Talking to Kris Fade and Chad, Virgin Radio’s morning jockeys, is a bewildering experience – particularly when you’re calling them in the studio mere minutes after their show has finished. Their on-air double act plainly doesn’t stop when the mics go off: the pair continue to finish each other’s sentences, pull sound effects out of thin air and joke around like they’re having the time of their lives (which they probably are).
Considering that Kris is Australian and Chad hails from the US, the chances of them meeting and forming such a close friendship is probably millions to one. But they’re obviously great mates so, having a slightly twisted outlook, we decided to put their alliance through its paces.
You’ve been likened to Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. But who is who? Bear in mind Richard Pryor set himself on fire.
Kris: Um, okay I’ll set myself on fire.
Chad: Yeah, Kris is definitely the guy who’d set himself on fire, for sure.
Kris: Anything for the show!
You guys really seem to work well together…
Kris: [Interjecting] It’s funny, when Chad first came to the station he was actually employed as the breakfast producer, which is usually a behind-the-scenes role. But as soon as we met I decided I wanted him as the co-host. There’s just that natural chemistry that’s so hard to find. Often with these duos, as soon as they go off-air they don’t even talk to each other.
Okay, so imagine the station decided it wanted to get rid of Chad. Would you stick around?
Kris: Being deputy programming manager I can make some decisions so I wouldn’t let that happen. But I don’t think the company that we work for would do that. We’re lucky enough to work for a good company that encourages us.
You can’t get out of it like that. Let’s say Richard Branson descends from a balloon and orders Chad out.
Kris: Okay, okay! I’d go, I’d go.
Kris: No, honestly – if the company did that to us, it would show they don’t understand what we have now. But they’re great so they won’t.
Chad: Kris and I have been doing this for 10 years and it’s hard to find this kind of chemistry in radio, let alone to find someone you enjoy working with. [Kris plays some sampled applause]
Okay, how’s about this: you’re on a plummeting plane and there’s only one parachute. There’s nobody else there. Who gets it?
Kris: I can actually fly a plane. I have an iPhone application that I’ve been practising with for a while, so I could probably land it.
Kris: Yeah, 100 per cent! It’s based on real simulators that they use for pilots. I’m talking about using the throttle, putting the plane down, getting the odometers right – it’s amazing. When I’m on planes I like to pretend I’m flying it with my iPhone. The guy next to me on my last trip to Australia was freaking out, I’m sure.
Okay, one final scenario: it’s two minutes before the show begins when suddenly: chimps! Chimps everywhere! It’s chimpocalypse now! What do you do?
Chad: We turn the mics on right then and there! Chimps in the studio? That is awesome! It becomes a part of the show instantly.
What happens when a rival station decides to hire the chimps?
Kris: We’re happy to have good competition. It pushes us more.
Chad: I love the idea that the chimps take over the studio and then another programme director thinks: Wait a second, those chimps really have something! [Chimp sample]
Chad: Yes! Yes! Let’s give them their own show!
Kris: We would definitely want them in, because that’s going to give some kind of new element to the show. Everyone’s going to be saying, ‘What are they doing? They’re crazy! They’re stupid.’ And, you know, we just want to make people laugh.
The Kris Fade Show with Chad is on Virgin Radio 104.4 every Sunday to Thursday, 6am-10am. Chimps sold separately.