The MaxFun Blog

Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you and our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you. About

Things may get a bit hectic...


A friend of mine offered to help me integrate this page more tightly with the main TSOYA webpage. While that's going on, pardon our dust, as there's no testing with blogger, only doing.

Within a few months, we should have a whole new webpage, but this should be a nice upgrade in between.

"Maximum Fun"

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By request, a free MP3 of our theme song, "Maximum Fun." I wrote the theme with my pal Dan Grayson -- he basically wrote the music (I'm musically illiterate, but provided some guidelines and pushed and pulled a little), I mostly wrote the lyrics (we changed a couple things to make them easier for Dan to sing). He plays all the instruments, and we recorded it in his little home studio. I'm singing backup vocals and playing cowbell.

Download the MP3
Completists can also download the acapella version performed by Indie Rockapella

Check out Dan's band The Karabal Nightlife

Tearing into Gnarls Barkley


I love Cee-Lo, and have since the Goodie Mobb days. His appearances on the Dungeon Family album outshone Big Boi and Andre, and his solo albums, while uneven, had given me hope he might just have a truly great record in him.

Apparently that record is NOT Gnarly Barkley, his collaboration with producer Danger Mouse.

And why would it be? Who is Danger Mouse, anyway? Did anyone actually hear The Grey Album? It wasn't very good. It was certainly no White Albulum, I'll tell you that much right now. It was the sort of record that people who don't actually like hip-hop buy, so they can talk about how they like "some hip-hop, like Jurassic 5."

My suspicions about this new project seem to be becoming real... noz writes over at Posse on Blogway:

Non rap listeners and critics eat this garbage up because they’ve just been waiting for a project from a rapper that would prove that they are not narrow-minded, but isn’t so rappy. These people are the worst types of music listeners in the world and need to just own up to being square ass square butts (or racists) who can’t fuck with rap already. They are no doubt very impressed that a rapper was able to have such wide lense musical perspective to not only know, but to cover a Violent Femmes song, as Gnarls Barkley does. Odds are these are that people lack the perspective to realize that there is a reason that nobody remembers any Violent Femmes, except for that one song.

Noz' piece is very illuminating. You should read it.

Andy Kindler on Dr. Katz


Andy Kindler was one of the first guests on Dr. Katz, and he shared this little reminiscence on today:

When they first did the show, we recorded it at the house of the executive producer in his kitchen pantry. They put us up at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square, which was fantastic. It was just the greatest experience.
Dom Irrera was amazing on the show, appearing many times.
I remember Jonathan Katz talking about how great it was to have a conversation on the show without having to worry about the timing of a live studio audience like in a regular sitcom, so they could talk over each other.
The H. Jon Benjamin/ Jonathan Katz relationship might be my favorite thing ever. They were just so brilliant together. I love H. Jon.
I was on an episode once with David Mamet, although I didn't get to meet him. He's an old friend of Jonathan. He had a line where Laura (Silverman) says to him: "You're not just blowing smoke up my ass, are you?" And David Mamet says: "What do you mean just?"
One of my favorite Jonathan Katz lines is: "It's the least I can do. I checked."
Jonathan, H. Jon Benjamin, Tom Leopold, myself, and others were on this really great animated show called "The Dick and Paula Celebrity Special." The people who played Dick and Paula were hilarious. It was a take off on a local morning type talk show. Jonathan Katz played the band leader and H. Jon came on as different historical figures, and also an engineer in the booth. Tom Leopold played different parts as well. I played myself, as the nephew of Dick and Paula. We made 12 episodes for fx when they were going through their wanting to be a men's channel time period, and I don't think hardly anyone has seen them. It would be great if that came out on dvd.

Andy Kindler's website
TSOYA: Comics & Comix Pt. 2 with Andy Kindler and Harvey Pekar (MP3)

Doing your part for public broadcasting...


A consortium of public radio & television stations and public media networks (like NPR) have joined together to create, which makes it super-easy to contact your representatives in congress and elsewhere to ask them to stop cutting funding for public broadcasting. The current administration's budget called for a 38% cut in public broadcasting funding -- we must speak up now.

Public broadcasting is a drop in the bucket of the federal budget, but it has a huge impact on our daily lives. If you care as much as I do about this, please take a second to visit the website and contact your representatives. 1/3 of America tunes in to public media every week, and without government funding, that could dissapear -- particularly for people in rural and other under-served areas.

And hey, tell your friends. It's a movement, people.

Full Lewis Black CD Online


Lewis Black's full CD, "The Carnegie Hall Performance" is available to stream on AOL Music. You can listen here. Click on his album cover in the navigation bar above the player, or else you'll get a weird smooth jazz album album with a cover that appears to be going for as sort of Kenny-G-meets-Sharon-Stone-in-Basic-Instinct thing.

Anyway, it comes out tommorow, and you can order it from Amazon here.

Japanese Spidey


Best Spidey around.

Go Home, Commie!


The immigration debate got me thinking about a song my college friend Jesse Davis gave me once on cassette. Jesse comes from a musical family (you can check out his LA-based indie band, The Karabal Nightlife, here)... one of his relatives even composed the score for Star Trek IV (the one with the whales). Anyway, here's the story of this song, in Jesse's words:

I don't know too much about it but from what I understand, my great-grandfather Herb Zwicker started something called the "Black Talent Workshop" in the 70s. He went down to Watts and recruited talented black musicians and recorded some records of their music. I guess he was big on funk and soul music. In addition he had them perform their renditions of some of the songs that he wrote including "Go On Home You Foreign Communist" He was a real character from what I understand. He was a nationalist and a big union leader. In his 60s he was on the news bashing two young Neo-Nazi's heads together. A real bruiser.
Its a great song though I'm glad its getting some play. I think it's the great lost soul hit of the 70s.

Needless to say, I've uploaded the song for you to hear. It's truly remarkable how Mr. Zwicker decided that the late-60s/early-70s funk sound was the best idiom for lyrics like: "Hey Commie! I'ma tell you something you should know... this is AMERICA... the country where I was born! You're not welcome here!" and "Lemme tell you somethin'... I'm a HAAAARD HEART! And I DON'T like COMMIES. So you better get the HELL outta here!"

There's some pretty killer bass work on the record, too.

Download the song directly

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The Two Jonathans


This upcoming week's Sound of Young America broadcast features two Jonathans I admire greatly: Jonathan Katz and Jonathan Goldstein.

Katz may be more familiar to you as Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. I talked with him about his career (more on that tommorow).

Goldstein is the producer of a great radio show on the CBC called Wiretap. He's also a longtime contributor and producer on the Public Radio International show This American Life.

What I didn't know was that they'd worked together.

Katz has long had a fascination with audio, something we touched on in the interview. He had a huge cache of recordings of himself, both today, and in childhood, with his family. Goldstein explains how he ended up on the project, and why it was amazing to work on (download):

Anyway, with Goldstein producing and his sister along for the ride, Katz went back to his childhood neighborhood to compare what was on the tapes with real life. The results made for a great piece, which was on this This American Life Episode, "Return to Childhood."

The College Years


Those were our salad days.

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