This article is from the Firesign Theatre FAQ, by Niles D. Ritter firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Here is a description of the Firesign Theatre:
A group of four gifted improvisational comedians and satirists, perhaps
best known for several record albums they produced in the 1970s. These
were famous for their depth of interaction among the characters, their
range of literary allusion and references to popular culture, history
and science, and the incomparable surreal quality of their pacing.
Different listeners would each find different significance in the work
and make different connections between themes within them. Much of
their work anticipated developments in video, interactive media,
computer technology and virtual reality by some 20 years.
Their initial work began on radio in Los Angeles in the mid 60's, but
their James-Joycean style of dramatic satire quickly expanded to
include phonograph recordings, live stage productions, movies,
books, and one of the first interactive video productions produced.
More than one fan has noted the complexity of their recordings, which
derived from their use of dense layering of sound tracks, as well as
their ingenious use of puns, metaphor, and other literary allusions.
The FT wove intricate stories which flowed, not so much like a river,
but like a rapidly evolving organism, projecting pseudopods out this
way, and then that. And yet the stories always seemed to maintain its
own internal logic.
None of this begins to do them any justice: we encourage you to buy one
of their CDs (or old phonos) and hear for yourself. This is in fact,
about the only way to really understand what the Firesign Theatre was
and IS about! We're not insane!
Phil Proctor adds the following regarding their comedic influences:
Mr NOISE asked about influences on us -- Well,they would be --
including but not limited,too, Bob & Ray (who's CLASSIC B&R
volume 4 actually include selections i gave to Larry Josephson
from my private NYC collection), Stan the man Freberg, Ernie
Kovacs,Steve Allen,Olsen & Johnson, old radio, new radio,
anything on television, Spike Jones, Ish Kabibble, the Amish,
Laurel&Hardy, silent comedies,cartoons,Blooper records, The Great
Crepitation Contest,Johnathan and Darlene Edwards, the Goons and
any english comedians living or still living,the writings of
Ogden Nash and Robert Benchley, folk comedians Herb Shriner and
George Goeble (sp), Charlie Weaver and uncle dave, the Marxist
Bros, Harold Lloyd, anybody who ever made a comedy album -- my
god, the list could go on forever. After all, if you're into
comedy, you can never get enough of it!