Uncle Tad Baker is the founder of The Loon Show in San Francisco which features raw and uncensored performances by audience members; here is a link to the website:
Q: What inspired you to start The Loon Show?
A: The Loon Show was extracted from my comedy show, The Good ‘Ol Fashioned Vaudeville Comedy Show, when I realized that people were more interested in heaving tomatoes at rude, offensive and vulgar performers who really antagonized them, than sitting through one after the next stand-up routine. I saw that allowing people the chance to blow off steam in ways they never experienced before, using politically-incorrect characters, was something new and unique. I realized if I could control the mayhem, that this show would be unlike anything in existence, and I was right.
Q: What is the most offensive thing anyone has ever said or done during the show?
A: Myron the Moron, star of the Loon Show and one of the world’s greatest physical absurdists, decided one evening to drink his own urine from s age. Let me just say that he was successful in doing so, an act which drew disgust and horror from many in the audience, while galvanizing and fascinating his hard-core fan base. That was the most offensive single act I have seen, but every night at the Loon Show, you’re surely to leave having had at least one of your cherished and sacred icons bashed into the tomato muck.
Q: Do participants have to sign a release before they go onstage?
A: Yes, everyone who enters the room is required to sign a release and leave valuables behind them; they’re also searched for weapons, though a good amount of cheaters have been able to sneak frozen tomatoes into the venue through some very creative -and nefarious- methods. The release allows me to capture everyone in the room, which means the entire room, and not just what’s on stage, becomes the show.
Q: Has anyone ever been injured while performing there?
A: Uh, oh yeah. Every night at minimum one of my performers may ‘catch one’ in a sensitive area, especially at the first finale, The Championship of Disgust, when a local gang snuck into the hall and brought with them loads of frozen tomatoes. They became out of control and literally butchered several early performers before we caught on that they had brought in frozen rocks, and then a major fight ensued, my cameraman was knocked unconscious and I was hit several times as well. That was the toughest night of all, and since then, we had all sorts of eruptions and fisticuffs from people who get hit unexpectedly, which is such a shock to you that you can become unhinged, or it’s your friends who become outraged and race to your defense. I have since put in stricter security measures, which have really changed the tenor and allowed for far less violence, but it is still controlled anarchy at every level.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence the show?
A: I am a writer and editor at the Pataphysical Institute of Northern California, where the essence of Classical and pre-Classical Thought is taught and explored theatrically, along with the theories of absurdity. This think-tank of ‘Lunatics with Purpose‘ is an amazing place for people of a truly creative and intellectual bent, and it provides me with ample material from which I may include in my show. There is no other collection of like-minded artists working in the world today that compares.
6. Do you think San Francisco is more PC than other places?
A: I do, yes, and it’s funny, in some very real ways, San Francisco is both the most conservative city in the world, and a place of hypocritically-absurd dichotomies of thought. I love the town, always have, which sells itself on the idea of total artistic and personal freedoms, but they keep a very tight control over what they will allow to be publicly performed and what they won’t. The city has a not-so-overtly defined agenda, and should you fall outside of those very strict limits, you become an enemy and are treated as such, which is just fucking stupidly absurd: shouldn’t ALL THOUGT be allowed to find its expression in such a self-proclaimed ‘liberal and free’ location, rather than only that which conform to its agenda? That smacks of tyranny, not freedom.
Q: What is the general demographic at the show?
A: Early on, lots of freaks and artists and whomever wandered in; as the show grew in popularity, it became a mecca for the middle-class, who longed to see the PC garbage they were enduring being flipped on its back and pummeled. Today, of course, the demographics are almost undefinable, people from every walk of life and every racial and economic description love the show, for it affords everybody the chance to experience that special cathartic release that only comes about at my show. Name me one other that compares.
Q: Who are some of your influences?
A: Oh, there are so many. Of course, with my Classical/pre-Classical background, I must start with Euripides and Aristophanes, and then wind my way up through the ages and acknowledge Chaucer, Boccaccio and, of course, the master, Rabelais, along with the Comedia Del Arte, before landing in France at Alfred Jarry’s door, the real Father of Absurdity as we know it, but there remains one man alone for whom I owe everything, and that is Demetrius Toteras, the 20th Centuries’ greatest experimental theater director and one of its greatest absurdists. This man was a giant, and I, along with the Patatphysical Institute of Northern California, am on the verge of releasing an archived website of his and our derivative works, The School of Absurdity. Should be up and functioning some time in the next few months.
Q: Why is it important to have an anti PC outlet?
A: It’s critical on number of levels, but right now, people are losing the memory of any alternatives to doing it the PC way. Once, not too long ago, this country was all about fostering diversity, and yet, under the aegis of PC Diversity, the Thought Police have now come in to say, “We shall define what is diverse and valid, and that which isn’t”. Diversity now means multi-cultural, non-European, and those elements necessarily must find their way to the front of society, but only only through the strength of their integrity and not simply propped up and dressed finely because some PC-inspired college professor thinks the artwork coming out of Central Africa is on par with what the Greeks did. I believe what is taking place on our campuses, theaters and art galleries is a great lie and deception, belittling and even removing traditional European forms of expression or even to say, “All art is equally good and has the same value.” Uh, no, it does not.
On a personal level, people are feeling increasingly smothered and constricted by the PC Police and the very real and encroaching Police State. They need emotional outlets to express this frustration and they need to be able to focus on the themes and people who represent their frustrations. Yes, it may be frightening and offensive to the PC Police and their defenders, but this is America, where free speech MUST be protected and fostered. If not, what do we really have here?
Q: What annoys you about San Francisco?
I think ultimately it’s this sense of self-righteous hypocrisy that most gets me most; the fervor of what San Francisco will accept and what it won’t just smacks of everything this country was NOT built upon: favoritism, crony-ism, reverse-racism, class warfare. I can’t throw a urinating, aggressive homeless bum off my front porch? I have to allow this and even celebrate it? Where is the logic in blinding our eyes to reality and, at the same breath, proudly telling each other over our expensive designer coffees how liberal and free we are? There must be balance in life, and San Francisco is the most UN-balanced city on the planet, but I know that it will BE balanced one day. for Life has a way of taking things that have tilted too far in one direction, and setting them aright…
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)