Thursday, April 7, 2011

Press release: Carlsbad California resident's comedy routine about Three Mile Island reappears... unfortunately...

April 7th, 2011

Press release: Carlsbad California resident's comedy routine about Three Mile Island reappears... unfortunately...


Ace Hoffman, a 54-year old cancer survivor who has lived in Carlsbad the past 20 years, has been a computer programmer and educational software developer for the past 31 years.

But this week, he'll wear an old hat:  Comedian.

An odd comedy routine he created 32 years ago will be played again this Saturday night nationwide on the Dr. Demento Show, marking the fourth decade the routine has been played on the Dr. Demento Show (70s, 80s, 00s, and now the 10s).

Is it an old comedy standard?  Hardly.

But it's very timely again.  Unfortunately.

The routine is called "Three Mile Island Beatles" and features "cut-ins" of Beatles songs interspliced (actually done with spliced tape, back in the day) with a simulated "War of the Worlds" news commentary about the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island.

Aliens never landed, but nuclear power plants have continued to have trouble.  And the Beatles have continued to reign supreme.  And comedy still makes everything better.  So the routine's come back again.

"TMIB" also aired on several other stations when it was first released, but has found a recurrent theme on the Dr. Demento Show as first Chernobyl and now Fukushima Daiichi occurred.  The routine also aired on Dr. Demento's nationwide radio show in 2008 during a Beatles (comedy) special.

The author adds, "If meltdowns are the criteria for playing it, let's hope it never airs again!"

Hoffman has also created a You-Tube video to accompany the Three Mile Island Beatles comedy routine and has posted it online at his You_Tube channel:

He notes that he has never had any problem with copyright issues over his use of snippets of Beatles songs.  He has never heard from the Beatles or their (numerous, no doubt...) attorneys (knock on Norwegian Wood).  This may be, in part, because Hoffman had the routine checked carefully by professionals who determined that the shortness of the clips meant that prior law had indicated such use was permissible.  Others had done cut-in tapes before, although this was the first known instance of anyone doing a cut-in tape using songs from just one band.  Several other such tapes followed on the Dr. Demento Show.

Or perhaps the Beatles just like(d) it, too.  A lot of people did -- it made it onto Dr. Demento's Funny Five in the summer of 1979, while Three Mile Island was still high in people's minds.  Who knows what might happen this time if enough people hear it again and hear its haunting relevance to today's tragedy in Japan?

Hoffman knows it's not the same as being voted Performer of the Year, but for anyone who always wanted to be a comedian (like Hoffman has, but he also wanted to be a brain surgeon and that didn't work out either, and for similar reasons: He faints at the sight of blood) being on the Dr. Demento Show is "the top of the charts" as Hoffman puts it.

Dr. Demento is now on the Internet as well as on many radio stations:

In the intervening 31 years, Hoffman has continued to study nuclear issues and now has a book out, highly acclaimed by activists all over the world, explaining the technical concepts of nuclear energy to lay people.  It's called The Code Killers, referring to the damage to DNA code (our reproductive cellular instructions) caused by radiation.  The book is available as a free download from his web site:

Hoffman also has been writing a blog about nuclear issues for 15 years, one of the longest-running blogs on the Internet.  He has been releasing new blogs on a near-daily basis since the Fukushima Daiichi tragedy began unfolding.  They are available online at his blog spot:

Hoffman also is the owner and sole employee of The Animated Software Company, which develops and distributes educational software.  His four award-winning software publications, all of which he programmed and animated himself (some he had help writing), are available online at his company web site:

Software includes tutorials about pumps, statistics, the periodic table of the elements, and the human heart.  Hoffman's software is used in thousands of universities, as well as by governments and industry.  "Strange they won't listen to me about nuclear issues" says Hoffman.  So occasionally, to get the message out, he tries comedy.  And anything else he can think of.

In addition to the Fukushima-oriented video Hoffman created from the Three Mile Island Beatles routine he wrote in 1979, he has also posted an educational Fukushima-related video to accompany another comedy routine he wrote in 1986 about (you might have guessed by now...) Chernobyl.  That video has been viewed hundreds of times on You Tube in the few days it's been online, and other Fukushima-related educational (and sometimes somewhat humorous) videos Hoffman has posted in the past few weeks have already received over 6,000 views.  Hoffman's Shut San Onofre web site received over ten thousand "hits" in the first week after Fukushima:

"Hits at the web site spiked about as much as the Iodine-131 concentration around Fukushima" Hoffman deadpanned.

If anybody can find something funny in this tragedy, Hoffman probably can.  One thing's for certain: he's had more than enough practice.

Photo of Mr. Hoffman: