Jonathan Coulton

Judge John Hodgman Episode 332: A Podcast for the Problemless

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Guests: 
Jonathan Coulton

Judge John Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse Thorn are in chambers this week! They clear the docket with Deputy Judge Jonathan Coulton. The team rules on disputes regarding flip flops, hotel toiletries, whistling and more. Plus, the judge makes a big announcement about future disputes, we hear a correction to the record from past guest John Darnielle, and we say a fond farewell to our summertime engineer, Joel Mann at WERU Community Radio.

Huge thanks to Joel Mann and WERU for serving as the Judge's summertime chambers again! WERU is a listener supported, non-commercial radio station serving Midcoast, Downeast and Central Maine. They are always accepting donations here in order to keep operations going. Thank you, Joel! We look forward to speaking with you again next summer.

Jonathan Coulton's new album and accompanying graphic novel, Solid State, is available at solidstate.jonathancoulton.com. Tickets are still on sale for JoCo Cruise 2018 at jococruise.com. Jonathan is on Twitter @jonathancoulton and you can catch him weekly on NPR's Ask Me Another.

Judge Hodgman's newest book Vacationland is available for pre-order at bit.ly/painfulbeaches. To find out if he is coming to your city on his book tour, visit JohnHodgman.com/tour. You can also read more of the Judge's verdicts regularly in his Judge John Hodgman column in the New York Times Magazine.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jonathan Coulton and Tim Gunn

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jonathan Coulton
Guests: 
Tim Gunn

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo by Jesse Thorn

Jonathan Coulton on his new album Solid State, and using humor in songwriting

This week Jesse talks to singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton. About 12 years ago, Jonathan decided to quit his job as a computer programmer to pursue a full-time career in music. And he did so by starting maybe one of the most ambitious songwriting projects ever: he decided he would write, record, and release one song every week for an entire year.

That project, called Thing a Week, was a runaway success. And while the novelty of the project eventually wore off, he gained a huge following of fans smitten by catchy and humorous songs of his like "Code Monkey," "RE: Your Brains," and even an acoustic cover of "Baby Got Back" so popular that the TV show Glee ripped it off. His career took off, leading to opportunities like writing songs for the popular Portal video games, and landing a gig as the house musician for the NPR quiz show Ask Me Another.

There's always been an underlying sadness and tragedy in some of Jonathan's music, funny songs included. Those themes come to the fore on his latest album, Solid State, which came out this year. It's kind of a dystopian concept album about the future of the internet, with songs about cat photos and trolls. He also just put out a companion graphic novel book with the same title.

Jonathan tells Jesse that even though he owes his career to the Internet, sometimes he actually hates it. As he gets older, he has increasingly mixed feelings about effects of Internet culture on our lives and relationships, an ambivalence that pervades his latest record. He also plays a couple tunes!

Learn more about Jonathan's music and where he's playing next on his website.

Listen to Jonathan Coulton's interview and in-studio performance!

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Tim Gunn on Project Runway, and what our clothes say about us

Next up this week is Tim Gunn from Lifetime's Project Runway! If you can believe it, the show just started its 16th season last month. If shows like Top Chef brought haute cuisine into America's living rooms, Project Runway did the same with fashion.

Alongside host Heidi Klum, Tim's a teacher and mentor on the show. He guides aspiring designers on their path to stardom with his intelligence, compassion, and sense of humor. Even when he has to get tough on his students, he still comes across as thoughtful and winsome.

Even though Tim's won an Emmy for his work on Project Runway, he's far more than a television personality: he's got a brilliant mind for fashion. He taught design at the New School for 25 years, and was a department chair for five of those years. Tim talks to Jesse about the relationship between architecture and fashion, and the powerful messages that our clothes send to others. He argues that dressing well is something that everyone should be thinking about, not just fashion hounds. He also talks about those early years of working on Project Runway, and why he was initially skittish about being on TV.

Learn more about Project Runway, now in its 16th season.

Listen to Jesse's interview with Tim Gunn!

The Outshot: Norm MacDonald's "Roast" of Bob Saget

Jesse's never cared much for Comedy Central roasts, except for one. In this week's Outshot, he remembers Norm MacDonald's subversive performance at Bob Saget's roast in 2008.

Listen to this week's Outshot !

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 495: Rat Lord with Jonathan Coulton

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Guests: 
Jonathan Coulton

The guys take a break from talking about the splendor of our country's magnificent national parks to talk with professional entertainer Jonathan Coulton about the exclusivity of the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, Jordan's decision to finally ask Twitter to verify him, and the legitimacy of services like Adult Friend Finder.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Holiday Special with John Roderick, Jonathan Coulton, The Polyphonic Spree and MBMBaM

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jonathan Coulton
Guests: 
John Roderick
Guests: 
Tim DeLaughter
Guests: 
Justin McElroy
Guests: 
Travis McElroy
Guests: 
Griffin McElroy
Guests: 
Daniel Ralston
Guests: 
Josh Modell
Guests: 
Andrea Battleground

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to the show in iTunes or via the RSS feed, or check out our SoundCloud page to share any or all of these interviews or recommendations!


Gift Giving with The AV Club: Tarantino XX and Rediscover Jigsaw Puzzles

Josh Modell and Andrea Battleground from The Onion's AV Club join us this week with some holiday gift ideas. Josh recommends Tarantino XX, a 10-disc, Blu-ray collection of several of Tarantino's most loved films. Andrea suggests picking up one of the Rediscover jigsaw puzzles of your gift recipient's favorite album covers.

(Embed or Share The AV Club's Gift Guide)

John Roderick, Jonathan Coulton, and a Wunnerful Christmas

John Roderick and Jonathan Coulton each carved his own warm, authentic, relatable space in the indie rock scene, and their sounds and aesthetics are complementary enough to make a collaboration welcome and exciting. That the collaboration comes in the form of a Christmas album is unexpected, but the end result, One Christmas at a Time, is a fun and charming exploration of familiar holiday themes -- from coping with drunk uncles to the one ultimate childhood gift. Roderick and Coulton join us this week to discuss their first meeting, the challenge inherent in capturing the feelings and emotions of the holiday season while maintaining secular points of view, and why celebrating Christmas in Los Angeles is contemptible.

(Embed or Share this interview with John Roderick and Jonathan Coulton)

Cockney Accents, Gift Cards, and Christmas Music with My Brother, My Brother and Me

Navigating the holidays can be a treacherous task; between divining proper party etiquette, appropriately selecting gifts for your loved ones, and just coping with all of the little things that spring up around this time of the year, you're probably aching for some guidance right about now. Fortunately, an ace team of (terrible) advice-giving brothers joins us this week to set us straight.

If you're hungry for more wisdom, seek out Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Griffin McElroy's podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me on MaximumFun.org or in the iTunes store.

(Embed or Share Holiday Advice from MBMBaM)

Tim DeLaughter on The Polyphonic Spree's Holiday Experiment

The choral symphonic band The Polyphonic Spree's new album, Holidaydream: Sounds of the Holidays started out as an experiment -- what happens when you take The Polyphonic Spree's ethereal, angelic sound and apply it to holiday favorites? The Polyphonic Spree's lead singer Tim DeLaughter joins Bullseye contributor Daniel Ralston to explore this question, the role of spectacle in the act, and DeLaughter's experience collaborating with his young son on the record.

Daniel Ralston is a co-host, producer and editor of The Low Times Podcast.

(Embed or Share this interview with The Polyphonic Spree)

The Outshot: Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas"

Popular Christmas music can be pretty hit or miss, and a relatively small catalog of options combined with seasonal overexposure to the genre can make the hits seem few and far between. One Christmas pop song that never disappoints Jesse: Donny Hathaway's "This Christmas".

(Embed or Share The Outshot: "This Christmas")

Alumni Newsletter: Week of November 12, 2012

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  • Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein announced the release date of the new season of Portlandia via this delightful video, Meditation Crush. The show will return to IFC for its third season on January 4th. As a holiday treat, the show will release a special on Dec. 14th called Winter in Portlandia.
  • Here’s a bright start to the holiday season: on November 28th, Maria Bamford will self-release a new comedy special entitled Maria Bamford: The special special special! True to her unique style, the show was taped in her living room and the only audience members are her parents, Joel and Marilyn. Best of all, you’ll be able to download it from Chill.com for the fan-friendly price of only $4.99!
  • Bored with your current collection of holiday music? We have wonderful news: Our MaxFun pals Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick are releasing a new CD of original Christmas songs! (And one Hanukkah tune!) For a taste, you can stream two of the songs here; but if you want the full holiday experience, you can order the complete collection - plus other related treats - here.
  • Chris Hardwick premiered his first one-hour Comedy Central special this weekend. Entitled Mandroid, it is chock-full of the usual nerdy goodness you’ve come to expect from Chris and will be available on CD, DVD and as a digital download on January 22, 2013 (but a real friend would pre-order it , don’t you think?)
  • And, of course, you’ve totally read Jon Ronson’s terrific new book, right? It’s an amazing set of stories entitled Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries- and it features the same unique blend of humor, adventure and thoughtful journalism that have made his previous works so memorable. Ronson visited The Daily Show recently to discuss it. You should also check out Ronson's recent appearance as our special guest on International Waters.

Episode 4: Whither Shaggy?

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Steve and Holly in London
Guests: 
Rob Huebel
Guests: 
Sarah Thyre
Guests: 
Holly Walsh
Guests: 
Steve Hall
Guests: 
Jonathan Coulton

Holly Walsh, Rob Huebel, Sarah Thyre and Steve Hall join special guest Jonathan Coulton and host Jesse Thorn to talk baby punk makeovers and Cockney rhyming slang in another bid to work out which country is best.

If you think you've got what it takes to write a round of International Waters then drop us a line: iw@maximumfun.org and don't be shy, you can like us on Facebook too!

Jonathan Coulton and TMBG's John Flansburgh: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jonathan Coulton
Guests: 
John Flansburgh

For Jonathan Coulton, success as a independent musician has come with recording music himself, releasing individual songs online one-at-a-time, and even selling his catalog on a USB drive. So in a way, his new album Artificial Heart is a terrifying turn to the traditional, and a creative risk. It was produced with They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh in a studio with a full band, the old-fashioned way. Jonathan and John talk to us about that process.

The fruit of their labors, Artificial Heart, is out now. To hear more from Jonathan and John, you can listen Coulton and Flansburgh's past appearances on The Sound of Young America. You can also visit them at JonathanCoulton.com and TheyMightBeGiants.com.

This Week Live

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Here's where you can find some of our favorite people this week:

Asheville, NC - They Might Be Giants at The Orange Peel on Sept. 28th;

Atlanta, GA - Adam Corolla at the Tabernacle on Sept. 30th;

Baton Rouge, LA - Brian Posehn at the Manship Theater on Sept. 26th and 27th;

Bloomington, IL - The Comedy Attic will feature Jackie Kashian and Maria Bamford on Sept. 22nd, 23rd and 24th and Doug Benson (taping an episode of Doug Loves Movies) on Sept. 26th;

Boston, MA - The Wilbur Theater will host Bill Burr on Sept. 23rd and 24th and Louis CK on Oct. 1st; Das Racist will be at the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub on the 28th;

Canton, MA - The Hold Steady will appear at the Life Is Good Festival on Sept. 24th;

Chicago, IL - They Might Be Giants with Jonathan Coulton at The Vic Theater on Sept. 23rd;

Colorado Springs, CO - Doug Benson at The Black Sheep on Sept. 21st;

Des Moines, IA - Demitri Martin will appear at Hoyt Sherman Place on Sept. 23rd;

Detroit, MI - Chris Tucker will perform at the Fox Theater Detroit on October 1st;

Indianapolis, IN - They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton at The Vogue on the 22nd; Doug Benson at Crackers on Sept. 25th; Chris Tucker at the Murat Theater at Old National Center on Sept. 30th;

Louisville, KY - The Improv will host Marc Maron on Sept. 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th and Doug Benson on October 1st; Bob Edwards will be appearing to promote his new book, "A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio", at the Filson Historical Society on the 22nd;

Madison, WI - Dave Atell will at the Comedy Club on State on Sept. 23rd and 24th;

Miami Beach, FL - Chris Tucker will be at the Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater on Sept. 24th;

Nashville, TN - They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton at the Cannery Ballroom on Sept. 27th;

New Haven, CT - Das Racist will play at Toad's Place on Sept. 29th;

New Orleans, LA - Chris Tucker at the UNO Lakefront Arena on Sept. 23rd;

New York, NY: Colson Whitehead will be doing a book signing at McNally Jackson Books as part of the New Yorker Festival on October 2nd; He'll also be participating in a panel discussion about Alternative Realities at SVA Theatre on Sept. 30th;

Omaha, NE - Demitri Marin will be at the Omaha Music Hall on Sept. 24th;

Ottawa, ON - Greg Proops will be performing "Whose Live Anyway?" at the Centrepointe Theater in Ottawa, ON on Sept. 23rd;

Philadelphia, PA - The Hold Steady at the Popped Music Festival on Sept. 23rd; They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton at the Theater of the Living Arts on Sept. 30th.

Portland, OR - Scott Thompson and Kevin McDonald perform "Two Kids, One Hall" at Helium on Sept. 22nd, 23rd and 24th; Tig Notaro at Mississippi Studios on Sept. 28th;

Providence, RI - Das Racist at The Met on Sept. 30th;

Raleigh, NC - Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson performing "Two Kids, One Hall" at Goodnights on Sept. 29th, 30th, Oct. 1st and 2nd;

Richmond, VA - They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton at the The National on Sept. 29th;

Salt Lake City, UT - Jimmy Pardo at Wiseguys Comedy Club on Sept. 30th and Oct. 1st;

Sayreville, NJ - Brian Posehn at the Starland Ballroom on Sept. 30th;

Seattle, WA - Demitri Martin at The Neptune Theater on Sept. 30th and Oct. 1st;

St. Louis, MO - They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton at The Pagaent on Sept. 24th

Tulsa, OK - They Might Be Giants and Jonathan Coulton at Cains Ballroom on Sept. 25th;

Ventura, CA - Doug Benson at the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club on Sept. 28th;

Washington, DC - Das Racist at the 9:30 Club on October 1st.

This Week Live

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They Might Be Giants launch their tour this week with Jonathan Coulton opening. They have by far the most appearances of any performer on this week's list including: And here's what all of our other MaxFun favorites will be up to this week:
  • Andy Kindler will be in San Francisco at the Punch Line on Sept. 13th and 14th;
  • Ben Folds will be in Minneapolis, MN at the Orchestra Hall on Sept. 17th and in Milwaukee, WI at Veterans Park on Sept. 18th;
  • Bill Burr will be at the Funny Bone in Columbus, OH on Sept. 10th and 11th;
  • Blitzen Trapper will be playing the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR on Sept. 9th; Music Millenium in Portland, OR on Sept. 12th; and Easy Street Records in Seattle on Sept. 13th;
  • Brian Posehn will be at Ottos Nightclub in Dekalb, IL on Sept. 9th and at the Cubby Bear in Chicago, IL on Sept. 10th;
  • Chris Tucker at Sheas Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY on Sept. 9th, at Citi Performing Arts Theater in Boston, MA on Sept. 10th, and Chicago Theater in Chicago, IL on Sept. 16th;
  • Das Racist will perform at Bowery Ballroom in Brooklyn on Sept. 12th;
  • Dave Atell will be performing at Helium in Portland, OR on Sept. 15th through the 17th;
  • Demitri Martin will be performing Sept. 16th at the Orpheum in Phoenix, AZ and Sept. 17th in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts;
  • Devo will be at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR on Sept. 16th and Redhook Brewery in Woodinville, WA on Sept. 17th;
  • Doug Benson will be at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux Falls, SD on Sept. 9th and at the Rialto Theater in Tucson, AZ on Sept. 10th;
  • Gary Hustwit will be premiering his latest film, Urbanized, at the Tortonto International Film Festival on Sept. 9th, 11th and 16th;
  • Hannibel Burress will perform September 8th-10th at the Arlington Drafthouse,in Arlington, VA and September 14th - 17th at Comedy Off Broadway in Lexington, KY;
  • The Hold Steady will perform Sept. 23rd in Philadelphia, PA at the Popped! Music Festival;
  • Jackie Kashian will be at Kirkland Laughs in Kirkland, WA Sept. 15th - 17th;
  • John Oliver will be at the Pantages Theater in Minneapolis, MN on Sept. 24th;
  • Kyle Kinane will perform at the Comedy Club on State in Madison, WI on Sept. 8th, 9th and 10th;
  • Marc Maron will spend Sept. 8th - 10th at Zanies in Nashville, TN;
  • Ray Romano will be at the Mirage in Las Vegas Sept. 16th and 17th;
  • Steven Wright will perform on Sept. 10th at Fox Theatre at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT and September 17th at the Meadowbrook Music Festival in Rochester Hills, MI;
  • Ted Leo will spend Sept. 10th in Portland, OR at the Backspace Cafe;
  • Todd Barry will make a rare west coast appearance on Sept. 16 and 17 at the Improv in Los Angeles, CA, and he will be joined by Tig Notaro on the 16th;
  • Two Kids One Hall (Kevin McDonald and Scott Thompson) will perform at Cobbs in San Francisco Sept. 15th - 18th.
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