The Blog of Young America

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Walsh Brothers in NYC

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The Walsh Brothers have been tearing up Boston for years now, but they're bringing their bizarre, compelling hilarious tag-team act to New York for TSOYA-sponsored show at the UCB Theater Saturday night.

The Bros. combine rapidfire two-headed storytelling with elements of sketch, standup and anything else that comes along (see above), and the result is really something wonderful. Don't miss it, New Yorkers.

Scoop!

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Word on the street is that John Hodgman is scheduled to be on the Daily Show TOMMOROW. He certainly WON'T be on TONIGHT, with guest BILL GATES as the INTERNET SEEMS TO BELIEVE.

YOU BE THE JUDGE.

The Greatest Prince Parody Ever.

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Some would say it was by Dave Chappelle, on Chappelle's Show.

I would say it was by Prince Rogers Nelson, in his video for "Batdance."

Tim Goodman on "King of the Hill"

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I've been reading Tim Goodman's television cricitism, first for the San Francisco Examiner, now for the Chronicle, for about a dozen years now. He's no Joan Didion, but his writing is clear, sometimes funny, and he has a wonderful sense of the populist possibilities of television. He's also the rare critic (in any field) who engages comedy and drama on equal terms. He was an early and vocal supporter of some of my favorite series of the past ten years-- Sportsnight, News Radio, The Dana Carvey Show, Arrested Development. In fact, he was such a vocal supporter of the last of those that his name was dropped into an episode early in season two.

He has a really nice appreciation of "King of the Hill" in today's Chron.

What makes this collection of oddball Arlen folk work is that Judge and his writers always reveal the humanity in each character. And the absurdity. It truly is the small things that make you laugh the hardest (and most frequently) in this show, because it is so wonderfully nuanced.

For example, Hank and Peggy only have one child because, well, Hank's got "a narrow urethra." And instead of taking a sledgehammer to the whole Southern thing, Judge (who grew up in Texas and lovingly spoofs it throughout) tends to opt for something like Bobby going to Tom Landry Middle School.

There is a sweetness to the skewering, an impressive balance between gigantic, opposing targets and a sense of Americana that is at once ironic and heartfelt.

King of the Hill might not inspire a cult like The Family Guy or Futurama, but it's a better program than both -- one of the best on television. At it's heart, it's a perfectly executed family sitcom. Deeply flawed, deeply lovable characters in a deeply flawed, deeply lovable context. Perhaps it suffers in intellectual circles by not being mean to the south or to southerners, but it's tops in my book. Nice to hear someone say so.

Bill Withers is the definition of soul.

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Bill Withers sings "Grandma's Hands" and "Use Me." Beautiful voice, beautiful man.

Three quarters of a million downloads!

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The Sound of Young America just passed three quarters of a million downloads!

These are very exciting times for me and the show. Expect some great announcements in the next few weeks. In the meantime, thank you for listening, for donating, for emailing, for participating... I'm really proud of the work that I've done these past few years, but without your support and encouragement, I'm sure I'd have given up.

Thank you. Let's continue to be more awesome.

Congratulations to Jen Kirkman & AST Records!

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I can't tell you how excited I am about the launch of AST records, the first independent record label committed to provide a venue for "alternative" comedy performers. Jen Kirkman is one of the greats in the LA scene, and I've got very high hopes for this release. Details from AST below:


ASPECIALTHING RECORDS is proud to announce its inaugural release: JEN KIRKMAN’S debut album “SELF HELP.” Recorded live at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, “Self Help” is a whirlwind tour of the foibles and fixations that have made Jen Kirkman one of the most beloved storytellers on the comedy scene. From her apathy towards procreation to her myriad phobias (God, flying, zombies), Jen bares all to her audience, striking a delicate balance between sly self-deprecation and the earnest conviction of a zealot. On “Self Help,” Jen treats us to social embarrassments from grade school to adulthood, resists the urge to commit the perfect murder (then fantasizes about all the “me” time a long prison sentence would afford), and worries that God has forgotten about her -- because, in her words, “I’ve moved around a lot, and sometimes I wear a hat.”

“SELF HELP” comes out on February 6, 2007 and will be available online at http://www.aspecialthing.com and in select stores.

Pre-sale details coming soon. And stay tuned for information about the CD release party!

Look for Jen on JJGO! and TSOYA in a couple of weeks.

I hate piracy!

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But I love this dude who's posting every episode of Larry Sanders on YouTube.

Help Alexander Study

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A TSOYA listener named Alexander has made an unusual request on the forum. He wants other TSOYA fans to call him Saturday (9AM-1PM or 8PM-12PM Eastern) to ask him questions that are likely to be on his neuroanatomy exam. There's a full list on the board, and it features important questions like: " a. What are the general functions of glia?" and " g. What are the functions of the cerebellum vs. the function of the medulla?"

His number is in the post, so mark your calendars and warm up your dialing fingers for Saturday. And for gosh sake, don't use this information for evil somehow, that would be super dick move.

Great Americans

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When I make my list of The Great Americans, Randy Newman will be right at the top, thanks in no small part to his op-ed in today's New York Times.

I'm reprinting it below to save you Times registration, but I will say that Times registration is totally worth it.

A Few Words in Defense of Our Country

By Randy Newman

I’d like to say a few words
In defense of our country
Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
Now the leaders we have
While they’re the worst that we’ve had
Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen

Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?

Take the Caesars for example
Why within the first few of them
They had split Gaul into three parts
Fed the Christians to the lions
And burned down the City
And one of ’em
Appointed his own horse Consul of the Empire
That’s like vice president or something
That’s not a very good example, is it?
But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
They put people in a terrible position

I don’t even like to think about it
Well, sometimes I like to think about it

Just a few words in defense of our country
Whose time at the top
Could be coming to an end
Now we don’t want their love
And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
But in times like these
We sure could use a friend

Hitler. Stalin.
Men who need no introduction
King Leopold of Belgium. That’s right.
Everyone thinks he’s so great
Well he owned The Congo
He tore it up too
He took the diamonds, he took the gold
He took the silver
Know what he left them with?
Malaria

A president once said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

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