The White Whale.
"Boy, that guy had some sunglasses." -- Tom on the ample shades of voice legend Gary Owens (not dead yet)
"Only in Kentucky, as they say, right? You know how it goes down there. Apparently those sleaze medicines flow like water down there." -- Tom on the Paducah porn industry
"I just can't wait tell my dad that his money didn't go to waste. One of the clockpunchers down at the box factory approves of my question." -- Marc Healy on Tom justifying his journalism education
"That's my Watergate pretty much." -- Marc Healy on his Montgomery Davies lidblower
"But I have to beg of you, please go easy on me. I'm just a mere novice compared to you. Don't embarrass me, okay, big guy?" -- Marc Healy, making a request for Tom's appearance at Newbridge State
"It's a sick world we live in. Newbridge is sick and getting sicker." -- Tom on his increasingly troubled town
"I'm on fire!" -- Marc Healy, revealing the ugly side of "blue"
"I use coffee as a tool, young man. Coffee is a tool. If I need to wake up, I drink some coffee. Don't need to wake up, I don't drink it." -- Tom on his strong-willed approach to caffeine consumption
"Whaddya, whittle when you're on there? Cyber-whittle? E-whittling?" -- Tom, trying to understand the down-home feel of Facebook
"When do I get to laugh? When's Tommy get to laugh? Never. Tommy makes the laughs, he don't get the laughs." -- Tom on having the world's best podcast (i.e., his) playing in his head 24/7
"The guy was all mad about the bunk the other guy was spreading, and he called, I think, maybe, with his own brand of bunk." -- Tom on a caller who claims the CIA invented Facebook to mine data from elusive college kids
"My arms. There's too much air on my arms. It feels weird." -- Paul F. Tompkins on what it would be like to perform sans suit
"I love New York in the summer, too, because I love the smell of hot garbage. Boy, there's nothing like it." -- PFT, looking forward to performing in the city
"There are other types of theft that are absolutely socially acceptable, but DO NOT steal jokes." -- PFT, taking a strong stand on the Menstealia debate
"He is kinda like the Lenny Bruce of our time. He's terrible." -- Tom on freedom fighter Joe Rogan
"That's it. That's my story. I'm Tony Soprano, goodnight America." -- PFT on Tony Soprano addressing the audience in an alternative ending to The Sopranos
"It reminded me of my childhood, growing up on a farm in Maine. I'll never forget the look of the sunset through the kitchen window as I ate fresh-baked biscuits." -- PFT, giving an example of a critique you'll never see on YouTube
"It's weird for a relative of an actor to be dumb." -- PFT on the sister of Joseph Gannascoli raging against David Chase
"I say to the people who didn't enjoy the ending: hang tight. There's a program on the horizon, waiting for you. It's going to be on ABC. It's called Cavemen, and you are going to love it." -- Tom, providing some hope to The Sopranos haters
"You put a sock on the doorknob?" -- PFT, wondering if Tom alerted would-be intruders to the lady he had in the studio
"You will burn your hand on the stupidity machine once Mr. Brooks gets rolling." -- Tom on the perils of the summer's biggest laugh riot
"It was like a murderer convention in Portland." -- Tom, trying to convince a caller that Mr. Brooks was really ridiculous
Polvo - "Thermal Treasure"
( Click here to buy Today's Life Activities)
( Click here to visit the BC Myspace page)
( Click here to visit the JR Myspace page)
The Buck Pets - "Pearls"
( Click here to buy Mercurotones for 1 cent)
Rollerskate Skinny - "Man Under Glass"
( Click here to buy Horsedrawn Wishes)
Deerhunter - "Hazel St."
( Click here to buy Cryptograms)
Wrong Answer (Zoo Breath) - "Man to Man" (from the ULTRA-RARE, LONG-OOP 1991 7" EP)
( Click here to visit The Blind Wino)
Mark Sultan - "Something Wrong"
( Click here to buy The Sultanic Verses)
Paul F. Tompkins - "Jazz"
( Click here to buy Impersonal)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
South America’s Radio Sweetheart is back in the ring and ready to do battle. Remember: The Best You Can Do Is Be Worse Than The Best Show. You don't stand a chance. Tom tests out a hott, new-but-old-timey microphone to see how its levels peak and valley. He tries to determine the right amount of space between his face and the microphone so he can sound like a pro. Mike the Associate Producer helps him with the logistics, and Tom briefly strays too far back. It sounds like he's doing the show from the old Newbridge caves (before they were filled with colored golf balls and boarded up). Tom finally finds the sweet spot and feels like the late-great Gary Owens, the golden-voiced announcer from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. He realizes that Owens may still be alive (he is!) and feels like a bad friend for shoveling dirt on the poor guy. Tom doesn't like the new microphone at all because he can't feel the impact of his stentorian tones. He wants to control the microphone, but the microphone is controlling HIM. Tom considers doing the show online. He can't concentrate, and Mike is giving him the evil eye from the other side of the glass.
The line is flashing pre-topic. Since there are no more open-phone Tuesdays, Tom assumes that the caller has a doozie that is worthy of leaping to the front of the line.
- The Hoge from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, calls (starts at 24:24) to reflect on the time when Tom expressed annoyance at promoters who bill themselves as curators. He was reading a local arts weekly and found a quote that annoyed him so much that he had to call to share it. In a nutshell, the promoter of the upcoming Sled Island rock festival refers to himself as a curator in the piece. He also says that following a trip to Europe, he was determined to remain in Calgary only if he could change it. He believes his curating duties are doing just that. Tom doesn’t like it, not even a little bit. The Hoge agrees, but Tom says he was talking about this phone call. He GOMPs The Hoge for starting the show on a wrong note by giving a local perspective on a topic from five weeks ago. Tom thinks the undefeated streak might end tonight. Tommy Tornado can't do it every week. You can only ask so much of The Lord of Living Lightning.
- A caller apologizes (starts at 27:25) for not being able to listen to the show tonight. Tom absolves him and makes him say, "Yes, father." Tom recently saw the 1981 Canadian film Ticket To Heaven, starring Saul Rubinek and a young Kim Cattrall. It's about a dude who joins a cult. Tom says he may start a cult of his own.
- Jerry from Fishkill, NY, calls (starts at 28:18) to request some Journey in honor of the use of "Don't Stop Believing" in Sunday's episode of The Sopranos. Tom says he might play a track next week after the finale airs. Jerry claims the finale already aired, but Tom says there is still one episode left. He saw preview scenes for it. Jerry insists that the series has ended. Tom tells him that he's 100% wrong and changes his name from Jerry to Mr. Wrong in honor of his misinformation. Jerry says that Phil Leotardo's death has to be the icing on the season’s cake. Tom feels bad for him now because he’ll be very embarrassed next week. Jerry threatens Tom by suggesting that that his head will be squished a la Leotardo if he doesn't cue up some damn Journey. Tom tells him to shut up and gets rid of him. He outlines his plan of attack if Jerry ever confronted him. Tom would start by giving him multiple paintbrush-style slaps across the face. And then there will be blood. Boom! Right in the nose. Tom is certain that Jerry would back off if he saw his own fluid. Tom doesn't have time for a tough talker who works at a Wendy's in Fishkill.
- Shandy in Paducah, Kentucky, calls (starts at 30:39) to share a hated phrase. She hates the corporate term "facetime" because it commodifies interpersonal relations. I wonder what Ken Rogers would think about this? Tom also doesn't like the suggestion that communication not done via computer is somehow unusual. He's not a fan of corporate animals who adopt code words for human interaction. Shandy says she encounters the phrase at her job working for a medical advertising company. Tom wonders if she helps market knives for peeling snakes. Shandy actually works on products like Cialis, Viagra, and other pornographic performance enhancers. Tom GOMPs her because it's not Midnight Blue. You cannot push your sick wares on The Best Show because children are listening. It's not the The Ron Jeremy Fun Hour, which is set to debut on The Shout! Network in the fall. Tom points out that this is the kind of thing that only happens in Kentucky, where the sleaze medicines flow like water.
- Thomas from Jersey City calls (starts at 33:10) to say he's still enduring the horrific 99S bus that he lamented back in January. He's also wondering when the word "curator" got inserted into the lexicon in lieu of producer. Thomas says he lost a job because he was confused about the duties of curating, which he always thought applied to museums. He accepted a job curating a music event, but he thought that all he had to do was suggest some acts for the bill and then book them. He later discovered that they expected him to show up at the actual event to serve as a Master of Ceremonies. Thomas says that he was scheduled to perform one night, but everyone gave him the silent treatment because he was AWOL for the other bands. I'm pretty sure this was the 2004 "Beasts of Barbershop" festival in Westbridge. Tom thinks Jerry learned about curating the hard way. Mike consults his entomology book and discovers that there was a spike in the use of the term in 2003. Jerry seems to be satisfied with this answer. He also sys that he went to World of Music, Tom's pre-Consolidated Cardbord employer in Summit, N.J., today and thought their sheet music selection was otherwordly. Tom’s scared because Thomas is just one bus ride away.
- Tom thanks (starts at 36:18) everyone who attended last week's awesome post-show party on the roof of the Iron Monkey. He heard that 75 people showed up, and he salutes them for making it a special night. Tom singles out Laurie and that other guy, who flew in from Miami, and Dorvid, who drove up from Virginia. Tom was emotionally touched by the event, but he didn't like being repeatedly touched on the face by one dude who wanted some literal "facetime". Tom issues a request for no face touching at any future FOT meet-ups. He's not your grandson. Tom gives a special thanks to the top-notch, one-in-a-million Jason for his expert curating.
- Tom reveals (starts at 39:17) that Gentlemen Jim climbed out of the pile to become his 3,000th Myspace friend. He invites other people to request his friendship because almost everybody gets approved unless you're a fake girl in a bikini. Tom is often intrigued by these risque requests, but he used to discover that the profiles were barren except for a line in their "Interests" list about how they enjoyed making out with guys. He's starting to notice that people are filling out the profiles in order to make them more believable. For example, one woman is declaring her love for Family Guy. Tom's not impressed by this, and he also won't add anyone -- real or fake -- who has Dane Cook in their Top Friends list. Tom can understand adding him as a friend so you can get his bulletins or read his stupid blog, but it's a no-go if he runs the gauntlet and sneaks into one of your top spots. Tom can't add you. He shant add you! I added a girl named "Grace" last week because she said she liked Superchunk, David Foster Wallace, and The Criterion Collection. I checked her profile the next day, and all of that was stripped out. She apparently just likes "men in uniform" and Shakira. Oh well.
- Marc Healy from the Newbridge Herald-Times Republican-Herald calls (starts at 42:53) to get Tom's opinion for a piece he's writing on the polarizing series finale of The Sopranos. Healy says he's been tracking down quotes from some of the better-known Newbridge-ites, such as Bishop Pablo Fontana, former high school bully and current Panty Boys performer Troy Dershman, musician Barry Dworkin, embattered restaurateur Augie Richards, relaxation guru Gregor McWilliams, and Survivor pant rummager Reggie Monroe. Healy points out that some people really disliked the ending because they thought it was a cop-out to cut to black in the middle of the scene at Holsten's diner. However, some people loved it because it left things completely open to interpretation. Did the Soprano clan get whacked? Did the viewer get whacked? Or did nothing happen and life will go on for Tony? Healy asks Tom if he thinks that the fictional Tony Soprano represents all of us -- our collective fears, expectations, frustrations, hopes, and dreams.
Tom says that's a really great, interesting question, and Healy thanks him in what appears to be an extremely sarcastic tone. Healy says he always strives to come up with intriguing questions that get to the heart of the matter, and he's glad that all those years in journalism school have really paid off in the form of Tom's approval. Tom apologizes, but he doesn't know what was wrong with his assessment. Healy says he can't wait to tell his dad that his money didn't go to waste because one of the clockpunchers down at the box factory approves of his interviewing skills. He tells Tom to continue with his answer because he's hanging on it. Tom asks Healy if he could be more sarcastic, but he claims that he was sincerely thanking Tom for deeming his question worthy. Tom is baffled at Healy's attitude, and he tells the scribe that he's a fan of his work. Healy says that Tom is just one of his many fans.
Tom enjoyed Healy's expose on Newbridge's underground stick fighting league, and he was particularly impressed that he got some quotes from the elusive Dr. Christian Harfouche. Healy says that Dr. Harfoosh is an interesting cat who doesn't grant many interviews, so that was a feather in his press cap. Tom mentions that Healy also blew the lid off the scandal involving Judge Montgomery Davies getting thrown off the bench for using a mysterious device in the courtroom. Healy believes that this was his Watergate. He's currently shopping the story to various studios, and The Shout! Network will likely acquire the rights for a TV movie. Healy wants to know what Tom thinks of two potential titles: All The King’s Devices or Underneath the Robe. Tom doesn't like either title. Healy says a third title being discussed is Whoosh … Thud, a reference to the sound of the device. Tom's not crazy about that one.
Healy thinks it would be fair to reach out to Dusty and Bobby to see if they are interested in playing him in the movie. Tom's confused about the identity of these men, so Healy says he's referring to Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. Tom asks Healy if he really knows Dustin Hoffman well enough to call him by a nickname, and he asks Tom to define "know". Tom asks him if he ever had a conversation with the actor. Healy says that he has, so Tom wants to know if Hoffman was aware of it. Healy says he wasn't exactly turned directly towards him when they had a brief chat at a party he wasn't technically invited to. Healy told Hoffman that he loved him in Tootsie, and he's pretty sure that he heard his compliment because he said "thank you." However, Hoffman said it at the exact second he was plucking a pig-in-a-blanket off an hors d'oeuvre tray. Tom decides that this does not constitute an official conversation. Healy disputes the ruling.
Healy has a question for Tom about his approach to editing stories by his newer reporters while under a super-tight deadline. He wants to know if Tom will track down a source for a key piece of information, or if he will make the reporters cover their own tracks. Tom is missing the point of Healy's question. Healy says he thought Tom was a journalist, but Tom informs him that he just does a radio program. Tom wonders if Healy is really that offended by his praise for his opening question. Healy says that he simply wants to learn from someone he assumed was a career newsman who currently edits a major newspaper. Tom can't believe he's that worked up about him saying his question sounded interesting and great. Healy thanks him again and says he really appreciated it. Tom's glad that he could touch him with the compliment. Healy is a bit embarrassed to admit that he doesn't think his SAT scores are nearly high enough to get accepted into Tom's journalism master class. He wants to know if Tom can pull some strings with the dean so he can learn as much as he can from a true journalism master. Healy says he thought he was a talented reporter with an impressive resume -- journalism degree from Syracuse, five years at the Philadelphia Inquirier, and three at the The Star-Ledger -- that led to his current job running the Newbridge Herald-Times Republican-Herald. However, he realizes that he is talking to someone of higher journalism caliber. Tom tells Healy that he has some serious issues.
Healy says he was asked to speak to some J-students at Newbridge State this Thursday. Tom didn't now that "J-students" was short for journalism students, so Healy thinks it sounds like Tom may not really know what he's talking about. He's concerned because his idea is to conduct an interview where he plays the James Lipton to Tom's Warren Beatty in a kind of Inside The Journalist's Studio format. Healy begs Tom to please go easy on him because he’s just a mere novice compared to him. He doesn't want Tom to embarrass him in front of the class. Tom wants to know what is wrong with Healy to make him so furious. Healy says he just wants to learn from a master. He's beside himself and honored that Tom liked his question. He says it really means a lot to him.
Healy tells Tom to hold on because his son is playing with a new lip balm he picked up at Das Sieben Und Der Elf. He tells Mannheim to put the balm back in the bag. Tom wants to know the inspiration for this unusual name, and Healy says he's named after The Mannheim Steamroller, who are pretty much his favorite group. Mannheim did not listen to Healy's directive because he begins smearing the balm all over his sister's mouth. Healy says his daughter Mercedes is named after the car. He has to go because his daughter is asleep and Mannheim put the balm all over his mouth. Tom suspects it's "blue", and Healy checks the tube. It is. Healy begins using "blue", and Tom wonders why he doesn't do some investigative reporting on the latest Newbridge drug craze. Healy says it feels really good and then falls asleep without getting Tom’s quote about The Sopranos. He manages to redial and snores into the phone. Tom says he’ll never figure out how people can call back after getting knocked out. He believes that "blue" is a scourge on the community. The bottom line: Newbridge is sick and getting sicker. Healy calls back with a final wave of snores before briefly waking up to announce that he's on fire. Tom is finally privy to the ugly side of "blue".
- Tom says that Mike likes to start making a grilled cheese sandwich over a light bulb a little before 8 p.m. so he can enjoy a nice snack around 10 p.m. He uses American cheese because he's a Proud Patriot.
- A caller offers (starts at 58:43) a comment about this overexposed chick Rachel Ray. He saw her all over Dunkin' Donuts as the pitchgal for their delish iced coffee, and he's had enough. She's got the shows (plural), the bucks, and everyone knows that she's an overachiever in the culinary world. The caller thinks it's just too much Rachel Ray. He's mad that when he went to get his coffee, he had to look at her on a poster. Tom wants to know what he gets at DD, and the caller says he has a medium with extra milk and one sugar. He explains that he requests extra milk because if he says "light", they never put enough milk in it. This might have something to do with him saying "light", but who knows. This guy also thinks that there is one more episode of The Sopranos, so coffee condiments are just one of his problems. The caller asks Tom about his coffee consumption, and Tom tells him that he uses coffee as a tool. If The Kid needs to wake up, he drinks some coffee. If he's already awake, he skips it. The caller suspects that Tom only sleeps about four hours a night, and he's pretty much correct. Tom can rise and shine sans caffeine. He's a strong-willed man. Tom dumps the caller because his connection was so awful that it sounded like he was saying stuff he shouldn't be saying.
- A caller asks (starts at 1:01) Tom if he has a problem with the social networking website Facebook. Tom says he doesn't really have a problem with it, but he's not a prevert who has a weird compulsion to mix it up with people in their late teens. The caller says that Facebook is dominated by the college crowd. Tom amends his statement to include people in their late teens and early twenties. The caller, who fits into that demo, believes that Facebook is better than Tom's Myspace nonsense. Tom thinks all that stuff is nonsense. The caller thinks Myspace seems a bit corporate, but Tom thinks everything seems corporate to him. He doubts that Facebook offers some kind of experience akin to sitting on the porch and churning butter with your grandpappy. The caller says it offers a much more "at-home" feeling than its competitors. Tom wants to hear more about this down-home atmosphere, and he wonders if the caller is one of the Mandrell brothers. He also wants to know if Facebook provides a venue for "e-whittling."
The caller ignores these queries, but he continues to say that Myspace is highly impersonal and lacks any human interaction between the company, which is owned by a media "bamoff", and its users. Tom thinks that the caller should put down the Facebook and pick up a dictionary. The caller says he knows a couple of good words, including "celerity". He thinks that Myspace had some personality when Good Guy creator Tom Anderson ran it as a self-made business. Tom informs the caller that Mr. Anderson runs the site from jail, where he's nine years into serving a 44-year sentence. He read an interview in which the Myspace founder bragged about murdering someone. Anderson said the kill gave him an unbelievable rush that he wants to convey to the people on Myspace. Tom (Scharpling) thinks Myspace has become a real bemoff. The caller says that Facebook evokes going for a nice stroll around 07040. After two misfires, Tom places it in Maplewood, and the caller wants to know why he's such a big zip code guy. Tom says he worked as a postman for 11 years. He wants the caller to confirm that the 17 billion people on Myspace drive him nuts, but he's much more comfortable hanging out with the 9 billion people on Facebook. The caller points out that Myspace has significantly more than 17 billion users, which makes it even more annoying.
Tom thinks the caller needs to run his Myspace page with some dignity and not add people like a lunatic. The caller says he only has 101 Myspace friends, but he rejects the convoluted development that prohibits fun. He sees fun on Facebook. For example, when you search for something, it has the nice nature to say, “Sorry dude, ain’t got nothing for ya!” if there are no results. Tom tells him that 19 million people are getting this same message every four seconds. The caller insists that it feels more personal, and Tom GOMPs him for having a screw loose. Tom compares the caller's position to someone preferring the personal touch of Burger King to the detached, corporate atomosphere at McDonald's. He thinks we're doomed if this caller represents the next generation. Tom puts his hands in the air and surrenders. He will not be part of any kind of Red Dawn situation. He won't fight back if he knows the caller has his back, trying to fight off the attackers with his wireless router.
- A caller says (starts at 1:08) that last guy was full of bunk. He heard that Facebook was started by the CIA as a massive data mining operation. Tom had not heard that ... until now. The caller wants to know what Tom thinks about Miranda July. Tom says he wasn't much of a fan of her debut feature, Me and You and Everyone We Know, because it was overly pretentious. He felt like he was trapped in a Night at the Museum scenario except it was MoMA instead of a natural history exhibit. Tom says a subplot involving two young girls contemplating their first "adult encounter" with a weirdo in his late-30s lacked realism. He thinks it's sick. Tom also avoids July's music because he's not interested in people who are passably competent in many areas, but not top-notch in any of them. Tom realizes that he's actually a five-tool player:
1. He sings.
2. He hosts a radio show.
3. He does a soft-shoe.
4. He performs Bazooka Joe-style skits (but less subtle).
5. He curates.
I would say that Tom is a jack of all these trades and a master of four of them. His soft-shoe isn't quite there yet based on the clips I saw of him opening for Sloan at Maxwell's in May. Tom looks at the radio field and sees a barren landscape. He's heard all the other podcasts, and he declares The Best Show podcast the best one out there. Unfortunately, he can't listen to it because it's him. He hears The Best Show all day long in his head. He can't shut it off. This is the ugly side of The Best Show. Tom is looking for something to be his The Best Show, but he can't find anyone bringing it hard enough. Tommy makes the laughs, but he doesn't get the laughs.
- Paul F. Tompkins, a celebrated comedian from Hollywood, calls (starts at 1:12) to discuss his new comedy compact disc and his upcoming live comedy performances. Tom gives some highlights from PFT's resume, including his stint as a writer/performer on Mr. Show, his legendary work on Kelsey Grammar Presents: The Sketch Show, and his frequent appearances on VH-1's I Love The Whatevers. Tom says that PFT's true home is patrolling the boards like a besuited, mic'd panther. PFT agrees that he's just an old ghost of the stand-up stage. He's always thought of himself in this way, so he's glad someone finally said it out loud.
PFT says that if anyone is interested in seeing the stand-up panther in captivity, they will have their chance this weekend at the Comixxxx comedy venue. Due to the number of Xs suggested by PFT's elongated pronunciation of the club's name, Tom wants to make sure that he's not doing some kind of John "Dr. Dirty" Valby act. PFT wonders if that is actually a real person. Tom tells him that Valby is a legit comedian. He never heard any of his "dirty ditties" live, but he recalls seeing advertisements for his filth shows. PFT says he can't imagine anyone paying money to see a guy named "Dr. Dirty", and he proposes a scene where a couple buys tickets for his show on their anniversary. If the show was sold out, the husband would appease his wife with a night at home watching The Three Stooges with imagined curses. PFT is certain that there is a subset of humor fans who wish that The Three Stooges were allowed to spew profanity. The show would be even more enjoyable if a blow to the head was followed by a string of expletives. Tom says he's always hated The Three Stooges, and he struggles with a lot of the old-timey comedy. Watching Laurel & Hardy push a piano up apartment stairs for 45 minutes is one level of not his cup of tea. The Three Stooges, however, transcend artistic rejection to become a political affiliation completely at odds with Tom's views. He doesn't vote for that. PFT agrees that while Laurel & Hardy may be frustrating, The Three Stooges are just completely mindless. Tom points out that it's so aggressively mindless that its fans overthink it to the point where they accuse non-fans of just not getting it. Tom gets it. PFT got it. They don't like it.
PFT lapses into some tough talk by saying that people can come down to see him perform if they're man enough. Tom asks him if he's Tony Clifton. PFT thinks the Clifton character is still hilarious, and Tom says he actually prefers Bob Zmuda's take on the character. PFT says he's not really issuing a challenge to potential showgoers. You can just buy a ticket, sit there like an adult, and listen to him without participating. PFT is doing two shows on Friday and Saturday night with openers Carmen Lynch and Brent Weinbach. He claims these people are also funny. PFT also promises some new material for those who saw his last Comixxxx appearance back in January. Tom thinks that sounds like a guarantee; PFT thinks it sounded a little desperate. Tom convinces PFT that he's just conveying confidence in the product. Paul says that if you like the meatpacking district vibe, then you will love what he will be laying down.
PFT's new CD, Impersonal, just dropped today on AST Records. Tom starts to mention the West Coast Release Party, but he hears some strange noises on PFT's end. He asks him if he's building a birdhouse. PFT assures Tom that he's not building a birdhouse. He was just trying to close an uncooperative drawer. PFT says that he had to make a herculean effort to avoid swearing on the radio. Tom appreciates Paul fighting his compulsion to curse. Paul says he's just upset and bummed out about hearing that the CIA created Facebook. This information drained all the fun out of Facebook for him. Tom points out that the guy was mad about the bunk the other caller was spreading, but then he unleashed his own brand of counter-bunk in response. Paul makes a very valid point: the CIA already has a giant database at their disposal. Tom says the database is actually called "The CIA's Giant Database". Paul says that if the CIA was really that corrupt and Big Brother-ish, they would never bother concocting a social networking site. Tom compares it to taking the scenic route to getting to your final destination. Tom also thinks it's a silly theory because there are plenty of extant records of college students on file at actual colleges. Paul thinks that if colleges required students to fill out tons of forms, the CIA could obtain carbon copies of them.
- Forrest in Manhattan calls (starts at 1:22) to say he had a great time last week at the FOT Meet-Up. Tom says he was a nice guy, and he thought Tom was a real sweetheart. Tom confirms that Forrest was not the guy who was pawing his face all night long. Forrest says he recently contacted PFT to see if he could open for him at one of the Comixxxx shows. PFT sent him a nice response, but now Forrest is in limbo as he waits for a response from the club. He wonders if PFT has any words of advice on how to handle the situation. Forrest says that if all else fails, he is thinking about building a makeshift stage outside and putting on his own show. PFT tells Forrest that if he's half as dynamic on stage as he is on the phone, he has nothing to worry about. He also asks Forrest not to do the competing sidewalk show because it might be a little distracting for people attending the indoor show. PFT would consider it a personal favor, and Forrest gives him his word. He shant do it.
Tom tells PFT that he's now safe from getting blown off the stage from the side stage. PFT says it would be demoralizing if people started trickling out of his show to see Forrest killing it in the muggy, 95-degree night. Tom says it won't be suit-wearing weather, but PFT has painted himself into a sartorial corner with this trademark threads. Perhaps Paul could literally paint a suit on his body and let it erotically drip into the audience a la Zachary Brimstead, Esq. at "Barbershop Eros". Tom wonders how it would feel to go on stage wearing a t-shirt. PFT says he would feel completely exposed and unable to handle the influx of air on his arms. PFT says one benefit of his style is that if he's out wearing a t-shirt and jeans, it becomes a legitimate disguise. He says that people he knows have walked passed him because clothes do make the man. They see him in that attire and think it's just another L.A. slob. A piece of garbage beneath their notice. They don't even need to give him a full up-and-down scan. Tom suspects these people might even think that this supposed slob could learn a few things from Paul F. Tompkins. They wouldn't believe PFT if he told them it was him because he wasn't wearing a suit. Tom thinks this scenario may be something like Jonathan Demme's Melvin and Howard, but he's not sure.
PFT says he will see the physical CD for the first time at tonight's party. He's seen plenty of mock-ups, but he'll see the finished product in a couple of hours. Tom thinks Paul might get stuck with a cover that looks like a badly Photoshopped rap album with PFT atop a throne. PFT wishes he could have make the packaging like a pop-up book so the consumer would get popped by a cut-out of him doing stand-up. Tom thinks that sounds a little costly, but PFT says it could have been done on recycled paper. Tom says that would make it even more costly. PFT says that eco-friendly initiatives are non consumer-friendly -- his fancy proposed pop-up CD would retail for $28.
- Jon from Tornoto calls (starts at 1:28) with two statements and one question for Tom and PFT. He says that he had the chance to see John "Dr. Dirty" Valby's act at a club in Buffalo. He describes it as Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling with a piano. Tom thinks that sounds magical. Jon says it was funny for about 20 minutes, but then it got tiring. Tom thinks it sounds like a toilet-mouthed Mark Russell. He wonders if Valby performs dirty sea shanties, and Jon says he does a song called "Ya Ya" (NSF
WAnywhere). He begins to sing it, but Tom cuts him off because he doesn't trust a guy who sounded like an angry Dr. Dirty devotee. PFT agrees that the call was not going anywhere pleasant. He wonders if the song was from his enjoyable first 20 minutes of his set. Tom thinks it was from the final 15 minutes where it becomes a loose audience sing-along. Everybody, let's sing this filth together! PFT does give Jon props for managing to make Dr. Dirty sound even more like something he doesn't want to see. He was already off-board. Tom actually feels a bit bad for Dr. Dirty because he's chained to his piano. PFT thinks he's forced to lug his own electric piano to his European gigs, and Tom points out that he'd also to use a weird volt converter. He doesn't think the act would translate well in an electrified format. PFT says this is why Zach Galifianakis broke away from the piano. He didn't want to get stuck in the Dr. Dirty trap.
PFT says he always loves performing in New York City. He likes to eat at the local diners. He especially loves New York in the summer because he loves the smell of hot garbage. Tom says this may be the first real weekend for his desired odors. PFT hopes so because that's like the first robin of spring for him. He likes to walk around in the heat and humidity and then turn a corner and get a blast of the hot stuff. Tom mentions that the CD party is taking place at the UCB-L.A., which is the fake version of the real UCB-NY. Tom feels the need to draw a distinction between these two branches. He compares the NYC location to Law & Order, while the LA location is Law & Order: SVU. PFT detects a pejorative tone to Tom's riff because Law & Order is not called The Real Law & Order. Tom says that the L.A. Theatre is simply not the first one. PFT points out that "real" and "first" are two different words. Tom tells PFT to just accept it because everything is real out in New Yawk. PFT loves when people from NY comes to shows at the UCB-LA and talk about what they could be doing in New York at that hour. For example, if they were in New York, they'd be at a Russian deli eating borscht and drinking vodka. While it's taking place at a faux venue, the event has a real lineup that includes Andy Kindler, Jimmy Pardo, Dave Hill, and two special surprises. (It turned out to be blistering sets from Cathy Ladman and Rich Vos.)
Tom wants to know what PFT would think if people were lined up along the street to cheer him as he entered the UCB on his night of triumph. PFT says it would be mortifying. He can't imagine a worse scenario, and the thought of it chills him to the bone. He's already uncomfortable with the idea of now having merch to sell after his shows. PFT says there's no way he will be able to pack more than one 25-ct. box of Impersonal CDs in his suitcase for his NY trip. He'd rather have to inform a hopeful fan that he sold out of the discs than bring 200 copies with him. PFT says that it might be difficult to track him down to buy Impersonal in person because he darts around like a leprechaun. He hopes New York will be able to handle his arrival.
- Jon in Toronto calls back (starts at 1:37) and promises to keep it really clean this time. He asks PFT about the controversy involving Joe Rogan accusing Carlos Mencia of stealing jokes. PFT is glad Jon called back because he is prepared to go on record as being against stealing. Tom gets PFT to clarify that he's only against stealing jokes. He thinks there are other forms of theft that are socially acceptable, but jokes are off-limits. Jon is satisfied with PFT's response and concludes that he's on the side of Joe Rogan. PFT wonders if there is really any other side to be on in this debate. Jon doesn't think there is. He repeats Rogan's analogy of how a heist of a riff from a popular song would be major news, but nobody says "boo" about jokejacking. PFT points out that musical riffs are stolen all the time, and it's seldom in the news. He recalls hearing about MC Hammer using a sample from Rick James's "Super Freak" in his hit single "U Can't Touch This", but that's about it. Jon thinks that MC Hammer got permission from James in that case. PFT says he got approval after the record was already out. Jon mentions something about a dispute between Justin Timberlake and Thomas Dolby, but Tom has no idea what he's talking about. (K-Fed actually blinded him with an unauthorized use of an authorized Mobb Deep sample).
Jon informs Tom that Gary Owens is alive and well. He also says that Owens was responsible for doing the voice for the title character from Roger Ramjet, a cartoon show that was near and dear to him in his formative years. Tom thinks this is fantastic. PFT adds some obscure Owens trivia: he is also the voice of the Emergency Broadcast system. If some serious stuff really goes down, Gary Owens will tell us what to do (presumably through a gimbaled boom mic).
Tom knows that since PFT is an esteemed member of the comedy community, he must obey the ape law that prohibits a comic from going after another comic. PFT says that it's actually the opposite of that -- most comics seek to destroy their colleagues at all costs any time they can. Since Tom has no affiliations on the scene, he says that Carlos Mencia is obviously awful, but he wonders if Joe Rogan is really that far away. He thinks Rogan is more responsible for actually generating the garbage that he accused Mencia of stealing. Tom says that Mencia is like the guy at work telling a joke he didn't come up with, but Rogan is the guy sitting at home crafting that s hit.
PFT says he understands the anger about stolen material, but he thinks it's ridiculous to fight it because the public is never going to see it as something that is unacceptable. Most people draw their humor from other sources, and over time the quotation marks disappear from the material they swiped . The ownership slides to them. PFT feels bad for the guy who invented the practice of telling people that they just provided "a little too much information." He suspects he's going crazy now that TMI is considered hacky due to its overuse by unqualified performers. I can relate to these issues because I frequently steal Tom's jokes and repeat them with very minor tweaks. People tell me all the time that I should have my own radio show because it would likely be the best show on any station that aired it.
Tom decided to give Rogan a chance after he emerged as a comedy freedom fighter -- the Lenny Bruce of our time. Tom watched one of his specials and discovered that he really is kind of like the Lenny Bruce of our time. He's terrible. PFT wants to be sure that Tom is telling him that Lenny Bruce, the pioneer of free speech, was not hilarious because he has it on good authority that he was very funny. Tom says he was only funny in 1958. PFT says he's been told that he was funny, and he's sure that if he listened to his old records, he would in fact find them funny. Tom wants someone to tell him which record is the funny one because he's purchased nine of them, and the funny one still eludes him. He's been chasing after this funny Lenny Bruce record for eight years. PFT thinks this is Tom's white whale. Tom agrees, but unlike Moby Dick, he doesn't expect a rushed, smash-em-up ending after 500 pages of fruitless chase. Tom thinks this would have been the ending of The Sopranos if the chowderheads took control of the bus. Tony would have pulled out a machine gun and mowed down everyone in a climactic shootout. PFT says that this was never going to happen because Quentin Tarantino did not take the helm for the finale.
PFT doesn't understand how anyone could have loved the show for eight years and then feel ripped off by the ending. Tom is tired of hearing people say they wanted an action movie with closure. PFT wonders if people wanted Tony Soprano to directly address the camera, indicate that his story is over, and bid America goodnight. Tom suggests that Tony could have also informed everyone that he'd be dead in two years and give some details on the future of A.J. (died in Iraq) and Meadow. PFT says that people seemed to want a "Where Are They Now?" epilogue like the one that punctuated American Graffiti. Tom doesn't understand how people could trust showrunner David Chase to deliver all the thrills and spills for years, but also feel that they are better equipped to map out the ending to the show he built. PFT disputes the notion that the ending was a cop-out because it was actually an extremely brave way to end the show. He says that Chase certainly knew it would be unpopular with some people, and he tried to pull off a balancing act while staying true to the spirit of the show.
PFT and Tom think that Chase may be wondering if his audience thought they were investing eight years of their time to get one big, Scarface-like finale. Tom says that Scarface is a really stupid movie that shouldn't be idolized by anyone, and PFT doesn't think there is any way to justify or explain the film's reputation. Tom rewatched the film about four months ago to confirm that Giorgio Moroder's soundtrack is atrocious. It actually goes sour during the movie. PFT points out that even the characters appear to have puzzled looks when they hear the thick synth lines. Tom doesn't think Brian De Palma is a great director, and PFT and Mike join him to form a quorum on this issue. The film was also written by the terrible Oliver Stone. Tom says that one of the stengths of The Sopranos was its ability to weave the messages of the times into the fabric of the larger narrative to give people a sense of what it's like to be alive in the present. Once they established the characters, they didn't have to swing for the fences, which allowed them to let the stories breathe. Tom points out that in Oliver Stone's screenplays, the viewer gets hit over the head with The American Dream.
PFT thinks that some people actually wanted Tony Montana from Scarface to show up at Tony Soprano's house in the last episode. Maybe a zombified Tony Blundetto could have come back to make it a Tony trio. Montana would invite Tony to climb on the roof to get ready to blow away the encroaching FBI and the New York crew. PFT says that after the gunfight, Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" would play over the end credits instead of the blackened silence that ushered out the actual finale. Tom recalls the end of the 1983 Scarface where Montana falls into a pool after being riddled with bullets. The screen then cuts to De Palma's dedication to Howard Hawks, who directed the 1932 original. Tom suspects that if all references to "Scarface" were removed from De Palma's film, Hawks would not recognize it as a remake of his work. He'd just think it was a really violent and really bad film.
Tom is mad that people aren't willing to give David Chase the benefit of the doubt, preferring to accuse him of phoning it in with a lazy finale. Tom doubts that Chase was too busy driving his mini Grand Prix cars around the track in his backyard to to come up with the final episode. PFT thinks the building tension of the final scene is beautifully constructed artistry, not laziness. He watched it with his girlfriend, and they did have that brief, weird moment where they thought their cable went out when it cut to black. However, they sat there for a few seconds and decided they liked it. Tom says that you're allowed to take some time to absorb the ending and mull it over before rushing to issue your verdict. PFT goes on record by saying it was a perfect ending, and he thanks David Chase for including him. Tom thanks him as well, and he considers buying an 1/8th-page ad in Variety for $14,000: "Thanks, David! From Tom & Paul." They can't afford his last name. Tom was particularly disturbed by the coverage of the post-finale fallout in The New York Post, which blared "SOPRANOS" FANS OUT FOR BLOOD. They also ran a piece titled "Sopranos Snit Hits The Fans" to recap the negative reaction. PFT wonders if the guy who wrote that clever headline would have been a better choice to pen the final episode. Tom reads from the article:
"Sopranos" fans seething over the series' finale flop called for one more person to be whacked yesterday - creator David Chase.
"[He] should be shot - what a disgrace!" ranted a furious viewer who was among hundreds storming The Post's Web site to rip Chase and what critics called his lame, no-brain ending to the smash HBO series.
PFT mentions that the HBO website crashed because people flooded it with angry comments about the finale. He says he recently deleted all of the comments from his Myspace page. He's done with comments. While some people have written some nice, clever things, the comments are mostly a stupid waste a time for him, the people writing them, and the people who visit his page to read them. Mike mentions that the YouTube comments are the worst on the Internet. PFT thinks those people are terrifying, vicious, and horrible. Tom can understand registering for a YouTube account to upload videos, but he can't imagine someone doing it to be able to voice their opinions on Merv Griffin clips. PFT says that you will never see any thoughtful critiques on YouTube, such as, "This started out very promising, but then there were some rocky moments in the middle, by the end I found it finished okay, but I would've like to have seen more people's pants falling down." Tom mentions a comment in which an angry YouTube user gives a big thumbs down to a clip of a cat jumping on a grandfather as he walks down the stairs. PFT says it would be very rare to see YouTube review that reflected on how the clip evoked one's childhood in (Western?) Maine, looking at the sunset through the kitchen window while eating freshly-baked biscuits. People don't write this flowery prose on YouTube. They just post nasty filth. Tom reads some more from the Post:
"I thought something was wrong with my TV, like it was a power outage or something," griped Caroline Todd, 48, in Little Italy. "I've watched it for eight years. I feel like I wasted my time now."
Tom has a few follow-up questions for Caroline. He wants to know what she was doing that was so important. She watched the show for eight years, and now she feels that all the entertainment was negated because it didn't turn out the way she wanted. Tom wants to know what she would have done with the 80 hours if someone gave them back to her. He believes she would have just watched some different show. She would not have changed the world in that timespan. PFT imagines Caroline thinking that she was going to cure leukemia, but then she got hooked on The Sopranos. The article has a quote from the enraged sister of "Vito Spatafore" character actor Joseph Gannascoli. She thought the ending was "deplorable." PFT suspects that she also had a problem with the conclusion to the first season of Celebrity Fit Club. Tom bets that she loved the season when her brother was in 40% of the show. If there was a flashback to Vito in the finale, she would have been fine with it. She would've thought it was classy to have all the dead people return for a curtain call. PFT thinks it's weird that a relative of an actor is dumb.
- Listener T calls (starts at 2:01) from Los Angeles, California, but he won't be able to attend the PFT bash because he's playing poker. Tom tells him that gambling is illegal, but T claims he uses matchsticks in lieu of cash. In that case, he should have ditched the card game and just challenged PFT to a Philly-style matchfight. The UCB-LA will go up in flames just like the Ritz 5! PFT asks T if he's in jail. He's not, but he hopes to be at some point so he can gamble for cigarettes. Tom thinks all his matchstick training will help him survive in the can. Listener T thought The Sopranos finale was brilliant, and he mentions another quote from the Post article where someone decided to abort their plans to purchase the DVD set for the final season because the finale didn't fit their narrow guess on how it would end. Tom thinks they would have purchased two copies of the set if Tony shot four people or committed suicide. It appears that the former fan was hoping for a conclusion more in line with the tidy send-offs for Frasier, Will & Grace, or Six Feet Under. T thinks that the aftermath of The Sopranos finale proves his old saying that "people are an idiot." Tom advises the people who did not like the episode to hang tight for a new ABC program called Cavemen. Tom has seen the pilot, and he's certain that they will have the time of their lives hanging out with the three cavemen as they get into wacky situations. They will not cut to black. PFT says they will resolve everything except the fact that they are cavemen walking around in modern times.
- The Iron Monkey face-toucher calls (starts at 2:05) to say he liked the tactile sensation of Tom's 5 p.m. shadow. Tom says he's crazy because he shaved with a straight-razor right before he arrived. Mike confirms this. Tom doesn't want to talk to this guy anymore, and he's so bummed out that he probably won't go to Comixxxx this weekend. He says that if he does go, he will just raise a ruckus. Paul suggests joining Forrest's act or setting up a booth that offers face touches for a nickel. No girls allowed.
- Tim from Sparks, Nevada, calls (starts at 2:07) to tell PFT that he needs to appear more frequently on Jimmy Pardo's "Never Not Funny" podcast. He also praises Tom's work as a one-man Road House. He listened to it last night and loved it. Tim signs off. In and out. After a lethargic call two weeks ago, Tim redeems himself with complimentary efficiency. PFT thinks they raise 'em right out in Nevada.
Tom checks his e-mail and finds an angry missive from someone who wants to hear a tune from Howard Devoto, the original frontman for the Buzzcocks. He also included a quote from Blue Velvet, giving Tom some insight into his demented mind. PFT would cut him some slack if he's 21 and just saw the film for the first time. Tom doubts this is the case.
- Dave from Cranford calls (starts at 2:10) to discuss Paul Reubens. He's been watching a lot of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and he wanted to get Tom's opinion on the man. Tom says he likes the Pee-Wee Herman character, and this makes Dave really happy. PFT asks the caller if he's Paul Reubens. He says yes, but Tom cuts off his explanation because it wasn't going anywhere. He's Dave from Cranford, not Paul Reubens.
PFT thinks that the Comixxxxxx shows will be a good old-fashioned time if everybody can DIG DEEP inside themselves and remember what it's like to laugh. Tom hopes that the people of Los Angeles do the right thing tonight and line the streets to welcome their comedy hero. He asks PFT if he would consider turning around and not going in if he was met this reception. PFT says he would Run Away from the comedy business. He would be unable to recover from the mortification of seeing his fans in this configuration. Tom tells him that they would be chanting "Paul F. Tompkins! Choo choo choo-choo-choo! The new CD is out! Choo choo choo-choo-choo! A Special Thing dot com! Choo choo choo-choo-choo!" PFT starts to warm to the spectacle, and he thinks one person will try to work up the guts to do this chant based on hearing this conversation. Tom wonders if PFT's shows may become high-energy events instead of just traditional, low-key comedy shows. PFT says he can't think of anything worse. Tom says he'd have to match that energy by spraying silly string at the crowd and then send a quiet joke into this skewed atmosphere.
PFT asks Tom is he remembers a crazy comic named Lenny Schultz. He was a high-energy performer who also used props. He allowed the audience to yell out requests, such as asking for more pigs. He'd then take out some pig toys and do voices and make jokes about them. PFT says that Schultz flourished at a time in the 1970s when comedians didn't really need material. They could just pick things up, make noises at them, and then put them back down. The audience dug it. PFT thinks that Schultz would have been a big star if DVDs existed back then, and if people other than the President and a few oil tycoons had cable television. PFT says that one night, people wouldn't stop yelling at Lenny for more pigs. He eventually had enough, so he fired back with "Stop yelling out 'more pigs', you're preventing me from going crazy!" Tom thinks that tonight is the beginning of PFT's descent into Schultzian madness. It will start with L.A. chanting. PFT will then switch to tear-off suits concealing crazy clothes underneath. He'll begin using silly string and a prop table. The transformation will be complete when he starts yelling at the crowd to stop barking out requests for weird noises. PFT thinks he's entered a mid-1980s episode of The Twilight Zone. Tom says the episode would end with PFT trapped inside four brick walls, but PFT wants the episode to end with him turning into a doll. A female cackles in the background, and PFT is impressed that Tom has a girl live in the studio. He asks Tom if he put a sock on the doorknob. Tom says he used a scrunchy to alert other DJs that he had a companion with him. PFT imagines that Tom could impress this ladyfriend with WFMU's extensive music library. He thinks Tom is a smooth operator who would likely spin some Sade to get things going. Tom says he won't play anything from Ms. Adu's ouevre.
Tom concludes the supersized PFT segment by saying that the lucky coasts will get to see him live this week, while middle America can order his CD from AST. PFT says he looks forward to seeing Tom, aka "little darling." Tom says he looks forward to seeing PFT even more. He got him.
- Tom discusses (starts at 2:31) his revelatory bit of summer movie counter-programming. While the rest of the country was seeing Knocked Up, he opted for Mr. Brooks. He dares to say that the Kevin Costner thriller was the funnier picture. Tom doubts the Apatow-Rogen laffer can match the rarefied air of unintentional hilarity that Mr. Brooks occupies. Tom wants to back up his bold statement by giving listeners a taste of the film's accidental humor.
- Alex in Parsippany calls (starts at 2:32) to ask Tom why he was motivated to see a film starring Costner considering his previous post-apocalyptic abominations like Waterworld and The Postman. Tom says he can listen and find out. Tom thinks Alex should have given him more than 14 seconds to warm up to his analysis of the film, but then he accepts the blame for picking up the phone. He's driving the bus, and he couldn't resist the fool's gold of a flashing line. He apologizes to Alex.
Tom makes a list of the funny things in Mr. Brooks:
1. Costner plays a serial killer known as the "Thumbprint Killer". When he's not executing thrill kills, he runs a box factory.
2. Demi Moore plays a homicide detective. Tom doesn't think many Portland, Oregon-based homicide detectives look like Demi Moore.
3 - 5. A bearded Dane Cook does some Acting in a serious role.
6. William Hurt chews the scenery as Kevin Costner's sadistic conscience. Tom does an impression of Hurt suggesting that Costner revisit a dancer because he definitely wants to kill again. He describes Hurt's character as being like Obi-Wan Kenobi ... of murder.
When Costner's demons resurface after a two-year hiatus, he commits two murders. However, he accidentally leaves the curtains wide open when he fires the shots, so anybody can see him in the act. He returns to Portland's answer to Consolidated Cardboard, and he's greeted by Dane Cook. He slides some photographs to Costner. Is he there to blackmail him? No. Cook tells Costner that he took pictures of him murdering two people, and watching him work was the greatest rush he's ever had. (This is beginning to sound like the Myspace: The Tom Anderson Story.) He wants Costner to teach him how to murder. "I want to murder, too!," Cook says. "Take me on the next murder!" Tom says that's already enough stupidity for one movie, but the Mr. Brooks stupidity machine is just getting warmed up. He's certain that you will burn your hand on it once it overheats like A.J.'s SUV when the catalytic converter hovered over dry leaves.
- Officer Tom calls (starts at 2:38) to find out how Tom would rate Mr. Brooks. Tom says he will give the rating at the end of his rant. OT says the film's biggest flaw appears to be the casting of Demi Moore as a homicide detective. He's been a cop for way too long, and he's never encountered a female cop who looks like her. He says they tend to look more like Flo (Polly Holliday) from Alice. OT thinks some of the better-looking ones might be able to pass for Linda Lavin, but they are few and far between. Since the female cops look like variants of the cast of Alice, Tom wonders if the male cops look like Vic Tayback's Mel. OT says they either look like Mel or Dennis Franz. He's been on the job for 20 years, and he tries to keep things together to avoid falling into the stereotypical look.
OT says he wished he had a recording device when he stopped a Korean guy for a busted headlight. The guy went off on him for the minor ticket. He wanted to call and broadcast the scene live on the air. Tom thinks he should have removed his badge and pistol-whipped the guy. OT says he strives to do an off-the-record smackdown before he retires. Tom says it would be embarrassing if he got beat up and then had to slink back to his cop status. OT says he knows cops who have been beat up by perps, but he tries to keep himself in shape and doesn't underestimate anyone he encounters. He's not looking for fights, but he'll take action when necessary. When other cops have problems with other people, they call OT to clean up their mess. OT wakes up an entire neighborhood with a multiple-sireen salute on the way out.
[Mr. Brooks SPOILERS AHEAD!]
Costner accepts the role as Cook's murder mentor, so they drive around looking for a suitable victim. Costner asks Cook if he wants to murder the jerk in the truck who cut them off. Cook likes that idea, but Costner says tonight is not the right time for his first kill. Cook gets mad because he really wants to murder someone that night. William Hurt appears in the backseat and indicates that Cook is out of control. Tom says that the story is now prepared to enter much dumber territory. Demi Moore is also chasing another murderer He escaped from jail and is now on the loose in Portland with his murderous girlfriend. Moore checks out the apartment where Costner shot up the two people to look for clues. She approaches the curtains and says, "These curtains are closed. They're closed too much, which means they MUST HAVE BEEN OPEN!" Moore then pulls them open, revealing Dane Cook's apartment across the way. Tom thinks this is a gigantic leap of logic. Costner's daughter comes home from college in California because she wants to drop out and work at the box factory. He then figures out that she really wants to leave school because she murdered someone! An anguished Costner announces that she is diseased just like him. She got stuck with the murderer gene. Tom thinks they should do medical tests for that if it's a legitimate thing you can get. When they think that the daughter will be accuses of killing her college classmate, Costner puts on a disguise (think Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider) and retrieves a fake ID from his hidden lockbox. He flies to California and murders someone with a hatchet (his daughter's weapon of choice) to suggest that the real killer is still on the prowl in California.
Tom sums up the roster of killers in the film: Costner is a murderer, Dane Cook is an aspiring murderer, Costner's daughter is a murderer, and there are two more on the loose. Plus, William Hurt embodies the conscience of a murderer. Costner, Cook, and Hurt are in a car in a Rite-Aid parking lot in Portland. Who's parked across from them? You guessed it. The other murderers. Costner recognizes his murdering colleague from somewhere. Tom mentions that Costner has also been spending the bulk of the film hacking into the police computer system at will. Hurt delivers a line of dialogue that suggests this is a fairly routine feat to make it seem more plausible. Mike wants to know if Hurt is hanging on the window like Beetlejuice. He's not. He's just William Hurt sitting in the back. Costner does some research on Demi Moore, and he finds out that the cop who looks like a model is worth $60 million. Her father made a fortune by inventing pop-up ads. The stupid pieces are now all on the table, and they get turned loose on each other for the final reel. Costner and Cook eventually have a square off in a cemetery. Cook is armed with a gun, and they end up killing Demi Moore's soon-to-be ex-husband, who is asking for $5 million, and his lawyer. Tom's not sure why they murder them, but Costner appears to be arranging all the chess pieces for a cinematic checkmate. Dane Cook pulls his gun out after the two men are dead and tells Costner that he is now prepared to murder him. Since Costner owns a graveyard, he tells Cook that he can shoot him, dump him in an open grave, and then cover him up. The next morning, they will drop a casket on top of him, so his family will never know what really happened to him. They go to the graveyard, but Cook's gun won't fire. Costner bent the firing pin! Cook starts doing his standard stand-up gyrations, telling Costner that he can't do stuff like bend firing pins. Tom holds off on being mean to Dane Cook, but he does declare him a whole lotta bad. He says he could feel Cook hemorrhaging fans as he stumbled his way through this role. Costner picks up a shovel and hits Cook on the head.
Meanwhile, Demi Moore is involved in a shootout across town with murderers #5 and #6. Tom estimates that she fired 55 shots from her gun. The story wraps up with everyone thinking that Dane Cook was the "Thumbprint Killer". The films ends with an exciting scene on a rooftop. Kevin Costner calls Demi Moore to ask her why she's still a cop. Tom says it was like that scene in The Silence of the Lambs, except it wasn't good. Tom had to constantly stifle laughter, and he was pleased that some guy provided a release by yelling something out to confirm the movie's lack of quality. Everyone in the theater laughed. Tom says that Mr. Brooks is now the frontrunner for his movie of the year.
- James in upstate NY calls (starts at 2:54) to say that Mr. Brooks is an enjoyable film. He thinks it was more refreshing than other films in the genre because it was impossible to predict how stupid it would be. James felt it was definitely worth the matinee ticket price. Tom says he would see it again, but James didn't find any comedic value in the film. He thought the plot was somewhat plausible, and he thinks Tom is making it sound far more ridiculous than it really is. Tom thinks a murderer convention in Portland is pretty ridiculous. James accuses Tom of having a personal agenda against Kevin Costner. Tom thinks his argument is holding up about as well as his bad phone. He doesn't want any of the refreshments James drinks if he found the film refreshing.
- Alex calls back (starts at 2:55) because he still doesn't understand why Tom would see a film starring Costner and Cook. Tom says that someone told him he had to see it to believe it.
Tom gets another e-mail from Jerry. He wants to know what happened to Felix Pappalardi, a musician and producer best known for his work with Cream. Pappalardi died in 1983. Tom takes some unscreened calls to determine if the show is a W or an L, and the highlight is someone who appears to be MC Steinberg. He says that he's a nerd and he enjoyed the show because it's a nerd show.
Solid W. Number of Ls for The Best Show in 2007 = 0.
Dumped Call(s) of the Week™
Another peak behind the curtain courtesy of Mike the Associate Producer! This week, it's less a dumping and more just general madness:
Mike received three calls from "Jerry," the guy who was pestering Tom via e-mail for "Rainy Season" by Howard Devoto. He also discussed the following topics at length in no particular order: the French Open, The Sopranos (Jerry never watched it), Seinfeld (he said he couldn't watch because it was "too real" -- he preferred "absurd" comedy), Vincent Gallo (he claimed Gallo had contacted him about buying his reel-to-reel deck), and Tom Chapin, Harry Chapin's brother. Jerry claimed that he played tennis with him, and that he was "a f*cking deadhead, but a really nice guy".
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU:: Tom sends Mike the Associate Producer to the Flamingo Diner to pick up some onion rings. Mike has great difficulty trying to parallel park his Lexus. Tom becomes increasingly impatient so he cues up Asia's "Heat of the Moment". A man enters the studio. Tom assumes it's Evan "Funk" Davies, but he looks up to see a mysterious man wearing a Members Only jacket. He walks past Tom and lightly touches his face. Stevie Blue, Captain Jack, and Pete all call at the same time. CUT TO: BLACK.