The One and Only Mal Sharpe
America's Man on the Street and Jazz 91's Back on Basin Street Co-Host
Funny, charmingly irreverent and towering over most at the height of 6'4", Mal Sharpe is quite a unique character. In fact, he has successfully built an entire career around the slightly unconventional; a fascinating life journey that has taken him through Boston, New York, Los Angeles, London and eventually the Bay Area.
As the other half of the 1960s comedy duo (Jim) Coyle and Sharpe, Sharpe spent much of his early career staging bizarre comedy scenarios with unsuspecting people on the streets, better known as the legendary 'man-on-the-street' interviews. The hysterically offbeat encounters illuminated a lighter and often humorous side of the human condition; a unique brand of humor that was ultimately the impetus for a 1963 Warner Bros. LP release Absurd Imposers, an intriguing but short-lived television program called The Imposers and a radio interview show with KGO radio.
Prior to coming to the West Coast, Sharpe started to play the trombone at the age of 15, studied broadcasting at Boston University and later enrolled in the ROTC while at Michigan State University. Following an inspiring visit to San Francisco's North Beach district (where he met Jim Coyle) in 1959, he lived briefly in New York where he wrote army training films. His flourishing broadcasting career took him back to the West Coast in the early 1960s, where he married his wife of more than 35 years, Sandra.
These days, Sharpe focuses on jazz and his trombone. He plays regular gigs at The No Name Bar in Sausalito, Enrico┐s in San Francisco and other venues around the Bay Area with the talented Big Money Dixieland Jazz Band.
"It's really special to able to give to people and to be a part of it yourself. There┐s something about live music. It's almost mystical the way you can bring entertainment to people. It's really better than going to the movies or watching television."
It's the same refreshing connection that seems to attract the loyal listenership of Jazz 91's Back on Basin Street, the Sunday evening program Sharpe co-hosts with 'partner in crime' Dave Ramirez. In between songs, the two take calls from the audience on everything from jazz singers to grammatical syntax. Some avid listeners have voiced their views from as far away as Maryland and Massachusetts.
Mal Sharpe can be heard every Sunday at 9 p.m. on KCSM FM's Back on Basin Street.