It was a great year in comedy, so selecting the best of the best and compiling it into an hour-long special was a tall order. We have done just that, however, and we're kicking a new year off with a bang and The Best Comedy of 2012, as curated by the Bullseye staff.
You'll hear selections from the following, all of which are available for purchase now:
Hip hop blogger Andrew Noz joins us again this week to recommend some of his favorite tracks of the moment. What's he listening to now? Aesop Rock's ode to a haircut in Racing Stripes and Alpoko Don's stripped down track All I Know.
The Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer began learning classical violin at age three and started improvising on the piano only a few years later. While he studied math and physics at Yale and UC Berkeley, he couldn't stay away from music. He found himself doing academic work by day, and moonlighting as a jazz pianist in Bay Area clubs.
His music is known for its complex, pulsing rhythms and creating unusual covers of artists like Stevie Wonder, Flying Lotus, and Michael Jackson.
He talks to us about exploring rhythm with math (remember Fibonacci's sequence?), the social experience of creating and listening to music, and the idea that "music is action."
The Vijay Iyer Trio's newest album is Accelerando.
Demetri Martin is the kind of person who's obsessed with puzzles and linguistic and cultural ironies, and you've probably seen him explore those on his show Important Things with Demetri Martin. But he's usually got a big sketchpad, slides projected overhead, and a piano to riff on. He's put the theatricality aside in favor of straight ahead one-liners in this clip from his new special, Standup Comedian.
Want to learn more about Demetri Martin? Check out our interview with him about This is a Book.
Dave Hill is best known as a New York-based comedian, but he's dabbled in a lot of things. He's interviewed fans of Chick-Fil-A for This American Life, lived the life of a frontman for a semi-successful rock band (they were big in Japan), and even had a job as a pedicab driver for a few days.
One of his trademarks is making himself and others uncomfortable during a performance, whether he's asking inane or (alternately) inappropriately suggestive questions in his man-on-the-street interviews, performing stand up or hosting his talk show The Dave Hill Explosion. He mines a number of uncomfortable situations in his recent book of essays, Tasteful Nudes: ...and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation.
He talks to us about how being a rock musician made him realize he loved comedy, and how he ended up performing at Sing Sing for maximum security felons. This interview originally aired July 2, 2012.)
What's your favorite mashup of genres? Head over to the MaxFun forum and tell us YOUR outshot.
Demetri Martin is a standup comedian, writer and actor. He's just published his first book, "This Is A Book." Like his comedy, the book reveals Martin's interest in structure, order and disruptions of structure and order. He's always been a fan of puzzles, and the book features, among other things, some extraordinarily long anagrams.
Demetri talks with Jesse Thorn about how standup comedy is like skateboarding, how his father, a priest, inspired him to be a performer, and more. Martin last appeared on The Sound of Young America about seven years ago.
JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is the comedian Demetri Martin. He's an accomplished standup comic, and he's also had his own standup and sketch show, Important Things with Demetri Martin on Comedy Central. He's been featured in a number of films, and starred in one recently, and now he's the author of a brand new book called This is a Book.
Demetri, welcome back to The Sound of Young America.
DEMETRI MARTIN: Hey Jesse, thanks for having me.
JESSE THORN: I think we counted it up, it's actually been seven years since the last time you were on The Sound of Young America. It's a long time, thank you so much for coming back.
DEMETRI MARTIN: Yeah, thanks for having me back.