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I don't wanna go but I gotta go.
October 30, 2013 8:36 AM   Subscribe

After 13 years, the Best Show on WFMU will sign off for good December 17. Tom Scharpling (previously, previously) announced on last night's broadcast that WFMU's weekly 3 hours of mirth, music, and mayhem are coming to an end. Friends of Tom stormed Twitter in grief and praise, and some concern about what the Best Show's departure will mean for fundraising at free-form, listener-supported station WFMU.

The show is notable for its collaborations between Scharpling and long-time comedy partner Jon Wurster. The two created and then elaborated infinitely upon the denizens of the fictional Newbridge, New Jersey (all played by Wurster).

It is also the only place where you can hear a squirrel puppet interview Bob Odenkirk about the end of Breaking Bad.

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posted by like_a_friend (29 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is how I finally find out who this guy actually is.
posted by Napierzaza at 8:42 AM on October 30, 2013


Heard this last night and was really sad. Our Tuesday nights are scheduled around the radio trifecta of Hearty White's "Miracle Nutrition", the Antique Phonograph Music Program, and then the BEST SHOW. I don't know what we'll do on our special "Radio Night" after December!
posted by crazy_yeti at 8:42 AM on October 30, 2013


Sorry everyone, I listened to this show for the first time last week. I'm such a cooler :C
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:55 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't listening last night though--what reasons did he give? Is there a transcript?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:59 AM on October 30, 2013


The Gorch ain't going to stand for this!
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:59 AM on October 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, Marshall Crenshaw has a show on WFMU, and Yo La Tengo will still do the Hannuka show, and there are about 23,000 archive hours of Best Show, so I think WFMU will pull through
posted by C.A.S. at 9:01 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Good. He's a smart, funny guy, but I don't think the show was doing him any favors, mental health-wise. It was becoming increasingly difficult to listen to, as it seemed like every other show he had some kind of on-air breakdown because of some dumb thing a caller said that set him off. Here's hoping he moves on to bigger and better things.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:01 AM on October 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Potomac, the show will be posted as a podcast later this week, presumably (however, podcasts have been short and spotty in recent weeks...leading many fans to speculate this was in the cards).

No specific details of what's next, just that Tom is moving forward with his professional life and won't be able to devote himself to the show anymore. He's been in LA multiple times over the past few months--possibly something is in the hopper out there that would actually pay him money? (crazy!)
posted by like_a_friend at 9:03 AM on October 30, 2013


Bummed to hear this. I haven't listened in a long while, but I went through a tough time a few years back during which TBS and it's dependable form of comedy and characters functioned as kind of a surrogate circle of friends for me. It went a long way towards keeping me afloat. Comforting and intimate in that way that radio can be.

Hey, but maybe Tom will finally get that shot at Prairie Home Companion he's always wanted! I'm strapped in; I've got my helmet on...
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 9:19 AM on October 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Best Show kept me alive on my long, depressing commutes last year. I'll really miss it. Thanks for the good times, Tom and Jon.

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posted by Beardman at 9:29 AM on October 30, 2013


Also, someone had better check on Spike.
posted by Beardman at 9:30 AM on October 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
posted by Simon! at 9:38 AM on October 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


I always found myself defending this show to its detractors and nitpicking its issues to its fans. I always found it somewhere between really amusing and really annoying. Still, it'll be a big loss for WFMU
posted by lownote at 9:59 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
I will really miss this show and hearing from all of its guests and callers.

Gonna pour a Coors tall boy out for AP Mike... (chi-kuu)

...and take the Frankie Teardrop Challenge [Challenge video by caller Dan!] tomorrow night.
posted by mean square error at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's weird to me that he'd quit because he's gotten too busy. His career has been getting progressively more busy over the last ten years, and the show doesn't seem to have detracted from it. I have to think that he's got an offer from a for-profit radio station. Satellite? Would his show work if it were on every weekday?
posted by roll truck roll at 10:20 AM on October 30, 2013


I'm never taking the Frankie Teardrop challenge again; the last time almost killed me.

But I am going to try and patch together all of the Sound Collage segments into a monster segment. Which shall be called the Four-Day Creep.
posted by like_a_friend at 10:26 AM on October 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does this mean my rock 'n roll dreams'll NOT come through?
posted by Cosine at 10:35 AM on October 30, 2013


It's crazy to me that a show this weird and this good and this free existed at all, much less for so long. I used to encourage my wife to set up her meetings for Tuesday nights so I could listen (and sometimes call in). Live entertainment is something truly special.
posted by rikschell at 11:24 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's too bad, though 13 years is a strain for anyone. I've been listening for 4 years, and I'm amazed the quality of the show is so consistent. I'm not so keen on pop culture, but I appreciate Tom's weekly aggrieved riffs on entertainment.

I read an interview in which Tom says he wanted to create a world rich with in-jokes that's still accessible for a new listener, and I think he did that flawlessly. Each Wurster call has nearly-identical hallmarks (a mispronunciation, flubbed aphorism, request to "Wiki it", accusations of Tom using a voice modulator, the inevitable death of Wurster's character at the end of the call) but I eagerly anticipate the repeated jokes and somehow laugh every time. Tom's insistence on running a G-rated show builds beautiful tension with John's reflexively smutty characters.

I'll miss the show, but I'm glad Tom can move on. The weekly schtick of battling callers and annoyance sometimes seemed to seep beyond the confines of his on-air character. I hope he stays busy and fulfilled now.

And you'll never, ever believe what just walked by!!!
posted by Turkey Glue at 11:39 AM on October 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


what reasons did he give?

It had something to do with something called "reality"
posted by crazy_yeti at 11:46 AM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


WFMU is a great station with plenty of great stuff going on, so that should perhaps temper everyone's sadness at the demise of the Best Show.

In other FMU news, I hope my MeFi friends will tune in to a live studio broadcast I'll be doing (playing music and getting interviewed) at WFMU on November 11 from 9 or 10pm to midnite!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:11 PM on October 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


I have been mourning this on twitter all day (after spending last night driving home from a show in another town guffawing to the most recent podcast's sound collage), but it is so wonderful to see MeFi's FOTs popping up in this thread. Two communities I'm very proud to be a part of.

My wife's first reaction was "What will become of AP Mike?," in like, a very concerned tone.
posted by activitystory at 12:43 PM on October 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never got why people thought this show was so funny.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:18 PM on October 30, 2013


A commenter on the AV Club says that there's scuttlebutt that Tom is moving to Los Angeles to produce Chris Gethard's show on IFC.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:42 PM on October 30, 2013


Oh man, I am so bummed.

it's dependable form of comedy and characters functioned as kind of a surrogate circle of friends for me. It went a long way towards keeping me afloat. Comforting and intimate in that way that radio can be.

I guess it still functions that way for me, and has for the better part of the past decade. This feels like losing a circle of friends.

I do a 1-hour, semi-weekly, online-only talk radio show with 2 co-hosts, a clear agenda, and small handful of supportive listeners -- and I find it completely exhausting. I can't imagine the stamina it takes to do this for 3 hours every week, improvising with phone-in hecklers, for 13 years. I'm surprised (and grateful) that it lasted as long as it did.

I'm never taking the Frankie Teardrop challenge again; the last time almost killed me.

You can't just drop that without the story behind it! What happened? You aren't the guy who did it on the abandoned railway bridge they used for Stand By Me are you?

(I love hearing about the challenge stories but I will never ever ever have try it myself. Nope nope nope no way nope.)
posted by treepour at 3:14 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's about time...I'm so tired of hearing that arrogant munch talking down to everybody, thinking he's better than everyone else. I have half a mind to go up there December 17th and just go in the studio and put him in his place by- NOOOOOOOOOOO I dropped my Pudding Pop! Wah, I have fudge all over my new khaki shorts! My mommy bought me these!
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:08 PM on October 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


I do a 1-hour, semi-weekly, online-only talk radio show with 2 co-hosts, a clear agenda, and small handful of supportive listeners -- and I find it completely exhausting. I can't imagine the stamina it takes to do this for 3 hours every week, improvising with phone-in hecklers, for 13 years. I'm surprised (and grateful) that it lasted as long as it did.

Scharpling and Wurster make me feel like I'm completely lazy every time I think about how much work they put in. Wurster's touring and recording schedule alone has to be just insane, that guy constantly pops up in projects from like half the bands within a few degrees of separation from Merge and more besides on top of his steady gigs.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:13 PM on October 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "Best Show on WFMU" theme was played on Fenway organ during game six of this year's World Series.
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:49 PM on November 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dave Hill Will Take Over Tom Scharpling's 'Best Show' Slot on WFMU
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:36 PM on November 26, 2013


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