Winding up a 25-year run on Los Angeles radio, syndicated morning duo "Mark & Brian" said goodbye to fans Wednesday with a celeb-filled party at the House of Blues marked by laughter, rock 'n' roll and even a few tears.
The two started on KLOS-FM (95.5) in September 1987 and survived big changes in the Los Angeles radio landscape, including shifts in ownership, rivals like Howard Stern coming and going and even their own short-lived TV show on NBC. -- More Photos -- Video
Mark Thompson, 56, is retiring as of Friday, while co-host Brian Phelps, 53, plans to stay on air.
"It's hard to imagine Los Angeles without 'em," said musician John Waite about the looming finale.
Waite was among the special guests at the farewell party, which included comedian Carlos Mencia, director Garry Marshall, actors Joe Mantegna and Luke Perry, among others.
The morning's festivities aired live on the radio and online for "Mark & Brian" fans who couldn't make it, concluding with Waite's 1984 hit "Missing You," that he dedicated to Thompson and Phelps.
"We love 'em and we're going to miss 'em," Waite said.
his upcoming departure in June and told his fans he's moving to North Carolina with his wife, Lynda. The couple had lived in Santa Clarita until selling their home about two years ago in preparation for the move east.
Thompson and Phelps first met and went on the air together in Alabama in 1986, before bringing their show to Los Angeles. "Mark & Brian" is now broadcast 5 to 10 a.m. weekdays on a dozen West Coast stations.
Friend and Oscar-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton, who said he's been "semi-retired" for the last few years, had some advice for Thompson.
"There are some things that you may not think will be that great now but I gotta tell ya' there's something to be said for corduroy house shoes (and) tapioca," Thornton said, laughing.
But Thompson told the Daily News that while he is retiring, he is "absolutely" going back into film and will be working on a podcast.
"That's the plan," he said, adding: "I got a lot of stuff I'm going to do."
The crowd of fans tried to persuade Thompson otherwise, intermittently screaming, "Come back on Monday" and "Don't leave us!"
"I just want to talk you out of this," comedian Bob Saget told Thompson. "Don't do this."
Saget even quipped that he bought Thompson's North Carolina home so Thompson won't have a choice but to stay with KLOS.
Rich Vandermey of Yorba Linda said he began listening to the duo in 1987, finding they offered a fresh and hilarious perspective.
"There weren't of lot of morning shows like that at the time, and I'm so glad they lasted this long," Vandermey said. "Now I'm just wondering what's going to happen with Brian."
Others have been curious, too.
"I promise you -- I'm not allowed to talk about it -- but I'll have news for you soon," Phelps told the crowd of nearly 400 fans.
Phelps is currently in contract negotiations with Cumulus Media, which owns KLOS and KABC-AM (790).
June Laderoute of Santa Monica, another longtime fan, said when she found out about Thompson's departure she was devastated.
"I was crying on my way to work," she said, choking up as she thought about the last show to air on Friday. "I'm so used to hearing these guys every single day. It's going to be tough."
The countdown to the last show continues on-air this morning with guests Dana Delany, Melissa Gilbert, Val Kilmer, Kelly Hansen and William Shatner.
Most Popular Stories
- Schedule packed with talent at the Fox
- I never set out to be a role model but it's great to be one ; IN THE HOTSEATBetter known by his stage name Wretch 32, Jermaine Sinclair is a 28-year-old rapper from London. In 2011 his debut album Black and White sold over a million copies and scored three top five singles. His latest single Blackout was released this week
- Entrepreneurs Chase Social Media
- European Car Sales up First Time in 20 Months
- Promoter McLean 'provided more musical joy than Dylan and Prince combined'
- Emirati announces new film project at Cannes
- The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, TK Barger column
- SINCE YOU ASKED [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]
- SET PHASERS TO DUMB Spock emotional and in love? Nonstop explosions? The highly illogical enterprise of J.J. Abrams' 'Star Trek'
- Detroit Free Press Julie Hinds column