[3 July 2007]
The Art of the Slap is Jon Wurster (musician extraordinaire, best known as Superchunk’s drummer) assuming a fantastic assortment of personas while calling into straight-man Tom Scharpling’s Best Show on WMFU, live from New Jersey. The result: elaborate hoax humor, the silliness of slapstick matched with the incisive artfulness of satire. Over calls that average 20 minutes, Wurster prods and pokes around the many absurdist elements of American culture. One of his characters is Philly Boy Roy, susceptible to his son’s hypnosis and a likely Quizno’s arsonist, who regrets missing “Laser Allin”;—Roy really wanted to experience laser beam interpretations of G. G. Allin classics such as “Expose Yourself to Kids” and “Legalize Murder”. Call-ins titled “The Auteur” and “Jock Squad” explore the oxymoronic realms of high-art slasher flicks and steroid-riddled PC-repairmen. The highlight is the gloriously ridiculous and strangely potent hour-long bonus disc, which begins with corporate sellout Corey Harris of Mother 13. The Art of the Slap isn’t for the average Clear Channel dial-surfer—say, one resembling the James Blunt, Dick Cheney, and Fox News-loving character in “Postal Slap Fight”—but it will get a hearty rise out of culture vultures and music geeks. And although modern popular entertainment values the immediate and the visual, these three hours spent with only two voices are hilariously rewarding.