Dr. Demento & Weird Al Yankovic on NBC’s “Real People” in 1982!

By on April 2, 2017

Happy Birthday today to Barret Eugene “Barry” Hansen — better known to Night Flight fans as Dr. Demento — born on April 2, 1941, in Minneapolis, Minnesota!

Here’s a fun video clip we found of Dr. Demento and Weird Al Yankovic appearing on the NBC TV show “Real People” back in 1982!


Hansen is an American radio broadcaster and record collector specializing in novelty songs, comedy, and strange or unusual recordings dating from the early days of phonograph records to the present.

He created the Demento persona in 1970 while working at Los Angeles station KPPC-FM. After Hansen played “Transfusion” by Nervous Norvus on the radio, DJ “The Obscene” Steven Clean said that Hansen had to be “demented” to play that.

Thereafter, the name stuck. His weekly show went into syndication in 1974 and from 1978 to 1992 was syndicated by the Westwood One Radio Network. Broadcast syndication of the show ended on June 6, 2010, but the show continues to be produced weekly in an online version.


Hansen has a degree in ethnomusicology, and has written magazine articles and liner notes on recording artists outside of the novelty genre. He is credited with introducing new generations of listeners to artists of the early and middle 20th century whom they might not have otherwise discovered, such as Haywire Mac, Spike Jones, Benny Bell, Yogi Yorgesson, Stan Freberg, and Tom Lehrer, as well as with bringing parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic to national attention.

(h/t Wikipedia)

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Not familiar with “Real People”? Have a look here, and enjoy this bonus clip of the show’s opening sequence, featuring Sarah Purcell, Fred Willard, Skip Stephenson, Bill Rafferty, and Mark Russell!

Last year, Hansen also wrote an exclusive remembrance of Stan Cornyn for us.


Happy Birthday, Mr. Hansen!


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
  • http://www.facebook.com/meepmorp Meep Morp

    Don’t forget the movie “Under the Smogberry Trees: The Dr. Demento Story” with Weird Al, Barnes & Barnes, Chris Hardwick and Jimmy Fallon, coming in late 2016 from Meep Morp http://www.smogberrytrees.com

  • John Michael Schuster

    I would listen to Dr. Demento on the way back to college in 1978 on Sundays at Midnight. It was a 2 hour drive, and he was great company. Happy Birthday.