Tom Is Not Afraid of Air America And He Will Beat Its Ass.
"Soylent Green is made out of 78s!" -- Tom, finally revealing the secret ingredient in this food product, now available in sour apple flavor from Kern
"I’m gonna listen to this cool new format aimed at me -- the reel-to-reel tape." -- A young kid rejecting his parents' unhip turntable
"What I would do right now for a vanilly cone …" -- Tom, craving a snack whose only crime is being too good
"Why bother with the apple? Why not just put that stuff in a bag? Why are we even pretending to have something healthy in the middle of that." -- Tom on ... the candy apple gone mad
"Why does this Oreo taste like shrimp?" -- A boardwalker enjoying a fried treat
"It just brought a smile to my face. Not really into hockey." -- Bill from 19428, inexplicably amused by a "NHL94" vanity plate
"You hurt my feelings, man." -- Bryce, upset about temporary losing his title as the show’s most stoned caller
"Never underestimate the other guy’s greed!" - Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia), offering some sage advice in Scarface
"Well, you know what? I heard you were an a**hole." -- Bill Murray firing back at a caller for speaking ill of La Bamba
"Maybe next week, that’s where the universe will find me. If the universe doesn’t find me passed out under an overpass." -- Skag Winesack on ... whether he'll be on the right side of the law
"They’re going down the turlet over there." -- Tom on ... Air America
"Yeah, it’s my fault that the Scotch tape is starting to come off the antenny they got set up over there." -- Tom, taking no responsibility for the rickety equipment that derailed the simulcast
"What do they think, you’re not good enough for them? I don’t think they’re good enough for you.” -- August on ... Tom's superiority over the bush-league The Majority Report
"He's a Republican?" -- Sarah Silverman, asking Sam Seder about Tom's political leanings
"You’re like Dean Martin. You just make it look so easy." -- Tom on ... Sam Seder's effortless radio talent
"This attempt to smear McGovern -- it ain’t gonna work." -- Sam Seder’s last, very topical words to Tom
"I’ll say it once more, that was my friends, but whatever." -- August, becoming frustrated by Tom’s continued attempts to link him to "The Hampster Dance"
"For your vacation dollar, nothing goes farther than Camden, N.J." -- Tom, promoting tourism in the state's most maligned city.
"To the point where your brother can’t even focus on the fact that Bill Murray’s wearing a MASK!" -- Tom on ... the perils of being too consumed with settling a score
"Take me away. Right now. Seriously, God, kill me. Kill me right now, God. I’m begging you. I’m still here! Why hast thou forsaken me?" -- Tom, in the throes of an "L"
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Move out of the phone booth you were all cramming into, stop eating Goldfish, get off that flagpole, and join me in the 21st Century for some annotated highlights:
You can probably guess this one: YAON #7
- Tom thanks (starts at 26:00) the 15 people -- not too shabby for a last-minute, late Tuesday shindig -- who came out for the meet-and-greet last week at the Flamingo Diner. Everyone sat around eating cake and pie, while Tom opted for some Freedom Fries and ice water. There are rumors circulating on some bloggy-blog-blogs that one member of the party executed an “Eat and Retreat”. I don't believe it.
- Mike, a Democrat from Hoboken, calls (starts at 27:23) to thank Tom for trying to help keep the fledging Air America on the air by simulcasting his highly-rated broadcast with their lowly-rated The Majority Report, which will undoubtedbly get swept up in The Best Show's sizable coattails.
Tom is doing what he can to support “the other side”. While Tom does not agree with the beliefs of the station's liberal/Pinko DJs, he does believe in their right to believe in those beliefs. Mike says Tom is a true American and calls for God to bless him. Mike tells Tom to have a good show; Tom says he will have the BEST show. They both chuckle over the funny quip. At this point, Mike was in the early lead for the free pair of tickets to see Yo La Tengo at their only NYC-area show -- September 29th at the Loews Landmark in JC. Tom previously announced that the MVP of the evening would get the prize. Someone who signed onto the FOT Chat as “RogerKaputnik” was also a viable challenger.
- Tom examines (starts at 28:43) the notion that the iPod .mp3 digital music machine is losing its cool. While its hipster glow may be dimming, Apple just rolled out a hott new iPod that allows you to watch television and listen to AM talk radio. It is not enabled for song playback and retails for $900. Tom read some excerpts from an article that appeared in Engaland's The Observer:
From its launch five years ago its sales graph showed a consistent upward curve, culminating in a period around last Christmas that saw a record 14 million sold. But sales fell to 8.5 million in the following quarter, and down to 8.1 million in the most recent three-month period. Wall Street is reportedly starting to worry that the bubble will burst.
Tom responds by correctly noting that there is a standard holiday boost for just about every retail product. One would think "technology correspondent" David Smith would have at least a rudimentary understanding of holiday shopping cycles. Go back to economics school, son.
Industry-watchers warn that the iPod could soon be regarded by teenage cynics as their 'parents' player' because a mass-market product rarely equates with edgy fashionability.
Tom responds with a question for young consumers: “How dumb to you have to be to reject a format of listening to something just ‘cause your parents have one?” Tom imagines kids becoming frustrated by wanting to listen to music on the 12” vinyl format favored by their parents, eventually seeking out a reel-to-reel tape, a cooler format aimed at their demographic. At this point, Tom declares the piece a non-article.
'The iPod is far and away the most popular tech gadget with our panellists - however, for the first time we are hearing negative feedback about the iPod from some panellists,' said the organisation's spokeswoman, Carla Avruch. 'Panellists cite that the batteries are not replaceable, so when they die the entire player must be replaced,' she said. 'We have heard from some conspiracy theorists that the batteries are made to die soon after the warranty ends.'
Tom agrees that it’s completely horrible that iPods are “built to die”.
Other complaints are that iTunes [Apple's online music store] is overpriced and the format is not easily transferred on to other players.
Tom: valid complaint.
In our ethnography interviews, some long-time iPod-users told us that they have stopped updating their iPods because it's too much work, while other consumers who had bought iPods more recently had not even taken theirs out of the package to set it up.
On the first point, Tom argues that users stopped updating their iPods because they loaded 90,000 songs into it, and it takes too long to sift through their entire record collection. As for unopened iPods, Tom believes the fault lies with the idiot who bought one and had no interest in opening it up. He compares this complaint against the iPod to the dubious attempt to blame the ice cream company when you buy ice cream and leave it to melt on the table: “We didn’t even open up the ice cream and it melted. There’s a problem with ice cream!” Tom agrees that there's a problem with ice cream, but that’s not it. The real problem: it’s too good. Tom begins craving a vanilly cone, much like he did on a recent drive around Newbridge.
As Tom piloted his hybrid past the rows of eateries, his hunger made everything seem allurring -- even items that would not usually sneak into the Scharpling diet. When he saw that Macdonald’s had their vanilly cones on sale for 25 cents, he was inspired to invent the ultimate trashy snack. In this culinary mash-up, you buy the hot apple pie and smash it right into the cone. You then eat the cone with a hot apple pie sticking out of it. Alas, the excitement dissipated, and Tom returned home to consume a natural snack in the form of an apple … dipped in caramel. This leads into a riff about the increasingly outlandish candy apples being sold on boardwalks. The current state of this oversized lolli is so out of whack that the apple with just the red glaze is the equivalent of a natural apple to the obese boardwalk denizens. For them, the real snacking magic occurs when the dumb fruit is made a bit smarter by applying fudge, crumbled pretzels, and rolling it in mini M & M's. Tom thinks that the add-ons make the apple component completely irrelevant and should just be thrown into a bag and eaten separately. Tom orders the boardwalk people to start focusing on health.
New Jersey Oreo roll: Mmmm, tastes like shrimp! (Note the "Diabetic Funnel Cakes")
Tom finds it weird that those kinds of treats would be financially successful on the boardwalk because everone he saw there this summer was pretty fit. He wonders how this is possible since they sell the worst food up there. Tom assumes that the people are burning the fat during their 1/4-mile walk before they start wheezing and collapse on a bench. Tom mentions another healthy boardwalk staple that he first saw last year: fried Oreos. In addition to being a health hazard, Tom points out that the frequent use and re-use of the frying oil would likely cause the Oreo to take on the flavor of shrimp and other savory items that had previously bathed in the murky liquid.
Tom also notes that Seaside Heights had more pizza for sale per square foot than anywhere on Earth. Tom went into a place that appeared to be a little more diverse, and, as the sign advertised, there was a dude making sushi. Tom wonders who is eating sushi on the boardwalk, especially coming from the hands of a man who was clearly not trained in the art of its preparation. While Tom is critical of the boardwalk’s offerings, he wonders if fresh fish that requires expert hands -- not a dude in a Jenkinson’s t-shirt -- is the best alternative. The guy was likely running the rollercoaster a few weeks ago after getting booted from bumper car duty because his failure to maintain one of the vehicles led to a kid banging his head on the steering wheel. Now he’s rolling yellowtail.
Tom is also not pleased with the hardline ticketing policies of Seaside Heights. Tom bought a $25 ride packet, and he didn’t get back down there to exhaust his remaining 15 tickets. He checked the tickets and discovered that they are good only in the year issued -- Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tom is baffled that they won’t let you use purchased tickets since it costs nothing to allow people to sit in a chair on a ride that will run anyway, regardless of whether its fully occupied by valid ticketholders. Tom’s not riling the workers out of their homes to oil up the bumper cars and get them running for an exclusive spin. Verdict: thumbs down.
- It appears that Tom pressed a button (starts at 40:16) that caused the show to go silent for a few seconds. He wonders where blooper godfather Kermit Schaefer is when you need him. Tom does an impression of a goofy anchorman going overboard ("Bleh bloo blah ...", etc.) while tripping over a word while reading the iPod piece. Here's two good examples of how to trip up and maintain professionalism. Tom seems a bit alarmed that he's at home getting steamed at the bloopers show, but it does allow him to cross “Blooper Rant” off his list of 800 topics.
Here's one of my all-time favorite "bloopers":
Antique Phonograph: Tom, if this guy contacts you about that snapped DAT tape, IGNORE HIM!
The above clip is amazing because while there's the initial blast of the funny, it quickly gives way to an undercurrent of horror and sadness, like you're getting a glimpse of what would have happened if Enid really did drop that "Devil Got My Woman" 78.
Skip James - "Devil Got My Woman"
- Evan from Providence calls (starts at 47:13) to apologize for his drunken bit last week as "Lucas from Cranston", a musician who was planning to outdo Soupjam Stevens by recording an album for every country in the world. Evan regrets its lameness and promises that he's done calling as a character. You may also remember Evan from his call during the 5/16/06 show. He and Tom did a role-play that illuminated bar tipping etiquette.
Evan also has a topic for Tom on .... In this new segment, Tom will offer grouchy, 30-second opinions that may just be the most show-ready takes rather than his actual opinions. The segment was inspired by the old promos for the CBS television series, Becker. In these spots, Ted Danson would unleash cranky, sub-Archie Bunker riffs on topics like women's liberation. Tom recounts Danson's enlightening take on gay marriage: “I have no problem with gays getting married. Let them be as miserable as the rest of us!” Evan wants to hear Tom on ... people wearing any clothing with something written on the seat. Tom thinks it's stupid and wonders why everyone wants to become a corporate lackey who covers their body with advertising messages. Tom also thinks that Evan may want to go back to either calling with a prepared bit or option 3: GOMP.
- Tim V calls (starts at 50:29) to get Tom on ... superhero comic books circa 2006. Tom doesn't want to pay $3 for six pages of story buried within an overdrawing contest in which double-splash pages document every muscle in excruciating detail. Tom thinks it's lame to punish the people who buy each issue. Tom and Tim V agree that the solution is to just go to Barnes & Noble and flip through the trade paperbacks to figure out what’s good.
- Bill from 19428 calls (starts at 52:07), and Tom takes a crack at the PA-based zip with guesses of York and Harrisburg. Bill reveals that it's Conshohocken, and Tom said he would have got it if given more time. Bill wants to change Tom on ... to Scharpling on Scharpling. Tom thought that this was simply a titular alteration with a request to follow, but Bill actually wanted to hear Tom talk about himself. Tom points out that this is what he does anyway -- the show is one big three-hour version of that. Bill quickly segues to the subject of a good vanity plate he saw earlier in the day:
Tom mentions that 1994 was the year that the NY Rangers won the Stanley Cup. Bill doesn’t know about that, but he chuckled at a vanity plate for the first time in his life. It brought a smile to his face, even thought he's not into hockey. Tom is very intrigued by Bill, so he inquires about what else happened during his day, such as whether he used his keys to open his front door when he got home or if he put on both of his shoes. Bill's door was already open, but he confirms that he laced up both of his Timberlands. He also inhaled and exhaled. Tom thinks there must be really good pot down there in Conshohocken because he sounds like maybe the most stoned person he has ever spoken to. Bill is surprised by the honor, and Tom points out his abrupt shifts in subject matter indicate tuff puffing. Bill thought he was being clever with his “Scharpling on Scharpling” bit, but Tom has his number and deflated him.
Tom recommends that Bill seek out Evan in Rhode Island as a writing partner based on his great Soupjam bit. Speaking of that, Tom finished his song about South Plainfield, and the next one will be “Conshohocken Kind Bud”, which tells the story of a guy who smokes pot all day, calls radio shows, and tells them anything that crosses his mind. Bill admits that he’s no Fred. Tom agrees. Bill thinks he could write a good script for the buzz-worthy, pedestrian documentary The Long Walk To New York, and Tom considers this call his audition for that film. He graciously lets Tom go. Tom doesn't like this because HE calls the shots on when a call is terminated. As a result, he tests out a a GOMP alternative: “I’m letting YOU go.”
- A sad Bryce calls (starts at 57:20) because Tom hurt his feelings by declaring that Bill was the most stoned dude he’s ever talked to. Bryce wonders how Tom could do such a thing. Tom apologizes and says that Bryce is probably the most stoned person he’s ever spoken to. Bryce wants Tom to say it slower so he can record it. After a debate over comma placement, Tom officially goes on the record: “You, Bryce Prefontaine, are the most stoned person I have ever spoken to.” Bryce hadn’t taken his recording device off of pause, but he did write it down, so that’s good enough for him.
Bryce wants to know if Tom is watching Rock Star: Supernova tonight. Tom’s not since he’s doing the radio show. Bryce is surprised that Tom is doing the show now because he thought he was calling Tom’s home phone. Tom wonders how he would have gotten his home phone number and wants to know how he heard the previous caller. Bryce thinks it’s a darn good question, and what makes it even odder is that he does not have any electricity in his shanty behind the old Lady Foot Locker. Bryce suspects that he is pulling in the frequency via mind or bong waves. Tom thinks it might be possible. A tapping sound is heard on Bryce’s end, and he asks Tom if he heard the bong waves. Tom asks him if the sounds were bong waves, and Bryce thinks they were. Tom thinks it sounded like Bryce was hitting the phone. Bryce admits that he was doing that to convince Tom that he was a big man because he had a big bong.
The truth is that Bryce doesn’t have any bongs anymore. He took all of them to goodwill today because his mommy was yelling at him about the weed. Tom wants to know what she said, and Bryce makes some animal-like noises -- his mommy is a chipmunk that lives with him out in the woods. Bryce thinks he’s losing it, and Tom thinks he has been smoking a lot of pot that day. Bryce confirms this by estimating that he smoked twice the amount that would reach the second little place where your fingers bends if he dipped into his bag. Tom says that explains why he is hallucinating, and Bryce says it feels like his face is on fire. He tells Tom to hang on because his face is literally on fire because he held his lighter too close to it. During the flare-up, Hitler was there doing that goose-stepping with his woodland paramour, Nancy Wilson from Heart. Tom recaps the inhabitants of the woods, but Bryce says that he forgot two others: Rutager and Werner, drug-dealing German brothers who also do other stuff. Tom knows Werner from his days at the Consolidated Cardboard loading docks. Bryce thinks he’s kinda cool, but also kinda terrifying. Tom mentions that he looks kind of like Rutger Hauer, and Bryce adds that he has a blond mustache and black hair. Bryce was joking -- it’s actually the other way around. Bryce expresses his amusement at tricking Tom by laughing like Philly Boy Roy.
Bryce asks Tom if he watched The Path to 9/11. Tom did not watch it, and neither did Bryce because he had no electricity. Tom says that he will have to let him go because of the upcoming simulcast with Sam Seder. Bryce becomes very angry and says that if he does, he will kill Tom and his guest. Bryce says that he will go to the place where he dropped off his drug implements, retrieve them, and wedge them up in both of their [cut off before citing a specific body area, but it’s not much of a mystery.]
- Tom is expecting a call (starts at 1:05) from The Majority Report host Sam Seder, but there's nothing coming through. Tom and someone on the FOT Chat simultaneously speculate that Air America was finally shut down. Tom wants someone to get the listener line so he can dial it, but he doubts early responses of 1-800-DEBT-FREE or 1-800-LAWYER are the correct numbers. Tom declares the 1-800-LAWYER guy bad news and wonders if he is an actor or a legit man of the law. Tom thinks one would be more likely to spot this guy in the courtroom restrained with manacles than wearing a suit while arguing for the prosecution. Tom calls Sam Seder’s cell phone, but gets his voice-mail. Seder shuts it down during his show. Not Tom. Anybody can call him during the show. Tom tries one of the numbers posted on the chat and gets the voice-mail for Mike Malloy, who was recently dismissed from the Air America lineup. Tom leaves a message explaining that he’s trying to get ahold of Sam.
Tom laments that one can never depend on the celebrity segments. He dumped Bryce for a flop of an Air America bit and thinks it’s time to move on. Tom finds it even more troubling because the genesis of The Majority Report occured on The Best Show, and he's listed in Seder’s book as the godfather of program. Tom tries another number. Nobody answers. Tom’s had enough. Tom declares that The Best Show crushes The Majority Report and questions their worth since Bush won by the largest margin in history in 2004. Tom tries yet another number. Minutes of the show vanishing. He gets the voice-mail for a man named Phil Voyce. Tom’s done. Air America, the Wet Rat of talk radio, is dead to Tom. They don't deliver the goods. Seder begged Tom to do the simulcast and didn’t follow through. He even sent an e-mail informing Tom that he would be on at precisely 9:06 p.m. Tom was ready. But: silence. Tom later speculated that it was some kind of practical joke. Tom can’t give up and tries another number. This time he gets the voice-mail of Jerry Springer. Now he’s really done.
- A caller breaks up (starts at 1:17) the Air America debacle with a discussion of Brian Dennehy. The caller met Dennehy earlier in the day, and Tom wants to hear the details. The caller doesn't want to tell the story because the encounter brought up a lot of surprising emotions when reflecting on his work in made-for-TV movies like Death of a Salesman. Dennehy even mentioned his work in Peter Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect. Tom is impressed that the caller was discussing obscure movies from Dennehy’s canon with the man himself. The caller said he was a very nice guy and wants to hear Tom on ... Brian Dennehy. However, Tom has to cut him off due to some stupid robot technological thing. Tom declares Air America a third-rate organization and the reason that his Republican collegues keep winning elections. They run a tight ship. Rush Limbo gets the people on. Bob Grant gets it done. Air America is a bush-league, amateur-hour enterprise, and Tom ain't got no time for rookie time.
- Mark in Manhattan calls (starts at 1:20) for a taste of Tom on ... sandals worn by a man. Tom is not a fan of the man sandals. Mark shares the opinion and has a short sandal story. He recently saw a guy wearing little flip-flops walking down the street. The piece of fabric snapped, leaving the guy with nothing. He picked up the busted sandal and proceeded barefoot down the disgusting, rain-slicked pavement, looking glum like George Michael on Arrested Development. The man appeared to be sad and embarrassed, and Mark hopes it made him re-evaluate his sandal lifestyle. It was the happiest moment of Mark’s life. Tom thinks it's acceptable to wear a sandal at the beach while on vacation, but not walking around in the real world all the live-long day. Tom doesn’t want to see Hobbit-like man feet.
Over the weekend, Mark saw a guy wearing slippers in a gas station, which he considers further evidence of the lowering of footwear standards. Tom, however, would support slippers in public because it shows that he’s a maverick, dancing to the beat of his own drummer. Mark said it seemed like the guy was doing it because he did not own proper shoes. In that case, Tom will definitely not fault him since the alternative would be barefoot. Mark would prefer him to use resources such as the Salvation Army. Tom compares this view to calling for the New Orleans residents displaced by Katrina to run away and move. Mark admits that there are special circumstances, but he can’t in good conscience respect the gas station dog. Tom wonders if the slippered man was an employee or a customer. Mark said he appeared to be making a quick stop for some nachos. Tom starts to say that if he has money to drop on food, he could buy shoes, but he refuses to condemn him because he, too, would wear slippers. Mark supports individualism but within limits. Tom supports individualism up to a point, but then everyone should do the same thing.
Mark then gives The Best Show an exclusive by proudly coining the term “mandal”. Tom wants to make sure that he's actually attempting to take credit for it. Mark says that he's vaguely taking credit for the term in the sense of not having heard it in a long time and dredging it up from the recesses of his brain during the call. Tom wants to know if he’d also like to stick his flag in “mullet”, “panini”, or “bacne”. Mark has no interest in being linked to "bacne", but he takes semi-credit for “panini” because he’s the only one in his circle of friends who knows the term. Tom says that just because you're the first one in your group of friends to use a term, it doesn't mean that you invented it for the entire planet. As a young kid, Tom invented the “I Know You Are But What Am I” rejoinder because none of the other three people in his neighborhood had said it. Another example of this phenomenon is Richard Lewis claiming that he invented "the ________ from hell".
Tom nu-GOMPs Mark with a trio: “I’m hanging up on YOU”, “I ain’t got time for YOU", and “I’ll let YOU go.” Tom’s amazed that the phones are dead when every call has ended with him yelling and GOMPing.
- Brian from Pompton Plains, N.J., calls (starts at 1:28) for no real apparent reason. He’s been a fan of the show for a couple of years and catches it on the way home from his job in Livingston, N.J. Tom perked up because he thought he said that he worked for the NBA, instead of the more boring CPA firm. Tom was hoping he could secure him some courtside seats for next season. Brian mentions that the U.S. Open was pretty good. He didn’t attend, but he saw it on the TV. He looked on craigslist, but everyone wanted around $300 per ticket. Brian say that there’s something about greed in this world. Tom agrees, and he doesn’t like it. He gives Brian a tip about greed by way of Robert Loggia in em>Scarface: “Never underestimate the other guy’s greed!” [evil laughter]
- Laura makes a rare request (starts at 1:30) for that “Porcupine Pie” song that Tom’s been playing. She thinks it’s by Neil Diamond. As Tom starts carting it up, she also requests a shout-out to her friend Sam in Brooklyn. They used to work in the same office together and are both big fans of the show. She does the standard radio introduction: “Hey, this is Laura, I’m calling from Maplewood, N.J., and I’m sending out ‘Porcupine Pie’ to Sam in Brooklyn.” Oops. A different song starts playing:
Do Re Egon: Who you gonna call ... an a-hole?
- Max has a story (starts at 1:32) about getting insulted by Bill Murray at the age of 11 or 12. He and his brother were at a playground in Manhattan. Bill and his brother, the very talented John Murray of Moving Violations fame, were also there. They all shot some hoops and then everyone sat down. Murray was chatting it up and asked if any of them saw La Bamba. Max heard from a friend that it wasn’t very good, and he wanted to join in the conversation, so he said: “Yeah, you know, I heard that movie kinda sucked.” Murray fired back: “Well, you know what? I heard you were an a**hole.” Max was mortified. Tom’s verdict: advantage Murray. Tom also thinks that he probably schooled him on the court. Max does not comment on the quality of his basketball play.
THREE WEEKS AGO
A tenement building on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The traffic is audible, as is the cry of fishmongers. Someone is milling around outside of a tiny Italian restaurant on a street corner.
INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
The independent filmmaker WES ANDERSON busts through the door as some Faces song plays on the soundtrack. He's wearing a green velvet suit with a racing scarf. He carries a tattered copy of "Franny and Zooey" in one hand, and a mouse in the other. The mouse is wearing the same suit and scarf ensemble. We see a waiter immediately dart towards him, knocking another customer to the ground, dropping a stack of utensils and several wine glasses like a scene from some slapstick farce. This is MAX'S BROTHER.
(out of breath)
Hey, man! That AMEX commercial was a risky move, but I thought it was good. Kinda sellout-y, but still good.
So glad you approved. When you're done cleaning up your mess, I'll have the Richebourg.
Wes sits down and begins reading some Salinger to the mouse, who listens attentively atop his bread plate. A couple of minutes later, a 6' 2” guy walks in. He's dressed like Darkman. He further obscures his visage with one of those hand-held Mardi Gras masks. It's purple and sparkly. He pulls off the disguise to reveal himself to be BILL MURRAY. He's joined by one of his adopted kids. Max's brother sets up the table, spilling Wes's Pinot Noir in the process. The mouse starts slurping up the red liquid.
Wes scoops up the mouse, just as Max's brother leans down to Murray, who is gulping an entire pot of coffee.
Did you know that coffee can cause serious delirium? Anyway, um ... like 15 years ago, you insulted my brother in a crowd of people. Not so cool, man.
Really? Oh, I'm sorry. I must have been drunk, son.
I bet I still schooled you a-holes on the court!
Max's brother walks away shaking his head in disbelief that Murray got them again. Just before he reaches the kitchen, he trips and falls face-first onto a plate of ravioli.
What did that kid want with you, Billmurray?
His brother's still pissed because I zung him about not liking La Bamba.
Esai Morales was really good in that.
Kid's still trying to even the score like he's fucking Ahab.
INT. WFMU RADIO HEADQUARTERS (AKA "THE MAGIC FACTORY") - NIGHT
TOM SCHARPLING is in the midst of his top-shelf program. He just heard MAX recount the restaurant story live on the air.
(to Max, via telephone)
Advantage: Murray. GET OFF MY PHONE!
- A dazed-sounding Miles reveals (starts at 1:36) that he knows Max, although he has not spoken to him in seven years. Max told him the Murray story about two or three years ago, and he thinks it may be questionable. Tom thinks Max has been dining out on this Bill Murray story. Miles wants to make a Lighthouse Confession, so Tom fires up the foghorn. The calming, salt air puts Miles in the mood to come clean about his misdeeds. For the purposes of the story, Miles uses the name “Ben”.
He recently relocated to North Carolina, so he’s been keeping in touch with his longtime friends via the telephone. As he was driving home from work this past week, he called a good friend that he hadn’t spoken to in years. At this point, Tom has a confession of his own: “Ben” is one of his best friends. Tom asks "Ben" if he is drunk. He wasn't then, but he is now. He had a couple glasses of wine. He recently got his friend's phone number, and since they used to play practical jokes on each other, a prank call seemed like a good way to reconnect. The moment his friend answered, he delivered a simple knock-knock joke that they used to do 4-5 years ago. The moment he got the punch line out, he hung up on him, knowing that he would know it was him. The moment he disconnected the call, he was elated and filled with laughter. He called other friends to tell them what he did. They congratulated him because it was hard for them to get in touch with this elusive guy. He was now even more elated that he pulled it off. The next day, he called again. This time, when the friend answered, he did an off-color, sex-based joke that they had between them. At that moment, he hung up on him again. He fell over his steering wheel with laughter.
As he continued to drive home, he wondered why his other friends had such trouble getting this particular guy on the phone, while he was having no problem. His voice also sounded very different. You guessed it. He was calling the wrong number! His mind started flying, wondering who he has been calling. Tom GOMLs him for harassing a poor old lady with dirty jokes and then hanging up.
- A familiar voice skips any introduction (starts at 1:43) and goes right into a request for Tom on ... Scag Winesack. Tom quickly responds: “Scary. Troubling. He’s a disturbed man." Tom says that "unhinged" would also come up in his description of Mr. Winesack. The caller liked two of those, but the other two are not sitting too well with him. He fires again with Tom on ... lending me a pair of bolt cutters. Tom does not have them to lend. If he did, he would probably need them, so he would not be so willing to lend them out. Next up: Tom on ... lending me $150. Tom says that is really not going to happen. The caller is unphased and tries Tom on ... bumming me a cigarette. Tom doesn’t smoke, so he won’t have any. The last attempt is Tom on ... finally making good on my offer for a job. The caller says that Tom has been incredibly elusive about this particular offer to work as his driver. Tom says that he has no interest in being a wheel man in some kind of creepy enterprise. He also confirms that the caller is indeed Skag Winesack, who has several job openings posted in “the breakroom”. Skag has a line on a good poker game, so he needs a driver to just keep the engine running while he does all the heavy lifting. Tom is not interested in being involved with crime, so he respectfully disassociates himself from it. Skag explains that when you come from where he comes from, you have to walk both sides of the fence.
Tom guesses that he comes from a houseboat, but while Skag does live in one, he originates from “the streets” in the larger scheme of things. Skag is no stranger to the pavement, prowling the beat as a PI, Bureau man, and a cop. While he's retired, he still gets sucked into the occasional case. It’s been quite some time since he’s called, and Tom assumed he might have been dead. Skag does listen occasionally, and he’s a little bit troubled that Tom hasn’t shown any concern for his well-being on the air. He gives Tom the benefit of the doubt by suggesting that he was going to the bathroom during all of Tom's commentary on his absence. Tom’s glad he’s still around, but disappointed that he’s still into crime. Skag says he’s seen better days, but that could be said at any point in the last 50 years -- and he’s 62. He’s also drunk. Skag likes to pick up the phone and make some calls when he’s been drinking. Tom uses the term “drunk dialing” to describe this act, but Skag opts for the more risque “booty call”. Tom says that the call is definitely not that, and Skag assures him that he’s not “that way”.
Skag wants Tom to lose his virginity when it comes to crime by going out on a job with him. Tom says he’s clean cut and he won’t be popping anything with Skag in tow. Skag says it’s a long, sad road, and promises to keep Tom informed about every single aspect of it. Tom asks him to work on the right side of the law. Skag's not sure what side the universe will find him on, but cites "passed out under an overpass" as one possible location. Tom tells Skag to stay safe.
- Tom got the word (starts at 1:50) that the simulcast may be happening. Tom takes a call from Sam Seder’s underling, who patches Tom through to The Majority Report. The Lyres’ “Help You Ann” gives way to about three seconds of Sam’s introduction of Tom until the connection died. Tom renews his attacks on Air America (e.g., bush-league, responsible for Bush's re-election, etc.) and thinks the chance for a simulcast is ova. Tom's disappointed because it sounded like Sam was building up to a pretty special introduction. Another call comes in and Tom thinks it might get past the 15-second mark, but it only lasts about a second. Tom wonders how this is even possible. The underling comes back to inform Tom of some technical difficulties. He claims that Sam is ready to engage the simulcast. It didn’t work. Air America can’t even put a call on the air, but Tom proves that he can.
- David calls (starts at 1:53) in a third-rate Petey voice to report that he's spending a fine evening by himself. Tom’s shocked by this because he sounds like a very social, outgoing person. He wants to talk about Tom’s earlier comment on Piwates of the Cawabbean: Dead Man's Chest being too short and wanting to see the 11-hour version. He agrees with Tom that it was too short, and he was let down by an ending that simply told you to come back for more blockbuster fun next summer. I haven't seen the film, so I was pleased to get the full experience from Tom's recap: "Guy gets off the boat, guy gets back on the boat, guy gets off the boat again, guy’s hanging on the side of the boat." I guess I'll rent it. Guy hanging on side of boat sounds kinda cool.
- The underling is back (starts at 1:54) to tell Tom that they can hear him over the air. Tom says he can’t hear them because everytime he’s patched in, it goes “BLONK!” He wants to put Tom on hold and then have him pretend that he can hear what Sam is saying. Tom says that sounds really satisfying, so he wants to try it. The "BLONK!" happens and Tom tears into them, suggesting that they wouldn't be having these problems if Janeane Garafalo was still the co-host. Tom thinks it's a sad day of sad radio. He informs The Majority Report listeners that the WFMU phones still work and takes another call.
- Johnny calls (starts/ends at 1:55) and makes everyone wish the WFMU phones didn’t still work. He’s GOMPed.
- Pat calls (starts at 1:55) to express concern about the fate of Miles because it appeared that Tom threw him out of the lighthouse. Tom confirms that he pushed him out the window, and Pat thinks that is pretty rough stuff. His body is mangled on the jagged rocks below and will be dragged out to sea to be eaten by sharks. Pat’s only been listening for a couple of months, and he wants some news on the podcast. Tom says that it’s at 53, down 6 from last week. Pat can't imagine anyone unsubscribing to The Best Show podcast. Pat thinks that Air America needs to get their act together, and Tom says that they are going down the turlet. Tom tells Pat that during the simulcast, he planned to discuss the issues of the day a la Mort Sahl -- just open up a newspaper and dig into the headlines. Tom says "Best Show Forever", and Pat feels that sentiment.
- A caller informs Tom (starts at 1:57) that they were making fun of him on Air America. Tom wants to know who was saying it, and he said the culprits were Sam and some Janeane-ish girl. Tom thinks the mockery is misguided because he's not to blame for the Scotch tape coming off the rickety antenny they have set up over there. Tom points out that WFMU is a listener-sponsored station that is still able to run things the right way.
- August checks in (starts at 1:59), and Tom wants a school update. He says that things are going well, but he has too much homework. He was calling to say that Air America needs better equipment, as Tom said, or they should actually try to put Tom on the air. August senses that they don't think Tom is good enough for them, but he doesn't think they are good enough for Tom. Tom likes it! Tom appreciates the sweet notion, and August says he's simply speaking the truth. Tom wants to know how his love of rock music is going, and August reports that it's had its ups and down as school has taken precedence over his investigations into the genre. August still can't name any specific bands, so Tom wonders what rock he was actually hearing. August is not really sure because he just goes on YouTube and cues up random AMVs. Tom does think August is on the right track by using YouTube for his sonic explorations: “It’s a great place to listen to music.” I think Tom should do some kind of Special Edition of Smash or Trash in which he elitics August's opinions on a variety of rock tracks. Tom cuts the discussion short because he thinks Sam Seder may have finally found a working phone.
Elf Torture: Radio host and dry humorist Sam Seder wages a war on Christmas
- Sam Seder calls (starts at 2:00) after finally taking care of the tech issues, but it’s three minutes after his show ended. Sam knows that there is a lot of bitterness and resentment on Tom’s part by having to watch Sam’s career explode. Tom said it has exploded like the ill-fated Challenger. As part of the new lineup, Sam is moving to 9 a.m. - noon, the primetime of radio. He says that nobody cares about Tom's timeslot. He also wants to know why Tom couldn’t get his act together and execute the simulcast. Tom mocks his underling, and Sam says that they could hear what Tom was saying. Tom can hear him now because Sam is using his personal cell instead of the broken Air America equipment that will be repossessed tomorrow. Tom tells Sam this is why we won the election. Sam’s confused. Tom says that we just do it a little better than you guys.
Sam Seder's guest, Sarah Silverman, can be heard in the background: “Is he a Republican?” Seder confirms that Tom is a big-time Republican. Tom says he's a non-partisan who just votes on the issues. Sam says that is not unlike Joe Leiberman, but Tom doesn’t know who that is. Seder explains that he’s the Senator from Connecticut and questions whether WFMU follows current events. Tom says they can do sports and pop culture stuff. Sam wonders if Tom gets all of his topics from the FOT Chat, but Tom explains that he also uses Thirty Mile Zone and the hard-hitting The Superficial, if he’s looking for something with a bit more teeth.
Sam tells Tom that he is always available for dispensing radio tips. Tom wonders if there will be advice on how to have someone quit on you. Sam says that topic will be covered because there is a right and wrong way to do it. Tom wants to know what Jerry Springer is up to, and Sam says he will still be syndicated. He thinks Clear Channel will make sure that he doesn’t have many affiliates. Tom detects a ring of melancholy in Tom's voice. Sam likes a challenge because it all comes so easily for him. Tom agrees that Sam has an effortless talent not unlike Dean Martin. Sam says he’s also helped by being drunk half the time on his air. Tom says the airwaves are owned by the public. Sam says he’s only drunk when on XM.
Tom gives some background on the history of Sam’s radio empire, the story of Sam begging for access to the WFMU airwaves to satiatate his burning ambition to be on the radio. Tom kindly granted him two hours of air time in which they sandbagged a guy from Fox News and chatted with Janeane Garafalo. A year later, the duo were on Air America. Sam questions Tom about why that show (2/11/03) is not available on the archive page. He thinks that maybe too many people were trying to access it. Tom says that there was another segment in that show that people wanted to hear. Sam offers to do some fundraising if money is the issue, but Tom says he’ll get it back up. Tom thinks Air America might need the fundraising help. Sam thinks that is entirely conceivable. Tom wants to know the temperature of Air America at this time.
The Majority Report will end on Friday, and the new show will be called The Sam Seder Show. Tom compares The Majority Report to The Mike O’Malley Show and now he’s moving on to his equivalent of Yes, Dear. Seder thinks that’s a great way to put it. Tom says that’s an example of the kind of references one can expect on The Best Show. Seder auditioned for Yes, Dear, but he didn't get the part. “Too Jewish,” he was told. Tom wants to know who will be his Anthony Clark, but Sam has no response. Tom says hat things are going well over at Consolidated, and Sam wonders if he might be able to knock off for an hour in the morning under the guise of a pee break. Sam thinks Tom could join his show much like Keith Olbermann stops by Dan Patrick's ESPN radio show. Seder doesn’t know Olbermann, but appreciates Countdown.
Sam is distracted by Silverman, who is an example of the national figures that he is able to get for his show. He says that Tom must get this caliber of guest since he’s currently on the air. Tom says it’s very exciting to finally attract someone of his stature. Tom shifts the discussion to Sam's bowtie, which he no longers wears. He has, however, been doing the Tucker Carlson show. Tom likes Carlson because he’s a good dancer. Tom was tipped off that Seder was discussing Katherine Harris on that evening’s show and wasn’t sure if it was a Best Of clip. Seder says that Harris is the gift that keeps on giving, but Tom's less enthused: “If those are the kind of presents you want.” Sam says the ratings are not relevant at this point, and his bonus structure in his non-existent contract actually rewards the lack of listeners.
Tom says that everyone loves Sam Seder and that no one was happier than him when he found out that he got the Air America gig. With the amount of jealousy that was seething through him, Sam was really impressed by the way Tom acted at the time. Tom admits that he does have a burning desire to talk about politics for three hours a night and he’s been denied it. The good news is that Sam and Tom will be able to do this on a regular basis since he will no longer be working evenings. Tom wants to know if he wants to discuss the vote in Florida. Seder did discuss it on that night's show. Seders offers a topical parting shot: "This attempt to smear McGovern – it ain’t gonna work." Tom GOMPs him.
I was hoping that Tom would ask Sam about his elusive-yet-prolific music label. Why must Mr. Seder deny us easy access to the French proto-metal compilations we all desire?
- Tom hears the intermittent sounds (starts at 2:11) of a little kid voice, and it repeatedly startles him. It’s August. He remained on the line throughout the entire Seder. Tom wants his take on the interview, but August only heard Tom’s end of the conversation. That’s good enough since he heard the funny stuff. Based on Tom’s responses, August didn’t think that Seder was saying anything very interesting. Tom confirms that he was being mean, but Tom’s a big boy who can take it. The Best Show is where it wants to be -- 8 to 11p.m. Seder can’t handle that he was being trounced by Dancing with the Stars. Tom mocks his frequent bookings of boring bloggers like Daily Kos and Atrios. Tom notes that the bloggers failed to stop the war in Iraq.
Tom asks August if he’s feeling alright because he sounds sad. August says that something got caught in his throat, a common cause for sadness. August is currently lying down because his sinuses were annoying him. Tom says August may be the most interesting person he’s ever spoken to. Tom says August is very funny without even knowing it. Tom wants to know if there are funny movies or TV shows he likes. As for movies, he finds Monty Python and the Holy Grail to be amusing. Tom agrees. August doesn’t go to see comedies much. My guess is that he largely persists on a steady film diet of Bergman chamber dramas and early Fassbinder.
Tom wants to know what August does for entertainment purposes other than listening to music on YouTube and “The Hamster Dance”. August seems a bit frustrated in correcting Tom that his friends were "The Hampster Dance" fans. As for entertainment, August says he generally goes on a Go server. Tom wants August to school him on Go. August explains that it’s a Japanese board game, and the people he generally plays with don’t live near him, so he competes against them via the Internet. Tom wonders if it’s like Tic-Tac-Toe. August says that if he had to relate it to a more Western game, he’d say it’s close to
Grand Theft Auto chess in terms of the fact that you need strategies. However, Go is much different and harder than chess. Tom asks if people who play chess are stupid.
August says that chess players are not stupid because it’s just a matter of preference. In chess, it’s more about one of the opponent’s moves blocking one of yours, but in Go, you have to look at a much larger picture and not just focus on small battles. Tom thinks this sounds kinda like life, and August agrees. He explains that Go was invented by some advisors to the leaders of Japan. There was a prince who didn’t want to learn about the strategies of war, so the advisors came up with the game to teach him. Tom asks August if he knows where they are right now, and August says that based on the foghorn sound he just heard, it would be a lighthouse. He’s right. The foghorn gets louder. Tom bids him goodnight.
- Tom Riley from New Zealand calls (starts at 2:20) to say that he thinks he may have met the guy who told the Bill Murray story. He thinks it may be some kind of urban legend like the one where someone went to KFC and bit into some chicken whose juiciness resulted from a cyst. Tom finds the story disgusting. Riley thought it was known internationally, but Tom says it must be relegated to NZ. A yawn could be heard, and Riley thinks his friend picked up the phone as he was waking up. My theory: he was bored by the KFC story.
Last night, Riley saw Far Off Town -- Dunedin To Nashville, a documentary about The Clean's David Kilgour directed by his friend. As a result, he wants to hear Tom on ... Flying Nun. Tom thinks it was an awesome label that brought so many bands to the world. But like every good label, it’s run its course. Riley says that Flying Nun was compared to Matador in the documentary, but a fact-check reveals that it was actually Merge. Riley admits that Flying Nun is not his region of expertise, although this doesn't prevent him from discussing it every time he calls. Mike the Associate Producer tells Tom that there’s a call on line 3 that he has to take, so Riley is dismissed.
Rocco from The Bowery Boys Charlie in Seattle calls (starts at 2:24) to find out where the cosmopolitan Tom likes to visit. The carboard biz takes Tom all over the world, and he just went to a thing in Camden, N.J., which may be his favorite place on Earth. Charlie has never been there missing out on it's beaches alongside water that is either the Atlantic ocean or a weird lake. Tom recommends that all listeners consider it because your vacation dollar will not go farther anywhere else. Charlie reveals some of his favorite places: upstate NJ, California, and Eastern Canada. Tom likes these places, too, but he insists you can’t beat Camden. Charlie will vacation their next summer, and Tom recommends blocking off six weeks to absorb all of the nuances
- Max is back (starts at 2:27) to defend his Bill Murray story. He doesn't know Tom Riley, but does say hi to Miles. He denies dining out on it all over the world, and goes on the offensive against Riley. He accuses Riley of pretending to not know about Matador Records while going to see a Flying Nun movie like some “wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, dumb bunny.” He doesn’t appreciate the haters, but Tom says that he’s one of the haters, still railing against Bill Murray from an incident that occurred in the late 1980s. At the time, he told his dad about the story, and he said that he should go on David Letterman. Tom thinks he’s looking to get rich off of this, but he claims he’s only after Yo La Tengo tickets. Tom says he’ll put him in touch with some people at the UCB Theater so he can do a one-man show called “Me & Bill”.
At the time of the incident, he went to the corner to call his Mom, who had a big crush on Murray. She came rushing down to pick them up and waved to them from afar. Tom is amazed that he and his brother are so consumed with the grudge that they were unable to focus on the fact that Bill Murray was wearing a MASK. Max's time references seem a bit suspect. He claims this took place around the time of Ghostbusters II in 1989, but Murray was asking about La Bamba, which was released in 1987. Surely, Murray was not soliciting random thoughts on that film two year's after its initial release.
- DJ Terre T calls (starts at 2:30) from a big celebrity party with a really big up and coming metaler guy standing by. He ran into Professor Stupid, and he wants to tell the story to Tom. Tom can’t do it over the air due to station rules. Terre T is disappointed because it’s a great story. Tom’s dying inside but the rules thems the rules. Terre will tell him later.
- Paul calls (starts at 2:31) to say that the station does indeed rule. He wants to get back to something to get our dander up: Deadhead Al Franklin. Tom’s not sure who that is. Paul says that he's a lying liar who tells lies. A bit earlier, Tom took Al Franklin to task for writing a book that attacks longtime newsman Bill Beutel. Tom wondered what did Bill Beutel ever did to anybody to deserve the attack. Tom wants to know if Paul's a Bush man. He’s not, and Tom can’t believe it. Paul thinks President Nobody is the man for the job because there’s nobody out there, especially not the "gooseneck Leiberman". Paul goes out like a lamb. Tom declares the show an "L". He thought it was gonna be one thing, and it's turning into another thing. Tom wants to find a cave to bury the tape of this show.
- Petey calls (starts at 2:52) to report that school is bringing him down. He doesn’t want to go into any details, and Tom asks him how many swirlies he’s received. Petey says none. Tom asks him if he has a different term for them, and he does: whirlies. He’s received seven of those. Petey explains that hen the times change, they replace vocabulary and stuff. Petey says that nobody likes school, but Tom reminds him that August does. Petey accuses August of being a prep. Tom asks him how he would know, and Petey says that you can tell. Petey doesn’t want to get in any trouble with August and says he’s probably a good kid.
Petey passes the reign down to August as the kid that regularly calls, but Tom doesn’t think it’s his right because he tried to bring Boring Dan into the fold. Petey says that Dan has depression problems because of Tom’s mockery. Tom thanks Petey for killing the show with the death blow. Petey wanted to sing the rest of his court-mandated Bob Dylban tune, but Tom GOMPs him.
- John from New Brunswick calls (starts at 2:54) while chomping on a 'boli at Stuff Yer Face. After that, he'll head over to the Grease Trucks. He recently attended the art parade in SoHo, which was really good until it was ruined by the sight of some tall bikes. John spotted a 5’ 3” thug, who looked like a Hobbit standing next to his tall bike. John's favorite thing to eat at the Grease Trucks is the Fat Cat -- thre Big Macs stacked on top of each other. Tom thinks that the presence of the Grease Trucks explains why there are two hospitals in New Brunswick. I’ve never sampled this fare, but I can’t imagine anything topping the Fat Darrell
- A caller reckons (starts at 2:56) that Bill Murray guy stole his whole story. This appeared to be Tom Riley calling again. Why? Come on, Riley. Go school yourself with that The Clean anthology Merge put out and ease up on the phone pedal.
- Boring Dan calls (starts at 2:57) to say he was pretty offended by Tom’s comments. He says something about Petey slacking off of late, and Tom thinks this is a 37-year-old imposter. Tom says that no one gets the Yo La Tengo tickets: “As far as the callers go tonight, it was a 55-way tie for last.” Petey requests the tickets via IM, and Tom denies him.
- No Smokin' Joe hits Tom up (starts at 2:58) as he’s out the door. Tom's response to the call is simple and direct: “I hate you so much.” He calls NSJ the worst person to ever appear on The Best Show. He wants to know how NSJ is doing with the child molestation charges. He e-mailed Tom saying he got arrested. NSJ laughs and says Tom is Johnny Carson. When he is forced to talk to NSJ, Tom wishes he was Johnny Carson because he died two years ago. Tom begs God to kill him, and NSJ says something about wishing he was Frank Gorshin. A poetic way to ride out an "L". Bad Guys win.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: Bill Murray calls to discuss his various public disguises, August gets the Yo La Tengo tickets by coming up with an exit strategy for Iraq, and, most importantly, the Good Guys Win.
Will Miss-aisle Sunset hold on for Record of the Year?
The DC Snipers perform "You Dissappeear Me" in the dark woods behind the old Lady Foot Locker
Finally, it was just announced that the DVD set of the century is coming out on December 26th. Use every damn gift card to get every damn episode: