Sunday A.M. Radio: 'Fishing with John'

I’m not a big fisherman. When it comes to fishing my best skill is drinking cheap beer in a boat, which as far as I can tell, makes me an excellent fisherman. I’ve caught a catfish or two, but honestly fishing is kind of boring, although I think that’s kind of the point. Hanging out on a boat or along the shoreline with a friend, casting out some lines, waiting, talking, not talking and soaking up nature – that’s what fishing is all about. If you think fishing is mostly boring, than you really must think fishing shows are boring. (Although if Dean Ween’s fishing show ever happens I will watch every episode.) But have you ever seen “Fishing with John”? It’s still kind of boring, but it’s boring on purpose and also very weird and funny.

“Fishing with John” was the brainchild of John Lurie – actor, painter and musician (with the avant garde jazz group The Lounge Lizards. “Fishing with John” aired on IFC and Bravo in 1991 and later was released by The Criterion Collection in 1999. “Fishing with John” is ostensibly a fishing show, although not a whole lot of fish get reeled in. During the show’s six-episode run John and his celebrity friends travel to Montauk, N.Y., Jamaica, Maine, Costa Rica and Thailand, while narrator Robb Webb supplies bizarre non-sequiturs.

Lurie supplies the soundtrack to each episode, including the hypnotic theme song. And here it is. On loop. For an hour.

Check out the rest of the soundtrack, which opens with Webb’s narration: “Life is so beautiful. For some more than others. Every breath. Every day of our lives. Ahh, fishing.”

But you really need to see an episode to fully get it. So here’s John Lurie and Tom Waits as they fish, sing, bicker, fish, play a game of cards and put at least one fish down the front of at least one pair of pants.

Now that’s a keeper.

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Posted in Sunday A.M. Radio, Television

Mike Andrelczyk is a features editor for Fly Magazine. He is a graduate of Penn State University and currently lives with his wife Stacey in Strasburg. Interests include tennis, playing bad guitar, poetry (poems have appeared in Modern Haiku, The Inquisitive Eater and other journals) and oneirology – the study of dreams – mostly in the form of afternoon naps. His name appears in the title screen of Major League 2.

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