Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show:
A view inside the Human Nuclear Reactor!
Of the many plays performed by The School of Absurdity, Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show remains its most well-known, and most controversial. With its emphasis on amateur comics and performers bent on outright audience antagonization, who in turn are free to express themselves upon these offensive performers with verbal abuse and large, ripe tomatoes, the Loon Show quickly garnished a reputation as America's first audience-participation reality show. Many have tried to borrow some or all of the elements which make the Loon Show successful, but none have come close.
Let's begin with some concepts. Below is a technical explanation of the theories behind Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show:
The Loon Show unifies the audience with their emotions through the experience of Offensiveness. By allowing emotional combinations to occur which do not normally take place, the audience is brought to a state of Catharsis, or release, and subsequent Awareness of Self, for when the Passions of Man are exposed -passions which are natural to him- psychological barriers and inhibitions are shattered.
Uncle Tad believes Man must examine and accept his true feelings, thus the Loon Show challenges the audience to participate emotionally, to let one's feelings lead. This is an opportunity to release pent-up frustrations through direct participation in an emotional experience, one that challenges the senses and leaps the boundaries of politeness and decorum. The Loon Show challenges performers as well, giving them reign to explore and develop Antagonism and Offensiveness as tools of the New Comedy. Performers are prohibited from memorized monologues, and are fueled by an alert audience, who feeds the performer his material as it takes place!
Both Aristophanic farce and a re-interpretation of 'The Bacchae', by Euripides, with its contrasting themes of Ecstasy and Retribution, the Loon Show is what people need now, in this era of separation, isolation and seething frustration with one another. Man is not a stable creature; his vast, sweeping passions make him explosive, and dangerous. Far from trying to reduce, control or eliminate these Passions, the Loon Show sets them free, giving us a greater understanding of who we really are and how we operate, for it is by taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions that we can learn to deal with them. This is the true goal of expression, and the purpose of theater: to bring the audience to a state of emotional release and unification with all around them.
There is no other place but the Loon Show, where Artistic Truth is meaningless; where Obsession is allowed to run wild, and where the script-less performance takes place from around and within, engulfing and carrying you out beyond Reason into the realm of Feeling. A regulated madness reigns at the Loon Show, and the traditional lines between audience and performer fall quickly; there are no intellectual messages or subtle, hidden meanings to confuse, and the natural feelings of the audience erupt spontaneously, and honestly. The Loon Show removes the excuses of God or Mental Illness as explanations for personal conduct, and places responsibility on the shoulders of each audience member and performer.
The Loon Show rejects traditional theater's Exchange of Ideas in favor of kinetic responses to the separation of Man from himself; these Kinetic Portraits reveal to us, in fleeting, exhilarating moments, the logic of Absurdity, a logic which can guide us to new understandings of the frontiers of existence.
The School of Absurdity has archived the following Loon Show performances. Because of their highly-offensive nature, they are not available for public viewing on YouTube; please contact the School for information on seeing these historic films.
There are 6 Loon Show films which you may view, along with the 4 minute Loon Show promo viewable below:
1) Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show: The Movie is a 2 hour retrospective on the original 'extreme reality' show. Set in early 1990's San Francisco, the Loon Show Movie captures the essence of this controversial and unscripted audience-participation farce, with its amateur comedians, tomato-throwing audience and offensive themes and actions. Starring Uncle Tad Baker; Myron the Moron; Al Starr; The Monoliths; Lee Howard, Rob Alexander; Dr. Ken Scott; Dave Lommen. 1:52 minutes.
2) Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show presents The Championship of Disgust, the most revolting event in history! The Championship of Disgust was the culmination of 16 weeks searching for Uncle Tad's Disciples of Disgust. It was held on a Friday night in April. Several hundred people rushed the door trying get in. Those that did experienced something they would never forget, the night when the most disgusting a##holes in America fought it out for the title, 'The Champion of Disgust'.
The Championship of Disgust has captivated the imagination of those who didn't see it, and forever stained the memory of those fortunate few who were allowed in on that magical spring night in San Francisco in 1990, when the 12 Disciples of Disgust battled it out for the cash, the trophy and the coveted title. This was an event that could only be done once. Here is your chance to see the single most important theatrical event since the opening night of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi 100 years before. You may get shocked, outraged, disappointed, irritated, insulted and annoyed, but you will not get bored! Sit back, take a deep breath and get ready for something that will defy your beliefs and leave you scratching your heads in confusion, and revulsion! And there's some bonus footage afterwards you may -or may not- want to see...
Starring: Uncle Tad Baker, Myron the Moron, Al Starr, The Monoliths, Eddie the Jew, Fat Kathy, Dr. Ken Scott, Dave Lommen. 1:30 minutes.
3) Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show presents Myron the Moron's Greatest Performances!
There have been many performers who've tried to win the crowd at the Loon Show, but none compare to the explosive genius of Myron the Moron! Myron has been called 'the greatest physical absurdist of the 20th Century', and with good reason! There is simply no one who brings the crowd to its feet like this intuitive, instinctive legend.
In this retrospective of his Loon Show career, you'll see Myron do things that defy reason or explanation. It is advised that you not use your 'right brain' when viewing this film; rather, and however you have to do it, alter yourself so your 'left brain', the creative side, is working, then sit back, strap in and hang on as Myron takes you places no one else on earth has ever gone!
4) Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show presents The Best of Even the Score!
Before the Loon Show, there was Even the Score! Yes, in this 'Trial by Tomato', for the first time in reality show history, the audience could get back at all the a##holes and idiots who make living in modern times a pain! How? With a big, ripe tomato and as much verbal abuse as you could dish out!
This is the show that developed the talents of the Loon Show Geniuses you've come to love, or hate! You'll see some of the earliest performances of Al Starr, Lee Howard, Myron the Moron, Dr. Ken Scott, Rob Alexander, Dave Lommen and a host of wannabes, frauds, bums and losers who routinely got pummeled for pissing off the unforgiving audience. There's also some recently-discovered bonus footage you have GOT to see! If you love the Loon Show, you'll go nuts for The Best of Even the Score!
5) More of Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show: The Brutal Bottom!
In this sequel to the original Loon Show Movie, you'll see Uncle Tad and the Loons in some of their most difficult performances, from the mad brutality of dealing with gay homeless bullies at 'The Homeless Shootout' to the light-hearted if scathing racism of 'The Dance of the Bigots' to one of the most compelling performances ever witnessed at the Loon Show, when Uncle Tad re-created the execution of Jesus Christ at 'The Torture Show'.
This film WILL shock and offend, so make sure you're sitting down and strapped in, 'cause things get rocky fast! 'The Brutal Bottom' is sure to get you outraged; if it doesn't, we suggest you have your pulse checked to see if you're still alive!
Uncle Tad Baker Loon Show Performer's Meeting
Behind the scenes of every theatrical production is where the real work actually takes place. In this 19 minute video, join Uncle Tad Baker and his staff and performers as he discusses some of the theories underlying his legendary show and what he wants from his performers, as Baker's unscripted reality show offers real challenges to these seasoned comics, who were new to performing without a script yet eager for the opportunity.
For those interested in what lies at the Loon Show foundation, this is must-see video.
7) Short promotional clip of Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show: The Movie
This 4 minute and 33 second promotional clip is taken from the 2 hour retrospective on the original 'extreme reality' show. Set in San Francisco, the Loon Show Movie captures the essence of this controversial and unscripted audience-participation farce, with its amateur comedians, tomato-throwing audience and offensive themes and actions.
NOTE: All of the imagery in this promo is included to give the viewer interested in attending and/or performing at future Loon Shows a clear idea of what can happen. It is not intended to provoke and/or offend unsuspecting viewers who may object to imagery they are not accustomed to seeing. Please allow those who DO have a sincere wish to view this material their right to access it without flagging this video unnecessarily; if you are easily offended, please do not look!
Loon Show promo
More about Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show: The Main Characters
Myron the Moron
The legendary Myron the Moron, star of Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show, has been described as 'a combination Kermit the Frog and modern-day Charles Chaplin'.
Called 'bizarre', 'sick', 'nonsense', 'stupid', a Myron performance is all of that, and much more! Yes, this is the acknowledged Champion of Disgust, for there is no one like him in the world. Thrown out of every bar and comedy club he's ever performed at, Myron found a home at the Loon Show. He is unique, one-of-a-kind; the man does not care what others think of him, a living Diogenes the Cynic, immune to criticism, and impossible to comprehend rationally. Like Diogenes, Myron is 'whatever the conditions call for'. Unconcerned with thoughts of 'who am I?' Myron is at once Poet, Statesman, Scientist, Queer, Pederast, a dog licking himself, or a woman, it matters not, as Myron has freed his imagination to frightening capabilities.
Yet he is an imitation of no one, a living synthesis of the Bufonchino of Classical Greek Parody, the Harlequino of the Comedia Del Arte, and John Belushi. A master of rhythm, gesture and insight, his work is a reaction to the conditions he finds himself in, responding, exploring and discovering from within the Moment. Myron isn't concerned with 'being funny', 'will they laugh?' or 'do they like me?' With Myron, there is no internal editing, and none of his performances are pre-conceived, a perfect fit for the free-form, spontaneously-erupting Loon Show.
Myron is beyond criticism, Myron is...
A Myron the Moron performance takes on the immediate air of random, dangerous chaos; something's gonna happen, you can feel it! Myron erupts from the stage, engulfing everything in his path; yet the dynamics of his sensitivities, and his ability to draw on a total command of adequate magnitude -just the right thing in the exact amount for that particular moment, attained through razor-sharp intuition- is unparalleled, and thrilling to behold. Myron takes you along a path of obsession that has left Reason, emerging into a world of the Irrational, and the Explosive. Myron frightens, and fascinates.
While Myron has been known to perform acts universally considered disgusting, he will not, however, perform or imitate the acts of murder, treachery, or blasphemy against God or religions of any kind, as he regards these areas as profane. Nor will Myron physically hurt an audience member or fellow performer, as he sees everyone as his personal guest, welcome to all he owns. Myron exemplifies the Spirit of Generosity in his life and work, sharing all of himself with us.
Like every performer trained by Tad, Myron employs the classical technique of the 'ethelondess', or the actor without a script, one who prepares each week by studying the theme Tad plans to use for the upcoming show and no more, trusting to his preparation, and his instincts. Myron commits nothing to memory, of course, immersing himself in his feelings and trusting that whatever comes out in the Moment is honest, fated, and right. Myron is in touch with who he is, and is not.
He terms his performances 'laboratories', though in no way could consider his work to be intellectual or concept-based, preferring instead to take us into a world of pure emotion, uncovering the beautiful which lays deep within all of us, and which he freely shares. Myron's work literally has no reference points for the uninitiated, and leaves reasonable men asking, 'What's going on here?'
Let Myron tell you: “It ain't for you to understand with your mind, man, it's for you to experience, and whatever happens, happens, 'cause it's all part of the show...”
Myron refuses to acknowledge the envious criticism of the lesser minds who disdain his work, for Myron is a prophet, freed to look within and navigate from his soul, to describe -without editing- what takes place within his imagination.
This pioneer of emotional freedom, this apostle of intuition and instinct, cuts a trail across the wilderness of barbaric Modern Times with the nobility and courage of a king. We are blessed to have him leading us from the sacred Loon Show Stage, into the dark and foreboding future.
(Al Starr has requested his background remain private. JW)
The enormously talented Lee Howard knows exactly what he's doing in order to provoke the crowd's complete and total release of hatred. Very few performers are capable of inspiring the degrees of viciousness in an audience as Howard, who has found a means to explore the darkest energies of his tortured inner world by becoming the vehicle for the audience's cathartic release.
Though he appears a mild and even pleasant character, once he hits that stage, the more abuse he receives, the better he feels!
The guy you love to hate, Dave Lommen, has turned his personal hatreds into poetic fuel. You feel the kinetic danger within Lommen that's built up inside over all those years as he stalks the stage, raging against Safeway or exploring the depths of Freud's perversity. Lommen feeds off the viciousness he receives from the outraged, tomato-throwing audience; he rejoices in offending and verbally assaulting every aspect of their cherished American lifestyles; he revels in their anger, attacking and goading them with his shocking portrait of a man fighting with the psychic onslaught of the oppressive, stifling System. Lommen knows The Man intimately, and he loathes him!
Having destroyed his ego long ago, and with little concern for identity, Lommen pulls you into his turmoil and pain; you feel his dry, burning hemorrhoids and tired, limp dick; you feel his exhaustion from 60-hour work weeks and his resentment against all those who got their's and you realize you're witnessing the pent-up rage of Every Man.
Lommen hypnotizes; be careful...
Dr. Ken Scott
'A drunk Sisyphus pushing his rock uphill' is what one critic said about a Dr. Ken Scott performance. A neophyte performer and one given initially to simply shouting louder than anyone else as he raced about the exciting stage, Scott soon realized, prompted by repeated bludgeonings from Tad to 'hear beyond the sound of your own mind screaming', that his real strength lay in his willingness to become a target for those throwers bent on savagery. Dr. Scott then made the conscious decision to seek out and provoke the worst of the cruel in attendance in order to offer himself as sacrifice, as Myron does, for the good of all, adapting his explosive style of 'controlled interruptive anarchy' to incorporate listening to the cues coming from the audience, making his antagonism that much more penetrating.
Judging by the sheer volume of tomatoes launched at Dr. Scott, he has found his manhood in the fires of the Loon Show.
Urged to the stage one night from out of the audience, the brash young Alexander has become a crowd favorite. Infamous for his sharp wit and intuitive, caustic responses, Alexander focuses his rage at the Young Urban Professionals who populate the Loon Show audience, offering severe personal and social criticisms in an unrehearsed, rapid-fire delivery of unavoidable, blistering truths. The athletic, blond and boyish Alexander has broken more than one audience member's heart, while pissing off her jealous date!
Alexander has flourished on the Loon Show stage, honing his 'articulately-painful' verbal rapier to a razor's edge.
The Monoliths, who keep their identities unknown, are the finest Homosexual Kinetic Punk Sculpturists in the United States, and have been made famous at Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show.
The Monoliths use Phallic and Anal imagery, set to mechanistic rhythms, to offend the audience through exaggerated sexual movements, exploring the relationships between Man and His World, His Feelings and His Thoughts. Their movement re-interprets the pre-Classical Nymphs of Dionysus, who initiated every Dionysian Festival with lavish song and dance, to the display of the Erect Male Organ. The actual dance the Monoliths pattern their performances on is taken from the 17th Century 'Dance of the Phallus', by Adolfo Chorninksi, which outlines the sexual abandonment of the Passion of Lust.
The Monoliths experiment with fluid and fixed forms, studying the possibilities their extreme movements create emotionally within the audience. Each week another element is added or taken away from the performance, as no two Monolith performances are the same. No move or position is left sacred or unexplored during a Monolith performance, as every combination of dance is encouraged and tested. Interested in what happens when they explode the traditional definitions and limitations of dance and sculpture, they are not concerned with conforming to existing standards of what's considered 'good dance'; rather, they seek to shatter those standards.
In their examination of fixed versus fluid forms, termed 'Obelisk: The Eternal Limitation', the Monoliths chose a simple microphone stand, placed in the center of the stage, to represent the Fixed Form, the Unchanging Ideal. Around this Fixed Form they weave an ever-changing tapestry of a-schematic shapes and images, exploring the principle of 'Freedom With Limitations', using the Loon Show stage to demonstrate the fundamental requirement of all Classical Literature: balance.
“The performance must not sway too far in any one direction, as the excess breeds Discord, which then breeds foul Disintegration. Now, Disunity is alright, because it tells a story when it can be framed, which Tad is a master at, but when it can't, it reaches meaninglessness, which is bullshit since we get enough of that out in the world, especially since Tad's theater is all about meaning...” Monolith A
“The mike stand is the Axis, which the heightened world of our performance randomly orbits. And it isn't really a subtle thing, 'cause everyone always says, 'Hey, the mike stand's in the way!'. No, it's there for a specific purpose...
I feel too many of us desire some illusory Total Freedom from all restrictions, but modern physics and Classical Theater show us the effects of Disunity and eventual Entropy, so a Total Freedom is impossible, out of the question and besides, it ain't no fun to implode and collapse on yourself from constantly pushing the limits until there are no more. That's a live Death, man, and no thank you...I feel we must learn to study and respect the inherent limitations of Reality, or we'll continue to fool ourselves into thinking we have unlimited capabilities which the world should recognize when we, in fact, don't.” Monolith B
Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show: A study in Cruelty (epiharukakia)
“It's the best feeling I've ever had, being able to kick the sh#t outta some helpless a##hole with tomatoes, man, I love it!” Anonymous audience member
The Loon Show is the place where the worst in Humanity is revealed and examined; specifically, where people come to inflict pain upon others, and enjoy it. This is the principle of epiharukakia, or 'the love of giving pain to another person'. Yes, many people come to the Loon Show to cause pain and injury; like the Classical Greek Plays from which the Loon Show originates, Tad understands this most basic element of Man's nature: to enjoy the suffering of others. Every week, performers receive unthinkable, point-blank assaults to tender body areas, and throwers delight not only in the actual maiming, but in blatantly breaking the house rules forbidding such brutality, including sneaking frozen tomatoes into the show, which have, indeed, injured several performers including Tad himself.
It is quite a spectacle to see a thrower bent on cruelty: eyes bulging, face in disarray as he screams, bare inches from the stage, ignoring what's being said or the rules and solely focused on throwing as fast, hard and as many times as possible. The Loon Show has seen reasonable, 'normal' men and, yes, women reach states of wild abandon by simply hurling a single tomato, which gloriously finds its mark, and who then yield to the delightful delirium of Causing Pain. Those who enjoy it and come back for more claim there's nothing like it in the world; and yes, those who are their victims truly suffer at their hands, for there is no balance or mediating in epiharukakia.
Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show: A few words on Courage
There is only one requirement for performing at the Loon Show: courage. To walk onto that stage -the most difficult stage in the world- and take the verbal and physical abuse a hostile crowd dishes out, will test the courage of anyone! No jokes or memorized routines will do, only you and who you are and what you really think and feel; on this stage, you're stripped naked and forced to fight for your life. The Loon Show has seen sissies and cowards, who would never consider performing in any situation, spontaneously race to the stage and stand tall in the face of the Tomato Onslaught, while proud, professional 'comics' get reduced to humiliated gibberish-sputtering amateurs as their material fails them, the crowd eagerly letting them know how bad they really are as they scramble off the stage. Why? Courage, and the lack thereof.
Once you've gotten a taste for this stage and the freedom that only the worst public debasement can bring, then nothing ever satisfies or compares again, no thrill as great as when battling those vicious Tomato Throwers. Courage sustains and brings the performer to new heights previously unimagined, and is the only thing that will allow you to cut through the fear of facing angry men with tomatoes bent on pounding your body to a red, oozing pulp. Without courage, nothing in the world can save you, and the shame from falling face-first before your friends and peers will burden you the rest of your life...or until you get back up there and redeem yourself!
As Lommen once put it, “There's nothing worse in your life that can happen to you than getting hit in the face with 150 tomatoes from ten feet away. Nothing can affect me now, fuck Death!”
BONUS FREE FEATURE: The Myron Chant!
At Uncle Tad Baker's Loon Show, Myron the Moron had his rabid fans chanting for him at every show. Take a listen to the frenzy the genius created and you'll understand why there is no one who compares to him! 3 min.
The Myron Chant