The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling
The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling
|Genre||Talk, Comedy, Music|
|Running time||3 hours per episode|
Mike Lisk (as AP Mike)
|Air dates||10 October 2000 to present (final episode scheduled for December 17, 2013)|
|No. of episodes||560 as of 3 December 2013|
|Opening theme||"The Best Show on WFMU" by Themeweavers, LLC|
The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling is a combination music, call-in, and comedy radio show hosted by Tom Scharpling on New Jersey-based radio station WFMU. The show's slogan is "Three hours of mirth, music, and mayhem."
The Best Show first aired on October 10, 2000, occupying the 9pm-11pm time slot. Starting June 5, 2001, the show was expanded to three hours, filling the 8pm-11pm slot. A worldwide audience listens to the show live through WFMU's Internet stream, and many episodes are also archived on the radio station's website. The Best Show began podcasting its shows, with the music removed due to licensing restrictions, on January 26, 2006. In October 2013, Scharpling announced his intention to end The Best Show within several months, with the program's finale airing on December 17.
The show has listeners and callers around the world, from the United States and Canada, to as far afield as the U.K., Sweden, Japan, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Regular callers and in-studio guests of note include Todd Barry, Andy Kindler, Aimee Mann, Paul F. Tompkins, Ted Leo, John Hodgman, and Patton Oswalt.
Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster is a frequent caller to the show, adopting a variety of personae hailing from the fictional and surreal New Jersey suburb of "Newbridge." Frequent Wurster characters include "Philly Boy Roy" (an unflinching supporter of all things Philadelphia), "Timmy von Trimble" (a genetically modified, two-inch-tall racist), and "The Gorch" (a senior citizen from York, Pennsylvania, who claims that the character of The Fonz on the TV show Happy Days was based on him, without permission). Some of these calls have been released on CD by Scharpling and Wurster's Stereolaffs label.
Guests have included comedians Fred Armisen, Tim and Eric, Zach Galifianakis, Neil Hamburger, Todd Barry, Paul F. Tompkins, Jim Gaffigan, Patton Oswalt, John Oliver, Andrew Daly, John Mulaney, Jen Kirkman, Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer, Jason Woliner, Robert Popper, Martin Short, Chris Elliott, Dana Snyder, Dave Willis, H. Jon Benjamin, Sam Seder, Jon Glaser, DC Pierson, Julie Klausner, Vanessa Bayer, Marc Maron, Bob Odenkirk, Horatio Sanz, Ian Roberts, Dave Hill, Matt Walsh, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt from The Mighty Boosh; musicians Ted Leo, Ben Gibbard, Aimee Mann, Jon Auer, Andrew W.K., Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell, Boss Hog, Kurt Vile, Carl Newman, members of the Danielson Familie, and Dave Wyndorf; filmmakers Don Coscarelli, Bradley Beesley, Kevin Smith and Jeff Feuerzeig; authors Neal Pollack, Paul Collins, Andrew Earles, Michael Azerrad, John Hodgman, Matt Fraction, Michael Kupperman, David Rees, and Rob Schrab. As well as Kurt Vile's brother Paul as the Jello-Man
On 11 February 2003, Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder appeared on The Best Show to discuss the political atmosphere of America. The chemistry between them as radio talents was evident, and their agreement on many liberal political views made them kindred spirits. In the summer of that same year, Garofalo was approached by representatives of Air America Radio to be a radio personality for their programming. She insisted that they hire Seder and that he share the hosting responsibilities. Less than one year later, The Majority Report was born.
Best Show Gems
On 23 February 2009, a spin-off program titled Best Show Gems began podcasting once every other week. The podcast is a "greatest hits"-type program featuring highlights from The Best Show. Best Show Gems ranges anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes, and usually centers on a call between Scharpling and Wurster.
Big Dipper Reunion
On his 20 January 2004 radio program, Scharpling had been derisively talking about the VH1 show Bands Reunited. This discussion led to Scharpling facetiously declaring his goal of reuniting the beloved (though relatively unknown) 1980s Boston indie-rock band Big Dipper. In the following weeks, the concept of a "Big Dipper Reunion" had become a recurring in-joke on the program. Scharpling began calling the members at home to convince them to reunite. In 2008, the group reunited for a live concert. In advance of several reunion shows in April 2008, Merge Records released the 3-disc Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology on March 18, featuring liner notes by Scharpling.
Reception and fan base
- The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling Archives
- Official Website
- Written recaps at Recidivism.org
- Best Show Gems: The Best of the Best Show
- The Newbridgctionary (An episode-by-episode compendium of Best Show callers from the Newbridgiverse.)
- Scharpling & Wurster Clips at The Best Show Vault
- Interview with Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster on AST Radio (July 2, 2007)
- Interview with Tom Scharpling on Gothamist (June 15, 2006)
- Interview with Tom Scharpling on The Sound of Young America (Nov. 12, 2005)
- Article from American Way magazine
- Interview between Tom Scharpling and Ted Leo in The Believer
- New York Times article on Scharpling and TBSOWFMU
- Interview with Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster on The Sound of Young America (Feb. 3, 2005)
- New Best Show Gems Podcast
- New York Times article: "IN PERSON - Gotcha! Stay Tuned."