The MaxFun Blog

Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you and our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you. About

Stop Podcasting Yourself 217 - Nicole Passmore

Nicole Passmore

Improviser Nicole Passmore returns to talk West Edmonton Mall, Gene Simmons' kids, and marathons.

Download episode 217 here. (right-click)

Brought to you by: (click here to see the whole recap)

Throwing Shade #29 - Obama Hearts Gays, Field Guide to Chicks, AgainstMe!, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

| 1 comment

Despite the fact that NOTHING happened last week, Bryan and Erin talk about Obama's commitment to gay rights, the best book in the world - "Field Guide to Chicks of the United States", Tom Gabel of AgainstMe!, and Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson and his one man war against women. Cowabunga, dude. 
Subscribe and Rate on iTunes
@gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod
Bitly for sharing Throwing Shade on Twitter
Official Max Fun Page
RSS Feed

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 223: Chop for Chop with Colt Cabana

Colt Cabana

Pro wrestler Colt Cabana of the Art of Wrestling podcast joins us to talk about wrestling in Japan, at the Gathering of the Juggalos, and about the porn studio upstairs from our new digs.

My Brother, My Brother and Me 104: I Hate You, Ron

| 1 comment

It was a pretty momentous week, wasn't it? We know you're expecting to hear our erudite evaluation of recent events, but we can't do that for you, because we're not erudite, nor are we "news people."

Suggested talking points: Independence Gay, Expiration Date, Raccoon Chocolate Heist, Gosling Party, Kara-okay, D for Nachos, Prom Noise, Tumblr Dog

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Big Ideas

| 1 comment

Vital stats:
Format: elucidation of oft-name-checked but thinly understood ideas
Episode duration: 9-20m
Frequency: monthly, almost

My brain has filed Benjamen Walker, host and producer of WFMU’s Too Much Information, as one of our time’s major public radio martyrs. Yes, the man seems alive and well, but public radio martyrdom doesn’t require literal death. He can go on breathing, eating, sleeping, and working, making intricate audio pieces for which people express great admiration on the internet; he simply must symbolize the bizarre thanklessness of crafting fine sonic media. When Bill McKibben wrote a piece for the New York Review of Books on just this phenomenon a couple years back, he quoted Walker directly:
[Too Much Information is] good enough that 240,000 people have downloaded some of the twenty episodes he’s made so far. That’s a lot of people, but it’s zero money, since podcasts, like most websites, are by custom given away for free. Walker’s previous show, a similar effort called Theory of Everything, was widely promoted on the Public Radio Exchange, and six public radio stations across the country actually paid for and ran it. “I think I made $80,” he says. “If I thought about it too hard, I would just quit. It’s much better not to think about it.”
This brings to mind Memory Palace creator Nate DiMeo’s alternately encouraging and debilitatingly discouraging article on public radio production. Walker commented with a j’accuse against stations willing to pay for digital consultants, brand consultants, and “content executives” instead of, uh, content. A bold declaration, you might think, although I personally would have tossed in an indictment of stations’ badly limiting and increasingly shameless tendency to pander to, and only to, listeners’ fear of having their ignorance exposed at the office water cooler. No surprise, then — or not so much of a surprise, anyway — that Walker’s latest high-profile project comes not in collaboration with a traditional public radio outfit, but with the British newspaper the Guardian. Together they bring you The Big Ideas [RSS] [iTunes], a podcast on just those.

Though new, the show has already attracted an engaged following. Just look at the robust commenting going on below its posts at the Guardian’s site, especially those about Nietzsche’s declaration that “god is dead” and Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” By “big ideas,” The Big Ideas clearly means the ideas you hear referenced every day, but of which — let’s face it — you’ve probably never sought a full understanding. Conventional media wisdom surely endorses not only this podcast’s method of using what many people feel kinda-sorta familiar with as a “hook,” but also its episode length short enough for any attention span. You’ve heard how Marshall McLuhan said that “the medium is the message” and don’t quite grasp what he meant, right? Well, you got ten and a half minutes? [MP3]

The program’s iTunes page reveals a certain listenership overlap with the BBC’s In Our Time (reviewed by my esteemed predecessor Ian Brill), another venture dedicated to the elucidation of semi-known concepts. Think of The Big Ideas as In Our Time Walker-ized: still made up of conversations with scholars of the day’s subject, but artfully cut together and compressed with music, historic sounds, and a unifying sense of humor rather different than any you’d hear on Radio 4. The show’s constructive critics tend to complain about the fact that no episode, even the ones on especially complicated or relatively obscure ideas, runs longer than about twenty minutes. They’re not wrong to do so, since Walker’s skills have shone brightest in his long-form productions, but I do admit that, in my ideal radio world, all shows would resemble the most recent installment of Too Much Information: 57 minutes with the guy who draws Zippy the Pinhead. Alas, I suspect that sort of thing meets limited immediate acceptance in our bite-oriented, post-99% Invisible soundscape.

Still, I enjoy 99% Invisible as I enjoy Too Much Information as I enjoy In Our Time as I enjoy The Big Ideas — let a thousand flowers bloom. DiMeo actually cites 99% Invisible as the rare bright, shining star in the chilly emptiness of podcast-to-radio professionalization. McKibben named Ira Glass as a similarly respected (and thus imitated) force for creativity in the radio-to-podcast direction. Long ago, I heard that Glass once toiled and toiled for only $60,000 a year and furrowed my brow at the injustice of it all. Now the forbidden thought of ever making that much — or half that much — triggers my wildest, most opulent fantasies. With The Big Ideas, Benjamen Walker offers us a hybrid of In Our Time and 99% Invisible while playing the Glassian combined role of guide, audience surrogate, interviewer, and auteur. I hope he’s well-compensated these days. If not, I hope he’s read McKibben describe radio in England and Australia — “new programs appear regularly,” “how literate and engaged the programming” — and considered setting sail for greener, more appreciative broadcasting pastures.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture [iTunes]. Contact him at colinjmarshall at gmail or follow him on Twitter @colinmarshall.]

International Waters Episode 3: Exploding Draculas

Margaret and Humphrey in London
Andy Daly
Erin Gibson
Humphrey Ker
Margaret Cabourn-Smith
John Crace
Kurt Andersen

Andy Daly, Erin Gibson, Humphrey Ker and Margaret Cabourn-Smith compete for their nations’ honour in the pop-culture quiz show where land laws do not apply. With special guests Kurt “Explodo” Andersen and the Guardian’s John Crace. Hosted by Jesse Thorn, written by Jordan Morris and produced by Colin Anderson.

If you think you've got what it takes to write a round of International Waters then drop us a line: and don't be shy, why not like us on Facebook too!

Reminder: MaxFun Meet-Up @ This American Life is THIS THURSDAY!


Just a friendly reminder that this Thursday, May 10th is not only the night Ira Glass brings This American Life to the stage (and movie theaters across the country), but it's also the night of our massive, nation-wide MaxFun Meet-Up to celebrate!

LA area MaxFunsters are encouraged to join us Buffalo Wild Wings Burbank after the show (which we'll be taking in at the AMC Burbank 16) for a night full of new friends and maximum fun! Jesse Thorn, Jordan Morris, Erin Gibson, Bryan Safi and all of us behind-the-scenesters will be there. Will you?

And fear not out-of-towners, as Burbank is hardly the only place to get in on the action. MaxFun listeners all across the country and organizing their own meet-ups: New York, Portland, Iowa City and Indianapolis are all onboard, with the potential for countless more meet-ups. If you live in a major American metropolis (or even a small one!), chances are there's a MaxFunster in your area dying to see this show and chow on some chicken wings afterward. Organize yourselves by heading over to the MaximumFun Forums.

Have fun everyone! We can't wait to see you.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chris Gethard, Lawrence Weschler, AV Club TV Picks and MBMBaM!

| 1 comment
Chris Gethard
Lawrence Weschler
Erik Adams
Claire Zulkey
The McElroy Brothers

The AV Club

This week's culture picks come care of the The AV Club's Claire Zulkey and Erik Adams, who dig deep to select some of their all-time favorite TV series. Claire recommends the pop culture infused British sitcom Spaced, which launched the careers of its stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as well as director Edgar Wright. Erik meanwhile suggests you go back and revisit David Lynch's eerily atmospheric foray into television mystery, Twin Peaks, assuming you've already seen it. If not, both Spaced and Twin Peaks are now available to own on DVD, as well as for online streaming via Netflix Instant.

(Embed or share The AV Club's recommendations this week!)

Comedian and author Chris Gethard

This week on the show we revisit some of our favorite interviews of 2012. Comedian Chris Gethard talks about booking megastar P. Diddy at a tiny theater in New York, using both mania and depression to shape his comedy, and confronting Internet trolls in person. His most recent book is called A Bad Idea I'm About to Do. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)

(Embed or share this interview with Chris Gethard)

Pop Culture Advice with My Brother, My Brother and Me

Brothers by all accounts, and experts by some – Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy of My Brother, My Brother and Me offer offer solutions to listeners' pressing pop culture problems. This week the brothers wonder whether parents should introduce Justin Bieber, Star Wars, and Ke$ha to their children. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)

(Embed or share this advice from My Brother, My Brother and Me)

Entering the Uncanny Valley, with writer Lawrence Weschler

Jesse talks with a master of creative nonfiction, Lawrence Weschler, about the dangers of humans' bias toward narrative, and why the CGI faces in movies never look quite right. Weschler's newest book is Uncanny Valley: Adventures in the Narrative. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)

(Embed or share this interview with Lawrence Weschler)

The Outshot: @FakeCivilWar

And The Outshot: The Civil War, reimagined in 140-character bursts. Jesse talks about one of his favorite Twitter accounts, @FakeCivilWar. (Originally aired the week of January 10th, 2012)

(Embed or share The Outshot: Fake Civil War)

You can subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or the RSS feed -- stay tuned for all new content on next week's Bullseye!

BONUS AUDIO from this week! Lawrence Weschler talks to Jesse about the incredible and unusual Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA.

Throwing Shade #28 - Obama vs. Weed, Joe Biden, Utah hates women, and Armed Dynasty


Another week another wig. Bryan and Erin talk about Obama's war on marijuana, Joe Biden's comfort level with gay marriage, Utah's new abortion bill and the gay teen Dynasty who took on bullies with a stun gun. Cause you can't, you won't and you don't stop. 
Subscribe and Rate on iTunes
@gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod
Bitly for twitter
Official Max Fun Page
RSS Feed
Alsonso Duralde's Linoleum Knife

Stop Podcasting Yourself 216 - Moshe Kasher

Moshe Kasher

Comedian and author Moshe Kasher returns to talk about book readings, zombie hunting, and hipster racism.

Download episode 216 here. (right-click)

Brought to you by: (click here to see the whole recap)

Syndicate content