In the play Talk Rad!o by Eric Bogosian there is a lot of commentary about the kind of people who call in to talk radio shows. In the play for the most part the people are what I like to call “sheeple.” Now that is a mix of the words ‘sheep’ and ‘people.’ Clever, huh? These sheeple are all calling in to talk to this man Barry Champlain. Barry is your stereotypical loud mouthed, no fuck’s given, biased, asshole radio host. He constantly berates his callers and almost always hang up on them. But, Barry isn’t the point here. What I want to talk about is the callers. The little people. The voiceless finally given a voice…for about 15 seconds. These people jump on topics of general interest or maybe they bring whatever non-interesting life mishaps seem to happening that day. The callers in this play are characterized mainly as people who just want to talk to someone. We can only speculate as to why for most cases. Maybe these people are lonely. Maybe they are just passionate. Maybe they are reaching out to someone for help. Maybe they are just bored. It’s hard for me to say what would compel anyone to call in to talk to Barry Champlain. Maybe they think they will be interesting enough for him not to hang up. Or maybe they think they will be cool enough for him not to make fun of them. The point is Barry cares about one thing. Making a commotion. Making it interesting. The people want to be a part of that.
Talk Rad!o by Eric Bogosian: Talk Radio Callers