Slave to the Grind.
"Now hold on a minute. Are you auditioning for Worst Caller of 2009? Is this what this is? No?" -- Tom, asking Spike if he's getting an early jump on the competition
"Hi-ho, Kermit, the, Frog here. One day we'll find / It's The Rainbow Connection / Tom Scharpling, the dreamers, and meeeee. La-de-da-de-dadeda." -- Kermit the Frog (David at Montclair State), serenading the host/air hockey champion
"A night where the celebrities shine, and the mutants are ... somehow at the top of the ladder for one lonely night." -- Tom, noting a rare ascent for the show's basement dwellers
"Hey, Tojo, we left a flaming paper bag on your doorstep! Don't step on it ... unless you want your life enriched!" -- Paul F. Tompkins, describing a classic 1940s Improv Everywhere prank march
"Look, I know this thing is fake. You don't think I can spot a fake thing from a mile away? But all I ask you do to, all I ask, is that you preserve the premise of the fakeness." -- Tom, bidding farewell to the flagrantly inauthentic Tool Academy
"I'm getting that tattooed across my abs this week. Fantastic Cartoon Dude. Like in Old English script." -- Matt Fraction, embracing and inking the title Tom bestowed upon him
"What if I Heave Ho'd Omar during it? That would be a guaranteed winner for next year, but I can't. It's not gonna happen." -- Tom, avoiding a world-collapsing shocker
"Naaah." -- Omar the Scrivener, declining to address the people
"You're gonna have your big FM license. No time for Tom anymore. That's cool. I get it. That's how they roll over in that family, huh? That's how they roll. Too cool for school. Everyone's too cool." -- Tom, jokingly lamenting the H-Man's signal/ego boost
"Unbelievable. Unbelievable! Guy gets an award, he's doesn't even hear it. His computer went down. That's what happens when you steal your Internet! That's what happens when you steal your Internet! Jeepers Creepers." -- Tom, dismissing Spike for tuning out his Best Dismissal
"Next year. Great. Great. So he's gonna come for him, and by that he means he's gonna turn in some horrible calls." -- Tom, bracing himself for Frank from Weehawken's 2009 title run
"Is he fat?" - Julie from Cincinnati, inquiring about the girth of her potential new husband, APMike
"Hey, man, don't worry, like, I'm not as creepy as I pretend. I'm worse." -- Julie from Cincinnati, trying to ease Tom's mind about her trip to Jersey City
"Oh, it's like Christmas morning. That was like Christmas morning. I never timed one better. I don't think I ever timed one of those better than that one." -- Tom, reveling in an Ali-grade rope-a-dope of Greg from Psychedelic Sitting Room
"Somehow you managed to make this your moment. Somehow Steve's moment became Nate's Moment. GET OFF ... HEAVE HO!" -- Tom, orchestrating Nate Hartley's second Best Show turfout
"Lost my focus, Tom? Or found my destiny?" -- APMike, mastering his domain of filth
"You enable these things. You're an enabler! And I mean that in a good way." -- Ted Leo, crediting Tom with an assist on his Moment of Triumph
"I'm going to kill you with that axe bass, and I'm going to chop you up into little pieces, and I will put you in a Kiss urn." - Gene Simmons, kicking it up a notch with his branded merchandise
"It's like a famous person! I'm so giddy. I'm giddy to talk to you!" - Tom, welcoming the legendary John from Charleston back into the fold
"There is no winner for Best Call because I win Worst Host for what I just did to my six friends with those impressions. -- Tom, ending the show from the doghouse
Thee Headcoats - "Want Me - Win Me"
( Click here to buy In Tweed We Trust)
Goblin C - "Haint"
( Click here to buy Come With Me If You Want To Live)
Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit - "Good"
( Click here to buy Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit)
Heartless Bastards - "Out At Sea"
( Click here to buy The Mountain)
Ludella Black and The Masonics - "I Want Some Answers"
( Click here to buy From This Witness Stand)
Ty Segall - "Pretty Baby (You're So Ugly)"
( Click here to buy Ty Segall)
Zero Boys - "Positive Chance"
( Click here to buy History Of)
Marykate O'Neil - "Different For Girls" (David Jackson cover)
( Click here to buy Underground)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
- Hesh returns to say he didn't intend to insult Tom, especially since he's probably 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. Tom appreciates him hitting the constructive criticism so hard. Hesh thought last year was killer, while the current campaign lacks spark and Petey's presence. Tom asks Hesh if he'd be willing to break down the show every week and issue a ruling at the end. Hesh says he'd give it a try, but Tom forcefully GOMPs 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.
Get ready! This is a big one. Host Tom Scharpling has gotsta get his levels set because he's banished to the creaky submarine studio for this Tuesday night installment of The Best Show on WFMU. He's not thrilled with the sound quality and anticipates a disastrous L. In fact, Tom decides to jump ship and asks Associate Producer Mike to descend the nine floors to grab a copy of a Miles Davis record called Pangaea to fill the three hours of airtime. Mike actually walks all the way over after hearing what he thought was a request for a real favor. Tom feels horrible about prompting the wasted trip, which is one of the perils of being a recidivist prankster. He announces that fusion-jazz noodling will not be necessary because he and his band of heroes have been working double OT to prepare for the second-annual The Best Show on WFMU Awards Show! Tom makes it clear that he is the ultimate hero in tonight's quest for the usual array of mirth, music, and mayhem supplemented with an infusion of glitz and glamour. He takes a quick break to attend to some technical issues and returns shouting "Whoooo!" Tom believes that repeating this word at a high volume will create the requisite fun atmosphere. He promises to deliver four things during tonight's festivities: winners, losers, fulfilled dreams, and shattered dreams. The phones are already lit up, and we all know who is first in the queue.
Spike wishes Scharpling a good evening after nearly getting lost by the new phone number. Tom is glad he found his way into the underwater vessel. Spike assures him that he always finds his way. He forgoes his usual horror (better file that Friday the 13th review before LHotL drops!) and doo-wop talking points to discuss his concerns about anti-Americans trying to abolish the right to free speech. Before Spike proceeds to detail this Constitutional crisis, Tom wants to determine if he's auditioning for the 2009 Worst Caller award. Spike says he's doing an out-of-competition entry. Tom is very interested to hear about the people who are supposedly crusading against the First Amendment statute. Spike says two groups of anti-Americans are the culprits: Republicans and residents of Staten Island. Tom is not pleased to hear Spike disrespect a borough that is truly God's country. Spike claims that Republicans and people on SI will shoot those who dare to disagree with their views. Tom suspects that they are exclusively targeting a specific resident of Queens, but Spike says the proud non-patriots intend to murder every good American who gets in their way.
Tom asks Spike to provide a specific example to support his vague accusations. He needs to see some actual proof before he accepts what appears to be another one of his fraudulent arguments. Spike mentions the controversy surrounding Sarah Palin's teenage daughter, Bristol, giving birth to a son, Tripp, this past December. For starters, he thinks Bristol should have listened to her mother and practiced the abstinence she preached. Spike was hoping that she would give the baby up for adoption after carrying it to term. He's disgusted by the anti-Americans who want her to raise the child and marry Levi Johnston, the Wasilla High School hockey player who is supposedly the father. Spike, as we might expect, doesn't approve of people under the age of 25 marrying and procreating. He thinks it is unacceptable that people disagreed with his position on the Palin family. Tom asks him if they responded with gunshots. Spike says that his detractors took up arms if they were on Staten Island at the time of the encounter. Tom realizes that Spike is talking crazy and making stuff up.
Assuming that Spike really isn't making a play for next year's Worst Caller trophy, Tom recommends that he sit back, relax, and open a nice something. He asks Spike if his apartment even contains anything that is currently closed. Spike wonders if he's referring to food or music. Tom says he was thinking of a nice beverage. Spike doesn't drink alcohol, but he does have some cranberry juice and orange juice on hand. Tom wants him to pop open a nice orange juice and settle in for an evening that may bring him some nominations. Spike hopes he makes the cut because he deserves to be honored. He promises to call back with an acceptance speech if he wins. For the record, I tapped a cask of Coca-Cola BlāK that I've been aging with oak spirals, cacao nibs, and candied beetroot since last year's awards show. It was potent and possibly fetid.
- David from Montclair State University calls fresh from getting schooled by Tom* in air hockey. He entered the Consolidated Cardboard arcade like a tough guy, issued a $500/point challenge, and got humbled and humiliated by a superior talent. David says that if he had a tail, it would have been stuck between his legs as he scurried away in defeat. He just wanted to say hello and express his excitement about getting the chance to listen live. David reveals that he's so far on the edge of his seat about The Best Show on WFMU Awards that he had to stand up to avoid falling on the floor. Tom loves to hear this kind of enthusiasm.
David also wants to revive the Celebrity Impressions topic from a few weeks ago. Tom warns him that it must be good because he's tardy and operating in the risky pre-topic warzone. David accepts the added pressure and slips into a solid Kermit the Frog -- the traditional "hi-ho" greeting followed by a snippet of "The Rainbow Connection" with Tom inserted into the lyrics. Tom thinks it's a fantastic impression and salutes the young man for doing it. He believes it might be time for The Best Show on WFMU Awards to officially begin.
*Currently ranked as the #4 air hockey player in the northeast (behind UCONN men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun, Newbridge hero Brock Peuchk and Momofuku Milk Bar pastry chef Christina Tosi) according to Table Sports Fortnightly.
- Tuxedo-clad comedienne Paul F. Tompkins returns to kick off the ceremony after filling in last year when Spike failed to craft any goofball jokes for the opening monologue. He and Tom are both fired up for this night of all nights where the celebrities shine, and the mutants are celebrities. PFT goes on a short logic walk to conclude that the mutants will finally get their chance to shine.
He notes that for over one year The Best Show on WFMU Awards have delighted audiences, and 1,000 people, including men and women in uniform all around the globe, are listening to tonight's edition. Tom, however, excludes service personnel from the tally because he's sure the broadcast is blocked by the authorities. PFT asks Tom if he's counting doormen. Tom says the uniforms worn by listeners are probably the deep blue of a Lowe's apron. PFT clarifies that he wasn't referring to the armed services. He was thinking of uniformed employees at Kinko's, Best Buy, Home Depot, and perhaps even Improv Everywhere participants who are wearing blue Best Buy-ish polo shirts. Tom does an impression of an IE performance artist wondering when it became a crime to wear a blue polo shirt while shopping at Best Buy. He imagines that the disgruntled faux shoppers suspect that they are living in the Nazi Germany depicted in Valkyrie. PFT wishes that the collective had been operating during this time to dress up as Nazi officials or concentration camp prisoners to enrich people's lives with comedy.
Tom fails to see the humor of someone pretending to be a Nazi basterd and storming through the streets of Berlin to break down the doors of innocent citizens. PFT suspects that these thought-provoking and laugh-inducing stunts were filmed for the news reels. The people who watched, including Der Fuhrer himself, thought the latest IE "mission" was hilarious. PFT describes one particularly inspired prank where IE foot soldiers left a flaming paper bag on Hideki Tojo's doorstep. They instructed the Japanese war criminal not to step on it unless he wanted to enrich his life. Tom wonders if Operation Walküre was actually just the equivalent of Improv Everywhere of the 1940s. PFT hopes that if time-travel technology is ever perfected, it will quickly fall into the able hands of Improv Everywhere organizers.
Tom adapts the famous "First they came ..." from a rumination on the silence of German intellectuals during the Nazi rise to a lament in which an idle populace watched the gradual extermination of stand-ups, improvisers, two-man comedy acts, and prank troupes, dismissing the latter as a joke. PFT asks Tom if there's any parallel between the original text and Master Sergeant Hans Schultz from Hogan's Heroes. Schultz was known to feign sensory ignorance ("I see/hear nothing!") when presented with evidence of prisoner-of-war misconduct. Tom isn't sure if the poem preceded the sitcom character. PFT wonders if there's any way to track down that information. Tom cites his complete lack of education on world history as the reason for his chronological confusion. As far as he knows, one of them could be a legitimate 1940s artifact or something from an early-1970s film that referenced WW2. Tom actually does know that Hogan's Heroes aired during the swinging 1960s, an era marked by great rock groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, as well as abominable television shows.
During this decade the networks seemed to greenlight every bad idea that landed on their desks: My Mother the Car, My Favorite Martian, and the smash hit, Mr. Ed. PFT doesn't understand how the public kept coming back for more of this equine non-laffer throughout its inexplicable run of six seasons. Tom recounts a watercooler conversation about the previous night's Mr. Ed episode. The person who hadn't seen it has no trouble guessing the plot: Wilbur Post tried to get someone else to hear the horse talk. PFT says that Mr. Ed was the 1960s version of Lost -- a source of constant frustration for viewers who demanded answers to the question of whether anyone else would ever hear the animal's advanced whinnying. (I'm hoping that Improv Everywhere dons Dharma Initiative suits and flashes back to the island sometime this season. Maybe they could even put the firing pin back in D. Rousseau's husband's rifle!) The Mr. Ed showrunners managed to keep everyone guessing from the pilot through episode #258. Tom points out that TV shows can no longer get away with refusing to alter any aspect of the original formula. PFT says that current audiences even hold something like My Name is Earl to a higher standard. Tom appreciates that Earl Hickey will occasionally put the list away. He gets down to business and gives PFT a preview of The Best Show Awards categories:
- Saddest Caller
- Best Best Show Scrivener
- Best Dismissal
- Most Delusional Caller
- Rookie of the Year
- Best/Most Violent Threat (to Tom)
- Worst Caller
- Best Caller
- Lifetime Achievement Award (NEW!)
- Best Guest
- Best Call (NEW!)
PFT imagines that it was a Herculean task to narrow down a lot of these categories, particularly the Most Delusional Caller finalists. He remembers that last year he remained on the line for his favorite category, Saddest Caller. He didn't realize how sad it was going to be until he heard Hesh admit that he was a dancing, 4' 5" midget without any friends. It was very sad indeed. Tom and PFT mention that Eddie, last year's ROY, is mired in an extended sophomore slump and may have fallen off the face of the Earth. Tom recommends that PFT sit at home with his special friends to see what happens in the Best Guest category. He hints that PFT might be a nominee. PFT is a bit troubled by the possibility that he's not even a contender for this award. Tom admits that he's in the pack of seven people, which includes anyone who came to the studio in 2008.
Tom tips his hat to young Dorvid for expending the effort of a champion all weekend to pull together the sound clips for each category. PFT says that Dorvid has become one of the now-sung heroes of the show. Tom is ready to sing his praises throughout the night. He asks PFT to pull one of his highlights from The Best Show's 47-episode 2008 season. PFT picks any of the shows that started at 8:00 p.m. and wrapped up around 11:00 p.m. Tom realizes that he's referring to every show! PFT is looking forward to tuning into another great one when he gets home. He says that everybody is a winner tonight except for the people who did not win anything. Tom reminds listeners that PFT is the host of Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins, an eye-bleedingly hilarious pop-culture expose airing Fridays at 11:00 p.m. on the VH1 network. He wonders if Tool Academy's Matsuflex might ever find his way to the set. PFT hopes to God that he does not. Tom is officially done with Tool Academy, but he doesn't want to bring it up while a company man is on the line. PFT mentions that VH1 may set up the Naked Tool with a Ray J-style fake dating show. He's a fan of this reality subgenre. Tom thanks PFT for the call. PFT wishes everyone good luck. The Awards Show is underway! Before giving out the first prize, Tom thanks Omar the Scrivener, masterofsparks, and Buffcoat for digging deep to help the one and only (but not from Olney) Dorvid with the production.
(Defending Champion: Hesh)
1. Spike from Queens
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.
2. Julie from Cincinnati
Julie: Hello, Tom. It's Julie from Cincinnati.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Julie: Wait. No. Julie. From Cincinnati.
Julie: [Yetta barks in background] Do you like dogs?
Spike: Mmmmm ... from a distance. I'm not really a pet person.
Julie: Are you antisocial?
Spike: Mmm ... not really.
Julie: Oh! Have you got friends in real life?
Spike: Yes I do.
Julie: Oh. I don't.
Spike: Uh huh. And why is that?
Julie: Um ... my personality and all.
Spike: Okay ...
Tom: This is the most depressing thing I've ever heard in my life.
3. John from Charleston
John from Charleston, SC, calls in a voice that suggests he's hiding from someone. He's not in peril -- just alone in his bedroom and drinking beer. John thinks it's ova for veteran actor Jack Nicholson because it's painful to watch him keep playing the same character in movies. Dude, he didn't even bother with his latest effort, The Bucket List. John has an item for the top of Nicholson's Bucket List: "Do some shopping for a coffin." Tom doesn't like the entertain-us-or-die attitude. He thinks it's sick to wish death on someone just because they are no longer acting in good movies. Mike calls John's comment ghoulish, and Tom believes it rises to the level of ghoulesque. Tom starts doing an amazing impression of John from Charleston's call. He believes it's likely that John is living down the hall from his madre and padre. If he's only 17, Tom will send Officer Harrups over to arrest him for underage drinking.
WINNER: John from Charleston
- A caller starts crying and then GOMPs Tom. Mike is on such a delay that he won't hear the mutant for another hour. Tom knows that Mike is up to something, and he doesn't like it.
As Tom mentioned to PFT, he's grown sick and tired of Tool Academy, which is the dumbest thing he's ever seen in his life. In a nutshell, VH1 wrangled a group of monsters and shaved apes to try to shape them into good dudes for their girlfriends. Tom jumped aboard this intriguing televised social experiment and was initially entertained by the resulting freak show. He knows it's fake, but he at least wants them to preserve the fakeness of the premise. After the most recent episode, he realized that producers are not booting unchained lunatic Matsuflex, now prone to throwing temper tantrums like a nine-year-old, because they are clearly grooming the breakout star for a fame ride with an inevitable stop on the third season of I Love Money. Tom can't accept that they've thrown away any semblance of authentic competition in order to amp up the drama. Tom bids Tool Academy farewell. He was going to book Matsuflex or Rob "Power Tool" Brown on The Best Show before their program blew it and turned into garbage. He now wants them to stay far away from WFMU. Tom introduces the next award.
Best Best Show Scrivener (formerly Best Best Show Recapper)
(Defending Champion: Omar)
Tom applauds Omar for defending his title and asks him to call to accept the award.
- Tom bills Matt Fraction as the Fantastic Cartoon Dude, and Matt announces that he's getting the title tattooed across his abs this week in Old English script. (I highly recommend "Crazy Butch," the resident tattoo artist at the Flamingo Diner.) Tom lists some of the FCD's books, including The Invincible Iron Man, The Immortal Iron Fist, three Thor one-shots, Uncanny X-Men, ALF: The Melmacian Knight, Casanova, and The Annotated Mantooth!. The bottom line: you can't go wrong with this dude's cartoons 'cause they're fantastic. Matt says he's woefully underdressed, but appropriately excited about the awards show. He forgot about the Coffin Shopper until Tom rolled the clip package and triggered a post-traumatic stress flashback. He's glad that John from Charleston pulled it out, and Tom hopes the young man is celebrating at home by uncorking a bottle of
champagne Champale. He realizes that John probably opted for a more somber and thematically-appropriate victory party: drinking beer alone in his bedroom after a rough day at work. Matt envisions an alternate scenario where John is waiting at a bus stop and cracking a fortune cookie to find an extra slip. Tom picks JfC (big night for those initials!) as one of his favorite 2008 highlights. Matt says that if the year could have an epitaph, it would be that classic Nicholson to-do.
Matt never imagined anyone would ever utter the following sequence of words, but he wants to interject a Hogan's Heroes note into the proceedings. His grandfather, Harry, was a POW in WW2 who never really talked about his time in the Army. However, the old dog howled with laughter at Hogan's Heroes, a source of confusion for the entire Fraction family. Tom agrees that it's odd for a guy who actually got thrown in the cooler for 30 days as part of the whole labor camp shebang to think the show's fictional hijinks were the funniest thing in the world. Matt says that his grandfather was part of the squad that did reconnaissance leading up to the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. He would occasionally make a reference to his experiences. For example, one Christmas they had Yorkshire pudding with the meal, and he said he hadn't had the dish since he was stationed at a boarding house in London. One of his primary duties at that time was going across the English Channel to scout out the terrain. The only other details Matt knows are that he was picked up a few days after D-Day and hitchhiked to Poland when he got out. Tom realizes that Grandpa Harry was doing it. When Matt turned 25, he realized that his grandfather was out of the service, married with a kid, and had endured incredible struggles by that age. He had a website and was busy playing Call of Duty with fellow Marvel scribes.
Tom says that Grandpa Harry was a hero to his country in many ways, but he salutes Matt as the true hero of the family. Matt knows that heroes don't say such things about themselves. Tom thinks it's the mark of a true hero when he knows that fellow heroes don't say it, resists the temptation to say it, but kind of manages to say it anyway. He believes that Matt is a rogue-ish hero for pulling off the trick. Matt will give this new autobiographical character a mysterious scar and continue fleshing him out later tonight. Tom briefly promotes Matt's fiery Twitter account before Mike gives him word that a winner is on the line. Matt gladly departs to hear the night's first acceptance speech. Tom thanks Matt for the call and wishes him a great night of writing comics.
- Tom puts the call on the air and confirms that it's an actual Best Show Award winner. He then asks if it's Saddest Caller John from Charleston. The caller chuckles and identifies himself as The Scrivener. Tom makes sure it's really Omar and not the dude from Magnet. Omar is pleased that he edged out the dude who came out of nowhere with a late-December surge. Tom says this dude was almost the upset-minded Milk of tonight's show. Omar thinks he may be vulnerable to a dethroning in 2009, and Tom agrees that he's leaving himself a bit open to potential rivals.
Tom informs listeners that Omar is the guy who tirelessly tackles each installment of The Best Show, taking it from an unformed lump of clay into something suitable for display on a website called Recidivism. Omar says that Tom basically just provides him with the raw materials. After each show airs, Tom sends Omar a package of clay marked only with the show date. He says that Omar then retrieves it from his porch and drags it into the studio where he molds it into a work of art. Omar considers his workspace to be more of a lair, but Tom assumes that there is an art studio within said lair. Omar says that he does have a studio tucked away in an alcove. Tom believes each sculpture is a work of beauty and thanks Omar for his fantastic efforts throughout 2008. Omar thanks Tom for the award.
Tom asks Omar to reflect on the past year to pick a memorable moment, highlight, or lowlight that stands out in his mind. Omar pauses and asks Tom if he's referring to The Best Show. Tom says that he was obviously referring to the program and wonders if Omar thought he was talking about news events like the 2008 election. Omar points out that Barack Obama's victory was certainly memorable. Tom briefly considers giving Omar the Heave Ho, which would be a guaranteed winner for the 2009 Best Dismissal, but he can't pull the trigger. Omar predicts that worlds would have collapsed under the weight of the improbable dismissal. He gets back on track and mentions that 2008 was the year he graduated from mere recapper to official scrivener. Tom asks Omar to name the person who appointed him to this lofty position. Omar reveals that it was the Personal Computer himself: John Hodgman. Tom realizes that he still referred to Omar as the recapper. Omar reminds Tom that it's a new world. Tom asks Omar if he has any favorites in the popular Rookie of the Year category:
- Steve from North Hollywood
- Emma from Toronto
- Fredericks of New Pork Richey
- Julie from Cincinnati
Omar determines that this category is loaded. He compares the quartet to the years when the Best Supporting Actor category at the Oscars emerges as the real battleground. Tom feels badly for Emma in that lineup. Omar considers Emma the beacon of normalcy in an ocean that includes Fredericks clinging to an abandoned Quiznos in post-hurricane New Port Richey. Tom thinks Steve is relatively normal as well.
Omar notes that Steve had the most interesting rookie journey. He recalls that Tom recently told Steve that he experienced the entirety of Mickey Rourke's turbulent career in a span of just eight months on the show. He came on strong, but then suffered a major setback with the infamous Nate Hartley Turfout. Steve went way off the rails with his misguided decision to try to be a hotshot with his Hollywood buddy. Tom admires Steve for his post-NHT return to basics and steady climb back into the mix. Omar points out that Steve was very receptive to criticism. Tom agrees that Steve was coachable unlike Derrick Coleman, the notoriously obstinate NBA power forward. He thinks this coachability makes Steve a strong contender. Omar says that Fredericks clearly does his own thing, while the fully-formed Emma doesn't really need any coaching. As for JfC, he gets the sense that she's what they call a "multiple nominee." Tom confirms that she is the Slumdog Millionaire juggernaut of The Best Show Awards. Omar believes that JfC already took home some technical awards earlier in the evening, including a deserved win for Best ALF Impression. He quickly remembers that she performed this on 1/27/09, so it's not eligible until next year. Tom is sure that she also picked up a trophy for her frequent toiletmouth outbursts.
He gets maudlin to salute Omar's recaps and all the other fun stuff he does over at Recidivism with his little buddy, x amount, who is also a good guy. Omar doesn't disagree, but he mentions that x is also a bit strange. Tom says that Omar's work over the years has been a very touching contribution to The Best Show universe. Omar salutes Tom for his kind words. Tom urges Omar to treasure this award and this moment of triumph, and Omar promises that he will. Tom asks him if he wants to say anything to the people. The scrivener prefers not to. Tom loves it. Mike alerts him to an important call on Line 1.
- The H-Man, everyone's favorite radio protégée, checks in to thank Tom for changing his life and giving him the opportunity to co-host the program back in August. He says that once he became a regular listener, he often sees things that remind him of The Best Show as he grapples with the day-to-day grind at college. If the H-Man is ever feeling down, he'll fire up the podcast for guaranteed laughs. Tom thinks it's very sweet to hear that. The H-Man says he truly loves the show. While the H-Man's friends enjoy his involvement in The Best Show, Tom knows that they don't actually listen to the program. The H-Man says some of his fraternity brothers tuned in the night he made his big debut. Tom wonders if they are usually too busy throwing hate speech around town. The H-Man, who is a freshman, says he's tried to turn his housemates onto it, but a lot of them are upperclassmen busy with internships and work. Tom suspects the hoodlums are also spending their free time breaking into cars and the Dean's office. The H-Man says that he's fortunate not to live with any criminals. He doesn't even know the name of the school's Dean.
The H-Man announces that his radio show starts back up again tomorrow, and he's hoping to get FM qualified soon. However, he may have to wait until next semester for a slot since the only available times are 3:00 to 5:00 a.m. Tom asks him if he will return the favor by inviting him as a guest. The H-Man says he'd love for Tom to be his first call. Tom is upset that he doesn't want him to appear live in the studio, but he gets that the H-Man has fallen into the too-cool-for-school mentality that plagues his entire family. Tom accepts the fact that the H-Man will have no time for his mentor once he gets his big FM license. The H-Man denies ever saying anything like that. Tom makes sure that the H-Man knows he's just lovingly teasing him. He believes that this great young man represents, for better or worse, the future of this country. The H-Man seems a bit uneasy about taking on this substantial burden. Tom informs him that he's up for an award later in the evening. The H-Man is sitting on the edge of his seat. Tom bids him goodnight for now.
Best Dismissal (formerly Best GOMP)
(Defending Champion: Hesh)
1. Frank from Weehawken ("Fancy Candy")
Frank from Weehawken calls to generate some advance buzz on Tom's choice of 2008 Halloween treats for the Newbridge tricksters. Tom is still undecided on this important decision. He says previous Scharpling offerings have included candy. Frank wonders if Tom's moneyed status allows him to dole out full-size bars instead of the fun-size companions. Tom says he wraps King-Size Snickers bars in $20 bills. He gives Frank the Heave Ho for mentioning his finances.
2. Herbie from Allentown, PA ("Sarcastic Laugh")
Tom sings a bit of William Joel's "Allentown." Herbie laughs sarcastically at the rendition. Tom GOMPs him.
3. Spike ("Tag-Team Christmas Carol")
Spike says he doesn't dress up as Santa Claus because red is not his coluh, and he'll only sing carols from Phil Spector's Christmas Album. He emits a noise that Tom thinks is his cell phone ringtone. He's actually performing "Sleigh Ride" by The Ronettes. Tom joins him for some nice harmonies before Spike aborts the song just as they really start to spread some holiday cheer.. He thinks Tom gets it by this point. Tom gives him the Heave Ho. He wanted to continue creating inspirational Christmas magic, but the numbskull bailed on it.
4. Movie Star Nate Hartley ("Turfout")
Tom asks Hartley about what people can look forward to after seeing the exciting Drillbit Taylor this weekend. Hartley says he has a role in Little Big Men (later retitled to Role Models) with Paul Rudd, Seannnn William Scott, and Christopher "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse. He can't remember the name of one of his upcoming TV projects, so Steve from North Hollywood tells him to make up a name. Hartley says he's doing The Crazy Awesome Show and the Internet pilot Mars Sucks. Tom thought Steve was Hartley's set nanny, but now he sounds like his manager/agent. Hartley says he has to constantly check his PalmPilot to keep up with his busy schedule and make appointments. Tom appreciates getting the chance to talk to a Star of Tomorrow. He asks Hartley if he has what it takes to make it though the Hollywood gauntlet of horror. Hartley starts to respond in the affirmative, but Tom GOMPs him.
5. Anonymous ("Anonymous Rope-a-Dope")
A caller seriously thinks a graduate student could make-a thesis outta some-a-the people who call the show. He says that Tom and his regulars make his day when they are on the air. He doesn't like the show ... he loves it. Tom thinks it's nice of him to say that. He tells the caller that he often allows the good calls to play out, while he must terminate others for being too boring. Like this one. It will never stop entertaining Tom.
6. James ("Tom Jamesing James")
A caller asks Tom if he's still soliciting opinions on Superhero Movie. He says that he kinda likes all those crazy spoof-em-ups. Tom says his favorite character was James. He did it! Tom James'd James. He wonders how James likes them apples, which are now his favorite fruit since he referenced them in the context of putting the little worm back in his place. Tom bets that James's cheap toupee is spinning around on his bald head. He thinks the ASPCA should investigate this hairpiece. Tom also advises James to start shopping for an adult-sized toupee to replace the miniature model he purchased at age 13.
7. Larry the Perv ("Larry the Perv Rope-a-Dope")
Aspiring adult film director Lair-ee the Perv tells Tom Starplin that he loves him, but he's gotta stop GOMPin' Lair-ee. Tom didn't hear it. Larry says he's sauree and tries to repeat it in full. He is not allowed to finish. Tom wonders if Mike's hopeless pupil has ever heard the show since he fell so easily into that trap.
- Spike calls to accept his award, although he sounds kind of annoyed by it. Tom congratulates him on picking up Best Dismissal. Spike says he missed the category because his computer went down. He just heard his name after restoring connectivity. Tom gives him the Heave Ho for this un-abelievable mishap. He warns everyone that this is what happens when you steal your Internet connection from neighbors. Tom considers ending the show right now.
- Frank from Weehawken says he's in shock about his Best Dismissal victory. He's not sure how to begin thanking all the people who made it possible, but he starts with Tom and Mike. Tom informs him that he got nominated and lost. Frank says he called in before Tom announced the winner and assumed his big candy bar call was a shoo-in. Tom wonders if he really thinks that was the year's best Heave Ho. Frank felt that he had better 2008 dismissals, but he appreciates the nomination for this one. Tom says he just pulled a Big Baby Jesus/Soy Bomb at The Best Show Awards. He asks Mike to escort Frank off the stage. Frank vows to get back in the mix next year in the hopes of unseating Spike. Tom is pleased to hear that Frank plans to turn in some horrible calls throughout the rest of 2009. Frank is for the children.
Most Delusional Caller
(Defending Champion: Clark out in Union, NJ)
1. Spike ("Opening Slot")
Spike, the tap dancer on the cracked slats of the forgotten orange crate of shattered dreams, says he'd like to find out which medications the last caller was taking. Tom isn't privy to his specific prescriptions, but he agrees that the discombobulated Travis Edgkin was clearly off in his assessment of WFMU. Spike says he didn't get him at all and wonders why everyone thinks he's strange compared to bizarre callers like Edgkin. Tom feigns ignorance about Spike's reputation. Spike cackles and explains that many Best Show listeners find him weird. Tom wants Spike to make his case for retaining the opening slot that he's somehow annexed in recent years. Spike says he's prompt and always gets through during the 8:20 to 8:30 time period.
2. Julie from Cincinnati ("Marriage Proposal")
Julie: Hello, Tom. It's Julie from Cincinnati.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Julie: Wait. No. Julie. From Cincinnati.
JfC wonders what is the matter with that guy. Paul F. Tompkins asks her which guy she's concerned about. JfC says it's him. Tom urges her to keep it clean. She confirms that she tried to ask PFT to marry her, but now it's too late. She apologizes for rescinding the offer. PFT is puzzled that something is apparently wrong with him. Tom decides to slide things forward.
3. Frederick of New Port Richey ("Fonzi Scheme")
Fredericks transitions from vampire dangling to news of a plot similar to the recent Barry Madoff scandal. He tells Ben Kharak that a leather-jacketed hoodlum is going around hitting the sides of jukeboxes to get free music. It's a Fonzie scheme. Ben sees that Fredericks has substituted the Happy Days character for the investment fraud namesake in the punchline. Fredericks senses that Ben didn't think the joke worked. Ben actually encourages Fredericks to stick to his daily routine of exercising, taking a breather, and then crafting some material. Fredericks says he lifted the timely titter from another program. He does, however, think about Fonzie from time to time, and more lately than he has in well over a decade. Fredericks reveals that "other things" control him.
WINNER: Julie from Cincinnati
- JfC calls to accept her award for Rookie of the Year, but Tom informs her that she won Most Delusional Caller. JfC says she was just trying to live up to it by being funny and delusional. She reports that she started watching ALF again, and it's proving to be as funny as when she was 12. JfC fears that this is a pretty pathetic admission. Tom thinks it's fine to laff it up and have a grand old time with the sitcom of her youth.
JfC says this award is the biggest honor of her whole life. (Tom: "Oh, good heavens.") She's extremely happy and thanks Tom for making her year. Tom asks her what she has to say to the people. JfC jokingly thanks all the little people, but she really wants to say that she's given up on PFT as a potential husband. JfC wonders if APMike will marry her instead. Tom thinks this union could very well happen. JfC is concerned that Mike is fat, but Tom assures her that he's a handsome man. JfC takes things full circle by renewing the request she made the night of her 1/8/08 debut. She asks Tom if her dog, Yetta, can come to the studio with her handler and bark live on the air. Tom asks God to help him for what he's about to say, but he approves JfC's first trip to New Jersey. JfC says she will let Tom know when she plans to make the trek. She assures him that she's not as creepy as she pretends to be ... she's worse. Tom wonders if she's currently flaunting the skills of delusion that won her this award. JfC confirms that she is very delusional and leaves to go properly celebrate the best thing that's ever happened to her. Tom bids her a great night. Mike admits that the next call is not really a good one.
TMEJB's lead oudist, Matsuflex, warms up with Led Zeppelin's "Bustle in Your Hedgerow"
- Greg from the rock group Psychedelic Sitting Room thinks he and Tom got off to a very, very bad start. Tom reminds listeners that last week Greg was acting like a hotshot and trying to tell him how it is. Greg apologizes for coming off that way, but he did get a little mad when Tom played Chumbawumba's "Tubthumping" instead of PSR's "9th Planet." Tom says he was simply misinformed about the correct track. Greg announces that the members of PSR are forming a supergroup called The Middle Eastern Jam Band. Tom is amazed that PSR has already accomplished so much that they need to spread their wings with a new project. Greg says that PSR has more work to do, but they want to avoid a myopic musical vision. TMEJB will focus on regional funk featuring the Oud, a Middle Eastern lute. Greg thinks it's a very interesting instrument that Tom should research. Tom declares Greg the master of all things interesting and then confirms that Greg knows what "interesting" means because this call doesn't fit the standard definition. He asks Greg to send some of his music and let the listeners determine if he can walk the walk to justify all his tough talk. Tom wonders if he really expects people to get excited when he throws his band name around without providing a sample. Greg says that every time he calls he gets hung up
Rookie of the Year
(Defending Champion: Eddie)
1. Steve in North Hollywood
Mike let Steve through because he has a promising idea for a 2008 Best Show slogan: There Will Be GOMPs. Tom thinks it's really good and envisions it with the same lettering and Bible-leather background. Steve is also a fan of Tom v. Everyone, which he would gladly vote for in a general election if TWBG gets knocked out in the primaries. Tom says that people thought TvE was too negative, so there was a general shift to Us vs. Them. He rejects the move from Star Wars to Star Trek -- the power of the individual to a united society -- because he's not sure who is included in the "us" collective. Is it James? Julie from Cincinnati? Hesh? He doesn't even know if Mike is on his side half the time. Steve points out that Mike lets questionable callers like Spike and James on the air and serves as an accomplice to the people raining death threats on Tom's bottom. Steve doesn't hate Spike, but he doesn't want to be lumped into a group with him. Tom points out that whenever the WFMU marathon comes around, Spike goes the way of the dodo bird. When it's pledge time, he's off at one of his Tuesday night costume parties.
2. Emma from Toronto
Top-notch Emma from Toronto follows up her recent 5-star debut call with an attempt to get a Canadian entry into the Creepopedia. Tom wonders if it's poutine, a popular fast-food dish consisting of French fries topped with cheese curds and a brown gravy of sorts. Emma says poutine is actually kinda good, but only under very specific circumstances and in very specific places. Tom informs her that the New Jersey version is called Dizgo Fries. Emma thinks Tom is making that up. He wishes. Emma apologizes for a high-pitched giggle, but the notion of Disco Fries is just ridiculous to her. Tom outs Mike as a champion Disco Fries eater. He's currently training for an unsanctioned July 4th event, which is held underneath the boardwalk that hosts the Nathan's hot dog contest. Emma picks Mike to win without having ever seen him eat Disco Fries or knowing anything about the other competitors. Tom says he's seen Mike eat them every week. He makes them at home and brings them to the studio in a Tupperware container. Emma thinks it's good to have a hobby, but Tom says competitively consuming Disco Fries is Mike's life. Emma now realizes that call screening is Mike's hobby. She apologizes to Mike for having him pegged. He's taking the whole discussion pretty hard because Disco Fries are generally off-limits on the show. Emma wonders if he's consoling himself by eating more Disco Fries. Tom is not looking. Emma doesn't blame him.
3. Fredericks from New Port Richey
Tom asks Fredericks about his New Port Richey-style Thanksgiving. Fredericks says the festivities included Wild Turkey and regular turkey. His sister came down from Tennessee with the kids, and there were 10-12 people having a pleasant time around the fire in the backyard. Tom inquires about this non-traditional blaze. Fredericks says the family was just showing their annual appreciation for having the freedom to burn crosses. Tom asks him if he's a member of the KKK. Fredericks says he was just dabbling in a bit of humor.
4. Julie from Cincinnati
Julie: Hello, Tom. It's Julie from Cincinnati.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Julie: Wait. No. Julie. From Cincinnati.
Julie from Cincinnati calls to find out if Tom has really seen Taxi Driver 150 times. He admits to only seeing it three times. JfC brags about seeing it a few times, but she's really only it once. She declares Fritz Long's Hangmen Always Die Also the best movie she's ever seen. Tom has no idea what she's talking about. JfC fails to make any more sense when she shifts the conversation to how one can make diamonds from tequila. Tom thanks her for the call. He directs Mike to the "D" section at the back end of the WFMU library to look under Davis/Miles for an album called Pangaea.
WINNER: Steve from NoHo aka The Comeback Kid aka Randy "The Ram" Robinson
Tom immediately regrets referencing The Wrestler because it will lead to another round of Mike's endless commentary on the Bayonne Acme that was used as a key location. He sees Mike coming and bans any mention of his local supermarket. Tom says that Steve started out hot by setting the tone for the 2008 WFMU Marathon with the "There Will Be GOMPs" slogan, struggled mightily after the Nate Hartley Turfout, and then somehow clawed his way back to the top.
- A caller says he's Steve from North Hollywood, but Tom corrects him. It's the newly-crowned 2008 Rookie of the Year. Steve thanks Tom for this highly sought-after title. Since Steve had a rollercoaster ride throughout the year, Tom asks him to give some advice to budding regular callers. Steve says that newbies need to leave their own comedy skits behind, focus on the topic, drop the 'tude, and respect the host. Tom thinks these are good guidelines. He asks Steve if he wants to thank Nate Hartley. Steve thanks his buddy, who just asked for the phone number.
Tom goes right to the phones to find the movie star bellowing his congratulations to Big Steve. Nate says it's also nice to hear from Tom Scharpling. Tom says people might know Nate as the Rule Master in Role Models or as Wade Drennan in Drillbit Taylor, now available on DVD and primed for a perpetual cable run. Nate says he just started a Disney gig playing Hannah Montana's prom date. Tom wonders if his character has an extended guest arc or if it's a single-episode appearance. Nate says it depends on how the fictional date goes down, but he hopes there's more because Miley Cyrus is very pretty and girls will like him if he remains on the program. While Spike has denounced the tween starlet as "Silly Virus," Nate says she's very nice and energetic. Tom refuses to besmirch Hannah Montana because Nate has to work with the young lady. Nate assures Tom that he's a professional on the set. Tom thinks he's also up, down, and every which way an actor because he somehow managed to turn Steve's moment into his moment. Nate says he didn't mean for that to happen, but it's too late. Tom
GO gives him the Heave Ho. Steve laughs at Nate's latest Best Show turfout.
Tom points out that if Nate's lone objective was to salute Steve, he could have called him at 11:01 p.m. or sent a text message. He decided to do it on the radio in front of everybody. Steve says Nate is a good boy. Tom gives him credit for trying, but he thinks he's clearly troubled. Steve is less concerned about his adopted little brother and promises to give him a noogie later in the week. Tom wants Steve to tell Nate that it was sick of him to try to steal his moment. Steve confirms receipt of the message with a 10-4. Tom gives him a moment to thank some of his biggest FOT supporters: samir, his brother John M., hugman, iAmBaronVonTito, and Dorvid.
Guests pack the second floor of WFMU to catch a glimpse of their new leader
Tom asks Mike which category he wants to hear next, and Mike picks Best Guest. Tom denies the request and thinks Mike is crazy for suggesting it. He wants Mike to explain what he's doing to cause such a commotion. Mike finds a live microphone and says the second floor has a party atmosphere compared to Tom's fourth-floor morgue. Tom has indeed observed a lot of comings and goings from the second floor during the show. Mike says that, as expected, Larry the Perv is cleaning up at The Mike Show Awards, including the Best Caller trophy. He's also pleased that LtP helped liven up the ceremony by inviting a lot of his friends from the world of adult feature films. Tom had no idea that Mike was conducting a competing special. Mike reveals that this is why Tom got booted out of the main studio.
In addition to Perv's pervs, some of the sketchy patrons of Mike's uncle's bar followed him here with the promise of free drinks. Mike says they are throwing knives as part of a dangerous variation on the "Five-Finger Fillet" game. While the original involves rapidly stabbing between the spread fingers of a hand placed on a table, Mike says that this version requires the targets to hold their hands up against the wall. Tom thinks this impalement artistry sounds horrifying. Mike confirms that things are getting wild down there. He also invited some of the deli workers from the Acme featured in The Wrestler. Tom notes that it wouldn't be a true Mike appearance if he didn't mention the Acme within 90 seconds.
Mike says that Best Guest winner Produce Pete is the big celebrity in the house. Tom is familiar with the WNBC expert, but Mike is talking about the X-rated Produce Pete who appears on The Hot! Network. He says that this PP gives viewers tips on stuff to do with fruits and vegetables in the bedroom. Tom is disgusted by the food filth and wants Mike to stop telling him about it. Mike compares his banquet to the loose-goosey vibe at the Golden Globes, but Tom thinks it sounds more like the Adult Video News Awards. Mike says it's a cross between the Globes, AVNs, and the "drunk tank" at a police station. I've since learned that comedians Jim Norton and Rich Vos warmed up the crowd with some "erotic charades" featuring Sheila Larson, The Mike Show's Most Delusional Caller.
Tom says it wasn't that long ago that Mike showed up every week because of his uncurbed enthusiasm for The Best Show. He thinks he lost his focus and now spends a little more time developing his own show. Mike asks Tom if he's really lost his focus or just found his destiny. Tom concedes that Mike may be finally living his dream. Mike says he's afraid to return to the rowdy second floor because some of the stragglers attacked him in the stairwell. Tom refuses to let him hide out on the fourth floor. Mike says he doesn't actually know half of the 100 people roaming around down there. Tom blames Mike for letting so many people into building. Mike asks Tom if he has a weapon he can use to help usher them out. Tom does not, but Mike finds a club to help fend off the celebratory mob. Mike asks Tom to wish him luck. Tom concludes that The Mike Show is officially out of control.
Lifetime Achievement Award for Radio Greatness #1
Tom says The Best Show has been host to a variety of greats who have delighted listeners by doing their thing. Some of the most talented people in their respective fields of comedy, music, coatchecking, entertainment, and delusion have appeared on the program over the ages. This year Tom wants to pay tribute to one very special talent with a very special award.
WINNER: Theodore F. Leo
- Ted Leo calls while in the throes of excitement about what he thinks he just heard. He correctly heard that the "The World Is in the Turlet" (and let's not forget his spirited stint during Week 2 of the 2008 Marathon) launched him into rarefied Best Show air. Tom also gives deserved kudos to the Pharmacists (Marty "Count" Violence, Big Steve, and Little Jimmy), Scott for holding down the production, and Mahmood for keeping everybody in the correct spirit to rise to the daunting challenge inside the Chicago studio.
While it all seems like a bowl of peaches and cream in retrospect, Tom admits that he never thought it would end in triumph. He passed along the finished lyrics at 9:10 p.m., and 90 minutes later he premiered a fully-produced smash hit. It was radio magic. Ted says it's hard to believe that he was part of such a special moment that improbably led to the first-ever Best Show Lifetime Achievement award. He thanks Tom for the ridiculously great honor. Ted says he could not have done it without the Friends of Tom, who threw out amazing lyrics to help build an epic that prophetically captured the pre-election jitters a good six months before the global economy sank into the titular fixture. Tom says he's still taken aback when he thinks about sitting in the studio and watching nothing turn into something. Ted praises Tom for being a good enabler and emitting the kind of energy that fosters impromptu rock music.
Tom says that Mike is currently attempting to pull off the same feat with Buckcherry frontman Josh Todd. He heard some lyrics about stripper poles, which confirm that it will be a knockoff filth ditty. Ted is not surprised to hear this because that is Buckcherry's typical musical MO, and he knows that Mike has been increasingly drawn to such debauchery. Tom salutes Ted and everyone involved in the song. Ted says that this honor is only the beginning of an ongoing quest to scale hitherto unknown heights in the very near future. Tom is fired up about the future climbs. Ted says he was just kidding about Mike. Tom assures him that Mike isn't even listening.
Lifetime Achievement for Radio Greatness #2
Tom razes The Best Show Hall of Fame because it got painted with the corrupt brush of questionable membership. He rescues one current HOFer and elevates him to even loftier status.
WINNER: Mel the Podcast Guru
Best/Most Violent Threat
(Defending Champion: Kip Palfner)
1. Marky Ramone
Marky thinks Tom is just digging it deeper and deeper and deeper. Consequently, he will punish Tom by playing harder and harder and harder on his head. Tom informs Marky that he misinterpreted an insult that he never made. Marky misinterprets this explanation as Tom admitting to insulting him. Tom says that he is incorrectly processing his words as insults. Marky asks Tom to process what he will do to him. He grabs his sticks and gives Tom a preview of what he will bang out on his head. He returns to the phone to reprise his opening melody: "Ba ba ba ba, ba ba ba ba, you're gonna get murded."
2. Philly Boy Roy
PBR vows to change everything and become the King of Newbridge. He says his first act will be committing Tom's murder. Tom is not surprised to hear this. PBR didn't know he was that predictable, and he wonders if Tom can predict some other stuff he will do to him before he dies. Tom predicts some kind of humiliation involving a cheesesteak and a Phillies uniform. PBR thinks Tom may be inside his mind right now. He asks Tom if he's seen his sketches. Tom denies it, but PBR tells Rhoda the bad news anyway. He doesn't like this at all. Much like the fate promised by Ronald Thomas Clontle, PBR will draw and quarter Tom. In this scenario, Rhoda will draw Tom while he throws quarters at him. PBR abruptly hangs up.
3. Gene Simmons
Gene requests the song he co-wrote with Bob Dylan, and he feels so sorry for Tom because he doesn't know about this historic collaboration despite having a radio station. Gene says he's coming down to the studio to hit Tom with something. Tom correctly assumes that it will be his axe bass. Gene sees this as evidence that Tom is clairvoyant in addition to being stupid. Tom says he knows it's his weapon of choice from his many previous threats. Gene denies any prior mentions of axe bass violence and tells Tom to get ready to taste the instrument. Tom asks him which wig he selected for this evening's attack, but Gene denies that he wears wigs at all.
4. Joe the Plumber
Tom repeats his earlier conclusion that the public doesn't want candy toilets in their homes. JTP assures him that they are constructed from good fudge. He wants Tom to ask his soap opera friend for a second opinion. PFT passes on it because, at the very least, it's just too much fudge. JTP thinks they both stink for rejecting the crux of his campaign. He tells Tom to add his name to the official ballot and threatens to beat both of them with a fudge monkey wrench. Tom thanks him for calling. JTP tells him to shut up and then hangs up.
WINNER: Gene Simmons
Mike informs Tom that Mr. Simmons is on the line. Tom joins the God of Thunder in progress.
- Gene says he was talking to his assistant, Troy, to find out why he's on the phone. Tom identifies himself and WFMU, but Gene doesn't hear any ringing bells. Tom congratulates him for winning Best/Most Violent Threat, avenging last year's defeat to the flick of Mr. Palfner's razor cane. Gene now remembers that Tom is the boy with the high school radio station. Tom disputes Gene's assessment.
Gene asks Tom if this award is similar to receiving a gold record plaque. He mentions that Kiss has amassed more RIAA gold certifications in America than any other recording artist. Tom says tonight's award recognizes what Gene accomplished on The Best Show in 2008. Since he does so many interviews, Gene asks Tom to refresh his memory on his violent outburst. Tom informs Gene that he threatened him with his trademark axe bass. Gene fondly chuckles and promises that he would and will do it again. He decides that the time is right to issue a new threat to attack Tom with his axe bass. Tom thinks this is an exciting turn of events. Gene says he will take it up one notch by killing Tom, chopping him up into little pieces, and depositing the results in a Kiss-branded urn. Tom notes that Gene has apparently added an urn to a product line that already included a Kiss Kasket. Gene asks Tom if he's excited by this. Tom says he's a little excited by the new Kiss merchandise. Gene thinks Tom will also be excited about a little tour that will happen this summer. The fans wanted the best, and they got it:
Tom knows drummer Singer and guitarist Thayer, but he's never heard of Rick or Todd. Gene says Rick is "The Lover" and Todd is "The Demon" in the band Kiss. Tom thought Gene usually portrayed the fire-breathing character. Gene says he does, but he and Paul Stanley are sitting this one out. Tom confirms that this is a legitimate Kiss tour despite the lack of any original members. Gene argues that Kiss is a franchise that can survive in the marketplace without the main duo. Tom predicts that audiences will be very dissatisfied with this tour.
Gene knows that all of The Best Show's listeners will be satisfied when they hear the lid of the urn being screwed shut to secure Tom's flesh chunks. He thinks this is a very unappetizing container. Tom agrees and adds that he doesn't appreciate the gruesome threats, even though they are award-worthy. Gene thinks Tom actually loves the idea of being axe murdered. He's confident that Tom will also love the hottest band in the world: Eric, Tommy, Rick, and Todd. Tom tells Gene that nobody will love that lineup of "Kiss." Gene says the very affordable tickets will include an $800 KissPit pass that essentially places fans right on the stage. Tom wonders if this will be a full-scale arena tour. Gene says this version of Kiss booked more intimate venues, such as The Court Tavern in New Brunswick, N.J. Tom assumes they are playing in the very small basement. Gene says they got bumped to the crawlspace because Foghat is playing the main room that same night.
Tom thinks it sounds like Kiss fans have a lot to be excited about if this is indeed what Kiss has become. Gene thinks they will be even more excited about Tom's chunky flesh remains being encased in a Kiss urn. Tom thanks Gene for taking the time to call and congratulates him again for the award. However, he will not wish him nothing but the best. Gene thinks that is fair enough because he wishes Tom only the worst. Tom accepts that the relationship is a two-way street. He tells Gene to have a great night. Gene is much less cordial: "You die." Tom sarcastically thanks him for the parting death shot. The funereal mood lifts when Tom receives some very exciting news about another Best Show Awards winner on the line.
- John from Charleston, SC, announces himself as the originator of the Jack Nicholson "Go Shop For A Coffin" line that clinched this year's Saddest Caller award. Tom is giddy to be talking to someone who is like a famous person. He asks John if he knew the Nicholson request would start a radio revolution when he said it on the fateful night of March 11, 2008. John says he had no idea that he unleashed some kind of monster. Tom wonders how the resulting craze affected his life in the following months. John finds it difficult to fully explain its impact, but his closest friends definitely look at him differently since he first appeared on the program. While he's reluctant to say that he's become a celebrity in his own town, many of the locals thought it was great.
John says he found out about his Saddest Caller victory when he was at Andolini's Pizza in downtown Charleston. His friend and faithful Best Show listener, Ryan from Rock Hill (aka "The Dude Man"), called and told him the good news. Tom assumes that the subsequent show where he ended up talking like John for 30 minutes must have been a proud moment for his family. John says the impression rendered him as speechless as he is right now. Tom has to move along for the final push, so he congratulates John for his award. John thanks him and teases a new crop of coffin shoppers that includes steroidal slugger Alex Rodriguez and geriatric Oakland Raiduhs owner Al Davis. Tom asks him to call back soon to continue the coffin talk.
(Defending Champion: Jesse "The Body" Thorpe)
The sound of a "Heeeelllloooo, Tom" hits the airwaves instead of the soothing Supercaller tones of Paycheque in Toronto, Erika from Baltimore, or Dave from Knoxville. It's Spike from Queens. Tom is horrified that he hit the wrong button and sealed the year's disastrous fate. Spike cackles at his misfortune. Tom says it's the worst laugh he's ever heard. Spike thinks people love his laugh, and upon further reflection Tom admits that it is very warm and endearing.
2. Steve in North Hollywood
Steve in NoHo(UhOh) steps right back up to the plate with an entry for the topic. He says he loves the rock 'n rollers, but he wants them to save the cover songs for their live performances. Steve is having troubling escaping The Killers's cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay" and No Doubt's rendition of Talk Talk's "It's My Life." Tom suggests turning off the horrible radio station and switching to a CD. He GOMPs him again. Last place!
3. Fredericks of New Port Richey
"Na-um-yeah. Graham Nash. Is the bad one."
4. Trembling Eagle
Zach Galifianakis cackles at the mere mention of this young man's name.
Tom asks TE if he's going to talk about him being a fat blob again. John Hodgman realizes he's caught in the middle of something. TE tells Tom that he loves him, and Hodgman says the supposed blob actually looks fantastic. TE compares Tom favorably to a football linebacker. He says that his many interests include
bad hip-hopnew religious movements. Hodgman understands that Trembling Eagle is a man of many enthusiasms. TE is particularly fascinated by movements that are unique to America. Hodgman correctly guesses that The Church of Latter-day Saints is on TE's radar. Tom gets rid of TE for responding with an "Ahh, yes" like he was the guy from Live and Let Die doing 7 UP commercials.
5. Julie from Cincinnati
Julie: Hello, Tom. It's Julie from Cincinnati.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Tom: Quality Caller.
Julie: Wait. No. Julie. From Cincinnati.
JfC announces that she's already bored with the tragic passing of actor Heath Ledger, which people are still buzzing about three hours after the news broke. Tom asks her to name a celebrity story that she finds more compelling. JfC says she loved the awesome death of Anna Nicole Smith because it had elements of a murder mystery. Tom agrees that it was awesome, and PFT also believes it was a great, senseless death. Tom GOMPs JfC for turning into a ghoul and offering no sympathy for a poor guy who was not even 30 years old. He literally has to shake the call off because it sent a jolt up his spine. PFT guesses that Julie drank a bottle of Rumple Minze before making the call.
WINNER: Trembling Eagle
Tom spots the MMA enthusiast in the FOT Chat and demands that he call to accept his award like a man. He points out that TE is tough stuff when he's juiced on androstenedione and HGH with the support of the Iron Brotherhood, but tonight he can't even rise to the lowly ranks of the Telephone Tough Guys. Tom considers stripping TE of the title for this sick display.
- Regular Joe from Seattle calls to relay some instant messages from Trembling Eagle, who apparently smashed all of his phones while working out to his beloved Natural Born Killers soundtrack. He thinks it's been a great awards show and gives JfC a shoutout for picking up Most Delusional Caller. Tom asks RegJoe if TE also managed to mess up his text statement. RegJoe reports the first transmission from the extremely slow typer: "Thanx for the award." He suggests that TE is having trouble typing with his oversized hands, but then he realizes that he probably shouldn't be rude to his client. TE says that despite getting off on the wrong foot, he hopes Tom will still consider starting a weightlifting regimen. Tom says that if he's given four days to prepare, he will defeat TE in any competition. He already knows that he can run faster than TE because his inflated ankles would explode when in motion. Tom will also take him down in a wide range of events, such as straight-up fistfighting, Ping Pong, tap dancing, cup stacking, and even trembling like an eagle. He loses patience with TE's meager output and gives him a proxy Heave Ho.
(Defending Champion - Paycheque in Toronto)
1. Samir in Florida
The soothing sounds of Samir in Florida serve as a Blue-like balm after the flare-up of geographical warfare. PFT thinks Samir always sounds very elegant on the phone, and Tom has seen pictorial evidence that confirms Samir as a classy guy. PFT wonders if he's a bit of a dandy. Tom says that Samir's keen sense of style reminds him a bit of PFT's sartorial swagger. Samir says he tries to model his look after PFT whenever he can. PBR picks up an accent indicating that Samir is from Eng-uh-lund, perhaps a town called London.
2. Laurie from Miami
Laurie acts as a proxy for FOT Chat maestro Wes, who came up with "The Ballad of El Baldo" as a title for a song about James. Tom likes the play on the Big Star track that provided one of his aliases. Laurie imagines the song as a super-dramatic rock opera with a heavy Queen/ABBA influence. Tom thinks James could be incorporated into the song, but he seems reluctant to give him a starring role. He revises his political transition to "the western world will perish within the next 15 years." Laurie thinks it's kind of wordy, but Tom is confident that Ted will be able to sell it. Laurie suggests a rewrite to "the western world, goin' up in flames." Tom finds it too eloquent and wants Laurie to provide a rhyming couplet instead. She offers an aflame/to blame pairing to suggest that James is to blame for the world's impending doom. Tom uses that to write "creeps like James are always to blame" as a potential lyric.
3. Erika from Baltimore
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 newsman Wolf Blitzer.
4. Emma from Toronto
Emma calls with a question for Todd Palin. He seems very intrigued to hear a female voice. Tom asks Emma to please tell Todd her age. Emma reveals that she's only 17. She doesn't want to offend Todd, but she thinks his tone was a little creepy and over the line. Todd apologizes and tries to bond with Emma by telling her that Alaska's neighbour to the south is Upper Canada, which he can see from a helicopter. Emma asks Todd if he frequently finds himself in a helicopter. Todd says he's sometimes flies in them when he shoots animals. Emma thinks this is a reasonable and gentlemanly form of the sport. Todd believes that God wants people to go on these aerial hunting sprees. Emma missed this part of the Bible. Todd is pretty sure the relevant passage is somewhere in Rebulations.
5. Paycheque from Toronto
Heavyweight Supercaller Paycheque in Toronto supports the fantastic topic with the first post-mortem entry. He loves Johnny Thunders, but when he's holding a triple-10" collection of Thunders playing with a pick-up band in Buffalo circa 1984 the love dissipates. He. Did it. Again.
6. Dave from Knoxville
Dr. Fred Meyers welcomes Dave from Knoxville him to Couch Talk. Dave says it's perfect timing because he's a little down about turning 50 while Tom was at the cardboard convention for the past 6-8 weeks. He's depressed because he feels like he has nothing to look forward to after reaching this milestone other than Social Security checks. Meyers says he would be on the lookout for something that will make his life better. He thinks that Dave will soon be reinvigorated when he walks into a Barnes & Noble to find He Ate My Fudge: In the Psycho Trenches with The Unfixables by Dr. Fred Meyers. Tom tells Dave not to buy his book. Dave says there is a local B&N that is open until midnight. Meyers says it actually comes out in two weeks, so Dave asks him what he should do in the interim. Meyers says there's nothing he can do other than try to hang tight. Dave asks Tom if he can help him. Tom wishes he could. Meyers says Tom definitely can't help anyone because he can't even help himself. Tom thanks his doctor for his latest batch of encouraging words.
7. Fredericks of New Port Richey
Fredericks is momentarily rattled by some kind of psychedelic interruption that sounds like a plane flying overhead. Ben notices that the disturbed phone connection is making Fredericks sounds like robot. Fredericks says he actually wanted to propose a topic about the possibility that we are all robots. When the noise returns Ben wonders if Fredericks is attempting to travel through time. Fredericks suggests that he found a wormhole to enter a different dimension within the same time-space continuum. He points out that people get older in every dimension unless they are bodyless and don't notice.
WINNER: Laurie from Miami
- A shocked Laurie from Miami calls to accept the award she thought would go to her statemate. She apologizes for the slight delay caused by her appearance on The Mike Show. Tom thinks that's a bit gross, but he congratulates the polarizing figure for digging deep and winning Best Caller on his show. Laurie thanks Tom, the other top-notch nominees, APMike, and Best Show lovers everywhere. She bids farewell by endorsing Hugman for Best Call.
Best Guest [Best Guest Clip]
(Defending Champion: Ted Leo)
Tom apologizes to Dorvid for not burning the Best Guest clip he worked on for 12 hours. He fears that Dorvid will come after him for the oversight. However, Tom makes up for it by performing a series of incendiary impressions of the famous people nominated for this award.
1. Paul F. Tompkins ["MUUUUUUHHHHHH!" (the roar of a fat, diseased, wild orangutan)]
2. Ted Leo ["Oh, hey, it's Teddy." (Funzie/Dracula tone)]
3. John Hodgman ["Hey, John Hodgman"]
4. Zach Galifianakis ["Bllluuuhhh, you look like Artie Lange."]
5. Patton Oswalt ["Hey, it's Patton." (R. Dreyfuss-y tone)]
6. Andrew Daly ["Oh, hi, Andrew Daly."]
7. The H-Man ["It's me, The H-Man"]
Tom realizes that none of these guests will ever return to the show after hearing his horrifying impressions of them.
WINNER: The H-Man
- A pumped H-Man escapes a hazing ritual to express his gratitude to Tom for the award. As soon as he heard his name, he jumped up and slapped high-fives with his roommate and friend, Ben. Tom tells the H-Man to use this honor as grounds for terrorizing the campus with a smashing spree. The H-Man thanks j-peg, the Z-Man, his parents, APMike, samir, Steve in North Hollywood, Laurie in Miami, Erika in Baltimore, Regular Joe, and everyone else who called during his show. Tom plays him off with the bed music. He says that he's already getting a flurry of angry IMs from the people he insulted with his impressions. Tom explains that when he's walking the tightrope he doesn't even know what he's saying. When he gets in the moment next to a live microphone, he's as dangerous as Lenny Bruce on steroids. Tom braces himself for a friendless existence.
1. Little Bill/Big Bill/Mr. Sherbert ("Land of Confusion")
Little Bill: Oh, that's a whole thing that I was actually reading about in ... uh ... gosh, I feel like it was in The Atlantic?
Tom: Mmm hmmm.
Little Bill: Yeah.
Little Bill: About how ... uh ... animals take over their masters' traits and things?
Tom: Now who's reading that?
Little Bill: Little Bill.
Little Bill: Yeah.
Tom: And you were reading that about--
Mr. Sherbert: I don't like him reading that stuff. I think it warps his mind.
Tom: And who said that?
Mr. Sherbert: Mr. Sherbert.
Tom: (laughs quietly) Okay ...
Mr. Sherbert: Yeah.
2. Catherine from West Orange ("Hey, Coach!")
An obsessive father takes his family of five on a weeklong February "vacation" to Penn State and chases head football coach Joe Paterno around campus in the hopes of snaping a picture.
3. Todd Palin ("Ice Hog")
However, Todd is definitely worried about how this campaign has turned out to be a total downer. The constant traveling is wearing him down, and the Republicans have no interest in cutting loose on the trail. Todd says that he's particularly disappointed that they won't let him ride the "Ice Hog" anywhere. Tom points out that there isn't much snow around in early autumn. Todd thinks Tom will love the great idea he had to overcome this. In a nutshell, he wants to blast out on his GSX over fake confetti snow when Sarah introduces him at rallies. Todd says creeps like Milt Robley do not support these flashy entrances. Tom informs him that he's referring to former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Todd thinks that sounds right.
4. Ramsey in Brooklyn ("Morgan Spurlock's Girlfriend")
Best Best Show Laugh: Paul F. Tompkins during this call.
5. Hugman ("1,000 Fights")
"Jason, you can shoot me with that Super Soaker, but if you do, I am going to hit you. And you will go down. And you will probably not get up for some time."
"And he's lookin' at me, he's got this look in his eye like ... like he's gonna squirt me! And he starts lookin' real squirrelly, and he says to me, 'What makes you think you can take me?'"
"And uh ... so I said, 'Jason, let me put it to you this way. How many fights have you been in in your life?' And Jason goes, 'Well ... none.'"
"So I look him in the eye, and I say, 'Jason, I have literally been in 1,000 fights.'"
6. Brian from Long Island ("More Pizza, Slave!")
Brian calls to recount a story from the trenches of a kid's birthday party place. He says that his main duties involve serving pizza and drink refreshments to the hyper kids after they are done with their Moon Bounce session. As he attended to about 30 6- to 7-year-olds during one event, two kids started yelling for more pizza. Brian says he started playing around by ignoring the requests to make his job more entertaining. The kids noticed the poor service and added a zinger to their demands: "More pizza, slave." Tom is very amused by this. Brian says he stared at them without offering any retort. He does give their mothers credit for yelling at the kids and apologizing to him, even though he did think it was funny. Tom warns the kids that they will be serving a lot of pizza with that kind of attitude.
Tom finds himself nestled inside the doghouse and cries about losing his best friend, Paul F. Tompkins, for doing that unflattering impression. He no longer cares about the Best Call winner because he hurt those around him for a laugh. He packs it up, apologizes to his offended friends, and accepts the award for Worst Host.
And the WINNER was:
On the Next ... The Best Show on WFMU: A Timewasting Tarvuist, Lee Harvey Oswalt's brother, and an atomic zing!
Check out the BRAND NEW and BLINDINGLY-SPARKLY Best Show Gems Podcast! One greatest hit brought to you every other week by a carpacchio-lovin' Swede. Boom. Tom is sick of being in the lower-middle of the podcasting pack. He's going all the way to the top.