Wait, who is this?

By MIKE MILIARD  |  July 16, 2008

If Earles and Jensen seek to inject a bit of joyous surrealism into people’s days, they also often leave folks flummoxed by the abstruse pop-cultural references they cram into their conversations.

In one call, Jensen puts on his best stoned-drunk redneck croak and dials an elderly lady who buys antiques. He tries to hawk a collection of every Simon & Simon episode on Beta tape. A painter’s cap from Jackson Browne’s 1983 “Lawyers in Love” concert tour. A “Jar-Jar Binks doll from that Star Trek movie.” The poor woman has no earthly idea what he’s talking about.

Theirs is a universe where Murphy’s Romance, Elayne Boosler, and Renault’s “Le Car” are name-dropped without a second thought. Earles was deeply influenced in his teen years by long, dark nights of cable TV (often gazed upon with lysergically dilated pupils). “I made a bad habit of that. And I think that those years of absorbing completely fucked-up television had an impact on the development of my sense of humor.”

So be forewarned: even though Earles takes pains to stress “that I’m not just a guy who sits at home prank calling people all day,” he and Jensen do plan to get together soon and record another batch of calls.

Be especially vigilant in the late-morning and early-afternoon. Earles says that’s a common time to crack the phone book. “I find that when I have a mind-shattering hangover, for some reason I have a different sort of wit around me. I’m a little giddy. Not only do things make me laugh, but I joke around a lot in a delirious fashion.” Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, “I try not to have many of those anymore.”

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