The Ticket's Gordon Keith Talks About the Creation of His Funniest Radio Characters
For years, one of the hallmarks of The Musers -- the morning drive show on KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket -- is the parade of characters Gordon Keith rolls out on a daily basis. P1s have collectively cracked up at Fake Jerry Jones' incoherent ramblings, Fake Nolan Ryan's fixation on snow monkeys and Fake Tiger Woods' arrested development, but some of the show's best characters are the more esoteric creations of Keith, who uses them to push the limits of comedy and awkwardness among his co-hosts, George Dunham and Craig Miller.
"My favorite high-concept, failed character is 'Man Who's Trying to Have a Period,' says Keith, or as he's known to P1s who love him and hate him, The Great Gordo. "George stopped the show for a minute after that one."
See also: Mike Bacsik's Radio Rebirth
As The Ticket marks its 20th anniversary as Dallas' favorite sports radio station -- and a model for sports radio nationwide -- Mixmaster got with Keith, who let us in on the creation and background of some of the characters he's created over the years.
"This was just supposed to be a one-off character and then around September people would start asking if we were going to do Big Tex again. So it feels locked in. We've reinvented him many times. I think one year he was focus grouped and went by Big Mex."
"Everyone knows someone like this guy -- $40,000-a-year millionaire who is always overselling himself, talking about all his latest toys, cars, trips, women, paychecks, etc. He's a walking glossy brochure of what he thinks life should be like, but never is. That's why he jumps out the window every time he is found out. I think I based him on a sales guy that used to work at The Ticket."
"I've known several youth ministers who were effeminate, pushy and painfully out of touch. I basically did this character as an excuse to do 'church bulletin humor.' I grew up in church in the South so I know the rich vein of material that is there. I don't know if non-churchgoers get much out of the character, but the ones who do love it. Ice-cream social, pancake dinners, lock-ins, handbell trips to Pecanland Mall in Monroe, Louisiana. All of that was from my youth."
"I think it is such a silly title for a piece of art. Sounds like something out of Inspector Gadget, which is a hip new cartoon featuring the voice of Don Adams. I wanted to make it evil. A mixture of Satan, the Oracle at Delphi and some sort of Arthur C. Clarke monolith. I like it that Jerry prays to it in an attempt to curry its favor to harness its powers, instead of, you know, just drafting better or hiring a GM."
"This is one of Craig's creations. Craig has always been oddly obsessed with the way men dress in sports. He is very visual when it comes to the way the male body should look in a costume."
"This was one of my earliest characters. In the first few months of The Ticket, George and Craig wanted to do a new character -- a kind of seedy guy from the Northeast. I liked making him have nothing of substance to say, so he just bluffs through player evaluation by citing things like 'leg to knee ratio' and 'acute inverted nipple extension.' To this day, every time I want to kill him off, George and Craig object."
The Ticket Mouse
"This was an excuse to use a harmonizer digital-effects processor. It's always funny to hear your voice through one of those things, so we knew we had to make it a tiny animal. Therefore, Ticket Mouse. Of course, the silly thing is that every bit ends with George and Craig getting him some heavy gift. An unabridged dictionary, a bucket of free weights, or something. And then tossing it to him thinking he can catch it. You know the rest. He then describes seeing Mouse Jesus and Yoda through labored breathing before he passes away. He always comes back, though."
Jesse the American Airlines Center Usher who whistled
"This whistle-talking came from an old assistant principal at my high school. He would do the school announcements and I always scored laughs with the ladies by imitating him. Unfortunately, it didn't help me score other things with the ladies. The halting old man voice is something I just love. I spent a lot of time listening to older people when I was a boy. I liked the way they told stories even when the stories didn't go anywhere. So a lot of the cadence and phrasing Jesse uses is from those older relatives in my youth."
Mushmouth and the Professor
"This was some crazy bit that Corby [Davidson] and I used to do with our buddy Davy Lane. We would prank athletes with the wackiest fake morning show of all time. Eventually that bit died, but I loved writing the Mushmouth character so much that I resurrected him for the morning show. He's one of my favorites."
All-time favorite character
"My favorite all-time character is Fake Greggo [Williams}. It was by far the most dynamic, energetic and pleasurable character I've ever done. I had about six different versions of him that I could pack all into one -- Blustery Greggo, Panicky Greggo, Pig-grunting Greggo, Country Greggo, Trying-to-be-British Greggo and, of course, Little-girl Greggo who thought Rhynes was his mom. I hate that today's Ticket listener doesn't really remember the real Greggo in his prime and his glorious twin Fake Greggo."