Here comes Dutch.
"You can do this, Tommy. You can do this. Another show. No big deal. Just do this for three hours, keep those people happy. You keep those people happy! That’s what you do, you keep 'em happy." -- Tom, shaking off the rust
"I may smack some of them around once in a while, but I don't vote for them." -- Spike on how he treats Republicans
"Woe is the person that needs discipline from you." -- Tom, lamenting the soul that needs Spike to fill the void
"I used to be a white meat guy, but I switched over to the darkside, so to speak." -- Sam on his turkey preference
“The dry-erase board in the studio here might be too high-energy for you." -- Tom on a caller who was afraid to step into Jim Cramer's Danger Zone
“So you want to play me something that is not as good as Weird Al?” -- Tom, expressing doubt about the potential quality of Weirder Jon's song parody
"There’s a good chance if you play clarinet, you’re an idiot." -- Tom, making a generalization about those who play the "licorice stick"
"Who wouldn’t want to see Rita Rudner do her act in front of a demolished home?" -- Tom on the irresistible pleasures of stagecraft verisimilitude and top-shelf stand-up
"Hey, where’s my suicide machine?" -- Tom, looking for relief from Billy Crystal's comedy terror
"No food. No water. No turlets." -- "Jazzman" Lester, describing the poor amenities at the Superdome
“How ‘bout you end the war, you dope.” -- Tom, proposing an alternative to Billy Crystal's plan to stop the war for only two days
"Is there such a thing as 'Garrison Keillor humor' actually?" -- Tom, searching for the correct term for this old-timey act
"Billy Crystal did a dress rehearsal on that thing!" -- Tom, pointing out that at least Michael Richards didn't craft his offensive material
"I'm sorry he likes me so much." -- Tom, apologizing for inspiring such steadfast devotion in his fans
"You weren't even there, you were hidin' out in the National Guard, gettin' help from your Daddy!" -- Dutch, expressing his anger about the Swift Boat attacks against fellow veteran John Kerry
"What on Earth made you say it like that?" -- Tom, trying to find out why a caller pronounced the name "Akira Kurasowa" in a bizarre Japanese accent
"Racist! Racist! Racist! Racist!" -- Classic Thanksgiving taunt
"I'm not gonna tell you how to drug your grandparents!" -- Tom, willing to only go so far in helping a listener deal with his family on Thanksgiving
"That's like asking if there will be cameras used in the filming of this movie." -- Tom on whether there would be a scene of Ellen Burstyn accidentally getting high in his new drug comedy
"The treasure is the songwriting gold that Randy Quaid spins." -- Tom on the ultimate bounty in his summertime indie flick
Hank IV - "Hole In My Eye"
( Click here to buy Third Person Shooter)
Dan Melchior's Broke Revue - "Black Light"
( Click here to buy Bitterness, Spite, Rage and Scorn)
Mr. Airplane Man - "Wait For Your Love"
( Click here to buy C'mon DJ)
Boyskout - "Lobby Boys"
( Click here to buy Another Life)
The Magic Numbers - "Take A Chance"
( Click here to buy Those The Brokes)
The Ladybug Transistor - "Empty Bottles"
( Click here to buy the Here Comes the Rain EP)
This is a recap emergency. Whatcha want me to do? I’m sorry. I’m back. Can you dig that? I knew ... that you could:
Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?: Spike's not-so-traditional family braces for his arrival ... and his Grindhouse side dish
- Bizarro Spike throws (starts at 28:14) Tom for a loop with a new greeting of "Evening, Tom" instead of his signature creepy reveal, which sounds like he’s emerging from out of the shadows. Spike compares his usual audio entrance to the surprise appearances of his favorite people: Jason, Belty, Freddy, Chucky, and Leatherface. Wait. I just realized something. Chucky is under 25! I guess Spike makes an exception for homicidal doll-boys. Per Tom's request, Spike offers a little insight into how he spends Thanksgiving: he visits his “family” just like everyone else. Tom assumes that Spike is referring to an motley collection of miscreants and lowlifes not unlike the surrogate unit formed by the Boogie Nights crew of porn stars and drug addicts. Spike says he was talking about a "real" family, but Tom points out that the Jack Horner players really did care for each other, even during bedroom rail sessions. Spike clarifies that he’s referring to his traditional family comprised of blood relatives. I hope he compiled some holiday mix CDs for the occasion.
Spike will be in the same room as them, and they'll be aware of his presence because he’ll be slaving away over some food in the kitchen. [SCARY IMAGE ALERT: Spike wearing an apron, appearing like the unholy offspring from a Julia Child, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Fridge Perry tripling.] Spike doesn’t have a culinary specialty, but he did some work on a bread-and-sausage stuffing. Tom wonders if human flesh is the secret to his sausage preparation, and Spike suggests that children under 25 and other people he doesn’t like may in fact find their way into the grinder. Spike will not bring any of his slaves to the Thanksgiving dinner because even he doesn’t go that far. (In other words, Spike is no Borat.) Tom agrees that Thanksgiving is not the time to goof around with that stuff. Spike is actually taking the week off from administering dungeon discipline, handing over the chains to Sexy Sadie and Debbie the Dominatrix. Regular customers will have to make due with those two because Spike is in a lighter, Thanksgiving mood. Tom wants to know if there are any unique holiday traditions in the Spike family, but they do the usual stuff just like any family in America. Tom thinks this sounds like a Todd Solondz movie. I read in Viority that Spike just landed a part in Happiness 2: The Oozing, joining Andy Milonakis, Dax Shepard, Marg Helgenberger, three autistic midgets, and a 600-pound Afro-American lady. Expect a decapitation or two.
In addition to the positive holiday vibes, Spike's in a good mood because he's pleased that the "normal people" are back in power. Tom’s not sure what he’s talking about, so Spike tells him that the Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress in the recent election. As a result of their newfound majority, Spike thinks they will be able to keep that person in line. Tom admits defeat on this round, but he’s thankful that his guy Pete King (R-NY) retained his House seat. Spike’s not a King fan because he doesn’t support any Republicans. He may smack some of them around once in a while, but he doesn't vote for them. Spike claims that some of his customers are staunch Republicans, but Tom doesn’t believe it. Tom rejects the implication that there’s an element of perversion in the Republican ranks. He demands that Spike take it back due to lack of proof. Spike refuses and also implicates the Democrats, the Green Party, and the Feminist Party. Spike's client roster is up to about 20 slaves, and Tom pleads for mercy on the soul of a person who needs Spike to fill the disciplinary void in their life. Spike says they love it and don’t require any spiritual salvation because he saves them during their sessions.
Tom thinks it may be time for Spike to leave the disciplinary lifestyle and call it a day with the dungeon. He speculates that Spike is more content because he's taking a week off from the prevert actions. Spike has considered retirement, but it doesn't sound like he'll be dismantling the whipping racks or folding up the bondage tables anytime soon. He'll continue to serve the servants, such as a 60-year-old businessperson -- his oldest customer. Tom wonders how people react when they realize that the dungeon promised in Spike's personal ad is actually an unfurnished basement apartment featuring a TV with a coat hanger in lieu of an antenna. Spike says he doesn’t get any complaints about the space, which is equipped with cable television. Tom wants to know who he’s stealing the cable from, but Spike says he pays for his cable. Tom knows that he paid for the cable that he’s running from his television to someone else’s box, but he wants to know who's paying the actual bill. Spike claims that he's able to afford such luxuries because he’s doing well with his customers.
Spike was a little famished so he begins chomping an organic strawberry pop tart that he purchased at Trader Joe's. He tried to get it in during the music break, but the time crunch got him. Tom requests the nutritional information: no fat and 40 calories per tart. Tom predicts he’ll regret saying it, but he wants to hear more. (Coming to WFMU in Summer 2007: Delicious Dish with Tom & Spike!) Spike begins to discuss the relative levels of sugars in organic vs. non-organic tarts, but he's derailed by a crust buildup in his throat. Tom leaves him to finish his snack and wishes him a happy Thanksgiving. Tom was rusty like Jay-Z after missing the show last week, and the warm and fuzzy Spike threw his rhythms off. Tom feels like the Kingdom Come track featuring John Legend instead of the hott ones produced by Denny Blaze. Tom also thinks Jay-Z should repel Coldplay’s Chris Martin (Mike the Associate Producer is a huge fan) from his record instead of beckoning him towards it.
- Sam calls (starts at 39:55) while en route to a friend’s house to bake a pecan pie to check up on Tom's Thanksgiving plans. Tom will see his family and eat just like Spike. Sam thinks that sounds like a lot of fun and wants to know Tom’s favorite Thanksgiving food item. Tom likes mashed potatoes, but he isn’t, as Sam suggests, a “Mashed Potatoes Guy”. Sam likes the dark turkey meat, so Tom declares him a "Dark Meat Man". He embraces the moniker, explaining that while he still enjoys the entire bird, he switched over to darkside. Sam continues to delve into the minutiae of his holiday eating habits by noting his love of asparagus. However, he gets really bothered when his aunt taints it with some kind of egg-based concoction, rendering it kinda gross. Tom’s heard enough and tells him to shut up.
- Gabriel calls (starts at 43:44) to ask Tom if he attended a show last week by the indie rock band Supertongue. Tom wasn’t there because he's never heard of them, but Gabriel assures him that they played a good show. He also went to the boring release party for the new Spy magazine anthology, and he thought Tom would appreciate that he spotted Mad Money'sJim Cramer. While he was excited to see Tom's hero, he was too scared to approach him because of his high energy levels. Cramer was talking to Spy co-founder and current Vanity Fair editor, Graydon Carter (presumably schooling him in punk rock history), and the duo did not present a good vibe for Gabriel. Based on this call, Tom concludes that the dry-erase board in the studio might be too energetic for Gabriel to handle. Tom thinks Gabriel missed an opportunity to go up to Cramer and entertain him with an unforgettable dance. Gabriel says he isn't a skilled dancer, but he might try it the next time. Tom demands a free copy of the Spy book and dismisses him until he delivers it. The Kid didn't like getting taunted with the book and then having Jim Cramer waved in his face on top of that.
Two Leg Minimum: America wasn't ready for the site of a unidexter Tarzan swinging through the jungly tendrils
- Tom discusses (starts at 48:31) the major bummer of Rupert Murdoch pulling the plug on the O.J. Simpsons special he worked on earlier this year. He's generally not a huge fan of this polarizing figure, but O.J. brought the funny for this project. (I heard that ZAZ and Barry Sobel were brought in for some punch-up.) Tom reveals that the "If I Did It" angle was just part of what the show was all about. It was also about sketch comedy! Tom says that O.J. played both the casting agent and the aspiring Tarzan in a "shockingly funny" version of the Cook and Moore classic, "One Leg Too Few". I was very curious about O.J.'s hypothetical strategy for the double-murder, so I bought one of the recalled books on eBay for $1,350. A good portion of the book is about recent adjustments to his golf swing, his perceived Oscar snub for his work in Capricorn One, and, oddly, his love of 1980s "college rock" (the chapter on The Windbreakers is particularly illuminating), but there is this nugget buried on page 237: "Pretty much the way it happened, but not as messy." Like most people, my opinion of O.J. swings like a pendulum, but he won me over again with this bold, riveting tome. If you need an O.J. fix, you can always Get Juiced.
- Weirder Jon calls (starts at 50:06) to offer Tom a Coldplay spoof since he previously mentioned that Chris Martin should not be meddling with Jay-Z’s stuff. WJ composed a sub-Weird Al parody of “Clocks” called “Stinks”. Tom is initially hesitant to give the go-ahead to something that is not as good as Weird Al, but he agrees to give it a listen. Prior to the performance, there is a brief discussion about the nuances and relative awfulness of parody and satire. Tom thinks they are both terrible, while WJ can’t offer an opinion because he's not privy to the distinction. Tom’s sick of hearing the unfuns talk about satire, which WJ believes is the thinking man’s parody. Tom prefers jokes he can laugh at, so he’s ready to here a family-friendly, non-indie rockappella rendition of the ubiquitous Coldplay smash.
You hear this song everywhere you go
Cheesecake Factory or Home Depot
And a new ruling by the FCC
Every movie preview has to include me
And an antiseptic sound like Lemon Pledge
Radiohead without an edge
10 years, where will you see this band?
Summer concert series at Rye Playland
At this point, WJ modulates the phrase “Coldplay stinks” to resemble the piano melody. Tom wants more, but WJ did not memorize the second verse. He's shocked that he wasn’t already listening to a dial tone. Tom is disappointed that WJ can’t deliver on the big stage like the people on America's Got Talent. Tom correctly points out that parody is a tough business that requires proper preparation. WJ says he was simply giving the condensed, elevator pitch” version of the song. My verdict: it lacked the edge of "When Nerds Talk". He selected Coldplay as the target of his poison-pen lampoon because the song annoyed him during a recent trip to Atlantic City. After taking a financial bath at the Borgata, he shifted to Bally’s, where Coldplay were playing. During his stay, WJ was able to sample some of the dense, themed buffet food. Despite seemingly specific titles like Bally's' “Virginia City” and Showboat's “French Quarter”, the exact same food emerges from a giant kitchen labeled ATLANTIC CITY. Regional and ethnic signage aside, you’ll still find old macaroni and cheese wherever you may roam.
WJ never imagined that he could run the table with his Coldplay cover since he expected to get a click as soon as he said “spoof”. Tom asks him how this feat makes him feel, but he can’t resist wielding his power to end the call prior to a proper response. He was done with Weirder Jon. The hang-up makes Tom feel very good, and he hopes that everyone can taste this power at some point.
Mr. Blueboid on my shoulder: Rare Billy Crystal screen test for Disney's aborted Song of the South II: The Legend of Uncle Remus's Gold
- Tom weighs in (starts at 56:29) on the widely-circulated clip of the horrible event in the world of comedy that took place this past weekend. Tom's take is that people will sometimes take the stage in an attempt to enter risky or edgy territory. This can often be a dangerous tactic because performers will overreach and end up falling on their faces. In the process, they offend everyone in the audience and make fools out of themselves. Tom doesn't think there is any level of apology that could allow him to forgive this horrible incident. He needs a lot more than what he's seen so far to unsee what he saw. Tom is briefly interrupted by Josh Falken, who welcomes him to WarGames, presumably looking for a chess partner. Tom turns the audio off on his WOPR machine to avoid further intrusions.
Tom continues to say that a professional comic -- somebody whose job it is to make us laugh -- should know better. A seasoned performer should have a better sense of what is offensive before they go up on stage to try something. While you may think you are being poignant and funny, you are actually walking into career suicide. Tom isn't sure if Billy Crystal has issued an official apology, but he's got a long way to go before he'll get any forgiveness from The Kid. Tom thinks he should be ashamed of himself for what he did at the Comic Relief show. Tom wants to play the audio of the performance so the listeners can judge whether this is appropriate comedic material. He sets the scene. It’s the Comic Relief benefit for the people affected by the destruction of hurricane Katrina. We see a framed silhouette of a man playing a clarinet. It’s Crystal shuffling onto the stage to bamboozle the audience with Lester, his horrible “jazzman” character. Before the clip starts, Tom issues a disclaimer: while the clip is “clean” by FCC standards, it may not be suitable for airplay on artistic grounds.
The strains of the clarinet give way to gentle piano as Lester announces that he grew up in New Orleans and lived in the Ninth Ward most of his “tres cool” life. Tom’s reaction to this statement is the wholly appropriate “Oh, boy.” His father was a trumpet player in the Army band, and he was also a skilled bugle player. When he played “Taps”, it was a clear signal that the war machine fled, the Captain was most certainly dead, and he meant something to somebody. His father performed the song in the style of the blues, and Lester gives a brief sample of his playing style: “Bop-do-dwee. Bop-do-zow. Bopdozow, Bobdozow, Bopdozow.” That sounds more like a Batman fight scene than the blues, but Crystal, as an authentic bluesman, knows more about that stuff than I do. I read an interview with him last year, and he said that his favorite blues song was “Pickin' Cotton Blues” by Blueshammer. Dude knows his stuff.
Guided By Voices - "Captain’s Dead"
At this point, Mike asks if he Crystal was wearing blackface. While he didn’t actually use any makeup, he opted for “audio blackface” to create a theater of the mind. This allows the audience to apply their own mental blackface. The approach allowed Crystal to embody the spirit not of an old “jazzman” (i.e., “black guy”), but, rather, the spirit of the most racist man on Earth. Tom considers the piece to be his audition/campaign video for the Grand Wizard vacancy in the Ninth Ward branch of the Ku Klux Klan. When Lester came of age, he wanted to play the horn, so he went up to his dad and said, “Pops, I want to be a musician.” His father responded by telling him to take up the clarinet instead of the trumpet. Lester wants to know why. His father directs him to the calloused ridge over his lip, an affliction that makes the chicks not want to kiss trumpet players. Lester took one look at that lip and decided to become a clarinet player. Ladies Love Lester! The audience nervously chuckles, and Lester then trots out his catchphrase: “Can you dig that? I know that you could.” Tom will give Crystal that one because he’s certain he won’t use it again.
So then World War II came “bopping around” (as World Wars are wont to do -- so jaunty!), and they sent Pops to the South Pacific. Not to play the horn, but to fight. Lester was 14 when he left, and since he could play the “licorice stick” pretty good, he secured a job at the Barker Brothers funeral home. He played in the band that marches down the street, leading the casket on its way to Heaven. Once again, Lester asks the audience if this is something they can dig. Tom is not a fan of the term “licorice stick” and thinks the clarinet in a stupid instrument. Tom thinks there is a good chance that you’re an idiot if this is your instrument of choice. Tom also begins keeping count of the dig it queries and puts the over/under at 7. (The final tally was 8.)
During the war, the funeral business was sad, but steady. At age 16, Lester marched down the street, leading his father’s procession, the American flag draped over his coffin. His six brothers and sisters marched behind him as he strutted up the way to bring him to his sleeping place. This marked the only time that “Taps” was played on the clarinet. Crystal wonders if the audience can dig this musical anomaly. It’s unclear if they can in fact dig this because their only response is to rustle in their seats and emit nervous coughs. As Tom points out, they are clearly just wondering when this terror will stop. There was a red-painted house on the corner right before the cemetery, and every time Lester would strut by the street, he would spot a beautiful girl in a sweet-looking dress on the porch. She’d smile at Lester; he’d smile back ‘cause he ain’t stupid, you know. Her name was Marjorie Green, and they’ve been exchanging smiles for over 50 years. Crystal was certain that everyone could dig this half-century of pleasantries. The red house was their house, and it's where they raised their three kids -- Lester, Jr., Marjorie, Jr., and little Lestorie.
Shudder To Think - "Red House"
Tom mentions that Crystal is pointing out the home by gesturing to the tastefully done Comic Relief set: a demolished New Orleans street scene. Tom thinks this is a great backdrop for all the fun comedy the performers were doling out. He can’t think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy seeing Rita Rudner do her act in front of a demolished, reconstructed home. Tom found the stagecraft unnecessary because everyone could easily understand the purpose of the charity event without having to see a recreation of a New Orleans street. Anyway, Lester and Marjorie had a lot of laughs and made a lot of music in that house. His band would jam every day right over dare on that porch. Tom didn’t dig that and has a question of his own: “What is that?” The mangled syntax prompts Tom to declare the performance the most offensive thing ever. Lester and Marji had been through a lot of storms in that house, and then they heard about this angry woman named KatRINA. Tom finds this personification and pronunciation yucky and concludes that Crystal probably wrote this entire piece himself. Tom imagines Crystal showing a draft to Whoopi and Robin, who declared it terrible, but admitted their material was not much better. A story that was quickly pulled from Drudge suggested that New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin worked on an early draft, but left the project over "extreme creative differences". He wanted to nix the "jazzman" and do a spin on Willy Wonka with Crystal serving as his dutiful Oompa Loompa.
The couple decided to stay, even though Lester knew how hard it is to deal with an angry woman. The rustling crowd digs their commitment. The wind started blowing real hard, and they could feel the house standing there and fighting its ground. A hard rain started falling, and it felt like being inside Buddy Rich’s drum when he was beating on it. However, the difference between God and Buddy Rich was that Buddy Rich knew when it was time to quit. Tom provides a rim shot. The house was shaking so loud, they thought it was gonna blow away, leaving them to wake up in Munchkinland. Whether they want to or not, the audience was marked down for digging that fanciful scenario. Lester looked out the crack in the window and saw Edgar Clayton’s Dodge Dart, which had been sitting on blocks in his yard for 10 years. Locals were known to call it “The Planter”. The waters had pushed it sailing down the street, so Lester told Marjorie to get her old ass upstairs ASAP. They ascended the stairs faster then they did on their honeymoon night. Tom cackles wildly at this joke. As did I.
The water just tore into the house. Lester was praying that it wasn’t gonna wash away, because he likes going to the other side of town, he just didn’t want to do it in his house. The crowd digs his disinterest in housesurfing, and Tom congratulates Crystal for constructing something that resembles a joke after five minutes. Lester grabbed whatever he could find -- his hat, his horn, his wife, and that American flag that was on his dad’s coffin. Tom mentions that Crystal is doing his standard, pinched-face old man look to go along with his old-man gait. Tom is amazed that Michael Richards is getting so much grief because he would have been fine if he just made it clear he was doing a character and occasionally held up a card with the toll-free Comic Relief number.
They made their way to the window, and all Lester saw was rooftops. He unwrapped the flag from its crisp, triangular fold and started waving it out the window. He saw Lamar Guidry coming down the street in his bass boat. Tom’s not sure if he can play anymore of it, and asks Mike if it’s the worst thing he’s ever played on the show. Guidry sees the flag as Lester somehow got Marjorie out of the window. He dives into the water to pull her into his boat. Lester wraps himself in the flag and picks up his horn -- ‘cause you never know when there’s gonna be a gig -- and the trio ended up at the Superdome with 30,000 other cats. It wasn’t even a game. It was a shame. No food, no water, no turlets. Turlets!!!!!! Tom’s reluctance to continue is wiped away by the term. They also got no help, which isn’t indicative of the American Lester has come to know. He wonders how the hell the government could forget about the displaced residents. He can forget his keys or what he had for breakfast, but he could never forget an entire city and its people. Lester reminds us that it took five days for President Bush to arrive, which makes sense because it took Vice-President Cheney two days to tell us that he shot his friend in the face. This riles up the crowd, and the cheap partisan jokes made Tom feel even worse for his buddies in the White House. Tom speculates that the only reason they put on the benefit was so Crystal could do his leftover Cheney joke he wrote in March.
Lester and Marjorie were put on a bus and sent to Houston, Texas. Lester doesn’t mind Houston, where he played many gigs over the years, but it’s just not the same as being home. They got a small, decent place, and their only décor item was the American flag. Lester can’t bear to put it up because America forget about them. Lester believes that the folks in Washing-TON don’t think that all the displaced folks in the Gulf Coast is a bad thing. They don’t want the people to return to the area because come voting time -- just like a few weeks ago – they, too, will become homeless. When angry, righteous folks come together that’s a whole ‘nother tidal wave. The crowd really digs that one and shows it by cheering. Tom is already feeling bad for Bush and doesn’t think the people of New Orleans should have to endure more suffering. As if the angry lady wasn’t enough, now they’ve got an L.A.-based multi-millionaire shuffling up on stage pretending to be some old Afro-American, heaping the final indignity on the ailing city.
Lester misses his band and making music because when you got the blues and you can’t play them, it’s tough. Sometimes, Lester will close his eyes and imagine that he’s out there on the porch playing jazz for his kids, Marjorie tapping her foot and smiling. Lester wants to go home, but he lacks a home to go home to. As a result, this desired return is what the French would call a tad “difficile”. He’s just an old clarinet man, but he does have a bizarre idea for Mr. Bush. He wants the President to stop the war for one day and redirect that money to rebuild New Orleans. The crowd wasn’t asked, but their applause suggests big-time digging. The positive reception makes Lester get carried away by suggesting a two-day stoppage. He wants to put an end to blowing up stuff in Iraq, and start building up New Orleans instead. Tom thinks this is a deeply-flawed plan considering that the soldiers need daily food and supplies. Tom suggests that ending the war is a more feasible and worthwhile goal than intermittent stoppages to suit the whim of a comedian. He also proposes Billy Crystal’s house as a potential demolition cite.
Lester claims he respects the President because he’s the leader of the band, but, damn, he doesn’t think he really gets it. Bush has his own residence -- for a couple of years, anyway. Zing! But not really. Sorry, Lester, but Bush will not be homeless come 2008. His family is rich. Just like Billy Crystal. Lester asks Bush, who I assume was not in attendance, if he knows how it feels to be one of them. Someone in the crowd answers for him with a “Hell, no”, and this sends Lester into song (was this a Coldplay spoof?):
Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans. And miss it, each night and each day.
I know I’m not wrong, the feelings getting stronger, the longer I stay away.
Mr. Moss-colored vines, the tall sugar pines, where mockingboids come to play.
This has Tom reaching for his suicide machine and searching for a vein for IV insertion. Tom points out that Song of the South has rightfully been driven out of circulation and will soon only be available for historical purposes. On the other hand, you’ve got Crystal on stage at a benefit being aired on Home Box Office talking about turlets and mockingboids. Unless he apologized on Leno last night, Tom doesn’t understand how he is not being driven out of his mansion. Tom wants Crystal to apologize via satellite on Craig Ferguson’s program.
My recommendation for Lester: drape yourself in that American flag, head to NYC just like that cat from Kazakhstan, bop on over to B.B. King’s, check out some authentic German power metal or Scandinavian grindcore, get your groove back, and then start tooting that horn. Can you dig that? Probably not. While Crystal's stunt slipped under the pop culture radar, the incorrigible Michael Richards appears to be enjoying his return to the spotlight. Here is a clip of him walking his dog in L.A. this past weekend:
What are the odds that the voice of Ace is recast?
- Tim from Ellensburg, WA, calls (starts at 1:18) to say that Crystal appeared to be doing a bizarro riff on the old-timey Garrison Keillor type of humor. Tom wonders if there is such as thing as Garrison Keillor humor, and Tim amends his comment to a Garrison Keillor-like character. Tom decides that he, too, needs to start doing some character work on the show. Tim also points out that Crystal's "Washing-TON" was a fake, white-jazz term that can be found in the work of Frank Zappa. Tom thinks that makes for a great combo and wishes to add Randy Newman to create the trifecta. Tom thinks Newman writes OK songs, but he doesn’t want to hear him sing them. Tom wants help in developing his new character.
- Speaking of characters, Larry the Perv pushes (starts at 1:19) Tom back into suicidal mode by showing how not to create a viable character for the airwaves. Larry's home for Thanksgiving on a 5-day pass from "school". He claims he's enrolled in the world-renowned custodial program at the Teaneck campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. He's also studying filmmakin' because he thought he'd be taken more seriously as a directuh if he had a framed piece of paper on his wall there. Larry requests “Monster Mash”, so that does it for him.
Tom solicits help with developing a character for his one-man show, and someone in the FOT Chat suggests the name of Dr. Armond G. Dibblestein. Mike suggests drunkenness as a character trait, although Tom makes it clear that he won't do a punchline-driven, Foster Brooks routine. In addition to being drunk, the character will be old. He was initially wheelchair-bound, but Tom scraps that idea.
- Stephen in Chicago calls (starts at 1:24) to express his shock at the premeditated offensiveness of the Crystal routine. He can understand a stand-up comic losing his cool when confronted with a heckler, but, as Tom points out, Crystal did a dress rehearsal for his performance. Tom thinks Michael Richards is a complete moron who should be run out of the entertainment business for his actions, but at least he didn't craft his material. Stephen thinks Tom's character should be a Vietnam veteran. Tom likes it and fleshes it out with a backstory of being disgruntled because he was forgotten by the American government and disowned by his daughter. The look of this character also starts to take shape: Tom will go on stage wearing a fake, unkempt, Catfish Hunter-ish mustache and either a headband or a green combat jacket.
- Jen in chilly Philadelphia leads (starts at 1:26) with a Travis Bickle “Are you talkin’ to me?”, but she's actually lounging on the couch watching Ghost on AMC. This is not a gritty urban drama directed by Martin Scorsese in the 1970s. This is a 1990 Jerry Zucker Swayze vehicle. She thinks that a good character name would have something to do with "toes" or "margarine". At least that's what I think she said. I think Jen had a few too many of nem Frank's Black Cherry Wishniak's before calling. Mike suggests Iggy, and Tom adds it to the list.
- John Junk calls (starts at 1:27) with an intriguing concept: mixing an effete Truman Capote demeanor with the Vietnam vet angle, giving the character a license to be outrageous. Tom decides it's too light -- he wants this character to be heavy.
- Megan calls (starts at 1:28) from on top of the Ted Leo building (the tallest in the town) in fancy Bloomfield to discuss the extent to which her boyfriend is obsessed with Tom and The Best Show. Megan assures Tom that it's no cause for alarm because she doesn't think he's a stalker. However, he can barely go an hour without mentioning the program, especially his favorite callers like Bryce and Philly Boy Roy. Megan also heard a lot about Petey's legendary "Bill Purray" call. Megan is also a fan, but she's able to make it through a day without referencing it. Megan decided that she had to call to inform Tom of his superfan after an incident that occurred while they were watching television. Her boyfriend announced that Tom loved the show that was on, and she made the mistake of asking which Tom. He was surprised at the need for clarification because he felt that she should know that his default Tom is Tom Scharpling. Tom appreciates Megan putting up with all this and says he's sorry that he likes him so much. Megan thinks Tom is a good person to like, but she warned her boyfriend that she would share the story on the air. Megan declines to give his identity per his request, although she does say that he calls from time to time. (My guess: Blue Willie.) He's never met Tom face-to-face because school or work prohibited his attendance at the two previous post-show meet-ups. Tom is planning a holiday event next month, and Megan requests that it doesn't take place on December 19th, which is her birthday. Tom thinks the best birthday gift she can give her boyfriend is to attend The Best Show meet-up instead of celebrating her birthday by doing anything she would want to do. Megan confirms that there will by candy bars and also wants a birthday gift from Tom. If it's on the 19th, Tom agrees to give her a present.
- Tom got a private message from soft-serve Geeep, who caused last week's show to be canceled because he lacked the guts to call on 11/7. His idea for a character is a DJ who plays music. In other words, he thinks the bit stinks. Tom had three piles of CDs at the ready, but he will move on to the next round of chit-chat because Geeep was compelled to be a wiseguy. Tom goes back into the workshop to give the character regrets about voting for Reagan and flashbacks that make him unable to hold down a job, such as a bus driver. In 2004, he was horrified by the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry during the Presidential campaign. He can't understand how they could disparage a fellow Vietnam vet. At this point in the one-man show, dramatic lighting would replicate bombs going off behind him as he criticized President Bush's lack of military experience. Someone in the chat wants the character to be Kerry's "Army lover", but Tom doesn't dig the idea because this is a statement about America, not sex talk.
Tom's vetoes a series of potential character names: Iggy, Toeless, Soft Shoe, Geeeep, Graybeard, Charlie Horse, Baked Beans, and Eeyore. And then Mike hits it: Dutch. Tom advises the New York theater scene to get ready for his arrival. Dutch will actually be one of four characters in the show. One of the other characters will be an anorexic teenager. Tom is the new John Leguizamo!
- Matt from Union calls (starts at 1:39) to suggest “Sausage Neck” as a character name, but Tom sticks with Dutch. Matt is willing to donate a tough t-shirt he had in first grade to the wardrobe department. It featured the text "Kill 'Em All -- Let God Sort 'Em Out!" Tom thinks that is a philosophy that Dutch once espoused, but he's no longer down with mass genocide. Tom tests out a riff in which Dutch rants about GWB hiding out in the National Guard with assistance from his Daddy, but then Matt tries to convert Dutch into an old, washed-up Jewish comedian. Tom wants no part of it. Dutch ain’t no old comedian. Tom has a feel for Dutch and wants to establish a sense of place at the start of the show. Dutch will be wiping off a wrench with a rag to indicate that he's working at a repair shop on Muffler Row. He'll inform a customer that their car will be ready tomorrow after they receive the ordered part. He will also recommend changing brake pads every 10,000 miles. A patch on his camouflage jacket will mark him as a former member of the 109th battalion.
- Joe Movie Guy seeks (starts at 1:58) insight from Tom on the movies that have left their mark on our culture. He became enamored with a cinephile teacher, who inspired him to dip into the classics, such as Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and Mallrats. Tom's choice is Clifford. The first film that the teacher turned the caller onto was Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. The caller says the name with an offensive Japanese accent, and Tom wants to know what made him say it like that. He says he was trying to respect how some people approach linguistics. (Book_em-dano is 100% Japanese and doesn’t even say it that way.) Tom wonders if he's testing out a Japanese character, but he claims he's too banal to construct one. He directs Tom to hang up on him just like he's done twice before. Tom obliges, making him a three-time loser: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
- Tom opens (starts at 2:04) a package he received from Purple Shirt. Prior to a recent trip to Russia, Tom proposed an art project that required PS to take a picture of himself holding a domestically-purchased Snickers bar in front of the Kremlin. Upon returning to the U.S., PS was supposed to make two copies of the picture on edible paper, which would become a tasty wrapping for the bar. He was then to take the two edible copies to the WFMU studios -- one for him, and one for Tom -- for a candy feast. Tom is already leery of consuming the Snickers because it was stored amidst PS's underwear. Whenever Tom opens a package from a listener, he expects to find a severed hand or some cockroaches. In this case, PS included the picture, the corresponding Snickers bar, and a bonus Russian Snickers bar. However, the bar is not wrapped in edible paper, so Tom will follow-up with PS next week. Tom declares American chocolate the best on the planet.
- A caller wants (starts at 2:07) to know if Tom saw the new James Blond movie this past weekend. Tom is not familiar with that franchise, so the caller explains that it's a Russian-produced, D-grade knockoff with Stacey Keach in the title role and Suzanne Somers as the Blond Girl. The plot involves Blond trying to prevent the baddie from blowing up The Wiz on Route 22. The film is currently screening in the caller's head and at Cinema 17 in Secaucus. Tom senses that the caller is about to break into laughter, but he says he was just out of breath because he was running while he was talking. Tom initiates a game of Make Me Laugh, and the caller provides some more unfunny plot details as a warm-up. During the big getaway scene, Keach pulls Somers onto a 50-cc moped and they start swerving all over Route 22. They abandon the vehicle and start running down the road away from the flagship The Wiz outlet. The end. The caller admits he has nothing to make Tom laugh, which elicits a mild pity chuckle from Tom. Tom tries to tie it up by asking the caller about his Thanksgiving plans: glazed ham, turkey, fixins, and football. Tom asks if the fixins will be consumed at a Roy Rogers, and the caller does a patronizing fake laugh that gets him booted.
- A 20-year-old caller needs (starts at 2:12) advice on a better way to deal with his family on Thanksgiving. His senile grandparents are racist, while the other side of his family is not racist. As a result, they tend to get into huge arguments, so he'll resort to drinking until he's immobilized. The television serves as a launching point for the racist tirades, which leads the caller's father to flip out and inform them that their language is inappropriate for his household. The grandparents are momentarily stabilized into an awkward silence, but they will often start it up again after a few drinks. Tom's solution is to unite the family against their views by circling them, clapping their hands, and chanting "racist" whenever they get going. Tom directs the caller to scare the grandparents by swinging the gravy boat around like a nut, while being careful to avoid any spillage. The caller will then increase the volume of his chants and swoop down right in his grandmother's face. He will then use a pre-arranged hand signal to silence the chants. The caller thinks that might work, but just in case, he wants Tom to tell him how to slip them a mickey. Tom refuses to assist him in drugging his grandparents, and suggests a non-narcotic alternative: tell them that the family moved to a local Denny's.
Tom comes up with a variant on his original idea. Before the dinner, the caller catches his grandfather alone in the corner and gives him an intense lecture: "You listen to me. You're allowed to say 25 words tonight. 25 words the whole night. You use them sparingly. You go past that 25th word, you're gonna get it! You got me?" Problem solved! However, a new dilemma arises: Tom can't decide if Cameron Crowe's best movie is Elizabethtown, with its preachy, drawn-out message, or Vanilla Sky, a failure on all fronts.
- Tom closes out the show (starts at 2:20) with the classic Build A Movie game. Three people. One genre. Hott new movie.
Pitched by: Fred
Title: Queens Boulevard
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Peter Lorre, Peter Falk, and Peter Fonda
Tom declines to move forward on the project because he doesn't trust Fred's angle. Fred calls back, and Tom offers him an audition for Dutch.
- Sathington interrupts (starts at 2:25) the game to try to get Von Scharpling back together. Tom will put the reunion in the mix. Let's hope this is more successful than the Big Dipper quest.
Pitched by: ?
Title: Back To Back (European title: The Curse of the C**ksucking Squagels)
Director: Anthony Minghella
Cast: David Cross, Ian McShane, and Jables
In this parody of the Saw films, McShane plays the Jigsaw character, who tortures comedians. Jack Black inherits a warehouse to run his tube socks business. Cross and Black are two guys driving in a pick-up truck to their big class reunion. The truck flips over, and they wake up to discover that they've been worked on by McShane's Dr. Moreau-like figure. Like the film All Of Me, one of them would feel something, and the other would respond to it. The truck flips over, and they get mashed together into a "flesh cube". Cross and Black are fused together at the posterior as they are running from a madman (McShane) in the woods. The climactic battle will take place in a mirrored nonagon.
Pitched by: Teeth Whitener
Title: The 'burbs 2
Director: Joe Dante
Cast: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, and Andy Kindler
Shawn and Marlon are upwardly mobile Ad men who own two houses. They want to acquire the house in between them so they can construct one giant house. Andy Kindler just inherited that middle house, and he's not going to roll over in this battle. He shoots his sprinkler on their fancy new car, and they retaliate by hosting a wacky pool party during Kindler's gathering to honor his deceased grandmother. In the end, all of their lives are in ruins. Shawn and Marlon lose their jobs, and Andy Kindler's fiancee think he's become a creep. The plot reminds Whitener of the Devito-and-Lawrence film, What's The Worst That Could Happen?. Tom GOMPs him because he suspects he's writing down Tom's ideas.
Pitched by: Tommert
Genre: Romantic Horror
Cast: Jim Carrey, Penelope Cruz, and ?
You gotta come complete. Tom will not fill in the blanks.
Pitched by: ?
Co-written by: Mike the Associate Producer
Title: Old Lady Foot Locker
Genre: Drug Comedy
Co-Directors: Darren Aronofsky and Gary David Goldberg
Cast: Michael J. Fox (1980s-era), Ellen Burstyn (a bit younger than she is now), and Ashton Kutcher (current)
Fox and Kutcher are spoiled, pothead brothers, and their grandmother (Burstyn) announces that she will leave all of her money to the first one who can stop smoking crippler for a month. There will, of course, also be a scene of Burstyn accidentally getting high.
Pitched by: Get Off My Bone
Title: Last Comic Standing
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Cast: Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal
The trio are going to do Comic Relief for a charity event being held on some island. When the curtain goes up, they see a collection of hunters in Jeeps and full gear. They realize that they will be hunted, along with other comics, such as Rita Rudner, Bobby Slayton, Margaret Cho, Steven Wright, Dane Cook,
Michael Richards (can't afford him), Bobby Collins, Morecambe and Wise, and the Frangela duo. Dane Cook wins! He's the punk!
- Liz from Fort Worthless calls (starts at 2:43) to kill the momentum by saying she was sold on My Morning Jacket after seeing them live. Not sticking to the topic and calling on a bad phone = 7 strikes against you.
Pitched by: Christopher from Rhode Island
Title: I'm Archie Bunker!
Genre: Holiday Comedy
Director: Spike Lee
Cast: Brian Dennehy, Brian Cox, and Carroll O'Connor
O'Connor plays himself as he returns to his hometown for the big holiday celebration. Dennehy and Cox are guys from the town who watched O'Connor rise to fame as Archie Bunker. In an interview clip, we see O'Connor mention that he modeled the character after someone from his hometown. Dennehy and Cox both think they were the inspiration. They declare war on each other and havoc ensues.
Pitched by: Chris L
Co-written by: Mike the Associate Producer
Title: Punk '77: The Rise of the Greatest Scene the World Has Ever Known
Genre: Earnest Rock Drama
Director: Liam Lynch
Cast: A young Shelley Duvall*, Henry Rollins, Werner Herzog
Pitched by: Billy
Title: Little Mr. Sunshine
Genre: Sunny Summertime Indie Flick Involving (Treasure) Hunting.
Director: Wayne Wang
Cast: Randy Quaid, Dabney Coleman, and Richard Marx
Quaid and Marx are brothers who were in a band, but the guy at the record label convinced Marx to kick Quaid out for being too goofy-looking. However, Quaid was solely responsible for their treasure of songwriting gold, and now they've got the big summertime concert at the Bandshell in Central Park. Uh oh ...
Pitched by: No Smoke
Title: Thank You For Not Smoking
Director: Tom Shadyac
Cast: Robert Blake, Alex Karras, Ryan O'Neal
Tom refuses to greenlight any No Smoke project because he hates him so much.
Pitched by: Laurie
Title: The Apology (European title: Soul Man 2: Fully Loaded For Racism)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Larry Charles
Cast: Rae Dawn Chong, Peter Gallagher, and Michael Richards
RDC gets her big break in Hollywood as a publicist for Michael Richards. All of a sudden, her boss goes off on a huge tirade, not unlike his antics at the Laugh Factory. Gallagher plays the Seinfeld type guy who is especially appalled by Richards' behavior since his name is on the hit show that Richards starred in. Gallagher wants RDC to get Richards to apologize on national television. The only problem is that Richards is nuts, and RDC now hates him for being so offensive. The romance angle is fading away, so Laurie suggests a torrid affair between RDC and Gallagher's eyebrows. Tom thinks that's weird.
The show ends with Tom ditching a non-English-speaking caller and getting a call from the Goshen trolls.
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: DUTCH! DUTCH! DUTCH!
Thanks again to Jerry Cantrell for filling in for Tom on 11/14! Great job, son! Loved the Jack Endino anecdote and the Pacific Northwest-heavy playlist: U-Men! Love Battery! Tad! Steven "Jesse" Bernstein! Green River! Fastbacks! Malfunkshun! Seaweed! Hey, wait a minute. You just threw on one of those old Sub Pop samplers! Ah, the grunge years.
And, finally ... SUPERTONGUE!