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Jordan Morris and Jonah Ray for President of Comicon

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Jordan visits Comicon with Fuel TV, and brings along the always-funny Jonah Ray.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "The Cool as Hell Theatre Show"

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Loath as I am to admit this, dear Max Funsters, I dragged my feet a little on this one. Figuring it was high time to review a program covering the legitimate goings-on of the live stage, that theater of the mind and body, I picked a theater podcast. The Podthinker's is a two phase job: first comes "listening", then — and only then — comes "writing". I kept trying to start the listening phase this time around, but kept stepping back. My fear? Drama geeks.

Cast your mind, if you can, back to high school. (If you're currently in high school, great job.) Remember drama geeks? I hung tentatively around the edges of their scene, as it seemed to revolve around drama — onstage and off. From a safe distance, I watched them squabble, snipe, and — my hand casts about the air for the proper term — do each other. This goofy, Machiavellian, incestuous circle appeared to constitute the true drama geek's entire world; I'm not sure they realized there was anything outside it. I feared a theater podcast would cater exclusively to such inner circles, dropping references to obscure one-acts and constantly delivering nerdily cutting swipes that I'd feel dirty for either understanding or not understanding. A real no-win sitchyation.

Given these and other psychodramas, it's a miracle I ever hit the play button on The Cool as Hell Theatre [sic] Show [iTunes link] (or CASH, which acronym is, as it were, money). Evidently the creator, producer and host Michael Wayne Rice is a bit of a one-man show veteran, which I read as an additional danger sign. Now, I stopped watching Family Guy a long time ago, but when the show satirized one-man shows, it said it all:

Life sure was crazy growing up in Brooklyn. We had some real characters in my neighborhood, like Frank the Mailman. "Hey, Mark, the ants for your ant farm came today!" And my friend Lonny, that knucklehead. "Yo, Marky, let's play some b-ball." "B-ball." That's what we called it. B-ball. And my grandma. Boy! Was she something else!

So I'm fearful of anything to do with one-man shows that aren't Mike Daisey monologues. Fortunately, Rice steers just about as far as you can get from self-indulgent theater weeniedom. The show comes straight out of the San Francisco Bay Yay Area, where Rice plays roving interviewer, traveling all over the place and recording conversations with the writers, directors and actors of new surprising, innovative, hard-hitting — I'm trying to get through this column without using the word "edgy" — new productions. He's quite possibly the exact opposite of the aforementioned drama geek: laid back, animated without being show-offy, enthusiastic in all the right ways and eager to share the love with all the "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, pimps, players and hustlers of the theater world." (Yes, direct quote.)

Rice chats with a wide range of today's Yay Area theater-makers; the projects include a "re-imagining" of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi with more thrown food [MP3], a white Jewish rapper's adaptation of a Jewish novelist's story of a fictitious white Jewish guy's journey to rapperhood [MP3], the work of something called a "male feminist" [MP3] and, of course, the antics of the good old Reduced Shakespeare Company [MP3]. The steady format is as follows: first, the guest gets thirty seconds — no more, no less — to describe the show they're putting on. Then Rice and the guest talk for a while. Then Rice demands that "all humility be sucked out of the room" and the guest sell their show hard. Roger Rees did that last bit the best: "Because I'm hot and my show could change your life." [MP3]

Anyone who's been to San Francisco knows that it's a cool place, but they also know that it's something of a double-edged sword: while the city is an absolute Large Hadron Collider of creative energy where one never quite knows what to expect even just walking down the street, it also doesn't seem to realize when it's become a parody of itself. (Good examples of this can even be found on the Board of Supervisors.) As with the city, so with its theater: listening to Cool as Hell, I found myself thinking I'd have to start hitting the skip button if one more guest started talking identity politics. Or any kind of politics, really, though I guess that's what you'd expect from people who produce shows with names like Corporations Stole My Gender, Amerikkka and Something About Iraq. (Okay, so I made those last three up, but they're not far from the truth.)

They don't often get too far into that, though, due to another double-edged sword: the podcast's extremely short length. At between seven and twenty minutes, the interviews don't have the chance to run badly off the rails, but they still feel like they've ended before they've begun. Conversation is an art form that benefits from breathing room, and I'd recommend Rice and make use of that. Otherwise, nice job; I can feel my dramaphobia receding already.

Vital stats:
Format: theater-centric cultural interviews
Running since: June 2005
Duration: 7m-20m (!)
Frequency: just about weekly
Archive available on iTunes: only the fifteen most recent; the rest are on the site

[Freelance podthinker Colin Marshall once played Dean McCutcheon in "Quimby Comes Across". Ask him about this experience at colinjmarshall at gmail. Discuss Podthoughts here, or submit your podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]

Podcast: Robert Popper, Comedy Writer/Producer


Episode One of "Look Around You," entitled "Maths"

Robert Popper is a British comedy writer, producer and performer. With Peter Serafinowicz, he co-created the brilliant educational film parody Look Around You, which premiers on Cartoon Network's [adult swim] on October 26th. As "Robin Cooper," he wrote a series of bizarre letters to obscure professional and interest organizations which became the book "The Timewaster Letters," which was a best-seller in the UK, and has just been released in the US.

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David Mitchell
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Are you Jamie Baird, Robert Banas or Eoghan Beecher?


If so, email me your t-shirt size. Because you didn't tell us or respond to the email we have.

Get out of the house, nerd.


This post is going to be sans-graphics, but fulla-info.

If you live in Seattle, I hope I'll see you this weekend at Bumbershoot. And if you can't come this weekend (or if you can), I hope I'll see you at Sketchfest Seattle later in September. Guests at Bumbershoot include Janeane Garofolo and The Human Giant, and at Sketchfest we'll have Dan Savage.

If you're in New York, don't miss Will Franken's "Grandpa, It's Not Fitting" at Ars Nova on Wednesday night. Will is an amazing solo performer who made his name in the San Francisco theater world. He essentially does one man sketch comedy, and what isn't hilarious is always fascinating -- you really go for a ride.

If you're in Los Angeles, don't miss 826 LA's Falltime Yukfest September 10th. I'm really proud to be sponsoring this amazing show, with Tim & Eric, Jimmy Pardo, Al Madrigal, Bill Burr and a bunch of other great stuff. Proceeds benefit 826 LA's literacy programs.

Finally, if you're in San Francisco, and you miss Louis CK at the Punchline Weds-Sat, September 3-6th, you're a fucking idiot. Seriously, just fucking go. There is no better standup in the world right now, and you should count your blessings that you could ever, ever get to see a show like his at a place like the Punchline. Tickets here.

Pee Wee v. David Letterman

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David Letterman and Pee-Wee Herman? The two greatest minds of the century coming together. I feel lucky to have lived in their time.

By the way: it's Paul Reubens' 56th birthday today. Happy birthday!

Orange Julius


Thanks to AST's Big Box of Money for this fantastic sketch featuring Mr. Sylvester Stallone and Mr. Will Ferrel. Subtitled in French for you French Sly nuts.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Rockets!


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Whoa. This show is loaded with fun stuff. Only a few of them really tie in to the theme, but hey! Rockets! Dan Piraro is the creator of Bizarro. Josh Kornbluth is the host of "The Josh Kornbluth Show". We talk to Josh about his one man show "Ben Franklin: Unplugged" in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth. Also, Andrew Baron and Amanda Congdon are the co-creators of Rocketboom the world's most popular vlog site (that's right, I said vlog).

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Podcast: JJGo. Ep 71: The Man of 81 Voices


Jesse and Jordan are joined by the delightful comedian and actor Al Madrigal, who demonstrates his wide array of impressions, which all sound, to be frank, pretty similar. They also discuss The Hills, vatos with gelatos and much much more.

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

Steve Coogan is Funny

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Hamlet 2 is terrible.


Steve Coogan is really, really funny. As in the above clip from "The Day Today." Which is really, really, really, really funny.

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