comedy

Podcast: World of Wonder with Terry Gilliam and Chris Elliott

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Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, two men who hold the keys to WORLDS OF WONDER.

Chris Elliott came to prominence in the early 1980s as the buffoonish foil on "Late Night with David Letterman." His career has also included the cult sitcom "Get A Life" and film "Cabin Boy," as well as several seasons on the hit sitcom "Everybody Love Raymond." Most recently, he's become an author, and his absurd 19th century mystery, "The Shroud of the Thwacker," has just been released in paperback. Be sure to take a listen to our special bonus questions for Chris for comedy nerd insider info on his specials, "Action Family" and "FDR: The One Man Show," among other stuff.

Then we speak with Terry Gilliam. Since his days as a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, he's directed many acclaimed films, including "Brazil," "Time Bandits," "The Fisher King," and "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas." His most recent film, "Tideland," a dark and disturbing fairy tale, is in theaters now.

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Bonus: Extra Questions for Chris Elliott


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Previously on The Sound of Young America:
Holiday Party with Chris Elliott (MP3)
Joke Warfare with Monty Python's Terry Jones

Podcast: Let's Put On A Show!

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Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, two folks who've put on a (TV) show.

Joe Flaherty trained at the Second City for seven years before he helped launch the seminal sketch comedy series SCTV. Along with castmates like Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and John Candy, he helped shepherd the show from three stations in Canada to US network television.

Allison Silverman is supervising producer and co-head writer of The Colbert Report. It seems hard to believe now, but a year ago, when Silverman left Late Night with Conan O'Brien to help create the Report, it was a dicey bet. Today, it's one of the most popular shows on Comedy Central, and Colbert has become an influential cultural icon.

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Below: NAACP Chairman Julian Bond visits The Colbert Report

Podcast: Comedy-copia

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America is a cornucopia of laffs. I'm still working like crazy getting ready for a big move to LA, so it's comedy from the vault on this show.

Jokes from:
Jonathan Coulton
Hard N Phirm
The Hazzards
Mike Birbiglia
Todd Barry
Marc Maron
& Brent Weinbach (did I forget anyone? Hope not.)

(by the way, this hits the podcast feed late tonight, but I'm out of town now)

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Podcast: Chuck Klosterman and Dave Foley

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Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America: two guys I've always wanted to have on the show.

Chuck Klosterman is one of America's funniest and most perceptive writers on popular culture. His best-selling books "Fargo Rock City," "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs," and most recently "Killing Yourself to Live" are favorites for hipsters across the nation. We talk with Chuck about what rock journalism means to him, and how he deals with being a grown-up who cares about music like an 18-year-old.

Dave Foley is one of our finest comic actors. He co-founded the Kids in the Hall, whose television show re-introduced weirdness into the world of sketch comedy. Shortly thereafter, he landed the lead role in Newsradio, one of the finest sitcoms of the 1990s. Lately, he's made a living hosting a celebrity poker show as well as acting and writing. Believe it or not, he's a Sound of Young America listener.

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Podcast: The Indies

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Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, we look at the indie spirit.

Animator Bill Plympton has always worked independently, creating both short and feature-length animated films. He draws every frame himself, and his absurd humor has netted him two Oscar nominations. He also recently created a music video for Kanye West, about which he talks in our bonus interview. His most recent release is "Plymptoons: The Complete Early Works of Bill Plympton," which includes his Oscar-nominated "Your Face."

Our second guest is Doug Martsch, from the indie rock group Built to Spill. Since coming out of the Seattle rock scene in the early 1990s, Built to Spill have been one of the most important and influential bands in the indie/alternative rock movement. Martsch is considered by many to be the heir to J Mascis' alterna-rock guitar god throne. We talk with Doug about his nearly 20-year career in rock, and why he was never able to support himself with music until he signed to a major label. The band has a new album, "You in Reverse," and is currently on tour.

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Bonus Interviews with Bill Plympton Here

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Podcast: What's Wrong with America

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America is all about what's wrong with this country. And maybe a little about what could be right.

Our first guest is Henry Owings. Henry's the creator of Chunklet Magazine, and the editor of Chunklet's new book, "The Overrated Book." He talks with us about where he finds enough darkness in his heart to oversee the composition of an entire book about things that are overrated -- and to make a list of 1000 overrated things. Contributors to the book include Brian Posehn, Bob Odenkirk, and Neal Pollack.

We also talk with George Saunders. Saunders has published a number of critically acclaimed books, including "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline" and his most recent, "In Persuasion Nation." George talks about his education as a geophysicist, the stigma of humor in literature, and much more.

Bonus reading from "In Persuasion Nation" and interview audio

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A few suggested links:
George Saunders Land (exhaustive Saunders fansite)
Chunklet Radio Podcast on MySpace
George Saunders on This American Life, reading "Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz"
George Saunders on This American Life, reading "The 400 Pound CEO"

Podcast: Put-Ons

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America returns to familiar territory -- pranks and put-ons. We visit with a couple of old friends of the show who are geniuses of the field.

Our first guest is Matt Walsh. Matt's probably best known for being a founder of the Upright Citizens' Brigade. He was also a correspondent on The Daily Show, and has been seen in films like "Old School." His new series on Comedy Central, Dog Bites Man, is a hybrid of many genres. It follows a fictitious Spokane TV news team through real-life America. They interview real people while playing out a fictional storyline. They've gone to the Southern Republican convention and to a KKK picnic. The show was created by Dan Mazer, the co-creator of Da Ali G Show.

We also talk with Charlie Todd, the creator of a group called Improv Everywhere. Charlie's group stages massive street pranks in New York City, but they eschew pranks with victims. Instead, they focus on creating amazing experiences for ordinary people, and then dissapear -- without revealing their identity.

Also, we hear a street prank from Coyle & Sharpe, a remarkable pair of put-on artists who hosted a local AM radio show in San Francisco in the mid 1960s. Mal Sharpe was a comedian and radio man; James Coyle was a professional con artist. Together, they created some of the most amazing street pranks in history. We hear "Maniacs in a Living Hell" from their amazing CD "Coyle & Sharpe: Audio Visionaries." (Buy It)

Also: as part of our continuing partnership with Sketchfest NYC, we hear a brief sketch from Portland-based sketch group The Third Floor.

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Podcast: Goofaround Gang

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast looks at a few of our favorite goofs with the theme "Goofaround Gang."

We first hear from comedian Will Franken. Will performs a unique form of solo theater comedy -- essentially performing comedy sketches by himself. He's been voted the best comedian in San Francisco by the SF Weekly, and the "Best Alternative to Pyschadelic Drugs" by the SF Bay Guardian. Will talks about his future, and performs a sketch. Be sure to check below for a "too hot for the radio" sketch from Will.

Our second guest is comedian Paul F. Tompkins. These days, Paul is best known as a VH1 "Fundit," but he's also been a regular on TV series including "Mr. Show," "The Daily Show," and "Real Time with Bill Maher." We talk with Paul about his career in funditry, and about his sideline hosting a cult-favorite stage variety show in Los Angeles.

Our final guests are Tim & Eric, the creators of the Cartoon Network [adult swim] series "Tom Goes to the Mayor." The series is a silly and incisive look at the tiny banalities of American life. They also provide a live demonstration of a favorite musical instrument.

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Download Will Franken's "Wet, Drippy P***ies"

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Bonus... here's the "Department of Special Projects" short T&E talk about on the show:

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Podcast: Career Killers

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Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast commemorates my recent layoff with the theme "Career Killers."

My first guest, Annabelle Gurwitch, is the former host of TBS' "Dinner and a Movie," and a comedienne. Her book, "Fired: Tales of the Canned, Cancelled, Downsized, & Dismissed" compiles stories of firings from folks like Felicity Huffman and David Cross. She herself was fired from a play by Woody Allen, who said her performance was "retarded." We talk with her about getting fired, some of the most interesting stories in the book (Jeff Garlin's is a doozy), and more. She's appearing at the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival May 19th and 20th with Robert Reich.

Our second guest, Dan Clowes, is the screenwriter for the new film Art School Confidential. More importantly, though, he's the creator of the long-running comic book title Eightball. Eightball was the birthplace of the film, as well as the home of the story which became "Ghost World." We talk with Dan about his experiences in art school, his artistic process, working with director Terry Zwigoff and more.

Also, a comedy sketch from Free Love Forum.

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Podcast: Jonathans

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Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, we visit with two great Jonathans -- Katz and Goldstein.

Our first talk is with Jonathan Goldstein. Goldstein is the author of the novel "Lenny Bruce is Dead," which is story of a young man, his romances, and the death of his mother. The story is told non-sequentially in brief vignettes, often no more than three or four sentences in length.

Jonathan is also a contributing editor for This American Life, and the producer of the CBC's Wiretap. The latter is a show composed entirely of telephon conversations -- some real, many semi-fictional.

We also talk this week with Jonathan Katz, comedian and creator of "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist," which is out on DVD May 9th. We talk with him about making the show, and interestingly, about his long-standing relationship with David Mamet. We also hear a segment from his semi-fictional radio show, "We're Back."

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Music This Week

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Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Season 1
Jonathan Goldstein's Lenny Bruce is Dead
David Mamet's House of Games
David Mamet's Things Change
Jonathan Katz's "To-Do Lists of the Dead"

Previously on The Sound of Young America Blog

"You're On The Air with Jonathan Katz"

See Also
This American Life - "Spies Like Us" (features Jonathan Goldstein's lobbycam story)
Unofficial Wiretap MP3 Archive

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