Stop laughing! There's more to Bill Allred than frat-house humor.
On a recent morning, X96’s Radio From Hell, infamous for its Boner of the Day award and in-depth Celebutard News, Bill Allred, a member of the show’s hosting troika, was cracking wise with his co-hosts about judging a barbeque contest at a Murray bar.
Co-host Gina Barberi: “You interacted with their meat?”
Allred (deadpan): “I often do that with listeners. If they have meat that needs interacting with, I’ll do it.”
If that discussion was all you had to go on, you can be forgiven for being ignorant that Allred, an avid reader of Esquire and The Economist, is fluent in the works of Shakespeare and is a serious foodie who would eschew a PBR for a decent bottle of bubbly. In Utah’s performance community, we kid you not, Allred is known for his work with Repertory Dance Theatre, Plan B Theatre and KUER public radio dramas.
At RDT last year, Allred, along with Rick Nobis, performed spoken-word narration written by composer John Cage to accompany Merce Cunningham’s How To Pass, Kick, Fall, and Run. Not the comedic level of barbeque judging, perhaps, but pretty impressive.
“We were supposed to do 22 minutes of Cage’s narration, and it was to be totally random. It was a bizarre experience,” Allred says of shuffling one-minute chunks of Cage’s prose, then reading the lines against a stop watch. “It really sounded cool to me,” the radio veteran says. “Fun.”
The gig required one more thing: “We sipped champagne, just like Cage did, as we read the cards.”
RDT’s creative director Linda Smith talked Allred into the performance after meeting him during an interview on Radio From Hell. “I saw Bill in action—this guy is fast,” Smith says. “He has a razor-sharp mind and intellect. Bill is a lot deeper than people, on first hearing, might understand.”
She, like many Allred fans, was surprised to learn he studied acting at Pennsylvania State University, where he took on serious roles, including that of the evil Iago in Othello.
Not that Allred is planning on bailing on his day job: “Radio From Hell is my favorite four hours of the day,” he says. “Today we talked about bodily functions; Larry Flynt, the great pornographer; dung beetles using the Milky Way to navigate and Clive Davis. We run the gantlet from sophomoric things to pretty high-brow stuff.”
Besides, Allred will only take a performance gig if someone cajoles him. “It’s too brutal to audition and be rejected,” he says. Still, he admits, “I love performing in front of a live audience. If somebody came to me and asked me to do a role in Macbeth, I’d be really tempted. But I’m sure I would regret it.”