New York

"The diction of the moderator should not sound like a 'valley girl.'"

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From time to time, I get emails from radio listeners. Occasionally they're very, very negative. More frequently, they're complimentary. From time to time, they're critical, but thoughtful. A couple listeners have written to me about my manner of speach, and I thought I'd share one letter I got this morning, along with my response. I've left out the listener's last name in the interest of anonymity.

I’m a listener from New Jersey who catches you at least twice a month. I’m an old [63] fuddy duddy retired English and theater teacher who still enjoys new music and entertainment. What often bothers me and gets in the way of your programs is the language usage. For Blu to spout slang and “like” and “y’know” and other street language fillers is easy to forgive. He’s not a public speaker; and the poetry of his raps shows he can use the language. I’m not as forgiving of the documentary film producer/director/writer, but, again, he’s not in the busines of extemporaneous speech. However, my patience runs real thin when the interviewer/emcee uses the same diction as his subjects. Word choice and vocabulary should, of course, be appropriately casual and contemporary, but the diction of the moderator should not sound like a “valley girl.” You demean the generally high quality of your questions, analysis and guests.

Guy

Hi Guy --

Thanks for taking the time to write. It's always nice to hear from listeners, no matter what their age. You're hardly the only 60-something listening to the show -- I think the name throws people off :).

I'm surprised at your critique of my language usage. I don't know what qualifications to offer to counter it... I did get an 800 out of 800 on the verbal portion of my SATs back in high school, and I believe my mother is still tending a garden of medals from the Junior State of America and the Academic Decathalon. Perhaps those are more the qualifications of a nerd than anything else. I suppose my point is that I make my choices advisedly.

I think the difference is at least in part, generational. I might recommend Stanford linguist Geoff Nunberg's essay on the subject of "like," which is featured in one of his books (can't remember which one), and which he read on Fresh Air a few years ago. Geoff was a guest on The Sound of Young America four or five years
ago
, and he was really wonderful.

Ultimately, I think my choices reflect the informal tone of the program. I could certainly be more formal -- I've had job interviews, too -- but the best answers come from guests who are comfortable speaking their minds, and I think an informal environment is more conducive to frankness. It's certainly more conducive to humor, which is typically the backbone of my show. That said -- I still don't think I sound like a Valley girl. I'm from San Francisco.

In any event, thank you for taking the time to write, and for your kind words about the content of the show. Thanks also for supporting WNYC. Without WNYC's brave support, I don't think I'd even be a professional broadcaster. WNYC produces some of the best shows in public radio, like On the Media and Radiolab, as well as some of the best local programming in the country, and I'm very proud to be a part
of it. You should be glad to support their wonderful efforts.

Jesse

So... what do you think?

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Canada, Et Al.

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We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

America's radio sweetheart in conversation with the laughter star of the eastern block, comedian Eugene Mirman. We'll also hear from incredibly talented painter Brandon Bird and Kyle MacDonald who writes the blog One Red Paperclip. His aim is to trade up from a red paperclip, to a house.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Rock & ROFL tommorow: Futureheads, Birbiglia, etc

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I try to push Rock & ROFL, the show we sponsor, which is presented by Brooklyn Vegan and Klaus Kinski, but I don't know if you're paying attention.

Let me say it: this is an awesome show, every month.

This month, they've got a super-secret show from The Futureheads, plus comedy from Mike Birbiglia, Dave Hill and others. The show's tommorow night at 8 at Piano's in New York. You can always find the latest Rock & ROFL info here, and there may still be some tickets for tommorow night here.

Sketchfest NYC: The Full Report

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I got back last night from a great weekend at Sketchfest NYC. Some highlights and lowlights:

I was dead tired the entire weekend. It turns out that Sketchfest NYC runs till like 3AM every night. I usually go to bed at around 10:30. So, even with the time difference, you can see how that'd work out.

I saw a pile of shows over the two nights I was there, and missed a pile more. Los Angeles' Birthday Boys took the "we're goofing around, being silly, don't you love us" model of much LA sketch these days and really knocked it out of the park. Their show, which originated at the UCB, had consistently strong sketches and execution. There weren't any standout performances, but with only a year in existance, they're poised for growth.

Portland's Third Floor put on a really remarkable show full of bizarre twists and turns. They opened with one of the strangest (and best) high school reunion sketches I've ever seen, and closed with one of the best dance numbers I've ever seen in a comedy context.

Troop!, from Los Angeles, performed what amounted to a play in sketches, about a post-apocalyptic world where condiment packets are money and the most valuable commodity of all is toilet paper. I was impressed at how well the show held up over a full 45-minute-or-so runtime, with full characterizations and high production values.

The highlight for me was a consistently hilarious new show from New York's Elephant Larry (above). Every sketch was inventive, hilarious and more than ably played. Geoff Haggerty stood out with compelling performances as a self-conscious, bumbling drill sergeant and a suburban vampire, getting huge laughs while uttering nothing more than what you might call a "vampire noise." (Blurgh? Bloor?) I honestly couldn't tell you why these guys aren't on television.

A bizarre moment: a "sketch" during the closing night "Sketchfest Craptacular" (a collection of the performing groups strangest material) from Kurt Braunolher of Kurt & Kristen. Kurt ran on stage and started to pump the audience up for the greatest experience of his life. He had decided that a great sketch would be a "doing whippets fight," for which he'd purchased $75 worth of whipped cream cannisters. Then he'd decided that that wouldn't be too exciting to watch on stage, so he added a "fighting fight." He cued Andrew W.K. at full volume on the sound system, and several muscled sketch players ran on stage, topless, and started to wrestle (pretty sincerely). He and the lovely New York comic/writer Jane Borden then commenced whippetting at a disturbing rate. Is it possible for pandemonium to be infectious?

All in all, a great weekend. It'll be a couple weeks before the show goes up, but if all goes according to Hoyle, we'll be able to offer some video in addition to the audio on the podcast.

MaxFun Meetup Saturday Evening in NYC

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Whether or not you're coming to The Sound of Young America Live! on Saturday at the UCB in New York, you can join us for our meetup. We'll be meeting at 7:30PM at The Peter McManus Cafe, 152 7th Ave. The "cafe" (more of a pub) has both food and grog.

Meetup discussion here.

TSOYA is Live! in New York on Saturday Afternoon

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The Sound of Young America is Live! in New York City on Saturday afternoon as part of Sketchfest NYC.

We're so happy to have Ze Frank, Jay Smooth, Pangea 3000 and Dawn Landes to entertain you.

Tickets are available now, so buy yourself some.
And tell a friend!

The Sound of Young America Live! in New York

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Yes folks, it has indeed been confirmed. The Sound of Young America will be live in New York City next month as part of Sketchfest NYC.

It's a matinee show, Saturday June 14th at 4PM. Tickets just went on sale for only ten bucks at the UCB theater website. I'm still working on confirming guests, but there should be some cool people on the bill, so buy those tickets now.

There are also lots of other amazing shows in the festival, which you really oughta go to. More on that later. For now, just buy those tickets.

Mike Daisey's "How Theater Failed America" in NYC

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MaxFunPal Mike Daisey, last heard on our Live in NYC show a year and a half or so ago, has a brand new show. Given the title, "How Theater Failed America," I'm guessing it has less severed limbs and blood-soaked snow than the story he told on our air, but it still sounds pretty great to me. I saw Mike, (who I have decided is the official Monologuist of MaximumFun.org), perform in LA a month or so ago, and he was just as hilarious and electrifying as he was in New York.

Here's the details:

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT
Starts May 16th--Six Weeks Only
Fridays and Saturdays @ 7:30pm,
Sundays @ 7:00pm
BARROW STREET THEATRE
27 Barrow Street @ 7th Ave. South
Tickets: telecharge.com or 212.239.6200

I'm not going to reprint all of Mike's rave reviews, so let's go with a favorite, from the New York Times: "A sardonic rebuke to the corporate types who hold American theater hostage and a powerful sense of the wonder of theater. The entire room was quietly rapt...a remarkable performer."

And guess what?

Mike's extended a special offer for MaxFunsters... use this direct link to the online box office, and use the code MDHTFA and you can get twenty dollar tickets to the show. That's a hell of a price. And you can call 212-947-8844, use the same code, and get the same sweet sweet deal.

(Above photo: Mike at TSOYA Live, shot by Anya Garrett)

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Comics and Comix with Chris Elliott, Art Spiegelman and Matt Walsh

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Show: 
Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Clasics.

This week, Pulitzer-prize-winning comix artist Art Spiegelman (above) talks about his book "In the Shadow Of No Towers," a collection of large-format newspaper comics about September 11th and its fallout.

Then we talk with Chris Elliott, long-time foil to David Letterman, co-creator and star of the cult sitcom Get A Life, and now comic novelist. His first novel was "The Shroud of the Thwacker."

Finally, we talk with Matt Walsh. In addition to appearing in many movies, Walsh is a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade. He also starred in the semi-improvised semi-reality sitcom Dog Bites Man.


Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Subscribe to TSOYA Classic: iTunes / Feed
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Rock & ROFL and Variety SHAC in NYC

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In case you haven't noticed on our Live page, The Sound of Young America is proud to be sponsoring two monthly live shows in New York City.

The first is Variety SHAC at the UCB Theater. Shonali Bhowmik, Heather Lawless, Andrea Rosen and Chelsea Perretti are four of the funniest women in New York, and each month they present a pastiche of standup, short film and music. I've seen the show here in LA, and it's fantastic.

The next SHAC is Thursday night at 9:30, and features Jon Glaser (Conan, Human Giant, etc) and Greg Johnson. That's a lot of entertainment for just five buckaroos.

The second is Rock & ROFL, a combination comedy/rock show that's put together by Klaus Kinski and Brooklyn Vegan. Comedy runs from 9-10, then a couple of bands rock your ass off. This month's show is Monday, May 5th at Piano's in NYC. Among the comics making you ROFL will be John Mulaney, who I was lucky enough to see at the Project Breakout show at Comix last year -- and he knocked me out. You can also see The Acorn and War on Drugs, two very highly-regarded rock bands. And it's ten bucks! You can't lose!

But wait... what if it got EVEN BETTER?

We've got two pairs of tickets for Rock & ROFL to GIVE AWAY to two lucky Max Funsters. Just email me your name and contact info, plus your favorite TSOYA interview. That's it! I'll pick two winners tommorow.

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