McSweeney's

John Brandon, Novelist: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
John Brandon

John Brandon is a novelist who was raised on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Citrus County is set in his home state and is his second novel, focusing on a teacher and two middle-schoolers who have their loneliness and status as outsiders in common. The book is part crime novel and part exploration of the adolescent pysche.

JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse thorn. My guest on the program is the novelist John Brandon. He’s a professor at Ol’ Miss University. His new book is called Citrus County. It’s set in Citrus County, Florida, which is simultaneously the northern and southern part of Florida; physically northern and culturally southern. Places where there are no beaches and people have not bothered to turn it into Orlando.

It’s the story of two middle schoolers and a middle school teacher, and a horrible crime, and basically the feeling of being lost in one’s life. Either as a very well justified adolescent or as a maybe slightly less justified almost 30 year old. John Brandon, welcome to the sound of young America.

JOHN BRANDON: Thanks a lot.

Click here for a full transcript of the conversation.

Judd Apatow on Sale at McSweeney's

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Our pals at McSweeney's have decided to celebrate our interview with Judd Apatow with a special on his (great) new book, I Found This Funny. You can get it from their store for an even $20, and you can rest assured that your money's going to support two great causes (McSweeney's and 826 National).

Judd Apatow: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow is a comedy writer, director and producer. He has become one of the largest comedic forces in Hollywood with films like Knocked Up and the 40 Year Old Virgin. Apatow's new book, I Found this Funny, is a compilation of work by some of his favorite authors. Sales of the book benefit 826 National, a literacy charity.

He spoke with Jesse Thorn from his Los Angeles office about his long career. As a high school student, Apatow used a radio show barely audible on the campus of his school to book interviews about a career in comedy with legends like Jerry Seinfeld, Henny Youngman and John Candy. He became a standup comic early, and was featured in the HBO Young Comedians special in 1992. Then he turned his attention to writing, working extensively with Garry Shandling, who became his mentor. In these early years, he worked on The Ben Stiller Show and on Shandling's seminal The Larry Sanders Show, where he also got his first shot at directing.

The tone of his films grew from in part from advice he received from Shandling while working on Sanders: that he should always seek the truth of his characters. The success of Apatow's movies ushered in a new era of loose, character-driven comedies which were a stark contrast to the star- and gross out-driven comedies of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

This special edition of The Sound of Young America also includes two pieces from I Found This Funny written by Sound of Young America contributor Simon Rich. "My Mom's All-Time, Top Five Greatest Boyfriends, by Jordi Stromson, Age 11" is read by comedian and writer Jen Kirkman; "My Friend's New Girlfriend" is read by actor and sketch comic Paul Scheer.

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