Comedy Recording/Staged Phone Call Of The Day 12/11/2013: Scharpling & Wurster - "The Music Scholar"


Next Tuesday will see the final episode of Tom Scharpling's The Best Show On WFMU as heard on -- let me look this up -- ah, yes: WFMU. It's been running on the Jersey non-comm station for 13 years, and is probably emblematic of every uptight NPR station's worst fears: a gleefully free-form, three-hour set of music, call-ins, sound collages and overall lack of gravitas. It's also very, very close to its title. They even let me on the air once in 2002 -- I believe the subject was Jeff "Skunk" Baxter's political ambitions, although Tom roped me into talking a little about where I was from (Olympia), the station I worked at (KAOS), and the independent labels to which I had little if any connections (K and Kill Rock Stars). I was mainly just happy someone was being so nice and interested in me. I was desperate for affirmation at the time. Not that I stopped or anything, but back then it was crucial.

If there's one aspect of The Best Show everyone will likely remember, it's the on-air phone calls that originated with Superchunk's Jon Wurster, under many different guises. For example, my second favorite thing Wurster played was a guy who used to play in a kid punk band called Old Skull, who resurrects the band name for his new smooth jazz efforts.

The funniest thing they did -- indeed, one of my favorite comedy sketches ever, of all time, by anyone, including Ray Romano and Gallagher -- was called "The Music Scholar." This is it. It goes for nearly 35 minutes, which might seem like a major investment of your time in this busy holiday season. However, I promise you -- unconditionally, with no reservation, absolutely promise you -- that if you stick this whole thing through, it has the most rewarding, earned ending you can imagine. Whether or not you're familiar with rock music, but especially if you are. Trust me on this. Just sit back with some egg nog and let the internet make you happy for 35 minutes.

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