The Alex Bennett Morning Show

Remembering Mornings with Alex Bennett, the King of Comedy

If you were plugged into the stand-up comedy scene in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s and 1990s, then you most likely remember The Alex Bennett Radio Show, where nearly all of the comics of the day appeared to promote their gigs.

If the name Alex Bennett does not ring a bell, you still may be interested in reading on — provided you have a passion for radio or interest in stand-up comedy.

The Alex Bennett Morning Show aired from 1980-1997 in various incarnations across several stations. For me, it remains my favorite radio show of all time.

Alex Bennett 1987
Alex Bennett, circa 1987. (Image courtesy of Alex Bennett.)

Bennett had a successful career in New York radio for many years before hitting the San Francisco radio market in 1980, when he became the morning man on the rock station, “The Camel” (KMEL).

The Camel (KMEL)

Between then and 1997, his show came on and off the air as he periodically switched ration stations. After KMEL, Bennett’s show aired on the short-lived but much beloved new wave station, “The Quake” (KQAK).

The Quake
The Quake (KQAK)

Following The Quake, The Alex Bennett Show found a long-time home at “Live 105” (KITS) — a top 40 station that changed its format to modern rock shortly after Bennett joined.

Live 105
LIVE 105 (KITS)

At its peak, The Alex Bennett Show was one of the top-rated morning radio programs in San Francisco, and the media dubbed Bennett as the “King of Comedy” in recognition of his influence on the local comedy scene.

I first stumbled across Bennett in middle school around the time he started at KMEL, and I listened to him religiously all the way until the end of his run at Live 105 in 1997. Right from the start, I recognized I was hearing something different from the inane banter on the typical “morning zoo” radio program. In a very loose and often spontaneous format, Bennett would take calls from listeners, chat with his newsman (Joe Regelski), and interview guests, many of whom were local stand-up comics.

My earliest recollection of the show was hearing a voice like none I’d ever encountered before. The voice was abrasive and gravelly, with a New York accent and acerbic attitude. It belonged to a mile-a-minute motormouth — a young and bitingly funny comic … named Bobby Slayton (who is now considered one of the greatest club comics of all time).

Hearing Bennett and Slayton sparring together on the air, I was immediately hooked and became a daily addict — um, I mean listener.


Live Studio Audience

One of the hallmarks and unique aspects of The Alex Bennett Show was that Bennett performed the program in front of a live studio audience every day. Some of the studios Bennett worked in were tiny, but nonetheless, the station would cram in as many chairs as possible inside. Anyone was welcome to walk in off the street and watch the show. Oftentimes, the studio was jam-packed with standing room only.

The show started at 6:00 AM, and at least half a dozen times over the years, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to attend the show in person. My first visit may have been to The Quake, but I definitely watched the show at the Live 105 studio numerous times.

Sitting in the live studio audience was a total blast. On a typical day, as many as three comics might appear on the show (separately or together) along with any other interview guests who might happen to be on the schedule. The comics would riff with Bennett about the news of the day, talk to callers, and interact with audience members both during the show and over commercial breaks. It was as good or better as having a front-row seat at a comedy club.

Here are a couple of anecdotes I remember vividly from my visits to the studio, both of which happen to involve Slayton.

  • My friend, Nico, had come along one morning, and he had picked up breakfast at McDonald’s. At a commercial break, Nico was eating his hash browns which were rectangular and said something like, “Food should not have a shape.” Slayton, just a few feet away, replied in his New York accent, “That’s funny, kid. You mind if I use that?” We never heard this bit in a routine, but I’d like to think he used the idea at some point.
  • On another visit, where Nico and I had specifically visited the studio because Slayton was scheduled to be the featured guest, we were sorely disappointed to learn that he could attend only the first hour of the show (which ran four hours). Poor us, we would have to console ourselves with the secondary guest — some new, up and coming comic named … Dana Carvey. I don’t remember much of that show, but I am pretty sure our disappointment evaporated quickly and that we had a great time. (For anyone unaware, Carvey is a comedy genius who went on to find great fame on Saturday Night Live and in the movies.)
Dana Carvey in 1989
Dana Carvey in 1989. (Image by Alan Light under Creative Commons license.)

After getting to know comics on Bennett’s show, I would often go to comedy clubs with my friends to see our favorites. This was in the heyday of the comedy scene so shows were happening all the time, not only in San Francisco but throughout the Bay Area. To this day, not even the funniest Netflix comedy special can live up to my memories of the best shows we saw.

That said, I felt most comics were FUNNIER on the Alex Bennett Show (whether you were in the studio or listening on the radio) than they were in comedy clubs performing their standard sets. The freewheeling spontaneity of the show, with comics riffing off of each other (and Bennett acting as ringleader), was a recipe for comedy gold.


Breakfast with Bennett

About once a quarter or so on a Friday morning, Bennett would host a much larger “Breakfast with Bennett” show. Instead of doing the program as usual from the station, he would take the show on the road and do it at a comedy club or theater. The “Breakfast with Bennett” editions of the program were essentially big variety shows, with a live house band, comics doing 10-minute stand-up sets, and rock bands performing live.

I attended at least one of these shows in person, and they were great fun, although not quite the same high as being in the small radio studio for a “normal” show.

In any case, I doubt many other mainstream morning radio shows have regularly mounted such elaborate productions.


The Regulars

More comics than I could ever hope to remember were regular guests on The Alex Bennett Show.

Here were some of my favorites:

The 3 Bobs

Funnily enough, perhaps the three most popular comics in the show’s history were all named … Bob.

Bobby Slayton

As far as I recall, Bobby Slayton was the first comic to appear on Bennett’s morning show in Francisco (on KMEL) … and arguably the funniest (or at least the most consistent). Slayton, who quickly became a popular headliner at local clubs, had an incredibly quick wit, which was well-suited to the free-form format of the show as well as to interacting with audiences at comedy clubs.

“The Pitbull of Comedy” (as he is often called) was famous for picking on audience members at clubs. If you were in one of the front rows, you had a big bulls-eye on your head and a pretty good chance at being the target of his jabs.

Sometimes, Slayton would get so distracted by “crowd work” that he wouldn’t do much of his actual comedy routine, which was a shame because his material was razor-sharp and often howlingly funny. I remember attending at least one show (probably at the Punch Line) where he got so fixated on someone in the audience that he spent his entire set insulting them.

In the balance, however, you knew you were in for a treat if Slayton was scheduled to be on the radio show or the headliner at a club.

Bobcat Goldthwait

Before he went on to become a comic actor in movies like the “Police Academy” series and later an esteemed writer and director, Bobcat Goldthwait was a superstar in the San Francisco comedy scene. As far as I know, similar to many comics from that time, Goldthwait’s exposure on The Alex Bennett Show was a key to his success in the SF market.

Goldthwait had manic energy, and he screamed his material at the audience for much of his act. He was a force of nature on stage, and his shows were a wild ride. The only drawback was that, in my opinion, he had a signal-to-noise ratio problem. His material was really funny, but I usually wanted less yelling and more content from him (i.e. his act bordered on style over substance).

Bobcat Goldthwait in 2009
Bobcat Goldthwait in 2009. (Image by Anirudh Koul under Creative Commons license.)

Bob Rubin (“The Old Rube”)

One of the hallmarks of the San Francisco comedy scene in the 1980s and 1990s was that cookie-cutter comedians were unlikely to break through and find success. Instead, the scene favored eccentric personalities with unique personas. Bob Rubin was perhaps the best example of this phenomenon. A hulking hillbilly of a man, with a mullet and a bushy beard, Rubin had off-kilter material and an idiosyncratic perspective. He was a true original.

Like Goldthwait, he was completely unpredictable and absolutely manic on stage but with a better balance of personality and material. When Rubin was at his best, I don’t know if I ever laughed harder at a comic.

Bubs and Feldo

Larry “Bubbles” Brown and David Feldman (known as “Feldo the Clown” in his early days) were quirky personalities and also best friends who often appeared together on air or on stage.

Bubbles took on a (possibly true to life) lovable loser persona and specialized in self-deprecating humor. His dark comedic style stood out from the crowd. Bennett liked him enough to make him the daily, in-studio traffic reporter towards the end of the show’s history. Brown is one of the comics featured in the documentary, 3 Still Standing, along with fellow Alex Bennett Show regulars, Will Durst and Johnny Steele.

Larry "Bubbles" Brown 1983
Larry “Bubbles” Brown at The Holy Zoo, circa 1983. (Image by James Owens under Creative Commons license.)

In real life, Feldman leans to the far left politically, but he would get up on stage and blast the audience with absolutely politically incorrect jokes about politics, women, and anything topical at the time. Anyone not in on the joke probably found his act appalling. But for anyone who realized that Feldman was adopting a persona, his routines could be pretty hilarious.

David Feldman 1982
David Feldman, circa 1982. (Image by James Owens under Creative Commons license.)

Tomcat & Proops

Tom Kenny was a good friend of Bobcat Goldthwait, and (if memory serves) they knew each other from the Boston comedy scene. Goldthwait introduced Kenny to The Alex Bennett Show where he first appeared under the nickname “Tomcat.” I don’t recall much of his material, but I do remember Kenny had a sharp wit and was one of my favorites at the time. You may know him better as the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Tom Kenny in 2015
Tom Kenny in 2015. (Image by GabboT under Creative Commons license.)

Greg Proops was an extremely popular comic on The Alex Bennett Show, and I remember him for his hipster humor and intellectual material. Most people probably know Proops as one of the regulars on the TV show Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

Greg Proops in 2016
Greg Proops in 2016. (Image by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license.)

The Women

Bennett featured plenty of female comics as regulars on the show. I remember liking many of them, but they don’t stand out as much in my memory — perhaps because, sadly, not as many of them were headliners.

Here are a few of the names I do remember: Sue Murphy, Laurie Kilmartin, Sabrina Matthews, and Debi Durst. I also remember seeing Janeane Garofalo on stage during that era, so I suspect she also appeared on the radio show. By the way, Garofalo’s stand-up was awful at that time, so I was surprised at how much I grew to like her later in her career as a comic actress in movies and on TV. I’m also pretty sure Ellen DeGeneres appeared numerous times … and I remember seeing her perform as a newbie comic at La Val’s Pizza in Berkeley.

Janeane Garofalo in 2012
Janeane Garofalo in 2012. (Image by TheeErin under Creative Commons license.)

Another comedienne I remember, in part because of a personal keepsake, is Angel Drake. Drake was a flamboyant songstress with an infamous (though fictitious) past. Sometime after she became a regular on the show, Drake revealed her real identity: stand-up comic Linda Hill. She was a guest one of the mornings when I watched the show in the studio, which explains how I got the photo below.

Angel Drake
Signed message: “To Randy – I hope you’re always as randy as your name implies — cuz you’re as good looking as Prince Andy, my old friend. Kisses, Angel Drake”

According to a quick Wikipedia search, Whoopi Goldberg and Margaret Cho also were guests on the show.

What About Robin?

Oddly enough, I don’t have any vivid memories of Robin Williams appearing on the program. However, a Google search dug up a YouTube video with a photo and audio from one of his appearances on The Alex Bennett Show.

When I was a regular comedy club patron in San Francisco, Williams was famous for dropping in unannounced at clubs (e.g. The Holy City Zoo) and doing guest sets. I always hoped that one day I would get lucky and catch him this way, but — sadly — I never won that lottery. I think the only time I saw Williams live on stage was at Comedy Day in Golden Gate Park.

The Rest

Steven Pearl was cut from the same cloth as Robin Williams, and some people considered Pearl to be Williams’ equal. He had a mind which raced a million miles an hour, and it could be hard to keep up with him. Pearl’s IMDb biography compares him to “a tornado on amphetamines” — which sounds about right.

Warren Thomas (who died prematurely in 2005) was another fixture of The Alex Bennett Show and a reliably funny comic with his own unique spirit and humor. He won the San Francisco International Comedy Competition in 1987 and influenced a great many comics during his life.

Scott Capurro was one of the few openly gay comics on Bennett’s show, and he had a special chemistry with Bennett. I seem to remember them constantly bickering back and forth (for the sake of laughs). Capurro went on to become very popular in the U.K. In recent years I’ve stumbled across him as a recurring guest on the Sarah & Vinnie’s Morning Show on Alice (KLLC).

A few regulars who were not stand-up comics stand out in my mind.

Mark Thompson was the weatherman on the local NBC affiliate, and he was a surprisingly engaging personality (with a great radio voice).

Ann Fraser and Ross McGowan, the hosts of the local “People Are Talking” TV show, had a light repartee with Bennett, and their appearances were always fun.

Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame) was not only a regular (and larger than life) guest on The Alex Bennett Show, he was also — for many years — the guest host of the show when Bennett was on vacation. Nobody could fully replace Bennett as the conductor of the madcap orchestra, but Jillette was a great stand-in and brought incredible energy to the show.

Penn Jillette in 2010
Penn Jillette in 2010. Photo by Jurvetson (flickr).

Bennett also had a wide variety of guests from other fields (actors, directors, musicians, politicians, and even porn stars) on his program. Even without guests, Bennett was an engaging and compelling personality, whether he was talking about the news, movies, his romantic woes, or the latest technology he was adopting (mostly for his videography hobby).

However, the special mix of stand-up comics was the important element and unique elixir that made his show magic.


The H Word

During his reign on San Francisco radio, Bennett consistently bad-mouthed and belittled Howard Stern, claiming that Stern had copied his radio act after hearing Bennett on New York radio. (Stern grew up on Long Island.)

Howard Stern in 2012
Howard Stern in 2012. (Image by Bill Norton under Creative Commons license. Image color corrected.)

After Bennett was fired for the last time at Live 105, and his morning radio show came to an end, I started listening to the Howard Stern Show. Eventually, I got hooked and became a daily listener and a huge admirer of Stern as an entertainer. Stern says he never listened to Bennett, even though he does acknowledge other radio influences.

I won’t get in the middle of that disagreement too much, but I will say that, as I listened more to Stern, I did hear a lot which reminded me of the spirit and sensibility of The Alex Bennett Show.

Eventually, Bennett and Stern overlapped for a number of years at Sirius Satellite Radio. Since I was such a big fan of both radio icons, you can imagine how much I enjoyed the day on June 20, 2011, when worlds collided! That morning, Stern took a remote microphone and “crashed” the Alex Bennett Show live on air — and the “King of Comedy” finally met up with the “King of All Media.”

You can read more about it on the web pages below:


Where Are They Now?

I won’t detail their entire career histories, but here is where you will currently find some of the regulars I mentioned above.

Alex Bennett bounced around a bit but eventually landed at Sirius Satellite Radio for many years (doing left-wing political talk radio). Today, you can find him still talking away at GABnet.

Alex Bennett 2018
Alex Bennett in 2018. (Image courtesy of Alex Bennett.)

David Feldman went on to a successful comedy writing career, winning multiple Emmy and WGA awards. He has a radio show on KPFK and also regularly publishes The David Feldman Show podcast. His podcast mostly features political talk, but old Alex Bennett Show favorites like Bobby Slayton and Larry Brown also appear periodically on the show (as does former Howard Stern Show sidekick, Jackie “The Jokeman” Martling).

Bobby Slayton has had a few movie roles (notably he played Joey Bishop in “The Rat Pack”), but he never got his big break in TV or film. Instead, he remained a working club comic and still performs to this day. He lives in Southern California, but still occasionally headlines at the Punch Line in San Francisco. I’ve enjoyed listening to his appearances on podcasts from David Feldman and Mark Thompson (see below).

The Rat Pack
The Rat Pack (image: HBO).

Mark Thompson moved to Southern California where he continued his TV work and established a successful voice-over career. You can listen to his infrequent but entertaining podcast at The Edge.

Larry “Bubbles” Brown still regularly performs stand-up comedy today and sometimes opens for Dana Carvey (as I learned in the “3 Still Standing” documentary). You can find his performance calendar on his website. Fun fact: Brown holds the record for the longest interval between appearances on the David Letterman Show.

In addition to the U.K. and U.S. versions of “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?”, Greg Proops has had a successful career as a voice actor in film, television, and video games. He hosts a “Proopcast” called The Smartest Man in the World.

Bob Rubin has had small parts in a few movies and also went on to write on “The Roseanne Show” (in 1998). I don’t think he performs regularly anymore, but you can read more about him on RubeTime. Marc Maron interviewed Rubin on his WTF podcast in 2014, and it’s a compelling listen. By the way, Maron was a regular on The Alex Bennett Show very late in its run on Live 105, and he has interviewed several comics from this golden era of San Francisco comedy on WTF.


How to Learn More

I wrote this post mostly from memory, with minimal research from the web, as I wanted it to be more of a remembrance than an official history.

For a more comprehensive overview of Alex Bennett and his radio career, including his glory days in San Francisco, you can check out his Wikipedia page and/or listen to his excellent “audiobiography” Life In The Passing Lane (via iTunes or GABnet).

If any ambitious documentary filmmakers are looking for a juicy subject, I think Bennett’s broadcast career is long overdue for a retrospective. The rich history of his San Francisco morning show alone could fill an entire film.

And now for a shameless plug! I’m also an aspiring screenwriter. After writing this post, an idea exploded into my brain and seized hold of me. I got inspired to rewrite one of my scripts so that now the two main characters are the host and producer of “The Alec Barnett Show” — a fictitious morning radio show inspired by … well, I think you know. You can find more info about “Out of Phase” and my other screenplays in my Creative Portfolio.


Updates

August 2021

Since writing this post, I’ve remembered several other regular comics who appeared on the show — thanks to the reader comments below and other random sources.

  • Tree
  • Kevin Pollack
  • Kevin Meaney
  • Jeremy Kramer
  • Doug Ferrari
  • Patton Oswalt
  • Jake Johannsen
  • Rob Schneider
  • Bill Hicks
  • Paula Poundstone
  • Michael Pritchard

Listening to Greg Proops as a guest on The Dana Gould Hour podcast, they made a passing reference to Matt Weinhold — yet another name I had forgotten from the show. I don’t have vivid memories of Weinhold, but I remember he was a regular and a favorite. According to his website, Weinhold was also an occasional guest host when Alex was on vacation.


Your Turn

If you have any of your own recollections of The Alex Bennett Show, I’d love to hear your memories in the comments. (Note to spammers: I moderate all comments.)

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61 Comments

  1. Ah, yes. Many were the mornings we’d rise at o-dark-thirty to drive up the Peninsula from Silicon Valley, wait on the sidewalk until we were let in, spend four amazing hours as part of a Live Studio Audience, then drag into work late.

    “Stranded on an island without my radio
    I have no luck on coconut to find the Bennett show
    I don’t know how much longer I can survive
    Without my daily dose of Alex, FM 105”

      1. I absolutely adored the daily Obituaries on the Quake. They were interesting, informative, and gave Alex and the comedians plenty to riff off for the rest of the show.

        “While you were asleep last night, here are some of the people who bought the farm…”

        1. I have long searched for the jingle to the Quake obituaries “crucifixi-a-um, crucifix-a-um”, that Alex and crew would sing each time they did the obits piece, but I have never been able to find a recording of it online.

  2. I was so happy when I found Alex on gabnet a few years ago. Hearing his voice again is just so soothing, and of course he still does a great show.

  3. Thank you for bringing up wonderful memories, I listened on KMEL, the Quake (still the best station ever) and 105.3. I can’t even begin to count how many times I missed college classes because I was sitting in the car listening to Alex and friends, laughing hysterically. Several of my family members were late to my uncle’s funeral, because we were all sitting in our cars listening to Tiny Tim on the Alex Bennett show. My mornings haven’t been the same since he left.

    1. Thanks for your memories, Susan! And I agree, about the Quake: it was my all time favorite station. New Wave was not cool at my high school, but I still proudly wore my Quake sweatshirt all the time.

    2. I moved to Texas from San Francisco over the summer between my Junior and Senior years of high school (1984). The Quake is where I first heard “Nellie the Elephant” by the Toy Dolls.

      When I got to Texas (a major metropolitan area) I called the local new wave radio station and requested “Nellie the Elephant.” They were stumped. The guy who answered the phone asked me to sing a bit of it. When I did, he interrupted me and said, “Are you sure that’s not a children’s song??”

      Uh, yeah. It’s not. 🙂

      It was decades before I ever heard again.

  4. Great article and I share the exact memories. I live in Vegas and have seen Bubs here when the Riviera was still around, we’ve since become friends and he would (despite hating music) come out and see my band at the Rio. Chuck Farnham has also become a friend and is doing well. We had BBQ together just a couple months ago when he was here for the defcon convention. That is an interesting man right there! I still have my cassette tapes from when I would tape the shows. I listen to the Christmas “Breakfast With Bennett” tape a lot around this time of year. Rube put out a CD a few years back, included on it is a recording of the holiday time favorite “Bruce, Bruce the Hanukkah Moose”. I miss seeing the shows and comedians that were a part of it, we were very fortunate to have Alex in the Bay Area!! That was a special time! Comedy hasn’t been the same since.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Daryll. I recall Farnham vividly from the show’s last few years at Live 105 and remember Muni buses (in SF) with advertisements for the show proclaiming “Now with Chuck and Bubbles” (or something to that effect). I did not get into Farnham in the post because it was already running long, and it would have been too complicated to explain (and remember) the oddball stuff he did on the show. I also used to record as much of the show as possible each morning and may still have a few cassettes in my garage (but not many devices left on which to play them).

  5. Great article, enjoyed the trek down memory lane. Straight out of Radio-TV midwest college, I was employed fulltime at the beloved Quake for almost 2 years (as programming, sales, billing coordinator)… So many fun crazy times interlaced with comedy scene. Wow.
    You forgot Kevin Pollack, one of my favorites who went on to be in several films. (Willow, A Few Good Men, Grumpy Old Men) Kevin was a staple on the scene and at the station.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kendra. I do remember Pollack as a regular on the show. There are so many other comics I could have mentioned (Kevin Meaney, Jeremy Kramer, Doug Ferrari, Patton Oswalt, Jake Johannsen, etc.), but I went with the ones who were most vivid in my memory. My hope was that readers would comment with their memories of other comics I didn’t mention, so I am happy to see that happening.

  6. I still to this day recite parts of when Kevin Meaney was on one day and was trying to get someone to do his impersonation of Sean Connery again. I used to have a recording of it. One of the funniest things I ever heard on that show. Well that and the person that would puke on command. Great article.

    1. Chris, I absolutely remember that show and a friend and I still bring it up. All I have to say to her is “Do it again” and she’ll sing “Do Sean Connery! Do it again.”

    2. The person Meaney was mercilessly harassing was Michael Snyder, the film critic who did their weekly movie reviews.

  7. Wow, this brought back such memories! Thank you for sharing. I was living in SF during this era (1983-1996). Went to a few Breakfasts and was in his studio audience a few times (he yelled at me once for being too loud passing around cookies I brought LOL).

    Here’s a question I’ve been wracking my brain about: there was a comedian, occasionally on Bennett’s show, who played a character in his act of a high society member, a witty effete, often in tuxedo and with a champagne glass in his hand. Have any idea who this might be? I still remember one of his jokes: “I spent New Year’s Eve by myself this year. It was a personal decision. Made by my friends.”

    Thanks again for the awesome post!

    1. Thanks for the comments, Mike. Good to hear from a fellow fan. I’m not sure which comedian you’re thinking of, but who comes to mind is Bude E. Luv. I just found his website in case you want to check it out.

  8. Thanks for the article. Great work! It was a classic radio show, and I too remember it fondly. The one person I’d also be interested to hear about was the woman Alex had on as kind of a sidekick when he was on Live 105. I think her name may have been Lori? If Howard Stern stole from Alex Bennett, Lori was like Robin Quivers. The woman did lots of announcements and sidekick stuff.. I remember that Alex liked getting porn stars on the show, and this woman didn’t seem overly excited by some of them.

    1. Dennis, thanks so much for the comment. Glad you liked the post. You are indeed thinking of Lori Thompson, who was the news sidekick on the Alex Bennett Show for its entire run on Live 105. Personally speaking, Lori was never a highlight of the show for me, which is why I didn’t mention her in my summary. I think Robin Quivers is actually far more integral to the success and chemistry of The Howard Stern Show (it’s hard to imagine the show without her) than was Lori to the Alex Bennett Show. That said, I know others were much bigger fans of Lori than I was. If you’d like to find out more about Lori, I did find her Facebook profile.

  9. Oh, the memories! The Alex Bennett show made my morning commute so much fun. I miss laughing that hard every workday morning. Remember this?…Lighten up everybody, the old Rube’s here! A couple of my favorites you didn’t mention are Jake Johansen, Rob Schneider and Dana Gould. I saw Dana last year in Portland and he’s still really funny. He was doing some political humor and a Trump supporter hurled a full pint of beer at him. It missed, the offended parties left and the show went on.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Karla. I did call out Jake Johannsen in the comment thread. I also remember being a fan of Rob Schneider, even before he was on SNL and in the movies. Dan Gould rubbed me the wrong way at first, but over time, he also became a favorite. I’ve also enjoyed Gould’s appearances on the David Feldman Show podcast and on the Greg Fitzsimmons podcast (Fitzdog Radio).

  10. I worked at a community silk screen store in San Francisco about 1977-81 before I heard the Alex Bennett Show on KITS/Live 105 for the first time. I was knocked out by the talent on parade and Alex’s effortless ability to juggle different, sometimes hostile personalities, and still have a great show over the long haul (3 hours?). I moved across the G.G., to work at the Mill Valley Main Post Office there and listened up to the time I transferred out of state. But one thing I did before I left was to record the Show on Tuesdays and Thursdays on cassette tapes. Those tapes and visits to comedy venues around the Bay Area have gone long to sustain me during the drought of laughs I found (and still find) in the great northwest, in this time of Commissar Trump and his scuttling minions. My question. Are there any recorded shows available to the general public that are owned by Alex Bennett? A couple of moves ago I lost my tapes and am desperate to get the old magic back. Thank you for any advice you can help me with.

    1. If memory serves, Alex’s show was actually four hours per day (6am-10pm). As for recordings of the show, I don’t know of any which are publicly available. As I mentioned in my post, you might listen to Bennett’s “audiobiography” or check out his current show on GABnet.

  11. I loved Alex, and I was a regular in the studio audience, since I worked the midnight shift, after work I would often squeeze into the tiny studio they had on 9th St between Mission and Market streets. One of my highlights was doing a duet with Joe Regelski singing the funeral song, Cruxi Fixiatum (sp)…….A few years later, I worked at City Hall and was able to get Alex a proclamation from the mayor to honor his 10th year of being on the radio in S.F.

    I loved Lori Thompson and Sal Castenada, it’s great seeing him on Morning on 2……..man, I miss those days!

    Thanks, Randy for this update and an awesome trip down memory lane.

  12. I was the only audience member one early morning, and watched an entire show with Greg Proops and Dana Gould. The riffing they did during the commercial breaks was funnier than any comedy show I’ve been to since.

  13. I remember when I first listened to him when he was on the Quake. My sister introduced me to him. It must have been ’83-’84. I was like 11-12. He was so unlike anything I ever heard before. The first show I heard was with Jeremy Kramer and some other comedian I can’t remember. I listened to him until he was fired from KITS. So many comics..! Slayton, Proops, Warren Thomas, Goldthwait, (I can’t name them all…..) He was a strong influence on me growing up.

  14. in 57 years, I never laughed so hard as one morning with Bill Hicks and David Feldman riffing away on each other’s inspiration. Alex at Live 105 was the greatest show I’ve ever known on radio … liked him better than Stern for sure.

    1. Paula Poundstone was on the show quite a bit. She was pretty funny. And Tree was also pretty funny. Skipped out on morning classes in high school a couple times when Bobcat was in the studio. Those morning radio shows were the best part of my high school and early college years.

  15. Glad to have found this article. I could remember Bobcat Goldthwait’s name but was struggling for that certain someone else. One morning he and Goldthwait did a riff on a Yahtzee playing dog – whose name I also can’t remember. But now you have given me Bob Rubin. Thank you. Now if I could find that gem.

  16. Many great memories both in studio and being at work in headphones, in tears with laughter and people around me wondering what was wrong.

    I regularly borrow Rubin’s “you can lead a horse to water but you have to be strong and determined to make him drink.”

  17. I was at that show with Bobby Slaton and Dana Carvey. I remember Dana Carvey brought me up and said i looked like him as a kid and then he and Alex interviewed me on being an 8 yr old in the 80s. Was a great morning show

    1. Clarke – so cool that you were at the same show, especially at 8 years old! You must have been some precocious kid (or dragged there kicking and screaming by a parent).

  18. The Alex Bennett Show caused me to rear end a Mercedes. I was driving to work one morning. The guests were Dana Gould, Greg Proops and I think Tom Kenny was the third one. I forget the set up but suddenly the three of them jumped into a improv Star Trek parody that lasted just long enough to make me laugh so hard I didn’t notice the Mercedes had stopped for a red light.
    Luckily we were in stop and go traffic so my 4 Runner didn’t even leave a mark. The guy driving the Mercedes was actually listening to the show too. Best of all He never reported it my insurance.

    I swore off Alex Bennett until the next day.

    What I thought Alex did that made it brilliant is that he didn’t try to be as funny as the comics. He played the straight man and got out of the way when they started riffing.

    I also remember George Gomez doing a bit on going to Walnut Creek for the first time.

    I wish there were recordings of the Alex Bennett show.

    1. Great story, Rob! My suspicion is that Alex doesn’t have the air checks or own the rights to them. Otherwise, his old shows would make a great podcast.

  19. I just stumbled across this while looking up Alex wondering where he was! You jogged my memory slot. We must be the same age, getting up early, going to the show…the funny. Funny times we had! It really was life-shaping at the time, and I couldn’t imagine a morning without listening to his show! Thank you for this!

    And one visit to studio gave my friend and me our longest-running joke. I am 6 ft tall long blonde hair. At this show, David Feldman kept exclaiming how much I looked like Daryl Hannah. (A daily occurrence back then.) Finally, he grabbed Bob Ruben, pointed and said: “look at her, she looks just like Daryl Hannah!” To which The Rube replied, “No she doesn’t, she looks like Smokey Robinson.” And that was that!

  20. I heard Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died” this morning on Satellite Radio, and that led me to search Live 105 and The Quake which led to Alex Bennett which let me here….thankful it did. I really enjoyed your memories and shared some of them. You brought back some names I have not heard in decades.

    I lived in Fremont, so I never made it to the show, but listened daily. I felt “connected” to the Bay Area comedy scene, and saw several of the comics perform in the East Bay. I actually bumped into Bob Rubin in the parking lot of a bank in Fremont, and greeted him with a “Lighten up, everybody, the Ol’ Rube’s here”, and he smiled, shook my hand, and talked with me for a while. He had a bit about “Hash Browns” that I wish I could find. Maybe it is better as a 30+-year-old memory…

    Your comments about Bobby Slayton picking on audience members are very true. My brother and I were at a front table at a Slayton show in San Ramon (forget the name of the club, haven’t lived in NorCal in a long time), and he was slinging insults at us. My brother was not as hip to the comedy scene as I was, and was taking things personally. He and I are both large individuals. Bobby is not. Bobby said something insinuating we were gay lovers, and my brother starts to stand up, and I stand up to stop him, and Bobby puts his hands up, backs up on the small stage and blurted out, “Fellas, it’s just a joke…” He didn’t pick on us again. If I remember correctly, that was the night before the 49ers won the Super Bowl.

    Last comment/memory: I will never forget when I was getting ready for classes at Cal-State Hayward, listening to the show, when Alex stopped mid-sentence to let Joe Regelski speak. Joe, clearly shaken, let us all know that there had been a terrible accident with the Space Shuttle Challenger and that it “blew up”. I was looking into the bathroom mirror, brushing my teeth, and my own reflection at that moment is permanently etched in my memory.

    Thanks again for the trip back to young-adulthood.

    P.S. Lighten up, everybody.

    1. Jeff – Thanks so much for the comment and the great stories about Bob and Bobby! I also remember the “Hash Browns” shtick but can’t remember the details.

  21. Thanks so much for this. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane. I started listening to Alex when the station switched to Live 105. You remembered it all perfectly IMO.

  22. Wow, the memories flood back! I remember the first time ringing the buzzer at 50 9th Street. Had no idea what amazing experiences would follow. In no particular order:

    – Drinking with Bob Rubin at the John Bull (across the street) on more than one occasion.
    – Getting sandwiches with comic Larry Miller for the audience.
    – Giving Slayton sh#! after seeing him for the third time in a pink tank top.
    – Dana Gould and I commiserating on who’s life was shi#!ier at the time (I had cancer).
    – Bob Rubin bringing his Mom and I sat next to her.
    – “Lighten up everybody, the old Rube is here.”
    – Arriving on a particularly slow morning, then suddenly the Ramones are there. Alex had them sign his Rick Astley CD. I believe that was the first Rick Roll. Also, Alex talked Johnny Ramone out of giving me his leather jacket. He let me wear it…amazing!
    – On a morning Alex was out, Lori had me sit on one of the guest stools. By 7:00AM, I was picking and introducing songs, reading her copy for the news and weather, and having a general banter with her. Was there the whole show. Funny thing…I was supposed to be at a job site and my boss heard me.
    – Bubs doing the traffic report… “There is a backup at the maze, what you call corn.”

    So many more… Thank you again for bringing this up and letting me share.

    1. “There is a backup at the maze, what you call corn.” – LOL! That brings back memories of Larry’s traffic shtick. Thanks for the (very specific) memories.

  23. The ‘Ol Rube, Bob Rubin can be seen on his new Netflix special, Bob Rubin’s Oddities and Rareties beginning May 19th. Putting it mildly. It’s long overdue that he finally gets a platform that truly highlights his standup after all these years.. Go Bob!!

  24. Made The Quake morning show a few times. Great to be there when the comedians are ad-libbing right in front of you. One morning I got to sit next to Bobcat Goldthwait for 3 hours while he sat there and drank a six-pack of Tab. Another time during a commercial break Michael Pritchard was dry humping another comedian who is smaller. I can’t remember his name, but he was yelling Skipper! Michael Pritchard retorted “I’m coming little buddy”! Good times.

  25. Thanks for the memories! I listened to the show religiously for most of the Live 105 years. I live(d) in the east bay, so I only made it to the audience once with a friend on a random whim. Turns out Alex was on vacation that day and Big Rick Stewart was standing in. Keanu Reeves was there with his band Dogstar. I remember it was pretty packed (even before Keanu was an internet idol) and I was standing by the door when he came in. He looked at me and said ‘Hey, what’s up’. That was the most memorable thing about that show, hah.

    After reading “What about Robin?” I seem to recall Alex having a pretty bad opinion of Robin and complaining about Robin stealing material on more than one occasion.

    1. Robin definitely had a reputation in the standup community for stealing material. His explanation was that his brain soaked up everything and he couldn’t filter where his ideas came from. For that reason, I think at some point he stopped watching other comics for fear of accidentally stealing their ideas. And, now that you mention it, I do recollect Alex badmouthing Robin for those reasons.

  26. Great read and memories!

    Did the low tech cassette recordings on my pink Sharp radio. Sorting through our garage and found about 50 tapes 😂

    I even have the commercials- would just pop in the TDK 90 ‘s and go 🙈. Afraid to listen.

  27. Excellent post;

    Brought a lot of memories flooding back. I found my way here because I was wracking my brain trying to remember the name of one of my favorite regulars, so thanks for restoring David Feldman to the ‘ol memory banks.

    Random memories from the Live 105 days:

    An appearance from Spuds MacKenzie, the Budweiser Party Dog. He showed up with a full entourage of “Party Girls” and was so sedated, the poor pooch nearly fell off the table. lol.

    Alex and Dana Gould, speaking in hushed tones during a commercial break; Alex expressing his very real concern to Dana that if Bobcat didn’t go to a professional voice trainer, he was going to do permanent damage to his vocal cords.

    Lori (in the small studio, on a packed day) getting up to go to the next room over, then pausing in the doorway to tell Alex something, while pressed up close against my (supremely grateful) 17 year old chest.

    (After the move to the big studio) An amazingly hungover Buster Poindexter, grunting hello to me, as he slowly died a thousand deaths behind a pair of black sunglasses, preparing a coffee in a styrofoam cup. (who’s bright idea was it to make morning radio *the* place to promote late night rock acts and comedy shows? ) lol

    And who could ever forget — LETTERS, OH WE GET LETTERS!! WE GET LOTS AND LOTS OF LETTERS!! Mailman, mailman, mail today – Just pick one up and @#%$@#%% put it where the sun don’t shine —
    MAILMAN, MAIL TODAY!!!!

  28. Quite a stroll down memory lane!

    My pal Scott and I were devout listeners from 1980!

    We were 9-10 years old in the beginning and listened to KMEL. I’d set my alarm to wake up at 6 to listen.

    Several times I conned my mom into taking us to the studio (Live 105). What was really cool is mom took us to a couple of Breakfast with Bennetts. THOSE WERE FUN!

    When we turned 18 a group of us started going the the PunchLine and Cobbs to catch some of the acts we enjoyed listening to weekly on ‘the Bennett Show.’

    Does anyone remember the time between KMEL and KQAK (Or was it KQAK>KITS??) where Bennett had a phone number that he’d update the outgoing message to during negotiations? I’d call that number daily after school! I think it was his ‘business line’…

    I also remember having crushes on Producer Christy Frasier and news diva Lori Thompson.

    Thanks for the memories!

  29. I just happened across this article today when I randomly thought of Alex Bennett, and wondered if he were still around. What a happy walk down memory lane! I used to listen to Alex when he was on Live 105 and I have so many fond memories of the show. Alex created a world for those of us who appreciated comedy. We felt like we were some weird kind of family. I was just a fan, but I actually enjoyed a moment of fame on his morning show once when I got a tattoo done live on the show. I remember Curtis, his intrepid assistant, coming to pick me up that morning in the Live 105 van, and taking me to the station. The guests that day were Slash, and some older proper woman who wrote a book about manners or something (I think her name was Leticia). It was an incredibly fun morning, and remains one of my greatest memories.

  30. Thanks for bringing back old memories! I was one of those “regulars” who packed the tiny studio at 6 am to see Alex and all those comedians who would come by in the wee hours of the morning to plug their show in Walnut Creek.

    I remember taking MUNI at 5:05 am to make sure I got to the studio in time in case there was a line. The old studio on 9th St. could only sit maybe 12 people. When Live 105 moved to a bigger studio, it was such a big improvement for the morning show, as they could now fit more than twice the people. We “regulars,” including Tan Man and the Potter Sisters Clair and Cindy, would stand outside waiting for Curtis or producer Stephanie to let us into the building through the back entrance off Harrison.

    I went to a number of Breakfast with Bennetts and Supper with Schwartzmans. One time after leaving a Breakfast Show at the old Cobb’s comedy club in the Cannery, I was walking to the bus stop and Marc Maron drives by and yells out “Hey man, lighten up!”

    1. Thanks for sharing your memories, Eddan. I think I visited both studios at Live 105, but it’s all pretty hazy now. “Supper with Schwartzman” — I had forgotten about his rare evening shows until you mentioned them.

  31. Wow, I so remember this show! I had the privilege of being the woman choosing between three men for a blind date and coming on the next day to tell all about it in studio. The guy was interesting but didn’t make any moves. The next morning when discussing the date I said that if he had tried I would have slept with HIM. Alex chided him saying I was a hottie. The date, who was on the phone, hung up probably out of mortal embarrassment. As an alternative, they set me up with Adam (?) Slayton, Bobby Slayton’s brother who was in studio that day. He stood me up, not answering calls to set things up. Bummer. He was good looking. I probably would have slept with him, too. LOL

  32. I listened every morning when I lived in San Francisco during three of my high school years.

    On one show, the comedians and Alex were joking about what an Alex Bennett Museum would contain and invited comments from callers. I managed to get through and suggested a wall display with a bank of phones where people could pick up the receiver and hear. . . Alex hanging up on them (which he routinely did on the show).

    He immediately hung up on me.

    I joined the comedians and the studio audience, howling with laughter. It still makes me smile today, 39 years later.

  33. Someone might have said this but my eyes are spinning after reading half the comments do I can’t find it. I called in sick to work one morning because Alex had Bobcat on and a couple of Bobcat’s friends, who were out partying and hadn’t gone to bed yet, showed up unannounced at the studio: Jeremy Kramer and Robin Williams. I couldn’t just shut it off, so I popped a tape in the boombox and called in sick. Robin (Jeremy and Bobcat trying to keep up) stayed *right* on the edge of FCC vulgarity limits with Alex hovering over the mute button, his voice a bit panicky. I might still have that tape somewhere.