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

Podcast: American Nerd author Benjamin Nugent

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Benjamin Nugent is the author of "American Nerd: The Story of My People"
It's a book on nerds that's part history, part sociology, part reportage and part memoir. Nugent traces the history of the nerd, from the antagonists of romanticism in the 19th century to the classic Hollywood nerds of the 1970s and 80s to the "geek pride" and "nerd hipster" classes of today. He also writes movingly about his own childhood, and that of the friends with whom he played role-playing games as a middle school student.

If you enjoyed this show, try these:
David Hajdu on Comics in the 1950s
Merlin Mann
Patton Oswalt

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Public Radio Talent Quest Produces Three Pilots


Folks may remember the Public Radio Talent Quest from last year. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting put together a big pot of money to find new talent for public radio. They sponsored a contest for organizations to dig up the talent, and two won. PRX, the Public Radio Exchange held an American Idol-style competition online, while a consortium of producers decided to make a "big list" of people they'd like to hear in public radio, then ask them if they'd be interested.

They narrowed the list down to six finalists, each of whom would get enough money to produce a professional-quality pilot episode. Based upon these pilots, one winner would receive funding for a full year of programs. Among the finalists were Mark Bittman, "The Minimalist" from The New York Times, SNL alumna Julia Sweeney, who hoped to do a science program, and a woman who goes by Skepchick.

What happened was a surprise: the CPB was so excited about the finalists that they chose three winners, rather than just one.

Al Letson, a performance poet, playwright and actor will host "State of the re:Union." The show will look at the unique cultures and communities of cities and towns across America. You can download the pilot, about Washington, DC, from this link (MP3).

Majora Carter is a MacArthur "genius" grant-winning organizer in the Bronx. Her show, "The Promised Land" will look at how leaders are created, "around the world, or around the block." You can download the pilot from this link (MP3).

Glynn Washington is Executive Director of the Center for Young Entrepreneurs at Haas Business School at UC Berkeley. His show, "Snap Judgement," will look at how one decision can have huge consequences. The pilot is available from this link (MP3).

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Pledge Thank You Gifts


Pledge Drive thank you gifts are heading out the door this week. If you made a monthly pledge during the drive, you'll get a thank-you gift, either one of the books and other prizes we had on offer early in the drive, or a poster. If you made a gift of $5/month or more, you'll get a t-shirt as well.

This has been an immense undertaking for intern Chris and myself, but everything should be kosher. Your thank-yous will start showing up in the next couple weeks. If we get or got something wrong, email Chris (, and we'll sort it out. But like I said -- we just sent out the gifts (some are still being processed), so wait a couple weeks.

John Mulaney on Law & Order


That is: sharing some thoughts about Law & Order, not appearing on the TV program Law & Order.

John Mulaney did a solid half hour or so last year at the Project Breakout show at Comix in New York. He was still growing as a performer, but his material was among the strongest I've seen a young comic perform in... ever. The guy was a 10 for writing out of the box, and a good performer to boot. Too bad he was at Bonnaroo (good for him, I guess) or he'd have been on TSOYA Live.

Video via Punchline Magazine

Blu & Exile: Blu Collar Workers


Like this record a lot. Blu is supposed to be coming over for an interview later... but I've already had one cancellation today, so I'm not counting my chickens until they hatch. In the meantime, enjoy this video.

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse GO! Ep. 65: The Gong Show

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Jordan and Jesse are joined by comedian Chad Fogland. They discuss Fogland's recent taping of The New Gong Show, David Letterman, BMX biking, tales of shame and much much more.

*Share a surprising (and simple) recipe, on the show or on the board.
* Who are the villains of JJGo?
* Vote in March of Time Madness!


* 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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San Francisco's One Heart Press


As we were sending out the thank you gifts for this year's pledge drive, several volunteers asked me about the Maximum Fun Club Cards. The cards were generously printed for us by One Heart Press, an amazing letterpress shop in San Francisco.

A Sound of Young America listener, Chad, offered to print up some business cards for me when I moved out to LA, and those cards have been drooled over by every business contact I've made since. The Maximum Fun Club Cards are absolutely stupendous, and Chad designed and printed my wedding invitations, which have been similarly well received.

So my thanks to One Heart, and if you need to print something beautiful, they should be your choice.

A Star is Born


(Hint: it's not the asshole in the sportcoat)

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