Jake Fogelnest Pens Spin’s Great Ode to Tom Scharpling, Jon Wurster and The Best Show


As part of the Patton-Oswalt-edited comedy issue of Spin magazine, there’s a lengthy profile of Tom Scharpling, Jon Wurster and The Best Show penned by Jake Fogelnest. It is really excellent! For both Friends of Tom and those unfamiliar with The Best Show and the fictional town of Newbridge, it’s a great look at the genesis of the show and why it’s so unique, even in today’s podcast-saturated world. Here’s a taste:

My entry point to The Best Show was the same as that of many other longtime fans — a self-released 1997 cassette called Rock, Rot & Rule, a 45-minute phone interview between Scharpling and America’s self-appointed premier rock critic, Ronald Thomas Clontle. Wurster totally grounds the character of Clontle in reality, speaking in the same calm manner he’d use to talk about, say, paying his electric bill. Scharpling, who in ‘97 is mostly doing a music-based show, breaks format to speak extensively with Clontle about his new book, which is billed as “the ultimate argument settler,” classifying all bands into one of three categories: rock, rot, or rule. Clontle then makes proclamations that would drive an unsuspecting music fan — and certainly, the show’s increasingly confused callers — insane: “Madness invented ska”; “Bowie and Neil Young rot because they’ve made too many changes”; “Puff Daddy rules.”