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

The Avett Brothers - Slight Figure of Speach

| 1 comment

Want to get on the MaxFunBlog? Hire Andy Daly.


MaxFunCon Podcast Episode 2: Hodgman!


Our MaxFunCon podcast continues apace. This week, last year's keynote address from our friend Mr. John Hodgman.

Jump over to to grab it, or subscribe in iTunes.

Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 74: Mr. Library


Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle & Sharpe try to enlist a gentleman's help for "borrowing" some library books.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 117: Primary Colors with Paul Rust and Neil Campbell

| 1 comment
Neil Campbell
Paul Rust

Neil Campbell and Paul Rust join Jesse to talk about writing for the MTV Movie Awards, Black Bart Simpson, and more.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "Critical Thinking"

| 1 comment

After two weeks abroad thinking many thoughts but none of the Pod variety, your Podthinker now gladly returns to the podcast beat with a rejuvenated mind and freshened perspective. Or something. One bright new insight includes the fact that, while we can thank the medium of podcasting most for making possible thousands of homebrewed programs that wouldn't otherwise have reached ear one, it's also been a serious boon to smaller-scale radio producers and their fans.

Take, for instance, WFMT, a Chicago station devoted to classical music, folk music and the arts more generally. A few years back, if one lived outside of Chicagoland and wanted to hear its programming — and it's quality programming indeed — one would have had to stream it, hearing nothing on-demand. A few years previous to a few years back, one would have had to up and move to that alternately freezing or scorching (but bustlin'!) midwest burg. Neither are optimal solutions. (Okay, so they offer some material in syndication and via satellite, but you get the drift.)

Fortunately, WFMT is one of those radio stations that's wised up to podcasting, and thus offers some of its shows free for the download to whoever, whenever, wherever. (It's also something of a rarity, doing this as not a public but a commercial station. If you can believe that.) Your Podthinker's favorite WFMT show, Critical Thinking [iTunes] [XML], is one such offering.

A series of conversations about the arts hosted by "critic at large" Andrew Patner, the program covers an impressively wide swath of cultural ground given that it sounds like a smallish-scale operation. WFMT's overall slant toward classical music does mean that most of the episodes are given over to classical and whatever else the public has come to call "classical," but the discussions aren't pitched at so rarefied a level as to exclude those less hardcore about the stuff. Though Patner seems to prefer chatting with conductors, including the Frankfurt Opera's Erik Nielsen [MP3] and the Oakland East Bay Symphony's Michael Morgan [MP3], he and his interlocutors don't just sit there chuckling at compositional jokes — they play even to an audience who might be irked by the very notion of compositional jokes.

When Patner strays from classical territory, he invariably wanders into other, similarly interesting subject areas, such as the work of Charles Darwin [MP3], Hebrew poetry [MP3] and the great British writers [MP3]. On other shows, he provides his own commentary on the Chicago arts scene and even reads aloud some of his favorite poems.

What your Podthinker ultimately finds most attractive about Critical Thinking is its aesthetic, which combines the sharpness of conversation between people who most certainly know what they're talking about with the intimacy only radio can well and truly provide. It might be called an act of space creation, if we're getting high-flown. The end result comes out quite a bit like KZSU's Entitled Opinions, but with a much harder musical bent. So if you like that program, chances are you'll like this one; if you like that program and enjoy spending time in the realm of classical music, you'll grab it and not let go. And to think, us non-Chicagoans wouldn't be hearing it precisely when we want without podcasting.

Vital stats:
Format: cultural (especially classical-musical) conversations
Duration: 5m-60m
Frequency: somewhat more than weekly
Archive available on iTunes: last 158

[Got a podcast to suggest for Podthoughts coverage or any other sort of question and/or comment for Podthinker Colin Marshall? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

New shirts coming soon to the MaxFunStore!


We've got three new t-shirts coming soonish (printer's backed up) to The MaxFunStore.

You should really check out the stuff. We're printing everything on Alternative Apparel, which is exceptionally nice to wear. I would be glad to spend any Sunday wearing the stuff we've got. Needless to say: the perfect holiday gift for your favorite person.

Tracy Morgan and Terry Gross


This is old news now, but I hadn't had time to give it a proper listen yet.

A) I feel that Tracy's emotion is very real in this. Some people have suggested it's a put-on of some kind. Tracy is obviously kind of a ridiculous guy, but he's a sincerely ridiculous guy. And I think Tracy talking about appreciation of someone caring about his story for real is true.

B) Terry Gross' greatest strength as an interviewer, among many strengths, is her humility. She doesn't make any assumptions, she just asks sincere questions. Which was exactly the right thing to do in a situation where Tracy is a little uncomfortable and not afraid to poke her a little. And that's why he responded so honestly.

C) There is a moment where Morgan starts to break down. There's an eternity of silence (in radio terms - long enough that it may have been longer in real life, because they couldn't have left it any longer on the air or people would think their radios were broken). Then Terry starts to ask a question, then asks if Morgan is OK. I've heard criticism of Gross' approach here. I think it's worth remembering that they (I presume) weren't in the same room, and it was a very tough situation for Gross to read and navigate. I think she did a great job.

D) Morgan's analysis of his work in SNL is very trenchant. Tracy Morgan has *always* been as funny as he is on 30 Rock. Always. He was also very tonally different from the tone of SNL when he joined (like many of the show's black castmembers have been), and he isn't a writer. He talks insightfully about how Lorne Michaels changed the course of his career - taught him that he had to stretch. He gives great credit to Tina Fey for finding a way to put what's funny about Tracy on the air. He admits that he had to learn to collaborate with people who were very, very different from him to share that. Those are great insights, in my opinion.

E) As someone on Twitter shared with me, anybody dissing Terry gets The Gas Face from me.

Jason Segel Serenades The Swell Season


The Swell Season, the indie band best known as the stars of the lovely film Once, invited Jason Segel to perform an original song with them. So he wrote this one, which makes every rock star's goals explicit.

Randy Newman - Easy Street


So casually does The Newm eviscerate the Lindsey Lohans of the world.

The American Budget Network

Syndicate content