Tucked away rather quietly on XM 202 The Virus channel with heavy weights Opie and Anthony, and perhaps often ignored and out of the spotlight of Howard Stern fans who may flip through the dial on SIRIUS 197, sits the “The Worst Kept Secret In Radio”: the Ron and Fez show broadcasting Monday through Friday 11am -3pm ET.
The “buddies” as fans call them, are led by former stand-up comedian and cigar connoisseur Ron Bennington. Ronnie B, aside from having a cupcake which bears his name, managed Ron Bennington’s Comedy Scene in Clearwater, Florida in the early 80s and is credited for discovering comedian Jim Breuer. It’s Ronnie B’s quick wit and fast one liners that fans of the show sit on the edge of their seat waiting for…regardless of whether the show topic is a fan calling in, the current topic of the day, or the misadventures of one the of the shows Co-hosts. The atmosphere is carnivalesque, and Ronnie B takes center ring as head barker.
Ronnie B is joined by sidekick Fez ‘Marie” Whatley. If Ron is the consummate comic straight man, it is poor Fezzy who assumes the role of comic relief. Check that. It is Fez who fits perfectly into the sympathetic role of psycho-I’m seeing a shrink daily-my life’s a mess-I suffer on air-heart attacks-fans confuse me with a homeless person-and I have a sexual secret-I may reveal on air soon. Most listeners buy in and sympathize with Fezzy and join the Whatley Posse. Others grab sticks and join the fun in poking at Fezzy’s miserable life. After all, even Fezzy’s own cat hates him.
Fez’s most recent show contribution was trimming his mustache Hitler style, and wearing a diaper through the streets of New York. His “Baby Hitler” look was all the rage. He currently has a shaved head while sporting a fashionable toupee and roams the SIRIUS/XM studios displaying his “hair system”.
Other characters in the Ronnie B carnival of the absurd are East Side Dave and Black Earl. At all times the listener is aware of the comic genius of Ronnie B. The show is not produced or scripted. Mr. B, as sidekick ESD sometime refers to him, knows exactly when to pull the strings* to get his staff and interns to chime in and open their wide mouths wide enough to insert their feet. It is like a “work” in wrestling, or an old carny trick. He only feigns interests in these guys comments because he knows they will set him up for one of his killer one liners.
East Side Dave, for the record, has actually been suspended by SIRIUS/XM for on-air stunts. Black Earl, who worked at WNEW-FM during the Opie and Anthony years, is now back after quitting on air. He earned his name, not because he his African American, but because he wears only black and prefers rock music to hip-hop.
For new listeners tuning in, it may take awhile to get used to some of the “inside” jokes, running bits, and the plethora of regular callers that provide the backdrop for Ronnie B to provide his biting social, cultural, sports and news commentary.* But then the Ron and Fez show is just a bunch of friends or “buddies” sitting down and just shooting the breeze. The daily “Ichibon” is when listeners call in with their breaking topic of the day. There is even “Twitter Gossip”, a segment where fans of the show report what other fans are saying or doing on Twitter. “Hayseeds” are what Ronnie B refers to callers who live outside the New York area. “Ham and egger’s” are the fans who work 9 to 5 jobs.
If you are bored of listening to radio shows talking about radio shows, give Ron & Fez a listen on XM 202 SIRIUS 197 (With Best of XM). The show airs 11am EST to 3pm EST and replays 1am to 5am. And if you are on Twitter you can follow @202Friends or go to the Ron & Fez fan website. More related Twitter accounts for the show are East Side Dave @rfeastsidedave, Earl Douglas “Black Earl” @edouglas528, and of course Fez Whatley @fezwhatley.
Written by RC.
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