prank calls

REVIEW: The Jerky Boys – Sol’s Rusty Trombone (2007)

Part 3 of a 3 part series on prank call CDs, dedicated to my buddy Peter!

Part 1: The Jerky Boys – The Jerky Boys
Part 2: Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar

TJBSRTTHE JERKY BOYS – Sol’s Rusty Trombone (2007

As stated in my review of the first Jerky Boys album, I have a fairly long history with these guys as a fan. Through thick and thin I stocked their CDs in-store, as their albums steadily got less and less funny. On this, their seventh (!) CD, which they had the gall to ask $10 for, they have completely given up. They’re not even trying anymore. How hard is it to put together a full album of prank calls?

My beefs with this CD are three:

1. This CD is billed as “The Jerky Boys”, but “The Jerky Boys” is in fact only one Jerky Boy now. This is essentially just Johnny Brennan. Kamal and all his characters are long gone.

2. There are only six prank calls contained here. Six. The rest of the album is padded out by useless ring tones and voicemails, all in the 10-20 second range. “Boy, I sure do want a CD of ring tones and voicemails from Johnny B of the Jerky Boys, I’ll pay $10 for it!”  Said nobody ever.

3. Even with all that padding, 98 tracks total, this CD is only 36 minutes long.  Perhaps that’s a blessing.

Buyer beware.

0/5 stars

REVIEW: Bum Bar Bastards – Tube Bar

Part 2 of a 3 part series on prank call CDs.  Dedicated to my best bud Peter.

Part 1: The Jerky Boys – The Jerky Boys


BUM BAR BASTARDS – Tube Bar (1993 Detonator)

Once again, my friend buddy Peter is to blame. He somehow got a hold of some of these prank calls on cassette back in the 90’s. One afternoon, I was hanging out at his place.  We were listening to comedy tapes, as we often did.  He hit play, and we spent the next half hour or so listening to two guys calling up the “Tube Bar” in New Jersey purely to antagonize the owner, Red Deutsch. A former heavyweight boxer, Red was a foul fountain of obscenity simply unheard of before on this Earth. He strung together swear words in ways novel and horrific, in that gravelly voice that sounded like he spent his mornings gargling glass.

The prank calls were all real. The tape became legendary, and somehow found its way into the hands of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. You know when Bart phones up Moe with those hilarious crank calls? And then Moe loses it and threatens to do nasty things to Bart? That’s all based on Red and the Bum Bar Bastards.

For example, the perpetrators call the Tube Bar looking for people such as Stu. Stu Pitt. Red calls out the name, not realizing what it sounds like, until it is too late. Upon realizing he’s been pranked again, he launches into a tirade that would strip paint.  Threatening life and limb, Red knows no limits.  I don’t know how they found this guy, but you can’t imagine a better victim. As Red begins to catch on to the prank callers (over what I assume is several weeks to months of harassment) the threats become more elaborate. To some, this is a cult classic.   I wouldn’t say that myself, but Red does make me laugh.  There’s not much difference between this and some of the crazy stuff you see on Youtube these days.

The CD consists of 6 tracks. Tracks 1 and 6 are all Red, the rest of the CD is padded out with bizarre toilet flushing sounds, songs, and prank calls to other people. This is all just filler. The CD is worth listening to only for Red; the rest is mostly unfunny. Choose your pricing accordingly.

2.5/5 stars

REVIEW: The Jerky Boys – The Jerky Boys (1993)

Part 1 of a 3 part series on comedy CDs – specifically, prank call albums!  Dedicated to my best bud, Peter.

THE JERKY BOYS – The Jerky Boys (1993 Select)

When this album came out back in 1993, it wasn’t available in Canada yet. Somehow, my best friend Peter caught wind of it. I think he read about the Jerky Boys in the Toronto Sun. Regardless, he knew it was available in the US. With a trip already planned for Frankenmuth, Michigan in April of ’93 (right after final exams), Peter and I made the trip with a secondary mission: acquire a copy of The Jerky Boys.  On cassette, so we could listen to it on the way back home.

Mission accomplished. We listened to that tape (I upgraded to CD later on) non-stop in the van. Literally, non-stop. As in, flip the tape, start over. And then do it again. The whole time there, and the whole way home. Within days we had started calling people “jerky” and incorporated words like “sizzlechest” into our daily vernacular.

That was a long time ago and Peter and I are older (and wiser?) now. But we both still like that first Jerky Boys album. I guess it’s because when I was a kid, I used to prank call people all the time. That was the 1980’s and well before caller ID. If we only could have mastered our craft, maybe we would have been like the Jerky Boys! If only we knew you could have made money doing this!

Anyway, long story short, this CD is for people with immature senses of humour, like me. It’s all prank phone calls, all real, mostly hilarious. There are several “characters” (played by Johnny Brennan and Kamal) who perform the calls. Most of the time, they’re responding to ads in newspapers.  Businesses abused by the Jerky Boys include lawyers, doctors and car dealerships.  Highlights for Peter and I were:

* “Auto Mechanic” – This was our favourite.  Johnny B is looking for a job, because at his old job he had problems with his “fucking boss”.

* “Egyptian Magician” – Kamal calls up a nightclub to audition his magic act. His magic tricks include “stabbing customer in eye with sabre” and “sicking a mountain cat on the crowd.”  (He is advised not to bring the mountain cat for his first show.)

* “Car Salesman” – He can sell anything, but don’t ask him why he wants to commute that distance. That’s his business, jerky!

* “Sushi Chef” – The caller repeatedly punctuates his sentences with the unintelligible words “Unnn gahhhh!” much to the confusion of the sushi restaurant.

* “Dental Malpractice” – I’m sure the receptionist answering the phone at this office knew it was a prank, but she doesn’t let on.

* “Sol’s Glasses” – The character of Sol can’t see goddammit, and wants new glasses. One problem – he’s not on file. He manages to keep them on the call for 3 minutes without cracking up!

Of the 21 tracks of obscene, juvenile humour, most of these are winners.  Even though I’m supposed to be a grown man, I still laughed upon hearing “The Home Wrecker”.  “Jocko Johnson” has split up with his wife and he wants to hire someone to tear her goddamn house down!  I still find it amazing that people didn’t just hang up, proving there’s a fool born every minute.  Same with “Super Across the Way”.  As soon as somebody says, “Look jerky, I don’t need to talk to you!” I would be hanging up!  But in New York (where the Jerky Boys are from) perhaps that’s just not the way.

Most tracks are from 1-3 minutes in length, and have a respectable laugh-per-minute ratio.

4/5 stars