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Don, Mike & Mike

April 06, 1999

If "Seinfeld" was a television show about nothing, then "Don and Mike" is a radio show about nothing.

These two radio personalities would howl indignantly and hilariously about being compared to Jerry Seinfeld - a comedian whose recycled material and self-aggrandizement they despised so much that they went to the trouble to send a surrogate heckler to Seinfeld's recent HBO special.

And, frankly, these radio personalities would take umbrage at being called "radio personalities" rather than plain old white-bread disc jockeys - these are equal opportunity trashers, and no one suffers under their acid tongues of criticism more than they themselves.

Their four-hour running commentary on pop culture (broadcast nationwide and heard locally on 1490 WARK from 3 to 7ish) can be filthy, vile, disgusting, childish, putrid, revolting and tasteless - which is precisely why I listen to it with the same happiness and tranquility with which I might listen to a pair of nesting meadowlarks singing in a golden summer meadow.

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Of course when you rant disrespectfully there is always the chance that you will sometimes be extremely smart and extremely funny. Last week for example, they were phoning hotels in Serbia under the name of Allen Bania asking to reserve the Milosevich suite.

No one is faster to spot a shyster or a bogus claim. Don and Mike were the first to cut the poor little millionaire movie stars down to size when they complained about the inconveniences of the paparazzi.

And they know a good routine when they hear it.

Some months ago, an individual known to Don and Mike only as "TV Icon Boy" began calling the show with a curious gimmick: He had recorded audio clips from certain stars (one day it would be Larry King, another it might be Bob Barker) and would use these cuts to carry on a back-and-forth, impromptu "conversation" with Don and Mike.

TV Icon Boy had a recording of Bob Barker saying "Michael?" To which co-host Mike O'Meara would respond "Yes Bob?" and off they go.

"Do you have a new game for me Bob?" O'Meara asked.

(Recorded Barker:) "Yes."

"What kind of a game?"

"Michael? No matter how loyal you have been to 'The Price is Right' you have not seen this game."

"Really, well I'm excited, how do I play, Bob."

"Michael? It's terribly complicated."

"Well let me try Bob, what do I do?"

"Pick a number."

"How about three."

"You are a winner!"

"Great, what do I win Bob?"

"How 'bout a car."

"That's great Bob, what kind of car?"

"Don't you worry about what kind of a car."

And so on. One skit was built around a recording of Larry King saying "I pass out chemicals to children," and yet another around Mr. Rogers talking about the pleasures of tapioca pudding.

And who is this anonymous caller, the comedic genius behind the mask of TV Icon Boy? Turns out it's Hagerstown's own Mike Quinn, who works at WARK in the afternoons.

Clearly, he gets my Washington County Celebrity Award for 1998/99.

The celebrity Quinn resembles most (the most frequently asked question Don and Mike put to their callers) is a young Woody Harrelson. Quinn will spend hours sifting through television programming, collecting taped snippets of personalities such as Barker, David Letterman and Regis.

He got the idea, he said, from Don and Mike themselves, who would call 900 smut hot lines on the air and confuse the girlie who answered with an array of taped, celebrity voices.

"Honestly, one of the funniest things they would do was when they had live people talking to a tape," Quinn said.

The Don and Mike show is about as spontaneous as they come, so there's no way to predict when TV Icon Boy will strike next.

Or as who. As Bob Barker would say, "It's terribly complicated."




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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