April 2, 1936
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died|| (aged 83)|
Berkeley, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Radio host, comedian|
In the early 1960s, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-born Sharpe collaborated with Jim Coyle to create a series of comic on-the-street interviews for San Francisco radio station KGO. Armed with a tape recorder, Coyle and Sharpe confronted pedestrians with unusual questions or strange behavior. In a 1964 interview with Newsweek magazine, Sharpe explained "We try to pose an almost plausible question, then proceed step by step into absurdity until the interviewee is seething."
After four years of recording short skits for KGO, Coyle and Sharpe recorded a hidden camera television pilot in 1964 called The Imposters with host George Fenneman but it remained unsold and was never aired in full. A 2007 four disc box set of 1960s material titled These 2 Men Are Impostors contains The Imposters pilot in addition to KGO radio recordings and previously unreleased pranks. Along with Coyle, he also recorded two comedy albums of street pranks in 1964 for the Warner Brothers record label. As a solo performer, he later released two albums.
In 1971, Sharpe continued as a solo interviewer with a syndicated TV series titled The Street People. In the 1980s he hosted a series of public television specials titled Mal Sharpe's San Francisco which included a mixture of new material and older clips.
Sharpe resided in Berkeley, California with his wife. He hosted a jazz show, Back on Basin Street, from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. Sunday Pacific Time on KCSM at the College of San Mateo in California. The final Back on Basin Street was aired on Sunday, March 25, 2012. He died on March 10, 2020 of complications from heart surgery at the age of 83.
- "Mal Sharpe, 'The Man on the Street' radio gag man, dies at 83".
- Krigbaum, Ben Trefny, Ashleyanne. "A conversation with legendary prankster Mal Sharpe". www.kalw.org. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
- Mal Sharpe's San Francisco, retrieved 2019-08-14
- "Mal Sharpe | Night Beat". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
- "KCSM Community Stations | San Mateo, California". kcsm.org. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
- "Legendary Bay Area Television Personality And Musician Mal Sharpe Dies At Age 83". March 12, 2020.