Joe Frank  

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"I'm sitting at a dinner party attended by Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin and Mao."--"Bad Karma" (2000) by Joe Frank

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Joe Frank (1938 – 2018) was a French-born American writer, teacher, and radio performer known best for his often philosophical, humorous, surrealist, and sometimes absurd monologues and radio dramas he recorded often in collaboration with friends, actors, and family members.

In 1978-1984, Joe performed in, and produced 18 dramas for the "NPR Playhouse," which won several awards. His 1982 monologue "Lies" was used, without permission, as the inspiration for the Martin Scorsese movie After Hours. He later settled out of court for a modest settlement.

Frank's radio programs are often dark and ironic and employ a dry sense of humor and the sincere delivery of ideas or stories that are patently absurd. Subject matter often includes religion, life's meaning, death, and Frank's relationships with women.

Frank's voice is distinctive, resonant, authoritative, and, because of his occasional voice-over work, often oddly familiar. At the 2003 Third Coast Festival, he explained that he was recording in Dolby and playing back without it, which created Joe's now familiar intimate and gritty sound. A 1987 Los Angeles Times article described it as a voice "like dirty honey" and "rich as chocolate."

The repetitive cadence of the lounge music, drones and Frank's dry, announcer-like delivery are sometimes mixed with recorded phone calls with actor/friends such as Larry Block, Debi Mae West and Arthur Miller (not the playwright), broken into segments over the course of each hour-long program.

Typical episodes include "Bad Karma" (2000) and "That Night" (1994).

Synopsis from "That Night":

"Joe's uncle drowns while fishing a week after retiring, urban animal criminals, voyeur complains about a nude woman, sex with nuns in a limo, an elderly marching band and homecoming parade has been lost for 40 years and is being chased by homecoming queen's fiance, creating life-size maps, to Jesus: why is there so much suffering, we're on the edge of chaos, it's great to feel a part of nature monologue with traffic background, monologue on sleep (repeated in other programs)." [1]

See also

Blue Jam, Francis Ford Coppola, Radio drama, Benny Paret, Ira Glass, All Things Considered, After Hours (film), Radio documentary, KCRW, WBAI, Third Coast International Audio Festival, Brother Theodore, Red Planet (film), Julian Barratt, Joe Franklin, David Cross, Jack Kornfield, Ege Bamyası, Grace Zabriskie, Infernal Bridegroom Productions, Men in the Sun, Joseph Minion, Strange Cargo Hinterland, Debi Mae West, Jeff Crouse, Chel White, Larry Block, Brent Weinbach, Kristine McKenna, Dirt (1998 film), Joseph Frank, Clement von Franckenstein

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Joe Frank" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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