The Definitive Humble and Fred Interview
Humble and Fred are reuniting to record their 20th Anniversary Podcast of Memories on May 2. You're welcome to hang with us at the Dominion at Queen, just get there for 1:30pm.
In anticipation of this first Humble and Fred recording since February 11, 2007 when I joined the guys for the Humble and Fred Podcast of Love at Dan Duran's house, I peppered both Humble Howard Glassman and Fred Patterson with the same 13 questions.
Judging from their candid and interesting answers, May 2 is going to be a blast. Here's how it all went down.
Toronto Mike (TM): How did your first meeting together go? What was your first impression of each other?
Fred Patterson (FP): It was in Montreal in the summer of 1989. Danny Kingsbury was the Program Director of CFNY at the time and he thought Humble and I would work well together so they flew me to Montreal one day to meet him.
Howard picked us up at the airport in a Volkswagen Fox and then took us through a hairy ride through the city. He appeared to be an impatient driver and a bit of a nut but that assessment wasn't totally fair. He turned out to be a pretty patient driver.
Humble Howard (HH): Our first meeting went very well... We drank beer, made each other laugh and had a fine old time... My first impression of Fred was that he was very funny in a very odd way and a great guy. Pretty much my impression for the last 20 years.
TM: How exactly did you two end up with the morning shift on CFNY back in '89?
FP: I had evolved into a sportsguy / co-host with a few morning men at CFNY. Steve Anthony, Randy Taylor and Skot Turner. None of those guys panned out but the powers that be always wanted me to stay on as co-host and then Kingsbury came up with the Humble and Fred idea.
HH: I was doing mornings with Jeff Lumby in Montreal and in fact the PD and GM of CFNY originally wanted to hire Jeff and I to come to Toronto. Jeff didn't want to leave the MTL and after meeting with them, I called later and said I was definitely into it. Fred came to meet me and that's how the Humble and Fred show was created. Lumby later came to Toronto and worked mornings for many years at various stations.
TM: What's your all-time favourite Humble and Fred memory?
FP: Too many to mention. Generally my favourite memories deal with being on-air and coming up with relevant comedy and genuine laughter – something you don't hear a lot of these days, especially genuine laughter.
HH: Hard to say. We had so many great moments, huge laughs, a bit of success and a whole lot of fun. One of my favourite memories was the dude licking the pigs ass and not winning a contest... another was playing guitar with Steven Page while he sang Brian Wilson. Another great show was interviewing Kevin Smith with some no-name actor who was tagging along. Kevin was promoting Chasing Amy and the actor was hanging with Kevin while he was in town shooting Good Will Hunting. The Actor wouldn't shut up and Kevin, Fred and I kept making fun of him. That dude was Ben Affleck. I also loved the fact that we actually became number 1 with men and women 18-34 and never told anybody.
TM: If you could have done anything different with the show during its run what would that have been?
FP: There's really nothing I would do differently, however, if I could go back, I would have appreciated it more. We had a good thing going but while you're doing it you sort of take it for granted.
HH: Play less music.
TM: What was the dumbest thing one of your bosses ever said about the show or your work?
FP: It would have been said through management at the Mix. He asked us why we kept talking about personal things on the air.
The answer was obvious. We were doing the Humble and Fred Show. The show he paid big money for. You think he would have done a little more homework and realized what he was buying. Then again, we should have done a little more homework and realized what we were selling.
HH: One of our bosses told me that maybe we should stop saying the name of the Radio station and just count on people to know who we were.
TM: Name a person you interviewed who was a total jerk, a.k.a. The Billy Bob syndrome.
FP: Howard will agree. Al Waxman. He came in to promote something with little or no idea who we were and without realizing how large our audience was. He was an asshole.
HH: Al Waxman.
TM: CHUM FM had a long run with Roger, Rick and Marilyn. If you could have added a 3rd person, who would it have been?
FP: No question from my standpoint. Sandra Plugakis. She was outstanding as our newscaster back in the late 90s and would have been a great "official 3rd."
HH: Toronto Mike... or a really hot chick like Megan Fox. No scrap that, just Toronto Mike.
TM: Other than EZ Rock, what Toronto radio show would you awaken to today?
FP: John Oakley. I love talk radio and I like his presentation. I also enjoy Bill Carroll. I think there's a huge market for talk radio in Toronto, but with all due respect to the powers that be, none of them are doing it the way I would. It's got to be balanced with more fun and humour.
Very few people spend all day talking about what's wrong with the world, so why would they want to listen to it?
(Mike Stafford has the best balance in town. He can talk about absolutely anything and still make you chuckle – that's the key)
The MOJO format needed more time. They were on to something very good.
I should also say that I'd like to listen to Howard, but I don't have a vagina or any of the problems associated with having one.
HH: Bill Carroll.
TM: Is there something you guys did back then that you could never get away with now?
FP: I'm not sure any of the Really Tough Contest stuff would fly today. A couple had sex in a tent in our studio with a microphone in between them. Another guy beat off several times in the studio bathroom and I'm not sure you could gather a couple of hundred people at a restaurant to watch a guy lick a pig's ass.
HH: Probably not. We did some stuff (Attempted Crucifixion of our Producer) that we shouldn't have done then but we were pretty tame by today's Edge 102 standards.
TM: Is there a song you played which you couldn't stand?
FP: I'll spend the next few days compiling a list of shit we played at the Mix and then get back to you.
HH: Lots. I've always said that I loved a lot of the music, hated some and hadn't heard of lot of it. Which is the same description I could give today at the Mighty EZ!
TM: Why do you think you two worked so well together?
FP: We had basically the same sense of humour and played off each other quite well. It got to the point where you knew exactly what the other guy's reaction was going to be and that led to some great moments.
HH: I think we genuinely liked each other and considering we spent 5-6 hours a day for the better part of 15 years together, we got along remarkably well. Plus we both thought fart jokes were funny.
TM: Where do you see radio in 5 to 10 years? Are podcasts the future of radio?
FP: I can't begin to speculate, although I do wonder if there will be any music on the radio. I can't see it as the delivery system for music in the years the come given the huge leaps in technology.
Younger people are using the radio less and less and as time goes on older demos will become more comfortable with personal listening devices and use them more.
Sooner than later, the "immediate" spoken word is the only unique thing that radio will be able to offer.
HH: In Canada radio will be basically unchanged, although PPM will change the way it's programmed slightly, a lot of the same old will still be on and the real innovations will be taking place elsewhere. As for Podcasts, they already are where really great broadcasters are and maybe that's where H+F will end up on a more regular basis.
TM: Why the fuck aren't Humble and Fred still on the radio?
FP: Humble is, but if you mean together, I can't answer that. The business can be somewhat bewildering. Over the past week I've spent way too much time wondering why Ben Mulroney is on the radio now and I'm not.
HH: No idea... why not ask the PD at Jack FM, who's also the afternoon drive guy and janitor.
Only 11 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!