Have Netflix? Watch A Thousand Clowns


My favorite movie (well, one of my three favorite movies), "A Thousand Clowns," has been out of print since the early 90s. It never came out on DVD.

HOWEVER, astute Max Funster Carol noticed that for some reason, it IS available on Netflix "Instant Viewing."

So, if you have Netflix and a PC, you can watch the movie by clicking here, then clicking on "Play." I urge you to do so.

What's your dad like?


A Catalog of Unfinished Business by Illegal Art, from the New York Times. Note the special message, bottom left, in yellow. Doo Dah Doo Doo.

Elephant Larry: TriDad


This is one of my favorite super-structure-dependent comedy sketches ever. Watch as it bends, folds, turns in on itself and never breaks. They even have a capper!

Brent Weinbach in Austin

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OK Austin: one of our all-time favorite comedians in the whole US of A is at Cap City Comedy Club this week, and you are under direct orders not to miss it. He's the man banned from CBS for being "too weird," the man who conducted a fart orchestra at The Sound of Young America Live in LA. He's been featured with the Comedians of Comedy at Coachella and at the Aspen Comedy Festival. He'll be there tonight through Saturday night, tickets are available here.

Another Sound of Young America Presents comedy performance!

"Phatic Discourse" and British Comedy


I had no familiarity with the concept of "phatic discourse" before reading this fascinating piece, which relates it to the current state of British comedy. Apparently it's the everyday language we use which has no real communicative purpose, other than as social lubricant. "How are you?" for example.

The author argues that the current spate of catchphrase-driven British sketch comedy -- Little Britain, in particular -- serves as a source of this odd form of communication. Instead of being, you know, funny, the series simply offers chunks of material that we can understand and relate to, then repeats them until their real meaning is one of recognition, rather than surprise. We can repeat the catchphrases to our compatriots, having the same effect as the show.

As a thesis, it's a bit of a stretch, but it's a wonderful idea that captures some important qualities of a certain type of comedy.


Podcast: The College Years: David Cross, Reel Big Fish and Adam West's Divine Hand


The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.

Jordan and Gene make a go of it without Jesse, and instead stack the show with content! Indie comedy god David Cross makes his first (and, to date, only) TSOYA appearance, but only until his phone cuts off. Then ska-rockers Reel Big Fish help close out the show. Also, the great radio drama, "The Divine Hand of Adam West!" opens the show.

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Woody Allen Shot A Moose


Here's a TV clip of Woody Allen's legendary moose routine. A perfect example of Allen's standup -- carefully crafted, strong authorial vision, clearly the work of a guy who wrote 1000 gags a week for a living. It's amazing to me how completely dated this is, yet how fresh and funny it remains. It's dated 1965.

(Via JumboDump)

Podthoughts by Ian Brill: "Hey We're Back with Jonathan Katz"


I have a rule on Podthoughts that I don’t review a show until it has a solid back catalog. I don’t want to lead people to a show and then have it become yet another podcast where the host just hangs it up for whatever reason. This time I make an exception and I think you’ll understand why.

Our own Jesse Thorn [guilty as charged - ed.] has apparently convinced Jonathan Katz of “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist” and “Home Movies” to break into the podcasting game. Now Katz gives us “Hey, We’re Back,” two episodes of which have been posted as of August 25th. When people think of Katz they think, mostly because of the way he talks, of comedy where the jokes come out softly and slowly. It’s a surprise then that “Hey We’re Back” (iTunes) is a show that moves incredibly fast. Both episodes are about six minutes but crammed with a handful of sketches. The frantic pace of the show, it’s brilliantly edited, gives the each episode a lively feel. There’s simply no room for a dull moment or jokes that don’t land.

The pace might be a change for those used to Katz’s television work but the humor certainly isn’t. Katz’s demeanor and choice of subjects has his come off as an NPR host who has gone a bit of off-kilter. He’ll introduce the premise of a sketch in his soft voice, most of the time with a question he has. The last sketch of the first show has Katz interviewing actors who are “reenactors” (this includes Katz’s television collaborator Tom Snyder, who also appears on the second show). Both shows have started with prank calls to telephone director operators, and they have to be the smartest, most inventive crank calls recorded. Even a comedy trope based around annoying people sounds sweet and comfy when Katz is in control.

I look forward to more episodes of “Hey, We’re Back.” Katz has already established his own strange radio universe, just listen to how he starts every show as if it’s already in progress. If you’re looking for something that’s very funny and you can listen to in its entirety on a smoke break then “Hey, We’re Back” is for you.

This weekend in Austin:

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This weekend, The Sound of Young America is proud to sponsor the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas. They collect many of the best improv and sketch groups from around that country, have a festival, and oh yeah... a mini golf tournament. If you're in Austin, this is a once-a-year opportunity that's not to be missed. The festivities begin tonight!

Podcast: Paul F. Tompkins

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Paul F. Tompkins has been performing standup comedy for over twenty years. He's perhaps best known as a castmember of HBO's Mr. Show, and as a talking head on VH1, Real Time with Bill Maher and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He's just released his first standup CD, called "Impersonal," on AST Records.

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