Judge John Hodgman Episode 266: Exit, Stage Fright

Andrew from JJHo Episode 151: Sic Semper Dramatis

If you want to purchase a Kung Pao Finance Factory t-shirt, inspired by last week's episode, TIME IS RUNNING OUT! You may purchase a t-shirt here, through June 22!


Tom brings the case against his friend Trinity. Trinity longs to be discovered and believes she was “born for the theater.” Despite her enthusiasm for theater and performing, she refuses to try community theater. He thinks she should get over her fear and go for it. Who's right? Who's wrong?

This week, with Expert Witness Andrew from Judge John Hodgman Episode 151: Sic Semper Dramatis!


Submitted by Tom

Click here to watch the video of Trinity singing "Proud Mary" at Karaoke!

Thank you to Trevor Haworth & Eli Dennewitz for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.


Tickets for the Judge John Hodgman: Live Justice tour of the Northeast and London are on sale now and selling out quickly! Check out the right hand side of this page or for details!


Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke
Margaret Wappler

If you liked this episode of Bullseye, you can help support our production by becoming a monthly member! It's our annual MaxFunDrive, the time of year we ask for your help. Visit today and help us reach our network goal of 5000 new and upgrading members, and you'll not only get the satisfaction of sustaining the show -- we'll send you some nice swag, too, like a custom Bullseye bandana or an adventure pack with a Swiss Army knife and a paracord!

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Photo by Jesse Thorn

Dick Van Dyke on His Early Years in Television, Worrying Less, and Owning Up to the Worst English Accent in Film History

For over 70 years, Dick Van Dyke has been an entertainer of stage, film and television. His work has garnered him generations of fans as well as numerous honors including a Grammy, a Tony and several Emmy awards.

Though he initially sought out a career in radio, he was soon performing on the stage and on the new medium of television, which included the classic comedy, The Dick Van Dyke Show created by Carl Reiner. Along with his many other television appearances, Dick Van Dyke has starred in films that are still family favorites decades after they were made, including Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Dick Van Dyke joined Jesse to talk about landing the lead role in Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway despite not being a trained singer or dancer, his memories of working with a very young Mary Tyler Moore, his alcoholism and getting sober, and how he maintains a healthy physical and mental lifestyle in his nineties.

Dick Van Dyke’s new book, Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Aging is available now.

Canonball with Margaret Wappler on Bjork’s Post

Every so often we like to take a closer look at albums that should be considered classics, to find out what makes them great. It's Canonball.

This week we're joined by the pop culture critic and writer Margaret Wappler. She'll talk about Bjork’s 1995 album, Post. This album served as the follow-up to Bjork’s first album, Debut. The album went beyond being a repetition of what she had created before, and served as "a breakout work of feminine emotional electronica".

Margaret Wappler’s essay on Bjork can be found in the anthology Here She Comes Now. Margaret’s novel, Neon Green will be out in July. She can also be heard as our sister-podcast, Pop Rocket.

The Outshot: Ralph Lauren

Jesse will tell you about how Ralph Lauren captures the shared American-ness of Sonia Sotomayor, Jay-Z and Donald Trump. (You can find his video interview for Put This On here.)

Judge John Hodgman Ep. 4: Tear Down That Wall

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This week on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast, a dispute between friends. Foy argues that breaking the fourth wall ruins film and theater. His friend Matt disagrees. Only Judge John Hodgman can decide.

To listen to this week's Judge John Hodgman podcast, subscribe in iTunes or using this feed.

Discuss the ruling on our forum here.

Mike Birbiglia on "Sleepwalk with Me", interview on The Sound of Young America


Last time comedian Mike Birbiglia was on The Sound of Young America, he talked about developing the narratives in his work, and leaving behind the joke-joke-joke repetitions that are standard in standup comedy. He recently premiered his first theatrical performance, "Sleepwalk with Me," at the Bleeker Street Theater off-Broadway, to rave reviews. It chronicles his struggles with sleepwalking, and in a long-term romantic relationship.

If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Mike Birbiglia (May, 2008)
Andy Daly
Janeane Garofalo

LA: See Culture Clash Thursday for Half-Price

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Culture Clash are a San Francisco-born, LA-bred revolutionary comedy theater group. They formed in the Bay Area when I was a kid, in my neighborhood, The Mission. One of them worked at La Raza Graphics, down the street from my house. One was in grad school with my mom at SF State. They even had a series on FOX, briefly, back when FOX's outrageousness wasn't confined to outrageous awfulness. Their hilarious, insightful agitprop is one of the best things you can see on a stage.

CC are performing their signature show, Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, at USC Thursday night, and you can get tickets for just ten bucks. I'm going to be in Las Vegas for The Comedy Festival, but if you're in SoCal, this is a night not to be missed.

Location: USC's Bovard Auditorium
Date & Showtime: Thursday November 20, 2008 @ 7:00 PM
Ticket Price: $20 General Public
SPECIAL NOTE: Mention "Culture Clash Fan" over the phone and get the ticket at half price!

The show is documentary sketch comedy. Over the past ten years or so, the group has taken residence at theater groups around the country. Wherever they are, they interview people in all walks of life about their communities, and put together evenings of comedy theater based on those interviews. This show is a sort of greatest hits of those shows. I've seen it twice and can recommend it heartily. It's sweet, incisive and really, really funny.

Solo in New York City



Two of TSOYA's top pals have solo shows running in New York, and if you miss them, YOU'RE A FOOL.

Our pal Mike Birbiglia has his first solo stage show, called Sleepwalk with Me, running at the Bleeker Theater. Mike has always been fantastically hilarious as a standup, but this show is also receiving acclaim for its emotional depth. WE VOUCH FOR MIKE. If that's not good enough for you, listen to Mike on TAL and TRY not to laugh uncontrollably. FURTHERMORE: you can get discount tickets with this link.

ADDITIONALLY: our pal Mike Daisey (above) has his new solo performance, If You See Something, Say Something, running at the Public Theater. It's about the resonances of the cold war in contemporary America, and in Mike's own life. If it's like his other work, it's fantastic. The Times certainly seems to have enjoyed it. So have others. Tickets are available here. Mike has generously offered TSOYA fans a big ticket discount -- $35 tix can be had with the code SSMKTG. It is offered with the proviso that tickets are selling out fast and that code might stop working at some point.


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


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, 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:

Starts May 16th--Six Weeks Only
Fridays and Saturdays @ 7:30pm,
Sundays @ 7:00pm
27 Barrow Street @ 7th Ave. South
Tickets: 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: Danny Hoch Live in San Francisco


The third in our series of podcasts from our January live show at SF Sketchfest.

Danny Hoch is a multiple Obie award-winning playwright and actor, and the founder of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. His newest show, "Takin Over," is currently in its premiere run at Berkeley Rep in Berkeley, California. The show examines the gentrification of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, using character monologues from a variety of community members. It is way, way better than that lame description makes it sound. Hoch talked about being a native New Yorker, how he feels when he's looking at the organic produce in Whole Foods, and how all the women he meets in New York seem to have come to the city from somewhere else to "find themselves."

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Also from our Live in San Francisco show:
Merlin Mann
Bucky Sinister

"Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop"

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I was lucky enough to have actor and writer Danny Hoch on my live show in San Francisco. It won't be podcast until tommorow, but it's in the top ten of all-time TSOYA interviews, at least for me. His newest show, "Takin' Over," deals with gentrification in Brooklyn, and is currently running at Berkeley Rep in the long-since gentrified Berkeley, California.

There's precious little of the new show available online, but his last major one man show, "Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop" was made into a film. The movie was financed by Rawkus Records, who were planning to use the film as promotion for an accompanying soundtrack album. Unfortunately, the label folded before the album could be released, and the film was thrown into limbo.

Eventually Danny and his associates managed to get the movie into DVD release, and thank goodness they did. Like Luis Valdez' "Zoot Suit," the film lives in the liminalities between staged performance and real life. Each character monologue is seen performed live in a theater, in public, in a prison and in the fictional world of the piece. The technique balances the needs of the show with the needs of the piece's inherent theatricality beautifully. It's one of my favorite films of all time. I cry several times every time I watch it. And laugh a lot, too.

Above, I've pasted a scene from the film, in which Hoch portrays a street vendor and hip-hop afficionado in Cuba. Unlike pretty much any other hip-hop art concerning Cuba I've ever seen, it's insightful, balanced and humane, not just Castroist agitprop. Of course, those qualities are typical of Hoch's work. Indeed, perhaps the most sympathetic character in "Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop" is a prison guard, the frontline soldier of the prison industrial complex.

Anyway, enjoy the above, check out the interview tommorow, make plans to see Danny's show if you're in the Yay Area, and cop that disc if you're elsewhere.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Real Vs. Fake


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

On this week’s show Real Vs. Fake, magician and actor Ricky Jay talks about his career and his book ‘Extraordinary Exhibitions’. San Francisco radio personality and stand-up comic Brian Copeland also guests. He shares details of his one man show and what it was like growing up in the most racist suburb of America.

Ricky Jay is an artist, actor and author. He is an expert on the history of magic, oddball and unusual entertainment. He can throw a playing card into the rind of a watermelon from ten paces – impressive!

“Not A Genuine Black Man” is the longest running solo show in San Francisco history. Brian Copeland, writer and star of the one man comedy show, spills the beans on what the show is all about.

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

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