Tom Scharpling is most know for being the host and creative force behind “The Best Show on WFMU” the much beloved cult radio show on a listener supported station in New Jersey. Despite it’s humble locations, the Best Show was known world wide for it’s ability to turn the mundane into a surreal world often occupied by the imagination of Scharpling and his comedy partner Jon Wurster.
Tom has also written for television shows such as “Monk” and “Tom Goes the the Mayor” directed music videos, helped create the (now defunct) Low Times podcast, and made in an appearance in the RE2PECT Derek Jeter commercial.
Last December, Tom announced the Best Show was going away. It was a bittersweet moment for Friends of Tom, but after thirteen years of slugging away for no money, it was easy to understand why he would leave the siren call of the Best Show for other opportunities.
But he couldn’t escape the call of the show entirely, The Best Show is returning, but no one, even Tom, is entirely sure when. The show will now be unaffiliated will be streaming on its own at http://thebestshow.net/
But it’s not just the show that’s coming back, as I was lucky enough to do a quick Q&A with Tom Scharpling via email.
The Best Show went away almost a year ago, but the call of Newbridge seems to have brought you back in front of the microphones. What can fans expect of the show now that it’s not on WFMU?
I don’t know what else would or could change from what came before – I like where everything was at. I like where Jon Wurster and I have gotten to with our calls, I like the sound collages, I like Gary the Squirrel and Vance, I like the callers, I like talking on mic and telling stories and goofing around.
I would say the biggest changes would be that since I own all the equipment, I don’t have to do the show for only three hours once a week. I can turn things on and do a show if I really wanted to on a different night. Or the show could go past the three-hour mark.
And I plan on pushing really hard to take the show to some new places that we haven’t gone yet. It’s incredibly liberating to do something without worrying about failing, and that’s how I plan on doing this show. I’m gonna just do it and have a blast doing it and see what is out there around the corner.
After the announcement of the boxset, Adult Swim aired The Newbridge Tourism Board video. Can you talk a little bit about how that came together?
Jon and I have been interested in doing things that expand the world of the Newbridge characters beyond the calls. And we’ve both worked on a bunch of things for Adult Swim over the years, both together and separately. We finally started getting down to brass tacks with Ollie Green, one of the bigwigs at Adult Swim about us all working together. So the first version of this was to do one of the 4 AM infomercials; it was a great way to do a one-off thing that would convey the tone of our stuff and try to show what the world would be like visually.
Hopefully we can figure more out to do with them down the road, because the video was super satisfying and I would love to pursue cracking open the world of Newbridge even more.
Like many long-time listeners, I think fans became just as interested in the regular callers like Laurie from Miami and Spike. Have you kept up with any of them since the show has been off the air?
I’ve talked to some callers on email and on Twitter. I don’t think I talked to Laurie or Spike specifically. I do see their Twitters and Instagrams and they seem to be doing well. Hopefully they return to the show and call in again. We will see!
Many people know you as a big NBA fan, what’s been the most surprising thing for you in this season so far?
I guess the dominance of the Golden State Warriors is the biggest surprise. I knew they’d be good, but they are so super hot and fun to watch. Very exciting to see. And I’m surprised at how lousy the Knicks are, but then again I’m not – they have Melo and a great second squad, but they’re missing the second, third and fourth best players. I always thought Phil Jackson was a fraud and this travesty is exposing him as such.
Is Philly Boy Roy the only thing that can fix the 76ers?
The only thing that can fix the 76ers is the team deciding that they’re gonna stop tanking everything in a quest to stockpile players. It makes me root against them because they’re not even trying to field a decent team anymore. And Philly Boy Roy would only go through the players’ gym bags while they’re on the court, so he wouldn’t be much of a help.