Podcast: Scharpling & Wurster, 2-3-05


The Sound of Young America: The Legacy Collection is an effort to highlight some of the older shows in our vast audio archive. We were pretty much podcasting before anyone actually listened to podcasts, so I'm guessing you haven't heard these shows.

This week, it's an hour-long visit with our friends Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster, of The Best Show on WFMU. The Best Show is a weekly three-hour decent into madness. Tom hosts, and a variety of oddballs -- many real, some imagined -- call in to discuss their problems, play on-air games and discuss their insular world. Tom is generally a genial host, but when provoked, he transforms into a despot, wielding his catchphrase, "GET OFF MY PHONE" at any and all offending parties.

TBSOWFMU is best known for Wurster's calls. Jon assumes one of a variety of personae and calls Tom, often with a perfectly reasonable comment or response to a question or contest. Slowly, over the course of twenty or thirty minutes, things spin out of control. Often, Tom is left incredulously blubbering his dissent in response to a stream of bizarre proclomations on the other side of the phone.

This episode of The Sound of Young America features an interview with Jon & Tom as well as a selection of material from one of the compilation CDs they release on their label, Stereolaffs.

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

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Podcast: Beyond the Fringe


The Sound of Young America: The Legacy Collection is an effort to highlight some of the older shows in our vast audio archive. We were pretty much podcasting before anyone actually listened to podcasts, so I'm guessing you haven't heard these shows.

This program is an hour-long look at the scions of UK comedy, Beyond the Fringe. Through a stage show and LP, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller changed the course of satire in the UK and abroad.

We talk about Beyond the Fringe with a curator from the Museum of Television and Radio, and play examples of their work.

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

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Well here's some encouraging news.


Quoth Variety:

"Knocked Up" is uproarious. Line for line, minute to minute, writer-director Judd Apatow's latest effort is more explosively funny, more frequently, than nearly any other major studio release in recent memory. Indeed, even more than the filmmaker's smash-hit sleeper "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," his new pic is bound to generate repeat business among ticketbuyers who'll want to savor certain scenes and situations again and again, if only to memorize punchlines worth sharing with buddies. Currently set for a June 1 release, this hugely commercial comedy likely will remain in megaplexes throughout the summer and, possibly, into the fall.

Full review here.

(thanks Lindsay!)

Jacobus of the 14th Century: Faeries Dispute


Vlogger Jacobus of the 14th Century discusses a dispute with his compatriot Reginald on the topic of Faeries.

More Jacobus here.

Old Fashioned Fun!


Thanks to The Coming for this one... The Human Giant show is fast approaching, and I couldn't be happier for those guys. We'll get them on our airwaves, don't worry.

Our sponsor: Project Breakout


If you've been listening to JJGo and TSOYA lately, you've heard announcements about our new sponsor, Project Breakout.

Here's the deal:

They're a new company, and their idea is to be like American Idol crossed with YouTube. They're doing online video talent contests in a variety of fields, like dancing and film-making. The contests have both voting and judges, and culminate with the winner receiving a prize that furthers their career.

Their trial run is a comedy contest. The prize is a trip to New York City to participate in Sketchfest NYC (of which TSOYA is a sponsor), as well as a three-day intensive mentorship with the great folks behind Sketchfest NYC. The goal is to get you in front of industry, and teach you how to capitalize on your opportunities -- how to make packets, how to put on shows, etc etc etc.

I'm one of the judges for the competition, and I'd love to see really great stuff. I know a lot of talented folks listen to TSOYA and read this blog -- in fact, that's one of the reasons that the Project Breakout folks chose this show to sponsor.

So if you have video, visit their site and enter it in the competition. You don't lose your rights to it or anything, it's equivalent to uploading it to YouTube or something. Nothing is too good or too bad for the process -- the whole idea is to cast a wide net and filter out some stuff that deserves more exposure.

Upload here:

(And hey, if you're interested in underwriting on the radio show or podcast, or advertising on the website, let's talk about it. Email me.)

Paul F. Tompkins hits Comedy Central Friday!


One of the funniest men on the planet, Paul F. Tompkins has a brand new Comedy Central Presents special, which premiers Friday night at 10PM (9 Central). Above, he discusses new dads. Also above, he is dressed like the Jack Nicholson joker.

Previously on TSOYA:
Goofaround Gang with Paul F. Tompkins, Tim & Eric and Will Franken

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse Go! Ep. 15: Growing Up


In this week's Jordan Jesse GO!, our far-ranging interests are indulged.

Jesse and Jordan are in the middle of a bar fight. Also: they briefly discuss dogs, Ninten- and otherwise.
Phony Ethnicities
Jesse and Jordan complain about people who claim ethnic identities in order to get drunk on St. Patrick's Day. Just get drunk, don't be an asshole.

Jordan Sings
Jordan sings.

Grown Up

We discuss what it means to be a grown up, with help from a number of way-cool listeners.


Our friend Mike Pesca of NPR's Day-to-Day runs down his opinion of the Djimoun Honsou v. Chiwetel Ojieyofor debate. (Did I spell that right? Probably not.)


Mostly just the action items, I guess.

* What drink would taste better carbonated?
* Contest: call our hotline and tell us the story of a premiere or debut. You could win a This American Life poster autographed by Ira Glass!
* The High Five Contest ends March 31st!


* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

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Download Episode Fifteen

Hear Episode Fifteen

Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

The Sound of Young America and Jordan Jesse GO! are supported in part by Project Breakout!

"Box Office Poison"


This was the funniest thing I've ever seen on television, or at least on a talk show. I don't think I thought or talked about anything other than this for three solid weeks after I saw it. God bless Norm Macdonald, and God bless Conan O'Brien for going with it.

"Viral Marketing" at its worst.


I just got an email from, an online video fartfest for young men. I presume they contacted me because I've posted about Sacha Baron Cohen and Borat before -- they're running a "viral" ad campaign (disguised as content) for the DVD release of Borat.

I once saw Heavy's co-founder, Simon Asaad, speak at a podcasting convention. It was a formative experience for me in the way that I view media, and particularly media on the internet. He took the dais and let it rip - berating the podcasters in attendance for working for free, and specifically for allowing their personal interests and passions to determine the nature of their work.

Then he ran down his company's achievements -- it's sort of a lowest-common-denominator video site -- taking particular note of the huge check Burger King had given them to host a "viral video" contest in which young men did various outrageous things while wearing Burger King masks. If I could pick one word to describe the tone of his speach, it would be "taunting." His main message: if you're not completely outrageous, your work is worthless. If you're paying for content, or paying content creators, you're worthless. There isn't, and shouldn't be, a line between advertising and content. The talk shocked and sickened me.

I'm certainly not against commercialization -- witness the advertisement to the right of this post. In fact, I was at the panel to learn about monetizing content -- which many of the non-offensive panelists on either side of Assad had also done. I'm not even against outrageousness -- Ze Frank is outrageous, it's one of the reasons he's so succesful. What I am against is duplicity. I don't like tricking people into advertising for you, or taking huge checks to blur the line between content and brand marketing. What happened to morality?

So imagine my dismay when I got this email:

Dear Jesse:

So we have the privilege of hosting the official Borat’s Videotime Contest — a Borat impersonation video contest — here on Heavy until March 30. I was hoping that the Sound of Young America would give this momentous event a shout out as Fox doesn’t seem to be doing much in the way of spreading the word. This promotion is part of a larger campaign for the DVD release of Borat (the movie) and the winner will be awarded a $3,500 cash prize. We’re hoping that this promotion will help resurrect some of the Borat-mania we’ve all enjoyed over the past couple months... After all, Borat’s exploits — and Sacha Baron Cohen’s multiple acts at large – unmask some interesting aspects of Americana and I wouldn’t want so see any such opportunities wasted.

The rules and regulations, along with the video submission upload page, can be found at .

I sure hope this is newsworthy to you and to your readership! Please let me know what you think.

With kind regards,
XXX XXX, etc etc etc

I wrote back:

You mention that "Fox doesn't seem to be spreading the word." I should presume that Heavy is not being paid by Fox to host the contest?

The Sound of Young America

The rep wrote back:

Fox is sponsoring this but we’re responsible for all the organization and prizing etc. Again, this is part of a larger campaign we’re running for them in conjunction with the DVD release of Borat. Your thoughts?

Here are my thoughts: Borat, the film, was succesful because it was outrageously good. It "went viral," becoming a popular topic of public discourse, for the same reason. I even participated in it, posting about the film, character, and even discussing it on a national radio show.

I don't have a problem with lots of people making lots of money off of this -- in fact, I think it's a great idea. Larry Charles, the film's director, just signed a big-money Hollywood deal to develop TV shows. Sacha Baron Cohen has gone from cult star to star star. Fox is basically printing money with the DVD release. There's a sequel in the works.

But do you really have to lie about it? Is misinformation the best way to spread a great idea?

I wrote to the person:

My thoughts are that this kind of marketing is duplicitous, manipulative and really unfortunate. It's a crass commercialization of young people's creativity.

I would feel better about it if you weren't misrepresenting it as some sort of grassroots struggle. I'm not against advertisements, or contests, but I would never run something like this on my website, represent it as "of the people," and disguise the fact that it's a bought-and-paid-for commercial enterprise.

It's my hope that as this kind of marketing grows in popularity, so will our defenses against it. I hope great ideas will spread, and bought-and-paid-for ones will not. We can ask the Simon Assaads of the world to stop, but their greed won't let them. When we face this kind of deception, we need to take responsibility for standing up and being counted: this bullshit has to stop.

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