A Little Less Mirth, Music, and Mayhem

Best Show Poster

So my favorite radio show ended last night. Yes, you read that correctly, radio show. Not a podcast, not a YouTube channel, an absurdly old-fashioned medium wherein the human voice provides the bulk of the entertainment, whether it be drama, pathos, or comedy. In this case, we’re talking about comedy. An odd kind of comedy to be sure, but once the rhythms and pacing were able to fall into place and the tone was adjusted to, a brilliant kind of surreal, satirical madness… and all without the aid of obscenity (which is an accomplishment in this writer’s book, as he happens to be a big fucking fan). Tom Scharpling finally finished his 13-plus year run on WFMU, an independent, free-form radio station in Jersey City, New Jersey and the gushing accolades are pouring in, an irony both predictable and biting, as one of Tom’s many bête noires was the lack of appreciation and respect he gained toiling away for no pay. Well, as tardy as the praise may be, it’s certainly deserving. Here are some links to help journey into the world of Newbridge:

  • The Best Show Gems Archives may be the easiest place to start. These are edited, bite-sized chunks of the best routines (usually over the phone) between Tom and his foil, Jon Wurster, funniest drummer alive. There are a few exceptions sprinkled throughout, one of note: a back-and-forth between Tom and a Smirnoff Ice Regional Sales Rep played to perfection by H. Jon Benjamin.
  • The Best Show Archives are, obviously, archives of the 3-hour show in its entirety. They go all the way back to 2000, but you’ll need RealAudio to listen to the earlier episodes. It’s worth it.
  • Paste Magazine put together a decent list of the 10 best fake callers (all voiced by Wurster).
  • New York Magazine’s Vulture blog had a candid interview with Scharpling about his favorite Best Show moments.
  • Finally, The Awl assembled a comprehensive tribute soon after Tom announced the show’s final run of episodes.

There are rumors that Scharpling is planning to put together a similar show in podcast form, with an eye toward actually generating some revenue from the endeavor, which will clearly come as welcome news to listeners all over “radioland”.

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