A weekly review of The Best Show On WFMU, Tom Scharpling’s call-in/comedy/music show broadcast every Tuesday night from Jersey City. The three-hour program is available for free download at iTunes.
As previously mentioned, WFMU is a listener-sponsored station, and two weeks a year are dedicated to the fundraising marathon. So the past two episodes of The Best Show (3/3/09 and 3/10/09) are completely dedicated to that effort and consist largely of reading off pledges and trying to keep the phone lines busy with donations. Why bother downloading these podcasts? A few things come to mind:
Philly Boy Roy returns! Whenever PBR has an extended absence from the show, we like to start rumors of a new Superchunk album. Turns out we’re almost correct—there’s a new EP and some live dates happening next month.
Comedy guests include Paul F. Tompkins (host of VH-1’s Best Week Ever) and John Hodgman (the PC in the Apple commercials). Musical guests include Ted Leo and Aimee Mann. I was going to complain about Leo being a little too omnipresent on The Best Show, but he proved his worth by composing a Mike Show theme (Mike is the call screener whose antics threaten to usurp Tom) and a really solid version of “Timorous Me.” Tompkins joined Mann for a jokey version of Magnolia hit “Wise Up,” which went off the rails early and often. The show should’ve closed with Mann revisiting the song by her lonesome because, you know, it’s not going to stop. (The second show actually ended with a kinda-terrible group singalong of Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” apropos of nothing except that it uses the term of endearment “sugar bear,” which is funny.)
Worth visualizing: Tom commandeered the phone room in a yachting outfit inspired by Ted Knight’s Judge Smails character from Caddyshack.
And finally, you have to be the cynic of the century not to appreciate the ideas behind WFMU and the need for the fundraising marathon. Hearing Tom thank each and every caller who pledged money as their names are read is a nice touch. Let me know when he’s done stirring the Kool-Aid.