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Lawyer's Hospital


1982 - Lawyer's Hospital Rhino RNLP 806

 This is the second of the Firesign Theatre's "leftover" albums for the Rhino label (the first being the EP "Nick Danger, Third Eye In the Case Of the Missing Shoe"). Released in the early '80s, it assembles pre-existing material that had been floating around and throws it all together. Which is not to say it's not a funny album; it is. It just has an odds-and-ends feel to it. Those looking for a fabulous, sustained narrative will be disappointed.

Side one is a good-time live performance covering typical Firesign ground as a kid (Bergman) eagerly flips around his TV dial. He encounters several clever TV show parodies, including the titular "Lawyer's Hospital," a soap opera in the vein of "In the Next World..."'s "Over the Edge." An extremely abbreviated version of "Lawyer's" is presented in the film "Nick Danger In the Case Of the Missing Yolk" sans David Ossman. The most valuable aspect of side one is that it is live. Only a few live performances were ever officially released (portions of "Dear Friends" and "Not Insane," all of "Fighting Clowns," "Back From the Shadows," and Proctor & Bergman's "What This Country Needs") and it's always a gas to hear how the audience reacts to the four live.

Side two is a compilation of pieces done for various radio shows and some old commercial spots (for Jack Poet VW). They're all amusing, very short pieces, nothing special. The longest piece and highlight of this side is "Thank You, Mr. President," a live piece featuring Nixon (Austin), LBJ (Bergman), FDR (Ossman), and Truman (Proctor) sitting around reminiscing. Along with "Fighting Clowns," it is the only time the Firesign has presented out-and-out political satire, and they do it well.

Though a slight release, "Lawyer's Hospital" satisfies as a solid compilation of sketch comedy in the Second City vein.

-- Phil Buchbinder