True fans of this blog know that I am a Card-Carrying Friend of Tom. What this means is that I listen to a radio show called “The Best Show on WFMU” on one of America’s last free-form stations called WFMU. WFMU is based out of Jersey City, NJ, but via the internet, everything about this show and the station is accessible from anywhere in the world. [The “card-carrying” part means I have a card in my wallet signed by Tom Scharpling indicating that I am a Friend of Tom.]
The Best Show on WFMU is a comedy based show, where Tom entertains real callers, and, in between, he has fake callers call in with scripted routines. While I enjoy the fake callers (who lately have been voiced by Jon Wurster), my favorite part of the show is Tom Scharpling himself. He has a very unique style of improvisational humor that works very well on the radio medium. This is exemplified by his ability to riff with comedy greats like Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, and Zach Galifianakis, who are all regular guests on his show. In addition, Tom’s recent rivalry with Associate Producer Mike has added a layer of entertainment to the show that I think is hilarious.
I have only been listening to the show since the summer of 2006; it has been running strong since 2000. I generally listen to the weekly podcast which drops the Thursday after a show. But lately, I have been trying to listen live over the internet on Tuesdays at 9 pm. Tom has been away on hiatus for the last several weeks, but, even in his absence, the fill-in shows have been entertaining.
I wanted to re-live one of my favorite Tom moments here. It comes from The Best Show on April 22, 2008. Tom somehow gets on a rant of bad restaurants in America. His rant is focused on how Olive Garden is probably the worst restaurant. Then he describes the unlimited salad and breadstick ritual. His description is so dead on and had me laughing profusely for days after the show. He describes the salad as simply iceberg lettuce with one shredded carrot per cubic ton of lettuce. The dressing, being so sour, is simply vinegar, to which he converses with himself and verifies, “wait, do you mean oil and vinegar?” and he responds, “no, sir, just vinegar.” And he describes the breadsticks as “Wonder bread.” Reading this in text really doesn’t do it justice. You have to go back to the archive and listen to it.
The Best Show is a meaningful part of my life. In addition to having the podcasts (which are vital for over 3 hours of commuting to work per week), via twitter and facebook, I have been introduced to a good number of Friends of Tom. The online community surrounding this show is astonishing, and I really can’t wait to attend some WFMU/Best Show events and meet some of the FoTs that I have met via twitter and facebook. Everyone with whom I converse seems very nice and obviously has a good sense of humor if they listen to The Best Show.
If you want to check out The Best Show on WFMU, you can tune in every Tuesday at 9pm Eastern on WFMU.org, there is a WFMU app for every style of smartphone available, there’s the above link to the archives, or you can find the podcast on iTunes. There is an additional podcast called “Best Show Gems” which is touted as the best of the best show which you can find on iTunes. [Links to both podcasts are included in the sidebar to my blog as well — under “Podcasts”]