Maximum Fun

Pop Rocket Episode 118: Game Shows

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

In honor of the premier of Guy Branum's new truTV show, the gang is talking about game shows this week! Karen reminisces about the implicit corniness of 70's and 80's game shows, Wynter talks about the accessibility differences between quiz shows like Jeopardy and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, and Margaret tells us about the time she was on The Price is Right. Plus, we learn about Wynter's new obsession with ASMR-adjacent Youtube click-holes, and Guy tells us why he was stunned by the latest episodes of Feud, Girls, and the gang discuss the series finale of Big Little Lies. Finally, the gang tell us which tracks they can't stop listening to.

**There are many plot revealing spoilers in this episode, particularly about the series finale of Big Little Lies**

Rocketeers, don't forget to tune into Guy Branum's NEW tv program called Talk Show The Game Show every Wednesdy at 10/9c on truTV, with a premier date of April 5th!

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Margaret Wappler

Jams:

Margaret Wappler - Sit Down - James
Wynter Mitchell - That's What I Like - Bruno Mars
Karen Tongson - Maggie Rogers - Alaska
Guy Branum - Conceptual Jam - Donate to Maximum Fun!

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Michael Larson on Press Your Luck
James - Laid
That Poppy

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Baseball Special with Tabitha Soren, Sean Doolittle, and Josh Kantor

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tabitha Soren
Guests: 
Sean Doolittle
Guests: 
Josh Kantor

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


Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Oakland A's Relief Pitcher Sean Doolittle

This week Jesse talks to Oakland Athletics' reliever Sean Doolittle, who's been called one of the most interesting players in baseball.

Sean had an improbable journey to the majors. He was originally drafted as a hitter in 2007 before being sidelined by knee injuries. He didn't play for two years as a result. Sean talks to Jesse about the physical and mental obstacles he faced during recovery. At one point, he thought about giving up and going back to college to earn his degree.

Eventually, Sean was encouraged to try his hand at pitching instead. As it turns out, he had an excellent arm and could throw in the mid-to-high-90s. He's been on the A's since 2012, and was selected as an All-Star in 2014.

Sean's known as one of the nicest guys in the majors. He's used his platform as a baseball player to raise awareness about a number of causes, including veteran homelessness and the Syrian refugee crisis. Jesse talks to Sean about his outspoken support for LGBT rights, somewhat of a rarity among his fellow players.

You can find out what Sean's up to on Twitter.


Photo: Jim Harrison

Boston Red Sox organist Josh Kantor on the Song that Changed His Life

For fourteen years, Josh Kantor has been the organist for Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park. He's known for playing creative renditions of popular songs, and six years ago he started taking fan requests via Twitter.

In this Song that Changed My Life segment, Josh recalls one of first Twitter requests he ever got: "Halo" by Beyonce.

When he's not delighting Red Sox fans, Josh plays keys for a rock band called The Baseball Project, a baseball-themed supergroup that includes members of R.E.M. You can find him on Twitter,
where he's now taking song requests for the new season.


Photo: Kevin L. Jones/KQED

Photographer and former MTV newscaster Tabitha Soren on her new book, Fantasy Life

This week Jesse talks to the artist Tabitha Soren. You might remember Soren from her previous life as a newscaster if you watched MTV in the early 1990s. During the era of "Rock the Vote" and Bill Clinton, she was one of the most recognizable young faces on television.

Now Soren is an accomplished artist and photographer, whose work has appeared in galleries around the country. She has a new photography book called Fantasy Life: Baseball and the American Dream, which follows the 2002 Oakland Athletics draft class.

Soren admits she didn't know much about baseball before starting this project. She started shooting the Oakland A's draft class in 2003, while helping her husband with a book he was writing. That book was Moneyball, which became a New York Times bestseller and a movie by the same name. Fantasy Life is an update of sorts to Moneyball. Taken over the last fifteen years, the collection of photographs chronicles the lives of 21 players, most of whom are no longer playing baseball.

Soren talks about the incredible odds that these players faced, and how their struggle is a parable for a uniquely American obsession. She also explains why not knowing much about the game helped her tell a different story than most baseball photographers.

Fantasy Life is now available on Amazon.


The Outshot: The Glory of Their Times

Jesse shares about a book that he believes may be the greatest sports book ever written. Curiously enough, it was written by an economics professor, and it's called The Glory of Their Times.

The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It is available on Amazon.

Pop Rocket Episode 117: 1997 in Music

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

This week the gang is here to talk about the year 1997 in music and culture. There are a surprising number of 20 year old infallible pop hits that were influenced by a number of factors; the internet, CD-R's, Princess Diana passing, the death of Gianni Versace, the 24-hour news cycle, and of course Tupac and Biggies deaths. Wynter and Karen make it clear that they had the best 1997 as they were living in the city of possibilities (San Francisco), Margaret tells us why she doesn't know any Spice Girls songs, and we find out which panelist played sax in a ska band. Plus, in lieu of jams, we hear from each of the panelists what podcasts they are listening to lately.

And remember, if you haven't yet become a member or upgraded your membership, please do it before the end of #MaxFunDrive. Margaret Wappler has vowed to send every new person that joins a denim jacket w/ a celebrity inside, Karen Tongson will eat weird vending machine food for you and Guy Branum will share his family's fruit cobbler recipe. And his family is from Arkansas!

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Margaret Wappler

Podcast Recommendations:

Margaret Wappler - Baby Geniuses
Karen Tongson - Minority Korner
Guy Branum - Las Culturistasr

We made a special playlist with all of the songs we talked about in this week's episode (plus some other gems).

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: My Brother My Brother and Me and Gina Prince-Bythewood

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Justin McElroy
Guests: 
Travis McElroy
Guests: 
Griffin McElroy
Guests: 
Gina Prince-Bythewood

This week Linda Holmes of NPR's podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour fills in for Jesse this week.

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


Photo:Screenshot Via MBMBaM Youtube Channel

My Brother My Brother and Me on their SeeSo show of the same name

This week guest host Linda Holmes talks with Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy, the hilarious three brothers behind the comedy advice podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. Recently, the brothers became the creators and stars of their very own TV series by the same name on the Seeso streaming network.

The McElroys tell Linda why it was important to them to film their new show in Huntington, West Virginia, where they grew up. They dish on the common misconceptions of their hometown, and what it was like to rope fellow Huntingtonians, including the mayor, into their antics.

The McElroys’ irreverent yet humane sense of humor has won them a following of very passionate fans, especially online. There’s even a McElroy wiki that catalogues the many callbacks and gags that have appeared in their comedy over the years, not to mention the brothers’ other shows with spouses, family members, and friends.

The McElroys tell Linda about how growing up in the same household shaped their comic sensibilities -- and how even after all these years, they’re still trying to make each other laugh.

All episodes of My Brother, My Brother and Me are now available to stream on Seeso. A free episode is available here.


Photo: Larry Busaca/Getty Images

Gina Prince-Bythewood on her new Fox miniseries Shots Fired

Gina Prince-Bythewood is a producer and writer who is probably best known for her 2000 movie Love and Basketball. Raised in Pacific Grove, California Gina moved down to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, graduating from the film school with honors. Gina has directed many movies since her 2000 breakthrough, films such as The Secret Life of Bee's and Beyond The Lights.

Her new project called Shots Fired, created with her husband Reggie Rock Bythewood, was a film idea turned mini series dealing with issues of race inequality and police corruption and violence against the black community. The murders of unarmed black men and women at the hands of white police officers and in particular the acquittal of George Zimmerman from the murder of Trayvon Martin were the catalyst for this project.

Gina tells Linda how rejection has influenced her work ethic, why she thinks it's important to represent diverse experiences and casts, and why she think Love and Basketball is cherished by so many people.

You can watch Shots Fired on Fox every Wednesday at 8/7c.

The Outshot: Pete Seeger

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Linda tells us about a musician who can turn literally anybody into a great singer, doesn't matter who you are.

Pop Rocket Episode 116: Bonus! Jesse Thorn Interviews Guy

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Jesse Thorn

This week we have a bonus Pop Rocket episode for all of you Rocketeers!
Jesse Thorn, our boss and creator of Pop Rocket, interviewed Guy for Pop Rocket's sister show Bullseye with Jesse Thorn about his new truTV show Talk Show the Game Show. Although the Bullseye interview won't air for a couple of weeks, Jesse wanted to release this episode to you, our beloved listeners, as a thank you for your continued support.
As I'm sure you know by now, it is the MaxFun Drive, the 2 weeks out of the year where we ask you, our listeners, to give back in whatever way possible. You can go to the MaxFun website to donate at whatever level you can. You can also pick up some awesome thank you gifts, among which is the INCREDIBLE Pop Rocket enamel pin designed by Megan Lynn Kott. We really can't make this show without you and we so appreciate anything that you can give. Make sure to make some noise about your contribution to Maximum Fun by using the astag #MaxFunDrive.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Pop Rocket Episode 115: Ladies Loving Ladies with Tara Jepsen

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Tara Jepsen
Guests: 
Lisa Loeb

Guy, Wynter, and Karen are joined by comedian and actress Tara Jepsen to examine Hollywood's depiction of lady love on the big screen, and TV.

The panel delves into what gets them all hot and bothered, and what just gets them bothered. Plus, Tara throws down for her sapphic sister Rachel Maddow over Trump's tax releases, Guy discusses the wonder that is Throwing Shade the TV show, Wynter reports back from SXSW, and Karen is all about drunk Asians on Fresh Off the Boat.

But there's more! Pop Rocket debuts our newest segment, 4 Questions, with our first guest Lisa Loeb! Everyone should check out her new album Feel What U Feel. It's a jam-packed show, Rocketeers!

With Guy Branum,
Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson
Tara Jepsen
and special guest Lisa Loeb.

That's My Jam:

Tara Jepsen - Herb Alpert - Spanish Flea
Karen Tongson - Maria Katindig Dykes - Triste
Wynter Mitchell - Drake - Teenage Fever
Guy Branum - Las Culturistas Podcast
Lisa Loeb w/ Craig Robinson - Feel What U Feel

Each week we'll add everyone's jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org.

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Paul Shaffer, Javaka Steptoe, and Louis Theroux

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Paul Shaffer
Guests: 
Javaka Steptoe
Guests: 
Louis Theroux

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


Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Paul Shaffer on Leaving The Late Show and his new album

Paul Shaffer is best known for his work as the band leader and music director on David Letterman’s late night TV shows, from the late 80’s until 2015. Though he was in charge of choosing and playing the music that would appear on the show, Shaffer was kind of a sidekick to Letterman, pulling things out of hats and setting up joke punchlines for him. Before Shaffer was on The Late Show, he was a band member on Saturday Night Live. He would appear in sketches with Bill Murray and would play piano during the Blues Brothers sketches. Letterman took notice and decided he wanted that rapport to be a part of his show.

Shaffer is not just known for working with Letterman. He has written a couple of really great disco tunes, including the 1983 jam It's Raining Men, and plays with The Late Show's The World's Most Dangerous Band.

He and Jesse talk about his expansive career, what it was like working on a show everyday for half of his life then not, and his impressive eyewear.

You can catch Paul Shaffer & The World's Most Dangerous Band on tour this Spring. Their new album is on sale now.


Photo: Gregg Richards

Javaka Steptoe on his Caldecott Award Winning book Radiant Child

Javaka Steptoe is a children's book author and illustrator who has made a career of biographizing his heroes and creating books that reflect the diversity of his neighborhood. He makes an effort to illustrate books that have people of all races, all kinds of families, from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds present.

Growing up in New York and being the son of children's book author/illustrator John Steptoe, Javaka knew he was going to be an artist from the time he was a child. His first book In Daddy's Arms I am Tall, received the Coretta Scott King award for Illustrators in 1997, and many of his subsequent books recieved awards and recognition. His newest book, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has won the 2017 Caldecott award, which is basically the Pulitzer Prize for children's books.

Javaka joins Jesse to talk about what it was like to grow up with a well known father, where his passion and interest in Jean-Michel Basquiat came from, and why he finds it important to create diversity in the books that children read.

Javaka's book Radiant Child:The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is out now.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

The Craziest Day Of My Career: Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux is a British documentarian whose career has found himself interacting with some of the most depraved and despised people in our society. He reported on the family who runs the Westboro Baptist Church and spent time with the the leader of the White Aryan Resistance and his family. Louis, whose main interest is finding out why members of niche political parties and subcultures do what they do, also spends time with less harmful people, such as UFO hunters and Swingers on his BBC program Weird Weekends. As a part of this series, he reported on the pro-wrestling community in the United States, and took on the challenge of training with the new recruits. Louis recalls that experience for us as the craziest day of his career. Lets just say, things did not end well.

Louis has a new documentary out now called My Scientology Movie.

The Outshot: John Wick 2

What makes a perfect action film? No dialogue.

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Sam Richardson and Syd of The Internet

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Sam Richardson
Guests: 
Syd

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

This week, Wyatt Cenac sits in for Jesse Thorn.


Photo: Kevin Ferguson

Sam Richardson on growing up in and returning to Detroit

Sam Richardson is an actor, writer, and comic. He was born in Detroit, but he has a Ghanaian mother. His childhood was split between the two places. After college, Sam moved to Chicago to pursue comedy through The Second City improv theater. He then moved to LA where he landed a couple of small roles in TV comedies like The Office and Arrested Development, eventually getting his breakout SAG nominated role as Richard Splett on HBO's Veep. Now, Sam's co-created and starred in the new Comedy Central show Detroiters produced by Lorne Michaels and Jason Sudeikis. It's about two young men (Sam and co-creator Tim Robinson) who acquire an advertising company in Detroit.

Sam talks to Wyatt about creating his new show, what it was like growing up between the United States and Ghana, and what people get wrong about Detroit.

You can watch Sam on Detroiters Tuesday's at 10:30/9:30 c on Comedy Central and on the sixth season of Veep which premieres on April 16th.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Syd on her new album Fin

Syd was born and raised in Los Angeles, and has been making music for most of her life. She began her career producing and singing on tracks in the music collective Odd Future when she was still in high school. In 2011, she and producer Matt Martians started an R&B band called The Internet. Six years later, they are signed to Columbia Records, have three albums under their belt, and one Grammy nomination. This year, Syd decided to venture out on her own and released her first solo album Fin to great reviews

Syd sits down with Wyatt to talk about about how she wrote and produced her new album, the influence of her parents on her music, and why she is not in a rush to meet her idols.

She is currently on tour and her debut solo album Fin is out now.

The Outshot: The Thing With Two Heads

This week, Wyatt tells us about the 1972 Blaxploitation film The Thing with Two Heads.

Pop Rocket Episode 113: Get Out

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

This week, Guy, Wynter, Margaret, and Karen talk about Jordan Peele's newest horror film Get Out*. They discuss the racial and political implications of the film, Wynter contextualizes the role of black people within the horror genre, and the gang discuss their favorite scenes from the movie. As always,the panel tells us what they are all about this week. Karen talks about 45 eating America's meat of choice with ketchup, Margaret recommends a memoire and Wynter talks about Feud. Plus Guy keeps us up to date on his latest obsession with Calypso, and the rest of the gang provide their latest jams.
*Please note that this episode is rife with spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, please keep this in mind!

With:

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Margaret Wappler

Jams:

Guy Branum - Calypso Rose - Leave Me Alone
Margaret Wappler - Sharon Van Etton - End of the World
Wynter Mitchell - Phonte - Something
Karen Tongson - Go West - King of Wishful Thinking

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Key and Peele's "Shining" Sketch
Helen Rosner "Actually, How Donald Trump Eats His Steak Does Matter

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Desus Nice, The Kid Mero, and Walter Murch

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
The Kid Mero
Guests: 
Desus Nice
Guests: 
Walter Murch

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

Ray Suarez guest hosts this week.


Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Desus Nice and The Kid Mero on their new Viceland TV show Desus & Mero

Desus and Mero have worked together since 2013 when they started their first podcast Desus vs. Mero but have actually known each other since going to summer school together in The Bronx. Both Mero and Desus have huge Twitter followings, where they first cultivated a rapport. Eventually, they transferred it to podcasting. After their first podcast ended, they started The Bodega Boys which has a similar vibe and is everything that makes podcasts great; improvised, diverse, hilarious, and irreverent. Their success in podcasting has lead to Vice tapping them to host their flagship late-night show on Viceland, the new television network. It's called Desus & Mero, of course.
In for Jesse Thorn, public media legend Ray Suarez talk with Desus and Mero about their new TV show and the differences between being funny on twitter and producing a TV show or podcast. They tell us why they talk about race so much, and give us a look into what it was really like to grow up in Bronx in the 1980's.


You can watch Desus & Mero weeknights at 11 p.m. on Viceland. You can also find The Bodega Boys podcast on iTunes or wherever you download podcasts.


Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Walter Murch talks sound and film editing and the new book about him, Waves Passing in the Night

Three time Academy Award winning sound designer and film editor Walter Murch has been a part of Hollywood scene for over 50 years. One of his most frequent collaborators is Francis Ford Coppola - he worked on Apocalypse Now and The English Patient. In his free time, though, he does something completely different: astrophysics. He's particularly mesmerized by Bode's Law, the almost 250 year old theory that explains the spacing and orbit of the planets. Murch is the subject of Lawrence Weschler's new book Waves Passing in the Night, which chronicles Murch's education in astrophysics.
Murch tells Ray about how the move from analog to digital machines changed the game, his obsession with science and astrophysics, and what he learned about sound editing from Marlon Brando.
Waves Passing In The Night is out now.

The Outshot: The Young Pope

Photo: HBO

Ray tells us why the HBO limited series The Young Pope is so surprisingly captivating.

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