Firesign Theatre’s David Ossman to perform at Doe Bay


David Ossman of the well-known Firesign Theatre is coming to Orcas Island to perform at Doe Bay Resort on Friday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Ossman has been called many things. A poet, comedian, producer, anthologist, and teacher, he’s been dubbed a “political poet extraordinaire” by and “conceptually in another world while inhabiting this one” by Brad Schreiber of Huffington Post. The Firesign Theatre web site,, describes him as wearing “a dizzying number of hats in nearly forty years of performing, writing and directing the audio medium.” Ted Mills of “All Music Guide” suggests Ossman is the most literate of all members of Firesign Theatre.

Although Ossman’s poetry, translations, scripts and nonfiction have been published widely, Ossman isn’t sure of Mills’ take.

“It’s true that I’m the only ‘published poet’ in the group but perhaps what he spoke of was the strengths we each have brought to Firesign. Mine may have to do with form and literary disciplines,” Ossman said. “Literate? Hmmm, both Peter and Proctor went to Yale, for heaven’s sake!”

Best known for his role as George Tirebiter in Firesign’s “Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers,” Ossman collected radio interviews in 1960 titled “The Sullen Art.” The collection is considered a classic of the Beat-era poets.

Jill McCabe Johnson of Eastsound said, “When we were kids in the 70s, my brothers and sisters and I would sneak downstairs to listen to Firesign Theatre. They kept us laughing even though many of the social and political references went over our heads. In our neighborhood, you simply weren’t cool if you didn’t listen to Firesign Theatre.”

Often compared to Monty Python, the Firesign Theatre’s four-member troupe entertains with stream of consciousness performances that reference politics and pop culture mixed with sound effects and music. Comprised of Ossman, Phil Proctor, Peter Bergman, and Phil Austin, Firesign debuted on radio in 1966 with a three-hour mock news broadcast and improvised satirical drama montage. The troupe has performed together for over four decades and will tour the West Coast for the coming year.

Ossman began writing science fiction stories and poetry at an early age. His voice credits include Pixar’s 1998 “A Bug’s Life.” He voiced many characters on “The Tick” and has narrated PBS’s “NOVA,” NPR’s “The Sunday Show” and the rock and roll hall of fame’s “I Want To Take You Higher.” Recently, Ossman published a book of poetry, “Fools & Death,” and a mystery novel, “The Ronald Reagan Murder Case.”

Held in the Doe Bay Resort café, the Ossman show is free to attend.

The café will serve diners starting at 5 p.m. and reservations are required due to limited seating. Call the café at 376-8059 for information.