The Wonder Show, a web series based on a long-running radio program and podcast from local filmmaker Michael K. Anderson, is now streaming on Funny or Die. The series follows Jim the Radio Guy, Mike the Radio Guru, and John the Radio Gross (three Midwestern deejays and the alter-egos of actors/series creators Jim Tudor, Michael himself, and John Gross), through their “surreal and wacky adventures such as battling an evil pizza restaurateur, contacting friendly ghosts, and discovering the joys of toasters.”
A press release for the series says of the show, which started in 1996 in Saint Louis, Missouri college radio station WEBU 660AM:
Although originally conceived as a typical “drive time” radio show, with topical gags and news, the series hit its stride when the three deejays started replacing the standard “riff on the day’s events” format with a story-based comedic sensibility closer to the classic radio comedies “The Goon Show” or “Firesign Theatre.”
Following Michael, Jim, and John’s graduation, the show became part of St. Louis’ WFUN 95.5FM lineup until the station was purchased in 1999. Tudor stayed in Missouri, while Michael moved to New York City and John to LA–but in 2008, with a little help from the internet, the trio reunited to begin their cross-country Wonder Show podcast.
“This web series is more an extension of the current podcast that we do, but the radio show, the podcast and the web series are all pretty much the same universe,” says Michael, who has has lived in Ditmas Park since February 2010 and has worked for outlets including PBS, Showtime, the Roundabout Theatre Company, and The Actor’s Studio.
“The Wonder Show really is a total collaboration between the three of us,” he says. “The ideas for the web series stories came from episodes we did on the podcast or radio series, all I had to do was pick out the best jokes and condense it into a 3-5 minute sketch – which, of course, was then changed and improved by the group when we filmed it.”
The web series will be comprised of nine episodes, with two episodes already up on Funny or Die for your viewing pleasure (warning: don’t watch The Pizza of Doom on an empty stomach). New installations of The Wonder Show will be posted on Thursdays.