Here at The A.V. Club, we never pass up an opportunity to talk up Scharpling & Wurster, the brilliant radio comedy team responsible for the classic Rock, Rot & Rule sketch and other great records (Hippie Justice, The Art Of The Slap, New Hope For The Ape-Eared) that have made us look like fools in public, doubled-over helplessly in laughter among the throngs of stone-faced train commuters. How fitting, then, that on the week that we’re rolling out our new Gateways To Geekery feature, along comes another chance to draw readers into our obsession: Selections from The Best Show on WFMU—three hours of “mirth, music, and mayhem” hosted every Tuesday night by Tom Scharpling—are now available in a bite-sized, biweekly podcast called Best Show Gems.
For those of you interested in Scharpling (and frequent guest Jon Wurster, appearing under many hilarious guises), the weekly podcast—clocking in at just under three hours with the music excised—may seem like too much of a commitment. And indeed, The Best Show can be rather intimidating for newcomers who aren’t attuned to the loose call-in format or familiar with the ever-expanding universe of Newbridge, New Jersey (a fictional town of Springfield-like proportions) and the gallery of colorful characters—Spike, Julie from Cincinnati, Fredericks from New Port Richey, “The H-Man,” etc.—that drop in every week. Though we still insist that fans of alternative comedy should consider the full weekly podcast essential listening (and guests like Paul F. Tompkins, John Hodgman, Zach Galifianakis, and Patton Oswalt are the seal of approval in that regard), we concede that Best Show Gems is a tighter, more digestible place to start.
The first Best Show Gems podcast features a Scharpling & Wurster bit from November 8th, 2005, with Wurster calling in as the owner of Club Pizzazz, “Newbridge’s premier entertainment establishment.” Information on how to subscribe to the iTunes version and other Best Show and WFMU podcasts can be found here.