"Alright, this is the big one. This is the big one. All eyes on you. All eyes on you. All eyes on you tonight, Tom. All eyes. All eyes on you. All eyes on you. All eyes on you. Let's do this! Let's just do it! That's enough!" -- Tom, gearing up for his latest battle v. everyone
"What? February? Whatever. You know how I am with that stuff -- I just go where I'm told." -- Tom, willing to accept that the Presidential election was taking place tonight
"I'm trying to set up, you know, some mystery that will never be solved, nor will it be remembered." -- PFT, explaining his decision not to reveal his take on the Best Caller award
"He looks like an uncaged ape on the sideline that they put a sweatshirt over. Get like a XXXXXL sweatshirt and put it on that monster." -- Tom on the terminally dour, subhuman Bill Belichick
"I look at him as my oxygen and that he lets me know that I can escape. He's my batteries. He's our batteries. It's not just me -- there's other people in the Spike Fan Club." -- Dylan Milford, supporting his personal Gandhi on behalf of the Los Angeles chapter
"I think we're gonna have to break up that batch 'cause I'm starting to want to go home now." -- Tom, looking for something positive after opening with the Saddest/Most Delusional awards
"I'm picturing myself getting robbed. Getting stabbed, arrested, I don't know what. They're all my DVDs, these are not stolen, but still my mind is racing." -- Tom, fontasizing during a harrowing Craigslist drop-off
"I guess it's a fine line with Mike. I think maybe it's domestic cinema that throws him. The Germans he's okay with." -- Best Best Show recapper Omar, contemplating Mike's rejection of the final scene of There Will Be Blood
"He just did what Hal Holbrook is doing for Best Supporting Actor, but for the award Most Pathetic Caller. The judges might have to look at the winner again on that." - Tom on James lobbying for his statuette
"I kinda pretend that I need it, but it's basically for slashing. Slashing and slicing. As you will see. And feel." -- Kip Palfner, renewing his award-winning razor cane threat against Tom
"I don't own a dog. I own dragons. They sound like dogs sometimes when they get very excited, kind of like you when your voice modulates." -- Gene Simmons, explaining the origins of the barking sounds that erupted during his call
Drive-By Truckers - "The Righteous Path"
( Click here to buy Brighter Than Creation's Dark)
King Khan & The Shrines - "Welfare Bread"
( Click here to buy What Is?!)
Warm Gun - "Broken Windows"
( Click here to grab the rest of this EP)
Mangapop - "Nowhere"
( Click here to buy the Kiss My Mouth single)
Bob Mould - "Who Needs To Dream?"
( Click here to buy District Line)
Black Mountain - "Angels"
( Click here to buy In The Future Deluxe Edition)
Magnetic Fields - "Drive On, Driver"
( Click here to buy Distortion)
Altered Images - "Happy Birthday"
( Click here to buy I Could Be Happy: The Best of Altered Images)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
Happy Birthday to Tom Scharpling! 21 Years Young on Feb. 9th! (and Bday wishes to the jam-eating, shirt-bootlegging Samir!)
This is the big one. All eyes on Tom. Tonight may be the most exciting show ever for two reasons:
1. The catchily-named, first annual The Best Show on WFMU Best Show on WFMU Awards
2. The crowning of a new President of the United States
Tom is very curious to see who it will be. He went online to figure out how to vote, but he couldn't locate the proper polling website. Tom suspects it had something to do with the Internet cookies in his machine. He hopes the listeners were more successful in performing their civic duty. Tom discovers that "Super Tuesday" does not mean that a new President will be elected tonight. Instead, 24 states are holding primaries or caucuses to help determine the eventual nominee from each major party for the general election in November. Tom did find it a bit odd that the vote was happening in early February, but he went along with it. He goes where he's told when it comes to politics. Let's hope he figures this stuff out by the time the July Mayubernatorial election is held.
Tom gets the awards extravagonza started with a call from Paul F.
Thompson Tompkins, a professional comedian based in Hollywood, CA. Apparently real-life comedian Spike was unable to craft six goofball jokes for the opening monologue. PFT, an able fill-in, says it's delightful to join Tom on this very exciting evening. The anticipation has been high for awhile (approx. one week), and the presumably-besuited PFT is sure that people honored Tom's requested for formal attire. He, and everyone else, is looking forward to either winning or hearing about awards. Tom imagines that plenty of people are sitting on the edge of their seats, or, in some cases, orange crates. PFT agrees with everything Tom said except for the word "some." He thinks "most cases" is a more accurate assessment of the prevalence of this makeshift furniture. Tom estimates a 60/40 crate/seat split. PFT commends him for his trademark generosity. Tom reconsiders some of the nominees for tonight's less prestigious awards and amends the breakdown to 80/20. PFT asks Tom how many people are listening to the show illegally, even though it's widely available for free. Tom believes 82% of his audience is listening via stolen Wi-Fi signals, stolen radio devices, or in the comfort of someone else's home. PFT thinks this crime rate is quite high. Tom spins it as proof that this awards show is for the slobs, not some some snootfest like the Nobel Peace Prize. PFT appears to embrace the non-elitist approach, wondering who those Nobel eggheads think they are.
He asks Tom what he's wearing on such a momentous occasion. Tom stuck with his usual garb: rock t-shirt (wonder if it was the R.E.M. shirt that inspired the Hammerhead reprimand at that 1983 NBHC show), cut-offs, and a trenchcoat. Tom quickly remembers that he is not Kevin Smith. He compares the notion of having this evil twin to something out of The Three, Donald Kaufman's "psychologically taut" (per Kaufman's mother) 2002 thriller. PFT mentions that during recent TiVo viewings of Adaptation., he fast-forwarded past the Meryl Streep-Chris Cooper scenes. He watches half of it, and it all works out just fine. Tom says he will try this adaptation.
PFT's comedy fame includes hosting "The Paul F. Tompkins Show" each month at Largo, a Los Angeles nightclub. PFT skipped over Black History Month due to February's brevity, but he will return on March 1st to kick off Women's History Month. Tom hopes that PFT will acknowledge the celebration during his show. PFT says he will institute a special "Ladies Night" with half-price well drinks for the first hour. If ladies pay with Susan B. Anthony dollars, they will also get half off the admission. Tom urges L.A.-area females to dig around the bottom of their coin jars to take advantage of this great deal. PFT says that if they can find five SBA dollars, they will get in for $5. Tom has had enough of the banter with the panel. It's time for the awards. He runs down the categories for PFT:
- Rookie of the Year
- Most Delusional Caller
- Saddest Caller
- Best Best Show Recapper
- Best Guest
- Worst Caller
- Best GOMP
- Best/Most Violent Threat (to Tom)
- Best Caller
Tom will present himself with the long overdue Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn Award for Lifetime Achievement in Humor. He initially refused the award because he wanted to remain in active competition and win the lovely bugger outright. However, he changed his mind after realizing that it was a great honor to bestow upon yourself. Tom and PFT discuss the speech Hal Holbrook would give if he won an improbable Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work as Father Malone in John Carpenter's The Fog. In addition to his director, he would thank co-star Adrienne Barbeau and special-effects artists Rob Bottin and Tom Savini for creating the ghoul pirates. PFT adds Keith David to Holbrook's list in a JC universe mix-up -- David appeared in They Live. The speech would take an incendiary political turn with a plea for more genocide in Darfur. Holbrook would spare himself the indignity of an inevitably harsh backlash by falling asleep and dying on stage amidst a chorus of boos. In advance of the ceremony, he used some of his Mark Twain Tonight cash to purchase a fog machine that a stagehand will crank up for his big death scene. PFT has a follow-up to Tom's question about the origins of the "Oh, hello ..." introduction for one-person theatrical shows. His friend traces it to a one-woman Emily Dickinson show in which the poet notices the audience when she looks up from reading a book. PFT is amazed that Holbrook's still-running Twain show premiered on Broadway back in the 1960s, and Tom notes that Twain died 30 years younger than Holbrook is now.
PFT says that Tom is deserving of the Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn Award because he has made us laugh, think, and angry about important things like movies. Tom says that Human Giant directore Jason Woliner primed the pump by sending him a Juno screenplay from Amazon. Mr. Woliner won't let it rest, and PFT proposes a Most Stick-Poking/Bear-Baiting category based on his skewed version of gift-giving. He congratulates all of the Best Show nominees, including those who would not have been recognized unless they were high, afraid to talk to women, or both. Tom thinks these people will be very excited to hear their names called out on the radio after that tribute. PFT clarifies that he was just pointing out that those attributes have finally paid off for some listeners. 2008 is all about lemonade. It's time for the first award of the evening.
Winner: Hesh / Accepted by Mike the Associate Producer
"I don't have any friends. Come on! I'm Hesh! I'm like a 4' 5" midget doing a dance thing or whatever." -- Hesh on his Heshiness, 7/17/07
Mike is not surprised that Hesh's classic flameout took the prize. PFT refers to the winning clip as "chilling." He remembers hearing the sad call on the original broadcast and finds it much more brutal in isolation. Tom agrees that it was pretty depressing. PFT wishes he could listen to the rest of the broadcast, but he must get ready for a match fight with the cast of In Treatment. He says all the nominees are winners and losers in his book. Watch the skies!
Legend has it that the RMS Titanic sunk after striking an iceberg during its maiden voyage, but Tom knows the truth: hubris downed that ill-fated vessel. He witnessed a similarly spectacular collision last Sunday night when the New York football Giants vanquished the previously-unbeaten New England Patriots in the best Super Bowl eva. Tom says he was delighted by this tantalizing reversal of fate. In a nutshell, the Good Guys won and the cheaters were humiliated in front of the entire world. He thinks the Patriots would have been better off losing a regular season game in October or November instead of the championship game in February, rendering their season a bust and ending their quest for perfection on the biggest stage. Tom is very critical of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, a skilled but polarizing figure known for his humorless, grunt-laden press conferences, casual gameday attire, and collection of surveillance equipment. He says the pathetic, troll-like monster looked like an uncaged ape with a XXXXXL sweatshirt draped over him as he prowled the sidelines. Tom is glad he lost because he didn't want to see this grump do his happy routine and finally crack a smile after a season-long depression. The bottom line: You lost, you're out, stay sad!
Tom has no sympathy for the moaning Patriots fans who were far from humble when their supposed greatest team ever was steamrolling the competition. He points out that they are just mad about getting scorched when everybody was watching. Tom wishes that the rest of the world worked as effectively and karmically as the justice doled out two nights ago on the gridiron. He then makes himself laugh by suggesting that half of the Patriots thought they were playing in the Puppy Bowl. Tom says he was shocked that the canine competition has progressed to the point where a participant was tossed for roughhousing. After issuing a second warning for jumping all over the place, Cliff Givens blew his whistle and ejected an overly aggressive Morkie named Tucker. Tom later claims the NYG trophy on behalf of New Jersey because they play their home games at the Meadowlands.
- A caller asks Tom if he's on the air at WFMU. Tom confirms that he is on the air. The caller asks Tom if he just said that he was on the air at WFMU, and then he asked Tom if he was on the air at WFMU. Tom reconfirms that he is on the air. The caller apologizes for asking if he was on the air after Tom told him he was on the air. He feels bad that he wasted time at the start of the call. Tom tells him that he will just move forward because the call is in fact being broadcast over the WFMU airwaves.
The caller identifies himself as Dylan Milford, the President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Spike Fan Club. He says that while they are small in number, they are big in spirit when it comes to their fandom. Dylan wishes multiple-nominee Spike the best on behalf of his L.A. supporters. He relays the club's hopes that Spike gets the awards tonight that they're hoping he gets. Dylan says they are all figuratively poised behind Spike like a million motorcycles. Since there are not a million members in the club, some motorcycles would be left unattended at this rally. Dylan says they will simply each sit on a motorcycle and start revving it to honor their hero. He abruptly changes the subject to the cubed potatoes in Dinty Moore® beef stew. Dylan wonders what the company does with the leftover parts of the potatoes that don't make the final cut of their flagship entree. He thinks Dinty Moore should market these "throwaway potatoes" (w/ sauce) in a different can at a lower retail price. He says he just got this idea and decided to say it on the air. Tom's intrigued, but he doesn't think the regular beef stew is particularly expensive. Dylan cedes victory to Tom on this point. However, he asks Tom to think about how this new alternative would further reduce the already attractive price of the beef stew, which he does enjoy in its existing composition. Tom is not sure how this potato rescue mission ties back to wishing Spike the best of luck on tonight's show.
Dylan says that Spike gives his fans the confidence to embrace their ideas and see where they lead. He views Spike as his oxygen, someone who lets him know that he can escape to a better place. Dylan says Spike is the batteries that allow him and the other fan club members to function. Tom has a difficult time picturing Spike as a lifeforce or escape route for anyone. Dylan compares Spike's disciples to the tiny group of people who found inspiration in Gandhi's message of nonviolent resistance. He admits to not seeing the Sexy Beast guy movie about him, but he thinks the spiritual leader only had 20 followers. He believes that Spike is further proof that a small group of people can band together to do a very small thing. Dylan wants to know what Spike is going to be rewarded, so Tom decides to give out the award for Most Delusional Caller. Per Dylan's request, he changes the category name to reflect that it is his opinion. Dylan takes a moment to tell the listeners that he is lodging his phone between his jaw and right-shoulder so he can cross his fingers for a Spike victory.
Most Delusional Caller (in Tom's Opinion)
Clark ("Venison Stew" podcaster)
Stevie Blue (Martina McBride enthusiast)
Spike (Queens dominatrix)
Paul from Tennessee (Wealthy law student/world traveler)
Winner: Clark / Accepted by Mike the Associate Producer
Clark out in Union returns to the WFMU airwaves after an extended hiatus. He was flipping around the Internet radio dial and landed on Tom's air hockey riff. Clark says it gave him a rush of nostalgia, but he really called to offer some poetic justice. After a few starts and stops, Clark launches into a seemingly Bob-inspired take on anorexic female celebrities getting busted for drunk driving. He mentions that one of these troubled starlets was charged with a second DUI, but only spent three hours in jail. Clark says he's not sure if it was Lindsay Lohan because he doesn't keep up with that "Hollywood crap." Hello! Get ready. Here it comes. He thinks a judge should sentence these might-be-Lohans to serve the community by driving around with Ted Kennedy. Tom really enjoys this brand of comedic justice. Clark is confident that this dangerous assignment will cure 'em! He's done it again, and Tom hopes he keeps calling. Ew buoy. (9/11/07)
Dylan, apparently not too upset with the unfavorable result, informs Tom that he's in a restroom filled with a collection of carved soaps. He's particularly taken with a moon-shaped soap and conjures an astronaut-werewolf who may or may not obtain superman powers by walking on a lunar surface. Dylan compares this scenario to the energy surge he would receive by standing atop Spike. He thinks Spike would respect his honesty in acknowledging that Clark dipped deeper into the delusional well for the winning call. Dylan politely asks to be excused from the telephone because he forget to peel back the plastic on the dessert portion of his frozen dinner. The oversight created a pressure bubble that caused the chocolate on the top of the brownie to leak into the green beans compartment. Tom understands the urgency of this culinary infiltration and assures Dylan that Spike appreciates his support. Dylan signs off by declaring The Best Show on WFMU #1.
Best GOMPs, Part 1
1. Trifecta from Hypnotherapist Brian:
Brian announces that he's been holding. Tom GOMPs (1) him, and Mike erupts in hearty laughter. Tom points out that he's not running a party line where multiple callers go on the air simultaneously. Mike says the caller wanted to complain about his guidance counselor. Tom thinks he should get over it, although he'd love to rub his loser guidance counselor's face in his success. Evan "Funk" Davies says he never had any guidance. Tom's heard tale of people getting rid of their hi-fi television systems and towns abandoning libraries because the WFMU Power Tuesday lineup is all the entertainment they require. Brian calls back to inform Tom that he hung up on him because he said he'd been on hold. Tom does it again (2). He doesn't like Brian's telephone tough guy tone. He's breaking him down to build him back up.
Brian returns to the fold after learning his lesson. He says that his guidance counselor told him that he'd never live up to his potential. It haunted him for his entire life, but now he feels wonderful about being a hypnotist. Tom asks Brian if he does a carnival/night club act where he gets people to think they're chickens. Brian says he practices hypnotherapy to help people. Now Tom gets it: he's a fraud. He also wonders how Brian can be a hypnotist without a German accent. Brian says he's German, and he turns the accent on for showtime. Tom wants to know what kind of old-fashioned watch he waves in front of people's faces, but Brian says he just talks to them without using a timepiece. Tom asks Brian to take out his watch fob and perform a 60-second hypnotism. Brian obliges him. He asks Tom to close his eyes and focus on his voice. He tells Tom to relax and focus on the space he's in. Tom's deep breathing yields heavy eyelids. He's peaceful as he slips under the spell of his master. Brian instructs Tom to open his eyes, and Tom starts clucking like a chicken. It appears to have worked, but Brian doesn't seemed pleased with the results. He tells Tom that he'll feel like a duck in a moment. Tom starts aggressively quacking on cue. Brian starts the countdown to bring Tom back: 1-2-3-GOMP! (3!) Tom feared that he'd be instructed to rob a bank. Brian is no Gregor McWilliams, that's for sure. (2/20/07)
2. Mr. Grindhouse:
A caller expresses (starts at 2:26) disbelief at Tom's failure to enjoy Griiiindhouse, especially Planet Terror. He thought RR's effort was a hilarious laff riot. Despite not drinking until after the screening, he and his friend hooted and hollered for its entire running time. Tom tells the caller that he is completely wrong. The caller wants Tom to back up his argument with some content. Tom says that RR pulled out all the stops to make the worst movie he could. The caller embraces this approach, suggesting that it was an effective send-up of the horror genre. He wants to view the film again so he can takes notes. Tom wishes him good luck in finding it. Tom starts to make a Best Show analogy, but he pauses to GOMP the caller for daring to compare him to the wit of quip-happy Robert Benchley instead of a legit funnyman. Tom says that Griiiindhouse would be like him climbing down from the Everest-like heights of The Best Show to pay tribute to the crazed guy in the dunk tank cage because he thought that was funny when he was nine years old. Tom would throw out everything he's ever learned about anything just so he could replicate his childhood hero, who, in retrospect, was terrible. Tom will no do this. (4/17/07).
3. Redeeming Rainbow:
Dan McNamara calls to say the worst thing to be attached to in the bayou is a talking rainbow from the sky because they tend to be incredibly annoying. Tom gives Dan the go-ahead to promote his website, but Dan says PBS is handling the marketing campaign for Redeeming Rainbow. He thinks it's stupid, and Tom agrees. He GOMPs him because he's not going to spend more time talking about something that its co-creator admits is stupid. Tom is here to do work. (7/17/07)
Over the past weekend Tom found a buyer for about 75 used DVDs via the popular online classified site Craigslist. The guy expressed interest in an eclectic collection that included the OOP R2 President Baseball (Alda/Fraser audio commentary, deleted Marg Helgenberger scenes), Labyrinth, and the 1963-1964 CBS Evening News 288-disc DVD box set, and they settled on a price that made both parties happy. When the guy asked for an address to pick up the stash, Tom realized that he forgot about an important and troubling part of the equation: the meet-up. He quickly scrambled to concoct a fib about something going on at his house, so they arranged to complete the transaction in the parking lot of a local shopping mall. As soon as Tom arrived on the scene he felt like a lowlife who was about to do something illegal.
Tom says the buyer described himself as a "good-lookin' white dude" wearing a brown bomber jacket and driving a green Jeep. Based on this information, Tom set out to find Dean Cain or George Clooney. However, he eventually discovered that the guy was actually the epitome of the average American male, a taller version of portly composer Paul Williams with a beard. Good-lookin' white dude! Tom pulled up alongside him, and he got in Tom's front passenger seat. As Tom sat across from his customer he realized that throwing the DVDs in the river would have been a much easier solution. He began imagining a series of nightmare scenarios where he is robbed at gun/knifepoint or arrested for attempting to sell stolen merchandise. As Tom's mind raced he nervously circled the parking lot with the guy now sorting through the boxes in the back seat. He was concerned about this arrangement because it made it easier for the guy to make a surprise knife attack to his throat. Tom pulled into a spot, creating the illusion of a suspicious drug deal: one guy in front and one guy rifling through stuff in the back.
The guy inspected the DVDs and started with the shenanigans to bargain Tom down from $300 to $275 because of how far he had to drive. Tom granted him the mileage discount to get him out of his car, but he only had $250 in cash. Tom refused to budge and sent him to the ATM in the mall. Since the guy gave him the money before he went inside, Tom realizes that he has almost all of the final sale price, all of the DVDs, and he's in a car. The guy only knows his name is Tom. Things done changed. But not really because the guy wasn't actually the violent crook of Tom's fontasies. The guy returned with the money and got back in the front seat for a ride to his Jeep. Tom wonders if these tense encounters are really what Craigslist is all about. He already regrets putting an ad for a lot of books on the site because he's been dealing with his potential murderer. The guy wants to see the books before making any offer, and the last thing Tom wants to see is this guy anywhere near his house. He has no desire to meet him in a parking lot and get a measly $15 offer. Tom fears he may not be here next week because he got barged down the Hudson for trying to unload freebie mysteries.
Best Best Show Recapper
EXT. PLANET - DAY
SUBTITLE: THE EARTH
From space the Earth is fudge-colored and meteor-scarred. We move in until we are on its endlessly barren and lifeless surface. The atmosphere is hazy, toxic-looking. Volcanoes erupt. Meteors bombard. Lightning strikes, concussing murky pools of water. All this in silence.
INT. RECAPPING LAIR - EVENING
SUBTITLE: SOUTH EASTBRIDGE, NJ, FOUR BILLION AND FORTY YEARS LATER
A hot fire roars in a spacious library. Tattered copies of The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal and Five Steps to Happiness: Incorporating Personal Values into the Workplace mingle with back issues of Sweatpants Collector and Grandpa Maurice's Creepy Bedtime Stories. They are splayed next to empty tubes of Blue and a powdered Herman Ze German LP. The Shout! Network's Criss On ... flickers in the background. The former Kiss drummer is discussing the making of Let Me Rock You with Steve Stevens. Omar, a fat, balding man wearing a leopard-print smoking jacket commissioned from Project Runway's Chris March, gets up from his desk and paces the room. His voice-over carpets this and every scene he's in. It is at times barely audible, but always present and soothing.
I should win this, right? I don't know. I am fat. I am bald. But, alas, I am the only nominee. I mean, Andy recapped that one show, but I've recapped a lot of shows. I am fat, but am I as fat as I think? My pastor says no, but people lie. I know others compare my girth to Zachary Brimstead behind my back. Or claim to be able to hear my jiggling fat rolls, or call me, facetiously, Slim. But --
Omar snaps to attention at the sounds coming from his computer speakers. He knocks over his sniffer of Kernvoisier.
... come on, Omar, do the right thing. Call up and get your award, you don't want Mike gettin' it. Although since he never called, anyone could call right now and go, "Yeah, it's me, Omah, let me on ..."
Ha. I did it again. I did it again. I did it again. I did it again. Actually, this is the first awards show so I guess I just did it. If I win next year, I can say that I did it again and it will be accurate. Maybe this will give me the clout to finally convince Penguin to publish a bound volume of the recaps. Tom said I should call. Should I do my Dave from Knoxville impression? Hmmm. It's pretty good. Nah, I'll save it. Ok, get ready!
Todd thanks masterofsparks (Awards Show Executive Producer), Dorvid, the aforementioned Omar, crimestick, and everyone else on the FOT board for helping out with the awards show.
- Omar calls to accept his award, but Tom isn't sure it's really the renowned recapper. Omar laughs at his skepticism, and Tom is now convinced it's him. The telltale laugh got him. Omar thanks Tom for the award, noting that he managed to pull through despite some intense competition. Tom suggests that Omar drove off potential challengers not unlike intimidating oil baron Daniel Plainview buying up California ranches in Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood. Omar says he uses Plainview's drainage technique to rid the recap pipeline of the false prophets, bastards in baskets, and afterbirths. He also has some bowling pins in case anyone attempts to invade his rich terrain.
Tom says that Mike doesn't like the polarizing final scene of TWWB, and Omar thinks it would be right up his alley. Tom also expected Mike to be delighted by the hilarious climax of the somewhat depressing tale. Omar concludes that PTA took things a bit too far and crossed Mike's fine cinematic line. Tom isn't entirely sure where the limits reside on Mike's comedy spectrum, which includes love for peculiar "comedies" like Strotesick and Lukas Moodysson's Together. Omar diagnoses Mike as having a problem with domestic cinema while fully embracing the work of the European filmmakers. Tom agrees that Mike does not appear to like Americans. He asks Omar if there is anyone he would like to thank as part of his acceptance speech. Omar gives deserved props to Internet legend x amount, the proprietor of Recidivism, the host site for The Best Show recaps. He also commends the FOT who have endured his 10,000-word ruminations on the program. Tom agrees with everything except the notion that the recaps are an endurance test. He knows it is a privilege to get access to the recaps, which have become their own show. Omar laughs in appreciation of these kind words. Tom asks Omar, who is making his on-air debut, why this appearance is such a rarity. Omar explains that he wants to maintain a sense of mystery. Tom thinks this approach is part of Omar's attempt to be the recapping version of Cormac McCartney, the reclusive author of No Country for Old Men.
While he's reluctant to mention it on the air, Tom reveals that during a recent Internet goof-off session he noticed some enticing, unclaimed domain names: No Country for Older Men and No Country for Young Men. Tom is prepared to snap these up to capitalize on an eventual sequel or prequel. He fears that some young entrepreneur will beat him to it. Omar urges him to get on it, and Tom tells listeners to stay out of his domains. Tom is also considering buying There Will Be Blood 2. Omar thinks a sequel is likely, and Tom would pick up the story in the 1980s a la Boooogie Nights, which may actually be the sequel. Omar claims there are parallels between Plainview and the young pornographic thesp Dirk Diggler. Tom wonders if PTA operates within an interconnected Ghoulardiverse like Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse. Omar says Luis Guzman would anchor this fictional world. Tom reminds him that Guzman did not appear in TWBB.
Tom takes the opportunity to honor Omar as a highlight of The Best Show and one of the few reasons he keeps doing it. He says the reasons continue to fall off the list like leaves in the autumn, but Omar is an evergreen. Omar thanks Tom for the foliage analogy.
Best GOMPs, Part 2
Clark estimates his listenership at less than 100. Tom's shocked at the low number, and he finally figures out what Clark's been up to tonight. He saw The Best Show as an opportunity to drive new listeners to "Venison Stew". Clark denies using Tom to push his program, citing his refusal to give the website. He wishes everyone good luck in trying to find it using Google due to the countless results for venison stew recipes. Clark says the show's name is based on his screen name of "venison88". Tom's had enough of the self-promotion and starts to feel the competitive heat, so he bans Clark for one year. Clark claims the fallacy of Internet radio is that people actually know it exists. It's too late. He starts crying, and Tom GOMPs him. Tom's been down this road before, and he doesn't want Clark showing up at the studio with a microphone and a cooler. Every time The Kid entertains an apparent psycho, they hurt him. Look for Clark to return in 2008!
5. Crypto-racist Stan from Staten Island:
Stan from Staten Island calls (start at 1:19) to run through some of his personal bio: he's a substitute history teacher who likes reading books and eating pizza. He thinks the best pizza on Staten Island is at one of the 457 Ray's locations. He doesn't really like to eat on Hylan Boulevard because it lacks the intimate atmosphere he needs to properly enjoy his pizza consumption. He wants Moslems dial it down a notch because they don't seem to realize that it's
20062007. Stan doesn't support their boycott of Northwest Airlines for their racial profiling policies. He also thinks that they should get over the fact that Saddam Hussein was killed at the time of the Eid ul-Adha religious festival and just be glad the sweet tyrant is finally toppled. Tom loses sight of Stan's point, so his move is to take out his red pen for some markup:
Could be shorter.
Tighten it up!
What's the point?
GET OFF MY FONE!
No gold star for this racist boy. (1/16/07)
6. A concerned Sean:
Tom returns after a three-week hiatus caused by the excruciating paingaea, surgical removal, and post-surgery complications of a not-so-rolling kidney stone. He's beat up, his voice is very weak, and he admits to only being at about 70% of his full power. Tom thanks all the well-wishers who sent him messages, prayers, and good vibes for a speedy recovery. I know that Rev. Ken Miller held a special service at Newbridge Episcopalian in Tom's honor, and Darren got a bunch of Consolidated Cardboard co-workers to chip in for a skywriter to emit "GET WELL SOON" above Newbridge Commons. Werner also left Tom a generous care package containing some "medicine" and "candy" under his pillow. Tom decides to ease his way back to the show with some open phones.
Sean expresses concern that Tom made a premature return from his three-week tummy ache ordeal. He thinks his health is more important than the radio show.
GOMP! Gonna tell Tom he's not ready to come back yet! Ha ha! Tom was faking it using the feeble sick voice of his youth! He was knocked down, but now he's standing up. You can't stop him. You can't top or stop The Best Show. Tommy Tornado is out of the hospital and ready to spin his magic. (4/17/07)
- That creep James calls to complain that he put on his tuxedo for nothing. He believes that Tom is intentionally depriving him of the titles he earned by James-ing the program in 2007. Tom wants to know how things are going at the frat house, but James claims he lives in a nice apartment. He demands his Best Show awards. James then announces the results of his non-broadcasted The James Awards:
Worst Host: Tom Scharpling
Worst Caller: Dave from Knoxville
Worst Face: Tom Scharpling
Worst Toupée: James
Tom saw this weird little hairpiece ("as sad as it gets") at the WFMU Record Fair last November, and he asks James if he got it at a trap shop. James wants to know why Tom is so mean. He says he will settle for one award tonight. Tom says there are still some chances to avoid a shutout. He thinks James may have just locked down Most Pathetic Caller by pulling a Holbrook to lobby for it. The judges may have to reconsider their votes in this category.
Best/Most Violent Threat
Timmy von Trimble (10/16/07)
Futhermore, TvT's first act as may-ore would be to put Tom through a "stomping machine." Tom laments that another candidate has announced that their first act involves violence against him. Last week Tank told voters that he planned to crush Tom's head between his robust calves in public upon taking office. TvT is disappointed because he thought he was going to be the first person to politicize Tom's death. He explains that Tom will have to walk on his hands and knees through a mile-long gauntlet lined with all of the townspeople. As he crawls along this trail, each member of the angry mob will take turns stomping him with their boots. TvT revises his first act to distributing boots to everyone except Tom. Tom wants to hear about more of the unlucky citizens who will not benefit from a TvT administration. TvT defines them with the blanket term "The Others", and Tom calls him a gross racist. TvT vows to stomp Tom, advising him to get ready to meet his little, teeny, tiny boots. He giggles, warns Tom that stompin' is afoot, and hangs up. Tom is leaning towards supporting Mike because he's the only candidate who hasn't threatened his life.
Brock Peuchk (1/16/07)
Brock thinks Tom should look out because Ray Ray just told him what would happen next. Ray Ray is the guy in the ski mask. He said there's a DJ who's being stalked by a creepy guy in a ski mask, and the creepy guy won't ever stop until he skins the DJ. Ray Ray is sort of there with Brock now. Brock sees him in the bathroom mirror. Tom tells Brock to put his hand up to his face. It doesn't feel like he's touching his face, but it looks like it in the mirrow. He sees one hand touching a ski mask, while the other hand holds the phone ... and a knife. Tom wonders why these guys find him. Brock explains it to the tune of "Let's Go" (including handclaps): the guys like the night life, baby, and she says, "You die."
Kip Palfner (2/6/07)
Kip tells Tom that if he embarrasses him like this on live television, he will rip out his "razor cane". Kip uses this "razor cane" to discipline his students, and he intends to do the same to Tom, if necessary. If Tom gets a question wrong on ToT, he will slap Tom's bare bottom with the cane. Tom says he would punch Kip in the face if pulled such a move. If Tom throws a punch, Kip will flick the cane to reveal its blade and slash Tom in the face. Tom asks Kip if he's a supervillain. Kip confirms the "super" part, but he'll let The Lord determine if he's a villain. Tom doesn't like the prospects of being slashed in the face with a razor cane. Kip thinks Tom could do worse than that fate. For example, Kip wants Tom to meet him at the loading dock at 4 a.m. for Bible trivia. Tom predicts an easy Kip victory on this topic. Kip vows to force Tom to eat the Bible. The consumption will not be oral. Tom thinks it sounds horrible. Kip loves it, but he abruptly hangs up because his mother is coming.
The Gorch (5/29/07)
An older man who sounds a lot like Roland "The Gorch" Gorchnik calls to tell Tom to get ready. He's coming. Tom's not entirely sure who it is, and the caller says he will find out sooner that he would like. He left York, Pennsylvania on a Rascal scooter to come get Tom four years ago, and he was last heard from on 8/31/04 in Memphis, where he was teaming up with Skag Winesack. It appears that The Gorch may finally make good on his threats.
Gene Simmons (11/13/07)
Gene tells Tom he can take that threat to the bank, but not his bank because they would laugh him out the door. He confirms that his financial institution does not welcome riff-raff, an undesirable lower class of people that counts Tom as a member. Gene also follows the lead of many other mayubernatorial candidates by proposing to usher in his term with violent acts against Tom. He says that Tom will be the first person to suffer the wrath of his signature Gene Simmons axe bass. Gene mentions that a small number of autographed instruments are still available for purchase at www.genesimmons.net. Tom's glad he was able to squeeze in a merch plug. Gene tells Tom to get ready because
headshis head will roll. He's giddy at the prospects of his inaugural decapitation.
Winner: Kip Palfner
- Kip calls to thank Tom for the award and vow to absolutely renew the winning threat. He believes Tom earned and deserves to be slashed by the razor cane, which is at Kip's side right now. He doesn't require a cane as a walking aid, but he's adopted it as an affectation with two more important functions: slashing and slicing. He tells Tom that he will soon see and feel the effects of the cane. Tom takes this new threat as confirmation that the previous threat is still active and awaiting follow-through. Kip says it's coming, and until then he quizzes Tom:
Q. Theodore Roosevelt. In what year was he awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Tom's answer: 1918.
Kip thinks the response must be a joke. Tom admits that he's bad with that historical stuff. Roosevelt took the prize in 1906.
Margaret Hamilton wields her razor broom in The Wizard of Oz
He asks Tom if he can hear the sound of him sharpening something. It's the razor cane. Kip is also greasing the activated springs that shoot out the razor. He tells Tom he will soon get a firsthand peak at the mechanics of the weapon. Tom wants to know what he did to deserve slashings other than misfire on some trivia questions. Kip says that he disrespected the craft of trivia in general, as well as Trivius, the reigning God of Trivia. Tom doesn't know what to tell Kip, but Kip knows what to tell Tom. He recommends purchasing a lot of gauze pads because he's coming for him. Kip refuses to reveal the exact time or location of the pending attack, but it may take place tomorrow at Consolidated Cardboard when Tom comes down to the loading dock for a smoke break. Tom says bring it on. Kip has one more trivia test:
Q. Who is Margaret Corbin?
Tom asks Kip if Corbin was in The Wizard of Oz? He was obviously thinking of Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 musical fontasy. Kip is so horrified by the incorrect answer that he directs call screener
Keith Mike to slap Tom in the face. Mike informs Tom that he also can't identify Corbin. Kip says that in 1779 Margaret Corbin became the first woman to be awarded a disability pension by Congress. He begins sharpening the razor again and hangs up. Tom's not entirely sure if it's appropriate to congratulate someone like this. I suggest that Tom head over to Drugboro to get those gauze pads just in case.
- A caller takes umbrage to the winner of the last little contest. Tom doesn't know who it is. The caller, who says he was an entrant in the category, is shocked that Tom doesn't recognize his voice. Tom now realizes that he's talking to bassist/entrepreneur Gene Simmons. Gene wants Tom to say his name again with his full title. Tom opts for "The Loser of the Last Award." Gene informs Tom that he just inadvertently opened the most painful can of worms. He reminds Tom that he is forbidden to talk to him like that because he talks to Tom like that. He asks Tom if he has $1 million in his wallet. Tom does not. Gene doesn't, either. He has $3 million -- a $2.3 million check from various merchandising deals and $700,000 in petty cash. Gene uses the latter stash to buy whatever strikes his foncy when he goes shopping, including the shop itself. He says the business acquisition is more appealing if there's a pretty woman behind the counter. Gene explains that he just implied that he would make love to that female employee. He wasn't sure if Tom picked up on that because he's still in high school. Tom tells Gene that he's not a student. He doesn't understand why so many people mistake WFMU for a high school radio station. Gene says it sounds like one, and he also accuses Tom of running his voice through a modulator like he did on "God of Thunder." Gene recites some lyrics penned by Paul Stanley:
You've got something about you
You've got something I need
Tom can't place them. Gene is surprised that someone operating a radio station doesn't know the opening lines of "God of Thunder" by the rock band Kiss. Tom says he knows the song, but he doesn't know it as spoken lyrics. Gene gives him two more: "Daughter of Aphrodite/Hear my words and take heed." Tom says he didn't realize that Gene's lyrics could be so poetic. Gene tells Tom to get the thing out of his ears because he already told him that Paul wrote those words. He wishes he wrote them.
Gene is a little disappointed that his axe bass threat didn't top all the other nominees. He plans to split Palfner's prized razor cane in half with his axe bass. Tom sees this as the opening move of some kind of Best Show villain war, but Gene believes he's superhero. He asks Tom if he caught his heroics on The Celebrity Apprentice. Tom says he saw him get voted off. Gene declines to breach the backstory surrounding his third-week dismissal, but he claims he was forced to bow out to keep some prior commitments. He believes he made his mark in his limited time on the show. Tom says he stopped watching as soon as he was fired. Gene suggests that Tom abandoned the post-Gene episodes because he loves (not in a creepy way) and worships him. Tom denies it, but Gene detects a quiver of reverence in Tom's voice. Tom hears what appears to be a barking dog in the background. Gene says it was one of his Kimono dragons. Tom is not buying it. He tells Gene that it's fine to own a dog. Gene says that he owns dragons that sounds like dogs when they get excited, kind of like when Tom's voice modulates.
Gene offers to buy the award by signing over the check in his wallet. Tom immediately accepts the lucrative deal and transfers ownership of the Best/Most Violent Threat honor. Gene tells Tom to say it more slowly so he can drink in the words. Tom announces that contingent on a $2.3 million payday, the winner of the award is now Gene Simmons, the God of Thunder. Gene loves it and breathes it in. He is also impressed that Tom used a big word like "contingent." Gene says he has to go because his dragons are going nuts. He promises that a head will roll, and Tom correctly assumes it is his head. Tom wishes him a fantastic night and recommends taking the rowdy dragons for a walk. Gene hopes Tom has a fontastical night were all his fontasies come true. Tom bids him goodnight.
Best GOMPs, Part 3
7. Hesh Rope-a-Dope:
Tom thinks the show is an L. Hesh was right, and Tom may hire him as a QA guy. Tom says he can't be the player and the referee, so he's not even sure if he's won at all this year. Tom urges Hesh to call back. Erika double dips to say that Hesh is wrong. She argues that the dynamic duo of PBR and PFT guarantee a W. Showbiz Sean also votes W, noting Ted Leo's contributions to the program. Tom is not convinced. Hesh returns to say he didn't intend to insult Tom, and he suspects Tom is still a bit sick from his kidney stone problems. Tom says he's not 100%, but he's doing pretty well. Hesh isn't sure Tom's had many good shows this year, and Tom appreciates him hitting the constructive criticism so hard. Hesh thought 2006 was a killer year, but 2007 lacks that spark. He also misses Petey. Tom asks Hesh if he'd be willing break the show down every week and issue a ruling at the end. Hesh says he'll give it a try, but Tom GOMP™s him. He'll never let that creep do that. Tom can't wait to fire up the archive of this show and listen to that stooge take the bait and get rope-a-doped. (5/8/07)
8. Belated Paul Weller Guy:
Weller played seven songs, including two encores, and the setlist didn't contain anything from the first two albums. He did play "In The Crowd" and "That's Entertainment". The caller says he's really not into the latter tune, and the show was a real downer. He noticed that the olds in the audience didn't seem to mind the abbreviated set despite the elevated ticket price. Tom assumes that the caller left the show and went to see a doctor, who then inserted him into a cryogenic chamber for the last five months. The caller says he just had the flu. Tom tells the caller that it's June, and his call was not entertainment. He GOMPs him for being way behind the curve. It's The Best Show, not VH-1's I Remember January 2007. Tom runs a lively, topical show, and he requires fresh stuff. He appreciates the sentiment, but if you forget to call for months, you just have to let it go. (6/19/07)
9. TSOYA's Jesse Thorn:
Jesse changes the subject to the controversy surrounding the AST member who stole a drink Tom purchased for a friend while in LA. Jesse wants to clear his name from any of the speculation, but Tom doesn't want to talk about it on the air anymore. It's now just between him and the thief. It's The Best Show, not the radio arm of OK! magazine. Tom GOMPs Jesse for trying to tell HIM what time it is. Tom tells YOU what time it is, Butchie. Tom reminds listeners that The Best Show is being transmitted over real radio equipment. He has to show up at a real building to do the show. He can't just roll out of bed in his pajamas and set up a microphone on his kitchen table like he's Rick & Rose. This is legit radio! Tom doesn't want to be lumped in with all the podcasters. After potentially destroying a friendship, Tom is ready to go to the Celebrity Corner (actually a tiny cubby hole in the lower deck of the submarine) to retrieve tonight's special guest (7/10/07).
- Supercaller Erika from Baltimore checks in to tell Tom that it's been a great awards show. She thought Palfner's victory was somewhat surprising because Brock Peuchk impressively incorporated the melody from The Cars' "Let's Go" into his violent threat. Erika says she almost started singing along to Brock's violent "You Die" tune. Tom attributes the catchiness to the original, which, as we learned from Brock, features a guitar hook courtesy of Wolf Blitzer. Erika was a bit sad for James, but she is confident that he's the frontrunner for Most Pathetic Caller of 2008 if he doesn't win tonight. Tom thinks he effectively made his case for that title. Erika gives her support to Seth Galifianakis for the next award.
Paul F. Tompkins (Professional Comedian/There Will Be Blood Star)
Ted Leo (Professional Rock Star)
Jens Hannemann (Complicated Drummer)
Patton Oswalt (Professional Comedian/Ratalouie Star)
The Gorch (Funzie Impersonator)
Zach Galifianakis (Professional Comedian/Into The Wild Star)
Seth Galifianakis (Football Coach/Fugees Fan)
Winner: Ted Leo
- A flabbergasted Ted Leo calls to say he's not sure if he can accept such an honor considering the quality of his fellow nominees. Tom tells Ted that he went above and beyond the standard guest duties by writing songs -- the glorious cover of The Gas Station Dogs' "Rock 'N Roll Dreams'll Come Through" and the WFMU-themed adaptation of The Jam's "That's Entertainment" -- for pledges during the 2007 Marathon and coming down to the studio on Christmas night to help make everyone's December Wishes come through. Mike didn't show up. He was living it up in the Turks and Caicos. Ted says he does it because he loves his job. He didn't prepare a speech, but he thanks everyone on the FOT board for keeping him sane.
Ted predicts that one Democrat and one Republican will emerge from the primaries, and one of them will win the Presidency in November. Tom gets a newsflash about some weird-o-California returns: Fred Thompson, who withdrew from the race two weeks ago, and Duncan Hunter, who re-registered as a Democrat at the last minute, are leading the pack. Ted is not doing backflips over New Jersey's selection of Hillary Clinton, but he's more than happy to accept it. Tom was bummed that perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche was not on the ballot. He would have voted for him assuming he's still alive. Ted says he once bought into LaRouche's activism when he encountered his excited supporters set up outside the post office. Tom wonders if anyone can set up shop outside of the post office. (I checked with Postmaster General Edmond T. Garfinkle. He said anyone can as long as they are not "too jerky.") Ted's most exciting voting day encounter was a crazy lady with a veiled hat darting around the Bloomfield Civic Center on a Razor® scooter. Her overly-applied, unnaturally-red lipstick was paired with a Ron Paul sandwich board. Tom suspects that Ted is ushered away from the riff-raff and into his deluxe rock 'n roll voting suite due to his standing in the local community.
Ted says he had a tough year, so this award makes it real good. He appreciates all the work Tom does, and Tom reflects the the sentiment back at him. He thanks Ted for his loyal support and lets him go before the mutual praise turns gross.
Rookie of the Year
Bonnie from Georgia
Eddie in Long Beach
Martin from Edison
Winner: Eddie (wwwwwes's smear campaign was too late!)
- When Eddie calls to accept his award, Tom plays the clip that first won his heart. Eddie made Tom laugh with a riff about Fantasy Football owners taking more delight in the weekly stats of Randy Moss and Tony Romo than the fate of their favorite team. He cracked the code and continues to deliver. Eddie thanks Tom for having a great show and Mike for being a nice guy. He gets Tom again by referring to Blob Belichick as an "amoeba with a bad haircut."
Best GOMPs, Part 4
10. Paul from Nashville:
Paul from Nashville, TN, calls to ask Tom to settle a debate he's been having with his girlfriend. Tom wants to hear more about the key issues before agreeing to serve as their radio arbiter. Paul says they are both law students with one year remaining prior to taking the bar exam in late July 2008. Time expires, but Paul earns another 30 seconds. He explains that most law students go on a "bar trip" to some exotic locale after taking the examination. He and his girlfriend are having a big dispute about their desired destination. Paul really wants to go to South America (less "ethno-centric and Western"), but his girlfriend prefers a jaunt to Spain, Greece, and Portugal. They thought Tom's wisdom could help them work through this crucial life decision. Tom says that Paul and his girlfriend have what he likes to call "rich people's problems." He doesn't care about their fancy travel itinerary and issues an emphatic GOMP to the rich jerks/future lawyers. Tom acknowledges that there are good lawyers out there. He's not judging Paul and his paramour for their chosen profession, but he is judging them for asking him to analyze the pros and cons of vacations to South America and Europe and issuing his ruling. Tom points out that this is why he now puts people on the clock in the pre-topic portion of the show. You get 30 seconds, then it's click, kaboom, bong. (8/28/07)
"You truly are sick, and you really do scare me. The only thing that doesn't worry me is that I know I could knock you out with one punch. You're very frail." -- Tom, preparing James for a KO, 11/13/07
12. I'm Not There Lady
Most Pathetic Caller
Fred from Queens
Larry the Perv
Winner: Jesse Thorn
Paycheque in Toronto
Dave from Knoxville
Erika from Baltimore
Laurie from Miami