comedy

Sarah Haskins' "Target Women"

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Over the holiday break, I spent a few hours watching Current on my mom's new fancy satellite dish. By far my favorite thing was this recurring segment, "Sarah Haskins' Target Women." I think it's sharp, genuinely funny, and for once talking-head TV is snarking on something that deserves to be snarked upon. The territory is well-worn, but Haskins is charming and pleasant without missing out on opportunities to really stick it to 'em. Bully to you, Sarah Haskins!

Tom Ammiano: California State Assemblymember and Standup Comic on The Sound of Young America

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Tom Ammiano
Show: 
Bullseye

Tom Ammiano was a San Francisco schoolteacher, standup comic and gay activist before becoming the state of California's first gay school board member. He went on to become president of the San Francisco school board, and later president of the city's board of supervisors. Now he represents San Francisco in the California state assembly. He's never stopped performing comedy, and is considered one of the fathers of San Francisco's still-thriving queer comedy scene.

We spoke with Ammiano during our live show at SF Sketchfest in San Francisco.

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Janeane Garofalo

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Jordan Morris on Jonathan Goldstein's Wiretap

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Hear Jordan on Wiretap

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Our own Jordan Morris guested on Jonathan Goldstein's wonderful CBC/PRI radio program Wiretap this week. You can hear him giving JG some tips on how to "comedy up" his downer of a show starting around 15 or 20 minutes in.

If you're not already on board the Wiretap bandwagon, now's a great time to get on board. The CBC doesn't offer an official podcast of the show, but I bet you could find one if you looked.

Phil Hartman Audition Tape

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Phil Hartman's SNL audition is fucking AMAZING.

Thanks, the groinery.

Adam Carolla hits it out of the fucking park.

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Podthinker Colin Marshall just posted this from Adam Carolla's first podcast. He was recently let go from his commercial radio gig, and he describes the radio industry *perfectly* in this rant from the first episode of his new podcast. Perfectly. Rare that I'd repost a block of text this long, but Carolla gets it. (And by the way - rent his movie The Hammer, because it's great).

I got into radio many years ago to speak my mind, to do what I wanted to do and to connect with people, and I'd rather have ten smart people than a billion retards listening to me and I've always felt that way and that's what I've always loved about my fans. [KLSX program director] Jack Silver did not feel the same way as I did when it came to that, and I guess that's a good place to start. Jack's basically a good guy, but he knows not what he does. He's a radio guy, and radio guys do radio, and it doesn't really matter whether they have me or the Greaseman or Tom Leykis or Howard Stern; they pretty much have just one mode, and that's radio mode. And I've always said this about radio guys: they're like beavers, and if you took a whole flock, brood, murder -- I don't know what a bunch of beavers are called -- if you took a whole family of beavers and you put them on the roof of the Sears Tower, they would start looking for wood to build a fuckin' dam. Why? Because that's what beavers do; they just build dams. And it doesn't matter whether they're in a stream or 75 stories above Chicago; they're just gonna build a fuckin' dam.

And that's what Jack Silver does. That's his approach to radio. My approach is different. It's long form, and maybe it's not good for morning. I don't know. I did it at night for eleven years. I was told once a month to move it along and take more phone calls and stop telling personal stories and quit complaining about flying first class and I did it anyway and it seemed to work out. So I brought that same mindset into doing morning radio, except for now, I wasn't in an empty building in my mukluks with my sweatpants talking to Dr. Drew, I was in an open office building and I could see Jack through the window and all the other suits. They wanted to build some dams. My feeling is, if you left me alone eventually we could get to where we wanted to get, but that wasn't going to do it. They were very impatient beavers. Again, Jack's not a bad guy, he's just a beaver who wants to build a dam and he's not used to dealing with guys like me. So he had a lot of ideas. A lot of ideas like the "Wing Bowl": we get a bunch of fat guys in there and we see how many hot wings they can eat in twenty minutes. And I would always say, "I don't have anything to say about that," and he would say, "But it's huge in Philly." I realize that was part of the problem.

Another thing is, his comedic sensibility — and I'm going way out on a limb and saying he has a sensibility — was much different than mine. He hated Dana Gould, he hated the Deaf Frat Guy... basically, here's how you knew Jack hated something: if I loved a guy on the show, he hated the guy on the show and vice versa. More "cooch talk", more "Cocktober", more "Manuary", more of that stuff. His suggestions, other than the Wing Bowl, were like, "How about you give out the time?" And I was always like, "Jack, don't you listen to the fucking show? All I do is make fun of the other idiots who give out the time." It's, ironically, a waste of time. See, radio's about spinning wheels and wasting time. It's about guys with subpar intellects killing four goddamn hours a morning. How do you kill four hours? I don't want to kill four hours! I'd like to connect for four hours. And yeah, you're gonna do your bits and some stuff's going to work and some stuff will be better than others and yeah, I can't do four hours of making fun of the mayor, making fun of the department of building or transportation. I understand that. There has to be some laughs. There has to be some smiles. There has to be some jokes in there somewhere, and I understand there's a balance to strike, and maybe I never found that balance.

But what I'd like to do now is a little experiment, because I think this is a really good time for us. And when I say us, I mean guys like me who don't want to sit around and bullshit and make up stories. And by the way, that's the other thing about radio: half the shit you hear is a fuckin' lie. Truth be told, the reason I had to get away from [former co-host] Danny [Bonaduce] is because he stretched the truth so thin I could see through it and I felt like I was an accomplice in a crime when we were talking to our listeners. Danny is another guy who's a good guy, just a bad fit; he does a pro wrestling version of radio. He does the kind of radio that Jack Silver would like, which is... theater of the mind. Pick up a persona and run with it. Whatever you see in pro wrestling, that's about it: take on a persona, drive it into the ground, all attitude, not much content, wash, rinse, repeat. That's essentially what radio does, and I wanted to talk to people.

I always just thought, you're talking to hundreds of thousands of people and what the fuck are you saying? It's a fat guy eating wings? That's what it is? If I had a microphone and it was hooked up to ten Rose Bowls that were filled to capacity and I had it for four hours a day, I would spend half the time watching morbidly obese guys eat hot wings? It seems ridiculous to me, yet that's the direction. That's where we're heading. And then it becomes one of these negative spirals, because it's like, are we just keeping up with the dumbasses, or we causing the demise of the intelligent people? Are we causing them to be dumb? Think about it. That's the logic in radio: "Look, you're smart, fine, but everyone who's listening to you is dumb, so dumb it up for them," as opposed to try to raise their awareness a little and have them come up and meet you.

[ ... ]

Maybe we can assemble a team of interesting, smart people, not only here in California, not only here in the United States, but around the world, anywhere they speak English, anywhere someone has an idea, anywhere they think they're not being serviced by the current 'tards that are being put on the radio, maybe we can make a community. And maybe we can fight back, and maybe we can unite and maybe we can create a place for interesting voices and then this show can become a place for interesting voices. And we can talk without the limits, and without the constraints that you have when you do terrestrial radio.

Conan plays old-tyme baseball

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Every since I talked about watching old-tyme baseball on Jordan, Jesse Go!, I've been inundated with emails saying "Conan did that! Conan did that once!"

Luckily for us, Conan featured the clip on his last show, so we can all enjoy it.

STRIKER TO THE LINE! LEG IT!

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: The Best Show

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Show: 
Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Clasics.

In this episode Tom Scharpling, star of The Best Show on WFMU, takes over! Also included are two tracks from Tom's new cd "Scharpling and Wurster.".

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The Best Show Gems - Tom Scharpling's New Podcast

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Long-time Sound of Young America followers are probably already familiar with Tom Scharpling's The Best Show on WFMU. It's a call-in talkshow on the nation's premier free-form radio station, which Scharpling calls "three hours of mirth, music and mayhem."

Calling it a call-in talk show, though, undersells it dramatically. On the show, Tom and his partner in crime Jon Wurster have created an entire fictional universe, with recurring characters, feuds, drama... like Arrested Development on the radio. Wurster calls in in-character regularly, and part of the fun of the show revolves around the line between truth and fiction. Even when regular folks call in (and it's mostly regular folks), half the time Tom pulls them in one direction or the other, leaving us to wonder what he really thinks. It's half talkshow, half deconstruction of the talkshow -- both celebrating and making a mockery of talkshow convention.

Comedy stars like Paul F. Tompkins and Patton Oswalt and rock & rollers like Ted Leo are fans and supporters of the show, and for good reason -- it really is something special. I'm a fan myself (in case you can't tell) and Tom & Jon have been guests on The Sound. I once dedicated an entire Sound of Young America to highlighting material from The Best Show.

The show has been available by podcast for sometime, but the whole three-hours-a-week thing can be tough for a new listener. To help ease people into the world of The Best Show, Tom's created a new podcast, called Best Show Gems. It's a sort of greatest-hits compilation, every other week. Easy to digest and follow, easy to laugh at, tons of fun.

You can check out Best Show Gems online here. This is the iTunes link. This is the podcast feed. As the proud winner of a Best Show Award (Worst Caller, 2007), I urge you to take a listen.

Larry Wilmore Interview: Daily Show Contributor Talks About "I'd Rather We Got Casinos" on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Larry Wilmore (L) with the late Bernie Mac

Larry Wilmore is an accomplished comedy writer and performer. He worked as a standup comic before going into television writing. As a TV writer, he wrote for In Living Color and The Office, among many others, and co-created The PJs and The Bernie Mac Show. As a performer, he's acted in numerous sitcoms and recently has been seen regularly on The Daily Show as the program's Senior Black Correspondent.

His new book is "I'd Rather We Got Casinos (and Other Black Thoughts)."

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
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The Writers of The Late Show
John Hodgman

Shape Pizzas

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Jordan Morris' new UCB sketch team Marvin Berry produced this great PIZZA video.

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