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Classic TSOYA Shirt Blowout

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We've recently transitioned to a new TSOYA shirt style here at MaxFun World HQ. We've got a couple dozen of our classic glow-in-the-dark style left (as worn by Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere, above), and in order to clear precious shelf space, we're clearing them out at six bucks apiece. Buy as many as you like, but they're only available in ladies' sizes and men's small. Shipping is three bucks.

Comedy Writer, Actor and Director Bruce McCulloch: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Bruce McCulloch

This week, actor, writer and comedian Janet Varney is guest hosting for Jesse! Janet is one of the hosts of the long-running segment Dinner and a Movie on TBS, a writer for the DVD commentary series Rifftrax, and is one of the co-founders and producers of SF Sketchfest (an amazing celebratory festival of comedy in San Francisco).

She'll talk to Bruce McCulloch, best known as one of the members of the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. Since his KITH days, Bruce has written and directed for film and television. Among his projects are movies like Superstar, Dog Park and Stealing Harvard, the ABC series Carpoolers, the KITH miniseries Death Comes to Town, and even a stint on SNL. In this interview, Bruce talks about tracing his musical comedy roots, the dynamics of The Kids in the Hall, producing comedy, and more.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.
Stream or download this interview now.

JANET VARNEY: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Janet Varney in for Jesse Thorn.

My guest is none other than Bruce McCulloch. For years he's been a member of the amazing Canadian comedy troupe Kids in the Hall. They had a television show in the 90s; the movie Brain Candy that was released in 96; and the awesome recent miniseries, Death Comes to Town.

On his own, Bruce has released two comedy albums. He's directed films like Superstar and Stealing Harvard, and he's collaborated with Bill Burr, Norm McDonald, and many others. We'll talk about all that, but first let's hear this clip from Kids in the Hall with Bruce appearing as Gavin; a grade school boy who's eager to have interactions with nonplussed adults.

Bruce McCulloch you guys know, of course, as a member of Kids in the Hall, but he's also released two comedy music CDs, Shame-Based Man and Drunk Baby Project; he created the ABC series Carpoolers, and has written and directed several films including Dogpark and Comeback Season. He also has a young impetuous Standard Poodle named Meatball.

Holy Flying Circus


Shortly after Monty Python released "Life of Brian" in 1979, John Cleese and Michael Palin went on BBC2's "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" (a chat show with an opening sequence which suggests that it is ideal post-coital viewing) to defend their work in a debate against author Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood, the then Bishop of Southwark.  The result was a now somewhat famous broadcast which has been excerpted frequently (as in the documentary footage above from "Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut)"), but only rarely presented in its entirety. 

Now, according to the Guardian, BBC4 is making a drama about Python's creation of "Brian" and the troupe's subsequent struggles to defend the film.  The show, "Holy Flying Circus", which will air sometime this autumn, was written by Tony Roche (who also wrote for "The Thick of It") and will focus much of its attention on this odd yet fascinating bit of television history. 

This Week Live


Here is a quick list of cities and venues where you can catch some face time with your favorite MaxFun performers during the coming week. Click on the name of the venue for ticket info.

From time to time, of course, there are shows which are likely to be so popular that I wouldn't recommend waiting until the week of the performance to buy tickets. I'll list one or two of those separately each week. Buy now:

My Brother, My Brother and Me 67: Borrowed from a Horse


Look: You're here, we're here, let's just get this thing done. Just a quick and dirty episode, fired straight from the hip, like guns are sometimes fired. By cowboys. Really, really hasty and inaccurate cowboys.

Suggested talking points: Gorto: The Enormous Man, Jackback and Vid Kid, Fleetwood Maxx, Horse's Heatguts, Couchsurfing, Belly Shirts, Sam Elliott's Moustache, Cinco de Lovemaking, Spanking Party

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Totally Laime


Vital stats:
Format: half-interview, half-goofaround with (primarily) Southern California comedians
Episode duration: 30m-1h
Frequency: weekly

Jen Kirkman. Patton Oswalt. Paul Scheer. Kyle Kinane. Jackie Kashian. Marc Maron. Paul F. Tompkins. These are just some of the names that, in my years of Podthinking, I’ve grown so very weary of typing — but not of hearing the voices that come out of the human beings with whom we associate those names! Despite my near-total ignorance of these comedians’ actual performances on stage and screen, I encounter them all the time through their appearances and productions in the comedy podcast world, which draws like a hopeless addict from the pool of personalities based or often found in Southern California. This familiarity certainly made it easy for me to plunder the archives of Totally Laime [RSS] [iTunes], one of the most Southern California comedian-having podcasts going.

If you want to start a Southern California comedian-having podcast — I’ll resist making up an awful abbreviation, for now — you can play it a few different ways. You might grab a buddy and simply goof around, maybe in segments, with a new Southern California comedian each week — but, let me assure you, you’ll be entering a damned crowded, damned top-of-the-bell-curve field. On the spectrum’s other end, you might bring your Southern California comedians on for straight-up one-on-one interviews — but, let me assure you, you do not want to go up against Marc Maron, the acknowledged master of that subform. A bunch of shows instead split the difference between those two extremes, and Totally Laime hits it just about dead center.

Elizabeth Laime, the program’s host, its namesake, and a young L.A. comedy-doer, shares the cockpit with her boyfriend. Or maybe they’re married; I haven’t quite figured that out yet. (You can help by leaving a comment telling me to “do my homework.”) Whatever their legal status, this couple most definitely likes puppies. They also rent what sounds like an awfully nice house in Silver Lake, since guests call attention to its niceness and Silver-Lakeiness with strange frequency. (I can understand it, though I’m a Koreatown man myself; too few mandu shacks in Silver Lake.) The Southern California comedians drive to Silver Lake — or, sure, already live there — drop by their home, and spend an hour or so discussing their careers, having some laughs, and talking about Oprah.

While by no means a super-segmented show — and, so my Podthinking experience has taught me, wisely not a super-segmented show — Totally Laime wields a secret weapon in the form of its “Oprah game.” Laime and her man ask the Southern California comedian of the week to pick a number between one and however many episodes of Oprah exist, and they they all discuss whatever subject Oprah and her guests did on the episode of Oprah that corresponds to the number. I actually really like this idea, but I can’t begin tell you why. Some Southern California comedians display a startling familiarity with Oprah’s oeuvre, but I guess that falls in line with the vast knowledge of reality and other “people with problems” television with which comics tend to keep surprising me. Did you know there’s even an animal channel now? I think it’s called “Animal Planet”.

Reflecting on it, I think I was slightly disingenuous in claiming such a lack of familiarity with the careers of Totally Laime’s guests. One of my very favorite of the show’s interviews features a certain Mr. Jesse Thorn [MP3], whose work I’d like to think I know quite well indeed. In that conversation, Jesse gets to reminiscing about his undergraduate days at UC Santa Cruz. This prompts Laime to mention her alma mater, UC Santa Barbara. Hey, I’m a Gaucho too! I hereby close this educational loop by reviewing her podcast. Us middle-tier University of California students gotta stick together.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to host and produce The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], a public radio show and podcast dedicated to in-depth cultural conversation. Please hire him for something.]

Dave Chappelle on Wild 94.9

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If you can get past the inane jokes that the DJs make, Dave Chappelle has some interesting things to say in this, his first radio interview in years.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 187: The Duckiverse with Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani, comedian, podcaster and actor joins Jesse and Jordan to discuss Jesse's new child, the Duckiverse, Mortal Kombat and more.

David Mitchell's Soapbox: Naming Your Child


In light of Jesse's decision to rename of "The Sound of Young America" (and, of course, in honor of the recent birth of his son, Simon), I thought we should consider this sage advice from writer and actor David Mitchell on the proper naming of people and shows.

Now that you've absorbed this critical input, please join our lively discussion in the forums regarding potential new names for TSOYA!

Video: Louis C.K.'s first appearance on Letterman

Louis Did you catch the sweet two-episode set of "Louie" last night? One of the shows featured flashbacks to Louie's early days in standup and his relationship with a comic who started out with him. In the final flashback, Louie reveals that he has been asked to appear on Letterman. From there, we know that Louie goes on to success and acclaim, but his friend does not. It's a classic and moving story of how even close friends can evolve and slowly grow apart.

Apparently our good friend Adam Lisagor (of "Put This On") was so intrigued by the episode that he searched through the interwebs to find video of the referenced Letterman appearance and posted it on his Tumblr, Lonely Sandwich.

Here it is:

Adam also had a great observation about the set:

"Louie CK’s first appearance on Letterman, 1995.

Referenced on last night’s Louie (with a young Louie portrayed confusingly by a kid who looks less like Louie in ‘95 (anybody else see some Fincher in there?) and more like Ham from The Sandlot.

Louie, from this point in his career, shows every bit of the brilliance he does now. And still, it’s refreshing to see him tell one of the worst hacky 90s jokes ever written, at the very end of his set. Still figuring shit out. Just like the rest of us."
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