Firesign Theatre - Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (1970)
Firesign Theatre's previous work had already proved that the troupe wasn't particularly interested in releasing conventional comedy albums. While earlier albums had longer pieces, Don't Crush That Dwarf is the first time they dedicated an entire album to a single theme. Although initially it sounds like a loose collection of semi-related items, it later becomes clear that the whole album is a look through the past of a single character, George Leroy Tirebiter, with a few flips of a television tuner knob taking you through his early days as a child star all the way up to a This Is Your Life-style reflection and beyond. Television and movie parodies still figure prominently throughout: "High School Madness" is a hilarious spoof on wholesome '40s boys' adventure films, but the group also takes on war films, televangelists, commercials, and more. In many ways, this is a comedy concept album. What's more, it moves past comedy in places, proving that you can be funny while remaining intelligent. The group even throws in a touch of poignancy at the very end. Masterful.
01 Tingings: This Side
02 Tingings: The Other Side