March 08, 2012

MY TRIBUTE TO "THE BEST SHOW" ON WFMU

UPDATE: My piece has sold! (profit will go to WFMU) And you can see all the artwork here.


This Friday, Gallery 1988 Melrose will unveil the second installment of Is This Thing On?, an art show hosted by "Weird Al" Yankovic saluting our favorite funny people, and I'm way excited to be among the artists. My comedians of choice are Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster of The Best Show on WFMU because about 75% of my weekly laughs come from this three-hour program. Here's my piece...


LinkClick to enlarge

For those unfamiliar I'll quote Patton Oswalt from a recent article in SPIN,
"Trying to explain The Best Show on WFMU to someone who hasn't heard it can be one of the most frustrating tasks on the planet. [...] The simple explanation is this: For three hours each week, a guy named Tom Scharpling gets on the radio, plays some cool records, takes some phone calls, and then his friend, Superchunk and Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster, calls up and acts like a jerk."

I thought the duo was a perfect fit for a 1960s-era LP cover in the tradition of Bob Newhart, Paul Lynde or Rowan & Martin because their lives revolve around music and to me their comedy has a classic, timeless quality. Over the years they've built a self-contained mythology of characters, events, and places (i.e. Newbridge). Unlike typical radio teams they rarely depend on the latest happenings of pop culture, on the contrary they often employ hilariously obscure cultural relics and people in their vernacular.

It's performed live (though carefully written) and a single exchange between them can go on for the better part of an hour which lets the laughs gradually build to a frenzy as the absurdity reaches new depths. This breathing room also lends itself to wonderful subtlety, and once you pick up on the rhythms and running gags (which are the inspiration for many of the album's would-be tracks) there's even more mirth to be had.

And that's not even touching on the other two-thirds of the show in which Tom uproariously reflects on life's day-to-day struggles, regales us with tales of his past and toys with the clueless callers in a Bug's Bunny-like fashion.

If it's still unclear... I recommend this show.
You can listen to it live each Tuesday night at 9PM Eastern, or here are the archives, or you can subscribe to the podcast via itunes

Anyway, the "LP cover" poster-print also comes with the original colored pencil art (below) and any profit I might get will go to listener-supported WFMU. So if you're interested call or email Gallery 1988.

6 comments:

meatyard said...

Great work! I've been a fan of The Best Show for about 6 years. I even adopted AP Mike in the recent marathon!

Ben said...

So great...any chance of making some prints for sale?

Kirk D. said...

Meatyard- Great to hear from a fellow FOT. Good job adopting Mike, he needs a loving environment.

Ben- No plans to, but if you want you could email me at kirkd at centurytel.net and I could point you to a high res version that you could print yourself.
I had a photo poster of it made at a Wal-Mart for eight bucks that looks pretty record-cover-y.

John Rozum said...

Kirk -- That's a really great piece. I'm so glad (and not at all surprised) it sold quickly. I'm happy, once again to be sharing wall space with you at Gallery 1988.

Gumba G Gadwa said...

Kirk, sorry if this is slightly off topic, but I found your blog through your book mail-order mysteries (which I, and my bathroom reading rack, love.)

I stayed for the beautiful dark-ride tribute, and I've never seen one yet that had as many actual walk-through, full-light pictures.

So, this is a keep up the good work, I'll be checking back often!

Kirk D. said...

John- Looking forward to finally seeing you at one of these shows!

Gumba Gadwa- Thanks so much! Glad to hear you're enjoying the book and the site. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to posting more often in a couple months!