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My Brother, My Brother and Me 102: The Placenta and the Bear


As you spend an hour with us this week, we ask you to reflect about all the hours you've spent with us, and then think about all the partying that you haven't done yet, and then, just, wow, what are you doing?

Suggested talking points: International Flair, Limitless Sunshine, Tween Dating, Cubicle Fort, Austin Powers Stroke, Tiny Stenographer, Discarded Gigapet

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 222: The Letters of Jerry Garcia with Matt Besser

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Matt Besser

Matt Besser from Improv4Humans stops by to discuss the Grateful Dead Archive, the things a suburban man must do and more.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Allan Gregg in Conversation


Vital stats:
Format: interviews about politics, history, science, and culture, both Canadian and non-
Episode duration: 8-28m
Frequency: 10-20 per month

Though it strays more often than it used to, I do keep an eye on Canadian politics. I do it for the same reason I keep an ear on Canadian media. The products and actions of a country with fewer than 53 million people and little direct influence on world affairs may strike you as less interesting, by definition, than those of a country with over 312 million people and arguably too much influence on world affairs. But since the small country doesn’t face nearly as harsh a glare of attention as the large country does, it can to that extent provide a setting for items of greater interest. So as marginal as Canadian politics and media can seem, I enjoy both because things exist within those systems that feel like they couldn’t exist in the States. Here, burdened with the need to appeal to hundreds of millions of people at once, politics and media get “blanded down.” They certainly haven’t produced anyone like Allan Gregg.

Neither a straight-up politician nor a traditional media figure, Gregg often gets called a “pollster” or a “pundit.” He’s advised politicians and parties, but he’s also run a record label, co-managed several bands, chaired the Toronto International Film Festival, and written magazine columns. But you read about him in Podthoughts today because of his talk show, Allan Gregg in Conversation [RSS] [iTunes]. Though produced as a television show for the Ontario public station TVO, it goes out as an audio podcast as well, and nothing I’ve heard on it suggests that I’m missing out by not getting the visual. From what I can tell, Ontarians sit down every Friday night for a half-hour program comprising a conversation or three between Gregg and noted writers, politicians, artists, and academics. The podcast feed distributes these conversations individually, and sometimes throws in a curveball of a talk from five, ten, even fifteen years ago. Ready to cast your mind back to the personal and professional failings of Bill Clinton? [MP3] [MP3]

Wait a while, you might say. Wasn’t this supposed to be a Canadian show? So where do they get off having spirited discussions about Bill Clinton? Fair enough; perhaps you’d prefer Gregg’s interviews about Jack Layton [MP3] or Pierre Trudeau [MP3] or Brian Mulroney [MP3]? Or perhaps you’d like to skip to the tour de force, Gregg’s sit-down with Jean Chrétien [MP3], the former Prime Minister who once bore the brunt of an infamous attack ad launched by Gregg himself? I don’t know about you, but when I listen to conversations like these, the same fascination centers of my brain light up as when I hear people discussing sports I rarely see played or fictional universes to which I have only occasional exposure. You might call it the intellectual thrill of partial information, as opposed to the dull intellectual throb of too much, a saturation level many Americans have long since reached about, say, George W. Bush.

So I don’t want to front like too much of a universally engaged world citizen here, since I mostly turn toward this Canadian stuff simply because it feels kinda different. And Gregg concerns himself with much more than Canadian politics or even Canadian affairs, inviting onto his program such true world citizens as Pico Iyer [MP3], Salman Rushdie [MP3], and Kazuo Ishiguro [MP3]. Douglas Coupland, the interviewee whose two appearances [MP3] [MP3] brought me aboard the show in the first place, has one foot on each side of Gregg’s guest list. Since writing Generation X those twenty years ago, he’s become both a proud icon of Canadian culture (just look at the line he designed for Roots, festooned with literal icons of Canadian culture) and a much-translated author popular across the world. Something about his manner, on this program and elsewhere, gets at exactly what draws me in about the Canadian sensibility, as it manifests itself in politics, in media, and — for all I know — forms beyond.

Both Coupland and Gregg speak in a manner that at first seems mild, subdued, measured — beige, almost. And if you don’t look or listen closely to Canada as a whole, much of it, too, can seem beige. But give your close attention, and it resolves into a highly unusual, nuanced shade of beige indeed. On their surfaces, Coupland, Gregg, and other pillars of Canadian media like Ideas or The Signal exude a calmative force. That in itself I value, but they also carry a payload of secret interestingness afforded by their northern provenance. Alan Gregg would appear to follow all the standard rules of interviewing — read the guest’s book, play devil’s advocate when necessary, “keep things moving” — but he does so with a subtly individual style and a seemingly genuine curiosity. The cumulative effect of these qualities over hours upon hours of listening to Allan Gregg in Conversation has led me to think of him as one of the most quietly incisive general-interest interviewers of our time. Show me the American pollster who can transcend talking-head status to achieve that — or would even want to.

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

MaxFunCon East is coming!

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For years, you East Coasters have dreamed of it. Some of you have even journeyed cross-country in its absence. And now, it's finally here!

In case you missed the announcement earlier this week, we're bringing the party that is MaxFunCon to the eastern seaboard this October, for a little pre-Halloween magic from the 26th to 28th at the Inn at Pocono Manor.

The line-up will be announced later this summer, but we guarantee that MaxFunCon East will bring all the goodness you've come to love about MaxFunCon West to the East Coast, from days classes and workshops, to evenings packed with comedy shows and parties.

Tickets go on sale THIS WEDNESDAY, May 2nd, so don't miss out on what's sure to be an unforgettable weekend, and keep watching this space for more details as they develop.

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Judge John Hodgman Ep. 57: A Wing and A Player


Michael and Patrick have been best friends since high school. Michael likes to think of himself as Patrick's wingman, helping alert him to interested ladies when they're out together. But, Patrick doesn’t see this service the same way. He thinks his friend lacks the subtlety to be a wingman, believing that Michael will overexaggerate a girl's interest in Patrick to get him to ask for her number. Michael contends that Patrick is merely too modest causing him to mistake genuine flirting for politeness.

Is Michael helping his friend find love and happiness, or is he steering him towards disappointment? Only the Judge can determine if the ladies are batting eyes or making benign banter in this week’s Judge John Hodgman!


Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tony Hale, Nicholas Stoller, Comic Book Picks, and Kasper Hauser

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Tony Hale
Nicholas Stoller
Alex Zalben
Brian Heater
Kasper Hauser

Comics with Alex and Brian

Our comic book experts return this week for another round of pop culture picks from the world of graphic novels. Alex Zalben is a writer and a host of the show Comic Book Club. Brian Heater is a journalist and Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Cross Hatch, which highlights alternative comics. Alex recommends Brandon Graham's inventively absurd series King City, while Brian's pick, Goliath, by Tom Gauld, tells the tale of David and Goliath from the big guy's point of view.

(Embed or share Alex and Brian’s Comic Book Recommendations)

Actor Tony Hale

Tony Hale is a comic actor best known to audiences as the precocious man-child Buster Bluth, from the cult hit FOX sitcom Arrested Development, but Hale had been working in commercials and doing theatre in New York long before his big break. His latest role sees him playing "body man" (think: bag-boy) to Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Vice President of the United States on the new HBO comedy series Veep, from the mind of brilliant British satirist Armando Iannucci.

Tony sits down with us to discuss the humor of the behind-the-scenes world of politics, how he famously sold a lot Volkswagons to the tune of Styx's "Mr. Roboto", and returning to the role of Buster when Arrested Development picks up again later this year for a fourth season. Veep airs Sunday nights at 10PM on HBO.

(Embed or share this interview with Tony Hale)

Kasper Hauser News Update

We here at Bullseye feel a moral obligation as a public radio show to provide you with some news content, so to get you caught up on all the top stories you've never heard of (as they're entirely made up), here's the latest from our fake news team: the San Francisco-based sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser.

You can catch Kasper Hauser live later this week, performing alongside the honorable judge John Hodgman at Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco on Sunday, April 29th.

(Embed or share this Kasper Hauser News Update)

Writer-Director Nicholas Stoller

Nicholas Stoller is a writer and director of both film and television, whose breakout hit was the romantic comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Though his other film credits include Get Him To The Greek and 2011's The Muppets, Stoller has established himself as something of a master of the romance movie, as his films strike a delicate balance between uproarious comedy and real heartfelt character moments. His latest film The Five-Year Engagement finds him re-teaming with frequent collaborator Jason Segel and captures much of the same tone that made their first film together such a success.

Nick joins us to discuss the problems plaguing the romantic comedy genre, what goes into making a comedy set piece really work, and what sets Jason Segel apart as a comic actor. The Five-Year Engagement opens in theaters this Friday, April 27th.

(Embed or share this interview with Nicholas Stoller)

The Outshot: Bill Cunningham New York

For the Outshot this week, Jesse examines the often superficial fashion world and finds a stunningly sincere and emotional portrait of a man. The man is New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, and the film is Richard Press's biographical documentary Bill Cunningham New York.

Seen a documentary yourself that deserves a few more eyes on it? Give it some love by visiting the MaxFun forum and picking your own Outshot.

(Embed or share this Outshot on Bill Cunningham New York)

Subscribe to Bullseye in iTunes or the RSS feed!

TS26: The Feeding Tube Diet, Romney's Gay Spokesperson, Planned Parenthood Pranks, White House Gay Soiree


Erin escapes Coachella to spend the evening talkin' 'bout 'sues with Bryan. Fun stuff like the hot new K-E "feeding tube" diet, Mitt Romney's new spokesperson, Richard Grenell, Live Action pranking Planned Parenthood, and the White House's gay social secretary, Jeremy Bernard. Flibberty gobble! 
Get tickets for Entertainment Hollywood!! 
Official Max Fun Page
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@gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod

Stop Podcasting Yourself 214 - Ivan Decker

Ivan Decker

Comedian Ivan Decker returns to talk about helicopters, stitches, and denim hats. Also, guess who drunk dialed us.

Download episode 214 here. (right-click)

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

My Brother, My Brother and Me 101: Sext Fiction


You thought we were going to call it quits after a hundred episodes? We'll be honest -- we considered it. But we managed to overcome our extreme exhaustion to bring you another episode chock-full of tangents and straight-up gobbledigook.

Suggested talking points: Holo-B.I.G., Leap Anniversary, Scorpion Improvement, Recovery Sandwich Recovery, Choose Your Own Adventure, Wingmanning, The Theme to Doug, Lady and the Tramp Killer

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 221: J3G with Dave Holmes

Dave Holmes

Dave Holmes is a Vegas voyeur, a personal appearer and more.

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