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Monkey Tuesday

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"It's Monkey Tuesday!" is commonly shouted by fans when encountering all things monkey

"If all the world can just learn to come together in their common love of listening to stories of monkeys injuring themselves, there will be an end to all war."

-- Sharon of Canada (July 18, 2006)

Monkey Tuesday was the name given to some Tuesday episodes of Penn Radio on Free FM. Hosts Penn Jillette and Michael Goudeau read emails and took calls from listeners with stories about chimpanzees, orangutans, and other primates, yet because "monkey" is a funnier word, all were referred to as monkeys.



[edit] Origin

Penn told a story of a party at his home where he invited Tarzan, a performing chimpanzee. He had also invited a friend, Arturo, a dwarf, unaware that Chimpanzees fight for dominance with people of small stature. Goudeau had expressed surprise at Penn's naivety, "I thought you were circus," he criticized. He informed Penn regarding the dangers of having both a dwarf and a chimp at the same party (a social gaffe easily avoided by one who was truly "circus"). The show ended before the entire story could be told.

The next day, April 12, Penn finished the story. After phoning Arturo to uninvite him but not having the heart to follow through, Penn worked out a compromise: Tarzan and Arturo could both be at the party as long as they were in separate rooms. As an added measure of security, Penn and a posse of trusted party attendees armed themselves with knives to protect Arturo from Tarzan.

The best laid plans of mice (or monkeys) and men often go awry and Penn's party proved the proverb. Tarzan and Arturo met poolside and, predictably, Tarzan charged Arturo. Arturo, more circus than Penn, wisely had a plan to jump into the swimming pool as Chimps hate water (Chimps, lacking buoyant body fat, sink like rocks in water). However, Arturo ended up "hauling ass" into Penn's house. Tarzan initially pursued Arturo but got distracted by the other guests. The party proceeded with the guests shuttling the chimp into various rooms to allow Arturo to move around. Later they found Arturo a tall barstool to stand on. Tarzan, though confused, decided not to challenge.

April 18, 2006 seems to be the first show where the phrase Monkey Tuesday was used. During that episode Penn read an email from a fan describing a childhood trip through a wildlife park where the fan and his brothers fed monkeys Certs through a car window. When the Certs ran out, the monkeys reached into the car and grabbed his brother. This caused his mother to "execute her plan" and sped off in an attempt to shake off the monkeys while his grandmother simultaneously "executed her plan" and rolled up the back window, trapping the monkeys' hands. The story ended with the window being lowered with the car still traveling at high speed, causing the monkeys to fall off the car and spit out mouthfuls of Certs as they hit the ground.

The tradition continued on May 9 when Penn read several letters and listeners called in with amusing monkey stories.

These stories were a raging success with listeners, notably readers' personal monkey stories flooded in until, quite swiftly, a tradition was born. Since both of the original stories were told on a Tuesday, Penn quipped they had inadvertently invented "Monkey Tuesday". The name and day stuck.

[edit] Classic Monkey Stories

Some Monkey Tuesday stories have become "instant classics" with the hosts and listeners.

Birth of a Catch Phrase: One large section of the May 9, 2006 radio show was cut after a caller told about going to a zoo and seeing an orangutan masturbating while watching a good looking female schoolteacher. The young man remarked to his father "Dad, they're just like us!!", a line which Penn and Goudeau would quote in later shows as "Pops, they're so much like us!" Most of this story didn't make it to the air. Penn subsequently described this story as "probably the best story in the history of mankind" and promised a rebroadcast (albeit with "bleeps" included). Another story, from the same episode, that was mostly cut involved a monkey throwing feces. During the May 9 show Penn promised to get the full uncut clip up on the web site but it never appeared. It was later independently confirmed (by Penn, after his live show) the full story involved the Monkey masturbating into his hand and then proceeding to eat his own semen.

These two stories have led to a (loose) rule that monkey stories should avoid the topics of sex and fecal matter whenever possible. Subgenius callers may, at Penn's discretion, have this rule waived.

When Monkeys Explode: Another story came from a Green Beret who called in to the show to tell how he once woke up to find a monkey banging something on the butt of his rifle. He noticed that it was a hand grenade and immediately started waving his arms and screaming at the monkey, which then promptly ran off into the woods, still carrying the ordnance. When he notified his sergeant of this and of his intent to go off into the jungle after the ordnance, the sergeant stated that he'd been watching the monkey for 5 minutes and that the safety clip was off and the pin was half out. An expletive rich exchange followed along with "when were you going to tell me this, I was only about 5 feet away from this thing." About 15-20 minutes later the soldier heard a loud explosion. "He got the pin out somehow," said the caller.

Monkey House of Love: One of the "nicer" stories to come from Monkey Tuesday involved two teachers from separate schools who were both on field trips to the same zoo. While at the "primate house" one of them yelled out Monkey Tuesday!, which attracted the attention of the other teacher. The two struck up a conversation, first about the show, then about other things and have since begun to date. Of particular note in this story is that both teachers live and work in England and are podcast listeners to the show.

Xenu So Loved the World He Gave His Only Begotten Monkey: On June 27, 2006, early in the show Penn mentioned a listener who visited the Penn and Teller magic show on the 25th and presented Penn with a crucified toy monkey to be autographed. That listener was Jason Snyder, a College of New Jersey computer science student who was visiting Las Vegas with his professor attending a conference. A photo of the crucifixion is available.

First Overseas Call: A special milestone was reached in the history of the show on July 11, 2006 when English listener Berenice called in, making her the first overseas caller to Monkey Tuesday. She told the story of a French ship referred to as the chasse marée, which was wrecked off the coast of Hartlepool during the Napoleonic Wars. The only survivor was a monkey in a French soldier's uniform. An impromptu trial was held on the beach and, on the strength of the evidence that the monkey could not understand English, the monkey was "convicted" of being a French spy and hanged from the mast of a fishing boat. The people of Hartlepool have since begun to refer to themselves as Monkey hangers. She also told of the monkey-suited mascot from the local football club who ran successfully for mayor of the town (and has subsequently been re-elected) on the platform of free bananas for school children.

The Bride Wore White with Horror: A rare post "Pops, they're so much like us!" monkey story involving monkeys self-pleasuring. During the July 25, 2006 show, caller Joanie told a tale of attending a high society wedding held at the Philadelphia Zoo. The reception was held in a hall with various plexiglas cages containing representative samples of zoo animals. Behind the table of the bride and groom was -- wouldn't you know it -- a cage with a pair of monkeys. During the reception, much to the initial surprise of the newlyweds, their guests gasped with revulsion. The bride turned around to see one of the monkeys saluting the bride in his own special monkey way. The crack catering staff quickly tacked up a sheet to shield the shocked bride and horrified "blue haired" set from this inappropriate (albeit heartfelt) honor.

He Ice Screamed His Last: The July 25, 2006 show also featured the first story involving a human death. Caller Mike related a story from his childhood. When he was a child, Mike was at a small mom-and-pop zoo outside of Baltimore. The zoo had a caged monkey, Coco (not its real name). Coco loved ice cream. One day Coco broke out of its cage, charged an ice cream stand, and then bolted up a tree. The monkey's handler tried to lure the monkey out of the tree with an ice cream. The monkey leapt on the handler, bit his middle finger off, and then jumped up and down on the man's chest, killing him in the process. The monkey proceeded to enjoy the ice cream. The monkey was summarily executed by the surviving zoo staff.

Why You Should Never Wet Nurse a Monkey: The September 19, 2006 show had a caller named Ali, a woman with self described very large 44D breasts. She was at a petting zoo with her husband and was feeding a baby spider monkey through a baby bottle. When the bottle emptied, the monkey slipped inside her bra and latched on to her nipple in an attempt to continue feeding. Several attempts to remove the monkey from her breasts were not successful so Ali's husband decided to remove her bra to help dislodge the monkey. As he undid the bra the monkey panicked, slid down, and bit down hard on her nipple, biting it off. A trip to the emergency room ensued with the monkey who still had the nipple in his mouth. The nipple was removed from the roof of the monkey's mouth and was reattached to Ali's breast. Much of the story was dumped by the New York office, as "nipple" was judged as potentially violating FTC obscenity rules. This story was referenced in caller Neil's alternate Monkey Tuesday lyrics (see below), and the line referring to the bitten breast was dumped in the same way the original story was. However, as Neil sang the song three times, the censored line slipped through in at least one broadcast.

Sure-Fire Penn Pleasers: Stories that involve monkeys smoking tobacco products seem to be particularly popular and welcomed. This is due to Penn's frequent quoting of his late friend, Barry Marx: "There is nothing funnier than a smokin' monkey!"

[edit] Reception

Monkey Tuesday is perhaps the most well known and popular aspect of Penn Radio (other than the hosts). It has helped significantly to boost ratings and bring more people to the show. Now hundreds of people call and write in each week.

Many show fans have taken to shouting "It's Monkey Tuesday!" in public or private, be it Tuesday or some other day, when happening upon all things monkey related. In public, this has a way of signaling to other secret Penn Radio fans wherein one's sympathies lie. At least one romance has come into being as a direct result of shouting "It's Monkey Tuesday!" (see Classic Monkey Stories above).

[edit] Music

The Monkey Tuesday theme, composed by Penn & Teller's band leader Mike Jones, debuted on the April 25, 2006 show (the John Lennon Séance show). It quickly became the most requested piece of music in Jones' repertoire. Despite having published seven albums, he is asked three or four times a night by fans at the Penn & Teller show to play the Monkey Tuesday theme.

The theme was played at the top of a Monkey Tuesday show. Also, whenever either Penn Jillette or a caller said "Monkey Tuesday" the board operator (Patrick) must play the "Monkey Tuesday" theme (link goes directly to MP3) by Mike Jones. Penn sometimes would say "the Tuesday of Monkeys" to not invoke the music. The music was, however, not to be played for Michael Goudeau. When mistakes on this rule have been made (for example during the May 23, 2006 show), especially mistakes that cause the music to be played for Goudeau, Penn would get (comedically) angry while Goudeau issued an evil chuckle. Fill-in co-hosts were allowed to trigger the music. This was established when Mac King co-hosted on a Monkey Tuesday when Goudeau was on vacation. Monkey Tuesday: Mac King Edition - May 30, 2006 Penn formalized the "no theme for Goudeau" rule on the June 6, 2006 (ie 666) Monkey Tuesday.

Interestingly, the Monkey Tuesday theme was not played for Happy Jack while he was substituting for Goudeau on the December 19, 2006 Monkey Tuesday. It is possible, however, that Patrick was having an off day and wasn't paying close attention. It was the first day Penn was back in the Vintage Nudes Studio after a couple weeks of remote broadcasts.

During the September 11, 2006 show (the fifth anniversary of 9/11), the theme was not played when a caller mentioned Monkey Tuesday.

[edit] Lyrics

The October 3, 2006 Monkey Tuesday introduced a version of the theme with semi-official lyrics. The lyrics were written by David Oakey and sung by Penn's associate Jeff Welsh (who did the vocals for Penn's play "Love Tapes"). On the November 21, 2006 show, caller Neil offered his own Monkey Tuesday lyrics. Neil somewhat unsuccessfully sang them in time to the Monkey Tuesday theme. The "Biting off a breast" line was censored. Penn intimated he liked Neil's lyrics better.

A listener created a remix of the Monkey Tuesday theme with Neil performing the lyrics, chopped up and mangled to fit in tune. The mp3 is found here ( (link inactive as of 2008-05-12) and a more stylized one found here ( (link inactive as of 2008-05-12).

[edit] Special Monkey Tuesdays

[edit] July 4

The July 4, 2006 episode fell on a Tuesday and was dedicated to special patriotic monkey stories and music. Mike Jones performed a few varieties of the Monkey Tuesday theme comprising many traditional American songs plus the UK, French and Canadian national anthems with elements of the Monkey Tuesday theme music mixed in. Barring any papal changes to the current calendar, the next 4th of July Monkey Tuesday is scheduled for July 4, 2017. Ostensibly the world will bear witness to another (and possibly greater) installment of Monkey Tuesday.

[edit] Halloween

Alerted by Wikipedia's article about Monkey Tuesday that Halloween would fall on the October 31, 2006 edition of Monkey Tuesday, Penn announced on the July 11, 2006 edition of Penn Radio that they had tentative plans to do a special Halloween Monkey Tuesday in New York. Penn and Goudeau speculated they might do the Halloween Monkey Tuesday in an auditorium where the entire audience would be dressed as monkeys or monkeys wearing traditional Halloween costumes on top of their monkey suits (e.g., a monkey dressed as a robot, a monkey dressed as a clown). Penn noted despite their grand vision, a lot of people had to sign off on this plan and the "Monkey House of Horror" show (as dubbed by some listeners) might not come to fruition.

The actual October 31, 2006 Monkey Tuesday was a more low key affair, insofar as having Gilbert Gottfried as a guest can be described as "low key". The show took place in New York but was done from Howard Stern's old studio. Goudeau was, as he often is, left back at Vintage Nudes Studio to silently Google. A few members of the public were in attendance. Some dressed as monkeys and, per a late suggestion by Penn, some came dressed as cohost Michael Goudeau. One listener carved a King Kong "cruise ship" style pumpkin in honor of Monkey Tuesday coming to New York.

While there were no monkey stories called in or proffered by the audience, Penn grilled Gottfried on a monkey-themed movie Gottfried made in 2004 called Funky Monkey, a movie which one IMDB reviewer commented "May God have mercy on their souls!"

[edit] November 7, 2006 Mid-Term Elections

The 2006 mid-term election Monkey Tuesday had a less overt monkey theme but featured a call back by Allison, the woman with self described very large 44D breasts who had her nipple bitten off by a baby monkey. See Classic Monkey Stories above for details. Many callers did reveal they monkeyed with the electoral system and voted for Penn as a write-in candidate for a wide range of political offices. Penn was, for example, one voter's candidate for Attorney General of New York and another voter's candidate for state comptroller. Penn promised if he won either election, his first (and possibly only) act would be to find out what a state comptroller actually does. Penn, however, failed to gain a majority in any of the races for which he unknowingly stood.

[edit] Future Holidays Falling on Monkey Tuesday

Should Monkey Tuesday have continued there were going to be several holidays that fell on a Tuesday and would have possibly featured a similar monkey tie in. Christmas (December 25) falls on a Tuesday in 2007. Remembrance Day/Veterans Day (November 11) falls on a Tuesday in 2008. Presidential Election Day (United States), which is always the Tuesday between November 2 and November 8, will be a potential Monkey Tuesday. These can no longer happen because Penn Radio's last show was on March 2nd, 2007.

[edit] Monkey Tuesday Preemptions

Early in the formation of Monkey Tuesday, Penn theorized not every Tuesday would be a Monkey Tuesday. Monkey Tuesday might be a random event. Penn likened it to the psychological phenomenon of random reinforcement inherent in gambling addictions. It would keep listeners coming back for more. However, Monkey Tuesday has been a regular feature of Penn Radio save for the following preemptions:

  • The April 25, 2006 Monkey Tuesday was preempted for a report by Lennon Seance Contest winner Garrett. He gave a report about the John Lennon Pay Per View Seance.
  • The September 26, 2006 Monkey Tuesday was preempted for a taped show with Phyllis Diller. Penn ruminated on the possibility of the September 26 show being the beginning of the end of Monkey Tuesday. He toyed with the idea of letting Monkey Tuesday finish on a high note, namely the September 19, 2006 show wherein a woman caller told a story of having her nipple bitten off by a baby spider monkey. Penn ultimately concluded that it was better to simply let Monkey Tuesday continue until it withered naturally.

[edit] The Future of Monkey Tuesday

On the December 19, 2006 Monkey Tuesday, Penn indicated that show might be the last Monkey Tuesday. On the January 2, 2007 show Penn announced they would still take monkey calls on Tuesday although he intimated Patrick would be screening calls and only really, really good monkey stories would get through. Penn reasoned that his Vegas show was no longer "dark" on Tuesdays and the excitement level brought on by doing both a full-blown Monkey Tuesday and his show at the Rio would be too great. The January 2, 2007 did ultimately feature a monkey story about a guy spending his New Years stoned and hitting on anything in front of him, including a trained pet store monkey.

On the January 8, 2007 show Penn answered fan complaints about the apparent demise of Monkey Tuesday and reiterated that Monkey Tuesday would never be truly dead. "If it's a Tuesday, it's a Monkey Tuesday. It's as simple as that," said Penn on the January 8 broadcast.

[edit] References

Occasionally Penn will suggest another day in the week be devoted to some obscure or off-the-wall topic, such as Blood Fluke Friday, Topiary Friday, or Military Torture Thursday. All of these talks eventually evolved in to "Pull of the Weasel Friday".

[edit] Other Shows/Podcasts with Regular or On-Going Monkey Topics

Penn Radio was the only radio show/podcast to have designated a day for monkey stories.

The Ricky Gervais Show on London's Xfm (and later podcast) did include a weekly section called "Monkey News", in which Karl Pilkington read monkey stories (again, covering several types of primates) of dubious factual accuracy. This show is currently off the air, however, and Karl has claimed that he would not be continuing Monkey News when it returns.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast had an ongoing debate between co-host Perry DeAngelis and the rest of the "Skeptical Rogues". On the May 10, 2006 podcast Perry claimed any monkey could take any bird in a fair fight. The other cohosts felt some larger birds (like eagles) could probably best a monkey. Perry's untimely death in August 2007 has brought the debate to an end. In the days following Perry's death, it was generally agreed by cast and listeners that Perry was right.[citation needed]

Skepticality: The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazineinitially devoted a portion of its podcast to Monkey News beginning with the show's first episode which aired on May 7th, 2005. Co-host Swoopydiscontinued Monkey news when it became a fixture on other notable programs, although it's often requested that she reprise the feature.

Washington D.C.-based The Don & Mike Show, which was on several affiliate stations with Penn Radio, mentioned Monkey Tuesday in passing. The one-off comment came from news presenter Buzz Burbank in response to another host (jokingly) asking whether that day on their show (8/28/2007) was "Helper Tuesday" or "Copycat Tuesday". [1]

Ongoing Monkey topics are not limited to Radio. Comedy Central's The Colbert Report has a random re-occurring segment known as "Monkey on the Lam". The first story was of a monkey that escaped a zoo. Colbert was excited that his art department had make a special graphic animation of a monkey riding a lamb and shooting a pistol. His joy was short lived as he was told the monkey was quickly recovered. Since then he has used the graphic several times when he discovers interesting monkey-related topics that can be viewed as a "monkey on the lam"

[edit] Podcasts

The First Monkey Story:

  1. The stories that define Penn (Arturo vs. Tarzan Part I) - April 11, 2006
  2. Three Jugglers talk Politics (Arturo vs. Tarzan Part II) - April 12, 2006

Monkey Tuesdays:

  1. Monkey Tuesday - April 18, 2006
  2. You Have To Read The Monkey Stories On Monkey Tuesday - May 2, 2006
  3. Monkey Tuesday - May 9, 2006
  4. Monkey Tuesday - Matt Drudge In The Other Room Edition - May 16, 2006
  5. Monkey Tuesday: Zolten Penn Jillette Edition - May 23, 2006
  6. Monkey Tuesday: Mac King Edition - May 30, 2006
  7. Monkey Tuesday: Angry Chimp - June 6, 2006
  8. Monkey Tuesday: Dominatrix Edition - June 13, 2006
  9. Monkey Tuesday: Pops, They're Just Like Us (Wikipedia article mentioned) - June 27, 2006
  10. Monkey Tuesday: PATRIOTIC MONKEY TUESDAY!!! - July 4, 2006
  11. Monkey Tuesday: International Edition - July 11, 2006
  12. Monkey Tuesday & The Stem Cell Veto - July 18, 2006
  13. Monkey Tuesday: Death and Violence - July 25, 2006

[edit] External links