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Stop Podcasting Yourself 139


Dave and Graham go without a guest and talk about international waters, phony bands, and no references from post-2004.

Download episode 139 here. (right-click)

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 152: Wonderful Terrific with Paul Scheer

Paul Scheer

Paul Scheer joins Jesse and Jordan to discuss fantasy sports, the etymology of "boner", and more. Tune into FX and watch Paul Scheer on the The League.

Judge John Hodgman Ep. 2: Dish Soap or Hand Soap?


In episode two of the Judge John Hodgman podcast, Judge Hodgman settles a dispute between a married couple. The wife says their kitchen sink's built-in dispenser should house dish soap. The husband argues that it should hold hand soap. Only one is correct.

To listen to this week's Judge John Hodgman podcast, subscribe in iTunes or using this feed.

(Thanks for our graphic to Steve Wolfhard.)

Judah Friedlander: World Champion, 30 Rock Star, Author of How To Beat Up Anybody: Interview on The Sound of Young America Live at WNYC

Judah Friedlander

Photo credit WNYC and Casey De Pont.

Judah Friedlander is a regular on NBC's 30 Rock and the author of How To Beat Up Anybody. He is the World Champion.

Judah joined us on our live show at WNYC to discuss the differences between a Yeti, a Sasquatch and a Bigfoot (and how to beat up all three). He also delineated his strategies for fighting groups of people and even groups of strippers.

When Friedlander's not beating people up, he plays writer Frank Rossitano on 30 Rock. He's had a long and successful career on stage as a standup comic, and his film roles include an acclaimed turn as the Original Nerd, Toby in "American Splendor."

"This Is How Michael Caine Speaks"


As alluded to in this talk with our pals from the AV Club at the Toronto Film Festival, there's a new British television show / movie called The Trip. This scene, which was described in the afore-linked segment, is a Michael Caine-off between Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. It is totally amazing.

Starlee & Arthur

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Our pal Starlee Kine is doing this web series for the good people at a certain luxury car company. Very enjoyable, if you ask me.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Definitely Not the Opera

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Vital stats:
Format: stories on everyday themes from ordinary people and the Canada-famous
Duration: ~75m
Frequency: weekly
Archive available on iTunes: last 51

Definitely, this show is not the opera. But the set of all things not the opera — even of just the things on the radio that aren’t the opera — is big indeed. Because it’s from the CBC and because it’s stitched together out of interviews with folk of both the ordinary and semi-famous varieties, I could probably just say “This Canadian Life” and be done with it. Yet Definitely Not the Opera [RSS] [iTunes] isn’t quite that. How it isn’t quite that is difficult to pin down, but then again, so’s the show itself.

My exhaustive research reveals that, during its 16 years of existence, Definitely Not the Opera has been ever a-changin’. Sometimes it’s focused on pop culture; sometimes it’s not. At certain points, its length stretched to a staggering four hours; now it hits more like 75 minutes. It was once hosted by Spark’s Nora Young; now it’s hosted by Sook-yin Lee, who non-Canadians might know from Shortbus, John Cameron “Hedwig” Mitchell’s crazy sex movie. On this program, which has never once strayed into the realm of crazy sex — at least while I’ve listened — she’s a more raggedy-sounding Ira Glass, pitching the concept of the day and proceeding to ask person after theme-relevant person about their experiences, feelings, and feelings about their experiences.

Broadly speaking, it is is indeed the This American Life model: “choose a theme,” “bring you three or four stories on that theme." Except that, with a slightly longer episode length and a slightly shorter segment length, DNTO might be said to back in more stories per. But they’re not “stories” in the TAL sense, exactly; they’re more conversational and less production-intensive. You hear the voices of Sook-yin and her fellow contributors more often than those of Ira and his. DNTO’s segments are less production-intensive, in that the words and the music and the whatever else aren’t as “woven” into a single fabric. Which show you’d prefer all depends on what sort of an experience you want to have. If you prefer your commentary on modern existence less crafted but perhaps more loose and spontaneous, this is the one you want.

The program’s bagginess extends to its choice of subjects and its willingness to grow grand questions or statements from the soil they provide. The question of whether this difference frees the Canadian show from the pretensions of its Stateside counterpart or whether it condemns it to fluffy irrelevance falls, again, to the individual listener. Sook-yin and company take on such pillars of the human condition as bathroom conduct [MP3], our ignorance of our neighbors [MP3], and what the deal is with tooth anxiety [MP3]. All fair game, certainly, and all immediately relatable — underestimate the importance of this at your peril — but they admittedly carry a faint whiff of the trivial. (Or is this really dependent on the subject matter at all? Do I only smell that on the occasions when the show itself treats them trivially?)

If Definitely Not the Opera, for all its richness of entertainment, has a problem, it’s a larger version of the one its title suffers. They grab your attention. They’re aggressively non-rarefied. They’re jokey. They’re unusual, but not all that unusual. But their mission and the information they convey remain muddled. What goes on in the show is often amusing and filled with humanity, but, as with anything you have to describe in terms of what it isn’t, it can be hard to tell if that’s what’s supposed to go on.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to be the host and producer of public radio’s The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], the blogger of The War on Mediocrity and the writer of The Ubuweb Experimental Video Project.]

"Counting With Bruce Springsteen" - The Ben Stiller Show


Nick ran across this while pulling clips for our upcoming show with Judd Apatow. Delightful.

John Hodgman Solves Violent Video Games


John Hodgman solves the problem of violent video games using public radio's Ira Glass. "You're welcome."

Tidbits from Past Guests: November 4, 2010

  • MaxFun friends Rob Huebel and Paul Rust fight dirty with puns and pipes in Action Movie Pun Brainstorm. (If you haven't listened to Rob's presentation of Simon Rich's "Brainteasers" yet, you really should.)

  • The Decemberists, fronted by singer Colin Meloy, have announced a release date of January 18, 2011 for their upcoming album "The King is Dead". You can download the new song Down By the Water for free from their website.

  • Comics artist and Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Spiegelman edited and wrote the introduction for a new set of the wordless woodcut novels of Lynd Ward. Each page of Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts is wordless, set with an single engraved image. The whole thing looks beautifully packaged, to boot.

  • Fans of upcoming guest Judd Apatow and crew should be happy: the debut of IFC's run of Apatow's great college comedy series Undeclared is Friday at 11pm. We've had several alums of the show on the program, including screenwriter Rodney Rothman and musician and actor Loudon Wainwright III.
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