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Double Trouble

Meet Jay Marvin, Denver's only one-man radio team.

About this, Marvin agrees. Marvin supporters have played up the comparison between their hero and Berg, an outspoken KOA star who was killed in 1984 in the driveway of his Cherry Creek residence by members of a white-supremacist group called the Silent Brotherhood. But Marvin refuses to play along. "I think that's giving me too much credit," he says. "He was much better than I am--much more talented, smarter."

This may be so, but an argument can be made that no Colorado talk-show host, with the possible exception of Ken Hamblin, has riled up Denverites like Marvin has. He's hardly one-dimensional: When he plays obscure tunes from the Sixties to the Nineties, discusses cult movies (he's a big booster of director Jim Jarmusch), recommends books (one recent caller was exhorted to pick up Albert Camus's The Stranger) or makes light of the week's headlines with Alexander--whose newscast was named Denver's best at this year's Colorado Broadcasters Association banquet--he can be hugely entertaining. But the Marvin persona that seems to stick with most folks is the Last Angry Man. Even Mary, who calls Marvin "a teddy bear," says she understands why. He recently asked her something about Bill Clinton and Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, and when she declined to answer, he unleashed his verbal weaponry against her.

"That's just the way he is," she says. "I had to tell him, 'This isn't your talk show.'"

That altercation ended in laughter--and on this day, so does Marvin's show: The last half-hour is dominated by speculation about how Siamese twins enjoy separate sex lives. As Marvin hands over his headphones to the next host, Sebastian Metz, and heads downstairs, he is exhausted and hoarse, but satisfied. "I'm not perfect," he says. "And I don't want to be hated. But I'm sure as hell not going to lie or be disingenuous just to please somebody. And I'm not scared of losing my job. If I lose it, I lose it. That's life. I'll survive. I think I'm just lucky to be here. With everything I've gone through in life, I'm lucky to be in Denver." After a pause, he says, "Hell, I'm lucky to be alive."

With that, Marvin steps onto the sidewalk in front of the building and heads toward a vehicle parked at the curb. The federal law enforcement officer is behind the wheel, waiting for him.

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