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Creator / Dr. Demento

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The doctor is in!

Dr. Demento (AKA Barret Eugene Hansen, born April 2, 1941) is a disc jockey and ethnomusicologist who achieved fame and/or infamy with his long-running syndicated radio program which features strange and bizarre novelty tunes of every type and description. Along with reviving popular interest in performers such as Spike Jones and Tom Lehrer, he introduced "Weird Al" Yankovic to the world, which is pretty much a lifetime achievement in itself. Other performers often associated with his show include Da Yoopers, Napoleon XIV, Trout Fishing in America, Ivor Biggun, and The Great Luke Ski.

The show continues to air weekly via the Internet, and can be found here.

He is reportedly one of Bart Simpson's arch-enemies. Off the air, he has an extensive knowledge of music history, and has written articles, essays, and liner notes on a wide variety of music subjects. A fictitious version of Demento appears in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story portrayed by Rainn Wilson.

Tropes associated with the good Doctor:

  • Alliterative Name: Not just his own on-air name, but his crew of regulars mostly had alliterative nicknames too (Whimsical Will, Musical Mike, Jovial Joan, etc.).
  • Anti-Christmas Song: He usually devotes all of December to holiday music and these make up the majority of the playlists.
  • Black Comedy: A staple of the show, exemplified by one of the two all-time most requested songs, "Dead Puppies (Aren't Much Fun)" by Ogden Edsl.note  Usually with a good helping of Lyrical Dissonance to boot.
  • Bowdlerise: He tends to Sound-Effect Bleep out naughty words on his broadcasts, including an epic version of George Carlin's "seven dirty words" routine with a different effect for each word.
  • The Cameo:
    • Often turns up in "Weird Al" Yankovic videos:
      • He's one of the TV operators in the video for "I Lost On Jeopardy".
      • At the 1:10 mark in the "I Love Rocky Road" video, he appears behind the cash register for a couple of seconds as a cashier.
      • He stands in for Allen Ginsberg in Weird Al's "Bob" (which reproduces the video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues").
      • He's an audience member in UHF who gets whipped cream sprayed into his mouth by Stanley.
    • Has a small role in the video for "Fish Heads" by Barnes & Barnes (which was directed by and starred Bill Paxton).
  • Christmas in July: Typically he'll devote a show to Christmas music sometime in July.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: On the April 18, 1976 national show he played a home-recorded jingle called "Dr. D Superstar" sent to him by a high school kid who listened to his LA show, Alfred Yankovic.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In his earliest shows he only played a few novelty records here and there but when he realized those songs were getting the most response from his listeners he decided to devote the majority of his show to them.
  • Incoming Ham: The classic, very loud open to his show, where he shouts "WIND UP YOUR RADIOS!!"
  • Insistent Terminology: He uses "funny music" for the name of the genre he plays, rather than "novelty songs", feeling that the latter term is demeaning and not very descriptive.
  • Lobotomy: Topic of the song "I'd Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me (Than a Frontal Lobotomy)." It's all in the title (which was originally a Tom Waits quote), but to recap: would you rather solve your problems with alcohol, or would you choose frontal lobotomy?
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Some of the songs he plays can probably cause brain damage.
  • More Popular Spin Off: How he got his start.
  • Outsider Music: He plays it once in a while, sometimes in a So Bad, It's Good vein, other times with genuine esteem for the material. The Shaggs got their first known radio airplay on his show in 1973 (as selected by his guest Frank Zappa). He also helped revive the career of Wild Man Fischer.
  • Phone Word: For a while Dr Demento's request line was 1-900-BANANAS.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The opening theme is "Pico and Sepulveda", originally recorded by Freddy Martin (under the name Felix Figueroa) in 1947, but eventually replaced with an instrumental version. Every episode closes with the 1928 song "Cheerio, Cherry Lips, Cheerio" by Scrappy Lambert.
  • Signing-Off Catchphrase: "Stay demented!"
  • Strawman U: He went to Reed College, a famous Real Life Berserkley.

Don't forget to stay demented!