Entries in tom scharpling (5)

Tuesday
Jan102012

Live Everyday Like It’s AP Mike Day

Mike Lisk (known as AP Mike) is the Associate Producer and call screener of The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling,” which is arguably the best comedy radio show/podcast around. While Scharpling is front and center, brilliantly juggling callers, guests and comedy bits with the hilarious Jon Wurster, AP Mike is screening the calls, deciding who will get through, and as Scharpling has said, helping to “dictate the tone of the show.” I spoke with Mike recently about his first interaction with Scharpling, his show with Therese Mahler, Depravity’s Rainbow, and what he did to get Kevin Corrigan laughing.

RYAN SARTOR:  How did you start “Depravity’s Rainbow”?

MIKE LISK:  It was just by chance, actually, because Tom was going to be out one week. Therese normally was doing the fill-ins. She had already done a few fill-ins for Tom and she asked me the day of the show whether I wanted to come down and take calls. It was very spur of the moment and we had a pretty good show. Basically, I wasn’t going to do what Tom does. I can’t do what Tom does. So I said, “What would be the opposite of that?” The first show we did was ‘Childhood Trauma’—something Tom would probably never discuss. The first couple of shows we did went pretty well, but it’s very difficult. With a call-in show, you depend on the phone calls. Fortunately, we had Tom’s audience, which really helped us a lot. We had one fill-in show outside of Tom’s slot and that was a struggle. It was only an hour show and it was around the holidays. I thought it would go fast, but it actually dragged on because we didn’t get that many callers. I really sweated it out on that one. It’s tough. It’s not easy. That’s what makes what Tom does so remarkable—that he’s doing it week in and week out.

RS:  Are you a big Thomas Pynchon fan? Is that where you came up with that name?

M:  Omar from the Friends of Tom board suggested it. It had a nice ring to it and was funny, so we went with that. I like Thomas Pynchon. He’s hit or miss with me, but I like his writing overall.

RS:  On your blog, you’ve discussed a few short story collections. Who are some of your favorite writers?

M:  J.G. Ballard. I like him a lot. I was reading short story collections for a while, now I’m going back to hard-boiled writers. I really like Raymond Chandler. He’s one of my favorite writers. Also, Dashiell Hammett. Now, I’m reading James M. Cain.

RS:  Do you have any details about the film that you’re shooting? [On a recent episode of The Best Show, Tom discussed a film that Mike had asked him to appear in.] 

M:  It’s not a film. You have to take everything Tom says about me with a grain of salt. I tell people that 98% of what he says about me isn't true and I think most people get that. Tom started that whole AP Mike Day idea [On the show, Tom has been encouraging AP Mike’s hometown of Bayonne, NJ to celebrate Mike with his own Day], so I had this idea to do a campaign ad for AP Mike Day. It’s sort of a parody of “The Tree of Life.” It’s going to have some classical music and some bizarre voice-overs and weird scenes, slight exaggerations of my personal life. We’re going to put it up on the The Faces of Massa’s Tavern YouTube channel, 563AvenueA [‘The Faces of Massa’s Tavern’ is a documentary series directed by Mike in which he interviews patrons of his uncle’s bar].

RS:  Are there any plans for more ‘Faces of Massa’s Tavern’?

M:  I’d like to do some more. The hard thing is getting people to volunteer. A lot of the patrons want to maintain their privacy. Most of the people there are older and they don’t visit YouTube. It’s not something they’re particularly interested in. Joe Puppy [a star of one of the ‘Massa’s Tavern’ shorts] will make an appearance in the campaign ad. He’s been a hit and he lives in a trailer park right down the street from the bar. I think people will get a kick out of some of the stuff we shot down there.

RS:  How did you get involved with WFMU?

M:  I was a fan of Tom’s show. Chris Lowe (Chris L. from Maryland) he recommended the show to me. I got to know Chris via the Kevin Smith board, where I was making trouble. We would email every once in a while and he’s the one who recommended the show to me. Once I started listening to it, I loved it. I went through the archives, catching up with all the old shows. And then I was a fan. I went to the chat board and got into a little wrangle with Tom. I wasn’t going on there to intentionally bust his balls. He was playing a lot of Dinosaur Jr. and I had listened to them around the same time and it sounded kind of dated to me. So I gave Dinosaur Jr. a knock on the board and we got into a little bit of a debate and he said, “Call in.” I called in and we had a little chat. That was in December 2004. Shortly after that, he posted on the ‘Friends of Tom’ board that he was looking for a new call screener. I live in Bayonne, so it was convenient for me. I was working in Hoboken at the time and WFMU was right in between on my commute. I offered to go there. That was at the end of February 2005. It was right before the marathon that year. I remember the show because it was the night they did the famous ‘Old Skull’ bit. That was the first show I was a call screener on. It went fine. It was a great show, but I couldn’t get a read on Tom, whether it was going to work out. It was kind of a trial period, he didn’t say, “You’re in” or anything. It was, “Come down, we’ll try it out and see how it goes.” And basically, it just kept going. It’ll be seven years in February. It’s been great. It’s been a lot of fun for me.

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Tuesday
Dec062011

Low Times: Tom Scharpling & Friends Add Another Show

In the introduction to the recently debuted podcast Low Times, Tom Scharpling reminisces back to the days when he published a music fanzine. Low Times represents an audio version of that passion project, only without the constraints of the print medium.  

Fans of The Best Show on WFMU delight in the host's crabby, no-nonsense sensibility which allows Scharpling to dismiss wayward callers with a press of a button and his patented "Heave-ho." But on Low Times, listeners are shown the reverent side of Tom that only emerges when a prestigious guest calls in to The Best Show.

Low Times is co-hosted by producer/promoter Daniel Ralston and journalist/AV clubber Maggie Serota. Each episode features in-depth conversations with musical artists such as Janet Weiss (Wild Flag) and Patrick Stickles (Titus Andronicus). And make no mistake, this show is primarily a musical discussion, although both interviewer and interviewee inject humor into their exchanges. The highlight from the first episode one comes from bassist Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams/Grace Potter & the Nocturnals), who describes a run-in with a flirtatious Willie Nelson.

Candid interviews only occur when you are in the hands of the smart and charming. It is a testament to the hosts of Low Times that they are able to bring about the best in their guests after only a few episodes.

You can follow @lowtimes and their chart-topping hashtags on twitter.

www.lowtimespodcast.com

Tuesday
Jul052011

The AV Club Interviews Tom Scharpling

Keith Phipps from The AV Club recently interviewed the pop culture mash-up that is Tom Scharpling. The sometimes enigmatic and hilariously combative host of The Best Show on WFMU, Scharpling is always ready to engage and demand both silliness and seriousness from his conversation counterparts. His talk with Phipps is no different. Anytime there's a chance for someone to poke the Scharpling bear to see how he reacts, it's a good time. Scharpling talks politics, Best Show, music, his experience meeting listeners and much more.

Check-out the full interview here.

Monday
Jun202011

The AV Club: Podmass 9-15

The A.V. Club released another podcast round-up via their great Podmass post late last week. As usual, comedy shows garner a lot of ink from the contributors.

Tom Scharpling goes guestless on the recent comedy-packed episode of The Best Show On WFMU.

Comedy Bang! Bang! #108: Pussy CPR features Rob Corddry and Erinn Hayes talking Childrens Hospital and a lively James Adomian appearance as American Apparel's founder, Dov Charney.

On How Was Your Week #14: Our Congressman In His Underpants, Julie Klausner has an almost weighty conversation with Eugene Mirman and some quality pop culture talk with Michelle Colins.

Talk of "air conducting" and lively critiques from Hodgman on Judge John Hodgman #28 The Battle Of The Baton.

Comedian Jen Kirkman stops by for some podcast therapy and laughs on Mental Illness Happy Hour #12.

New Daily Show correspondent, Al Madrigal, leads the charge on the tory-packed Never Not Funny #902.

Check-out the full Podmass post for more reviews on the past week's shows. Might as well start off Monday catching up on some quality shows. Or at least the show recaps.

   

Monday
Jun062011

The AV Club: Podmass May 26-June 1

The A.V. Club released another great Podmass recap with a ton of great reviews. Highlights include:

An affinity for the strong debut of The Apple Sisters and The A.V. Club's prediction that the Sisters' live radio variety will become one of their favorites.

A slow clap for the arrival of Bob Ducca's Affirmation Nation. The hilariously depressing Comedy Bang! Bang! character graduates to his own daily show.

The A.V. Club's discovery of the stand-out improvised sketch show, Superego, with it's June episode featuring guest appearances by Mike Rock, Julie Klausner, Paul F. Tompkins, Andy Daly and Patton Oswalt.

Acclaim for the Tom Scharpling and Marc Maron pairing on Best Show on WFMU, with a heavy dose of humorous neurosis.

Another joyful episode of Doug Loves Movies, featuring Greg Behrendt, Jonathan Lipnicki and a laid back and hilariously revealing visit from Sarah Silverman.

These shows and more receive the recap treatment at The A.V. Club. Check-out the full Podmass post here. The A.V. Club continues to tout a quality listing of shows.