Never Not Funny

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Brett Gurewitz, Jimmy Pardo, Maya Rudolph, Gretchen Lieberum

Brett Gurewitz
Jimmy Pardo
Maya Rudolph
Gretchen Lieberum
Mark Frauenfelder

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Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz on Songwriting, the Rise of Punk, and Making Christmas Music

When Brett Gurewitz and his high school friends Greg Graffin, Jay Bentley and Jay Ziskrout joined up in 1979 to form the punk band Bad Religion, their biggest dream was to maybe play a backyard party.

Over thirty years later, Brett continues to play guitar and write for Bad Religion and has owned the thriving Epitaph Records label for almost as long. Still busy producing music, Bad Religion released their album True North in January and just put out their first holiday-themed album, Christmas Songs. However, it was a long journey between time spent playing in a garage and their days routinely selling out stadiums.

The band’s first shot at mainstream success came in 1994 with Stranger Than Fiction, which featured the singles Infected and 21st Century (Digital Boy).

This week, Brett talks to guest host Jordan Morris about musical influences (from The Adolescents to Elton John), what money often means for punk music, and creating the sound of a Christmas album.

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Cookie Making and Geek Dating with Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of BoingBoing, which bills itself as a "directory of wonderful things" and the host of the Gweek podcast. He joins us to share some of his recent finds.

This week, it’s the deceptively simple-looking web game Cookie Clicker and the surprisingly practical tome The Geek's Guide to Dating by Eric Smith.

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"I Wish I’d Made That": Talking about Prince's Purple Rain with Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum

Have you ever felt creative envy? Maybe you've listened to a song or watched a movie or and thought "I wish I'd made that!"? We've been there too. In this segment, we talk to creative people about the works that have inspired them, and maybe made them feel a little envious, too.

This week, we talked to Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live, Bridesmaids) and singer-songwriter Gretchen Lieberum to discuss the thing they wish they’d made: the 1984 rock drama Purple Rain.

We caught up with Maya and Gretchen at Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme where they performed in their Prince cover band, Princess.

And if you missed our first installment of "I Wish I'd Made That" with Fred Armisen, check it out here.

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Jimmy Pardo on Showbiz Dreams, "The Toast Theory", and Perfecting Rapid-Fire Improvisation

Maybe there's a reason comedian Jimmy Pardo can go from pleasing date-night crowds in Cleveland to alternative comedy aficionados in Los Angeles. He's not a straight-up joke teller, with one-liners he's finessed over years and years of re-telling. Instead, he specializes in seemingly effortless crowdwork. Pardo’s material is fresh and spontaneous, with every show a unique blend of practiced bits and riffed interaction.

This week, Pardo talks with Jesse about his career in full, from a third-grade illustration of his dream career (a picture of a spotlight on a microphone) to adjusting his routine for the digital age. He delves into working as the opening comedian for Conan, his struggles with alcohol abuse, and the complete conviction he shows to a joke.

You can hear Jimmy Pardo on his new comedy album Sprezzatura or catch him on his podcast Never Not Funny, now in its thirteenth season.

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The Outshot: Superman for All Seasons

Okay, so Superman can seem a little square and maybe holier-than-thou. Although he's from another planet, he embodies what it means to be a virtuous, hard-working American. He’s unconditionally virtuous and, regardless of the consequences, always makes the moral decision.

This week, Jordan Morris recommends Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s 1998 comic book Superman for All Seasons for its attempt to represent the Man of Steel as less superhero, more human.

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 202: Hot-To-Trot with Matt Belknap

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Never Not Funny and's Matt Belknap treks to the Mountain Chalet to talk with Jordan and Jesse about natural disasters in Los Angeles, charitable giving and the shopping experience at Radio Shack. 'Tis the season!

Backstage at Pardcastathon


Backstage at Pardcastathon 2010: comedy legends Tom Dreesen and Sarah Silverman, marginal public radio host Jesse Thorn. Photo by Steve Agee. Check out some more here.



Our friends from Never Not Funny are hosting a 12-hour marathon broadcast to raise money for Smile Train, a charity which performs cleft palate surgery on third-world children. The show just began, and ends at 6AM Pacific. Watch and donate!

The Pardcastathon is Coming!


For the second year, our friends at Never Not Funny are hosting a marathon, live-streaming show to benefit the charity Smile Train. Catch the show at on Friday starting at 6PM pacific -- and ending at 6AM pacific. The show features lots of their favorite guests... I won't give any hints, but I will say that I'm in Southern California for Thanksgiving this year.


(photo by Liezl)

Jon Hamm Visits Never Not Funny


Our friends at the wonderful comedy podcast Never Not Funny were visited last week by their good friend Jon Hamm. When he's not being nominated for Emmy awards, Hamm has a been a long-time friend of the Los Angeles comedy community, and he's a very funny fellow. To mark the occaision, Never Not Funny decided to release the show for free (they usually charge a little less than a dollar an episode). I look forward to Never Not Funny every week, and this is a great chance to give a great show a great listen.

You can download the show directly from this link. Visit to subscribe and get the other two dozen or so great episodes from this season for twenty bucks.

Walking for Andrew Koenig


At the beginning of this year, we lost Andrew Koenig to suicide. Andrew was the video producer for Never Not Funny, a podcast hosted by our good friends Jimmy Pardo and Matt Belknap. He was also Jimmy's brother-in-law. Andrew was a kind man and is fondly remembered by us and remains loved dearly by his family.

Today, I got an email from a listener named Laura Geryk. Like a lot of folks, she knew and loved Andrew through Never Not Funny. Sadly, the week Andrew died, Laura also lost a coworker, BB to suicide.

To remember Andrew and BB, she's walking in a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We hope you'll support her efforts to bring suicide "out of the darkness."

We're everywhere...


This week, we're really getting around to a few of our favorite podcasts.

I'm the guest on this week's Never Not Funny with Jimmy Pardo and Matt Belknap. You can listen to the free version of the show here. That's the first twenty minutes or so. Of course, if you want to listen to the whole thing, you'll have to become a Primo subscriber. For twenty bucks, you get six months worth of Never Not Funny. As our pal Nathan Rabin of the AV Club tweeted a couple days ago: "I cannot recommend the premium Never Not Funny subscription highly enough. What a joy."

Jordan and I also appeared on this week's season finale of the comedy series Superego. Also guesting on the big finale were Paul F. Tompkins, Tom Scharpling and more. It's a truly crazy show, and one we both like a lot. In fact, we're using some of their stuff on The Sound of Young America. Worth your time!

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