Jordan Ranks America

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Simon Amstell and Brian K. Vaughan

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Bullseye
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Simon Amstell
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Brian K. Vaughan
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Jordan Morris
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Erik Adams
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Claire Zulkey

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All-Time TV Favorites: Spaced and Twin Peaks

We're joined by AV Club Assistant TV Editor Erik Adams and contributor Claire Zulkey for some all-time favorite TV picks. Claire recommends checking out Spaced, a lightning-fast, pop-culture-tastic British sitcom from the brains behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Erik's pick is the mysterious, funny, and very surreal Twin Peaks, David Lynch and Mark Frost's series about a small town with big secrets.

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Simon Amstell on provoking Jermaine Jackson, his shamanic quest to find peace, and television fame

This interview originally aired December 2012.

Years before he became famous in Britain for skewering celebrities on Popworld and Nevermind the Buzzcocks, Simon Amstell's childhood ambition was to be on TV. And unlike most kids with dreams of TV stardom, he made it a reality -- but found it less fulfilling than he had hoped. Comedian, writer and TV host Amstell joins us this week to share his experiences in the entertainment industry, including navigating the delicate line between crafting clever comedy and bullying his celebrity guests as a TV host, writing and starring in Grandma's House, a sitcom with parallels to his own life, and seeking enlightenment on a Shamanic quest in South America.

Simon Amstell returns to the US in early May to perform his stand-up special, Numb, along the west coast. You can find tour dates and more info about Simon at his website.

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Jordan Morris ranks America's stuff

This segment originally aired December 2012.

In this era of constant hustle and bustle, who can keep up with what's HOT and what's NOT in these United States? Fortunately, expert stuff-ranker Jordan Morris joins us this week to fill us in and set us straight.

Jordan Morris co-hosts the podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jordan_Morris.
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Brian K. Vaughan on creation, from babies to universes

This segment originally aired December 2012.

Brian K. Vaughan has the kind of strange and epic vision that's made for science fiction and fantasy. He's written award-winning comic book series like Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man, and helped craft otherworldly storylines for several seasons of Lost.

His works are notable for their intimacy and beautiful, meticulously crafted characters, despite grandly epic settings. His most recent comic book series, Saga, is a prime example: Vaughan presents a fundamentally domestic story of parents trying to give their child a good life, backed by a colossal, galactic war. He joins us this week to share why he enjoys storytelling on a grand scale. Vaughan also explains why writing stories about lesser-known comic characters -- like Marvel's weird wildman Ka-Zar -- can be preferable to writing about the big names like Spiderman, and he tracks how fatherhood has affected his writing.

Volume One of Saga is available in bookstores and digitally at Comixology. Volume Two is available for pre-order; it will be released on July 9.

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The Outshot: The Dirtbombs' "Ultraglide in Black"

This segment originally aired October 2012.

Rage, garage punk, and R&B. The Dirtbombs' music has it all, and Jesse suggests you check out their album Ultraglide in Black.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Aimee Mann, Seth Godin, Jordan Morris

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Aimee Mann
Guests: 
Seth Godin
Guests: 
Jordan Morris
Guests: 
Andrew Nosnitsky

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Rap Picks with Noz: Mystikal and Mouse On Tha Track

Andrew Noz joins us this week to share a couple of his current favorite rap tracks. His first pick is Mouse On Tha Track's smooth and mellow "Get High Get Loaded," featuring Fiend. His second recommendation is Mystikal's incredible new song "Hit Me."

Andrew Noz is the proprietor of the blog Cocaine Blunts, and he writes about hip hop for Pitchfork, the Fader, and Hip Hop Pit Stop.

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Photo credit Sheryl Nields

Singer-Songwriter Aimee Mann on Rejecting the Life of a Pop Star

Aimee Mann rose to prominence in the 80s with the success of her new wave band 'Til Tuesday's single, "Voices Carry," but she found the limelight uncomfortable. Tired of contending with record companies' attempts to pigeonhole her and her work, Aimee struck out on her own. She joins us this week to discuss that transition from frontwoman to solo artist, the stresses of fame, and coping with uncertainty at a time in her life when she thought she would have had everything figured out.

Aimee's new album, Charmer, is available now.

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Jordan Ranks America

2013 is a whole new year chock full of things that want ranking -- who has the time to tackle that task? Fortunately, we have Jordan Morris to tell us what's what!

Jordan Morris co-hosts the podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!, stars in the YouTube series Game Shop, and tweets at @Jordan_Morris.

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Seth Godin on Making Art That Markets Itself

Seth Godin is best known as a marketing guru, but he brings far more compassion and genuine insight to his work than the title might lead you to expect. And his observations aren't just valuable for CEOs. He makes his work for content creators operating on every scale. He joins us this week to delve into the "assets that matter" -- the qualities and values critical to creating great, meaningful work.

Seth Godin's new books are V Is for Vulnerable: Life Outside the Comfort Zone, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?, and Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?.

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The Outshot: Orson Welles's F for Fake

Trickery and deception are featured prominently in some of Orson Welles's finest works, so it is fitting that the existence of an objective truth and its relative importance is most thoroughly explored in Welles's final major film, F for Fake. Part documentary, part film essay, F for Fake features tricks and truths layered atop each other, creating a mesmerizing narrative.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Simon Amstell, Brian K. Vaughan, and Jordan Morris

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Simon Amstell
Guests: 
Brian K. Vaughan
Guests: 
Jason Kottke
Guests: 
Jordan Morris

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to the show in iTunes or via the RSS feed, or check out our SoundCloud page to share these segments.

Explaining the Bloop and David Chang's "The Mind of a Chef" with Jason Kottke

Jason Kottke, master collector of the internet's most fascinating links (assembled at his website, kottke.org), shares some current favorites. He recommends diving in to explore the world's unexplained sounds and David Chang's new PBS show, The Mind of a Chef, airing now on PBS and also available online.

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Simon Amstell on provoking Jermaine Jackson, his shamanic quest to find peace, and television fame

Years before he became famous in Britain for skewering celebrities on Popworld and Nevermind the Buzzcocks, Simon's Amstell's childhood ambition was to be on TV. And unlike most kids with dreams of TV stardom, he made it a reality -- but found it less fulfilling than he had hoped. Comedian, writer and TV host Amstell joins us this week to share his experiences in the entertainment industry, including navigating the delicate line between crafting clever comedy and bullying his celebrity guests as a TV host, writing and starring in Grandma's House, a sitcom with parallels to his own life, and seeking enlightenment on a Shamanic quest in South America.

Simon Amstell will be performing his very funny and deeply personal stage show Numb in early 2013. His most recent stand-up special Do Nothing recently aired on BBC America.

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Jordan Morris ranks America's stuff

In this era of constant hustle and bustle, who can keep up with what's HOT and what's NOT in these United States? Fortunately, expert stuff-ranker Jordan Morris joins us this week to fill us in and set us straight.

Jordan Morris co-hosts the podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jordan_Morris.
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Brian K. Vaughan on creation, from babies to universes

Brian K. Vaughan has the kind of strange and epic vision that's made for science fiction and fantasy. He's written award-winning comic book series like Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man, and crafted otherworldly storylines for several seasons of Lost.

His works are notable for their intimacy and beautiful, meticulously crafted characters, despite grandly epic settings. His most recent comic book series Saga is a prime example: Vaughan presents a fundamentally domestic story of parents trying to give their child a good life, backed by a colossal, galactic war. He joins us this week to share why he enjoys storytelling on a grand scale. Vaughan also explains why writing stories about lesser-known comic characters -- like Marvel's weird wildman Ka-Zar -- can be preferable to writing about the big names like Spiderman, and he tracks how fatherhood has affected his writing.

A collection of the first six issues of Brian K. Vaughan's monthly comic book series Saga is available now.
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The Outshot: Brass Eye's Paedogeddon

Please be advised: the content in this week's Outshot may be objectionable to some listeners.

As more details emerge surrounding the BBC's recent horrific pedophilia scandals, Jesse recalls a special episode of the satirical UK television series Brass Eye, called Paedogeddon. The episode was made in response to a similar panic about pedophilia in Britain over a decade ago. Here's a look at Brass Eye's take on media hysteria.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Nellie McKay, Rob Delaney, and Jordan Ranks America

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Rob Delaney
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Nellie McKay
Guests: 
Jordan Morris
Guests: 
Andrew Noz

Hey Bullseye listeners! You’ll hear a new voice on this show. Guest co-host Julie Klausner joins us for the next two weeks.


Andrew Noz on Autotune and Mixtapes

Andrew Noz of Cocaine Blunts, came by to recommend Turn On the Lights by Future and Bible on the Dash by GunPlay.

Check out more of Noz’s work in his new hip hop column for Pitchfork, Diamonds and Wood.

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Singer-Songwriter Nellie McKay on Shunning Modern Conveniences and Her Silent Spring-Inspired Musical

Nellie McKay is a singer-songwriter, actor and cabaret artist with a wry sense of humor and a throwback aesthetic. Her voice might evoke Doris Day or Peggy Lee, but her lyrics are often sardonic, political and thought-provoking. She’s been a guest on our program in the past, and has since released two albums and created two original cabaret shows. She tells us why she avoids modern conveniences, the reasons why she actually prefers to produce records with her mom, and finds time to play us a few songs on the ukelele, too.

McKay is on a solo tour this fall with her ukelele and piano. You can catch one of her musical cabaret shows, Silent Spring: It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature, and I Want to Live! in New York.

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Jordan Ranks America

Comedian Jordan Morris knows that you meant to make a list of all the things in America today. He went ahead and did it for you, because you’re busy and he’s a nice guy like that.

Jordan is the co-host of the weekly podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!.

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Comedian Rob Delaney on Alcoholism, Recovery, and Twitter

Rob Delaney is known as the comedian Twitter made. He discovered something about comedy that changed him when he saw an Upright Citizens Brigade show, but it would be years before he was able to capture that spark onstage himself and pursue his calling in comedy. First, he went through a period of alcoholism and survived a devastating car accident and a stint in jail.

He's learned to cope with the physical and psychological damage from his addiction and accident, and he joins us to talk about his recovery, the Twitter evidence of a hard work ethic, and why he's both intrigued and disgusted by the human body.

His new standup special, Live at the Bowery Ballroom, is available now.

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The Outshot: Movin' with Nancy

Our guest co-host Julie Klausner suggests you to immediately track down Nancy Sinatra’s 1967 TV special, Movin’ with Nancy, and find the way to becoming a groovier, happier person.

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Is there a classic television special that speaks to you? Jump over to the MaxFun forum and pick your own Outshot.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Mark Adams, Dave Hill, Jordan Ranks America

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Bullseye
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Jason Kottke
Guests: 
Mark Adams
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Dave Hill
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Jordan Morris


Culture Recommendations with Jason Kottke

Jason Kottke brings us this week’s pop culture picks. He's the curator of the blog kottke.org, one of the finest sources of informative and entertaining links on the web. He shares two of his more recent favorites: the contents of the golden record on the spacecraft Voyager and a rare piece of audio of the normally reticent director Stanley Kubrick.

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Mark Adams, Author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu

Mark Adams is a critically acclaimed writer and an editor at National Geographic Adventure. Despite his outdoor magazine credentials, he considered himself an armchair adventurer before he embarked on a journey for his latest book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu was an old and dependable topic for National Geographic, but Adams was determined to dig a little deeper when revisiting the subject. A hundred years ago, the lecturer turned explorer Hiram Bingham III brought the ruins of Machu Picchu to the attention of the outside world but raised a host of questions about his methods and intentions for doing so. Adams decided to take on some of those questions by retracing Bingham’s expedition, taking his tender-footed self into the wild with an Australian guide and a handful of coca leaves. Adams talks to us about his transformation -- from a man who had never slept in a tent as an adult, to a full-fledged adventurer.

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Jordan Ranks America, July 2012

The only constant in this crazy country is change. Even the most well-informed American might throw up their hands over the big questions -- what’s hot? And what’s not? Luckily, comedian Jordan Morris is here for guidance. For more, check out his comedy podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go! or follow him on Twitter @Jordan_Morris.

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Comedian and Writer Dave Hill

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, been a semi-successful rock musician (they're 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 new 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.

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The Outshot: Billy on the Street

Are you ready for the pop culture maniac who is Billy Eichner? This week, Jesse recommends his favorite game show, Billy on the Street.

If you know of a must-see show, share it on the MaxFun forum by picking your own Outshot.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Rachel Dratch, the creators of Eagleheart, Jason Kottke and Jordan Morris

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Rachel Dratch
Guests: 
Michael Koman
Guests: 
Andrew Weinberg
Guests: 
Jason Woliner
Guests: 
Jason Kottke
Guests: 
Jordan Morris

Internet Recommendations from Jason Kottke

This week's pop culture picks come care of Jason Kottke, of Kottke.org -- a site that's been called the New Yorker of internet links. Jason tracks down the best the internet has to offer, and he shares two of his favorites with us this week: Jerry Beck's list of the 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected By 1,000 Animation Professionals, a Warner Bros.-heavy list topped by some Looney Tunes classics, and What the Space Shuttle booster saw, an HD video journey out of Earth's atmosphere.

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The Creative Team of Eagleheart: Michael Koman, Andrew Weinberg and Jason Woliner

Michael Koman, Andrew Weinberg and Jason Woliner are the creative team behind [adult swim]'s hilariously funny and blood-soaked action-comedy Eagleheart, starring Chris Elliott. Koman and Weinberg had worked together as writers on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, where they were responsible for culling the clips played whenever Conan pulled the Walker Texas Ranger Lever. It was a job that required them to wade through hundreds of hours of Walker, Texas Ranger, and the inspiration for Eagleheart was born out of a desire to parody the show. But to call Eagleheart a parody of WTR sells it way short, as the show is much crazier and more comically-inspired than that.

Koman, Weinberg and Woliner join us to discuss the show's ability to cram an absurd amount of story into an eleven-minute run-time, making magic happen fast on Eagleheart's wild production schedule, and what inspires them about the show's star, Chris Elliott. Eagleheart has just begun its second season on Cartoon Network's [adult swim], airing Thursdays at midnight.

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Jordan Ranks America, for April 2012

It's an upside-down world out there, and some days you just don't know what to make of it. Luckily for us, there's one man who can keep this country in order! Comedian Jordan Morris puts America in its place for the month of April 2012. You can find Jordan on Twitter @Jordan_Morris.

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Comedian, actress and author Rachel Dratch

Rachel Dratch is a comic actress best known to audiences as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1999 to 2006, and from recurring roles on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. Her new book is the very funny memoir Girl Walks Into A Bar...: Comedies Calamities, Dating Disasters & A Midlife Miracle. While there are a number of behind-the-scenes stories from her days at SNL in the book, it's mainly the story of life after the show, as Dratch dove head-first into the dating pool after years of using being busy with SNL as an excuse not to date. The titular miracle was an unexpected pregnancy at age 44, having been in a long distance relationship with the father for just six months prior.

Dratch joins Jesse to discuss her comedy background in Chicago, the development process of getting some of her most famous SNL characters to air, and the inherent humor of balancing midlife motherhood with a romance still in its infant stages. Girl Walks Into A Bar... is available now in bookstores everywhere.

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The Outshot: “Swiss Movement”, by Eddie Harris & Les McCann

For this week's Outshot, Jesse digs into the record collection and pulls out a vibrant classic: Swiss Movement, by Eddie Harris and Les McCann. The live album, recorded in 1969 at the Montreux Jazz Festival, was the first time the band had ever played together, and the record captures the feeling-out process as the group pioneered the soul-jazz genre. It crackles with life.

Is there a classic record that never fails to get your toe tapping? Let us know! Head on over to the MaxFun Forum and pick your own Outshot.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The AV Club, Director David Wain, Jordan Ranks America

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Guests: 
Keith Phipps
Guests: 
Nathan Rabin
Guests: 
Jordan Morris


The AV Club Recommendations

Keith Phipps and Nathan Rabin of The AV Club recommend their all time favorite classics - Rodney Dangerfield’s 1981 comedy special No Respect and ‘50s Japanese film The Burmese Harp directed by Kon Ichikawa.
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Director David Wain

Writer, director, comedian, and actor David Wain has worked on many projects, from cult classics to commercial successes. From his early days on MTV’s sketch comedy show The State he moved on to write and direct the cultishly popular film Wet Hot American Summer. David returns to our show to trace his career path, discuss what made The State such a special comedy troupe, and of course talk about his new Judd Apatow-produced comedy, Wanderlust. The film opens in theaters nationwide on February 24th. It stars Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston.
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Jordan Ranks America

Jordan Morris gives the good old U.S. of A. a run down of the top 5 most important things happening within its borders this month. Old friends, Blu-ray movies, how will he break it all down?
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The Outshot: DJ Quik, Pitch In OnA Party

If you bring the potato salad, we’ll bring the chili as Jesse pines after potlucks with this week’s Outshot, DJ Quik’s Pitch In OnA Party.
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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jordan Ranks America, January 2012

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Comedian Jordan Morris spends his time ranking what's hot in America right now, so perhaps you can spend your time a little more productively?

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Aisha Tyler, David Hornsby, The AV Club and Jordan Ranks America

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Guests: 
Aisha Tyler
Guests: 
David Hornsby
Guests: 
Scott Tobias
Guests: 
Genevieve Koski
Guests: 
Jordan Morris

This week! The AV Club: Scott Tobias and Genevieve Koski of The AV Club bring us their recommendations – the thriller We Need to Talk About Kevin starring Tilda Swinton, in wide release in February, and the award-winning comic fantasy series Locke & Key. (Embed or share)

Comedian and Actress Aisha Tyler: Aisha Tyler stars as Lana Kane, one of the super-spies of FX's animated series Archer. She talks about living the real-life version of Fame in high school, funneling her experiences as an outsider into performance and comedy, and the challenges of getting the tone just right when voice acting. You can catch her on CBS's The Talk, her podcast Girl on Guy, or on Archer, which airs new episodes beginning this Thursday. If you want more on Archer, check out our interview with Adam Reed. (Embed or share)

Jordan Ranks America: Comedian Jordan Morris spends his time ranking what's hot in America right now, so perhaps you can spend your time a little more productively? (Embed or share)

Writer, Producer and Actor David Hornsby: If you're a fan of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, then you probably know some of David Hornsby's work, as he's written and produced a number of episodes over the show's seven seasons. Or – you might recognize him from some of his scenes as “Rickety Cricket,” the defrocked priest who is often the butt of the gang's jokes and kicked around as a result of their constant scheming. He's created a new animated comedy series Unsupervised, about some surprisingly optimistic teens managing to make their way through life largely, well, unsupervised by any adult figures. Unsupervised premieres this Thursday on FX. For more on It's Always Sunny, check out our interview with Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney here. (Embed or share)


Joel (David Hornsby) and Gary (Justin Long) of Unsupervised

And The Outshot: Jesse describes a perfect moment - one of the best cold opens of one of his favorite sitcoms. (Embed or share)

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Comedy: Jordan Ranks America, November 2011 on The Sound of Young America

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Jordan Morris

Our correspondent Jordan Morris pores over trends and happenings to let you know what's best in the US right now. Join us for Jordan Ranks America, November 2011 edition!

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