Making Old Ladies Cry Since 1995 - by Ken Freedman & Liz Berg
Fig. 1 - During an episode of talk show Seven Second Delay, callers provided hosts Andy Breckman and Ken Freedman with the name and number of someone who needed cheering up. A young woman called in and suggested that the hosts phone her Aunt Tess, who was living in a nursing home. Andy called up Aunt Tess, and when he explained that her niece had asked him to send her good cheer, the poor woman began to cry. Andy milked more tears by gushing about the thoughtfulness of the niece’s gesture. Sept. 25, 1995.
Fig. 2 - Two high school kids in a band called up during an episode when callers were asked to play their answering machine messages over the air. The band members played a message that another bandmate had left for them, in which he earnestly chatted about the group’s new songs and expressed excitement about their next practice. Trouble was, the callers wanted him out of the band. Andy jumped at this opportunity to call the unsuspecting teenager and kick him out of the band over the air.
Fig. 3 - On another occasion, Andy offered $50 to any kid who delivered their tooth to WFMU before the end of the hour instead of leaving it for the tooth fairy. A kid named Henry called in on a cell phone and his mother Wendy agreed to drive him to the station to trade the tooth for Andy’s money. The pair were stuck in traffic on the way, but upon reaching the station, the situation appeared favorable to Henry… until he and Wendy hopped into the station’s notoriously slow elevator. Still on the phone, Andy berated the mother and son, building the pressure and making it sound as though they were too late for the money. At this point, poor Henry lost it and broke into tears in the elevator. But in the end, Henry made it to the studio in time, and gladly took Andy’s $50. Listen to this archive in real audio here.
Illustration by Mark Kaufman