The teacher has passed.

jay-bob-rayI was sad to hear of the loss of Bob Elliott this week, not only because I always enjoyed Bob and Ray’s bits so much, but also because that duo taught all of us radio people an invaluable and much-needed lesson along the way.

I’m talking about “The Komodo Dragon,” in which Ray interviewed the world’s foremost authority on the eponymous species (played, of course, by Bob). What made the bit so hilarious—and, for some radio people, so painful—was the fact that Ray consistently asked questions of the “expert” which the latter had already answered in a previous response.

Example: Bob’s “expert” at one point stated, “We have two [Komodo dragons] in this country that were given to us some years ago by the late former Premier of Indonesia, Sukarno, and they reside in the National Zoo, in Washington.”

Ray then asked, “I believe I read somewhere, where a foreign potentate gave America some Komodo dragons. Is that true?”

To this day there is no better example of an interviewer failing to listen to the responses before framing the next question. It’s hard to estimate how much mileage I got out of that bit in teaching radio people at all experience levels how to conduct an interview.

If I could, I would say to Bob, and to Ray, “Thank you for the dozens of brilliant comedy routines you brought us over the years. . .and especially for providing an important lesson in our ongoing mission to improve the skills of radio people everywhere.”