The Blog of Young America

Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you, our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you, and our lively forum community will connect you with others. About

Interview: Casey Willis and Christian Danley, writers for Frisky Dingo.


Casey Willis and Christian Danley are both writers for 70-30 Productions, an animation production house that has produced such classics as Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo. Their new spin-off series,"The Xtacles," premieres November 9th on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Casey O'Brien got a chance to talk with the writers about their new show and their lack of qualifications for their jobs.

How did you both get started in the world of animation, and in particular, "Frisky Dingo?"

CW: Christian and I both attended the Atlanta College of Art. After I graduated, I was teaching English in Japan when Christian started working for 70-30. When I returned to the states, he greeted me at the airport with a Sealab t-shirt and a smile. I thought he had the coolest job on earth. A few months later I asked him if I could try out for an internship at 70-30. That internship eventually led to a full-time position.

CD: I was an improvisor at a local theatre here in Atlanta called Dad's Garage. Matt Thompson came and saw an improv show shortly after 70-30 Productions had finished the first couple episodes of Sealab 2021. He asked me to come in and help write on a script. That was about 7 years ago.

You have both worked on the show "Frisky Dingo" and are now moving onto the spin off, "The Xtacles." What is it about working and writing for an animated series, as opposed to a live action sitcom, that you find most appealing?

: Because of our style of animation, we can make changes to the show very late in the process. I think that is a freedom you might not have on a live action sitcom, especially one filmed in front of a live studio audience.

: Working on what we'd call a "real TV show," as opposed to our semi-fake one, would probably dictate a much larger crew. Our shop is small, there are only 8 of us who make this whole cartoon. That means we all have a hand in just about every aspect of the process. The illustrators and animators comment heavily on our scripts (they are always jerks), and we offer feedback on their drawings and animations (we are always supportive). I couldn't imagine we'd have that same luxury in a larger production company.

Why did you guys decide to do a spin off of "Frisky Dingo" and how is it going to be different?

: Cartoon Network was interested in doing a Frisky Dingo spin-off and the Xtacles seemed like a natural choice. One of the biggest differences between Frisky Dingo and The Xtacles is the Xtacles will be taking off their helmets and you'll finally be able to see what they look like. One Xtacle did take his helmet off in Frisky Dingo but we only saw the back off his head before he was dismembered by Awesome-X.

: Before Frisky Dingo we did Sealab. Almost every episode of Sealab ended with it blowing up, and the world re-setting. Frisky Dingo was heavily serialized where some jokes don't payoff for 3 or 4 episodes (if ever). Our goal is for The Xtacles to be something comfortably in-between.

This new breed of cartoons with adult content is still a relatively new phenomenon. What are some of your influences in writing for this program?

: I like to watch The Soup and Best Week Ever and if the same joke is made on both programs I know it must be funny. Then, I steal those jokes and write them a third time because I have been told that the third time is a charm.

: I love television, I have watched it my whole life. Also, technically we shouldn't be allowed to write for a living, as we have no training in it. So we write television for people who grew up watching television. The jaded, cynical, and smart assed jerks who think they know everything about television, not because they went to television school, but because they've studied it all their lives just by watching. This group of people is notoriously hard to please. (apparently... they're jerks)

The show is obviously not meant for children. Do you ever have trouble getting certain jokes on the show or is there an inherent understanding when it comes to programming on Adult Swim?

CW: In Frisky Dingo we really wanted Xander Crews to say "god dammit" without censoring it. We were told there had to be a full one second pause between the words "God" and "Dammit". On that day I learned a full second is the difference between righteousness and blasphemy.

: Because we're on Cartoon Network there is always the potential that a kid could tune in. So they really go over our scripts with a fine tooth comb. We like to use any "offensive precedents" set by other shows as leverage to get our own offensive jokes on the air. This has varying degrees of success.

Go check out The Xtacles, which premieres on November 9th at Midnight on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.

Dan Savage, Creator of Savage Love and the Savage Love Podcast on The Sound of Young America

Savage (L) and Jesse (R); Photo by Thomas Hayden

Dan Savage is a writer and editor based in Seattle. He pens the popular sex and advice column Savage Love, which runs in alternative newspapers around the country, and edits an alternative newspaper himself, The Stranger. He also hosts the audio version of his column, the Savage Love Podcast.

Listen to This Week's Show Online

Please allow our low-bandwidth server a little time after you click "play"

Download This Show

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Discuss this episode on the forum!
Subscribe in iTunes
Please Donate to Support the Show

If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Dan Savage (Previously)
Ariel Schrag
Janeane Garofalo

Don't fuck this up, Seattle


Look: I'm as excited as the next guy about John Hodgman coming to my town. I'm so excited that I'm inviting him over TO MY HOME. And even allowing his feral mountain man sidekick to CO-HOST one of my programs.

But what about you, Seattle?

Are you taking care of business?

Because not only is Hodgman coming to see you, and not only is he bringing his mountain friend, but he's also bringing Sean Nelson AND John Roderick. That's TWO indie rock super-celebs, ONE expert on everything, ONE singing feral mountain man, and ONE show that you should not miss.

TICKETS ARE FIVE BUCKS! Are you kidding me?!

A challenge: there were FOUR Sound of Young America shirts in the audience in Chicago, I'm told. Seattle, you can beat that! Do it! It's in you!

Interview: Henry Owings, Editor and Publisher of Chunklet Magazine.

| 1 comment

Henry Owings is the editor and publisher of the music magazine, Chunklet. He recently released the book, "The Rock Bible: Unholy Scripture For Fans and Bands," which outlines the do and don'ts of being in a rock band. Casey O'Brien talked to Henry about his new book and the sins that rock n' roll has committed.

What spiritual awakening led you to be a prophet of future and current generations of rock musicians? In other words, what called you to write The Rock Bible?

Well, Casey, it happened like this: While editing an issue of Chunklet one beautiful Friday night, I was pulled from my work by the door bell. Because I live in the crime-ridden, redneck-ravaged South, I slipped my unregistered "throw-down" piece - a Smith and Wesson .38 long-barrel revolver with a filed-down serial number - in the back of my belt, pumped a shell into my Winchester 12 Gauge "Snake Popper" (sawed-off for...uh....easy storage), and answered the door. It was our veterinarian, making a house-call to deliver heart worm pills for my two standard poodles. Now, this was odd, as our vet would usually make this stops in the morning. That is, if we even had a vet. He was a middle-aged man in a vet/doctor's coat, which was unbuttoned to reveal a medallion resting at eye-level, as I was still confined to a wheelchair due to violently flipping my Baja Bug just seven days prior to this visit. When I tried to sign the invoice for the pills, the medallion blinded me with a beam of light. That's the last thing I remember before waking up, in front of my computer, my head loaded with the divine assignment of writing The Rock Bible. My, shall we say, "editor", if you will, did not phone this one in...I was missing five hours from the evening. And, it should be noted, this is just the first volume of three books I've been instructed to call "The Final Collection of Rock and Roll Writing." After a glass of water and a sandwich, the book simply poured out of me over the course of a week. Then, as I was listening to the Groundhogs "Solid" album, a voice coming from my computer's speakers instructed me to enlist the talents of Patton Oswalt, Brian Teasley, Andrew Earles, Dag Luther Gooch, and the other individuals in the "contributor's" section. That took a little bit of time.

In verse 71 of The Gospel According to the Band, it states "Never take anything you do seriously." This manifesto fits right in with your magazine, Chunklet. Why is not taking yourself seriously so important in rock music?

Because when rock musicians take themselves too seriously, certain tragedies occur. Not only does The Rock Bible teach the helpless how to avoid taking themselves too seriously, it teaches them how to do so correctly. When musicians attempt but fail at not taking themselves too seriously, you have an entirely different set of tragedies. There's a huge difference between not taking yourself seriously and actually being funny/inspired/clever.

When you say that "certain tragedies occur" when bands take themselves too seriously or don't take themselves seriously incorrectly, what is it that makes it so tragic?

It's very simple, Casey, both of these situations breed one thing: Mediocrity, and mediocrity is a virus that infects rock music to a degree that, if not monitored, could prove terminal. When, for instance, a band ham-fistedly avoids seriousness by adopting an 80's theme (video games, video game music, Hyper Color wear, out of date
technology), they create mediocrity. It is not inspired or clever and must be stopped.

Tenacious D, School of Rock, Guitar Hero, and Rock Band have become popular by parodying classic rock while simultaneously praising it. How does your book fit in with those other entities and what is your opinion of this trend?

It doesn't fit in. The Rock Bible is not a parody; it is a manual for daily living. The examples you've given are nothing more than pedestrian poppycock designed to amuse cigar-chomping dart-tossers that hang out in suburban establishments with names like "The Fox and Hound." The bottom line is this: Those entities despise the source material. The Rock Bible hemorrhages passion for the source material.

What lessons can your followers look forward to in the upcoming volumes of "The Final Collection of Rock and Roll Writing"?

The helpful truth. It will either encourage the break-up of the bands that need to break up, or the improvement of artists that use the teachings wisely. With the content's incendiary nature and book sales in mind, it should come as no surprise that I cannot go into great detail about the two upcoming volumes. Let's just say that fists will rise into the air and tears will fall to the floor.

You can get more Henry Owings at Chunklet magazine or by picking up a copy of The Rock Bible. You can also listen to his interview on The Sound of Young America.

Interview: Mary Van Note, Comedian


An old friend of The Sound of Young America, Mary Van Note, has been on a tear lately. She's landed her own web series, and is touring the nation with her acclaimed (and bizarre) standup comedy. Chris Bowman talked with Mary about the turns her burgeoning career has taken.

You teamed up with this summer to release the web series Gavin Really Wants Me. How did IFC initially discover you?

I had some videos posted on, a sex magazine, which was a perfect fit for my weird and sexually themed videos. and partnered up to put together these top 50 lists like Top 50 Greatest Sex Scenes in Cinema, and the popular Top 50 Comedy Sketches of All Time. I guess when they partnered up, the Nerve people showed the IFC people their video content and BAM! my series and the Nerve series “Young American Bodies” got connected with

Have you always had a raunchy sense of humor? Where did it come from?

No, I haven't. I'm just your average girl who was raised Catholic and has issues about sex. I was pretty obsessed with it for awhile, and by "it" I mean talking about sex, but lately I've been writing about everyday things like roommates and internet dating.

What do you find more rewarding, performing live or producing the online comedy shorts. Why?

That’s pretty hard to say. I love doing both and they’re both so rewarding in different ways. I will always enjoy performing live. The feedback is immediate and there is always the feeling that anything can happen when you perform live. It is such a thrill to make a room laugh. Producing online content is a thrill as well. Probably my favorite aspect of producing and directing online comedy shorts is the ability to collaborate and work with others. That’s something you don’t get with traditional stand-up comedy.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned from collaborating with others?

Being a director was entirely new for me. The most valuable learning experience was simply communication. Communicating as a director working with a cast and crew was challenging and new for me, but became hugely rewarding.

When did you decide you wanted to go beyond the standard set-up/punch line style of comedy and embrace a more challenging performance art style?

I never consciously decided to embrace a certain style. The first time I ever performed I was really nervous and my material was more storytelling than “club comic” jokes. That first set went really, really well and my mentor told me to keep that nervous energy. Since then I’ve developed into a more mainstream form of a who I was when I first started. I’m still weird and quirky, and can perform at the most alt-y of rooms and theaters, but I can also perform at Blank Comedy Club with the best of the road comics and hold my place.

What is coming up next for MVN?

Jan 24—Feb 17, 2009 I’ll be a part of Belles and Whistles: the indie music and comedy tour of ladies making noise from San Francisco. Uni and her Ukelele, Foxtails Brigade and I will be touring the Pacific Northwest hitting cities like Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Salt Lake City, and more.

2009 will be full of fun and excitement: traveling and performing, recording my debut comedy album, and shooting videos.

Mary's online at or She also hosts the regular San Francisco comedy & performance series Comedy Darling.

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse GO!: Ep. 78: The Big Easy


Jesse and Jordan discuss the great city of New Orleans, the impending election, and are visited by Jesse Thorne, British Sports Reporter.

* Ideas for new projects for the show.
* Need advice? ASK JUANITA!


* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

Subscribe in iTunes
Podcast Feed
Download This Episode

Hear This Episode Now

Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

Big Train - Wanking


Graham Linehan is the next guest on TSOYA, and I thought I'd post this hilarious sketch from a show he worked on, the late-90s British sketch series Big Train. That this is like the sixth point on his resume is pretty remarkable.

Podcast Coyle & Sharpe Episode 42: Antique Smashing


Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe innocently ask an antique dealer if they can smash all of his antiques.

Hear This Episode

Download This Episode (Direct MP3 Link)

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Discuss the show on the forum

Subscribe in iTunes / Podcast Feed

Podcast: The College Years: Outcasts


The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.

In this lonely episode of The College Years, Jordan and Jesse are joined by author of Masters of Doom, David Kushner. Also, comedy from and interview with a Emily Plum of Anne Francisco & Her Cable Car Casualties. Also, Jim Real's Would You Rather and Running The Numbers.

Subscribe in iTunes

Listen Online

Download This Week's Show

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)
Syndicate content