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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 225: Tree Pose with Greg Fitzsimmons

Greg Fitzsimmons

Greg Fitzsimmons from Fitzdog Radio joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about yoga, the sensual misadventures of A. Dick and about his comedy alter ego, Grapefruit Simmons.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kurt Braunohler, Walter Mosley, and Kasper Hauser

Kurt Braunohler
Walter Mosley
Scott Tobias
Nathan Rabin
Kasper Hauser

AV Club Culture Recommendations

This week’s culture critics are Nathan Rabin and Scott Tobias of The AV Club, here to offer up a pair of humor-fueled recommendations. Nathan suggests checking out comedian Hannibal Buress’s debut one-hour special, Animal Furnace, noting a marked evolution in Hannibal’s stand-up style. Meanwhile Scott is enamored with Wes Anderson’s latest, Moonrise Kingdom, hailing it as the filmmaker’s best work.

Moonrise Kingdom is currently in limited release, opening nationwide on June 15th, while Hannibal Buress’s Animal Furnace is now available on both CD and DVD.

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Comedian Kurt Braunohler

Kurt Braunohler is a stand-up comedian and improviser, as well as one half of the sketch duo Kurt & Kristen, performing alongside writing partner Kristen Schaal. While stand-up consumes much of his time these days, he may soon be best known for IFC's Bunk, putting his disarming charms to work as host of an improv game show where comedians compete in insane challenges on behalf of less than charitable causes.

Kurt sits down with us to discuss the myriad ways in which the conventions of the game show format are begging to be satirized, the serendipitous origin of Kurt & Kristen, and how they took one of our all-time favorite sketches, "Kristen Schaal is a Horse", to Australia's biggest stage. Bunk premieres Friday, June 8th at 10:30 PM on IFC.

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Kasper Hauser News Update

Thought you could escape the world of news within the hour of our pop culture program? Think again! Getting you caught up on all the latest stories that may or may not have happened, here's an update from the minds of our fake news team: the San Francisco-based sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser.

For more Kasper Hauser, check out The Kasper Hauser Podcast right here on

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Crime Novelist Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley is an author of nearly forty books, but perhaps he's best known for his work in detective fiction. His Easy Rawlins detective series began with 1989's Devil in a Blue Dress. Lately Mosley's penning the stories of a new detective: Leonid McGill. His latest serial novel is All I Did Was Shoot My Man, the most recent entry in the McGill series, and it's loaded with the kind of snappy, hard-boiled noir writing Mosley is famous for.

Walter joined us back in 2010 to talk about the existential crises at the heart of the detective genre, and how he made the move from computer programming to detective fiction so many years ago.

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The Outshot: Jay-Z’s Flow

For The Outshot this week, Jesse makes the case for Jay-Z as hip hop's greatest of all time -- if only for the effortlessly perfect rhythm of his lyrical flow, best represented on the track "Hovi Baby".

Got your own pick for rap's best flow? Stake your claim on the MaxFun Forum by picking your own Outshot.

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Throwing Shade #31:Target Pride Shirts, Stupid Studies, Memorial Day DADT, Pro-Life America


Bryan survives his Mexican wedding adventure to talk 'sues with Erin. Ya, know, fun stuff like Target's pride shirts, a new study about on how women are fat because they're doing less housework, a special Memorial Day inspired look at Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and the rising popularity of pro-life stances.  Si se puede! 
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Throwing Shade Ring Tone (thanks @bcevans)
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Stop Podcasting Yourself 219 - Cameron Reed

Cameron Reed

Musician Cameron Reed joins us to talk bleeps vs. bloops, video arcades, parades, and themed bars.

Download episode 219 here. (right-click)

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

My Brother, My Brother and Me 106: Bicentennial Dad


Keep it locked to 104.3, WRVMBMBAM, for all your classic rock summer time jam needs. We're cranking out the hits from your favorite rock gods, like Ratt, and also Yahoo Answers.

Suggested talking points: Summer Rock Block, Flirty Fortune Cookie, High-Drive, Wanted Two, Irresistible, The Three Year Gap, Cereals, Titter, Escape Plan

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Truth


Vital stats:
Format: sound-oriented radio fictions
Episode duration: 9-18m
Frequency: 2-3 per month

“I thought there would be a revival of fiction and theater on the radio,” says science-fiction author Terry Bisson, “and I’ve been very disappointed that it hasn’t, kind of, worked out that way.” You and me both, brother. I say this as someone who, in childhood, obsessively collected bootleg tapes of old-time radio shows like Amos & Andy and X Minus One and had the newer, more internationalist productions of the ZBS Foundation playing on infinite loop. I dreamed of re-introducing “movies for your mind,” in the words of one radio-drama survivor whose tapings I attended as a kid, to the dead airwaves of my benighted time. Bisson made his lament to producer Jonathan Mitchell on an episode of Mitchell’s podcast The Truth [RSS] [iTunes] which adapts Bisson’s story “They’re Made Out of Meat” [MP3]. I bet Mitchell went through similar youthful befuddlement, wondering what made all those cool old shows go away and hoping — knowing, in some quasi-messianic sense — that they would return. It hasn’t, kind of, worked out that way.

What to blame? Maybe the increasingly utilitarian slant of modern American radio, which either feeds listeners’ anxiety over not having the latest news and information or numbs them completely with three-minute shots of anesthetic familiarity. But I get the sense that, deep in the minds of even dedicated tuners-in, radio just isn’t for fiction. They may express great admiration for the idea of new radio drama, and they may even bemoan the past 50 years’ lack of it, but they’ll keep turning the dial if they suspect what they’re hearing isn’t true. I doubt they do it for strictly gray-flannel-suit reasons; they probably just fear that they can’t keep up with a fictional narrative on the radio, or that they’ve already missed some plot point critical to understanding what happens next, or that they’ll get where they’re going before the big twist ending when everything falls into place. Or they just assume the story won’t give them much to talk about at the water cooler.

Today’s radio fictions often try to pull listeners in with intricate production, artful editing, and heavy (to use a program-director term) sound-richness. But this tends to simply fill listeners with guilt about not paying attention: “Man, somebody worked hard on this piece. What a shame.” This American Life has built one of public radio’s most startlingly successful brands by refining their particular sensibility with intricate production, artful editing, and heavy sound-richness, but then, they run a Journalistic Enterprise of Facts — unless, of course, they wedge a bit of fiction into the week’s theme. (Or unless someone pulls a Daisey.) Some listeners feel faintly ripped off when Ira Glass announces a short story, skit, or dramatic monologue coming up, but a few minutes in, don’t they get caught up in it just the same?

They certainly seemed to when This American Life aired The Truth’s “Tape Delay” [MP3]. The piece, a tale of a lonely man who edits and re-edits a phone conversation recorded with a failed blind date, showcases a sonic awareness that separates Mitchell and co. from other radio fictionalists. At its strongest, The Truth takes sound not just as its tool, and not just as its medium, but as its subject. The New York story “Interruptible” [MP3] juxtaposes the snappy, authoritative media presence of an FM relationship-advice guru with her real, boozy, yet no less sensible physical presence. The other New York story “Everybody SCREAM!!!” [MP3] — actually, they’re almost all New York stories, and they satirize just the kind of neuroses that make me live in Los Angeles — pits twitchily human thoughts in a struggle with the driving thump and chintzily amplified barking of a “spin” class. Bisson’s all-dialogue “They’re Made Out of Meat” becomes what sounds like a two-way transmission between alien intelligences evolved to the point of disembodiment.

If you have ears to hear, you will respect The Truth, and not just because its mission seems so Quixotic. It aims for the world of listeners we’d like to be: attentive, empathic, adventurous, unfailingly engaged, aesthetically discerning, and appreciative of the technical points of soundcraft. You’ll come away from most of its episodes feeling seriously impressed by their inspiration, their construction, and their humanity. But whenever you go to play another, that little voice inside will always object: “What, you’re going to listen to something made up? Are you sure you’ve already listened to every real podcast you have?” Jonathan Mitchell must understand this. His program’s very title must reference this. But if any show can finally fire up that revival of fiction and theater on the radio, The Truth can. I admit that I ultimately tend to put my money on people who don’t need human nature to change — but I myself am probably not one of those people.

Comment or suggest a podcast on the Podthoughts forum thread

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

Judge John Hodgman Episode 60: Chevy Case


Patrick and his girlfriend Hannah made a cross-country move to Portland, Oregon last year in Patrick's Camaro. Once they were established, Hannah needed a car for her commute and bought Patrick's car.

Her feelings on the care and ownership of the car differ from her boyfriend's -- namely, she sees the car as a utilitarian possession and Patrick thinks she should have some care for its appearance. Who is right?


Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: RA Dickey, Coyle and Sharpe, and Mark Frauenfelder

RA Dickey
Mark Frauenfelder
Coyle & Sharpe

Culture Recommendations from Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing

This week's culture recommendations come to us care of Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing and the Gweek podcast, who joins us to share a pair of his top picks: The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs, as compiled by Charles Doyle, and the music video production iPhone app Video Star.
(Embed or share Mark Frauenfelder’s Culture Recommendations)


New York Mets Pitcher R.A. Dickey

R.A. Dickey is a pitcher for the New York Mets, and the only man in the majors currently throwing a knuckleball. His new memoir, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest For Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, is a story of perseverance more than anything. He had a difficult childhood marked by abuse and poverty, but found his gift in baseball. Early on in his career, the Texas Rangers offered Dickey a lucrative contract but retracted it when they discovered a physical abnormality that theoretically should have kept him from playing ball. Dickey then bounced back and forth between the major and minor leagues and says he floundered, personally and professionally. But he stuck with it, and worked on mastering the wildly unpredictable knuckleball pitch (and finally found stability and peace in his relationships with his family and friends). Now, at age 37 Dickey is just hitting the prime of his career while many players of his age have long since retired. If anything, the knuckleball means his best days may still be ahead of him.
R.A. sits down with us to discuss his search for peace from a troubled past, the art of throwing the perfect knuckleball, and exactly why he names his bats after fantasy swords. Wherever I Wind Up is now available in bookstores now.
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Comedy by Coyle & Sharpe: Robbing a Bank

To say Jim Coyle and Mal Sharpe were ahead of their time would be putting it mildly. The duo produced hundreds of man-on-the-street interviews in San Francisco during the mid-1960s, always claiming to be something they weren't, all in the name of comedy. Their efforts would go mostly unappreciated for decades, though the dedication of Mal's daughter Jennifer would ensure their work would eventually find an audience.
In this classic clip, the pair try to convince a Navy serviceman to rob a bank for them. You can hear more from Coyle & Sharpe right here on, where their archives have been converted to The Coyle & Sharpe Podcast.
(Embed or share Coyle & Sharpe: Robbing a Bank)

The Outshot: The Best Show on WFMU

On the Outshot this week, Jesse makes the rather unconventional move of recommending a radio show that isn't this one -- but you'll want to check it out all the same. It's The Best Show on WFMU, the music show turned character-based comedy call-in program whose cryptic host Tom Scharpling can satirize the role of the radio host while perfecting it in the same breath.
Is there a show on the radio that you consider appointment listening? We want to hear it, so let us know on the MaxFun Forum by picking your own Outshot.
(Embed or share this Outshot on The Best Show on WFMU)
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Throwing Shade - Pastor Worley, TLC's Birth Moms, Rep. Andy Gipson, Rep. Bubba Carpenter

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Oh, gurl, the South, she's doing everything wrong! Bryan and Erin discuss the many ways Mississippi continues to make things harder for ladies and gays, along with North Carolina Pastor Charles L. Worley's plan to round up the gays and enclose them in an electric fence. Oh yeah, and TLC watches while a pregnect mom smokes and drinks a margarita, then airs it. Check please! 
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Stop Podcasting Yourself 218

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No guest this week as we explore Canadian cuisine, the worst people in lineups, and we design our own drink companies.

Download episode 218 here. (right-click)

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

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