"Heeeelllloooo, Patton. [demented laughing]" -- Spike, fulfilling Tom's request to creep out/delight one of his biggest fans
"I think he just signed to Just Blaze's record label. He might be a robot, though." -- DJ
RiyadhCinnabon Is Not Good To Eat, questioning the construction of D.C. hip-hot artist, Wale.
"What's that, 'Surfin' Bird'? Hey Glenn, he's doing Surfin' Bird!" -- Tank, mistaking Tom's impression of his Halversom-induced stammering for a cover of The Trashmen's hit
"I come here to whip it. I'm not comin' here to end up in second place. I'm not here for second place! I'm here to whip it!" -- Tom, explaining why he had to cut off Laurie's Pitchfork Festival acceptance speech
"Chewin' means you're doing great. Bitin' means you're doing bad." -- B.J. Bryson, helping Tom assess his state of being using his Brysonisms
"Well, it's more like scalding. Nah, I guess technically it is burning because there was bubbling also." -- B.J. Bryson, recalling the injuries caused by buttled projectiles at his legendary Disco Bites
"I'm an equal-opportunity stirrer." -- B.J. Bryson, touting his rallies against Presidential candidates from any political party
"Somehow he used both his hands and like he was bare-bottomed for a second. It was very odd. I'm not sure if I want to be involved with this guy. Of course I do." -- B.J. Bryson, embracing new radio partner Ronald Fuqua moments after he disses Tom with an extremely obscene gesture
"I'm garbage, but if no one else is around, I'm here." -- Tom, analyzing the depressing undercurrent of ABBA's "Take A Chance On Me"
"This guy sounds like he's winded in it, like he just ran a lap before he went into the studio. Like he's doing James Bond stunts and then getting behind the mic." -- Tom, critiquing Pierce Brosnan's best take of ABBA's "SOS"
[Many more quotations to come.]
Kati Kovacs - "Add Már Uram az Esöt!"
( Click here to buy Well Hung - 20 Funk Rock Eruptions From Beneath Communist Hungary Vol. 1)
Melvins - "The Kicking Machine"
( Click here to buy Nude With Boots)
Faith No More - "Digging The Grave"
( Click here to buy King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime)
Maybe It's Reno - "Drunk Pilot"
( Click here to buy Maybe It's Reno)
Eat Skull - "Punk Trips"
( Click here to buy Sick To Death)
The Dutchess & The Duke - "Out of Time"
( Click here to buy She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke)
Gentleman Jesse & His Men - "Hands Together"
( Click here to buy Gentleman Jesse)
Silkworm - "Lily White & Cherry Red"
( Click here to buy the Chokes! EP)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun before the Western world perishes in 2023:
- Dylan the Labyrinth Guy is excited about the new Cavemen series, and he hopes there's an entire episode devoted to the cro-maggers standing on a moving sidewalk. Tom is looking forward to seeing them watch Labyrinth. Dylan bets that they would be blown away by the crazy costumes and David Bowie's tight pants. Dylan wins Tom over, and he wants to become a regular caller. Mike the Associate Producer informs Tom that when he previously called to promote his beloved Henson production, he claimed that his name was Bobby. Dylan wasn't sure if anyone would catch that switcheroo. Dylan-Bobby says he billed himself as "Bobby" because he was GOMPed earlier in the evening as "Dylan" for using toilet mouth during a Griiiiindhouse discussion. He was afraid that Tom would dump him again, thus preventing him from expressing his enthusiasm for Labyrinth. Tom asks Dylan-Bobby to repeat what he feared. Dylan-Bobby now fears that Tom will do it right now. Tom says that he's not going to do it. Dylan-Bobby is relieved, but then Tom gets him at the last second. He laffs at his accomplishment.
Can we do this? Oh, we can do this. The Best Show is back at full strength after a two-week hiatus, and the main players have taken their positions. Mike is screening on the other side of the glass, and Tom Scharpling is reclaiming the microphone as the host for tonight's installment. He thanks Tamar and Monica for holding things down in his absence. Tom wasn't joking around about the power level in the studio because the ABBA box -- a temporary casualty of the New Regime -- is back in a big way with a Three for Tuesday of Dancing Queen, Ring Ring, and Mamma Mia!. The rousing return has the phones lit up for a show that already earned a W via Tom GOMPing James off the air. Twice. The bald mutant got so fired up that he foolishly called the other line like he was back on top of the world. Tom laments that James has apparently thrown the remnants of his questionable judgment out the window.
- If there was any lingering doubt that The Best Show was back on the air, it's wiped out by the sound of Spike's "Heeeelllloooo, Tom" greeting. Spike says that all the listeners not only missed him, but they were also concerned about his well-being. Tom wonders what he's doing wrong to elicit such a response. Spike thinks that is a good question. Tom notices that Spike's voice is operating in a higher register than usual. Spike says that he was forced to use his cell phone after his other phone went dead. Tom assumes that "went dead" is code for the end of a telephonic trespassing. He redefines the supposed death as the phone company finally shutting it off after the neighbors spotted the cord that Spike was running from his basement to their wall jack. Spike says the battery just died. Tom wishes there was a place to buy replacement batteries.
Spike's cellular provider is AT&T, but he has no interest in getting an iPhone. Tom asks him if he'd accept one as a gift. Spike doesn't budge because he considers the iPhone to be a frivolous toy. Tom accepts his stance as evidence that Spike means business when it comes to consumer goods. Spike says that he prefers to spend his money on more important things, such as a bed, a stove, and a refrigerator. Tom bids goodbye to Spike's hot plate. Spike agrees with the general concept of upgrading home appliances, but he denies owning a hot plate. Tom asks Spike to do him a favor by sending out a very special message to Patton Oswalt, a Spike fan who recently helped Dylan Milford organize a "Séance Bites" rally outside The Whisky. Spike is pleased to hear this. He tells Patton that he loves his work on The King of Queens and in his stand-up routines. Tom would love to hear Spike bellow "Heeeelllloooo, Patton" followed by his demented cackle. Spike delivers the goods. Tom laffs. He tells Spike that he's a Good Guy, and Spike is glad that somebody approves of what he's doing. Tom immediately GOMPs him for getting down on himself. He thought he was suddenly talking to a depressed Sathington.
- A caller asks Tom if this is hardhat radio, and the answer comes by way of Tom blasting the steam whistle toot that opens the George Thorogood theme song. It's Riyadh, who usually resides in Las Vegas, but tonight he's calling from Baltimore. He's the proprietor of a hott website that is currently on hiatus due to a busy schedule of school, work, and a girlfriend. Riyadh says that he works a retail job, and Tom incorrectly guesses it's a gig at Chess King, the upscale clothier. (I just bought several mesh tops and a bright orange v-neck sweater vest there!) Riyadh says the blog has also been pushed aside due to his attempts to step up his DJ game. Since he earned a lot of his DJ gigs from the blog, Riyadh thanks Tom for letting him promote it on the show. Tom is disappointed that Riyadh let the blog die after getting a little taste of success. Riyadh hopes to revive his online publication at some point.
His current stage name is the straightforward DJ Riyadh, and Tom wants to come up with a snappier moniker. Riyadh is open to suggestions. Tom proposes DJ Cinnabon Is Not Good To Eat. Riyadh thinks it's kind of catchy despite its length. Tom envisions DJ CINGTE spinning two LP-size Cinnabons with glaze-coated fingers while wearing headphones with mini-Cinnabon covers. Riyadh suggests inserting functional headphone components inside real Cinnabons, which he would then consume during the set. Tom loves it. He asks Riyadh to plug his inactive URL and some of his current musical endorsements.
Riyadh isn't really excited about anyone, but he is looking out for new cats like Wale (pronounced wah-lay). Tom recognizes Wale as the robot who was left behind on Earth. Riyadh says he will have to check up on that portion of the bio for the D.C.-based MC who just signed to Just Blaze's label. He hasn't ruled out that Wale is a robot. Tom believes that Wale is also the subject of the movie that is now in theaters. Riyadh informs Tom that he's thinking of WALL-E, the mobile trash compactor from the animated Pixar film. Tom is surprised to find out that the character is a DJ, and he wonders if he cuts up tracks like "Hello Dolly." He guarantees that Riyadh will cry if he sees this
good great film. Riyadh asks Tom to rank WALL-E within the Pixar oeuvre. Tom puts it at the top of the ladder with Rat & Louie, Toy Story, and Monsters, Inc. Riyadh is impressed by the lofty standing. THIS JUST IN: Gold Star for Robot Boy!
Tom asks Riyadh to explain why so many hip-hop guys gravitate towards Coldplay. He wonders if their taste is so bad that they actually think that dolt makes good rock music. Riyadh points out that hip-hop has a long-held fascination with bad rock going back to Powder Puff Daddy sampling the melody from The Police's "Every Breath You Take" for the rap ballad "I'll Be Missing You," a misguided tribute to his fallen labelmate, Notorious B.I.G. Tom notes that Diddy managed to pick the worst song by a band that was already bad. He finds it hard to believe that Diddy and others are diving into Synchronicity to come up with ideas. Riyadh bets that Diddy also explored the catalog of Phil Collins. Tom performs a drum break from "In The Air Tonight" as an example of the worst rock on Earth. He urges hip-hop artists to expand their horizons to incorporate some good rock like Wire. Riyadh enjoys some Wire, and he'd settle for Radiohead as well. Mike is giving Tom the sign to move on because every line is lit.
- Glenn Danzig checks in so he can talk to Tom about something. Tom reminds listeners that Mr. Danzig is the rock star from The Misfits and many great solo albums. Danzig agrees that these are great releases. Tom mentions that Glenn was also in a band called Sam I Am. Glenn disagrees, and Tom remembers the band was actually called Samhain. He asks Glenn if any hip-hop artists have ever contacted him about incorporating Danzig samples into their tracks. Glenn says that one of the guys from 3rd Bass (my guess: Peter Nice) was interested in sampling "Snakes of Christ" on their record. Tom is most surprised to hear that the guys in 3rd Bass are still bringing it. Glenn clarifies that this was back when Danzig II: Lucifage came out in 1990.
Glenn says that he called to hip Tom to the news that he is withdrawing from the Newbridge mayubernatorial race. Tom tells Glenn that his platform for revitalizing Newbridge was the most sensible by far. Glenn says it means a lot to him to hear that Tom liked his ideas. Glenn was inspired to toss his evil, thorny helmet into the ring after discussing the town's problems with his sister, Darlene, who is married to Officer Harrups. He was particularly excited about instituting a mentoring program for the understaffed Newbridge school system after discovering that his niece, Tina, was struggling with math. His other initiatives included expanding library hours, raising the minimum wage above $3.35/hr, wiring Newbridge for Wi-Fi without raising taxes, and reinvesting tax dollars into the local economy to create more jobs. Tom thought Glenn had a great chance of winning the election next month. Glenn says that he's been re-thinking his candidacy, and, in a nutshell, he just wants to spend more time with his family. Tom says he's heard the same reason from many of the recent dropouts. He's disappointed because he was definitely going to vote Danzig in 2008.
Glenn hands off the phone to someone else who has a message for Tom. It's Tank, a member of The Jock Squad who was also involved in the Deltoid Airlines startup. He's helping Glenn complete some reps as part of a new workout program. Tank is impressed that Glenn is a quick study and a strong guy -- the opposite of Tom. Tank announces that he's also dropping out of the race, and he wants Tom to guess the reason. During his previous call to the program Tank revealed that he abandoned his original plan to serve as Horse's Vice-Mayor running mate after they had a falling out over who had more defined quadriceps. Tank was running on behalf of the Democalve Party because he was the candidate with the biggest, most muscular calves. He came up with a simple platform centered around his promise to devise a leg-lift-intensive workout program for anyone who voted for him. Tom assumes he's ending his campaign to spend more time with his family, but Tank actually desires more time with Glenn's family.
Tank says that he's particularly fond of Glenn's adorable niece. Tom finds this affection a bit icky, and Tank tells him to get his mind out of the gutter. He assures Tom that it's nothing like that ... as far as he knows. Tom is grossed out anew by the qualifier. Tank says she looks about 17, and Tom urges him not to be a creep during his stay at the Danzig residence. Tank argues that Tom is in fact the creep in this discussion. Tom says that he doesn't like anything about the idea of Tank associating with the teen. Tank says that he'd love for Tom to drop down and do 82 push-ups. Tom refuses to complete the impromptu workout session, so Tank promises to re-enter the race if he does it. Tom doesn't believe him. Tank wants to know if Tor Halversom is still running before making his final decision. Tom confirms that the intimidating Norwegian chocolate magnate continues his quest for public office. Tanks says that he papapapaprobably isn't going to get back in the mix. Tom notices that Tank sounds terrified while discussing Halversom. Tank denies it. Tom tries to prove his point by doing an impression of Tank's nervous stammering. However, Tank interprets this as a performance of "Surfin' Bird," the oft-covered (from a lip-syncing rectum in John Waters' Pink Flamingos to Australian grungesters Silverchair!) 1963 hit by The Trashmen. He alerts Glenn to Tom's rendition. Tom explains that he was just trying to show Tank what he sounded like. Tank wants to know what he was supposedly stammering about. Tom says he appeared to be scared of anything related to the Halversom clan. Tank stammers again, barks an order for Glenn to do 50 more reps, and hangs up.
- Laurie in Miami calls while adjusting to life following her weekend jaunt to Chicago. Tom wonders what took her to such an exotic locale. Laurie wants Tom to guess, but he has no idea. She reveals that she attended the Pitchfork Music Festival, not to be confused with the Shovel Music Festival, which is slated for late October at the new Velndonom Paintball Fairgrounds in Western Maine. The lineup remains shrouded in mystery, but there are rumors that the "Don't Look Back" Friday night will feature the Crash Test Dummies (A Worm's Life), Young MC (Stone Cold Rhymin'), and Archers of Loaf (Icky Mettle).
Laurie wants to follow-up on Riyadh's call before getting into her amazing musical experience. She thinks he should clearly go by DJ Riot because it's close enough to his actual name. Laurie also suspects that hip-hop artists enjoy Coldplay's current single, "Viva la Vida," because it's in 4/4 time just like most recent hip-hop songs. Tom says the Chris Martin collaborations go back to Jay-Z ("Beach Chair" from Kingdom Come) and Kanye West ("Homecoming" from Graduation). He is certain that there are other people who could drop in for guest spots. Laurie thinks she heard something about Jay-Z lending even more urgency to the grooves of Limp Bizkit, but it was actually the equally-awful Linkin Park. (Mr. Durst did mention a possible Jay-Z appearance circa Sales Figures May Vary, but it never materialized on the final album.) Laurie's attempt to recall the correct nu-metal juggernaut was accompanied by her poodle-soprano voice reaching new heights. Tom politely asks her to dial it down since it nearly shattered his bottle of organic apple juice. Laurie apologizes for the elevated pitch, and Tom says he was just teasing.
The highlight of Laurie's Pitchfork weekend was her Saturday session with Jarvis. The moment was so exciting that she almost recounted it to the guy (presumably a Jarvadummy) next to her on the flight back to Miami. Tom wants to know the last name of this Jarvis. Laurie says it's Jarvis Cocker! Tom thinks she's referring to the butler from The Avengers before realizing that Laurie had a moment with the dude from Blur. Laurie informs Tom that Cocker was the frontman for Pulp and totally better looking than Damon Albarn. In a nutshell, JC made eye contact with Laurie, pointed at her, and then serenaded her with a lyric. Laurie says she was not imagining this because the girl next to her said she was jealous of her connection. She denies that Doddy greased the wheels with a financial reward. The lyric in question was a line of advice that legendary BBC DJ John Peel wrote to Jarvis's brother: "Girls like it, too." Tom is not pleased to hear the suggestive filth talk. Laurie enjoys Cocker's filth. Tom asks her if she was actually at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas. He announces that if anyone ever tells him that they went to this convention, he will say nothing and walk away. Laurie says Miami hosts a similar convention (the Paul Higgins-curated Exxxotica), and Tom is ready to start organizing raids of these erotic showrooms.
Laurie winds down her Pitchfork recap by thanking benno, a nice Chicago-based FOT, for hanging out with her. She also enjoyed spending time with Richard from Chicago, his lovely wife, and their beautiful baby. Laurie concludes by saying hello to someone possibly named Maria. Maybe-Maria recognized Laurie's voice while selling her drink tickets. Tom asks Laurie if she would also like to thank God and her agent as part of her acceptance speech. He then GOMPs her for excessive shout-outs. Tom only has three hours each week, so he has to work to maintain control of the microphone. He advises Laurie to contact Richard via e-mail, telephone, or a letter instead of using the show as a communications conduit. Tom is not here for second place. He's here to whip it and WIN.
- Garth in Brooklyn asks Tom if he was at the free TLRx show at Castle Clinton last Thursday. Since Tom was holding things down in Lipstick City, he missed seeing the band play "The World Is in the Turlet" by special request. He asks Garth if he went nuts when he heard it. Garth says he was very excited, but he had to quell his enthusiasm to avoid embarrassing himself in front of some co-workers. However, the 1,000 teenagers in the front row were able to celebrate the post-apocalyptic scorcher without any self-imposed restraint. Tom thinks he needs to start resonating with these kids because he's sick of appealing to his older demographic. While he's thankful that anyone listens to the show, he wants to target 14-year-old boys as part of a stealth advertising campaign. Tom plans to slip in references to upcoming video games so he can get pizz-aid for capturing this lucrative market.
Garth thinks the iPhone chat with Spike is the first example of the new marketing alliance. Tom says that was a freebie because he hasn't worked out a deal with Apple. He hopes that an Apple employee will send him a crate of iPhones as a reward for arguing about their product with a lunatic who did not want to own it. Garth pictures a skid of iPhones, and Tom envisions a truck backing up to deliver a stack of 800. After getting four people to help him unload the heavy loot, Tom intends to start throwing the devices around the neighborhood like drug lord Frank Lucas in American Gangster. Garth suggests having The Best Show listeners show up to scramble around for them. Tom agrees to offer a 2% discount. He quickly changes his mind about the whole enterprise and GOMPs Garth for leading him down the path of crass commercialism. Tom shames Garth before reminding listeners that Step Brothers hits theaters this Friday.
- Brian from Manhattan calls to say that he requested "The World Is in the Turlet" at Castle Clinton. He politely (or so he hopes) asked Ted to play the tune when he saw him before the show. Ted said he hadn't practiced it, but Brian reports that the performance was pretty spot-on. He was surprised at how many people knew it, especially since the crowd was full of young kids. Tom thinks the first phase of skewing younger is replacing Mike with a 17-year-old hipster. Brian is 16, but he admits to not exactly being cool or having any ink. He says that he would consider getting some if he thought of something that he'd want to keep on himself forever. Tom suggests a Wanted-related tattoo because he thinks it's going to be a cinematic evergreen. Brian rejects it because he's not a fan of the film, the book, the director, or the author. Tom asks him about the prospects of getting a Hancock tattoo instead. Brian says he would require financial compensation. Tom wants to know his fee for the image of Will Smith with the reflective shades. Brian says it would be low six figures even though it was a nice little summer thing. I would recommend a back tattoo featuring the Sheen Brothers!
Brian says the only blockbuster he's really excited about is the new Batman film. Tom asks him when it comes out. Brian says it was released last Friday. Tom is very surprised to hear this because he thought it was coming out in two weeks. Brian says he was unable to see it because it's been sold out in NYC for three weeks. Tom asks Brian if he's certain that the film has been released. Brian says he is positive. Tom wonders if it's called Batman 2, and Brian says it's The Dark Knight. He confirms that he's referring to a theatrical release, not a straight-to-DVD Batman project. Tom is confused because he only heard about a new Batman film two days ago. Brian is impressed by Tom's ability to avoid the media blitz. Tom starts writing himself a note to check out Batman 2: The Dark Knight, but Brian informs him that it's actually just called Straight Up: The Dark Knight. Tom confirms that the full title is Straight Up: The Dark Knight, Batman 2. He asks Mike to go on Fandango to grab him two tickets for Straight Up.
Tom did see Mamma Mia!, the hotly-anticipated film adaptation of the hit jukebox musical. Tom was looking forward to it because he loves ABBA, a band he praises as an attractive version of The Beatles. He never saw it on Broadway, and he convinced Jillian Barberie to join him for the screening. Tom says that Barberie initiated a telling conversation outside the theater. She asked Tom if he wanted to see Mamma Mia! at 7:40 p.m. or Hellboy II: The Golden Army at 8:00. At the time he chose MM! without hesitation. After grabbing two seats inside the packed theater, Tom was treated to what is easily the worst movie he's ever seen that he still enjoyed. He got a perverse kick out of how unbelievably, insanely bad it was. Tom says that if someone told him that the cheap-looking misfire had a production budget of $1.5 million, he would question what was done with the .5 portion. The hotel in Greece that serves as the setting for most of the story was only recognizable as a foreign locale because the local villagers did not dress like people from Florida. Tom says the choreography was relatively passable since it was largely non-existent. He issues his Mamma Mia! Report Card:
Mike heard there was a lot of people jumping off of docks. Tom confirms that these plunges constituted a Budget_buster. About 10 minutes into the film, an impromptu "Honey Honey" prompted Barberie, who was gleefully unaware of the nature of this supposed entertainment, to ask Tom if this is what it was gonna be. Yes, it was.
- A caller says that Mamma Mia! is a terrible movie, even though he hasn't seen it. He doesn't think he has to see it because he accepts Tom's negative review, plus he's not a fan of ABBA. He thinks it's kind of weird that Tom likes them. The caller identifies himself as B.J. Bryson from N104-The Bridge, and Tom is very excited to hear from a fellow radio personality. Bryson asks Tom if he's chewing or biting. Tom isn't sure how to respond to the query. Bryson explains that these are two of his "Brysonisms": chewing means you're doing great; biting means you're doing bad. Tom says that he's somewhere in between chewing and biting. Bryson is surprised that Tom has never heard him use these terms on the air.
Tom recalls that the station used to play classic rock prior to a recent programming switchover. Bryson says N104 has now become Newbridge's connection for old jazz and new country. Tom asks Bryson to further explain this seemingly odd format. Bryson says the station is finally living up to its name by bridging the gap between these two disparate genres. He notes that a typical set would segue from Sonny Rollins to SHeDAISY, shift to Dave Brubeck followed by Kenny Chesney, and finish with a twofer of Coltrane and Carrie Underwood.
Tom wonders if this musical vibe is actually more successful than classic rock. Bryson assures him that people love it. Tom asks him if the station has received a ratings book for the new 104. Bryson says they have, and Tom asks him if the numbers confirm that their target audience loves the change. Bryson asks Tom to define "love." Tom asks him if people are listening to the station. Bryson requests a definition of "they." Tom defines the pronoun as "a large group of people." Bryson needs clarification on "large." Tom says a large group would be 100,000 people. Bryson says that their listenership level is a bit lower than that. Tom guesses 50,000 and then tries 25,000. Bryson is insulted by the latter number. He says the ratings showed that they are attracting an audience of 27,000. Tom points out that it's barely over his final guess. Bryson tells Tom to shut up.
He wonders if Tom has ever attended any of his "Bite Bashes." Tom says he read something about these events in a sidebar on Bryson that ran alongside a magazine piece on New Jersey disc jockeys. Bryson is annoyed about not being the featured jock. He says he's been doing the bashes for 30 years, and it all started with the infamous Disco Bites rally that took place during a break in a match at the old Newbridge Polo Grounds. Tom remembers that one, and Bryson longs for those good old days. He thinks it's a shame that Newbridge never landed a pro baseball team, but he believes that the Newbridge Mallets were indisputably the greatest polo team of all-time. Tom agrees that it was a top-notch franchise. He never collected the Topps polo trading cards, but Bryson still has his stash, including the recalled Keith Keller card. The banned photo depicts Keller making a sex gesture with his mallet. The obscene stunt also got him booted from the 1979 championships. Bryson says Disco Bites was the beginning of his love for stirring it up like that reggae guy. Tom isn't sure which reggae guy has inspired his stirrings. Bryson says it's the guy with the hair like Darren Ploppleton's polarizing dreadlocks. Tom guesses that it's Bob Marley. Bryson doesn't think it's Bob Marle-y, but then he changes his mind.
Tom remembers reading about how Disco Bites put Bryson on the radio map and jumpstarted his career. Bryson says that he walked out in the middle of the polo field, and Augie Richards from Ye Olde Burger Barn followed him with a huge fryer. After loading a bundle of disco tapes into it, Augie dipped them into the bubbling oil, pulled the basket up, and threw it into the crowd. Bryson thought it was hilarious. Tom is less amused by Richards burning spectators with the buttled disco tapes. Bryson wants Tom to define "burned." Tom says the tapes hit people and left red marks on their bodies. Bryson confirms that this was in fact a result of the fried projectiles. He tries to dismiss it as a mere scalding before realizing that the bubbling skin indicates that it was technically a burning.
Bryson says his subsequent rallies included Punk Bites, New Romantics Bites (sparsely attended due to the more obscure theme), and Cheers Bites, which took place on the night of the series finale in May 1993. Bryson says it was held at the Demolition Derby on Route 3 near where Merle Allin's severed toe was recently discovered. He followed this up with Grunge Bites and Reality Bites Bites. Tom wants to get the attendance figures for an eccentric rally focused on Ben Stiller's Gen-X expose. Bryson says it suffered eight venues changes due to a lack of interest. It was ultimately held in his backyard after being originally slated for the much more spacious Polo Grounds.
Tom is even more puzzled by Bryson's Bagel Bites Bite because he can't imagine getting that mad at a food product. Bryson says his aversion to the snack was the result of burning (turnabout is fair play!) his tongue on a super-hot, handburger-flavored Bagel Bite. Tom isn't sure that the Bagel Bite deserves the blame for that. Bryson says that Tom is making him feel bad by talking down to him about his Bites Bashes. He makes it clear that he is the one who talks down to Tom. Tom sarcastically suggests that he can understand how this would make Bryson feel bad. He denies talking down to him, but he does think that some of the Bites rallies are crazy.
Bryson ask Tom if he will attend the upcoming Obama Bites, the latest entry in his election series that started in the 1970s with Carter Bites and continued with Reagan Bites, Anderson Bites, Mondale Bites, Ferraro Bites, Bentsen Bites, and Clinton Bites. He's proud to be an equal-opportunity stirrer. Tom thinks it also sounds like he doesn't have much of an opinion on anything. Bryson says he just likes to stir it up on any side of an issue. Tom asks him if he organized Cheers Bites because he hated the show. Bryson says that if people are really into something, he immediately rejects it. This philosophy leads him to reverse his earlier take on Mamma Mia! because Tom doesn't like it. Bryson declares himself a total contravarian.
A perfect example of his contravarianism is his most controversial rally: Brimley Bites. Tom has no idea what this one is about. Bryson says that it's impossible to argue that Wilford Brimley isn't a beloved figure. Tom agrees that his grandfatherly persona has a wide appeal. In 1998 Brimley came to Newbridge to direct a version of Caligula for the Newbridge Summerstock. The adaptation was part of the short-lived "Newbridge Playhouse After Dark" series, and Tom wants to make sure Bryson wasn't thinking of Oh! Calcutta, a sex-themed theatrical revue that migrated from London to Broadway in the 1970s. Bryson says it was definitely a sleazy stage version based on the sleazy Caligula film. Earlier in the evening the Summerstock players did a family-friendly production of Bye Bye Birdie. Bryson praises Martin Fry, lead singer for UK New Wavers ABC, for his work in the lead role.
They shut things down to prepare for the adult portion of the program, which was MC'd by Bryson. Caligula started within 20 minutes so kids were still filing out of the venue. Bryson says that Penthouse founder Bob Guccione watched the play from the elevated box that often housed Judge Davies prior his disbarment. Tom is familiar with the perch that Bryson compares to the Presidential box in Ford's Theater where John Wilkes booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Bassist Merle Allin, presumably sporting his unpo-liced Hitler moo-stash, domestic abuser John Wayne Bobbitt, and pop cretten Gary Puckett joined Guccione in the box. Tom thinks this is quite a lineup, and Bryson admits that Puckett is an awful man. He reminds Tom that Merle is the brother of Kevin Allin, who passed away in 1993. Tom thinks "passed away" is a soft description of Kevin's demise at age 36. Bryson wants to know how Tom would describe his passing. Tom thinks the term makes it sound like Kevin just slowly faded away while in his 80s. Bryson thinks he did just that albeit with some help. Tom recalls that he overdosed on heroin after playing an aborted show at The Gas Station in NYC. Bryson suspects that Tom will also get on Kevin's case for only wearing a jock strap when he passed
on away. Tom isn't interested in continuing to lecture the deceased gutter punk.
Bryson reveals the eclectic cast for Brimley's take on Caligula:
Tom is particularly surprised by the casting of Cain, the good-looking keyboardist from Journey, and points out that Romeo was not even a character in this story. Bryson thinks Tom is very dumb for not connecting the name Romeo to the Roman times. He says the cast was rounded out by a cardboard cutout of Top Cat carried around the stage by a kid. Tom tries to digest what he's just heard. He thinks it's weird enough that a stage production of Caligula directed by Wilford Brimley even exists, let alone one starring Wavy Gravy, David Crosby, the keyboardist from Journey, and a kid carting around a cardboard cartoon cat. Bryson is surprised that Tom doesn't remember this because there was a little blurb about it in the local paper. Bryson mentions an additional actor: Mike Lookinland, known for playing Bobby on The Brady Bunch, as a Roman centurion. Tom can't believe this actually happened.
Bryson says it was the filthiest thing he's ever seen. He assures Tom that he knows his filth from his experience co-owning The Pleasure Tent, which is located on Route 3 where they found Glenn Danzig's pinky. The Pleasure Tent is a mobile adult bookstore contained inside a Quonset hut. Tom asks Bryson why the store is inside a prefabricated structure instead of a traditional building. Bryson explains that if Officer Harrups shows up to shut them down (as is often his wont), it only takes two minutes to tear that sucker down and load it onto a truck to invade a new town with the literary smut. Tom confirms that being a proprietor of this type of merchandise didn't hold a candle to the Brimley-helmed Roman romp. He doesn't want to hear any of the explicit details. Bryson says that Brimley is so embarrassed by the gross performance that he doesn't even remember anything that occurred during the entirety of 1998. He never mentions the Newbridge Summerstock in interviews and omitted the experience from his book. Bryson says this is a psychological phenomenon known as a "moral blackout." It occurs when an event is so heinous that it actually erases one's memory. Bryson says that he's experienced several such blackouts. He doesn't want to get into them, but he will if Tom wants him to do so. Tom doesn't.
Bryson says he organized two great rallies in the last two weeks: Firemen Bite and Cops Bite. He was surprised that the town was not into these events. Tom is also shocked that the people of Newbridge were not interested in publicly demeaning their men in uniform. Bryson says that the Zombies did chew on these Bites. Tom wonders if he's referring to the psych-pop troupe, but Bryson doesn't think there is a band called The Zombies. He was referring to the fans of his show on The Bridge. Tom wants to know how many of these Zombies are roaming around. Bryson says he had 17,000 followers at the height of his popularity circa Disco Bites. Tom doesn't really believe that. Bryson says the current tally is a little less. Tom doesn't want Bryson to be insulted by his guess of 1,000. Bryson is insulted and calls Tom a jerk. However, he only has 1,102 zombified superfans. Tom wonders if this is the number of people who are a lock to show up at any of his Bites rallies. Bryson wants Tom to define "lock." Tom says it means that they will definitely be in attendance. Bryson says that he sometimes hits double digits. He can safely rely on about 12 Zombies who will do anything for him. Bryson says that he often treats his fans to contests like the chance to join him for dinner. The Zombies will get excited about the opportunity, but he makes the winner eat out of a trough or an old toilet bowl. Bryson admits that it's sick, but he claims that the Zombies love it. Tom can't imagine how anyone could enjoy such a disgusting dining experience. He also doesn't understand why someone would have the desire to humiliate his most loyal supporters. Bryson says it's fun for everyone. Tom is sure that the Zombies don't love these kinds of promotions.
"Should we turn this Bryson Bites into a W Bites? A car wash?" "Totally. Hey, is that Call Screener Zeus from The Best Show?!"
Bryson says that things went badly the other day when the firemen and cops countered with a stupid Bryson Bites rally. He thought they were out of their league, and he enlisted his Zombies to infiltrate both camps to spread rumors that they were engaging in smack talk. The firemen and the cops started fighting -- a swirl of violence involving hoses, night sticks, and day sticks. Tom was not familiar with the day stick. Bryson says it's just a white version of the night stick that does not require the cloak of darkness. He reports that Officer Harrups was almost killed during the scuffle. The Bryson Bites rally took place on Route 3 near where the old Singleplex was before it fell apart.
Tom was sad to see the theater go because it was the site of his first adult movie. Bryson wants to hear more about this milestone, and he suspects that Tom would love the stack of stuff stored in his basement. (Don't forget to zip up your pants afterwards lol!) Bryson asks Tom about his
fable foible so he can fine-tune his recommendations. He's willing to reveal his own foible, but Tom doesn't want to hear it. At this point Bryson asks Tom if he's on the air. Tom tells him that he called the show. Bryson does remember doing that. Tom says he just saw the R-rated Author! Author!, not anything sleazy. Bryson thinks that was a sexy film, but Tom informs him that it's a non-sexy Al Pacino vehicle. Bryson asks Tom if it was a hard-R or a soft-R. Tom says he's not even sure if was rated R.
Bryson heard the Firemen vs. Cops battle was really off the hook. He missed all the action because he took off in his Jockcopter before it erupted. Bryson says the aircraft is two barely functioning helicopters welded into one giant one. Tom asks him if it actually works. Bryson asks him to define "works." Tom asks him if the Jockcopter flies. Bryson, who serves as its pilot, says he can get it at least 18 feet off the ground. He has trouble keeping it steady with all the people in it. Tom wants to know how many passengers it can accommodate. Bryson says that it seats 14, including the bar. Tom thinks that is a lot for any helicopter, and Byrson says it's also a lot because of his stoutness. He wants Tom to guess his weight. Tom goes high at 350, and Bryson calls him a jerk. He's only 301. Tom acknowledges that it's better than 350. Bryson mentions the 311 concert that came through town six years ago. Tom remembers that everyone was excited about seeing the band. It was promoted as the "311-301" show because the band agreed to perform all night if Bryson managed to get down to 301 pounds. He started at 350 and only lost 1 pound over several months leading up to the show. Tom suspects that he lost that lone pound by doing something with his clothes. Bryson says that he removed his wallet prior to the weigh-in. Tom correctly assumes that Bryson is not really 301 right now. He guesses that Bryson is back up to to his pre-311 350. Bryson says he's 349, but that is a lie. He's bulked up to 380. Tom hopes he gets it under control to improve his overall health.
Bryson pauses to take off his Jockjack because it's getting too hot inside the Jockcopter. He often parks it downtown to watch chicks go by and possibly lure them inside. Tom is not familiar with this type of attire. Bryson explains that it's the jacket with the N104 crest and call letters. He can't believe that Tom doesn't have one. The N104 crest is a bridge flanked by a flugel horn and a banjo to represent its eccentric genre mash-up. Bryson thinks the WFMU crest is a textbook and a Radio Hut microphone because it's a high school station. Tom says it's not. Bryson can't believe that Tom is still using the VoiceMod® DeepTone 500 modulator. Tom denies every using the device. Bryson isn't buying it, especially since he catches Tom shifting to a higher octave after pulling away from the modulator. He tells Tom that he shouldn't be ashamed of altering his voice for radio broadcat.
Bryson says that he has to roll in a second to pick up his new radio partner. He's at the Newbridge International Airport, where he spots Ronald Fuqua. Bryson tells Fuqua that he's talking to a kid named Tom Scharpling. Fuqua responds with a hand gesture that is the most obscene thing Bryson has ever seen, topping the Caligula stage show. Fuqua somehow managed to use both of his hands and was briefly bare-bottomed. Tom's heard enough. After witnessing this display, Bryson isn't sure he wants to be involved with Fuqua. He quickly realizes that he most certainly does. Bryson says that he and Fuqua are going to take Tom down. Tom didn't realized he was involved in a competition with the new N104 duo. Bryson believes that life is a competition. He refers to Tom as "son" while delivering this fiery retort. Bryson considers getting this bit of wisdom printed on the back of his Jockjack.
Tom says that if he's competing with a station that bridges old jazz and new country, more power to him. Bryson wishes for Tom to have less power, not that he has any power at all. He can tell that Tom's modulator is flipping hard. Tom loves the whole tradition of radio guys who get the lowest common denominator to act stupid at dumb rallies under the illusion that it's a major accomplishment. Bryson tells Tom not to slag the Zombies. Tom thinks it's insulting to even call them Zombies. Bryson says they love the term because they can't think for themselves. He tells them what to think, and he also tells Tom what to think. At this time he thinks Tom should think that he bites because he does bite. Tom wishes Bryson luck in dealing with Hot Rockin' Ronny's return to the Newbridge airwaves. Bryson says that HRR did the obscene gesture again, but this time his audience was a cop. He says he has to go bail him out. Bryson tells Tom that he bites and hangs up. Tom can only respond with the late-great Mel Allen's classic "How about that?!" catchphrase.
Tom resumes his Mamma Mia! takedown by calling it pure garbage woven from low-end fabric. He summarizes the threadbare plot: Greek hotelier Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) has a daughter named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who is getting married. Since Sophie doesn't know the identity of her father, she secretly invites the three leading candidates to sort it all out. She has narrowed the field to Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, or
Peter Stormare Stellan Skarsgård. They all show up. Tom wishes Stormare was Possible Dad #3 was so he could silently stare at people with his creepy blonde dye job during the wedding reception. Mike claims he saw Gérard Depardieu in some clips, but Tom believes he simply mistook GD for Skarsgård. He doesn't want the Frenchman anywhere near the film.
As an ABBA lover Tom knows that the band emerged from the icy hinterlands of Sweden armed with some of the saddest songs ever written despite the immensely catchy pop hooks. For example, he has burrowed deep within the darkness at the heart of the seemingly upbeat -- but ultimately lovelorn -- "Take A Chance On Me." Tom interprets the emotionally complex track as a desperate plea from a protagonist who thinks they are human garbage. He always declines requests to tackle an ABBA selection for his legendary Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia performances because they should only be sung professionals. Tom is well aware of the perils of trying to match all-time great voices like Agnetha or Anni-Frid. He even thinks that Bjorn is pretty solid, although he's not sure about Benny. Tom believes that Mamma Mia! is marred by the insane concept of turning over songs renowned for their beauty to the likes of Pierce Brosnan. He proves his point by playing a sample of his rendition of "SOS" from the soundtrack. Tom stops it to mention that this was the best take they got from the actor. He suspects that Brosnan's winded vocals are the result of running a lap or doing James Bond stunts right before entering the recording booth.
Tom tastefully pushes the music to the background just as Streep turns in a capable performance. He gives her credit for being the best vocalist in the film. Tom is pleased that the producers were sensible enough to bury Brosnan under 40 competent singers in the chorus. He recalls a moment in the film where Brosnan echoes one of Streep's "When you're gone" lines with a skin-crawling croak. Tom considers seeing the film again because he may have imagined it. He compares it to the weird fontasy of someone who set out to create the weirdest movie ever made. Tom considers the possibility that kid from The Twilight Zone conjured it as part of one of his bizarro worlds. He can't believe that somebody didn't realize the level of insanity as they watched the dailies of Streep, Christine Baranski, and the other woman dressed in 1970s garb doing "Super Trouper."
Tom realized that he was living in an alternate universe when people cheered at the end of a "Dancing Queen" sequence that involved people running around the omnipresent dock. Mike asks Tom if there were a lot of dudes in the theater. Tom said it was populated by a lot of 70-year-old dudes who grudgingly took their wives to that thing they wanted to see. He is certain that they are ABBAdummies who don't know anything about the band and their great manager and lyricist, Stig Anderson. They are not privvvy to the story filled with triumph, tragedy, bright lights, and dark shadows. Tom bets that most of the audience had not been to a movie since the Robin-in-a-wig laffer, Mrs. Doubtfire. Mike points out that Brosnan appeared in said laffer. Tom wonders if they are just Pierce Brosnan enthusiasts. Since Gérard Depardieu was also in the cast, Mike wins in the end.
Tom asks Mike if his special guest has arrived. He's actually four feet away. It's Paul F. Tompkins. Tom is still frazzled by Mamma Mia!, and PFT says it seems to be a burr under his saddle.
[Celebrity Sightings and Assorted Funtimes with Professional Funnyman Paul F. Tompkins to come!]
- Randy from Tunnelbridge says his worst celebrity encounter was Randee of the Redwoods, a Hendrix-loving, burned-out hippie who ran for President in the late 1980s with the support of MTV. Randy thought he was kind of a jerk when he saw him last week at Home Depot. He says that Randee got mad because he couldn't decide if he wanted semi-gloss or matte finish on his paint selection. Tom is not following how that would have any impact on Randee of the Redwoods. Randy says that Randee now runs the paint department in the store. He figured they would hit it off since they had the same name, but Randee just got mad.
Randy had a much better time dancing all night long with Madonna at a club sometime in 1989-1990. Tom is impressed that it happened at the peak of her fame, and he wants to know the club in question. Randy drops his voice to a near whisper to reveal that it was Madison Square Garden. He thinks that Madonna may have been on the stage at some point during the evening. Tom asks him if it was an official Madonna concert. Randy wants him to define "concert." Tom asks him if he bought a ticket to get into the venue. He did not. He asks Randy if someone else bought him a ticket. They did not. Tom asks him if everyone else had tickets. They did. Randy says he sneaked into MSG by hiding inside a garbage truck. Since he wasn't about to pay for the expensive ticket, he climbed into the truck the day before the show. Randy says it was a fun experience, and Tom assumes that he ended up smelling like garbage. Randy says that he got thrown out after seeing only one song of Madonna's set. Tom thanks Randy for the call, but he's not sure if this is a legit celebrity sighting. Randy thanks the host for his time.
TO BE CONTINUED ...
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