Mike O’Brien may have stepped away from Saturday Night Live after six seasons as a writer and one as a featured player, but he hasn’t stopped writing the hilariously awkward and surreal sketches that have become his brand. Now, O’Brien plans to release these sketches, but not on SNL — in a comedy album.
The album, entitled Tasty Radio, is meant to give the listener the feeling of scrolling through channels on a radio. Each of these radio stations is one of O’Brien’s sketches, and he’s also gotten an impressive collection of fellow SNL stars to appear as guests. You’ll hear the voices of Bill Hader, Fred Armisen, Vanessa Bayer, Seth Meyers, John Mulaney, Jason Sudeikis, and many more pop up on the album. (Sudeikis even photographed O’Brien for Tasty Radio, as seen in the first-look photos above and below.)
Finally, probably the biggest (and most surprising) name on the comedy album is Scarlett Johansson, who recorded a track entitled “Sexy Bible.”
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While sketch comedy is enjoying a heyday on television right now thanks to the success of recent shows like Inside Amy Schumer, Key & Peele, and Portlandia, the concept of a sketch comedy album can feel pretty archaic. There have been successful stand-up comedy albums and musical comedy albums in recent years, but nobody is trying to bring sketch comedy to an album format in the vein of older artists like Nichols and May or early Adam Sandler.
For O’Brien, it’s a labor of love for a format that he’s grown up listening to. “I’ve been a fan of sketch comedy albums since high school, when I first heard Adam Sandler’s albums,” O’Brien tells EW. “I remember times where [my friends and I] would be early to a movie or we just had nothing to do in Toledo on a Friday night and we’d sit in a parking lot of Taco Bell and listen to Sandler’s albums in a car, dying laughing and doing the voices.”
Of the recording process, “We recorded it all at Broadway Sound, which is in the historic Brill Building just north of Times Square,” says O’Brien. “I didn’t know the significance of that building and everything that was recorded there at first, but now I do. They let us go in after they were done for the day so we weren’t interfering with their regular business. So I’d meet my guest there at 7 or 8 p.m. and we’d record with one or two sound engineers that agreed to stay until midnight or so and then go out for a beer. It was the best.”
Tasty Radio will be released on Oct. 30 via Comedy Dynamics, but you can hear the sketch “Fun Girls” from the album right now.
In “Fun Girls,” O’Brien nervously calls the most dysfunctional phone sex hotline in existence, featuring Vanessa Bayer, Bill Hader, Nasim Pedrad, Cecily Strong, and Fred Armisen.