 4 hours; we finally got to the hotel at 2am, blowing our plans for a fun night in the city.  The walkover would come all too soon the next day.

OCTOBER 12th, 2007
We walked down to K-ROCK with the intention of waiting around for the walkover.  We got there so early that I asked the guy at the desk to call up and see if we could come up.  The lovely Renee came down to get us and put us in the green room.  We could hear the boys just down the hall and knew we were in the presence of greatness.  At the break, Op, Ant, Jim and Steve C came down to the green room to say hello.  They did another segment and the show was over.  We did the walkover and then the visit got interesting.

9:00am
I’m sitting on the bleachers outside the studio with several other fans.  I figured at best they’d send Danny out with a microphone and we’d get to plug WEIRD MEDICINE once and then have to leave.  Then Op says something like “next we’ll have Doctor Steve on…if you have any medical problems, give us a call and he’ll answer them.”  All of a sudden I’m crapping myself…I’m supposed to go on air with O&A now?  Live?  WTF?

See, I’ve had this weird anxiety nightmare for about three years now…I’m somehow a guest on O&A or Ron and Fez and I don’t know what I’m doing there…Jimmy’s on vacation or Dave’s out of the studio or something like that and they put me in front of a mike and I’m supposed to banter and be funny and…I make an ass out of myself.  It’s the equivalent of the dream where you go to work and forget to put your pants on and you discover it while you’re in the subway and there’s nothing you can do about it but try to cover up your flaccid genitalia with your newspaper…anyway, it’s like that.  All of a sudden, my nightmare is coming true.  At least if I go down, P.A. John will be there and go down with me.

Of course, I walk into the studio when they call me, and I look back to see where John is, and he’s sitting in the bleachers, a dopey look on his face.  I realize at that moment that I am totally and utterly alone.  My heart is pounding.  “Be funny, be funny, be funny” is my internal mantra, but I remember that I have no idea how to do that.  One of the reasons I love the show is that I’m not funny and I really admire people who are.  I sit down.
First I move my chair around and it makes so much noise that the three of them start laughing and move their chairs around too.  It’s not compelling radio, but the sheer idiocy of it calmed me down.  Op’s first words were “so what’s this stupid radio show of yours about?” which made me laugh out loud.  As soon as I opened my mouth, Op starts making fun of my voice.  Allergies are killing me and it’s about a half-octave lower than usual.  A listener likens my voice to that of Adam West and O&A agree.  Remembering an old Adam West story about him hearing Eartha Kitt’s voice recorded in a NY cab, I shouted “CAAATWOOMMMAAAAAN!” and got my first real laugh on national radio.  We chatted for awhile and it was like sitting around bullshitting with friends I’d known forever (at least it was for me).

A guy called in with a medical problem and we got so sidetracked (and I was such a nervous nelly) that I never answered his question.  I watched in amazement as the show progressed, Op running everything, checking instant feedback, scanning the calls, riding mike levels, keeping the conversation going, watching the monitors and a bunch of other stuff.  Jim and Ant’s minds have this total recall for things in the past and an ability to make bizarre associations that are surprizing and amazingly funny.  It was surreal sitting there talking with them, just four pals talking about ear wax and doctor-office hygeine.  At one point Op said “this may be the first time I actually listen to 202 on a Saturday night”…at that point I would have done anything for the boys.  I was overwhelmed.
Well, “anything” proved to be doing a rectal exam on Pat Duffy.  I could tell the poor guy wasn’t thrilled about it, but “for the sake of my health” he consented.  I tried to get out of it by saying I didn’t have any gloves or lube, but of course they had plenty of both.  They called his girlfriend over from K-ROCK to witness this debacle and when she arrived I mouthed the words “I’m sorry” to her silently…she laughed and waved it off; she’d seen worse.

One rectal exam and a testicular exam later (I believe I used the words “delightfully normal testicles” at one point…what a tool!) the show was over.  I’d survived my first radio appearance.  Anthony came up to me afterward and said “you’ve got chops, my friend”.  I felt like a fraud who would soon be found out, but that’s my nature–pure type A, never satisfied with my own performance.  I was totally blown away by how kind the boys were to me.

This was just the beginning of the weekend, however.  It was to become two days of nothing but high points.
[continued in Part 2]

Weird Medicine Addendum with Doctor Steve

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