Tag Archives: Bill Murray

Ep. #187: Mike Sacks on David Letterman

Mike Sacks is a respected journalist and humour writer whose work has appeared in many of America’s top periodicals. He’s a member of the editorial staff at Vanity Fair and has written three books including two acclaimed and mind-blowing interview collections, 2009’s And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Humor Writers About Their Craft and 2014’s Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers. With David Letterman’s retirement as a TV talk show host imminent, it seemed like a good time to gain more insight about what this means for comedy so here, Mike and I discuss Brooklyn and My Little Pony, attending one of the last tapings of the Late Show with David Letterman, growing up with Dave, watching and taping Letterman as a kid and then reciting his jokes to other kids, observing Reese Witherspoon and fakery, encountering Letterman after the taping, the end of an era and connecting with someone, real time and in the moment with great TV, attending a Letterman taping and seeing all the behind-the-scenes stuff, Norm Macdonald’s amazing tribute to Dave this past Friday night, Letterman’s impact on comedy and kids who watched him and acted and spoke like him, a Letterman bias, Merrill Markoe’s tremendous role on Late Night with David Letterman, Dave admitting that he’s been outta the loop the last few years, coasting, NBC to CBS, Letterman’s stunt-free power and great interviewing skills, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, silence and listening, how the world of comedy views Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, subversive comedy lives on the radio and in podcasts, Scharpling, Wurster, and the Best Show, 12:35 AM versus 11:35 PM, Leno’s edginess, Conan O’Brien was pushing the envelope even on the Tonight Show, the tempering of Letterman’s show at CBS, the resilience of the late night TV talk show format, tradition, the dullness of certain interviews as opposed to real talk, Letterman says he might do a podcast, what will happen to TV and comedy when Letterman leaves, youthification, historical comedy, the greatness of Poking a Dead Frog, writing a crime book and/or collaborating on a comedian’s memoir, not chasing a Letterman interview, the Harry Shearer versus The Simpsons fiasco, Letterman’s final episodes feature Tom Hanks, Eddie Vedder, Bill Murray, and Bob Dylan, predicting what the final episode will consist of, anyone can do anything but not everyone can do everything, @michaelbsacks, and that’s all kids.

Related links: michaelsacks.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #154: Tom Scharpling

Tom Scharpling is a comedic writer, performer, and personality who hails from the state of New Jersey. He founded a fanzine and record label called 18 Wheeler in the early 1990s, he was a writer and executive producer on the TV show Monk during its eight year run on the USA network, he made contributions to the show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and has directed music videos and short films for people like the New Pornographers, Ted Leo, the Postal Service, and Aimee Mann among others. But along with Jon Wurster, Scharpling is most beloved as one-half of the comedy duo Scharpling & Wurster and for hosting the popular and influential call-in music program The Best Show on WFMU in Jersey City, New Jersey. Scharpling commandeered the Best Show for 13 years, before ending its run in December 2013. This past October, he announced that the Best Show would be returning as a podcast, which can soon be found at thebestshow.net, and the Numero Group is also releasing a 16-CD Scharpling & Wurster Best of the Best Show box set this coming March. Here, Tom and I discuss soggy New Jersey, getting over winter, the current status of The Best Show, why the original Best Show stopped, quality trumps all, volunteering at a non-commercial station like WFMU, no money, working real jobs while putting a lot of time and energy into a volunteer project, working for Monk, whether or not the consumption of free content means that content has been devalued, people value phones more than the entertainment they’re consuming, the elimination of singles and music industry mistakes, loving the things that people make, making a living, The Best Show will be less a podcast and more of a live-on-the-internet type show, no doubt, commercials, I convey envy for some reason, how the end of The Best Show on WFMU impacted people, growing up lower middle-class in New Jersey, getting into comedy and music at a young age, loving game changers like SCTV, SNL, David Letterman, Bill Murray, and Howard Stern, starting a zine and record label, writing a screenplay, performance anxiety, getting into WFMU as an overnight DJ, how other people’s work might influence your own, it wasn’t really the best show, when The Best Show and Scharpling and Wurster began to click, there’s no fun in fundraising, the best is yet to come, Julie Klausner’s How Was Your Week? and Marc Maron’s WTF, not listening to other people’s stuff when you start making stuff, calling upon independent podcast and radio hosts for interviews, perceptions of success, the Scharpling & Wurster box set is special, reflection, Patton Oswalt, Julie Klausner, Jake Fogelnest, Damian Abraham, and others contributed to the liner notes in the box, Tom and Jon each wrote descriptions of the tracks, Fucked Up rule, future plans and media appearances, Letterman, going to Late Night with Conan O’Brien tapings, whether or not Tom was at a taping of The Chris Getheard Show featuring Sleater-Kinney instead of doing Jon Solomon’s WPRB radio show, what the Best Show might look like, smashing a phone with hammers, the song “Sun Glass” by Fucked Up, and that’s the end.

Related links: thebestshow.net numerogroup.com vishkhanna.com

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