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Episode 244: Nerdist Podcast
Dr. Demento
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast: Dr. Demento

The amazing Dr. Demento was kind enough to take a break from his own show and come on the podcast! Chris and Jonah profess their love for the doctor, Dan Pasternack joins in the discussion of favorite comedy albums, and Matt Bennett stops by a bit!

Listen to Dr. Demento here!

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  1. David Tanny says:

    What was the name of the song you played at the end? Thank you.

  2. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this episode. As a child, we would do weekend trips from Boston to NYC and back. Being able to listen to Dr.Demento’s show on the ride home was always a treat since it was usually on past my bedtime. Everyone singing along to “Fish Heads” is family bonding at its best.

  3. Kristin says:

    I am so glad that you had Dr. Demento on the podcast. This totally inspired me to record all of those Lord of the Rings parodies that I wrote in college. Thanks guys!

  4. ZZax says:

    Thank you for this wonderful episode. I remember in junior high a tape of a few episodes of the Dr. Demento show got passed around between kids. Everyone made their own 3rd and 4th generation tapes of something recorded off the radio; and we cherished it. Still to this day I remember so many great songs like “Boot to the Head” Hamster Love, It Came from West Covina and the Existential Blues.

    While I love the convenience of the internet, but I also miss the exclusive feeling of discovery we used to have.

  5. ArtChemist says:

    I’m an long time fan of Dr. Demento. I used to listed to him Sunday nights on KFOG in San Francisco in the 80s. Made me the comedy nerd I am today. Thanks Dr. D! Now I’m gonna check out his site.

  6. Michelle says:

    Finally got to finish this one. So glad to hear the female “enjoy your burrito” is back at the end.

  7. Dr Demento says:

    Thanks for the good words, everyone! I would love to have a podcast but the trouble is, many of the songs I play on my show…from Spike Jones to Weird Al, pretty much everything before 2000, would not be available because they’re owned by record companies that refuse permission for podcasting (i.e. they’re not “podcast-safe”). So streaming is the way I roll.

  8. Bill Frenzer says:

    Nice show. Thanks for the shout out. I’m still here, and doing stuff on Oglio records, and waiting to play another one of Dan Pasternack’s Birthday party’s.

  9. Tracey says:

    When Chris was asking Dr. D. how the streaming version of the show was doing, you could almost hear the wheels spinning. SURELY the show would do better in podcast form, right? I might even pay for it if I could listen to it in my car instead of streaming.

  10. C.Nate says:

    Hey, I live on Hardwick street. The same one Dr. D mentions, because he’s my neighbor. And a really sweet guy. I had lunch with him years ago. When I worked at Borders in Long Beach he used to sneak up behind me then say “Hi Nathan!” to scare me. I never saw him coming and he got me every time.

  11. setlasmon says:

    works cited:

    “Jordy Trachtenberg, the music distributor, is big and buzzcut, with a booming presence and an immediate earnestness; two minutes into talking with him, you already get the feeling he’d back you up in a fight. That vibe– loyal, protective– is surely a lot of why the Johnston family trusts him with Daniel’s affairs. Just as important is the way he’s willing to let them call the shots. “They’re not music-industry people,” he says. “So sometimes the decisions they make will seem strange. But I have to trust what they think is best.” The protectiveness comes out, too: He’s happy he’ll be in Austin for the South by Southwest festival when Daniel’s gallery show opens, because he’d rather not find himself in the same room as certain collectors.”

  12. setlasmon says:

    ooops, scratch that.. my buddy actually managed (and I think still manages) Daniel Johnston, not Wildman. I knew it was one of those crazies…

  13. setlasmon says:

    I have a buddy who served as manager for Larry “Wildman” Fischer in his final days. he loved the guy. said he had to deflect alot of people seeking to take advantage of his condition.

    too bad that Wesley Willis wasn’t around during the Dr D days. speaking of Wes, I’m gonna go suck a cheetah’s dick with mustard. bye, dudes.

  14. Bryan says:

    I say Interview Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg while you have the chance! I would love to hear them on the podcast!

  15. tyriker says:

    I heard the etymology of the word ‘Nerd’ described by Simon Pegg. He says it stems from the word ne’er-do-well, thus the title of his book Nerd Do Well. Ne’er-do-well, a British colloquialism for a “never-do-well”, or a worthless or good for nothing person. Usage of ne’er-do-well comes from the 1730s. Wikipedia does indicate Dr. Suess’ usage was the first documented usage of NERD, but I think the usage by Dr. Suess is inconsistent with its meaning today, which until NERD’s recent promotion to chicness, was nearly synonymous with ne’er-do’well.

  16. SpaceySpaceman says:

    Thanks guys, awesome ep.

  17. Not to be repetitive, but when I saw that Dr. Demento was going to be on your show I squeeed out loud! I was lucky enough to be a kid in L.A. in the late 70’s and I listened to the Dr. Demento show every Sunday night on KMET – all 4 hours of it. The next day at school I’d repeat all these goofy songs and get weird looks from my classmates. You guys talked about all my favorites from that time and I’m so glad you asked about Wild Man Fischer! My best friend and I loved My Name Is Larry and would sing it all the time! I have a cassette tape full of us doing song parodies and silly interviews where song clips answer the questions – all inspired by the Dr. D show. Thank you thank you thank you for having the Demented one on your show! It totally made my day!

  18. Peter Schmalz says:

    I attribute my sense of humor to Doctor Demento. I would never have heard Stan Freberg or Spike Jones or even Monty Python

  19. Justin Hoskie says:

    A really good listen, especially for someone who hasn’t listened to Dr. Demento before. For some reason, I’ve never been huge into “novelty” songs (the farthest down the rabbit hole I’ve gotten is Stephen Lynch and Bo Burnham) but I must change that immediately. Also of note: There’s been a parody score of My Fair Lady and I’ve gone through my entire life NOT knowing about it?! *begins frantic googling*

    A quick bit of business. Since I have so much free time on my hands (Thanks work!), I’ve begun a pet project on the ole’ YouTubes: The Nerdist KIDZ! I’m taking select episodes of the podcast and pitching them up to make everyone sound like a kid. Why? BECAUSE IT SOUNDS AWESOME! The playlist here:

    So far, I only have two episodes up, but more are on the way.

  20. riddickuliss says:

    I always heard about Dr. Demento and I STUPIDLY never went down that rabbit hole, a true wealth of knowledge, WOW! Great episode!
    When he was talking about getting his Master’s at UCLA I was hoping someone was going to ask when/where our good Dr. got his PhD…

  21. Michelle says:

    Kate English, I had the same experience.

    “remember to stay demented!!”

  22. Todd says:

    Growing up in LA, I listened to Dr. Demento nearly every single Sunday night for three hours on KMET. Hadn’t thought of him in a very long time.

    It’s DR. DEMENTO!!!

  23. Patty Marvel says:

    @Chris – Any chance Dan’s song is available on iTunes or some such thing? I know a mix CD it would fit nicely in…

  24. Fred says:

    A bizarre coincidence. My 2 favorite podcast had practically identical name this week. SModcast was called Doctor Dementor 😀

  25. Gabster says:

    @Chris Hardwick – AWESOME!!!! ok, I know you kind of brushed it off, but when you asked Dr Demento who he was excited about, and he mentioned Lemon Demon, but you HAVE to check him out.

    When the internet was a mere whisper in my ear, he caught my attention and made my teen years AWESOME! he’s pretty young and has awesome stuff. His sister is an awesome artist too. Here’s my personal favorite of his songs:

    and his wiki page:

  26. Justin Hoskie says:

    Apparently, I did something to irritate technology, since it appears not to be speaking to me right now and I have to sleep on the couch.

    Please ignore previous comment(s?). I’ve tried posting a couple comments before, and non of them have gone through. Except the one where I look like a crazy person.

  27. Justin Hoskie says:

    *Testing testing, one two, one two; Attention K-Mart shoppers, sale in aisle two, sale in aisle two*

  28. Chris Hardwick says:

    If you downloaded the podcast this morning, we’ve since added the Dan Pasternack song referenced in the show that he sent in when he was 11. Re-download or listen in the player above!

  29. @Drizzle
    Methinks Chris used his Level 99 persuasion matrix to get Dan Pasternack to hand over his song,and then put it on the end of the episode and reuploaded as promised.

    Well done, sir! You could sell Abercrombie and Fitch merch to a hipster.

  30. Drizzle says:

    what is the song at the end!? its hilarious.

  31. Patty Marvel says:

    @Luke Ski – DUDE! You’re HERE!!! I first saw you perform at (I think) Mid-Ohio Con a couple of years ago! Come to think of it, Dr. Demento was there as well! I later saw him in a bar talking to someone while a con-goer dressed as a Stormtrooper sat nearby. I wonder if I still have that photo.

    Anyhow, glad to hear you mentioned in the podcast and see you pop up here! Please come by again – we’ve a friendly crew of posters here.

  32. Okay…you guys mention The Great LukeSki and Rob Balder both in the same episode, so that means I have to draw your attention to this:

    “fump” is FUnny Music Project and they produce some of the most hilarious music on the Internets today. Check ’em out!

  33. setlasmon says:

    commenting (prelisten) to nerd out over Dr Demento.. my favorite thing to record on cassette tape. what did I do before auto reverse? oh yeah, only listen to half the show 🙁

    now also im going to nerd out over ARTIE BARNES’ comment! holy crap! wowowowow…. FISH HEADS used to horrify me in a way, but I couldnt find it in me to avert my eyes. or change the channel when it came one.

    awesome.. thank you to the good Doc and the Barneses for making me weird as all get out!

  34. toonsmyth says:

    Woowoowoo! Wwwwind up your internets, Dementoes and Dementites! The Doctor is STILL in!!! OMG, I miss Dr. Demento SO much since he went of the air in Dallas in the early 90’s. I actually had one of my requests played on the air in ’87 for Spike Jones’s “Pal-Yat-Chee” (Pagliacci) and got me a sweet Dr. D tee shirt that I NEVER wore (because I didn’t want it to get dirty… and also because it was too small).

    Just recently a Facebook friend of mine dug up a song by Citizen Kohn called “A-I-U-E-O” that I had stuck in my head for over 20 years! It was played on The Dr. Demento Show ONE TIME and that was the only recording in existence. It was SO GREAT to hear it again, I had to take a couple of days to put together an animation and share it with the YouTube world. Joel Kohn himself eventually got wind of the video and contacted me to show his appreciation for the homage to his long lost work.

    I had so many cassette tapes of shows that I recorded off the radio and listened to each one until they eventually warped and snapped. The good Dr.’s influence is still prevalent in my work today, and I can’t wait to listen to this episode tonight while I work. THANK YOU AGAIN for this PODCAST of AWESOMENESS! Here now, is the aforementioned video. Enjoy.

  35. Artie Barnes says:

    Barnes & Barnes (FISH HEADS!) here. Enjoyed your show! Alas, I mentored “little” Dan Pasternack back in the day. Even have his autographed 45 here somewhere, in the vast archives. Take care & have fun!

  36. Tom Steele says:

    So I was in college from 95-98 learning radio broadcast journalism. And they taught us how to use razor blades! but not for coke, this was Oklahoma after all… We spent like one session learning digital editing cause it confused the hell out of the teachers.

  37. Luke Ski says:

    OMG!!! Dr. Demento, Chris, & Jonah said nice things about me on the Nerdist podcast!!! 😀 😀 😀 Thank you all so much! I pulled over on my drive to GenCon Indy where I’m performing this weekend to leave this comment!

    If anyone wants to check out my songs like “Skeksis Back” and 10 albums worth more, you can check out my artist page at The Funny Music Project, aka “The FuMP” dot com at , and my website is

    Having stopped at Chipotle on my way out of town, I was literally enjoying my burrito as I listened to this episode. Thanks again so much, guys!

    Luke Ski

  38. tedder says:

    Dr. Demento was at W00tstock 2.6 (along with Hardwick as Emergency Wil Wheaton and Phirman and Weird Al and others).

    It was kinda sad. He didn’t connect with the audience, even though they were obviously his fans.

  39. Pez says:

    @Dan – There’s no E in ‘burritos’ because it’s a Spanish word, and there is no silent E in Español.

    Super excited to listen to this episode!
    The Doctor’s mad music & crazy comedy (from out of the vaults & off the walls) kept me company on many a Sunday night drive back to college.

  40. LifesizeLD says:

    This is now officially the PERFECT podcast. All hail Dr. Demento!

  41. jima says:

    Nice to heard the good Doctor is still around! The show did in fact play in Peoria: I was on the staff of Bradley University’s student radio station WRBU in the 1980s and 1990s, and we played those LPs for quite a while. I recall one of the commercials during that time was a Trident gum commercial voiced by future Senator Al Franken.

    Some years later I got a song of mine played on the show right before it finished its radio syndication phase, a nice bit of symmetry that I should put on my resume.

  42. Dan says:

    Awesome! Just three days ago I was thinking that you guys needed to have THIS Dr. on your show finally!

    I’m so glad for this, and you are free to continue enjoying your own proverbial burritos.

    (Why is it “burritos” and not “burritoes”?)

  43. Chris Hardwick says:

    STILL trying to get the Dan song for the end of the show. If I can, I’ll add it and re-upload!

  44. Three Toes of Fury says:

    Chris, Matt, and Jonah…i would very much appreciate it if you 3 would stop using some kind of f’d up Inception-type method to break into my subconscious while i sleep and, continually, steal the best-possible-guest-ideas. Clearly thats whats happening as you guys keep finding the PERFECT guests that i’d like to hear.

    Doctor Demento was a HUGE influence on my early nerd and comedy loving person. Never missed his show late sunday nights in Chicago.

    Thanks Team!

    Peace .n. Poisoning Pigeons in the Park


  45. Matt Grandis says:

    I think you should let your lawyers speak for you. That guy is ripping off your name!

  46. I always knew this day would come, but now that it’s here I’m at a loss for what to say. *sniffle* It’s my namesake!

  47. Kate English says:

    I used to stay up late on Sunday nights to listen to Dr. Demento’s show when I was in middle and high school! I loved him so much!! BEST PODCAST EVER!!

  48. Patty Marvel says:

    @Chris Hardwick – Settled in and ready to listen! Before I do, I will (perhaps annoyingly) repeat the plea from my very first post to the very first podcast I listened to…PLEASE, please, please interview Tom Lehrer!

    This possibility was mentioned in passing during the They Might Be Giants podcast and seeing Dr. Demento, who played some of Lehrer’s work, reminds me of that. Please, please, PLEASE interview the man! He’s in his 80s and, to be brutally honest, he might not be around to grant an interview for too terribly long and, dammit, the last person to interview him ought to be a fan rather than just some reporter from some little-read paper that won’t get shared the way this podcast would.

    Bring Mike Phirman with you! Make it a fan-boy party! Just please, please, please do this! I will buy you a burrito! I will bake a pan of brownies for you! I will wash your car for you! I will…I will think of something. Just please, please, please interview Tom Lehrer and you will have the undying devotion and fandom I have for Kate Bush (trust me, that’s saying something).

    P.S. Pretty please?

  49. Matt Grandis says:


    What? Oh. Well … that’s okay, too … I guess …