“Humor heightens our sense of survival and preserves our sanity.”
– Charles Chaplin

There are few things I enjoy more than getting someone to break out into a great big laugh, especially when that someone is in much need of one.

I recently decided to clean out my attic and get rid of a bunch of junk. It turned out that among all that useless junk was a big cardboard box of cassettes. But these weren't just ordinary cassettes. These ones contained recordings that I will cherish forever. Among them were my father's 1962 aircheck at WNAB in Bridgeport along with his interviews with Phil Rizzutto, Ted Williams and more.

There were also some very old reel-to-reel tapes my father gave to me about 10 years ago. These were reel-to-reel tapes my father's cousin Bob Crane gave to him over 50 years ago. They contain audio of Bob's radio career before he went on to gain world-wide fame landing the role of Colonel Hogan in "Hogan's Heroes".

Now I promise that I will share some of those recordings of my Dad and Bob Crane with you in the next few weeks when Father's Day weekend comes around. But today I want to play you a little something from my pre-radio days.

What you'll hear in the video above is something I made in 1988 when I was about 15 years old. My Dad had given me a cassette of some sound effects from WATR in Waterbury, the radio station he was working at. At that time my friend Chuck and I were always experimenting with both audio and video. Chuck worked at a video store so he had one of those brand new hand-held cameras. Man did we have fun with that.

We also made our own comedy tapes. Chuck's were always hilarious. Mine? Eh. Not so great. But there was one little bit I did about a lunatic dentist and his sad sap of a patient that I distinctly remember getting a belly laugh from my Dad when I played it for him the first time. I called it "The Dentist". Keep in mind that all I had was my home living room for a studio, a cheap boom-box cassette player for equipment, some sound effects dubbed onto a tape and one voice...mine. I was working with a small budget here folks. It was part of an entire comedy album I made called 'Temporarily Insane'.

The very aged cover of my comedy album 'Temporarily Insane' (1988)
The very low-budget cover art for my 'Temporarily Insane' tape (1988)

When I was done with the album I wanted to play it for my Dad and see what he thought. I distinctly remember the moment. We were in his green Volkswagen Beetle heading for his apartment in Waterbury on a Saturday afternoon when I popped the cassette in his car stereo. He got a few giggles here and there but most of it fell flat. Then came "The Dentist". He laughed so hard we almost drove off the road. It's one of those moments I'll never forget. I got my Dad, my hero, to laugh out loud! Yes!!

Fast forward 28 years later. My Dad is now in a nursing home in Waterbury and, as you can imagine, going through a rough time. Every Saturday after I get off the air I visit him. I pull out his laptop and crank some tunes he wants to hear on YouTube: Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, etc. This past Saturday it hit me that I had recently transferred those cassettes to mp3s and saved all of them to my GMail account.

I found "The Dentist", gave my Dad a brief intro to set it up, then played it for him. Sure enough it got the exact same response close to three decades later. He went from being melancholy and glum to where he was just flat-out belly laughing in his bed. I hadn't seen him laugh that hard in a long, long time. After it ended he said, "Now THAT'S funny!" I proceeded to tell him about the first time he heard it back in 1988 and how he laughed just as hard. It was another home-run moment.

P.S. - I must say I'm very proud of my choice of dentist office music in this bit. I mean, c'mon, Rick Astley's "She Wants To Dance With Me"? That's just priceless! :)

You can listen to Eric Senich live on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm on 95.1 FM. You can also listen online by clicking here or by downloading the radioPup app for your mobile device.

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