Sowerby & Luff write…

Perhaps the most stupid of all the regular features in our early podcasts was Name That Bird. But as we were finding out more and more, the more inane the item, the more popular it became. Every week, we’d simply play the same irritating, high-pitched sound effect of a bird, and Georgina would try and guess what it was.

From: Jake
Subject: Name That Bird
“This has been annoying me for quite some time, cause I think I know the bird! So every time it plays I’ve been yelling at my computer “It’s a seagull! A seagull damn it!” For to me that’s what it sounds like. It sounds like a baby seagull. But I could be wrong.”

This utterly pointless competition, with no prizes, ran for months and months. Gary from Colorado suggested it might be a cardinal. Daniel from Idaho reckoned a spotted thick-knee. Julian suggested the common drongo. In every podcast Georgina would dutifully read her way through seemingly never-ending lists of obscure bird names, sent in by our loyal regulars.

Dean suggested emu, dodo, ostrich, pelican and flamingo. Laura suggested avocet, fish eagle, reed cormorant, green pigeon, stilt, and white headed vulture. When Georgina finally guessed it was a plover, after months of trying, the aforementioned Julian was listening to us on his iPod while sitting his mock GCSEs. At the exact moment she “named that bird”, a plover was mentioned in his exam paper.  This extraordinary coincidence posed two important questions for Sowerby and Luff. One: What the hell were we doing with our lives? And two: What the fuck was Julian doing listening to an iPod while he was sitting his mock GCSEs? Even after the bird was finally guessed, the emails continued to flood in:

From: Paul
Subject: Name That Bird
“I haven’t caught up to the most recent episode yet, so don’t know if you’ve guessed that bird yet. But it could be a red-billed hornbill or a superb starling. Otherwise, there is another bird which nests on the ground and fakes injury to lead predators away from its nest. But I don’t know what it is called.”

Name that Bird was what many comedy writers like to call a repetition gag, and repetition is at the heart of a lot of the material we create for our podcasts. Audiences seem to love repetition, and I have absolutely no idea why.

Memories of "Name That Bird"
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