Imagine the Marx Brothers answering questions about automobiles. Picture Monty Python trying to imitate car noises. Think of A.J. Foyt telling someone how to open the car hood. Mix it all up, throw in a little Dr. Ruth and a little Smothers Brothers, and you've got Car Talk, NPR's Peabody Award-winning radio program heard by more than 3 million listeners each week.
The program is hosted by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, better known to their listeners as "Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers" - monikers taken from the clickety-clack sound of aging automobiles. During the show, Tom and Ray freely dispense expert car advice to callers in the broad accents of their native East Cambridge neighborhood. But the irreverent program is about much more than just automotive repair. "People have always told us that the calls about peoples' relationships are some of our best calls," says Tom. "We believe them. We know that the calls about car problems aren't our best calls, so our best calls had to be something else."
One Car Talk caller introduced her boyfriend to her mechanic. It seems that the mechanic was giving her boyfriend preferential treatment as a favor to her. But recently she had broken up with the guy, who turned out to be a cheating scoundrel, and she wanted to know if she should ask the mechanic to cease the preferential treatment. Tom and Ray immediately called the mechanic on the air and explained the situation. After a little persuading, the mechanic agreed to tell the boyfriend that he doesn't work on "that particular" type of car anymore. Whatever the call, Tom and Ray delight listeners with humor, wit and sagacity.