This week’s guest is the sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay. He was one of the first guys performing magic at comedy and rock clubs in the 60s and is now one of the most renowned illusionists in the world. Jay is the subject of a new documentary. It’s called Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practice. Later on in the show the jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer will reveal the song that changed his life and Jesse will tell you about the record cover he found on eBay that opened up a whole new world. Show notes
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Brian Posehn and Steve Agee are co-stars on Comedy Central's The Sarah Silverman Program. They play Steve and Brian, the title characters nerdy, gay neighbors. "The Advocate" writer Dave White described them as "everything the gay characters on Queer as Folk and Will & Grace were too afraid and unimaginative and busy chasing their own boring tails to be: fat, bearded, nerdy, bickering, dude speaking, glasses wearing, karate chopping, video game playing, covertly masturbating, metal T-shirt–wearing malcontents. In other words, these are homosexuals I understand: My circle of friends finally represented fictionally on television. And I feel validated by a sitcom for the first time."
When they're not acting, they are both standup comics. Posehn has toured extensively with The Comedians of Comedy, and Agee frequently appears around the country with Silverman.
You can view and download the program above; to download a high-quality video via torrent, use MySpleen. If you need an invite for the 'spleen, email me, and tell me your favorite TSOYA moment.
Our most ambitious production ever -- an adaptation of George Saunders' hilarious story "Ask the Optimist," from his most recent collection, The Braindead Megaphone. Produced by me (Jesse Thorn) with video & puppetry by Brian Hogg for Hoggworks.
You can view piece in video form above, or in listen to the radio/podcast version below. We convinced George's publisher to let us run this piece by arguing that it might "go viral," so please share! And for some perspective on George's work, don't miss this interview I conducted with George and ran a few days ago, or this show, which features an older interview with George.
Austin Grossman is the author of the new novel "Soon I Will Be Invincible," a literary look at a team of superheroes and their nemesis. Before he became a novelist and academic (he is currently a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley), he was a writer for video games.
Paul F. Tompkins has been performing standup comedy for over twenty years. He's perhaps best known as a castmember of HBO's Mr. Show, and as a talking head on VH1, Real Time with Bill Maher and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He's just released his first standup CD, called "Impersonal," on AST Records.
John Sellers is the author of "Perfect From Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life." It's really two stories -- how he fell in love with indie, and how he came to obsess over the band Guided By Voices. Eventually, Sellers met the band, and disaster ensued.
Like a lot of music nerds, Brian Coleman is into liner notes. Unlike a lot of music nerds, however, Brian's chosen genre (hip-hop) rarely provides them. Instead of whining about it, Brian wrote "Check the Technique." The book records the oral history of the great albums of hip-hop's golden era, from "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" to "Life Is... Too $hort." Coleman calls this history "the invisible liner notes."