The Blog of Young America

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Prince at Coachella

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Jim Real, "The Master of Would You Rather" called me from Coachella today to tell me that last night, he saw the greatest performer in the world.

Above video (1999) via BrooklynVegan, who have some great photos, too.

Below: Radiohead's "Creep"

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse GO!: Ep. 60: Age 27 Season

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Jesse and Jordan discuss words to live by, dongage, reconciliation and much much more.

ACTION ITEMS:
* Have you undertaken some endeavor you were certain would prove your worth as a person, only to fail miserably?
* Have you ever been to or been a member of a social club? What's it like?
* Vote in March of Time Madness!

CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:

* 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.

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

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Got something to give away?

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I'm building up my thank-you-gift reserves for next month's Maximum Fun Drive.

If you're an artist, writer, businessperson, editor, publicist, musician or anyone who makes anything, you can help the drive and get a bit of publicity for yourself.

All you have to do is send me an email at jesse@maximumfun.org, letting me know what you can provide, then put it in the mail.

Unless something is particularly valuable (like an iPod, or a free washer-drier), I'm looking for quantities of five.

For example: our pal Ape Lad was kind enough to provide five copies of his new LOL Cats collection, and Vintage books was kind enough to send five copies of McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes.

If you've got anything you'd like to get a bit of pub for and use to support TSOYA and MaxFun, drop me a line.

Pocast: The College Years: Mysterious Wonders, Wondrous Mysteries

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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.

Davy Rothbart of Found Magazine and Horatio Q Fizzlebottom--Santa Cruz's most eccentric millionaire--joins Jordan, Jesse, and Gene. Also in this episode, dreaming of Christopher Walken and "Would You Rather?"

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Spot the TSOYA Guest

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One thing I wish I'd had on mic from the time I spent with Kenna was the talk of working on Ashlee Simpson's album. Kenna had nothing but good things to say about the time he spent working on her record (he at least co-wrote or co-produced most of it), and about her. He said she had good taste and a solid head on her shoulders, and a good sense of song craft.

Finally we got to check out what he was talking about. He wrote this song, which was produced by Timbo. Not bad.

"The Takeaway" debuts Monday on WNYC and elsewhere!

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I'm looking forward to the launch of a brand-new public radio morning show tommorow, "The Takeaway," with John Hockenberry and Adoara Udoji.

"The Takeaway" is a co-production of PRI (my distributor), the BBC, WNYC in New York, the New York Times and WGBH in Boston. The goal is, at it's essence, to provide an alternative to Morning Edition, which is something that I think is desperately needed in public radio. (And to be clear: I like Morning Edition).

When I attended my first public radio conference six months or so ago in Minneapolis, I was really wowed by Hockenberry's brief talk about how he imagined the show. Expect a program that at least aspires to be truly multi-platform, and focused on the in-depth and analysis, which is exactly what I think public radio does better than any other broadcast outlet.

You can hear the show on WNYC (both AM and FM at different times), on WEAA in Baltimore, and on WGBH in Boston. You can also hear it online at thetakeaway.org. There's already a sample up at PRI's site.

Now, just to make this a bit more Maximum Fun-like, I will say that while I was at the conference, I saw Udoji at Saks Off 5th in downtown Minneapolis. I was looking at shirts, and she asked me what shirt size I wore. I told her (16.5x35, if you're wondering), then told her how much I enjoyed their presentation earlier that day.

"How did you..." she started, confusedly. "OH! You don't work here!"

Yes, PRI's new flagship star thought I worked at Saks' discount store.

A message from Joe Garden, American.

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For the past several years, Onion writer Joe Garden has been openly campaigning to replace Conan O'Brien as host of NBC's Late Night when O'Brien moves to an earlier time slot next year. Numerous news outlets are reporting that NBC will soon announce that they have chosen a replacement for O'Brien, and it's not Garden. Instead, it's serial at-self-laugher and failed movie star Jimmy Fallon. Garden has issued his first public statement regarding the situation EXCLUSIVELY here on MaximumFun.org. It follows. - Jesse

An open letter to the viewing public:

You may have heard that Jimmy Fallon has been named the next host of Late Night.

Even though I have been running for host of Late Night for two years now, this sadly comes as no shock.

We all know how this works. Shady deals are made in smoke-filled back rooms, and the next thing you know, there's a new host of Late Night. I call bullshit on that.*

There are those who are begging me to quit my bid for the host chair. They're saying that it's time to put aside the rancor, and that my campaign can only rend the fabric of unity asunder.

Well, you know what?

The American people don't quit, and they deserve a host of Late Night that doesn't quit either!

The people ever got a chance to have their voices heard. This is why we need to write to someone. Anyone! Pick an executive at NBC and write him or her (but let's face facts, it's a he because only an active member of the patriarchal hegemony would choose Jimmy Fallon as their host for Late Night) a disappointed POSTCARD, saying that you never had a chance to have your voice heard, and that they can't silence the voice of the people forever.

Tell them that you want it put to an election, fair and square, and that you will respect the outcome.

Tell them that we brought democracy to Iraq, and that we will damn sure have it on our shores too.

Actually, don't just write anyone.

Write NBC
Attn. Rick Ludwin
Programming Department
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

And even though he is obviously a fascist, it's probably not a good idea to refer to him as such in your postcard. Be nice. Be cordial. Be firm.

This isn't over yet.

Chin up, stay strong, and VOTE JOE!!

Your next host of Late Night,

Joe Garden

*I am sorry for the strong language, but these are tough times. I promise that, as your host of Late Night, I will never work blue like that.

PS-In order to show your support, you can visit my website or join my facebook group.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Dream Boogie - Peter Guralnick on Sam Cooke

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Show: 
Bullseye


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

This week, Grammy-award winning music writer and historian Peter Guralnick talks about the legendary soul singer and songwriter Sam Cooke. Cooke is credited by many for introducing gospel singing styles to R&B, and in so doing helping to create soul music.


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Saturday Night Live has always been like this.

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I'm tired of the discourse about Saturday Night Live. I'm sick of hearing that they're "more like Saturday Night Dead." I'm sick of hearing about their inconsistency. I'm sick of hearing about their moments of brilliant satire. Every story I read about the show in a mainstream publication makes me want to punch myself in the face.

Here are some things Saturday Night Live is and always has been:
* A lot of fun.
* Live.
* A remarkable achievement.
* A seminal program in the world of comedy.

Here are some things Saturday Night Live is not and has never been:
* Consistent.
* Pithy.
* Dead. (Possible exceptions: period after original cast, before Eddie Murphy and period after Eddie Murphy, before Phil Hartman et al)
* Satirical.

Saturday Night Live is a wonderful phenomenon. On a Tuesday, a team of spectacularly talented people get together with someone who's famous but probably not funny. On Saturday, they put on a 90-minute variety-comedy show. That show showcases their talent, even when the sketches run on a bit long or are unfocused. It runs live on television, the only fictional program that does so in the United States. The stakes are high, and even when something falls flat, as it often does, it's a great ride, buoyed by the best performers of their kind.

Jane Curtin was on "Wait... Wait... Don't Tell Me" this past weekend, and she commented on watching the early seasons of the show for the first time on DVD. She said they were mind-numbingly boring. She's right. Saturday Night Live has always been boring. Stripped of context (topicality, Live-ness, now-ness, sleepiness), SNL is a fair amount of boring stuff in between some great heights. We're pulled along by the immediacy of the show and the skill of the cast and the knowledge that something awesome could happen at any second. When SNL makes Michael Jordan even a little funny, The next morning we remember the winners and forget the snoozers. And there's nothing wrong with that.

And politics. How many times have you heard from the media about Saturday Night Live's effect on the political world? Al Gore's lockbox? Tina Fey's odd Hillary rant? "Saturday Night Live is at its best when they target their satirical cannons on the oft-absurd world of politics." Bullshit.

Here's the facts: Saturday Night Live does not do satire. They sometimes do topicality. The closest they've ever come to satire was Chevy Chase's bumbling Gerald Ford, but even that was more about Chase's penchant for pratfalls and Ford's actual, literal physical awkwardness than it was about Ford's general incompetency. Satire is a representation of something that so convincingly takes the form of that thing that the absurdities of the thing are revealed, simply by the thing being in a different context. It's certainly a powerful form of comedy, but it's different from Norm MacDonald saying, "I'm Bob Dole" a lot. (Though that was fucking hilarious). Or Dana Carvey talking funny as George Bush. Or talking funny as Ross Perot. Or talking funny and eating french fries as Bill Clinton.

Here's what SNL really is: it's a playground for our most talented comic performers. It's a place where they can walk a tightrope in front of a live audience with a day or two of rehearsal and an athlete or singer for a straightman, and we can watch and see if they fall. That's a great thing! Think of the cast of the show right now! What a pleasure to see Fred Armisen's strange, hilarious character turns. It's great to see Bill Hader raise an eyebrow in consternation while Kristen Wiig makes some really, really hilarious and upsetting face. It's super fun!

So, my message to the media (and to the guy at the office who always has an opinion about comedy) is this: let Saturday Night Live be what it is. There's so much to enjoy.

Podcast: Sloane Crosley, author of "I Was Told There'd Be Cake"

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Show: 
Bullseye


Sloane Crosley started her non-fiction writing career after an acquaintance offered to publish a cleaned-up version of a mass email she'd sent... in the Village Voice. Her collection of humorous personal essays, "I Was Told There'd Be Cake," recently debuted on the New York Times bestseller list.

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