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Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers

79 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 4, 2001
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Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers + How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All + I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus
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Editorial Reviews


Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 4, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • ASIN: B003W77SHG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,942 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Newt X on September 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The magic that was and is the Firesign Theatre really came into its own in a very public way with this, their third studio production. Now that it's available on CD for the first time since 1987, perhaps the time has come for a new generation of humor potential.
"Don't Crush That Dwarf" is unusual for comedy, in that, rather than focusing on live monologues or studio gags, it's a unified concept album that encompasses the full space of an album (both sides of the original vinyl) and comes together more like a novel than a joke. The story that unifies the piece features George Leroy Tirebiter, who is handed some food physically THROUGH his TV and finds himself involved in an unfolding story of a life in hell.
Fans disagree on what the story means. Firesign aficionado Fred Wiebel insists Tirebiter has sold his soul to the media and now has to live a life of constant sellouts just to keep his head up. Others have suggested that Tirebiter is watching his own wasted life flash before his eyes, or that Tirebiter is an old actor who has to watch his painful old movies time and again. Not surprisingly, the boys themselves have remained largely silent on the issue.
The album features a non-linear story in which we observe our hero as an idealistic youth, an embittered soldier, a middle-aged bachelor, and an old recluse, all out of sequence. The chosen format allows us to see how each part of his past plays into his current identity. More than mere comedy, this album becomes an incisive examination of what makes a human being, and what damns him in the end.
But don't take this to mean the album isn't funny. Its deadpan delivery and biting wit give it a depth and breadth of humor unmatched in most of modern comedy.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By J. Deon on January 22, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The closest analogy I can think of with listening to Firesign Theatre is catching a radio broadcast from a parallel universe. Their weird, layered tales of sound and fury project the feeling of being allowed a glimpse into another world, another culture, a warped version of our own with people that operate under alien logic and a completely different perception. This is a world where everything is normal to the inhabitants but foreign and nearly incomprehensible to an external eavesdropper - sort of like a shipwrecked Englishman trying to comprehend the language and rituals of the tribesmen on the south pacific island he's been stranded on.
Firesign Theatre often goes beyond simple satire or parody and into a state difficult to define. A brilliantly constructed alternate reality is the best way I can describe it. And it is brilliant. The universe may be stranger than we CAN imagine, but if anyone can imagine that strangeness, it's the people behind Don't Crush that Dwarf - thinking this original doesn't need any revelatory insights into the human condition attached to it - though you may stumble upon a few anyway. Don't listen to this while attempting to derive philosophical truths on a level of profundity equal with Shakespeare's plays. Just sit back and enjoy the mind-bending ride. This stuff is better than acid.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 29, 2004
Format: Audio CD
A few millenia ago, when I was a college freshman, my roommate would mumble to himself something about "Eat it Raw....Raw, raw, raw, that's the spirits..." Then, later in that year, I heard this album, then an LP. It caught me instantly. So I got all the other Firesign albums, thinking they'd gone a little downhill with "We're All Bozos..." which I also now have on CD...
(Just an aside: a comedy act that followed Firesign Theatre consisted of two guys with their constant adolescent reference to drugs. As Amazon.com probably has their stuff on CD too I won't specify here who they are. But they led to a virtual generation gap about two years after these Firesign albums were released: the 18 year olds thinking this duo was superior. To the 20 year olds--among them me at the time--Firesign was obviously superior! Hail (Groucho) Marx and (John) Lennon!)
Amazing is that when one rarely encounters a Firesign fan, we can spout off quotes from largely this CD--as if we'd just heard them five minutes ago. I was at the Firesign show in Washington in the 90s, a birthday gift from my wife who wasn't familiar with Firesign--and she was amazed by how much the audience shouted out Firesign's lines before they did!
What does one call this humor? Someone called it "layered." Yeah, I guess that'll do. Whatever, it's spectacular. I suspect while lying on my deathbed some day, I'll be chuckling and spouting lines from here..."Right, Jack. So far a complete broken set of kellet bars for Mrs. P's new home..." And on, and on, and on. Oh, and, even after all these years, people point out the sometime esoteric sources for the lines Firesign uses. Amazing.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Another of the Firesign's essential masterpieces of audio theatre. Densely packed with jokes and parodies, this album stands up to repeated listenings without losing its charm. Unlike most comedy albums (where once you've heard the joke or routine, you've got it) this album will reveal new layers of meaning, reference and humor each time you listen to it.
What at first seems to be an almost haphazard collection of parodies of television evangelists, old war movies, TV sit-coms, game shows, B-movies, and commercials commercials commercials gradually reveals a coherent story behind all the channel-changing. Like all of the troup's best work, this story is open to multiple interpretations, but themes that clealy play a role are selling out, conformity, obedience to authority, pacifism and commercialism. This is a dense yet fast-paced send-up of middle-brow American culture.
In the tradition of the best American humor, this is hilariously funny while also asking some pointed questions. Even better, the Firesigns are less interested in providing pat answers than in simply posing the questions for you to ponder on your own. A marvelous album that will make you laugh and make you think (and think about laughing and laugh about thinking).
One quibble: There is no banding other than "Part 1" "Part 2" It would be nice to be able to skip to a favorite section (and would allow DJs to insert the fake commercials into a radio show - thus promoting the album - duh!).
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Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers
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