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Tom Scharpling

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Tom Scharpling is an American radio host, comedian, television writer, producer and music video director. He is best known for hosting the weekly freeform radio call-in comedy program The Best Show on WFMU and for acting as a writer/executive producer for the TV show Monk.

Scharpling is also noted as a writer on Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. Beginning in 1999, he has released six albums with comedy partner Jon Wurster under the moniker Scharpling & Wurster. He is also currently developing two programs for Comedy Central.

As a writer, Scharpling has had work published in GQ, New York Magazine, and Harp. Since 2010, Scharpling has directed music videos for The New Pornographers, Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, Wild Flag, and The Ettes.


 early life
Scharpling was born February 9, 1969, and grew up in Dunellen, New Jersey. He was a fan of Saturday Night Live and SCTV from a young age. He attended Middlesex High School, Middlesex Community College, and Trenton State College. He graduated with a degree in English. Scharpling worked at a sheet music shop called World of Music in Summit, New Jersey from 1979 through 1999.

He has cited his major comedy influences as Chris Elliott's Get a Life, SCTV, Saturday Night Live, and the 1994 absurdist comedy Clifford starring Martin Short. Scharpling later purchased the suit worn by Short in Clifford via an eBay auction.

 Early music-based radio shows and writing
Scharpling began volunteering at the New Jersey-based freeform station WFMU in the early 1990s. He started hosting a music-oriented program on the station in the mid-1990s. He briefly left the station in the late 1990s because he "had some personal things to take care of with family and stuff." Scharpling has told interviewers that he prefers the medium of radio due to the anxiety he gets from being onstage.

In the early 1990s, Scharpling was the publisher of 18 Wheeler fanzine, and ran an independent record label of the same name. The first 7-inch single by Portastatic was released by Scharpling's label in 1992. He also contributed the liner notes for The Electrifying Conclusion, Guided By Voices's DVD documentary of their final live show in Chicago.

 The Best Show on WFMU

Scharpling hosted the first episode of The Best Show on WFMU on October 24, 2000. The program is a three-hour comedy, music, call-in and talk radio program that airs Tuesday nights; the program features a roster of misfit callers , along with the occasional celebrity guest. Scharpling makes no money from the station, and regularly encourages fans to donate to the non-profit station by offering elaborate pledge drive gifts.

Nearly every episode of The Best Show features an on-air collaborations with Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster. The pair met at a concert in the early 1990s, and quickly bonded over their mutual love of Chris Elliott's short-lived sitcom Get A Life. As Scharpling and Wurster, they have released six albums of comedy segments from The Best Show on their Stereolaffs record label. The duo almost never performs live, with one of the few exceptions to the rule being when they hosted Matador Records' 21st Anniversary Festival at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas in October 2010.

Citing his tenure on The Best Show as proof, the August 2010 issue of GQ magazine listed Scharpling #11 on its list of 37 "Never Not Funny" comedians, dubbing him one of "the funniest men you haven't heard of yet."

Tom Scharpling was the first writer to be hired for the series Monk. He was hired to the show by Saturday Night Live writer and fellow WFMU DJ Andy Breckman. Scharpling acted as executive producer for the show for seasons five through the end of the series.

He appeared on an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force ("The Shaving") as the voice of "Willie Nelson", an awkward, unassertive onion–spider monster hybrid who lives in the attic of the house. He also appears on the special features portion of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 3 DVD. In addition, Scharpling occasionally wrote for Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!.

Scharpling is currently in the developmental stages of co-creating and co-writing a show with Paul F. Tompkins for Comedy Central, titled Evil Genius. Tompkins will play Professor Tiberius Lynch, a mad scientist who successfully takes over the world, but is then confronted with the banal actualities of running earth. In addition to Evil Genius, Scharpling is currently developing a second program for Comedy Central.

 Music videos
Starting in August 2010, Scharpling has directed a number of music videos, typically for groups that he is friends with, and almost always on an extremely limited budget. The shorts usually contain a number of celebrity cameos, and are often met with positive reviews.

Spoofing Green Day's American Idiot musical, Scharpling's video for Ted Leo's "Bottled in Cork" features Paul F. Tompkins as a theater promoter and Julie Klausner as a dance instructor. The video obtained "Immortal" status on Funny or Die shortly after it was released online.

With the video for The New Pornographers' "Moves", Scharpling was presented with the issue of the band being on tour, rendering them unable to appear in the short. As a solution, Scharpling chose to create a trailer for a fake biopic about The New Pornographers, with a number of comedy celebrities portraying the various members of the band. The video features Wyatt Cenac, Horatio Sanz, Todd Barry, Julie Klausner, John Hodgman, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, Donald Glover, and Jon Wurster.

In addition, Scharpling has also created music videos for Titus Andronicus, Wild Flag, The Ettes and The Stepkids.


Scharpling directed and co-wrote the web "trailer" for John Hodgman's 2011 book, That Is All.

Scharpling has worked as an editor for The Onion, as well as the writer of Harp Magazine's " Great Moments in Rock" column. He has also contributed basketball-themed writing to GQ and SLAM Magazine. In 2011, Scharpling was commissioned by New York Magazine to write multi-page recaps for every episode of the fourth season of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.

 personal life
Scharpling lives in Woodbridge, New Jersey with his wife, fellow WFMU DJ Terre T. He has been a pescatarian since approximately 1994, and almost never consumes alcohol.

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  TV show

  • Pre-production
  • Monk
    Executive producer

  TV show season





  Press reviews    

  User reviews


Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Tom Scharpling", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.