"Sabotage! I don't like it! I don't like this sabotage. I don't like it. I do what I do here!" -- Tom Scharpling, denouncing the diabolical forces that dared to attack his equipment
"You can't talk to me like that. You know why? 'Cause I'm a professional basketball star, you piece of fuuuuuuuudge." -- Rick Stevens, reducing Tom to a mere confection for failing to recognize his lofty status
"What is that? What is it? It sounds like a reaction. Like, 'Ow, I put my finger on the stove. Yao Ming!'" -- Rick Stevens, trying to identify the Chinese-born NBA center
"Well, I don't always fall for it. Sometimes I, you know, I think maybe he just got fat or something like really quick. Or he's pregnant." -- Rick Stevens, citing some alternative explanations for Tiny Lawrence's sudden abdominal bulge
"I mean, there's no blowouts. I'm running my gd scrod off out there." - Rick Stevens, fighting to compete with the Harlem Globetrotters
"Don't get me wrong, Dino's good. Yeah. It's just, how many times can we hear 'Just Like Heaven' and still get wood, you know?" -- Rick Stevens, struggling to achieve an erection when hearing the band play their The Cure cover in 2009
"It's official: I'm too old to be waking up on a rooftop in a pool of some other dude's vomit." -- Rick Stevens, acknowledging the downside of his hard-partying ways
"Oh my God, Rick, please! Please do something. I can't take it anymore. The Loafsniffers are so MF boring." -- A disgruntled five-year-old, begging for better entertainment value
"Sure it is! People love to see the ... um ... the blubbered go down. Don't they?" -- Rick Stevens, promoting the fun of seeing a fat kid get pelted with a concrete basketball
"He would have added a lot to our team, too. We would've definitely saved money 'cause he wouldn't need a uniform." - Rick Stevens, noting a financial benefit of having the late Kevin Allin not suit up for the Generals
"And this is no exaggeration, Tom. I whipped Lebron James." -- Rick Stevens, claiming that he defeated the Cavs star 96-0 during his tryout duel
"No, I haven't. I think you're exaggerating my exaggerations of which there are none." -- Rick Stevens, denying that he has embellished any his stories
"You're a Warlock aren't you. Oh, no. I always pick Warlocks to threaten." -- Rick Stevens, lamenting his latest encounter with a practitioner of the dark arts
"Well that's ... see now we're getting into an illness. Now I'm sweating." -- Marty Short, expressing concern about Tom's eBay acquisition of his Clifford threads
"I feel badly for Divine, but the good news is more roles for us." -- Steve Martin, finding a silver lining in the passing of John Waters's cross-dressing muse
"Hey, don't be frightened of a jerk! What is this, Moscow in the 50s? Let them on!" -- Marty Short, urging Tom to lift the red curtain and confront the mutant revolt
"I'm sure he had a point. It couldn't have been just about the title." -- Marty Short, giving Spike a pass for seemingly using him as his personal IMDb
"You're being too hard on your audience. By the way, this is your audience. They're not phoning up Mike Wallace. They're phoning you." -- Marty Short, reminding Tom about what he has spawned
"He did say nice things about you. That's the only thing he got wrong. Oh, I don't get that. That just shows he's too nice." -- Tom, lamenting Marty's praise for his increasingly powerful Associate Producer
"He's weird! I mean he's weirder than me!" - Spike, exposing the musician Billy Blob Thornton
"You know, I'm sorry you didn't get on the air with him, but the thing that kept you from getting on the air with him was that you are Larry The Perv." -- Tom, ringing the bell on LTP's existential crisis
"It's finally good to hear someone good in this slot, man. It seemed like that other guy Blob was on for like months." -- Bryce, rejoicing in The Mike Show's on-air debut
"It's the rare uh, you know, comingling of uh eros, spirituality, and um mystery. And murder. There's several decapitations in it." -- Bryce, touting the The Booth's mash-up mayhem
"You are pornography." - Bryce, attempting to land Mike as the public face of his new Weed & Wax emporium
"Oh, man, I gotta lay down. Maybe forever." -- Bryce, opting for an extended nap after one too many monster crippler hits
"You could say that might be the worst day ever, uh, for those individuals." -- Mike, putting the Jonestown Massacre into proper perspective
"Tom is pantomiming hanging himself." -- Mike, describing Tom's reaction to the synopsis of a potential Bruno S./J. Haze/A. Kutcher thriller
3Ds - "Hey Seuss"
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The Obits - "Lillies in the Street"
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Christmas - "True Soldiers of Love"
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Eric's Trip - "Sunlight"
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Maria Bamford - "Wizard of Art"
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The Hunches - "Ate My Teeth"
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Strange Boys - "This Girl Taught Me a Dance"
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Preakness - "Air Traffic"
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Mirah - "The Forest"
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Dandelions - "It's A Long Way To Heaven"
( Click here to acquire the rest of Dandelions)
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
- [CLASSIC GOMP®] Abraham from Illinois believes that LOLcats are ova, but Tom gives the feline funnies fad another two weeks. He suspects that Abraham is just echoing something that Richard Kind told him at summer camp. Abraham does not approve of how the text accompanying the images has turned political of late. He thinks it makes Obama's supporters and the cats look silly. Tom agrees that the cats should not be used as a partisan tool because nobody really knows who they are supporting in the election. He calls for LOLcat creators to consider the cats before using them to spread campaign rhetoric. Abraham did support Obama in his home state primary. Tom makes it clear that Obama is not actually designing these LOLcats. He GOMPs Abraham because he's still under the thumb of the embittered character actor.
Tom asks Associate Producer Mike for a quick soundcheck because he thinks the sound is too dry in his horrible cans. He suspects that someone is trying to ruin his forthcoming Martin Short interview with faulty equipment. Listen all of y'all, Tom doesn't like a sabotage. Boom! He expertly adjusts the levels to allow himself to do what he does without any technical shenanigans. The Best Show on WFMU is now safely afloat for another action-packed Tuesday night installment of mirth, music, mayhem, ... and Marty! Mr. Short will be calling to discuss the 15th anniversary of his comedy classic, Clifford, and his storied career in advance of Saturday's performance of his new one-man show, If I'd Saved, I Wouldn't Be Here, at the uber-hip Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, N.J.
Tom is bracing himself for the segment and recommends that listeners take similar safety precautions. I immediately donned my Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) and arc-welding helmet, which is a recent upgrade from my previous radio battle gear: A Tin Man costume I banged out for a Halloween party back in 2005. The well-received outfit suffered significant structural damage after a gentleman dressed as a zombified Tom DeLay unleashed a barrage of clanging karate chops and Hammerheady elbows while trying to derail my covert love-making session with his date for the evening, a swirling, gray-ish mass who billed herself as Hurricane Wilma. I listened to the show from inside the panic room next to my work lair and was pleased to see the dear sweet lass from Adventuretown in there! We spun Big Star and Hüsker Düde records into the wee hours. Tom admits that the onslaught of nerves about interviewing one of his heroes has caused a CASSette-sized knot to form inside his stomach.
After playing the United States mono mix single version of The Who's "Mary Anne With The Shakey Hand" in his opening music set, Tom is ready to declare that The Who Sell Out is the best album ever made. He loves how the boys loaded it with the potent trifecta of the humour, the rock, and the soft stuff. The outtakes on the Deluxe Edition provide additional dollops of holy mole and good gravy. Speaking of tasty treats, Tom announces/warns that The Mike Show will make its on-air premiere tonight in the final hour. He's ready to get right to it with an extremely brief call from Spike:
- A caller concurs with Tom's high praise for The Who Sell Out. Tom considers it a superbly balanced document of the band at their creative peak before they entered a phase marred by excessive seriousness. The caller mentions that when you hear the record as a kid the faux commercial snippets and PSAs are a bit perplexing. Tom agrees that it's initially disconcerting to people who didn't grow up with that kind of radio. The caller points out that tracks like "Odorono" and "Medac" have a very English sensibility, which makes it hard to relate to for those raised in the prairies, but the songs are undeniably amazing. The caller confirms that his beloved "I Can't Reach You" is on the record. He doesn't think the band has ever really touched the track live since its original release. Tom cannot recall hearing them play it, either. He agrees that it's one of the many great songs on the record.
The caller says he's looking into another room where his television is displaying the movie Clifford. Tom is, of course, a huge fan of the film, which has become a recurring topic in the past month with several callers attempting to discuss their favorite scene. The caller says that one of his favorites is when Martin Daniels (Charles Grodin) is arguing with his fiancée, Sarah Davis (Mary Steamvirgin), about kids. Davis accuses Daniels of not enjoying being around the youngsters, but he claims that he loves them. Daniels then cites his nephew, Clifford, as an example. Tom doesn't think the caller got the correct line. He informs him that a skeptical Davis pushes Daniels to provide his nephew's name. Tom asks the caller if this helps to refresh his memory. The caller says that Daniels told her that his nephew was Clifford. Tom says that Daniels had difficultly recalling the name, expressed his desire to say "Mason," and then remembered it was Clifford. The caller wants to know why the character would say this. Tom explains that the dialogue indicates that Daniels does not actually love children, including one of his relatives. The caller argues that the joke is actually the dramatic pause before Daniels says Clifford without any problem. Tom insists that he is wrong about the line and the comedic intent of the exchange.
The caller sarcastically apologizes for the mistake and suspects that Tom forgot who was on the line. Tom actually has no idea who he is. The caller forbids Tom to talk to him in a condescending manner because he's a professional basketball star. He calls Tom a piece of fuuuuuuuuudge for not recognizing the power dynamic of the conversation. Tom, a longtime fan of the game, is impressed and wonders if he's familiar with this player. The caller thinks Tom should know and drops a hint: He's the tallest center in the league. Tom is confused because he thought the tallest player is Yao Ming. The caller doesn't know what that is. He thinks the phrase sounds like a pained reaction you might have after accidentally putting your finger on a hot stove surface.
Tom says this is incorrect and offensive. He tells the caller that the 7' 6" Ming is a Houston Rockets player who originally hails from Shanghai, China. The caller knows nothing about the seven-time All-Star. At this point Tom wonders if the caller is referring to a league other than the NBA. The caller dismisses the NBA as a "crappy league" compared to his World Basketball Conference. Tom, who is unfamiliar with the WBC, asks the caller how many teams play on this supposedly top-shelf circuit. The caller softly says two. He plays center for the Washington Generals. Tom knows the name and wonders about their only competitors. The caller says it's not a biggie worthy of mention before revealing that it's the Harlem Globetrotters, arguably the most famous basketball squad in the history of the world. The caller says the Generals have played them a few times over the years. Tom thought they always played them. The caller admits that they play them every game now that he thinks a bit more about their schedule.
Tom mentions that the Generals always lose to the Globetrotters, but the caller disputes this. He says that they had a great one-game winning streak from January 5th, 1971 through January 6th, 1971. Tom doesn't consider this a particularly noteworthy run, but the caller says they did break the 2,499-game Globetrotters winning streak. He asks Tom if he saw his picture in a recent Sports Illustrated article on the other team in the WBC. Tom missed it. The caller was shown defending Trevor "Tiny" Lawrence and trying to locate the basketball, which was nestled under Tiny's jersey. He says this disappearing act happens a lot, although he doesn't always fall for it. The caller sometimes considers the possibility that Tiny just got fat or pregnant really quickly during the course of play. Tom is surprised that he ever falls for such a routine ruse. The caller says he often just plays along, but there are times when he honestly doesn't know where the ball went. Tom confirms that it's under Tiny's shirt every night. The caller doesn't appreciate the way Tom is talking down to him about his subpar sleuthing.
He says the Generals have actually won many games since the WBC started in 1954. Tom wants to know their overall win tally, and the caller softly says six. He admits that they have also lost a few games and puts the L total at a barely-audible 16,000. The caller, who finally identifies himself as Rick Stevens, says he's been on the team since 1989. Tom does not recognize the name, and Rick is embarrassed on his behalf. He says that while many observers think the Generals try to lose, the games are actually very competitive with typical final scores of 54-50. Rick says there are no blowouts since he's running his "gd scrod" off on the court. Tom is glad to hear that he's pushing his scrod to the limit every night.
Rick moans in disgust after finding out that Tom didn't read the SI article. He says the piece talked about the rigors of the road for the Globefarters. For example, it discusses how they are forced to travel in a bus where each player gets his own row. Rick thinks it must be tough for them because the Generals travel in their own vehicles, a 15-car convoy that parades all over the globe. He notes that it's hard to drive overseas, and Tom doesn't doubt it. Rick says they all drive into the garage of a ship for these international games. He mentions that the frequent road trips are difficult because there is always one player who has "bathroom needs" that cause entire fleet to stop so he can attend to them. Rick says it's especially tough because the food they eat is so bad. Tom senses that Rick is about to enter the Filth Zone with an explicit commentary on gastrointestinal distress. Rick reveals that each player gets a $10 per diem to buy fast food like Egg MacMuffins, MacGriddles, or a Junior Mini-Mac Coffee. He concludes that this volume of MacDonald's is bad news for the old insides.
Rick says there's also always one guy who requires a different kind of relief at one of the nation's fine book, magazine, and video emporiums. Tom realizes that Rick is referring to erotic relief. Rick comes clean and says that sometimes that guy is him. Tom thinks this is great. Rick recalls seeing Mike at Dirty Diana's adult bookstore when they played a game last month in Newbridge. Tom is amazed that a caller actually got his name right since many refer to him using Latin American or female names. Rick wants to make sure that Tom shows Mike proper respect. Tom tells Rick that Mike is excited about this proud moment. Rick thinks it's odd that a woman is the proprietor of an adult boutique. He says that Mike turned him on to some pre-tay, pre-tay interesting stuff while they were browsing the aisles. Tom doesn't want to know about any of the specific items that were purchased. Rick asks Tom if he caught his impression. Tom is stumped. Rick says he was doing Larry David from Arrested Development. Tom is pre-tay sure that David is the star of Home Box Office's Curb Your Enthusiasm, not the departed Fox laffer. Rick is not convinced.
He asks Tom if he's seen any of his recent games. Tom says he hasn't checked out this matchup for a long time, and Rick advises Tom not to bother. Tom is surprised to hear that because he thought people still considered it to be an exciting show. Rick fills Tom in on a little secret: The antics of those clods in the Globetrotters are as played out as Dinosaur Jr.'s live show. Tom chuckles at the bizarre analogy. Rick saw the legendary alt-rock shredders last night in Atlanta on a rare off day. He makes it clear that Dino's a good band, but he has trouble achieving "wood" at the umpteenth rendition of their noisy cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven." Tom wants Rick to stop making sexual references. Rick wonders what it says about the state of the reactivated Dinosaur Jr. when they omit "Little Fury Things" from the setlist. Tom says he assumed that the leadoff track from You're Living All Over Me would be a staple of the live show.
Rick does praise Minutemen catalog. He arrived during "Toadies" from Double Nickels on the Dime and also caught Watt covering Blue Oyster Cult's "The Red and the Black" and two Wire songs. Tom thinks that sounds cool. Rick asks Tom if he knows the Wire track that Elastic ripped off. Tom draws a blank on the title, but he does ably perform the introductory riff from "Connection," which the band lifted from Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba." Rick thinks Tom has the wrong song. Tom says that is definitely it. Rick says it was a fun night, but he got blotto and ended up going home with some college kids. He officially announces that he's too old to be waking up on a rooftop in a pool of some other dude's vomit. Tom thinks it's great that he was able to get that on the record. Rick says he won't repeat this scene for another week. He simply can't control his debauched urges. Tom thinks a 20-year veteran needs to wise up and adjust his behavior on the road. Rick assures him that he's not going to stop.
He returns to the topic of the Toadrotters and their weak, stale show. Rick thinks that almost all the kids who come to see these cats are also totally over it. He's certain that their parents are dragging them to the arena against their will. In fact, Rick is not exaggerating that hundreds of kids approach him daily in hotels and restaurants to get him to do something to give the games more teeth. Tom doubts that the statement lacks exaggeration. Rick says he also hears the kids rumbling in the stands about how lame and embarrassing the Globetrotters are for them. Rick again avoids exaggeration when mentioning his encounter with a five-year-old two weeks ago. The kid rushed onto the court in the middle of the game, flung himself at Rick, and then begged him to do something about the "MF boring Loafsniffers." Tom can't believe there is not at least some exaggeration involved. Rick says it's all true, and he plans to remedy the situation by doing some of his own gags during games to liven up the atmosphere with edgier material that better relates to the youth of today.
He will accomplish this by using a seemingly real basketball with the standard red, white, and blue color pattern. Tom assumes it's some kind of prank ball. Rick decides to let Tom be the judge of this. The ball is made of cement. Rick plans to do a big wind-up and then hurl the super-heavy object into the crowd in a moment of triumphant hilarity. He says that nobody else knows the true nature of the ball's construction. Tom is horrified and asks Rick where the ball will land. Rick says he takes "absolute safety precautions" before attempting the gag and intends to aim for the fattest kid he sees in the crowd. Tom thinks this terrible strategy is not a legitimate safety measure by any reasonable standard. Rick clarifies that he strikes the victims in their protective layer of blubber. When confused spectators are up in arms about the assault, Rick grabs the ball for an easy layup. He starts to mention the stupid Globesnotters routines, and Tom wonders if Rick plans to continue making Spike-like derogatory puns on their team name. Rick says he will not, but he immediately refers to the squad as the Hardly Globefarbers.
Rick's next trick involves running on the court with a microphone to promote a big announcement. The crowd goes silent with anticipation. Rick says he has terrible news to report: Former Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon was found dead today in his Malibu home. He asks for a moment of silence for the fallen Clown Prince. The fans and, especially, the current Globesniffers are crying, and Rick takes the real ball for another easy basket during the moment of mourning. Tom thinks this is a terrible act. Rick wants Tom to hear him out on another one. Tom says he generally does not approve of any of these techniques. Rick defends them as guaranteed point scorers and kid-friendly crowd pleasers. Tom refers to the "Globetrotters," but Rick prefers that he make up a funny name instead. Tom declines. Rick thinks it's because he's already set the creative bar as high as it could go with a gem like Globefarters. Tom sticks to the fact that he'd just prefer not to demean them. He points out that the Globetrotters rely on fun, harmless pranks to entertain their fans. On the other hand, throwing a cement basketball into the stands is not fun for anyone. Rick says people love to see "the blubbered" go down. Tom argues that hitting a kid of any girth with a cement basketball is not a fun spectator sport.
After warming up the crowd with projectiles and fake death notices, Rick is now ready to execute his grand finale during the Globetrotters tired "water bucket" chase sequence. The lights cut off and a booming, Arabic voice comes over the PA system to inform the crowd that a Mideast-based terror cell has planted a bomb in the stands in an attempt to take control of the arena. Tom doesn't care for this one, either. Rick says that Arabic dudes in their traditional head dresses will then storm the court to create further panic. He notes that he may have to cast Mexicans to pull this off. After everyone is frozen with terror, Rick grabs the ball for a quick two. Tom says this is a horrendous and wildly racist play on public fears. Rick argues that all good comedy and entertainment stems from this approach. He cites National Lampoon's Vacation as a prime example. Tom doesn't recall how the 1983 comedy mined fear for laughs. Rick recalls a scene where Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase), who is not an ordained minister, delivers a eulogy for his dear Aunt Edna (Imogene Coco-cola) in which he asks God to cut the decent woman some slack even though the Hindus speak of karma. Rick believes that this scene is a scary meditation on death and The Afterlife. In a perfect world, Rick would grab the real ball and do an insane slam dunk. However, he is unable to dunk the ball.
Tom doesn't understand how someone who is 7' 2" can't dunk. Rick says he's saddled with extremely short doll arms like a real-life version of the famous Jon Glaser bit about the dude with doll hands. Tom is familiar with the "Tiny Hands" shorts. Rick reminds Tom that Glaser has an Adult Swim show called Delocated. Tom doesn't know why a player on the Washington Generals is familiar with underground comedy. Rick says he enjoys all kinds of entertainment. He thinks Tom is being a real creep and rejects any implications that he doesn't contribute to his team. Tom says that he's horrified by Rick's use of loaded racial imagery and stereotypes to scare people for easy points.
Rick believes that the 11th man off the bench is just as important as the starters. He says the 12th man on the Generals is so pathetic that he doesn't even know why he bothers suiting up for the games. Rick estimates that he plays maybe two minutes per game. Tom asks Rick how much playing time he gets. Rick says he definitely plays two minutes of every game. He's actually easing his way into becoming a player-coach before taking over the helm. Rick wants to assemble a dream team to inject more star power into the roster.
He's currently trying to recruit a TV star named Matsuflex as his power forward. Tom questions the legitimacy of the tool's stardom. Rick's desired shooting guard is Emperor Roderick Blagojevic, also known as Roddy B. Tom says he's actually the disgraced former governor of Illinois. Rick says that Roddy does a great old-fashioned set shot. He also has his sights on bassist Merle Allin in the hope that kids will enjoy his colorful facial hair. Rick wishes that Merle's poor brother, Kevin, was still with us. Tom agrees that Kevin's early exit was a major tragedy. Rick reminds listeners that Kevin passed on after performing in 1993 as part of an opera at a venue in midtown Manhattan. He thinks he would have been a great addition to the new-look Generals. Rick also points out that the team would have saved some money because the always-nude Kevin would not have required a uniform. Tom thinks the whole thing is sad.
Despite his extensive pine-riding in the WBC, Rick believes that he could have played in the NBA. Tom doubts a doll-armed, non-dunking center would find much success patrolling the paint against superior talent. Rick doesn't like that Tom keeps hammering him on the dunking issue. He thinks it's not an exaggeration to say that he would've been a star. Rick says he tried out for the Cleveland Cavaliers a couple of years ago, and -- no exaggeration -- he would have been made captain. Tom wants to hear more about this tryout.
Rick says that when he arrived at an empty Quicken Loans Arena a spotlight hit the very top row to illuminate the owner of the team. The man, who Rick believes was named Fred, proceeded to slide down the stairway on one of those things you see advertised on late-night television to help the aged navigate their treacherous staircase. Rick makes it clear that he is not exaggerating any of the details of this story. Fred's journey down the entire length of the seats was enhanced with smoke machine effects to resemble a pro wrestler's flamboyant ring-entrance and displayed on the JumboTron. Rick says he doesn't know how the arena's technical staff managed to put a camera on Fred during his epic descent. He compares the high production values to the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King.
When Fred finally touched down at the edge of the court, he looked Rick up and down and then pressed a buzzer. Rick says that, no exaggeration, the hardwood floor parted and Lebron James emerged from the hole below. Tom wants to make sure that he correctly heard that the owner of the Cavs pressed some kind of button to begin this ascension. Rick repeats that it was a buzzer. Tom asks him if it actually made a buzzing noise. Rick says it looked like the lighted button was capable of buzzing. Tom confirms that Fred summoned his superstar (Rick isn't sold on this superlative) from the depths of the floor up to court level. Rick says that Fred wanted to test his abilities with a one-on-one duel. He assures Tom that he's not exaggerating when he says that he whipped Lebron. Tom finds it hard to believe that Rick is not making any exaggerations. Rick claims that he scored every time he got the ball and blanked Lebron 96-0. He then continued whipping the MVP with his belt. Tom refuses to buy that Rick held King James scoreless. Rick explains that he's just that good.
After being wowed by his stunning shutout, Fred asked Rick about his desired salary for joining the team. Rick told Fred that he didn't need or want an NBA contract. Tom confirms the improbable sequence of events: Rick dominated Lebron James, the Cavs owner offered him a blank check, and Rick declined the offer. Rick says the deal was even sweeter because, no exaggeration, Lebron offered him all of his stuff, including his houses, cars, stash of weed, and CASSette collection. Rick explains that he didn't need any money or additional goodies. Tom is unable to accept this seemingly tall tale.
Rick says that he's an entertainer, and Tom assumes that he prefers a brand of basketball that's showier than what the NBA offers. However, Rick also performs outside the basketball arena. He says that he's gotta roll soon because the guys in his band just arrived in Maryland, where the Generals played earlier today, to rehearse for an important gig. Tom asks Rick what kind of music he plays. Rick says he's a member of a band that Tom has already heard about. He compares joining the band to when Sammy Hagler replaced David Lee Roth as the lead vocalist for Van Halen. Rick announces that he's the newest member of rock's biggest supergroup: RickMick NickPickMickNick.
The current lineup:
Rick Stevens from the Washington Generals
Mick Mars from Mötley Crüe
Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran
Pick Withers from Dire Straits
Mick Box from Uriah Heep
Nick Cave from The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds, and Grinderman
[Nick Lachey is apparently the second casualty after he replaced the nonsensical original member Nick Hogan.]
Tom is amazed and impressed to find out that Cave joined the fold. Rick says that despite the presence of five famous musicians, he pretty much is the group. Rick is excited that RMNPMN is gearing up for next week's showcase for
Taang! Records, which he thinks is a major label based in Boston. Tom clarifies that it's a good independent label with a catalog that includes releases by Bullet LaVolta, Gang Green, Jerry's Kids, Negative FX, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Lemondheads, and Moving Targets. Rick says that he needs to bolt because the storage shed the band uses as their rehearsal space will lose power in about 40 minutes. Tom recommends that listeners head to their local arena to see Rick in action at an upcoming Generals game since they are not televised. Rick mentions that the games do air in Spain because, no exaggeration, the Generals are huge there. Tom insists that Rick has done his share of exaggerating throughout this call. Rick denies it and accuses Tom of exaggerating his non-existent exaggerations. Tom says he's definitely not doing that. At this point Rick becomes tired of the conversation.
Tom thinks Rick is gone, but he pipes up with something that is not an exaggeration: Tom's impending death. He warns Tom that someday he'll be walking down the street and something will strike him in the head. He gives Tom one chance to guess the object that will crush him. Rick is confident that he will never ever get it. Tom surprises Rick by correctly guessing that it will be a cement basketball. He reminds Rick that he was bragging about it when discussing his courtside pranks. Rick suspects that Tom is a Warlock and laments his unfortunate tendency to end up threatening these creatures. Tom initially denies being a Warlock, but he quickly embraces his newfound witchery by suggesting that he has turned Rick into a frog for violating his code. Rick begs Tom to give him a chance to get out of this amphibian bind and reverse the spell. Tom says that Rick needs to start slapping himself on the cheek. Rick starts slapping and asks Tom if he's using sufficient force. Tom tells him to slap harder, then a little harder, and then much harder. Rick obeys and begins to feel pain. He asks Tom how long he has to continue the slap session to avoid the frog conversion. Tom orders him to hang up and continue slapping for one hour. Rick asks Tom if he also needs to kick himself. Tom skips kicking in favor of having Rick slam his face in the door. He recommends a simple face smoosh instead of a hard slam, but Rick still hurts himself. He asks Tom if he should put another part of his body in the door jam. Tom spares him further bodily injury, but Rick says he might do it anyway. Tom absolves Rick just as he hangs up. The frequently threatened has turned threatener!
Tom wasn't hungry so he skipped the Route 22 Pantera Bread in favor of his old pre-show hotspot: Starbucks. He immediately observed a band of baristas having a conversation about another customer who had just exited the store. The guy was seeking a healthier alternative to the rainbow cookies and inquired about the stray bananas on the counter. He left after they revealed the price tag for the fruit. While Tom admits that the gentleman was a bit clunky in his execution of the non-transaction, he thinks the employees were ripping him at a volume that was excessive for the minor transgression. Tom fears that these same people could be ripping him for some breach of retail etiquette after he leaves.
Is this it? Tom's nervous now. This is it. It's Martin Short. Tom tells Mr. Short that it's an honor to have him on his program. Short says it's an honor to have Tom exaggerate his emotions for him. Tom assures him that he's not exaggerating and cites his profuse sweating as evidence of his sincerity. Short advises Tom to cease perspiring, and Tom agrees to remain as dry as possible for the rest of the segment. Tom has had many comedians (and -ennes) as guests over the years. Pinette. Rudner. Federman. Behar. Negron. Havey. Joyner. Zany. Tenuta. Vos. Boosler. And who could forget the time The Amazing Johnathan turned the apple in Mike's briefcase into a lizard who promptly yelled "Chaos reigns!" before requesting The Dead Milkmen's "Right Wing Pigeons." The list goes on and on and on and on. You do it once, you're good. You do it twice, you're great. Short, however, has done it so many times for so many years that he's a certified legend that has left everyone in awe of his many talents. Tom says that some people didn't even believe that Short would actually appear on the show.
Short mentions that Tom's old buddy Andy Breckman contacted him about doing it. He became aware of Breckman's genius during their 1984-1985 residence on the NBC sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live. Short says that Breckman was the funniest writer, the go-to guy when you had an idea that you were convinced had turned bad. Breckman would then boost you back up using his odd vocal rhythm. Short says that he trusted Breckman's judgment and quickly agreed to make his The Best Show debut. Tom appreciates Short's obedience to his former associate's request. He asks Short for a quick overview of his new one-man show, a loose production with lots of improvisation and a hip backing band (The Roots?) to support his singing and dancing. Short describes it as a fake journey through his fictional life featuring characters like the obese LaLaWood talk show host Jiminy Glick, triangle virtuoso Ed Grimley, and flamboyant wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer from the Father of the Bride films. He promises that there will be audience interaction to create a true "Paaaahty with Maaaahty." Tom can't wait to see it.
He asks Short about the differences between inventing an original character and cracking the code on an impression of some public figure. Short says that when he was on SCTV they would come up with an idea, take a tape home, and prepare an impression. However, the second after filming ended the character was gone. Short mentions the sketch in which he and Eugene Levy turned the Gore Vidal/Normal Mailer dust-up into a Tyde ("The best damn detergent in America") commercial. Levy studied Mailer tapes, and Short studied Vidal tapes, in addition to reviewing the script for the sketch along with a transcription of a Vidal interview to master his pauses and phrase repetition. Short says that he's always been a skilled mimic who could capture his teachers, guys on the street, and other Canadians of his youth. He believes that if you are sincere, then you can be as broad as you want.
Tom wonders if Short was ever unable to interpret someone as a character. Short says there are standards like Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, and Marlon Brando, and then a second tier that requires a bit more finesse. He praises Dana Carvey for finding a way into Johnny Carson on SNL. Short says the proper voice tone is important, but the right attitude is the key to a successful portrayal. He points out that Chevy Chase captured the comical essence of a bumbling Gerald Ford sans makeup (or a dose of Oldzonareveren). Tom asks for and receives permission to address his guest as Marty. He nearly faints.
While everyone loves Marty from television and hit movies like ¡Three Amigos!, Tom has been spearheading a growing movement in support of one of his less-celebrated works: Clifford. Marty slips into character to thank Tom for his efforts as cult leader. Tom, who has seen Clifford at least a dozen times, declares it one of his Top 5 movies of all-time. He informs Marty that his extreme fandom led to an eBay purchase of Clifford's suit and shoes from the dinner scene. Marty begins sweating because it appears that Tom is crossing over into illness. Tom clarifies that it's a fun illness. He warns Marty that he plans to parade around Red Bank in the outfit. Marty assumes that Tom is a slight man, but the host is actually 6' 3". He wonders if Tom sliced the back of the suit in order to ease it onto his adult frame. Tom admits that he has no plans to ever wear it. He's not sure what he will do with the sartorial souvenir once the initial excitement about owning it fades.
Tom says that Clifford remains a wildly undocumented work, especially compared to many of his other projects. Marty explains that Orion Pictures financed the film, which was shot in 1990 for a summer 1991 release, and went bankrupt in the middle of the production. As a result, it opened several years later and quickly went away. However, the film started to build a following on home video, attracting a lot of fans on college campuses. Marty loves the film and its truly odd conceit of a 40-year-old man playing a 10-year-old boy. He says that he was obsessive about the fact that Clifford was 10 and not 13 because he wanted the boy's quasi-religious infatuation with Mary Steamvirgin's character to take place within the realm of prepubescence. Tom wants to know more about the origins of such a peculiar enterprise. Marty says that his friend and writer Steven Kampmann always intended to cast him in the title role. While he initially thought it was an insane idea, the funny screen tests convinced him that it could work.
Marty points out that bizarre films tend to have a similarly bizarre journey in the marketplace. He recalls promoting ¡Three Amigos! with Steve Martin and Chevy Chase on The Today Show. Host Bryant Gumball used a patronizing tone when asking the trio how they would respond to people who dismiss their film for being silly. Steve Martin said it depends on how viewers/critics say the word "silly." If they say it's silly, he would thank them. If they say silly, then it's a drag. Marty says that since 1986 a lot of films became "silly" in a heightened way leading up to Clifford's release in 1994. Tom wonders how loose Marty and Charles Grodin were playing their two-man game compared to the scripted dialogue. Marty says there was a lot of in-the-moment riffage from master improviser Grodin (e.g., "Look at me like a human boy!"). Tom is rendered speechless by finally getting some inside Clifford scoop.
Tom asks Marty if some kind of trench was used to create the height disparity for some of the scenes. Marty says it was a low-budget affair that slipped in little kids for shots of Clifford walking away and cast tall basketball gals as extras for the dancing sequences. Tom shifts from the technical aspects to more pressing matters: the current location of Stephen the Dinosaur. Marty says he stores Stephen in one of his drawers alongside a ¡Three Amigos! sombrero. Tom is a bit disappointed since he thought the plastic toy would be worthy of display in a trophy case. He instructs Marty to alert him to his departure whenever he gets fed up with the interview. Marty says he passed that point long ago, but he decided to move forward. Tom thanks him for being a trooper.
When reviewing Marty's body of work Tom observed that he never operates from a sense of meanness and maintains a good spirit to all of his creations without relying on the profane. Marty says that he's happy with his real life and has no axes to grind at the world. He enjoys celebrating bizarre and grotesque people, but he's not howling at the moon with anger. Marty says that when he was starting at Second City in Toronto Joe Flaherty, who was directing his stage show, imparted some lasting wisdom. Flaherty told him that you'll always get a laugh if you mime putting on your pants, hitting your foot, and swearing, but there are better, more challenging approaches to comedic performance.
While some may interpret Jiminy Glick as an attempt to strike back at the media, Marty says he's never really had problems with the entertainment press. He conceived Glick as a moron with power who could have easily been a politician instead of a donut-crazed celebrity interviewer. Marty says the idea that someone like George W. Bush became the POTUS is hysterically funny to him. He assumes that the dazed Texan was constantly stricken with intense, mid-afternoon panic over his responsibilities as Chief Executive. He also suspects that hosts of hit afternoon talk shows must terrorize their nervous staffs whenever they waltz into the room to dispatch someone to fetch a tuna sandwich. Glick is part of the tradition of complete goofs who manage to land an unearned position of authority. The character first appeared on The Martin Short Show before Primetime Glick had its own 2001-2003 run on Comedy Central. Marty says that he wanted to do some incognito stuff at the L.A. Farmers Market as pre-taped pieces for his talk show, but people would often still recognize him after two hours of makeup for the initial Glick get-up.
When thinking of ways to further cloak his identity, he recalled his role as Eugene Proctor in the 1991 film Pure Luck. At one point Proctor's face swells to twice its size after he's stung by a bee inside a helicopter. The people on the set mentioned that they couldn't locate the real Marty within the added layers of facial flab. Marty realized that this could work for Glick, whose unique voice was based on his former neighbor in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. When Marty was growing up there was a guy on his street who talked very HIGH and then very low. He owned a movie theater and rewarded local kids with free passes if they managed to stay off his lawn for an entire year. Marty put the voice away for a few decades before finding the right vessel for it.
Tom shifts the conversation back to SCTV, which Marty joined midway through its second-to-last season on NBC and remained for the final campaign on Cinemax. He asks Marty how scary it was to join an established show even though he had previously worked with most of the existing cast members. Marty says it was particularly challenging because the show was both a massive ratings hit and a critical favorite. However, the transition was aided by his long history with many of the players involved: Andrea Martin is his sister-in-law, he attended McMaster University with Eugene Levy and Dave Thomas, he had known Flaherty for 10 years, he met Catherine O'Hara in the early 1970s when she was only 17, and his brother, Michael Short, also worked on the show. Marty says that he smartly decided to ask for and expect a lot of help when jumping into this impressive mix. He often invited Flaherty and Levy into the editing room for their advice on his pieces. Since it wasn't a live broadcast, the comedic sensibilities were entirely owned by the show's creators. Marty says that on SNL you can have a great idea, but if the studio audience doesn't laugh, the producers will cut it after dress rehearsal. He felt that the lack of an audience on SCTV allowed them to craft a lot more subtle moments. Tom points out that it's like the difference between movies and theater. Marty agrees that both shows were equally exhilarating with their own built-in advantages.
Tom asks Marty if he remembers the first time he really scored within the SCTV environment. Marty says that when he first got the job he wrote two scenes with his brother, and they both got on the show: Martin Scorsese's Jerry Lewis Live at the Champs-Elysees and a satire of famed paparazzo Ron Gallela. Marty says that everyone was very supportive because he had done it on stage with them for two years. Since Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis were planning to leave the show, they needed Marty to work out as much as he wanted it to work out. When he did ¡Three Amigos! he didn't know Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, director John Landis, producer/co-writer Lorne Michaels, or composer/co-writer Randy Newman. Marty says that this scenario was so daunting that he spent the first couple of weeks doing an impersonation of himself before feeling comfortable with the new ensemble.
Tom points out that Marty didn't win a lottery to get the part. He was an established comic performer who was bringing something to the table. Marty says that there's a weird advantage to being loose and confident regardless of one's qualifications. He remembers talking to Ed McMahon after he had just finished his 30-year run on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Carson reminded his trusty sidekick that while they were considered legends now, everyone hated them during their first two years on the show. Marty now advises his kids that after few months on a new job, they will relax into it. However, a movie production doesn't provide the luxury of an extended adjustment period because of the tight shooting schedules. Marty says that he ended up having a great time with his fellow funnymen on ¡Three Amigos!. He mentions that Steve Martin once called him after hearing about the death of Divine. While he felt bad for the departed Dreamlander, he did find one bright spot in the passing: more roles for them!
Tom asks Marty if he has a defining memory of his days on SCTV. Marty says he mainly thinks about the amount of work that went into producing the show. He and Flaherty would shoot until 11 p.m. and frantically try to locate a last call at a local bar before retiring to get back at it at 6 a.m. the next day. Marty remembers that in January 1983 James Wolcott wrote an amazing piece on the show for New York magazine and was particularly kind to his work. He read it on the subway and was gratified to know that someone was actually watching and enjoying the results of all the labor. When they would arrive in LaLaWood for the Emmys -- the show's NBC run garnered 15 total nominations with two wins for best writing in a music/variety program -- some of the targets of their impersonations came up to say that they liked the show. Marty compares living in a bubble of shooting and editing in Toronto with virtually no interference from the network to carving wood in a little hut in Montana. The cast was amazed that people were suddenly talking and writing about it.
Tom asks Marty if he would be willing to take a few phone calls. Short readily agrees, and Tom instructs callers to show his guest proper respect by referring to him as "Martin." He opens up the segment with an online question about current comedians that make Marty laugh. Marty, who is generally a very easy laugh, says he likes fellow Canadian Seth Rogen and SNL genius Kristen Wiig, who seduces him with her earnest commitment to character work. Mike claims that all the lit lines are good. Haha.
- Lee from Wisconsin says he's a big fan of Mr. Short, but he was wondering why he was so bad when he appeared on -------- -----------. Tom cuts Lee off before he can state the specific offense. He is baffled that Mike considered Lee a "good call." Marty thought Lee had a valid point, but Tom is sick to his stomach.
Drirrnan says he's a big fan of Clifford and praises Tom's awesome efforts to raise public awareness of this masterwork. He proceeds to make a comment about the greatness of Captain Ron. The tone of his voice suggests sarcasm, although subsequent analysis and FOT Board discussion indicate it was actually sincere appreciation for the 1992 adventure comedy. Tom dumps Dranneren and puts Mike on probation. He decides to only field inaudible Internet queries that he can screen.
Tom says someone wants to know about The Queen Haters, who performed an incendiary version of "I Hate The Bloody Queen" on Mel's Rock Pile. Marty loves the fictional quartet he fronted. Tom isn't sure if Marty is the world's biggest fan of punk rock 'n roll music, but he informs him that lots of WFMU DJs spin The Queen Haters. Marty says they recorded after watching clips of the Sex Pistols with the intention of creating a really cheesy band that someone like Lee from Wisconsin would enjoy. He compliments John Candy's commitment to his bald pate and dead-eyed stare behind little librarian glasses with a chain. Tom marvels at Marty's snarling inflection that managed to be so off it yet so on it. He thinks Marty could have had a career as a lead vocalist for an actual band. Marty doubts he could have done two shows in a row due to blown pipes from yelling about hating the bloody queen. I can't afford me dope!
Tom relays a question about the possibility of full season DVD sets for the Primetime Glick in addition to the existing Best-Of release. Marty says there are no plans at this time. Tom asks Mike if he knows how many strikes a baseball batter is granted before he is called out. Marty urges Tom not to fear giving the jerks their moment because it's not Moscow in the 1950s. Tom assures Marty that he runs a tight ship.
- Spoony in Brooklyn offers temporary relief from the jerk parade by saluting Short for the infectious joy he channels into all of his work. Spoony points out that unlike many of his peers, Short has never ventured into super-dramatic acting or tried to ditch comedy with creepy serial-killer roles (e.g., Robert Klein's maniacal, regrettable turn in Trent L. Strauss's banned-in-Belgium slasher, Stepuncles of the Children of the Corn: High-Fructose Murder Syrup). Short believes that you are flexing all of your acting chops as long as you are diving into a character of any kind. He has never felt unrequited by his craft because he didn't weep on screen. Short thinks it's harder to be sincere and funny while maintaining the bizarre reality of many of his projects. He also respects the contract that a performer makes with the audience.
For example, Short can sing, but he if went on Late Show with David Letterman and belted out a medley of obscure songs, people would be wishing for a sandbag to fall on his head. Spoony clarifies that his question in no way suggests that the character of Clifford is not completely terrifying. Short concludes that there's really no need to go further than that study of domestic terrorism. Spoony says that when watching the film he often feels the urge to appease the child because he fears for his life. Short offers another, more violent option: get a silver bullet and terminate the boy.
- Spike announces that he has a question and then goes silent. Short says that he is prepared to take it whenever Spike is ready to resume speaking. (Tom wonders if Spike is one of Martin's characters.) Spike recalls a movie Short made many years ago with Kevin Bacon*. He knows that Bacon played an up-and-coming writer (actually a fresh-from-film-school director about to get ass-kicked by LaLaWood), but he can't think of the title. Short quickly identifies it as The Big Picture, which was directed by Christopher Guest, his fellow 1984-1985 SNLer. He played Bacon's effeminate and ineffectual agent, Neil Sussman. Spike says a friend of his owned a VHS copy of The Big Picture. Tom longs for the day when there is some kind of system for tracking down titles of older movies. Short suggests that Google is a viable option for acquiring this kind of information. Tom wonders if Spike had an actual question, or if he just wanted to get the title from a cast member. Spike says he hasn't seen it in years, so he was wondering if it was on DVD. Short thinks it is available on the format. (OOP?) Tom decides to drop "Marty" in favor of the more formal "Mr. Short" because the callers are failing. He gets a high-powered star, and they've gone nuts. A generous Mr. Short is sure that Spike had a point beyond just the title.
*I'm working on a Kevin Bacon-based trivia game set for release in Q2 2010. It will be sensational craze among college students, urban hipsters, and homemakers. Get ready!
Tom points out that the agent in The Big Picture and paranoid lawyer Nathan Thurm are two more Short characters that wield unearned power. He senses that Short takes pleasure in playing guys whose heads are about to explode. Short says that Thurm was partly inspired by the crooked stylings of Richard Nixon. He finds hilarity in seeing anyone stare down the camera and boldly lie. During the Watergate scandal Nixon claimed he was clueless about the location of the 18 minutes of deleted audio while sweat simultaneously accumulated on his upper lip. We knew he was lying. He knew that we knew he was lying. Yet he dug deep and did it anyway. Short mentions that when Thurm was really cornered he would just turn the tables and lash out ("I'm well aware of that!") at the aggressive interviewer, a tactic frequently employed by former Vice-President Dick Cheney. Tom says that he was always fixated on the improbable length of ash that the chain-smoking Thurm was able to keep attached to the end of his dwindling cigarette. Short says a wire was used to hold it in place.
Tom hopes that there is a long line of people clamoring to get into Short's show on Saturday, but he doesn't want some of the callers to gain admittance into the Count Basie Theater. Marty thinks Tom is being too hard on his audience. He also points out that these are Tom's people, who are calling him, not the journalist Mike Wallace. Tom is so disgusted that he plans to go home and stare at a wall for the rest of the night. Marty thinks Tom should be proud of his audience despite their myriad flaws.
- Ryan from Manhattan asks Short about the shift from SCTV to the unfamiliar environs of SNL. Short says that SCTV was an ideal job because he was working in his hometown of Toronto with a very agreeable schedule: write for six weeks, shoot for six weeks, and then edit and assemble the shows for broadcast. While SNL provides the unique surge of being successful on weekly live television, it can also be more emotionally draining. Short mentions the progression of elation from having a hit show on Saturday night, feeling great at the afterparty, receiving congratulatory phone calls on Sunday morning, to capping it off with a hip lunch. However, when Sunday night rolls around the nerves hit your stomach because you don't have any ideas for next week's show. Marty recalls attending the Monday meetings where the writer/performers would often fake their way through non-existent sketch pitches to guest hosts like Ringo Starr. If you still didn't have anything by Monday night, you felt like the biggest failure in the world just 48 hours after being anointed "Mr. Television." Tom is finally
happy happier to get a good call.
- Mike in Manhattan calls to offer Short a compliment by way of a weird anecdote. He plays in a punk rock 'n roll band with a heavier sound and some serious, political lyrics. Before performing the final song of their live set the band will ask the crowd to recite their favorite lines from Clifford. Mike says that it gets a big response and people have lines ready when he passes them the microphone. He informs Short that people often approach the band post-show to profess their love for the film.
Tom speaks for cinephiles everywhere when he calls for the release of a Special Edition Clifford DVD featuring a widescreen presentation. (Get on that, Criterion!) Short agrees that it deserves the same treatment as films like Exodus. Tom knows that Clifford wasn't exactly on par with the scope of Cecil B. Demented's The Ten Commandments, but he still wants to revel in its full glory. Short confirms that the budget was less than the Biblical epic. Tom says that, in addition to the cinematography, the film's awesomeness derives from a 10-year-old who speaks like someone from the 1940s -- using the term "Pappy" and informing people that they seem like "a good enough sort." Short thanks Tom for praising Clifford's generational switcheroo. Tom wonders if he wanted to make Clifford an amalgam of every type of Bad Kid there has ever been. Short says he was inspired by Patty McCormack's icy turn (and turn of phrases: "Hooo, I like that.") in The Bad Seed. Tom points out that while kids typically sleep the sleep of the just, Clifford appears to get by with a mere four hours per night. Short pins this abbreviated schedule on a diet that consists mainly of sugar. Throughout the film the viewer is able to piece together various fragments -- a mom with a drinking problem, a daddy on the verge of a big stroke -- to learn more about the background of this odd man-boy. Tom raves that there is nothing funnier than Short-as-Clifford mimicking the stroke-slurred speech of his father.
Tom asks Mike to deliver a good final caller for all the marbles, and the struggling screener recommends Line 2. Short praises Mike for doing a great job holding things down during the segment. He thinks we have to be open to the barbs and arrows of outrageousness. Tom fears that Mike will now flaunt Short's kind words whenever someone questions his abilities. He wants Short to at least forbid Mike to call him Marty. Short decides to give Mike the greenlight. He loves Tom's troubled colleague.
Erika from Baltimore touts Innerspace as one of her favorite childhood movies and wonders about Short's first experience with the science-fiction universe. Short says he enjoyed his time with director Joe Dante and co-stars Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, who fell in love on the San Francisco set. (After Quaid agreed to stop doing rails the couple eventually wed in 1991 on Valentine's Day. They divorced a decade later due to Quaid's extramarital lovemaking.)
Short stresses the importance of actors controlling the moviemaking experience by having fun on the job. He says that it doesn't really matter how the final product turns out, and it certainly doesn't matter if someone likes it. Short points out that for every person who loves Clifford, there are scores of haters who think it's one of the worst movies ever made. He regrets that he once mentioned a film of his that he didn't like. A 14-year-old kid told him that the comment made him feel bad because he loved the film. Short realizes that all comedy is subjective. Erika says that every time she hears "My Little Buttercup" she thinks of Ned Nederlander from ¡Three Amigos. Tom is pleased that he went out on top with this call. Short agrees that it can't be topped because he imparted wisdom and Erika was sexy.
Tom grabs one more Internet question regarding a proper home-video release for the 1989 Home Box Office special, I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood. Short thinks it's available on DVD, but he doesn't scour the Internet late at night like Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard ("Gillis, why can't I find it?!"). Tom concludes the interview by looking ahead to any upcoming projects. Short plans to take his live show to Australia and Europe and then hopefully make his directorial debut in 2010 with Off Your Meds, which he also wrote. Tom thanks Short for honoring The Best Show with his presence. Short says he had a riotous time. Tom reverses his position and allows the weirdo callers to purchase a ticket to the Count Basie engagement. Short says he loves everyone and bids Tom farewell.
Tom celebrates having a GOD on the show and wonders if Martin Short is the nicest guy ever. He thinks he may be too nice because he said positive things about Mike. Tom predicts that Short would be singing a much different tune if he spent five minutes in Mike's filth dungeon. He salutes the FOT Chat for their proud moments of mutant questions. He gives Spike special recognition for his baffling performance.
- Spike, apparently unphased by his massive turfout, returns for more abuse. Tom congratulates him for a great question that made fantastic use of the celebrity guest. Spike says he couldn't think of the title, so he had to go straight to the source. Tom asks him if he's ever heard of IMDb, the go-to portal for movie information since the early 1990s. While Spike is familiar with the site, he didn't think to actually explore its database for the desired data. Tom says that Spike is lucky that Marty is a nice guy who let him off the hook. He concludes that after taking dozens of calls every week for nine years this Spike call was the worst he's ever received -- on or off the air. Tom wants Spike to just admit that he totally flopped. Spike agrees that it wasn't one of his best moments. Tom defines it as the worst moment he's ever heard on the program. He decides to move forward and let Spike discuss another celebrity.
Spike says a co-worker's child loaded some music onto her iPod, including The Boxmasters's latest country rockabillybobby opus, Modbilly. Tom is surprised to hear that a child was listening to this music. After the co-worker showed Spike the new playlist he told her about the group's pedigree. Spike listened to one of the songs and heard the vocalist Billy Bob Thornton whining about being dumped by a woman at a truck stop. He decided it wasn't his cup of tea, and it also wasn't the preferred tea of his co-worker, who usually listens to urban rap music like Kanyay West. Tom suspects that Spike meant to say Kanyay East based on his predilection for altering the names of undesirable artists. While he skipped the directional tweak, Spike does add that the co-worker also enjoys Powderpuff Daddy. Tom mentions that he received an alert about Spike actually getting BBT's name right. Spike says he almost called him Billy Joe Bob. Tom prefers Billy Blob Thornton, Billy Bob Thorny, or Silly Blob Morton. Spike believes that this guy is actually weirder than him. He considers this a major feat because anyone who's ever heard him on the radio knows that he's generally considered to be the weirdest of the weird relative to accepted public norms. Tom thinks Spike is a little weirder than others, but he's not off the weird charts.
Spike instructed his co-worker to have her child fill the iPod with more "normal music," such as Tony Bennett and other more understandable vocalists. Tom doesn't want to know any kid who listens to Bennett, and Spike counters with Tito Puente and Duke Ellington. Tom begins to wonder if this child has access to a time machine. Spike says that unlike most current teenagers, this kid listens to "respectable music." Tom can't imagine what kind of mutant child spins Puente. Spike attributes the sonic palette to being blessed with proper breeding. Tom thinks this kid should have been born with a turlet seat around his neck to get used to the feeling. He recommends that the youngster cut out the middleman and learn to give himself swirlies. Tom cuts Spike off as he issues a directive that every kid be forced to listen to Puente.
- Frank from Weehawken asks Tom if his growing collection of historic movie memorabilia (he also owns Terri Griffith's ripped tuxedo from Just One of the Guys and a bag of hair clippings from The Man Who Wasn't There), and friendships with comedians and musicians, will eventually lead to a TomCon. He suggests that attendees could dress up as their favorite callers and participate in panel discussions. Tom says that he would indeed entertain the idea of a convention built around himself. Frank also proposes a live edition of The Mike Show. Tom points out that he would have to review certain state regulations and zoning restrictions that might prohibit such a production.
Frank recommends an off-premises tent outside of any school zones. Tom considers the possibility of doing The Mike Show on a boat in international waters like L. Ron Hubbard's Scientological seafaring on the good ship Freewinds (a supposedly fun thing I'll never do again -- in addition to getting denied for OT VIII, Doug E. Fresh repeatedly thrashed me in ping-pong and Jason Lee wouldn't shut the f up about his son, Inspektor Gadget Lee). He asks Frank if he would board that ship. Frank says he'd fear for his life when stuck in the middle of the ocean with Mike as his captain, but it would be a good time in the end. Tom wants no part of this nautical mayhem. Frank wonders if he should heed Tom's advice since he's more privy to the extent of Mike's heart of darkness. Tom thinks that even the increasingly brazen pirates would be scared of Mike, a Keyser Söze-like figure who would have the marauders quickly retreating backwards to keep an eye on the madman en route to the safety of their rope ladder. Frank cancels his reservation for the cruise, but he's good for a spot at any land-based tent shows. He says that TomCon is definitely the first order of business. Tom admires his forward-thinking ways.
- Lehree Da Perv says he's upset that he didn't get to talk to Mr. Short there. Tom explains that the main problem with him getting on the air was the fact that he is Larry The Perv there. He reveals that he saw the call sitting there and declined to confront a class act with such a filthmonger. Larry agrees that Short is very classy, but he's never been a fan of his comedy. Tom now apologizes for not letting him through. Larry says he planned to update Short on the NBA playoff games and then discuss potential investment ideas, including a collaboration on a comedy script about a guy who runs his own filmmakin' studio. Tom decides to trick Larry into thinking that he hung up on him by making a fake hang-up noise. It works. Tom laffs. He then salutes the Boston Celtics for defeating the Chicago Bulls in overtime by two points at The Garden. He thinks the team is looking great and will go all the way!
Mike in Manhattan says the idea of a MikeCon on a boat sounds like a terrific premise for an Agatha Christie novel. Tom titles it The Last of Scharpling. Mike thanks Tom on behalf of the rest of his friends for the Short interview, a great service to fans of The Best Show. Tom wants to set up some Clifford screenings to combat the craze over The Room, an independent drama starring that weird monster. He suspects that the auteur is actually the ugly creature from Where The Wild Things Are. Mike recently viewed the entire film, but Tom shut it off after five minutes because it was not even good-bad. It made him physically ill.
Tom receives word that it's finally time for the on-air debut of The Mike Show. He reads from a piece of paper:
Hailed as a bleak and blunt prophet, celebrated as a grim and grimy guru, ladies and gentlemen, the prince of negativity and the host of The Mike Show: Mike.
Mike emerges from his lascivious lair to the strains of Bob Dylban's "It's All Good" and welcomes everyone to his show. He asks Tom about the status of his modulator because his voice sounded a bit nasally when he's previously been on the air. Tom assures him that there are no devices connected to either microphone. Mike allows Tom to serve as his co-host as long as he limits himself to seasoning for the main course instead of his usual, intrusive self. Tom offers to cue up the Dylban track as bed music, but Mike prefers to jump right into it without any sonic safety net. He planned to have a special guest for his big debut, but the appearance has been postponed.
Mike explains that the off-air version of his show features a lot of hot topics that remain active for months, whereas Tom's topics are often lucky to have enough juice to limp into the final hour. He says that his fans are particularly enthusiastic about the ongoing discussion of the shrinkwrapped collections of mysterious magazines known as "Fun Packs." Mike recently asked his callers to name some of the strangest items they've ever found in a Fun Pack. Examples included National Geographic, a TV Guide with Carol Burnett on the cover, and a 1977 issue of O-u-i magazine. While Tom would usually jump on the poor guy for mispronouncing the title (it's French: "wee"), Mike humored him because a lot of his downtrodden callers are grappling with largers issues, such as incarceration and pending arrest warrants. He takes their threats very seriously. Mike wants to get things rolling with some calls, so Tom fires up the phone lines.
- Norm from Montague calls to tell Tom that Tito Puente and Duke Ellington are actually pretty good. He doesn't think Tom should discourage kids from exploring their catalogs even if it seems a bit weird. Norm says he loved these artists when he was a teenager. He asks Mike to talk about what he will bring to the table that is different than Tom's style of radio hosting. Mike says that his show is generally too traumatic for a general audience because there is no middle ground. The callers, who often view Mike as their therapist, either end up crying or laughing too hard to continue. Mike compares his show to Home Box Office's In Treatment, which stars Gabriel Byrne as self-doubting psychotherapist, Dr. Fred Myers. While Norm has not seen the show, he does start to cry from the sounds of Mike's therapeutic voice. He thanks Mike for making him feel so good. Tom instructs Mike to give him the finger-across-the-throat signal when he wants to terminate a call.
- Julie from Cincinnati calls to find out if Mike really thinks that Werner Herzog's Strotesick is funny. He does indeed find comedic value in this offbeat work. JfC expresses concern that Tom is somehow getting inside her brain and stealing her ideas. For example, she recently bought a CD by The Who for the first time in her life, and then Tom played the band in tonight's opening music set. In another spooky occurrence, Tom once saw the same movie that she did and gave it an identical review.
Mike downplays any sort of paranormal occupation and thinks that Julie has just been listening to The Best Show long enough to get on Tom's wavelength. JfC agrees with this less frightening assessment. She says that one undesirable byproduct of her fandom is failing out of school. JfC believes that she would be making a lot more money if she had earned a degree. Mike says that he completed his college education, but it didn't necessarily guarantee a large income. JfC clarifies that it was a second degree in mathematics. She asks Mike if he thinks that Tom owes her an additional $10,000/year payout for interrupting her studies. Mike absolves Tom from any financial responsibility, and Julie accepts his verdict. She declares her love for The Mike Show.
- A caller requests the number for the Suicide Hotline because if Mike keeps saying "uhhh" and "ummm" with an unenergetic enunciation, he will smash his freakin' head against the wall for half an hour until he passes out. Mike takes the caller's preference for self-inflicted bodily injury to mean that he's not a fan of The Mike Show. The caller wants Mike to work on his delivery, and Mike thanks him for the advice. Tom reminds Mike that hosting a radio program is not so easy. Mike says he was prepared for this kind of reaction because he took the low road to success by attracting a less-educated demographic. In this scenario, Tom is the snob, and Mike is the slob.
- Mike from Mahwah reports that his band is finally making progress on the recording of their debut album, but their eccentric drummer is becoming increasingly obsessed with The Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson. The studio perfectionist is driving them crazy because he won't let them finish a track. Mike from Mahwah wants to handle the situation without coming across as too "Shut up Marky and play the drums," a reference to the blunt approach the members of The Ramones took with their sticksman. He asks Mike to recommend a more democratic solution. Mike is reluctant to dismiss the Wilson acolyte as a dumb drummer if he has made improvements to the band's sound. Mike from Mahwah says the kid always speaks in broad terms and brings up anecdotes from the Wilson biography, Wouldn't It Be Nice: My Story. Mike concludes that the drummer has gone too far and recommends kicking him out.
- Frank from Weehawken returns to ask Mike how he feels about the poor portrayal of the death penalty in movies. He complains that cinematic depictions tend to exaggerate the physical pain (e.g., excessive screaming and jittering) when it's really more about the internal pain of grappling with one's state-sanctioned demise. Mike asks for an example, and Frank offers Wesley Craven's Shocker. Mike is not a big Craven fan, so he can't comment the director's vision in this work. However, he did think that Tim Robbins delivered a pretty authentic examination of both sides of this complex issue with Dead Man Walking. Frank wants HBO to develop a CSI-like skein to showcase realistic executions. Mike seems a bit puzzled by all of this. Frank tells him to keep up the good work.
- Nick from Stamford, CT, thinks that Herzog's DJ Hatch says that he's actually more excited to hear Mike on the air than Martin Short, even though he used to take a camcorder into the backyard to film his recreations of scenes from ¡Three Amigos!. Tom doesn't like what he just heard. It's unclear if he objects to Hatch's enthusiasm for Mike or the notion that he was filming himself (probably both!). Hatch says that he also cast some of his amigos in these childhood productions. Mike glares at Tom for interrupting him. Since Hatch is unemployed, he asks Mike for help finding a job during the economic crisis. Mike says that he's hanging onto his job by a thread. He feels for everyone out there, but he's not in a position to hire anyone. He urges potential employers to contact Hatch via WFMU or Twitter. Hatch says he's willing to serve an Associate Associate Producer on Tuesday nights.
- Bryce signals his arrival with the unmistakable gurgle of a monster hit. He's pleased to finally hear someone good in this timeslot because it seemed like Blob was on for months. Mike regrets that he missed Bryce at their scheduled meet-up prior to the Grateful Dead show this past Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. Bryce, who did not make it to the show at all, apologizes for failing to fulfill his promise to sneak in some whiskey for Mike. He hopes that Mike was able to get stoned via other sources. Mike says he did his best to get stoned via the countless crip carriers. He tells Bryce that the band started off Set #2 with Drums > Space. Bryce is upset that he missed this very rare setlist position.
Bryce asks Mike if he saw his mother at the show. Mike wasn't aware that Mrs. Prefontaine would be in attendance. Bryce says that she always packs plenty of crip and dons her usual concert garb: homemade hippie dress sans shoes. Mike is amazed by how many people traverse Manhattan barefoot when the Grateful Dead play MSG. Bryce explains that when you are extremely baked it seems like the streets are paved with gold. In this case, he's using the term "gold" to indicate a hemp-based construction. Mike never interpreted the lack of footwear in this way, but he thinks it's very poetic.
Bryce shifts the conversation to something even more serious than the Grateful Dead: Mike's loyal patronage of Dirty Diana's. He knows that Mike has been a customer since the store opened in 1984 and appeared in their print advertisements during his 25 years in the adult bookstore trenches. Mike says that his recent visit involved research for the popular "Book Beat" segment of his show. He bills it as an edgier alternative to Oprah's Book Club, featuring filthier, less mainstream "literary works." The current "Book Beat" selection is The Booth, a XXX-rated take on the current Christian fiction bestseller, The Shack. Mike scans the back cover to provide a synopsis. The story focuses on a grieving father whose oldest son, Buddy, was abducted during a family vacation. While the crime remains unsolved, evidence suggests that Buddy may have been brutally murdered in a Times Square "buddy booth." Four years later in the midst of his great sadness the father receives a suspicious note from Al Goldstein. The public-access pornographer invites him back to the buddy booth for a weekend, and the father goes against his better judgment by accepting the offer. When he returns to Times Square the two men embark on a sexual odyssey that will astound and perhaps transform the reader.
Tom is disgusted by this plot. Bryce, however, praises The Booth for offering readers the rare comingling of eros, spirituality, mystery, and murder, including several decapitations. Mike is surprised that he already finished it, but Bryce admits that he was too baked to actually read the book. Mike says there is also an audio version narrated by actor Steve Buscemi. Bryce and Tom are both fans of his work. Bryce recalls his role in Ghost Worlds, which he mistakenly believes is another ghost story. Mike mentions that the film also featured some old-timey record collecting. Bryce takes another hit and asks Mike what he can do to lure him over to his new store, Bryce's Weed & Wax.
Bryce accepts that Diana gives Mike preferential treatment, such as more time in the booths and bulk pricing, because he estimates that Mike has dumped about $250,000 into her coffers over the years. Mike isn't sure if he's spent that much, but Bryce confirmed the figure with Diana herself. Since Bryce knows that Mike loves to buy magazine three-packs, he is considering stocking six-packs. Mike thinks the super-sized fun will boost his business. Bryce wants Mike to become the public face of Weed & Wax, but Mike is reluctant to promote the store unless he can wear some kind of disguise. Bryce forbids even a fake mustache because Mike is pornography. Tom expresses disgust at Mike's lofty standing in the adult industry. Bryce counsels the co-host not to step over the boundaries.
Tom confirms that Mike prefers to work in a vacuum of weird silence without any bed music. Bryce says Dylban's vocals in the introduction sounded like him after a bong-a-thon. Mike agrees that Dylban does in fact sound close to death on the track. Bryce takes another hit and goes silent for a few moments. He reports that he just experienced a weird thing where he felt like he didn't exist anymore. Mike thinks he's having the same feeling. Tom seems to be falling ill, and Bryce asks him why he was groaning. He also informs the co-host that Mike is always baked during The Best Show, which explains why he lets the weird calls through. Bryce cites the first Martin Short caller as an example of a weirdo who benefited from the screener's impaired judgment. He wonders what kind of person makes such a call. Tom asks Bryce if he is that person. He comes clean and giggles. Bryce says that he may have to lie down forever. Mike thanks him for calling and releases him to an eternal slumber. Tom notes that Bryce and Mike had a good rapport. Mike is proud to have Bryce as one of his regular callers.
Mike heads into the home stretch by throwing a topic on the table. He says that difficult times at home and work have him trying to boost his spirits through laughter, which is considered by some to be the best form of medicine. I still prefer 'ludes and/or a stiff Appletini. While Martin Short is always amused by the antics of power-mad morons, Mike finds solace in a more lowbrow brand of humor. He conjured an image that never fails to make him laugh: The Benny Hill Show staple of transitioning from a woman holding an infant to a close-up of a large man's head wearing a bonnet. And so the topic: This Will Always Make Me Laugh
- David from Montclair calls to get Mike's take on the new documentary, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. Mike caught some of it on PBS and rented the DVD, which includes extra footage of his beloved massacre. He recommends it. While watching the documentary, he realized that cult leader Jim Jones became such a charismatic figure because he wore very sharp sunglasses for the time period. Mike believes the effects of his stylish specs on his followers should be further explored by historians and sociologists. He is now considering a spectacle upgrade after seeing the film. Mike says he was struck by how happy everyone was right up until that fateful day. He concludes the Peoples Temple members had one bad day, but it turned out to be a doozie of a downer. Mike grants his co-host permission to speak. Tom agrees that this was indeed a bad day for the people who died. David asks Mike to discuss his relationship with filmmaker/raconteur Kevin Smith. Mike says it's too involved to get into at this point. He will revisit the topic some other time.
- Longtime The Mike Show caller Vulgar Vinny congratulates the host on finally getting on the air. VV says that he and Mike have had a lot of intense conversations, but he's been saving one question for this special occasion. He asks Mike the name of the Herzog movie with all the little people running around causing damage and trashing things. VV believes it's called The Little Criminals. Tom laments that even he may know this Mike World title. Mike wants Spike to IMDb it, but Tom thinks the logical solution is for Spike to call the director ("Heeeelllloooo, Werner ..."). VV says he decided to go right to the source because the Internet is often plagued by inaccurate information. Mike says he's not a big fan of this movie, which boasts 40 minutes of a guy getting taunted while tied to a chair. Tom says that someone claims it's Under The Rainbow, an apparent case of confusion with the MUNCHkin-laden The Wizards of Oz. He finally reveals that the film is Even Dwarfs Started Small. VV says he saw it many years ago without subtitles on a black-and-white television.
- Regular Joe wants to find out if Mike has the chops to pull off the daunting Build A Movie Game. Mike agrees to give it a shot, but he thinks BAMG is better suited to Tom's skill set. Regular Joe offers Tom the project, but he declines to cook up a narrative featuring this ghastly trio: musician Bruno S., erotic actress Jenna Haze, and TwitGoon Ashton Kutcher. Mike creates a love triangle where Bruno S. has a crush on the starlet Haze, who is Kutcher's girlfriend. The couple are mean to Bruno S., who then kills them and drives off in a moment of triumph. Regular Joe is pleased with the basic plot. Mike reports that Tom is pantomiming hanging himself at the prospects of this feature. Tom says that he is longer able to make eye contact with the host of The Mike Show.
- Nick from New Bedford, MA, says an elderly person (80+) getting really, really angry never fails to delight him. He's particularly giddy when these olds gets pissed at people who pass their slowmobiles on the highway. Nick enjoys pretending to feel sorry for them. Mike points out that in his experience olds are simply too oblivious on road to get mad at other motorists. He does, however, see them getting very angry while waiting in lines. Mike recently went to KFC to investigate their new grilled chicken after a friend suggested that it was simply the fried chicken sporting some kind of grilled disguise. Tom wants to hear more about the parameters of this culinary casework. Mike says that he will eventually have to weasel his way behind the counter or just hurdle it to reach the food preparation stations for closer inspection.
Tom compares it to Paul Schrader's Affliction, starring Nick Nolte as Wade Whitehouse, the volatile and inept sheriff of a small New Hampshire town. He recalls that Nolte was investigating stuff, but it turned out that he was just drunk. Mike says he enjoyed seeing Nolte flailing about and appreciated the bleak tone of the film, which is similar to an episode of Intervention. While on the lookout for any chicken chicanery, Mike observed an old man getting pretty gruff when a woman failed to slide away from the main line after placing her order. He told her to step aside so he could approach the cashier. Tom agrees that these incidents are always funny. He loves this fun topic.
- A caller says it's delightful to hear Mike's fruition come to audio vision. Mike says it's actually more than he ever expected. He recently had a dream where The Mike Show merged with The Best Show to form The Sweet & Sour Hour. In this program, an unmodulated Tom comes on the air by squeaking, "I'm sweet!," followed by Mike announcing, "I'm sour!" Tom is now wincing and feigning cutting off both of his arms. He thinks it sounds more like a nightmare, but Mike woke up smiling from ear to ear about the new format. Tom says that he may never sleep again, and the caller plans to keep the lights on tonight. He mentions that Glenn Beck considers himself to be the perfect fusion of entertainment and enlightenment. The caller thinks The Mike Show has achieved the perfect fusion of enlightenment and inertia. Mike says he feels so calm that Tom will have to physically remove him from the studio. Tom says this will be Evan "Funk" Davies's problem because he will be in his car at 11:01 p.m.. He will not even pause to gather his laptop. Mike wonders if EFD will let him stay.
- Roy from Manhattan says he saw a young, fratty guy with spiked hair wearing a short-sleeve Polo shirt with an upturned collar in an attempt at Funzie-grade coolness. Mike agrees that this collar orientation is always funny. Earlier today he saw a young man remove his shirt prior to jogging in the park in Hoboken. Mike spotted a tattoo scrawled across his back, but he was too far away to decipher its wisdom. He began doing a fast-walk so the jogger wouldn't suspect that he was being chased. While Mike has become very fond of tattoos, from a Zune playing the "Red Band" trailer for Tropic Thunder to a calzone, he thinks a sentence is pushing it. He's an image guy.
- Dania from Chicago says The Best Show is always funny, as is turning off the radio when an NPR host is in the middle of some mundane commentary. Mike says he'd rather listen to the right-wing nuts than the reasonable voices on NPR. He recently admitted to Tom that he's been using Imus in the Morning as his clock radio wake-up call. Mike says that he used to opt for a blast of K-Rock, but the music has become intolerable. While Imus and Co. are horrendous, they are effective at quickly rousing him from bed.
- John from Austin announces himself as a nervous first-time The Mike Show caller. Mike points out that this installment is the "kiddie version" of his program. Tom is ready to jump out the window even with the lighter fare. John says that he's always amused when a sharp-dressed guy with a purposeful gait trips or stumbles while trying to look cool and check out a girl. He clarifies that he doesn't want the guy to actually fall down and get hurt. Mike agrees that stumbles are good, but he thinks it's funnier if they hit the ground. He does draw the line at injury because he's taken a scrape or two in his day. Mike says he was recently knocked down by a head-on collision with a bicycle. He's sure somebody found the crash at least slightly funny.
Tom gives EFD the option of keeping The Mike Show rolling past 11:00 p.m. EFD offers Mike his three hours of power when he's out on June 2nd.. Tom fears that would start some movement with people chanting for The Mike Show. While Mike looks very relaxed, Tom is sweating profusely. He says that every line is still lit up by Mike's insatiable fans. He compares this predicament to a network executive who can't cancel a show for creative failure because the ratings are too strong. Mike wants to make some bumpers featuring Marty's kind words for him. He thanks Tom for giving him the opportunity to reach a wider audience. He knows it's a great sacrifice for someone so in love with the sound of his own voice.