Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt.
"I must have psychically picked up on your request because I've started on that. Nothing interesting will start for a long time tonight." -- Tom, doing a favor for Dave in Knoxville
"Let us be like a little lullaby in the background. Doesn't mean you have to start singing along with the lullaby." -- Tom, reiterating the show's new calling policies
"Not only are you boring, you've actually created boring characters. Even your fantasy stuff is boring." -- Tom on Spike's lackluster Sims creations
"Finally, that dump is gone." -- Tom, not crying for CBGB's
"Oh, you gotta see this place -- most disgusting bathrooms on Earth." -- CBGB's primary selling point
"First 9/11, and now this. Can these brave New Yorkers cope with the loss of a rock club that they never went to?” -- Tom, wondering if the city can survive another trauma
"I wouldn’t let my dog sniff anything in that place out of respect to my dog’s nose.” -- Tom, refusing to let Dogmo near any CBGB's souvenirs
"Everything I do is kinda punk." -- Petey, fully immersed in the lifestyle
"He folded like a cheap camera when the heat came down." -- Tom on the cowardice of punk legend Pete Seeger
"You watch Star Wars now, and you get sad when see this great actor have to walk around in a stupid brown robe." -- Tom on seeing Alec Guinness forced to spout Lucas dialogue
"You like movies about trannies, you get as many tranny movies as you want." -- Tom, keeping Laurie's queue mostly intact
"I don’t dress up for Halloween. I go for a festive sweater." -- MC Steinberg on his holiday attire
"An artist has to be willing to try different things." -- Tom on MC Steinberg’s bold decision to adhere sprinkles to his candy apples
"I’ll start doing my own thing, I’ll start doing like an audio tap dance." -- Tom, stealing the show on a Jerky Boys prank
"What are you, auditioning for a job over at Criterion with this list?" --Tom, questioning Mike’s scholarly Netflix queue
"Tommy don’t run, Tommy’s staying to fight." -- Tom, hunched over and coughing eight feet away from the mic, sweat pouring down his brow like he just ran a marathon
"This guy’s crazy! He's gonna get killed up there!" -- Tom, voicing an incredulous New Yorker in the Turk 182 video game
"How on Earth did Donald Trump, Jr. become successful?" -- Tom, trying to explaining the poor kid's rise to business glory
"I kinda agree with him. A lot of dummies call." -- Pudge, supporting a caller's claim that the show's listeners are idiots
"No one can intimidate a Bon Jovi song." -- A caller, expressing displeasure with Indieblockedappella's take on "Livin' On A Prayer"
The Ettes - "No More Surprises"
( Click here to buy Shake The Dust)
( Click here to buy Echoes of the Past)
( Click here to pre-order Saturday Night Wrist)
Asobi Seksu - "Goodbye"
( Click here to buy Citrus)
Annotated highlights of a show in which The Kid kept fighting and fighting and coughing and fighting and, despite his fears, didn't expire like that act-tore who recently croaked onstage:
Danielson Bachelor Party Fallout: The seemingly clean-cut crew apparently enjoys the rough stuff. After Tom gave it his all for last week's show, he found his car all smashed up -- front windshield broken, trunk popped, tires slashed, and a giant "D" spray-painted on the hood like some kind of warning. The Danielsons are the new Tall Bikers, although at least they didn't hurl a McSweeney's Quarterly at Tom.
Congrats to Tom for being named the 10th most happening person in the comedy world in Mitzi Shore's annual survey for The Comedy Store website.
Here's the ballot I submitted:
- As Tom took the first call of the evening, he had that one-second twinge of expecting to hear "Heeeelllloooo, Tom." However, it was the far less creepy Dave from Knoxville (starts at 27:25), who apologizes for cutting in front of Spike. Tom says there's no need, but Dave thinks he may have to apolgize again after asking Tom for a favor. He's rarely able to listen live due to family obligations, but his wife and kids went to the beach for Fall break. As a result, he planned his entire week around settling in for some Tuesday night radio fun. But then his plans were derailed by a flat tire on the way home from work. Tom asks him if he's enlisted AAA assistance, but Dave is going to fix it himself, a DIY ethic that he attributes to the southern way of life. Tom says that he can also put on a spare, but if he's already paid for the service that will send a guy to fix it while he reads a magazine or comic book, he will do it. About a year and a half ago, Tom drove home in the pouring rain and got a flat alongside an Anheuser-Busch brewery. He had no interest in going out in the dark, wet night to muck around with a tire on his brand new Aston Martin. It was still covered, so an A-M serviceman came out, popped the mounted spare off the trunk, replaced that, put the spare on, and then Tom was on his way. Tom read an Iron Man comic while the repair was being done. Dave thinks the story blows his desired favor to pieces. He was going to ask Tom to hold off on doing anything interesting until he got home. He found the spare tire story fascinating.
Tom thinks he must have psychically picked up on the request because he doesn't expect anything interesting to happen for a long time tonight. Dave is pleased and promises to call Tom's "screener" when he gets home to give the go-ahead to ratchet it up. Tom is offended by Dave referring to Mike the Associate Producer as a lowly screener, which makes it seem like Mike is scrubbing flies off screen doors at the back of a Chinese restaurant. Mike only does that for fun. On the show, he's the invisible hand holding it down behind the glass. Tom tells Dave to get his tire fixed and get home safely. Dave tells Tom to have a great night, and Tom returns the wishes. Dave is confident that he will indeed have a great night. The upbeat sign-off prompts Tom to declare Dave the Tony Robbins of Knoxville.
Tom commends Dave for his brief, focused call. He came in, made his point, and checked out. No more Day Of The Dead sleepwalks in the new regime of The Best Show. You splash some cold water on your face, you call, you have a good 'ol time hashing out your topic with Tom, and then you say goodnight. Tom says that everyone -- including the regulars and even Tom -- is on probation. If Spike is boring, he’s gone. If Petey rambles in the goofball voice, CLICK. From now on, the show is gonna move like the rapid-fire Mad Money without the chair throwing and someone dressed up in a bull costume. If you're tired, just let the show be like a soothing lullably in the background. No need to sing along.
Powood Acres: A Sims player en route to Au Bon Pain to meet his virtual neighbor for the first time
- Spike calls (starts at 33:26) with an abnormal greeting: "I agree with you, Thomas." He supports the new caller policies, so he makes it short and sweet for a change. While playing Sims2, Spike saw Tom's name attached to some person or structure on the website. Tom is surprised to hear that someone is living his life in the world of the Sims. Spike doesn't know who is using Tom's name because everyone uses code names when creating their virtual environments. Spike doesn't even use "Spike". He didn't reveal his handle, but my sources told me that it's "ChuckyBerry". Spike creates different characters, and his favorite is Lily Lite, a former televangelist who ocassionaly preaches to her neighbors. Tom is not too intrigued by Ms. Lite and points out that even Spike's fantasy stuff is boring. Spike doesn't think she's boring. Perhaps he could spice things up by having Lily organize a town Fun Fair or go on a crusade for proper lawn care.
Spike also created a character who worships Tom and other radio personalities, such as Lynn Samuels and Howard Stern. Spike says that he doesn't do the dungeon discipline stuff in his Sims communities, just the mundane daily activities. I hope this includes bringing an entire jar of mayonnaise to the movie theater and making mix CDs. He's never met the people behind the characters … yet. Tom rues the day when someone meets up with Spike at the Au Bon Pain in Midtown. Tom speculates that they will identify each other via clothing -- the online neighbor will wear a red jacket, while Spike will wear a green jacket. When Spike arrives, he will see a guy in a red jacket bursting out of the emergency exit. Spike's not sure how that meeting would go, so Tom tells him it would go just like he just said it would. Tom GOMPs him. Spike had a topic that didn't involve doo wop, slashers, or a fictional dominatrix named Debbie? Props for that, I guess.
- Richie Carmichael calls (starts at 37:04) for an explanation of how Tom could possibly allow the greatest drummer in the world (i.e., Marky Ramone) to play drums live via telephony, and then go back to that "ridiculous band" (i.e., Danielson) he was hanging out with during last week's show. This made no sense to Mr. Carmichael. Tom points out that Marky hung up immediately after he played, so it's not like Tom could chase him down. Carmichael doesn't understand why he hung up because it was the greatest drum solo he's ever heard in his entire life. Tom asks him if maybe he should have hung up on Marky, and just as Carmichael begins to clarify his position, Tom gets him. Tom loves wielding his power. The surprise hang-up never fails to please him on a basic level.
Filthspotting: Renton emerges from the toilet at the t-shirt store CBGB's circa 1996
- No Smoke calls (starts at 39:26) to get Tom to talk about the time he played CBGB’s. Tom has something to say about the recent closure of this venue: "Good riddance." After what seemed like a four-year retirement complete with undying pleas from the likes of Little Steven, Tom's glad the dump is finally gone. Tom thinks the place has been bad news since around 1992, and they recently finished one last cash grab with $35/pop farewell shows. Tom rejects the notion that longevity automatically means something is good (see the Weird Al discussion a couple of weeks ago) and thinks the selling point of having the most disgusting bathrooms on Earth is terrible. In short: a rock club has to do more than simply manage to elude normal health code laws and somehow not get shut down by the health commission. Tom has no desire to look at such a dubious claim to fame.
As they break it all down and bring it to Vegas, Tom's sure that they can return to the old days of booking 10-band open mic nights where you've never heard of anyone on the bill. Bottom line: no good bands in over a decade, but a nice t-shirt. Tom imagines someone being surprised to learn that someone had the weird idea to open a club based on Duff McKagan's t-shirt in the "Sweet Child 'O Mine" video. Tom wonders when the people who are all bummed out actually last went to a show at CBGB's. They lament the loss of an institution even though head gormandizer Hilly Kristal never pulled the trigger on his 100 chances to buy it. Tom thinks a homeless shelter is ultimately more valuable than NYC's 900th rock club and doesn't understand why some are acting like it's some kind of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo scenario: an old white guy driving a bulldozer to knock down CBGB's while some punks are trying to block the entrance ("Save this club that I used to go to!") to prevent a Starbucks from being erected in its place. Instead, they are just trying to house the homeless.
- Jim from Jersey City calls (starts at 44:33) to file a complaint about ubiquitous hipsters. Tom wants to know how Jim defines a “hipster”, but the best he can come up with is a guy with nice clothes walking in NYC. He doesn’t think that Tom needs a definition. Tom gets rid of him and tells him to join CBGB’s.
- THE Laurie from Miami calls (starts at 45:44) for some help with her Netflix queue, but Tom wants her to call back in 10 minutes because he’s not done riffing on CBGB’s closure. Tom reads from a CNN.com article, which asked readers to reflect on the legendary club’s 33-year history. John from Verona, New Jersey wrote:
I saw the Sex Pistols there. I was in heaven. Sid spit in my eye as I walked past the stage.
Tom gives CNN a newsflash of his own: The Sex Pistols never played CBGB’s.
Yakov from Hillsdale, New Jersey:
It is completely upsetting. Another stepping-stone in the in the gentrification of the Lower East Side. When I first went to CB's the bathrooms had no doors and it was a wild and exciting place to be.
Tom: "Yeah, unless you had to use the bathroom." Tom says it might depend on one's definition of "exciting" -- some people might think an open-door bathroom policy is fun.
Today's bands played on the same stage that yesterday's heroes such as the Ramones and the Dictators made history.
Without CB's New York becomes a little less interesting and little more like everywhere else. Another crucial Landmark in rock and roll history lost forever.
Tom: "First 9/11, now this." He hopes the brave New Yorkers can cope with the loss of a rock club they never went to. Tom thinks they might as well move CB’s up to Times Square replacing Mars 2112 since there is little difference between the two establishments. Tom is also concerned about where Norwegian tourists are going to buy t-shirts at 4 p.m. now that the club is closing.
The Foley Family from Reston, Virginia writes:
Our 16-year-old son is a rock historian, especially about the golden era of CBGB's and the artists who got their start there. In the summer of 2005, we finally had a chance to go to CBGB's. It was mid-afternoon and quiet in the place. Hilly Krystal was at his tiny, cluttered desk just inside the door. Hilly invited us in, posed for a picture, signed the book of photos from CBGB's for which he wrote the forward--but more than that, he was a real gentleman who treated our son with great respect.
Tom thinks this respect was the result of the kid shelling out $30 for the book from the place next door.
He told him stories of the old days, asked questions about his band, encouraged him to keep making music, let him go up on stage to feel it out, introduced him to his son-in-law who photographed some of the legendary artists. The ghosts hung heavy in the air and we could imagine the club at full tilt '76. It's a shame that other young rock aficionados won't have the chance to see for themselves where music changed forever. Thanks to Hilly for hanging in there and for giving us an afternoon to remember...see you in Vegas.
Tom says there are 100 things wrong about that little story. He also thinks it's good to see CBGB’s and Tower Records going out at the same time: “Don’t let the door hit you.” One place had bands that nobody wants to see, and the other allowed you to buy Led Zeppelin 2 and Rubber Soul for $19-$21.
Sonic Reducer: The Dead Boys play CBGB's during a time when they booked good bands. I think that's Jim Cramer introducing them.
- A caller from Jersey City (starts at 51:50) doesn’t want to give his name, but he does want to stick up for CBGB’s. He agrees that no notable acts played there in recent years, but he thinks it’s important mainly because anyone could just call up and play. Young musicians had the chance to perform at a club with a great history in the city and have their music stream through a great sound system. You didn't need any ins in the music industry, and even if you’re band was crappy, you could get a $3 cover spot on a Monday night at 10 p.m. You could round up your friends to see you on the same stage graced by The Ramones and Talking Heads. Plus, you'd get a CD of the show. Tom summarizes the caller's point by saying that he seems to like the fact that CBGB’s threw quality control out the window. Tom suggests that the tagline “Anyone can play here!” should have been part of the awning text.
The caller thinks that policy is important; Tom thinks it’s terrible. Tom doesn’t like the idea of having to endure any bad band just because they picked up the phone and requested a slot. Tom prefers a club to book good bands. The caller doesn’t feel that new bands have enough options to play if you are just starting out. Tom’s advice: take your lumps and get good. That's the way rock music works. The caller believes that the club's history as the birthplace of punk combined with it's disregard for QC cement its value. Tom asks him if anyone cried when Max’s Kansas City went away. The caller can’t speak to any tears that were shed, but he did get a good sandwich there after it became a deli.
The caller points out that Max’s lacked the long history of CBGB’s. Tom says that it’s been a dump forever, and the fact that they will record a CD doesn’t help him. He just wants to see good bands. The caller points out that the lack of QC yielded bands like The Ramones and Talking Heads, who auditioned for slots. Tom counters by saying that this happened 30 years ago, and if that is the standard, The Cotton Club might as well be re-opened. It's actually still around! The Cotton Club outlasted CBGB's just like The Best Show outlasted Greasy Kid Stuff!
Tom sees what the caller is saying, but he shant cry for CGBG’s. Tom says that Hilly had his chance to buy the building with his t-shirt loot and keep it there forever. The caller says he couldn’t because he needed a $1 million loan and the t-shirts were simply paying the rent. Tom thinks booking good bands would have been another way to pay the rent. The caller says Hilly deserves respect for sticking to his anyone-can-play philosophy, but Tom points out that there was a time when good bands played there. The caller doesn’t think there are many good bands today that could have played there in recent years. Tom says there are and tells the caller he will get a taste of some in the upcoming set of hott music. The caller is glad to see recent JC shows like the Yo La Tengo performance at the Loews Theater. He’s all in favor of a resurgence in the JC music scene and hopes they can attract a club like CBGB’s. Tom hopes not, but does agree to support a club like circa-1970s CBGB’s when people actually cared about the bands on the stage. Tom thinks the callers heart is in the right place.
- A caller wants to chime in (starts at 58:13) on the CB's eulogy, and Tom suspects he’s glad it’s gone. The caller isn't sure because he did go there twice in the last five years for some cool queercore shows. He said that he never used the bathroom, opting to just pee in a cup like a caveman or dog. Tom expects a functioning, clean bathroom at a bar or club. He also points out that CBGB’s was the home of the overpriced $6 beer. The caller recommends that Tom move to the Netherlands if he wants clean bathrooms. Tom doesn’t need to move to Europe since Southpaw, Northsix, and the Knitting Factory prove that proper sanitation can be done in this country. The caller agrees that there are some passable domestic toilets.
If not for the homeless shelter above it, Tom would support taking a wrecking ball to the place, replacing it with a mall filled with Old Navy, Starbucks, and every other outlet that drives punks crazy. He also hopes they change Joey Ramone Place to Abercrombie and Fitch Blvd. Tom thinks that if the club was run with half an eye towards putting talent on the stage, more people would have supported it in the past 15 years, allowing it to survive. Tom wanted to go by in a pick-up truck and rip the awning; the caller wanted a table for his porch. Tom would not want anything from that place in his house. He would not allow Dogmo to even sniff anything out of respect for his nose. The caller suggests dipping any CB’s souvenirs in bleach, but Tom concludes that everything in there is irredeemable. The caller says that some people like garbage, which prompts Tom to ask if his beloved DC Snipers played there. The caller says they played there once about three or four months ago, but Tom doesn’t count anything in the farewell era. Tom says they should have been the house band.
- Petey calls (starts at 1:02) to say he's sad about CBGB’s demise because he was hoping to play there in 2007. Tom thinks he’s more of a Knitting Factory kind of guy. Petey doesn’t like the Knitting Factory -- he’s punk, so he would fit into the punkified mindset of CBGB’s. Tom doesn't think he's CBGB's material, but Petey says that everything he does is kinda punk. Tom confirms that Petey is at least adopting a punk look -- he recently saw him sporting rock star long hair and a leather jacket. (I guess Petey has abandoned the mohawk he had a few months ago.) Petey is considering opening his own club in his backyard called PDCG’s. He doesn’t think Tom would ever guess what the CG stands for. It was never revealed, but my guess is Corrosive Goofballism. Tom realizes that he said "dude" for the first time a few moments earlier, a slip he attributes to his illness. Petey thinks saying “dude” is pretty punk and wants Tom to keep saying it. Tom questions Petey’s handle on what is punk, and Petey does nothing to sway him by citing two of his favorite punk artists: Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
Tom thinks Pete Seeger is terrible with his stupid banjo and sings a bit of the non-punk "Frog Went A-Courtin'" to prove it. Petey admits that is a folk song, but he was thinking of his early stuff, such as his recording of the class-conscious “Which Side Are You On?” with The Almanac Singers. Tom urges Petey to return to Pete Seeger school to learn about how he was a complete coward and folded like a cheap camera when the cops started cracking down on the Commies. Woody Guthrie went down for the count, while Seeger changed his act to hide in the comfy confines of the apolitical The Weavers. Petey is familiar with this shift in Seeger's career. Tom points out that Seeger also jacked Guthrie’s authentic Oklahoma stylee. Seeger was a Harvard guy (he dropped out in 1939) claiming to be from the south by affecting an accent. Petey thinks being a fake coward is part of being punk. He argues that punk artists have to say things they don’t actually mean in order to spread the word. Furthermore, when Dylan went electric, Seeger tried to chop down the mixing board because his folk rock ears couldn’t handle it. Tom's bottom line: “Shut up with your banjo!” The only banjo player Tom likes is George Segal.
Petey says that Seeger lives right next to him, and Tom wants to get the address so he can smash his banjo on his 110-year-old head. Petey says he will go hang out with Pete Seeger in the hopes of getting some kind of artistic, life-changing transference a la Dylan’s visit to an ailing Woody Guthrie. Tom GOMPs him because he doesn’t want to talk to the new Pete Seeger. He thinks the old pete Seeger is one of the worst people of the 20th century.
Better than Stella: Alec Guinness with his troupe of crooks and poor Mrs. Wilberforce in The Ladykillers
- It’s time (starts at 1:08) for Tom to review and restructure your Netflix queue for maximum enjoyment. First up is Nathan, a student of comedy in the midst of a tour through his favorites of the past decade, including: The Office (UK), The Comedians Of Comedy: The Movie (I saw the s hit out of this and it’s almost as mandatory as Coupon: The Movie), Zach Galifianakis Live (not yet released), and Stella. After a rock-solid start, this earns an “Eww, boy” from Tom. Tom wonders if he really wants to watch it, but Nathan loves the show. Nathan continues with Mr. Show, The Kids in the Hall, SCTV, Strangers With Candy, Upright Citizens Brigade, The Baxter, and Wet Hot American Summer. Tom’s not thrilled with the last two films, but Nathan says he’s simply hitting all the angles of the alt.comedy scene. Nathan finishes with Home Movies. Tom reveals that H. Jon Benjamin will be on the show next week. Nathan is pleased to hear that and says he also can’t live without Andy Kindler.
Tom says it’s a pretty impeccable selection of comedy, but he’d like to see an influx of Alec Guinness into his queue. He recommends three of his classic Ealing comedies: his unbelievable turn as a creep and weirdo in the original The Ladykillers, his eight (!) roles in Kind Hearts and Coronets, and The Lavender Hill Mob. Tom informs Nathan that Guinness is the godfather of all British comedy -- he begat Peter Sellers who begat Peter Cook who begat Monty Python collective. Nathan said he plans to also cram the 100-disc Monty Python box set into his queue. Tom says he gets depressed when he sees Guinness walking around in a stupid, brown robe in Star Wars, saying lines like "Use the force, Luke." Nathan will take Tom’s advice and add the films to his queue.
Tutzie: "May the Good Lord take a likin' to ya and put this in your Netflix queue real soon!"
- Laurie’s back (starts at 1:13) for help with her queue:
* Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play, a Japanese anime thingamajigger that she saw when she was 15. Tom has no idea what that is, so Laurie explains that it’s anime for teenage girls who like cross dressers. Tom: “Sounds good!”
* Barton Fink. Tom likes it, but recommends swapping it for the more fun The Big Lebowski. Laurie’s already seen it, but Tom wants her to watch it again because he’s seen it 35 times. I’m leery of violating the FOT Pledge and Creed, but while Lebowski is a classic, if Laurie has not seen Fink, I’d argue that it should remain in the queue. One should see the entire Coens oeuvre.
Laurie wonders if The Dude is The Best Show mascot, but that is, of course, Judge Smails from Caddyshack. Tom recommends another viewing of that film in which Laurie focuses not on Dangerfield, Murray, or Chase (Laurie argues that nobody does this), but on the exciting story of a young man looking to get a college scholarship and courting the cantankerous Judge Smails to grant it to him. Laurie says Chris L is telling her to dump The L Word. Tom says the first thing she needs to dump is Chris L, who appears to be stepping on his toes by conducting a competing podcast of his own with Tom’s guest.
* Mrs. Henderson’s Presents. At first, I thought this Judi Dench vehicle seemed out of place in Laurie's queue, but then I remembered that it revolved around starting an all-nude revue at a derelict West End theater. Suicide Dames!
* The Pillow Book. Tom graciously allows Laurie to keep the dirty Ewan McGregor movie in her queue.
* Crash -- the David Cronenberg auto erotica one, not the Scientology racial mix-em-up one. Laurie craves seeing James Spader doing things to Rosanna Arquette’s leg again. Mike says both are terrible and recommends the J.G. Ballard book instead. At this point, Tom suspects that Laurie is a big David Lynch fan. She’s not, but her mom really liked Mulholland Drive. Tom thinks being from Florida explains the direction Laurie's queue has been heading, but she argues that Miami is like a different country. Tom says the rest of the state is still right above it, possibly pressing down on it like a tumor. You still have to wade through it to get somewhere else. Tom wants Laurie to swap the creepy Crash for Jiminy Glick in La La Wood. Tom thought it would be bad, but got some some legit laughs out of it. He tells Laurie that Glick does a David Lynch impression throughout. Laurie will heed the advice because she liked the Primetime Glick.
* The first two seasons of The L Word that Chris L tried to boot. Laurie is interested in seeing Devon Gummershall, who played Brian Krakow on My So-Called Life, in the role of a transsexual. Tom thinks we are getting a real look inside Laurie’s head. He recommends just checking out the first season for now.
* Dead Like Me. Showtime. No limits!
* Beautiful Boxer. Yes, it's another tranny movie. Tom says Laurie can go for all the tranny movies she wants. She's already seen Bad Education, Mike's recommendation of [SPOILER WARNING] The Crying Game, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Laurie tells Tom that there's more. Tom's sure that there is, but he only wants two more titles. Laurie can only get one out due to a laughing fit: the lesbian thriller Fingersmith based on the novel by Sarah Waters. Somebody recommended the new tranny comedy, Tutzie, starring Charles Durning. Tom makes a note of it.
- MC Steinberg calls (starts at 1:21), and he's doing awesome because it's the Halloween season. He plans to go all out this year and really celebrate it as much as possible. His daily regimen of Halloween-related activities includes packing several lunches and walking through a corn maze at a local farm. He got lost for several hours during his last trek. He will go seven or eight times throughout the season to try to master it. MCS enjoys meeting a lot of cool people and families in the maze, but Tom thinks it’s creepy that he wanders around by himself with bagged lunches in case he gets lost. Steinberg says he actually tries to lose his way. The farms have guides that ask you Halloween questions such was when the jack-o-lantern was invented. MCS will know the right answer, but he’ll go the wrong way on purpose. As it gets closer to Halloween day, he’ll change his approach from socializing to going for speed by just running through the maze. Tom prays that he’s never in the maze, but if he is, he’s not sure he wants to hang out with MCS while there.
Tom thinks it’s time to move on from the corn maze because he hears business plummeting all around the tri-state area. He wants MCS to reveal the corn maze he goes to so that other corn mazes don’t suffer the financial consequences of his attendance. However, Tom holds off because the resulting news coverage ("Weirdos in the corn maze") would completely submarine the one maze that MCS frequents. MCS says that a few years ago, News12 NJ was doing a Halloween special, and they were lucky to snag an interview with the self-proclaimed "Corn Maze Master". MCS made the news and thought it was awesome to have his five minutes of fame before his eventual 5,000 minutes of fame.
MCS is also assembling Halloween movies: Ernest Scared Stupid, Hocus Pocus
The Witches of Eastwick, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air season 2, which had a Halloween-themed episode where Will and Carlton go to a mall to look for a Halloween present and get sidetracked by looking for a hottie. Tom is confused by the notion of a Halloween present, and Steinberg says he meant to say costume, but had a brain fart. MCS does think that the Banks family was rich enough to actually exchange Halloween gifts. MCS says he doesn't wear a costume, preferring to opt for just a festive sweater. Tom finds it odd that a Halloween fanatic would reject the mainstay of the holiday.
MCS says he goes trick-or-treating, but he’s just kidding. He says that if he did it at his age, it would make him weird. He does greet the kids at his door, busts out some rhymes, and gives out candy apples, which are kinda famous in his building. Some kids will actually return for a multiple rounds of apples. MCS promises that you will get your fair share of candy if you come to the Steinberg apartment (maybe Dennis Lindsey was listening). MCS will sometimes adhere chocolates, crushed-up peanuts, and sprinkles to the apples. The sprinkles were not a big hit, but Tom assures MCS that an artist has to be willing to try different things. Speaking of artists and the Fresh Prince, MCS asks Tom if he’s ever heard that Fresh Prince song about Halloween, “The Nightmare on My Street”. In the song’s narrative, Big Willie and Jazzy Jeff go out to see A Nightmare On Elm Street with some honeys, and Freddy Kreuger ends up haunting Will’s dreams. Tom thinks it has all the makings of a great song. MCS thinks it’s a classic that will outlast Will Smith, not unlike Bobby "Boris" Pickett’s novelty hit, "Monster Mash". Steinberg wants to be immortal, so he wrote his own Halloween song called "Frankensteinberg":
Now I have a deep secret, and I need to share
And to all my followers, you may get a scare
I might just pull a Diddy, give my fans a big surprise
Tell ‘em I’m not a rapper, but a monster in disguise
I’m gonna rope my ponytail like a big old garden hose
I have a pair of hooves underneath my rubber toes
I wear special dentures to cover my fangs
Better watch out, little kiddies, I got hunger pangs
Frankensteinberg, I’m an urban legend, in my urban town
Frankensteinberg, I gobble up little kids when the sun goes down
I’m the eerie presence when you’re all alone
I’m those creeps and cracks you may hear in your home
Making out with your girl, scratching out your car door
You feel a cold chill walking by the Dollar Store
I’m the most evil rapper in the whole damn game
And although I feast on flesh, one thing is the same
When a guy leaves the club with an arm around your date
Sorry pal – even monstes got to regulate
Frankensteinberg, I wear big chains, and I carry a gat
Frankensteinberg, I got big fangs, and I fly like a bat
Now this Halloween, you better watch yourself
Like Meatloaf said, I’m a bat outta hell
Grabbin’ the kids with their bags full of candy
Drinkin’ the (??) like it’s expensive brandy
Then return to my castle and lay in my casket
Rule a kingdom of darkness, then Angela Bassett
Walks in with the Wolfman, and Dracula, and Eazy-E combined
I’m Frankensteinberg, all up in your mind
Frankensteinberg, shout-out to Bubba and Burt, my posse from Hell
Frankensteinberg, if you like to drink blood, let me hear you yell
Frankensteinberg, eat your heart out, DJ Jazzy Jeff
Frankensteinberg, October 31st -- not much time left
Tom loves it and thinks it ranks among Steinberg’s best. MCS is concerned that he has some references that may not be timeless, such as Eazy-E. Tom lets him go to attend to a customer at the Dollar Store, and MCS parts with his usual sign-off: "Tom rules".
Dr. Retarded gives "Frankensteinberg" two squeaks:
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - "Nightmare On My Street"
- Nervous Johnathan calls (starts at 1:34) and sounds like he’s about to pass out. He doesn’t want to give out a lot of details, but he is somewhere in New York. He lacks a Netflix account, but he’s still open to movie suggestions. Tom tells him that he has to have a queue in order to proceed. Johnathan starts whimpering and Tom gets rid of him for doing a voice that sounds like The Jerky Boys' nebbish Jew, Sol Rosenberg. Tom believes that they were the two least talented people on Earth, but was amazed that the one guy was still more talentless than the other guy. Kamal was pulling up the rear of the duo like some kind of Andrew Ridgeley. Tom thinks people just want to live their lives, not get yelled at on the phone by a guy threatening to hit them in the head with a ratchet for $75 and a free CD. Tom dares The Jerky Boys to prank him. He’ll steal the show on their prank by unleashing an audio tap dance. The Enemies List has grown: CBGB’s, Tower Records, Pete Seeger, Johnathan, and The Jerky Boys.
- Mike gives Tom (starts at 1:57) a list of his Netflix queue for his review:
* Street Fight (Newark smackdown!)
* Infernal Affairs 1 and 2 (the Hong Kong source materials for The Departed)
* Footballers Wives s2 and s3
Tom thinks that Mike's queue suggests that he's auditioning for a job at Criterion, so he makes a few additions to lighten things up. He builds on Knowing Me, Knowing You with Clifford, which boasts one of cinema's greatest two-man games between Martin Short and Charles Grodin. Tom thinks that Short's work as a 10-year-old boy who torments Grodin deserved an Oscar. It's one of the most dominant performances he’s ever seen. Tom also recommends the 280-disc Eye Witness News: Complete Season 1 set. It includes every 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. Channel 7 newscast from that year. Mike last saw Animal House on television, so Tom throws that in in the mix, along with the essential Cannonball Run -- unbelievable from the first strains of the Chuck Mangione score to the end.
- Tom debuts (starts at 2:04) a segment based on the 1985 film Turk 182. In the interest of full disclosure, Tom has an extra affinity for the film because he recorded some New York voices for the video game. In the film, Jimmy Lynch (Timothy Hutton) goes on a crusade after his fireman brother Terry (Robert Urich) gets injured during an off-duty rescue. The Mayor will not cover his medical bills because he was not on the clock. Hutton starts doing graffiti attacks throughout the town to fight back against the system. Tom wants to know what injustices, evil, and negligence listeners want to Turk 182. This segment was dedicated to the little guys, but, sadly, it ended up being the least successful call-in segment in the show's history.
- A caller from Warwick, N.Y., says (starts at 2:07) he especially liked the Turk 182 finale with Hutton’s character on the Queensborough Bridge. That’s the part of the game (Level 10) that Tom voiced, giving some local color with lines like "This guy’s crazy! He's gonna get killed up there!" The caller mentions that his work as a photo assistant took him up to the Brooklyn Bridge with a naked girl from California. The caller thought Tom worked on the movie, but Tom tells him it was the video game that came out four years ago. It did not do very well. The caller likes Tom’s cantankerousness, which is lucky for him since he's about to get an s load of it. He recently reconnected with WFMU and says that he has friends all over the country that listen to the station via the Web. Tom accuses him of bragging. The caller denies it, saying that he’s barely employed so he meets a lot of people in his travels. Tom takes this as a plea for sympathy. The caller says he doesn’t want sympathy -- just love. Now Tom thinks he’s trying to score points by being funny.
The caller touts WFMU as one of the only true radio stations left. He grew up near Buffalo, which had free-form radio in the 1970s and early 1980s, but it’s all gone now. He asks about the bed music Tom is cranking behind him. Tom says it’s “Tom’s Theme”, which he recorded in his home studio with Darius Rucker. The caller reverts back to bragging by saying that he also has a home studio. Tom can’t get a handle on this human metronome. The caller thinks that this oscillation is what the show is about and starts kissing up by saying how much he likes it. Tom tells him that he can’t hire him to make him more employed. The caller claims that he once shot an aerial photo of the Magic Factory that appeared on the WFMU website. He sent it to Leon, who was running the station at the time. Tom informs the caller that the Mennen Corporation now runs the station. The caller doesn’t believe it. In fact, this segment is sponsored by the Gillette Ultra Sensor IV, the ultimate in shaving.
The caller was once entangled in some corporate stuff when he ran a Ben & Jerry’s "Scoopmobile" with a friend. This finally gets Tom to anoint him the best person ever. The caller quickly redirects the praise by asking for sympathy because he’s broke. The wants to know if Tom is the best or worst, but Tom says he’s just himself. This is what the caller likes about him. Tom then uses the word “jeepers”, which is part of his contract with Mennen. They will soon launch the Jeepers 3 child razor. The caller says that after Unilever bought Ben & Jerry’s, they put the kaybash on all the summer Scoopmobile fun, opting for the corporate fun of giving away ice cream in NYC. This was the first Scoopmobile that Ben & Jerry’s ever had, dating ack in 1979-1980 when crazy guys would drive it all the way to Florida (never going faster than 52 mph) to sell ice cream before returning to Vermont for the summer season.
The caller still doesn’t believe that WFMU was bought out by Mennen, but Tom says he can read all about it at http://www.mennen.com/wfmu. I heard that Mennen outbid Kern Pharmaceuticals by a mere $200k. The caller finds it very odd, but Tom says it’s just the world of business. The caller laments the fact that every cool enterprise is eventually snatched up by corporations. Tom does another ad for the Gillette Ultra Sensor IV, and the caller starts showing off again by saying that he uses an eight-blade razor that he made himself. Tom sends him to the FAQ section of the Mennen website to find out how he can send them his razor invention. Mike gives Tom the thumbs-down sign, indicating that it’s time to move on.
- A caller offers (starts at 2:18) to help Tom out by Turk 182-ing some stuff. At first Tom rejects the pity, but he lets the caller go through with it. He wants to Turk 182 Paste, men who have sex with other men’s girlfriends, and spam filters that trap personal e-mails. Tom thinks the caller sounds more like the hard R of Taxi Driver than the PG Turk 182. He’s GOMPed.
- Tom discusses (starts at 2:20) the new issue of Trump magazine that he recently purchased. Tom can't wait to read the "Sucess Secrets" story of how Donald Trump, Jr. managed to achieve success. Tom reads the letter from The Donald:
I’ve said it often: Think Big and Live Large. These are words to live by, whether you’re just beginning your career or making the multi-million-dollar decisions. Thinking big has served the Trump brand well, not just in real estate, but in a strategically-diverse array of business products. My son, Don, Jr., understands the art of Thinking Big. Since coming onboard with the company full-time, he has proven himself competent, capable, and forward-thinking. In this issue, he shares with the magazine exactly what it means to love what you do. I could not be more proud of all that he’s accomplishing.
Tom: "I’m sure you wouldn’t have hired him if he wasn’t the best." Tom thinks the fact that he has Trump’s exact name likely gave him an advantage during the hiring process. Here's the real question: is Don, Jr. psychic??
This issue -- the best yet -- is packed with interviews and good advice on how to invest wisely, whether in art, real estate, or the right markets right now.
Tom doesn’t want his investment advice coming from magazine articles written six months ago.
After investing wisely, there’s the opportunity to invest in gentlemenly pursuits. A fine automobile is one such investment, and you’ll find the best luxury sedans in the market on page 38. I personally chose the Maybach as a gift for my beautiful wife, Milana, and I’m certain you’ll find something that reflects your own style.
Tom’s certain he might not.
Like everything else the Trump name is associated with, magazine symbolizes the best of both luxury and quality.
Tom didn’t see that much luxury and quality at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City a few weeks ago. Other than the new Borgata, it’s a given that the casinos are kinda dumpy. However, in a see of not-so-nice stuff, the Taj was the crown jewel dump with its worn purple carpet with visible footprints. Tom also sampled the buffet, which was kind of like the KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut joined forces to cater a half-acre of food. A bit later, Tom discussed a section of the magazine called "The Insider", which offered yacht-buying tips. Tom figures that those with with an extra $18 million for such a purchase would not need to consult a colossally stupid rag to complete the transaction. As Tom flips through the remaining pages, he discovers that it's essentially a parody of what rich people are supposed to be into: golf stuff (including an ad for The Golf Channel's The Big Break IV), cigars (and high-end lighters), Sotheby's, bourbon, truffles, and a travel guide for Monaco. The magazine has inspired Tom to get rich so he can have the worst taste in the world.
Trump also trots out his cliched movie picks: Swimming With Sharks, Wall Street, Boiler Room, Glengarry Glen Ross, and You're Soaking In Her. Sounds like somebody needs help with their queue.
- Pudge checks in (starts at 2:27) to ask Tom if he watches that show Trump had. Tom watched a lot of it in the beginning, but then stopped. Pudge watches it all the time, but he doesn't know if he's a fan of Donald Trump. Tom says he's perversely fascinated by him, and Pudge guesses that he might be as well. Pudge has watched every episode of The Apprentice, so Tom tells him that that makes him a Trump fan. Pudge wants to know why Tom is getting mad. Pudge saw The Departed the other day, and he thought it was OK. He thinks he might have liked the performance of Marky Mark Mark. He asks Tom if he likes him, and Tom thinks he can be a good actor in the right vehicle. Pudge is confused because he's not in any cars in The Departed.
Tom tells Pudge that he's draining the energy out of the show and his life. Pudge doesn't think he is. He does think that the Turkey movie sounds kind of cool and notes that Timothy Hutton was also in Taps. Pudge saw that six times in the theater and rented it the day it came out on video. However, he's still not sure if he likes it. Tom begs Pudge to have an opinion and not be afraid to voice it. Pudge begins moaning.
- Miland from South Carolina calls (starts at 2:31) to talk to Pudge because his ears are beginning to bleed. Miland says he's not a bright man, but he's brilliant compared to the show's callers. He just discovered the show tonight and now he's fearful for the future of America. The caller says it seems like only idiots listen to the show, and Pudge agrees. In fact, Pudge thinks Miland sounds like kind of an idiot. The caller loves the top-shelf free-form music, but can't make sense of The Best Show. He thinks WFMU is a great station except for the callers to this program. Pudge agrees that a lot of dummies call the show. Miland says he just moved to SC from the Jersey area, so Pudge wants to know what exit. He doesn't get a response. Miland is glad he discovered the station, but finds The Best Show audience to be quite sad. Pudge agrees, and this frightens Miland. He tuned in 10 minutes ago, anxious to hear the hott tunes he hears during the day. Pudge wants to know what kind of stuff he likes, and Miland says he likes the whatever-I-feel-like-playing format. This sets off an Abbott & Costello-y exchange:
Pudge: Wait, so you play on the radio, too?
Pudge: You have a show, too, on this station?
Caller: No, no, no. No, I was talking about the format of this station.
Pudge: What's your show called?
Pudge: What's your show called?
Caller: No, no. I don't have a show. I was talking about listening earlier today to your show on FMU.
Pudge: I don't have a show.
Caller: This is just turning into a bad situation. I'm going to hang up.
Tom: So you don't have a show?
Caller: I never said I had a show.
Tom: Oh, I misunderstood that also. I thought you were saying ...
Caller: No, no, I said that I listened earlier. I work from home...
Tom: Oh ...
Caller: ... and I recently discovered your program -- your station, rather.
Pudge: Wait, who did?
Pudge: Who did?
Caller: I did.
Pudge: Did what?
Caller: This is turning into a bad sketch.
Miland continues to explain that he was tuning around on his computer, punched in a Jersey zip code, and landed on WFMU, which he thought was wonderful compared to the other tripe that is on the air. Tom wants to know some of his favorite artists. Since he's a big WFUV guy, he's a fan of people like Alejandro Escovedo and Lucinda Williams. Then it starts agin:
Tom: And is that the type of stuff you play on your show on FUV?
Caller: No, no, I don't have a show. I'm just ...
Tom: No, I know you don't have a show on this station, but you said you had a show on FUV.
Caller: No, no, I said I used to list-
Tom: You used to have a show on FUV.
Caller: I've always and only have been a listener. I don't have a show. I said I listened. I apologize for the confusion.
Tom: Apology accepted.
Caller: Thank you.
Pudge: I accept it, too.
Caller: [Laughter] Anyway, I just wish you guys a good evening.
Tom: Ok, and when can we hear your show on FUV?
Pudge: Is it like a podcast?
Caller: [Laughter] It's on right now. Have a good night.
Tom: Wow, that's kinda rude, he just hung up.
Pudge: I don't like that either.
Tom: Very ill-mannered.
Lucinda Williams - "Drunken Angel"
- Nathan from the Columbus, Ohio-based Indieblockedapella calls (starts at 2:41) for his defining Smash or Trash moment. Nathan got his start by going all Bobby McFerrin to a Soupjam song, and he's been doing a cappella versions of mainly indie rock songs since November 2005. However, he sometimes tackles different styles, such as tonight's Jersey-centric selection: Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer". Here are the votes:
*Smash - "Total cheese, but brilliant."
*Smash - Loves the slavish attention to detail that still allows it to sound amateurish. Plus, he loves Todd Rundgren.
*Smash - Funniest thing he's heard in a long time.
*Trash - Let down because the intro lacked the drama of the original's vocoder effect.
*Smash - Loved the background.
*Trash - Closest he's come to turning off the show in a long time.
*Smash - He's also into the a cappella scene. Tom doesn't want to hear a sample.
*Smash - Liked the tour of the album while Tom found the Bon Jovi track.
*Smash - Trash until it got to the solo.
*Smash - Hasn't heard anything that good since Ssgt. Barry Sadler came out with Ballads of the Green Berets, which was right after he got back from 'Nam.
*Trash - "I thought all the munchkins were dead." The caller laughs at the zing he crafted in his joke lab.
*Smash - The trifecta: creative, clever, and it made him laugh.
*Trash - Reminds him of The Bops.
*Smash - Really enjoyable; overcame Nathan's unprofessional start by not knowing the correct track number.
*Trash - Tom tries to add some drama by doing a fake Trash vote.
*Trash - Made him yearn for Bobby McFerrin.
*Trash - Doesn't think anyone should "intimidate" a Bon Jovi classic.
*Trash - [No explanation]
*Smash - Cpt. Jack, who is smashed, puts this cat over the top.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: PBR threatens to Turk 182 all of Stink City, Hilly Kristal reveals his plans for making the Vegas toilets even more disgusting than they were in NYC, and concert promoting legend Ron Delsener calls to discuss bringing the rock back to Jersey City (rumored shows: week-long DC Snipers stint at the Flamingo Diner in November; Asia, Neil Diamond, and Wet Rat at the Loews Theater in December)