Radio Theatre For the Masses

Radio Theatre for the Masses
The long-lost last cassette tape of RTM Episode 1 surrounded by contemporary crap that I found in my storage unit such as 1.44 MB floppy disks and headphones the size of hockey pucks. Not pictured: lots of flannel and Duck Boots.

Being cooped up during a pandemic can make you do crazy things. Things like sort through your old storage unit boxes to find the last extant analog copy of an embarrassing old radio show you did 25 years ago, and then digitizing it and uploading to the Internet. Because, reasons. Also because the Internet.

Radio Theatre For the Masses was… a… thing. That happened. It was aired on the University of Richmond’s college radio station WDCE, but in retrospect I can’t remember if someone at WDCE actually asked us to do it or if we just did it and put it on the radio because we could. Possibly just because the on-air booth was never locked and the DJs were frequently absent on smoke breaks. That latter scenario would not surprise me in any way.

I don’t even remember what year we did this. 1994, maybe? 1995? Many of the UR Theatre folks at the time were involved so I can only assume that some form of intimidation or blackmail was employed. I could tell that Robert Zehner was involved when I listened to it again because he had a Macintosh Quadra AV that was the only personal computer that could do actual digital sound editing. I was absurdly jealous because I had a black and white Mac Classic II that had virtual coughing fits trying to run the “Flying Toasters” screensaver from After Dark.

I think it was part of the plan Paul Caputo and I had to somehow get rich and famous by saturating the marginal media outlets of Richmond, Virginia with comedy and somehow assuming that talent bookers for Saturday Night Live were searching the hinterlands like minor league baseball scouts. They were not.

I… I don’t remember why we did this. If you’re reading this, I can only assume that you were sent a link or you have been terribly rickrolled by someone. If you listen to it and recognize your voice, I’m sorry to have involved you. If you listen to this and were not involved, then 1.) I’m sorry you had to listen to it and 2.) I’m still sorry in general. I do still think that “Bryn MacMuffin” and exploding cats were funny, though.

Click below to listen or scroll down for more information about the guilty parties responsible:

Radio Theatre For the Masses, Episode #1, 1994-1995 or whenever?


  1. Intro
  2. Genital Hospital
  3. Drake Croneweather
  4. Celebrity Advice Columnist
  5. Word From Our Sponsor
  6. Artsy-Bohemian Hospital
  7. Painting Made Easy
  8. Mysterious Theatre
  9. RTM Sports Center
  10. Restaurant Sketch
  11. Return to DCE
  12. Philbert Roberts Tobacco
  13. Wacko Mulligan
  14. Conclusion

“Credits” in Alphabetical Order

Julie Amos

Jeffrey Carl

Dan Culbertson

Paul Caputo

Jeff Eastman

Bill Knight

Katie Massa

Bill Rohan

Branden Waugh

Robert Zehner

Tune In, Turn On, Watch “Baywatch”

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, April 12 1996

The Richmond State was a plucky upstart alternative newspaper (not that kind of “alternative”) that challenged the editorial might of the stodgy Richmond Times-Dispatch beginning in 1994. It folded in 1997 and left so little of a legacy that there is a grand total of one search result for it in all of the Googles, which is a link to the Library of Congress where you can find which libraries have copies on microfiche. At the time, Paul Caputo and I thought this was our ticket to comedy stardom. We were exceptionally stupid.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. At least our parents didn’t name us “Pongo” or “Mad.”

Not long ago, in this very “newspaper,” we published a column about the Richmond news media (which, due to typographical errors, included  Channel 8). Like all of our best work, it contained biting political and social commentary, and repeated references to the word “ass.”  The column earned these wacky comments from cheerful WRVA morning personality Tim “Tim” Timberlake:

“It seems we’ve been mentioned here in the … is this a newspaper? Oh, ha ha, how funny. Incidentally, you’ve blown it now, haven’t you, you filth-ridden vermin? Are you listening Jeff and Paul?! WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS, YOU WILL NEVER BE ON THE RADIO IN THIS TOWN FOR AS LONG AS I LIVE! Let’s take a caller.”

Or something.

In fact, this controversial column provoked a flood of similar responses from “many” of our “readers.” 

“Hey,” NewsChannel 6 Anchor Charles Fishburne did not say, “Why don’t you punks write something about cable television and leave us the Hell alone?”

That gave us an idea: “Let’s have PIZZA for dinner again!” But it also gave us another idea:

Jeff and Paul’s Guide to Cable TV

DIVISION I: The Basics

USA Network

Motto:Where Old Canceled Sitcoms Go to Die

Format: Every bad TV show you can think of, plus excellent live theater (“WWF Monday Nite RAW!”)

Best Feature: (tie) 18-hour “Knight Rider” marathons keep derelicts (Paul) off the street./When Judge Wapner bit the head off a live plaintiff on camera.

Worst Feature: When Judge Wapner’s bowels are acting up and he gives people the death sentence.

Trivia Fact: It not only insults your intelligence, but slaps it upside the head, too.

The Weather Channel

Motto: One Step Up From Static!

Format: A wide variety of topical programs concerning important political and social issues, ranging from rainy weather to sunny weather

Best Feature: Vital up-to-the-minute barometric pressure readings from Boise, Idaho.

Worst Feature: Hey! It’s weather! Just look out the window, for God’s sake.

Trivia Fact: Temperatures in the 70s do not actually turn an entire state orange.

BET (Black Entertainment Television)

Motto:When You Just Can’t Get Enough Rap Videos

Format: Surprisingly, rap videos

Best Feature: No danger of seeing “Mama’s Family” at any time

Worst Feature: You won’t believe this, but it gets kinda old after a while.

Trivia Fact: Counterpart channel “NET” (Norwegian Entertainment Television) failed due to lack of rap videos about fjords or people named “Ingemar.”

VH-1 (Video Hits One)

Motto:White Entertainment Television

Format: Imagine Lite 98 with pictures.

Best Feature: (tie) Cool Cheesy ‘80s videos they got out of the attic at MTV/Keeps Mariah Carey off welfare

Worst Feature: Has been known to cause dizziness, stomach cramps and mild comas.

Trivia Fact: Originally intended as a “Baby Boomer” counterpart to the “younger, hipper” MTV, it is now used as an industrial-strength sedative, while MTV is used to entertain mutants and rabid farm animals.

MTV (Music Television)

Motto:Cretin Central

Format: Irritating game shows, cheese-ridden pseudo-dramas, “Beavis and Butthead,” and info-mercials, plus up to three bad music videos per day.

Best Feature: “The Great Cornholio” episode of “Beavis and Butthead”

Worst Feature: Is basically just total crap.

Trivia Fact: If someone identifies himself as an avid MTV watcher, it is socially acceptable to punch him in the face.

The Discovery Channel

Motto:Must-Ignore TV

Format: Alternating footage of sharks eating divers and World War II planes dropping bombs on buildings.

Best Feature: When they drop bombs on sharks.

Worst Feature: Jacques Cousteau thinks he’s so much cooler than everyone else.
Trivia Fact: Come see Jeff in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this weekend at the University of Richmond theater! Mention at the box office that you saw this notice in The Richmond State, and they will punch you in the face.

Trivia Fact II: Sometimes you can see Paul walking around in the background of Channel 12 newsroom live shots.

Trivia Fact III: The fastest land mammal is the cheetah.

Trivia Fact IV: The fattest land mammal is Rush Limbaugh.


Motto:We DARE You to Watch!”

Format: Pulse-pounding, rivetingly incomprehensible legislative session coverage

Best Feature: Wacky skits all the congressmen perform in drag between bills

Worst Feature: They only rarely air old episodes of “What’s Happening.”
Trivia Fact: Dwayne from “What’s Happening” was really kind of a dork.

E! (Entertainment Television)

Motto: (tie) “E!-rritating!” or ”AIIIEEEEE!”

Format: No one really cares.

Best Feature: “Talk Soup” is used as a nationwide indicator of stupidity.

Worst Feature: Howard Stern is just really ugly.
Trivia Fact: The exclamation point in “E!” is pronounced “Prince.”

ESPN (Entertainment Sports Programming Network)

Motto: “CNN With Excess Testosterone

Format: All sports, all the time, except when they show golf

Best Feature: The SportsCenter anchors make having a rotten attitude seem cool.

Worst Feature: Occasionally shows New York Mets games, under the title “The Parade of Shame and Wasted Lives.”
Trivia Fact: In September of 1983, a woman watched ESPN.

ESPN2 “The Deuce”

Motto: If You’re Watching This, You’re Pathetic”

Format: 24-hour coverage of second-rate sports, like “underwater skateboarding,” “beach bowling,” “wheelchair rugby” and “professional ice hockey.”

Best Feature: They’ve got to be hiring.

Worst Feature: Try as we might, we can’t get them to cover our annual Richmond State Whiffle Ball Tournament.
Trivia Fact: No one has ever actually seen ESPN2.

CNN Headline News

Motto: Enough News to Choke a Horse

Format: 24 hours a day – news from Really Ugly People

Best Feature: If you close your eyes and crumple newspapers, you can pretend you’re listening to WRVA.

Worst Feature: Not enough skin.
Trivia Fact: It’s the only news service to run syndicated repeats of old broadcasts.

QVC (Quality Value Convenience) Shopping Network

Motto:Like Shopping, but More Irritating!”

Format: Kind of a cross between the Wheel of Fortune and BLAB TV

Best Feature: It makes you realize there are many worthwhile, valuable things you could do instead of watching TV.

Worst Feature: You’ll watch it anyway.
Trivia Fact: The modern consumer could do 100 percent of his daily shopping from home, provided all he ever needed were Diamanoid rings the size of golf balls and Cubic Zirconia coat hangers.

TBS (Turner Broadcasting System)

Motto: Look, Jane, I own a TV station!”

Format: The Atlanta Braves and other minions of Satan, like “Matlock.”

Best Feature: Jane Fonda used to wear just a leotard to Atlanta Braves games.

Worst Feature: Jane Fonda still wears just a leotard to Atlanta Braves games
Trivia Fact: Paul hates the Braves more than he does any other group of human beings this side of the KKK and the phone company.

DIVISION II: Pay Stations


Motto:Breasts Ahoy!

Format: Breasts

Best Feature: Large breasts

Worst Feature: Small breasts

Trivia Fact: May not be suitable for children under 17 who don’t like breasts.

Trivia Fact II: We’ll be back watching this channel, once our girflfriends refuse to talk to us for a week after reading all these “breast” gags.

HBO (Home Box Office)

Motto: You Were Just Too Lazy to Go to the Video Store, Weren’t You?

Format: Good movies twice a month; “Ernest Goes to Hell” six times a day.

Best Feature: Thank GOD you didn’t pay to see these movies in a theater.

Worst Feature: You’re still paying an extra $5 a month to see these movies on cable.

Trivia Fact: Nobody has understood a single word said on “Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam” in over three years.


Motto: Calling All Idiots!

Format: Movies two months before they show up on HBO, plus specials like (True Fact!) “David Hasselhoff and Friends,” featuring Marla Maples and David singing.

Best Feature: Provides the pleasant illusion of being in a cheap hotel somewhere.

Worst Feature: You may miss that Mike Tyson fight you paid $40 for if you sneeze.

Trivia Fact: “Rosebud” was Citizen Kane’s sled.

© 1996 Puff Carpluto

Sports Preview-ish “Thingy”

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, April 4 1996

The Richmond State was a plucky upstart alternative newspaper (not that kind of “alternative”) that challenged the editorial might of the stodgy Richmond Times-Dispatch beginning in 1994. It folded in 1997 and left so little of a legacy that there is a grand total of one search result for it in all of the Googles, which is a link to the Library of Congress where you can find which libraries have copies on microfiche. At the time, Paul Caputo and I thought this was our ticket to comedy stardom. We were exceptionally stupid.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. We’re throwing out our balls on opening day! Umm … that didn’t sound too good.

If someone asked you about the biggest problems facing the City of Richmond (motto: “No Parking!”), you, being sensible, would say “Men who drink Zima” (motto: “It Zucks!”). But that’s not what we are here to talk about; indeed, you psychos, we’re not “there,” and neither of us is talking.

What we are writing about is the lack of quality sports in this Godforsaken town. The Richmond sports situation is worse than radio station 104.7 “The BUZZ” (motto: “Like Chewing Razors, But You Listen to It”). Why are there no die-hard legions of courageous, yet somehow mentally deficient Richmond fans lining up for tickets in the snow? Most other cities have them. Why aren’t the names of Richmond’s sports teams, whatever they are, a topic of regular discussion among the local hoi-polloi (that’s you)? Sports teams are worshipped in other cities (“Visit the Temple of the Toronto Raptors!”). And it’s no use blaming it all on the fact that recent statistics show that everyone in Richmond has been murdered three times. There’s something wrong here. And it’s all for one simple reason.

What is that reason? 

We have NO damn idea.

We decided to investigate or something. The result: more than 75% of Richmond professional players, coaches and managers we interviewed believed that The Richmond State was either “just west of North Carolina” or “a kind of fish.” 

For those of you who are exceptionally stupid or work for TV news or both, Richmond has no major-league professional sports team. What we do have, idiots, are minor-league teams, which, if you have been to an actual city, you know is like being 39 cents shy of the proverbial Value Meal, if you know what we mean. If you do know what we mean, please write to us and explain it, c/o this newspaper.

To this end, we, Jeff and Paul (motto: “Not Funny!”), recently attended the Richmond Braves’ “Media” Day. (They make us put “media” in quotes because Channel 8 has passes, too.) We then left after we realized that there was no free food.

Now, while baseball is the greatest facet of American culture this side of “V: The Final Battle” or reruns of “Schoolhouse Rock” and, in Richmond, it is the closest thing we have to major league sports (The Renegades don’t count because they play hockey.) (C’mon. Hockey?), our first real exposure to the world of sports in Richmond revealed a disturbing fact: That “Ukrops” spelled backwards is the satanic riddle “Spork! U?” 

No! That’s not it. What we discovered was this: We still haven’t seen those free baseball caps NewsChannel 6 said they were mailing us. No! Dammit! That’s not it either. What we actually discovered was this: that all our minor-league teams are actually kinda pretty good. To wit:

The Richmond Braves: Go R-Braves! Woooo Hoo! The “R-Braves,” as they are called,(to distinguish them from the “Their-Braves,”) are Richmond’s number one sports team, since they are first alphabetically. The Braves are also our favorite Richmond sports team and not just because we have season press passes. No way. It’s because we have season press passes and free parking passes. This, in our opinions, makes the R-Braves the GREATEST THING EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE.

The Braves have won every single game they have ever played over the course of their 30-year history, with the unfortunate exception of several hundred games that they lost because the umpires were Nun-abusing Homosexual Communists and almost certainly had serious personal hygiene problems.

While we were at the Braves’ media day last week, we interviewed cumulatively almost one person each, who filled us in on some important information we will need to cover the Braves this year:

PAUL: So, um, do you guys like baseball? You know?

TALL GUY WITH A NUMBER ON HIS SHIRT: Hey! You write for The Richmond State? Is Pongo Twistleton here?

Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice:

JEFF: I thought there was going to be free food here.


Coincidentally, you can find weekly coverage of the Braves (True Fact!) every Thursday this summer right here in the State.

Richmond Kickers: Okay. These are grown men playing soccer. Frankly, it looks ridiculous. 

The Kickers, whose name derives from the latin, kickvs, meaning “guys who can run a lot” and er, meaning “but can’t catch worth a dead rat’s ass,” are one of Richmond’s most successful teams, in that they have won a lot of championships. Of course, in whatever the Hell league it is they play in, every time you win a game, you apparently win a championship. Last year the Kickers won their league championship, the Professional League Championship, the Tournament of Champions Championship and “Final Jeopardy,” all in one game. By the end of the season, they had won the Virginia Cup, the Newberry and Caldecott Awards, the Nobel Prize, and two of them were named “Miss America.” 

We look forward this season to the Kickers to win six Pulitzers, an Academy Award for “Best Foreign Documentary,” and the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.

Richmond Renegades: Those of you who follow our column on a regular basis should remember this number: 1-900-GET-HELP. Also, you should remember the column we wrote about our visit to “The Freezer” several weeks ago for a Renegades game. Incidentally, we take this opportunity to point out that the wounds are healing nicely, and 

Paul is getting used to not having a nose anymore. We would like to ask that whichever exuberant fan ate Jeff’s car’s bumper to please return it.

If you missed our Renegades column, you can find back issues of the State in your local Christian Science Reading Room, or gutter.

Virginia Commonwealth University: The VCU “Rams” (motto: “Our athletes aren’t nearly as freakish as the rest of our students!”) fielded an excellent basketball team this year. Which was a shame because you don’t play basketball on a field.

VUU/VSU: Both of these schools actually exist, we’re told. At any rate, their sports teams can’t be nearly as bad as the University of Richmond’s.

University of Richmond: U of R’s big sports teams, contrary to popular belief, aren’t half bad this year. 

They’re ALL bad. The UR basketball team (motto: “We may lose badly, but we have a beautiful 300-acre wooded campus with a scenic lake and tranquil atmosphere!”) finished its 1995-96 season with a record of 3-271, placing it last in the CAA, and two rankings below the Goochland Girls Scouts.

U of R proudly boasts several talented athletes, all of whom transferred just last week, leaving the school with only (True Fact!) a nationally ranked Synchronized Swimming Team, a gaggle of male cheerleaders (“The Spiderettes”) and a very masculine campus newspaper intramural “Hardyball” team.

The U of R football team has a long, fine tradition of running up the middle and getting sacked for six-yard losses. That’s it.

U of R, it turns out, is actually the only purveyor of sports in the city that does suck.

Perhaps that’s what is missing. Part of the reason, say, Chicago’s sports fans are so dedicated is the knowledge that they can share the Cubs getting pummeled by visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses softball teams with their children, and their grandchildren. So we need teams that suck …. etc.

The Richmond Valued Customers (NFL): Owned by Ukrop’s, (motto: “Jesus Wants You to Buy This Cole Slaw”) the RVCs would have attractive green uniforms, refuse to play games on Sunday afternoons because they should all be at their “house of worship,” and try to get other teams to move out of cities where Howard Stern is broadcast. Their secret weapon would be to scatter delicious Ukrop’s Potato Wedges™ all over the field as decoys.

General Disassembly, Part Two

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, January 25 1996

We faced the critical issue – covered up by the “mainstream” media, we still think – that THERE IS NAKED BOOTY ON THE VIRGINIA STATE SEAL. Although our understanding of the term “booty” was limited at the time and depending on how you look at it may have been inaccurate. That would still be very “on brand” for us, though, so whatever.

Hi.  We are Jeff and Paul. We have walked in the Halls of Power, stood on the Steps of Greatness, scuffed our feet on the Carpet of Destiny, and we were bored to tears.

Last week, we examined (“made fun of”) the Big Issues facing the General Assembly this term.  This week, we actually went there to see them in “action.”  We found that it was around about as much fun as pounding sand with your forehead.  This is how it went:

To get to the State Capitol, we walked up a series of terraced steps (identified by a sign that said “Terraced Steps”) that were designed perfectly for the rythmic walking pleasure of every Virginian who is either three or nine feet tall. Inside the Capitol, which Thomas Jefferson built with a Colonial Style Lego™ Set when he was eight years old, there were countless statues of Virginian heroes, ranging from Jefferson “Highway” Davis to John Marshall (famous for being History’s Ugliest Person, Ever) to one we think was Orville Reddenbacher, who was no bathing beauty himself. 

The Capitol is elegant, from the tasteful bland carpeting to the stately statues of Famous Dead Guys™, whose expressions made it seem as if constipation had been mandatory until the 20th century. The Official Seal of Virginia was embossed everywhere, including Dick Cranwell’s forehead. We noticed upon close inspection that the woman depicted on the Seal has her toga open.  We don’t wish to alarm you, but THERE IS NAKED BOOTY ON THE STATE SEAL. We predict that within months, this grossly immoral influence will lead to teenage pregnancy, “Juggs” magazine becoming a school textbook, and heretofore good citizens taking drugs, dressing up like clowns and eating main courses with the salad fork.  

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

After minutes of sightseeing (“being lost”), we walked upstairs to the State Senate’s gallery, and sat down in a section marked “Press.” We were ejected when the doorkeeper, whose job it is to hate people, told us that we had to be from a  real newspaper to sit there. In fact, when we said we were from The Richmond State, she gave us a look like we had said “the Slothburg (Wisconsin) Times-Hernia” or “USA Today.”  So we sat in the section marked “Regular Schmucks,” which was crowded with spectators, excitedly blinking and twitching.

From the spectators’ balcony we could see the whole room, majestic yet very frumpy.  The Speaker is seated atop a raised platform, flanked by three or four billion clerks, hurriedly filing Important Documents (“Bill 867.5309: To make Shrimp Newberg the state’s official Zesty Seafood Dish”). 

The scene on the floor was just as we had imagined, except that there were no naked dancing girls and the senators did not wear togas. Actually, the Senate comprised entirely old white guys, some of whom were very lifelike.  Lieutenant Governor Don “King” Beyer, acting as Speaker, efficiently conducted the proceedings, speaking at such a rapid-fire pace that: 1.) we couldn’t understand what was going on (good), and 2.) we thought we had accidentally wandered into a mannequin auction (bad).  In fact, Paul went to scratch his nose and accidentally bought Fairfax County.

The edges of the room were ringed with Senate pages, ranging in age from ten to ten-and-a-half, trying hard not to pick their noses in front of daddy’s friends. Occasionally, a group of them would go off to  review legislation or play “Spin the Bottle.”  Most of the time, though, the pages  waited to take lunch orders of Chinese food and live rodents for the legislators, who were busy discussing (True Fact!) lighting regulations while trying to brush hair onto their bald spots.

The GA had a full day ahead of it: the Senate calendar for the day was several bajillion pages long, filled completely with abstracts of bills that looked like this:

S.B. 193.6 A BILL to amend § 9-6.141 of the Code of Virginia, relating to Improper pH Balances in Fish Tanks.

Patrons – McGargle and Fishbein

Reported from Committee to Help the Little Fishies with amendments (14-Y, 0-N, 3-D — You Sunk My Battleship)

Amendments adopted by Senate January 16, 3 -5 p.m. BYOB


1. Page 4, line 11, after 7B:




                        Death Penalty

2. Page 4, line 19, I before E except after C:





YEAS — Colgan, Saslaw, The Pointer Sisters, Your Mom, Fishburne —7

NAYS — 0

ABSTENTIONS — That Creepy Guy in the Back — 1

Committee Vote: 16Y, 42N, UFO 54-40

Cubs 16W 48L 35GB

20 If A$=“Oatmeal” then goto 40

Neutral-Chaotic Magic User, +20 HP, AC -7

Do Not Back Up; Serious Tire Damage Will Occur

Soylent Green is made from people

…and so on.

We ran into a Well-Known Richmond News Correspondent, who was busy interviewing a senator about a bill on (True Fact!) whether Virginia should require warning labels on marriage licenses (“Warning: Do Not Marry Roseanne Barr.”)  After greeting him in the manner of the Secret Brotherhood of Newsguys, (Password: “Why do you all have a liberal bias?”  Countersign: “Because we’re all poor.”) we asked him where to find something interesting to write about.  He suggested a certain financial committee wherein “pimply-faced Allen appointees” were regularly grilled by committee members, then served over rice in a light wine sauce.  

We sat in on the meeting that afternoon, and took our seats expecting a knock-down, drag-out Legislative Tag-Team Grudge Match.  What we got was an old guy with no pimples who began droning on interminably about how money was good, or something.  The committee members nodded politely and sank into deep comas.

The old guy talked for a while, then began to liven up.  He began using sweeping arm gestures and ringing, lyrical phrases to describe Phased Capital Investment.  Then he leapt onto the podium and started a musical number, describing Leveraged Interest Rates to the tune of “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”  The delegates behind him formed a kickline, using some sizzlingly daring modern jazz choreography; and the number ended with a scantily-clad lady stenographer lowered from the ceiling on a trapeze, juggling chainsaws.

Sorry, that was the dream Jeff had when he fell asleep.  Actually what happened was Paul woke Jeff up and we left in the middle to get Chinese food.

After lunch, we paid a visit to the House of Delegates, the busy schedule of which included extending Official Stately Commendations to (True Fact!) the Stonewall Jackson High School Golf Team, (Yet Another True Fact!) the American Automobile Association of Tidewater and (We Couldn’t Make This Up!) the Haunted Crack House, Inc.  In fact, the only three people in the state who weren’t commended for something were Jeff, Paul, and you.  But check tomorrow’s schedule; you may get lucky.  There was also a long list of Memorial Resolutions: so many, in fact, that the schedule read like the Times-Dispatch Obituary Section, except better written. 

The business of governing a state is a very dull thing: amending the Endangered Dirt Protection Act, appointing Junior Assistant Vice-Undersecretaries of Irritating Lottery Radio Commercials, and saying “Kudos!” to the field hockey team from the Hampton School for Abnormally-Masculine Girls. If we have learned one thing from this column, and we’re pretty sure we didn’t, it’s the same lesson that’s taught in an old story you’ve probably heard.  One day, a father decides his son should learn how to fish.  So they went on a trip to the woods, where they were devoured by rabid ferrets.  Actually, we’re not sure what the Hell that means.

Maybe it’s this: politics is not all fast cars and fast women. In fact, it’s more like ‘53 DeSotos and Bea Arthur.

Better them than us.

General Disassembly, Part One

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, January 21 1996

At the time, the Virginia General Assembly was looking for a new state song to replace its old one, (which was, according to Paul, “Skull-crunchingly offensive and racist,”) the classic Civil War-era tune “Let’s Subjugate the Non-Whites.” This was the first part of our hard-hitting look at what the General Assembly actually does, which was “not much.” Paul and I presented our suggested replacement, which I think unfairly lost because it didn’t have music and we never officially submitted it.

Hi. We are Jeff and Paul, as enforcable by article 7-D, section 423 of the Virginia State Code.

We all know that there are certain places downtown that decent people just don’t go to at night.  Like the General Assembly.

Virginia’s General Assembly is back in “action.”  Each day, our wacky legislative pals perform that miraculous process (Photosynthesis?  We’re not sure.) whereby a Bill is suggested, sings to children on the courthouse steps, then Becomes a Law.  At least that’s the way it worked on “Schoolhouse Rock.”

But what do we really know about our state legislature?  What do they do all day?  And why does it cost so much?  Raise your hand if you can name more than two people in the General Assembly.  Any guesses?  No, “Catfish Hunter” was a relief pitcher for the Yankees.  Can anybody do it?  Does anybody want to?

Well,we don’t know anybody in the GA either. You could have named “I. P. Freely” and “Oliver Closeoff” and we wouldn’t have been able to correct you.  But the point remains that we simply need to know more about our state legislature.  As Thomas Jefferson probably said, “Ignorance of one’s legislature threatens democracy, and causes nausea and swollen lymph nodes in some cases.”

Well, fortunately for you – and your lymph nodes – we, Jeff and Paul, intrepid reporters, non-award-winning columnists and congenital smart-asses, are here to find out about the legislature, so you don’t have to.  This saves you, the reader, valuable Intellectual Effort points which can be redeemed at the end of the show for valuable prizes and little ceramic gnome statues. 

So this is the nub of our gist, if we’re allowed to use that expression in a family newspaper: this column is the first of a two-part investigative series on the Virginia General Assembly.  In the first part (“Part One”), we review the vital matters currently facing the GA.  In the second part (“The Second Part”), we will actually spend a day at the legislature, and presumably live to tell the tale.

There are many important and extremely serious issues facing the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is why the GA spends more than nine months out of every year arguing about what the Official State Song should be.

The current State Song , “God Bless White People” (or something like that) is seen by some as being somewhat “out of date,” or perhaps even “skull-crunchingly offensive and racist.” The more neutral proposed replacement, “O Virginia, Home of Many Kinds of Trees and Shrubs,” has actually bored several legislators to death. We think this recommends the song highly.  But the rest of us might eventually have to hear it, which would be bad.  Take as evidence the following lyrics from the song’s second verse (but don’t take them if you’re operating heavy machinery):

            “O state of ours, you are also in grass quite wealthy/

            Some of which is crab grass, which you should pull/

            To keep your lawn’s root structures healthy/

            And O dear Virginia keep thy weed-sprayer full.”

With only these two possibilities from which to choose, it’s no wonder that the General Assembly always is forced to put aside the serious issues (1. Who am I taking to the Legislative Prom? and 2. What would a grade school teacher do with more than $8,000 a year?) to discuss The State Song.

In lieu of our original plan (offering the Buttsteak song “Lint-Lover’s Pizza” as an alternative), we decided to write our own State Song. We did this and were very proud of our achievement until someone told us that the tune we used was exactly the same as the J. Geils Band’s “Hot Cross Buns.”  Also, the lyrics were all stolen from the theme song to “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

We made a list of all the things we think make Virginia great (or that would at least sound good in a song). The list we came up with (1. There are lots of mountains in it, and 2. It’s not New Jersey.) didn’t have enough rhyming words in it, so we decided to leave it and  come back to it.

Among the important issues facing the GA are (True Fact!) whether to allow judges to carry concealed weapons, whether to raise the legal driving age from 16 to 17 (Also A True Fact!), whether to raise the highway speed limit from 65 miles per hour to 70 (Still True!), and whether Keanu Reeves should be named the Official State Fruit (True In An Absract Sort of Way!). A recent NewsChannel 6 poll about these issues revealed that most Richmonders were watching another station.

Of course, the idea of allowing judges to carried concealed weapons is perfectly logical. It worked really well in “Judge Dredd.”  Judges constantly have to worry about the seedy unscrupulous types who frequent their court rooms every day. Also, they deal with a lot of criminals.

            LAWYER: Your honor, I object!

            JUDGE: Would counsel please approach the bench?

            LAWYER: Yes, your honor?

            JUDGE: Object to this, scumball!  BLAM! BLAM!

            The resulting increase in dead lawyers could be offset by importing leeches from swamps in Florida.

            The most intriguing possibilities facing the GA are the ones concerning driving. Apparently, the state legislature figures that since more than half of the people in state have figured out that you shouldn’t drive in reverse in the left lane on highways, and that “Yield” does not actually mean “Slam on your brakes!  Do it now!!!,” Virginians should be allowed more automotive freedom.

            While this seems fine at first glance, you should keep in mind that Virginians are the same people who thought that the best way to handle the road conditions during the Blizzard of ‘96 was to park their cars on top of each other sideways in the middle of Broad Street, and call Channel 12 for a ride to the grocery store.

Incidentally, we are in favor of raising the speed limit to 70, although we would also recommend introducing the Death Penalty for people who drive too slow.

We decided to incorporate all of this into our proposed state song.  Why?  We’re still not sure.  At any rate, here it is:

“Virginia: First In Our Hearts, But Fifth To Last in the Alphabet.”

(sung to the tune of “The Addams Family”)

            The ham is in the kitchen/

            The R-Braves, they are pitchin’/

            Virginia, you are bitchin’/

            And this is your state song.

            The judges, they are packin’/

            The murder rate is slackin’/

            The legislature’s backin’/

            Virginia’s new state song!

            Da da da dum (snap snap)

            Great folks!

            Da da da dum (snap snap)

            Phillip Morris smokes!

            Da da da dum, da da da dum! snap snap)

            No joke!

            O “Yield” does not mean stoppin’/

            Speed limits, they ain’t droppin’/

            At Ukrop’s we are shoppin’/

            Virginia really rules!

We’re trying to put a band together to record this song, so if you’re interested and you don’t play the accordion, contact us c/o The State.  We’d like to make a demo tape for the legislature.  We’re confident that, with a little luck, it will top the charts in Belgium.


©1996 Puff Carpluto

Mudslinging with a Catapult

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

The Richmond State, or at least the closest I could find to it
The Richmond State, January 4 1996

With Richmond mayoral elections coming up, we threw our hat in the ring. Even though we both voted, we only received one vote. I suspect it was Paul. Anyway, the column was still pretty funny albeit littered with ultra-topical humor that has aged like room-temperature milk.

Hi.  We are Jeff and Paul.  As they say, life in politics is Hell.  As we say, so is watching “Mama’s Family.”

When we, Jeff Carl and Paul Caputo, announced that we were running for mayor (as the composite candidate “Puff Carpluto”), we promised to take on the Tough Issues.  Of course, we thought the Tough Issues were “Should I ‘Super-Size’ that Value Meal™ or not?” and “Should Keanu Reeves be executed immediately, or be tortured first?  You know?”

Well, it turns out that there really are Tough Issues, like how a great place like Taco Bell could produce something as putrescently vile as “Pintos and Cheese” – and, of course, the matter of Dirty Politics. It is a sad fact that political campaigns are sometimes waged with a ferocity normally reserved for Nuclear War and Fast-Pitch Softball.  It’s ugly, but it can’t be ignored, just like Roseanne.

We have discovered that our only competing candidate, Richmond Mayor Leonidas Young, has engaged in a sinister plot to be totally unaware of our existence.  It’s underhanded dealing like this that really gets our dander up, whatever that means.  We wanted to run a nice, clean campaign – one where each candidate would be judged on his/her/their merits, like their ability to play Whiffle Ball.  But NOOOOOOO.  Well, “Reverend”  “Leonidas” Young – if that is your real name – have it your way.  The gloves are off, and this time the hand is on the other foot, Mr. Mayor-Type Person.

Through our investigave journalism techniques (watching “Seinfeld” and drinking Mountain Dew until our eyeballs explode), we have discovered a copy of the script for Oliver Stone’s next movie. (Somebody wrapped a rock around it and threw it through Paul’s car windshield.)  Stone, as you may know unless you’re from Outer Space, or possibly Canada, is famous for controversial films (such as “JFK,” which revealed that Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA, Fidel Castro and “Barney the Dinosaur;” and “Nixon,” which revealed that Nixon was a “jerk.”)  Stone’s next target is the sordid and sinister career of RICHMOND’S OWN LEONIDAS YOUNG. Wow, right?!  You know?

So, anyway, here are highlights from the upcoming movie:


an Oliver Stone film

brought to you by Jiffy Lube, National Public Radio, Girl Scout Troop #327, and the letter “Q”

The movie begins with young candidate Leonidas Young (played by James Earl Jones) accepting campaign contributions from a shadowy representative of a “big, out-of-town company” that wants to “build a major facility” in the Richmond “area.”  Reporters discover that the representative is Darth Vader (also played by James Earl Jones).  His plans to build a third “Death Star,” just north of Chippenham Parkway, are scrapped when he proposes a new Toll Road to access it.

Threatened by a news story revealing his shadowy years as a “Foxy Boxing” promoter, Young blackmails NewsChannel 6 anchor Charles Fishburne (David Hasselhoff), threatening to reveal that Fishburne is actually a Muppet. Young (J. Earle Dunford) blackmails the other major stations as well (threatening to reveal Lisa Schaffner’s role in the movie “Prison Girls, Part 7” and Gene Cox’s days as a  KGB telemarketer). Fox-35 gets the story but boldly decides to “bump” it for a story about a surfing nun who is a “close personal friend” of several Space Aliens (Prince).

Newly-elected Mayor Young (Scorpio) plots against a political rival (Steve Guttenberg), and strikes a deal with members of an underworld “family” (the Pointer Sisters) known only as “Allen, Allen, Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen.”  The next day, his political opponent is speaking at a rally when an unknown assailant in the crowd brutally sues him.  

The mayor’s popularity surges when he announces his plans to change Richmond’s motto from “Richmond: Gunshot Flesh Wound Capital of the World” to “Richmond: Many of Us are Still Alive,” and hires Police Chief Jerry Oliver (Wesley Snipes) to improve the city’s crime rate (Jimmy “J.J.” Walker). At a year-end press conference, he gloats over the mere 118 murders (TRUE FACT! That’s only one every three days!) in the city in 1995.

“Hey,” he says, “That’s pretty damn good, especially compared to other large cities, like Sarajevo.”

Young’s popularity peaks when Richmond sculptor Paul “But is it Art?” DiPasquale (Joe Pesci) presents plans for a sculpture of  Young (see page 137) to be placed on Monument Avenue. Young is pictured holding a tennis racket, riding on a horse (John Goodman), and, inexplicably, eating a Pop-Tart (Madonna) (Get it?  It’s witty.  “Pop” … “Tart?”  Aw, Hell with it.)  But his empire soon begins to crumble.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editor Ross McKenzie (Satan) attacks the statue (Kevin Costner) in the paper’s editorial, saying, “Maybe we could have a special place for statues of black people … like someone’s basement. Furthermore, Bill Clinton is fat.”

Young tries to pressure the Times-Dispatch (Steven Seagal), threatening to reveal all those calls they made to the “George Allen Fantasy Chat Line.”  For a time, it appears to work: two Times-Dispatch reporters (Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman) investigating Young’s story mysteriously decide to quit their jobs, saying that their newspaper is “a pile of crap.”  Actually, that’s not mysterious at all.  Two Style Weekly reporters (Pauly Shore and ALF) investigating the same story are stonewalled, because nobody will believe they work for a real newspaper.

Days later, as Young (BA ‘67, MBA ‘74) is leaving church, TV news reporter Biff McNamara (Patrick Swayze) rushes up to the mayor, claiming to have have uncovered the shocking secret that he “was getting some serious ‘second-base action’ with former U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick (Gary Coleman).”  Young (4 Grammy Nominations), cool under fire, escapes the veteran reporter by pointing behind him and shouting, “Wow! Isn’t that ‘Sir Woofs-a-Lot,’ the talking dog?” and running away.  The reporter is discovered several days later in the same place, asking passersby if they have seen a talking dog, and then getting punched.

Young is disturbed that reporters have found the ugly secret truth (Roseanne, see above).  But who is the “leak” on the inside? 

We don’t want to ruin the movie for you, but since it doesn’t actually exist (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson), why not? The leak turns out to be the Pope, who is involved with a conspiracy implicating the Cubans (Paul Rodriguez and Manny Mota), Gerald Ford (Chevy Chase) and most of the 1973 Philadelphia Flyers. 

In the most dramatic moment in any movie ever – except maybe the shower scene from “Stripes” – Young (Neutral-Chaotic Magic User, +20 HP) holds a press conference, blaming his problems on “cholesterol addiction.” He resigns,and travels the country,getting paid Two Bajillion dollars an hour to speak at graduations and Bar Mitzvahs.

Now you know the real story, except for most of it, which was “totally false.”  Furthermore, if Young can come up with anything more outlandish about us, we promise not to deny it.  Now that’s fair politics.

© 1996 Puff Carpluto

Hey! Check out Jeff and Paul (Waldorf and Statler) on the Internet at