Firesign Theater's Peter Bergman: 1939-2012

Writer and comedian Peter Bergman, best known as a member of the surrealist troupe The Firesign Theater, died last night of complications from leukemia. He was 72.

Here is a selection of classic, short bits Peter did with Firesign Theatre:

Louis Marshman Editorial: [MP3]
Shoes for Industry: [MP3]
Giant Toad Supermarket: [MP3]
Mr. Liverface: [MP3]
Rock or Roll Memory Bank: [MP3]

Here's a radio interview with Firesign co-founder Phil Proctor about the passing of his longtime collaborator and friend.

UPDATE: Richard Metzger says farewell:

The last time I talked to Peter was a few weeks ago. I'd picked up the Albert Ayler Holy Ghost box set, and there, on one of the live discs recorded in Cleveland in 1966, was Peter introducing the band! I called him up that morning and he excitedly told me about that event and we laughed a lot and I told him that he just HAD to write his autobiography.

"Pete, you're the 'Zelig' of the rock era! You've been in a film with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Farrah Fawcett. You coined the terms "love-in." You smoked a joint with Bob Marley and the Wailers when they were your opening act [True, the Wailers opened for Procter and Bergman in Boston. Pete told me the joint was "arm-sized"!]. You guys gigged with the Buffalo Springfield. You've worked with Spike Milligan, and now here you are with Albert Ayler, for god's sake! I mean, come on! You have to do this!"

Peter seemed to like the idea of writing an autobiography (a lot) and we talked about electronic publishing and Kindles and stuff like that. I had heard just a few days before, from my best friend, Michael Backes, that Peter was sick, but Mike said he played it off very cavalierly, like "Hey, if you're going to get leukemia, this is the best kind of leukemia to get!" (meaning the most easily treated and managed with medicine).

I waited for the topic to come up on the phone that day. It didn't, but just as I was about to broach it, Peter got another call and hopped off the line. It was the last time I spoke to him.

(Image: Firesign, in 1971. Thanks, Taylor Jessen)