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It was 40 years ago when Steve Martin released the concert album A Wild and Crazy Guy.
These days Martin is known as an actor, a novelist, a playwright, an accomplished banjo player, and a major art collector. But before all that, he was best known for wearing a stupid joke arrow on his head—or a pair of rabbit ears.
He wears those rabbit ears, and a white suit, on the cover of A Wild and Crazy Guy, his second stand-up comedy album.
That record proved he had command of the full comic spectrum—high-concept surrealism as well as broad comedy that simultaneously made fun of broad comedy.
That single was released on A Wild and Crazy Guy. The album went on to win a Grammy, and hit No. 2 on the Billboard pop album chart.
Forty years ago this summer, it was the singing voice of Martin that was bellowing out of many car windows. He had debuted the novelty song, “King Tut,” in a hilarious performance on Saturday Night Live that spring, and then it was released as a single and peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard charts in August.
If you’re a fan of vintage Saturday Night Live, you know the name of the album is the punchline to a sketch he performed there: the Festrunk Brothers—two very ’70s Czech immigrants with tight plaid trousers looking to swing with American women.
This podcast was produced by Ben Manilla and BMP Audio.