Benny Jay: Me `n Sigourney

July 20th, 2017

This bit’s from the July 17th show. If you want to hear it, click right here


We’re calling this all is stage door Johnny Monday and here’s why…

So my wife and I are in New York City a couple of years ago and she says…

Laura as wife: Let see a Broadway show!

And I say….

Dennis as me: Yes!

Something you don’t know about me. I love Broadway shows. On the outside I may be a mild mannered talk show host. But on the inside, I wanna be—Ethel Merman!!

Laura, singing: There’s no business like show business there’s no business I know…

Anyway, we wind up seeing Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Hilarious show. It’s got a great cast, including Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce. My wife and I like it so much we decide to join the 50 or so people hanging around the stage doors waiting for the stars to emerge from the dressing rooms. That’s right—we’re stage door Johnnies. First out is Shalita Grant, who plays the maid. Great young actress. Remember that name.

Dennis as me: Hey, Shalita, good job!

She smiles and says…

Laura: Thanks.

Then I think–good job? I gotta come up with something wittier than that. Next is Billy Magnussen who plays the hunky young actor.  My wife says…

Laura as my wife: He’s even better looking in person than he is on stage.

You know, hanging around a stage door will turn any woman into a snarling cougar. Then, out comes Kristine Nielsen, who’s this absolutely, positively sensational comic actress. Right up there with Carol Burnett. I’m trying to tell her how much I love her performance. But I can’t get the words out.  So I wind up burbling.

Dennis as me: Ugh, uhm, ugh, habbida habbida habbida your sensational.

She smiles as if to say…

Laura: The crazies are out tonight.

Then comes Sigourney! Like, you know, we’re on a first name basis. And I say the first thing that pops into my brain.

Dennis as me: Oh, my god, Sigouney–I loved you in Ghostbusters.

Oh, my god, how lame.

All that’s left is David Hyde Pierce, who used to play Niles, in the sitcom Frasier. By now I’m chatting with Patricia, who turns out to be a teacher from Chicago in town to visit Unique, a college friend, who lives in Brooklyn. Did you get all of that? Well, you’d better—cause it’s on the test. And Patricia says.

Laura as Patricia: I love Frazier.

Dennis as me: Uh-huh.

Laura: I used to watch it with my dad.

Dennis: Really?

Laura: And my favorite character was Niles.

Dennis: Yeah.

Laura: And now all I want is a picture with David Hyde Pierce. Is that too much to ask?

At that moment, out steps David Hyde pierce.

Dennis as me: Gut check time, Patricia.

Give her credit. Man, she stepped out of the crowd. Went up to Pierce as Unique moved in with her cell-phone. And — snap!

In an instant, Pierce has disappeared into the night. But Patricia got her picture.

Dennis as me: Great picture, Patricia.

Laura as Patricia: I love David Hyde Pierce.

Just another perfect night for state door Johnnies.

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Randolph Street: Ride `em, Cowboy!

July 19th, 2017

1img011Cowboy Days–Wyoming


These pictures are from 1974.


2img010Pool Hall


3img013Cowboy Days


img018Cowboy Days


5img017Gift Store–Mt. Rushmore


All photos © Jon Randolph

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Randolph Street: Mack The Finger

July 14th, 2017




Cheerleaders–Keokuk, Iowa

3Jungle GymAS

Lake–St. Paul, Minnesota

4Hot Dog Man-New OrleansS

Hotdog–New Orleans, Louisiana


Demolition Derby–Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota


White Horse–Missouri, near the Arkansas border

This is a personal look at mid-America that I shot between 1976 and 1985. These were taken along the approximately 1700 miles of US Highway 61 that roughly follows the Mississippi River from New Orleans to Minneapolis, then juts northeast to Duluth and along the western edge of Lake Superior to Thunder Bay, Ontario. All photographs © Jon Randolph.

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Benny Jay: Give It Away

July 13th, 2017

This bit’s from the July 10th show. If you want to hear it, click right here


We’re calling this—hope it doesn’t give it away, Monday. And here’s why…

For the last few days, my wife and I have been watching a British TV show called Broadchurch. It’s the one about two detectives in a British seaside town who figure out a murder. It’s kind of like an Agatha Christie mystery, where all the suspects are paraded before you at the start. Sort of like the opening song in Beauty and the Beast.

Laura, singing: Tale as old as time–true as it can be…

No, not that Beauty and the Beast song.

Laura, singing: There goes the baker with his tray like always.

Yeah, that one.

Doris, singing: The same old bread and rolls to sell.

Dennis, singing:  Every morning just the same, since the morning that we came, to this poor provincial town.

Don’t you just love it when Dennis sings? Anyway, as this is a British town, everyone speaks with British accents. So you have one detective who’s a woman.

Laura in British accent: I’ll get to the bottom of this rubbish.

BroadchurchcastThey’re all weird in Broadchurch…


And another who’s a reporter.

Doris in British accent: There’s a bloody story here…

And they have dialogues like this…

Laura: Are you religious?

Dennis: Yeah. I pray every night you’ll stop asking me questions.

Don’t you just love it when Dennis does a British accent?

The whole point is to figure out which character committed the murder. Is it the news agent, with the sordid past?

Dennis as news agent: I can’t help it if I’m a bloody weirdo.

Or the weird lady who lives in the trailer park.

Laura as weird lady: Ah, you can kiss my bloomin’ arse.

Or, gasp, the sister…

Doris, singing: I could have danced all night.

Oh, wait, sorry that’s from a different show with British accents. Anyway, I don’t want to say anything that might give away the ending. Cause I hate when people give away the endings. In fact I remember one time my father came home from seeing Sleuth many years ago.

Me: Hey, dad, how was the movie?

Dennis: Great. And what’s amazing is there are only two actors in it.

Then I went to see Sleuth. Halfway through I realized by telling me there were only two actors, my dad gave away the ending. As a matter of fact I just realize that by telling you how he gave away the ending I just gave away the ending.

Sorry, about that. Anyway, back to Broadchurch. I’ll tell you what one character said…

Laura, in British accents: It’s always the mate you least suspect.

Hope it doesn’t give it away.

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Randolph Street: From Italy With Love

July 12th, 2017





3img060aTiled RoofSiena


4img057dClosing Time, Uffizi Gallery–Florence


All photos © Jon Randolph

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Benny Jay: Scream Along

July 6th, 2017

This bit’s from the July 5th show. If you want to hear it, click right here

We’re calling this –scream along Wednesday—and here’s why…

As you know, I’m a New Deal Democrat. I believe in progressively taxing the good citizens of the land to raise the money that government needs to fund the programs that a civilized society needs to remain civilized. And then—I get my property tax bill.

Dennis, as me: AHHHH!!!!

It comes twice a year.

Dennis, as me: Ahhhh!!

Once in the February or March. And once in July or August.

Dennis, as me: AHHHH!!!

There’s just something about getting that bi-annual bill that turns me into a raging lunatic.

Dennis, as me: AHHHHH!!!

It may be the paying part. Like, oh, the latest installment for roughly $5,400.

Dennis, as me: AHHHHH!!!

It arrived just the other day.

Dennis, as me: Ahhhhh!!

claretorrypinkfloydThe singer’s name is Clare Torry…


The property tax bill awakens my inner Republican–a beast I generally keep at bay.

Dennis, as me: You know, Rauner has a point.

As always my wife counsels restraint.

Laura: how dare you say anything nice about that evil man?

Dennis, as me: Well, okay, he’s evil for shutting down government. But, I’m just saying—does the bill have to be so high?

Laura as wife: You realize, of course, that if we freeze the property taxes, you’ll just have to pay for governmental service some other way?

Dennis as me: Yes, I know.

Laura: So I’ll just hear you moaning when that other bill comes due.

Dennis as me: You’re right.

Laura: So unless you want our schools to go broke or our streets to cave in–you might as well pay it this way.

Dennis, whimpering, as me: I know, I know.

Laura: Because we need to fund government, if civilization as we know it will continue to exist.

Dennis: But can’t we figure out a way to make somebody else pay more?

Laura: Benny, that’s not very generous.

Dennis, as me: How about Dennis? Can’t we stick him with more of the bill?

Laura: Benny.

Dennis as me: Or Yoda. Yeah, Yoda. Let’s make him pay for that baronial estate up in Cicero.

Laura: Berwyn.

Dennis: Whatever.

For the record, this year’s tax bill is almost 11,000. Of which about $5,700 is going to the Chicago public schools.

Dennis: AHHHH.

The same Chicago Public Schools that’s paying $70,000 in daily financing fees just on their latest bail out loan.

Dennis: Groaning…

So you might say I’m just sending my money to a bunch of rapacious, blood sucking Wall Street financers.

Laura: Benny…

Sorry. Anyway, you know The Great Gig in the Sky–that song by Pink Floyd?

Dennis starts playing the song.

The one with the screaming lady? Yeah, you know it. I think I’ll go sit by the turntable. And scream along…

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Benny Jay: One Thing Or Another

July 2nd, 2017

This bit’s from the June 21th show. If you want to hear it, click right here

As you know, the number to this station is 773-763-9278. I’ve had a few issues with that number, after Dennis marched into my studio one day a few weeks back, pointed to the sign on which the number was prominently displayed, so I’d never forget it, and proclaimed…

Dennis: Don’t need this anymore.

Me: Huh?

Dennis: Time to take off the training wheels.

And with that, he ripped off the sign and marched out of studio. Leaving me like Jackie Gleason in the Honeymooners…

Me: Haba-ba-habba-habba-dah.

You see, I got dyslexia. I reverse numbers all the time. Is it 9278 or 2978? Man, I’ve never seen Dennis so sorry. He put the sign back and, well, here’s the thing. Now I can’t get those numbers out of mind. It’s feast or famine, folks. I’ve gone from one extreme to the other. Like, when I’m in the store…

Laura as clerk: And what’s your saving card number, sir?

Me: Ugh–773-763-9278.

Laura as clerk: Hey, isn’t that the call-in number for the Ben Joravsky Show on WCPT?

Me: Wow! Yes. You’re a listener?

Laura as clerk: Are you kidding me? I love Yoda—he’s sooo hot.

Another time I was in the bank and the teller says..

Laura as teller: Sir, what’s your social security number?

Me: Ugh, it’s, uhm–773-763-9278.

Laura as teller: Like on the Ben Joravsky show?

Me: Yeah! That’s me.

Laura as teller: Oh, do you know Dennis? I love a man in a Detroit Tigers baseball hat!


She loves a man in a Tiger’s hat…


There’s no escape. Not only do I say that number every day. But I hear Dennis say it…

Dennis as Dennis: Call us at 773-763-9278…

And Dick Kay says it on Saturdays…

Dennis as Dick Kay: 773-763-9278…

And Brandon Johnson on Saturdays…

Dennis as Brandon: 773-763-9278…

And Scott Duff, on Sundays…

Dennis as Scott Duff: 773-763-9278…

And now Rickey Hendon, also on Sundays…

Dennis as Rickey: 773-763-9278. Did I tell you I do poetry?

It got so bad that I sought help from Swami Sam, a hypnotist.

Me: Swami Sam, I need help. I can’t get 773-763-9278 out of my mind.

Matt as Swami: Hey, isn’t that the number for the Ben Joravsky show?

Me: Yeah. Are you a fan?

Matt as Swami: Are you kidding me? I love Laura Vaughn. Anyway, I got just the thing for you.

And he puts on Candy Man. Not the movie—but the Sammy Davis Jr. song. And sure enough, I’ve forgotten all about the phone number. But, here’s the thing–I can’t get Candy Man off my mind. I mean, I hear it day and night.

Sigh. If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

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