Tag Archives: SNL

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

scharpling

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I hop on the “I liked Arcade Fire first” bandwagon late…

http://media.guelphmercury.topscms.com/images/c3/bb/56cc3e9a42ec87c5fcbdf552facc.jpegI was quoted in a Guelph Mercury article today about the association between Guelph and Arcade Fire. In the wake of their Grammy win this past Sunday night, there’s been plenty of discussion about this band that “stole” a major award from Eminem and Lady Gaga. There are some people who don’t even know who they are when really, they’ve been hugely popular for close to six years now (i.e. they’ve played SNL twice, debuted at #1 on Billboard, have played sold out shows at Madison Square Garden, been on Letterman and Conan, opened for U2, performed publicly with David Byrne, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen, collaborated with major filmmakers, and been nominated for Grammys before, etc.). Any way, it’s also sparked a weird ownership discussion about the band among their fans and some media outlets–a kind of entitled, “We knew about them before they were huge and won a Grammy” line of thought I suppose. It’s all a bunch of noise really but now I’ve got myself caught up in it.

This morning, because of the Merc piece,  I began to reflect on my own association with the band and found some links to some of the earliest pieces I wrote about them. I’m sharing them below, not because I feel I’m owed anything or want any kinda cred for my efforts (which include paying attention to things and trying to articulate my feelings about them, and aren’t all that astounding, I realize). It’s just a kinda scrapbooking exercise I suppose. When I first saw Arcade Fire open for Broken Social Scene and Royal City at La Sala Rossa in Montreal in December 2002, it was a fluke that I was even there (RC often brought me on tour with them) but still, I knew they were something else. And now I’m feeling nostalgic about that era for the band and myself too, sure.

I’m nothing but ecstatic and pleased by all of this band’s success, not because I know them vaguely or was lucky enough to share stages with them when they first played Ontario or that I was able to write about their music when few others had the chance to. The fact is, they’re really one of the best bands in the world and they’ve been remarkably poised, composed, and grounded in the face of what I can only imagine is a freakish amount of pressure and scrutiny. They’re really great people making amazing music and I’m proud to have gotten to know them over the years.

So yeah, here are some links to things I’ve written about Arcade Fire since 2003. Enjoy.

A Nathan Lawr article that references AF’s first Guelph show in July 2003, which I organized.

A September 2003 review I wrote about their first EP.

A Unicorns/Arcade Fire combo piece for their first Hillside appearance in July 2004.

Funeral review, 2004.

And a preview piece on their 2005 appearance at Hillside.

And interview/reviews of Neon Bible and The Suburbs for Exclaim!

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