TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 517: Amicus Beef

Casey says that Sean’s antics at baseball games cause great stress. Antics like bringing in his own hot dogs! Sean says that he is well within his rights!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 517

Transcript

john hodgman

Hey, everyone! It's your judge, John Hodgman. As you know—or maybe you don't—it's MaxFunDrive! Specifically, the second and final week of #MaxFundDrive. These are the two weeks—this is the second one!—in which we come to you and ask for your support for the community of artist-owned, listener-supported podcasts that make up Maximum Fun. You know, membership support is so important for this show. And all the shows on the Maximum Fun network! And this is the best time to join if you're not already a member—or if you are a member, to upgrade your membership to the next level, or just boost your membership by a dollar or two. All of it goes to get us closer to the goal of making Maximum Fun a sustaining community of great podcasts for you. Now, we'll talk more about this later in the show. But why not just get it outta the way now? Go to MaximumFun.org/join. You'll feel better. I'll feel better. MaximumFun.org/join. Okay. Now here's the show.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week: "Amicus Beef." Casey files suit against his friend Sean. They go to baseball games together a lot. Casey says that Sean’s antics at the games cause him stress. One of the more appalling antics, says Casey, is the time Sean brought his own hot dogs into the stadium. Sean says bringing your own hot dogs is well within your rights. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Only one can decide.

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and presents an obscure cultural reference.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

john

The Judge John Hodgman podcast had a longstanding and valued relationship with the Dodgers. After the 2019 season, the Judge John Hodgman podcast made the difficult business decision not to renew its contract with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, through the latest contract negotiations, we were unable to come to an agreement that was beneficial for both parties. Bailiff Jesse Thorn, please swear the litigants in.

jesse

Casey, Sean, please rise and raise your right hands.

sound effect

[Chairs scrape.]

jesse

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or whatever?

sean

I do.

casey

I do.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, despite the fact that he served as a historical consultant on Ken Burns' landmark documentary series Baseball?

sean

I do.

casey

Yes. I do.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

Yes, Jesse, that's right. I was a paid expert on the Baseball documentary. You may remember the one episode that was devoted entirely to my giving the oral history of the... four baseball games I have seen in my life. [Jesse laughs.] Three of them Major League Baseball games.

jesse

John, I think you are probably best known for having given Ken Burns that one Walt Whitman quote where he says, "In our sundown perambulations about Brooklyn of late, we have happened upon several games of 'base'. A certain game of ball." [Jesse and John laugh.]

john

Yep! That was me. [Chuckles.] I'm looking forward to baseball this summer. The Portland Sea Dogs are back, Jesse Thorn! Portland, Maine's—one of their mine—I-don't-know-how-many-A's team.

jesse

I think that's a Triple-A team, John.

john

Triple-A team! Probably training recruits for a Major League Baseball team would be my guess. I don't know which one!

jesse

Yeah, seems fair to me.

john

I have been to a Cyclones game, out there in Coney Island. That was fun. Those are fun games! Baseball's a fun game!

jesse

Yeah.

john

To sit around and not pay attention to.

jesse

You know who, uh, the Cyclones' greatest star is?

john

No, who's the Cyclones' greatest star?

jesse

"Grandpa" Al Lewis, best known from his work on The Munsters.

john

[Laughing] Oh, boy.

jesse

Yeah. Also known for his work on Coney Island.

john

You can sit in the stands and—and watch the ocean waves, and not watch the baseball. That's the beauty of Brooklyn’s Cyclones Stadium. I love basebaaall!

jesse

That's the beauty of all baseball, John! You don't have to watch the baseball! That's what's so great about it. [Stifles laughter.]

john

It's calming and therapeutic. [Stifles laughter.] I'll tell you something. I just had lunch—[stifles laughter]—with a person I cannot name, because they are part of a scientific project at a major university. Where for the past three years they have been, as a test subject, going through psychotherapy with a trained analyst—which is great—specifically, under the influence of clinically administered ketamine. And I was like, "I'm in. I'm a grown-up." [Laughs.] "I know therapy is good intrinsically, but I can't seem to get myself there. If you wanna upsell me with a ketamine lozenge, I'll be there." But now I feel like, why is there not psychotherapy at baseball games? Where you go out to the baseball game with your therapist, and just talk the entire time?

jesse

I found out recently, John, that our MaxFun colleague—and it is MaxFunDrive time—

john

It is indeed.

jesse

—so this is the kind of thing that your support is going to.

john

That's right.

jesse

Our MaxFun colleague Dave Holmes does therapy with his therapist, and they're both on surfboards.

john

I think that there's a lot of different kinds of therapy that I didn't know about!

jesse

In the ocean! I wanna be clear—in the ocean. It's not just a weird office.

john

No. [Stifling laughter] No, no, no. Although, it could be—could be a tank. Could be a pool.

jesse

Yeah. [Laughs.] They just—"I'm renting this from the folks at Hobie."

john

[Laughs.] Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute! We have a podcast to do! Sean and Casey, you may be seated.

sound effect

[Chairs scrape.]

john

For an immediate summary judgment in one of yours' favors, can either of you name the piece of culture that I referenced as I entered the courtroom?

casey

I believe that is the—

john

[Pointedly] Go ahead, Casey.

casey

Oh, sor—excuse me.

john

No, that's alright! Look. You're familiar with the format, because you are... a Maximum Fun producer. Is that not so?

casey

That is correct.

john

You are a—a member of the family.

casey

I am.

john

The community, which is the theme of this MaxFunDrive.

casey

Yes.

john

And yet I am not recusing myself. Because... why? I can judge this fairly. [Someone laughs quietly.] I'm an expert in baseball. Casey, what programs are you affiliated with in the Maximum Fun community?

casey

Currently I am the producer for The Untitled Ify, Drea, & Alonso Project.

john

Terrific.

casey

Which is a movie podcast.

john

Yes.

casey

And we're actually holding a naming contest currently, to rename the show.

john

And you say you are currently working on that show because you expect to be fired. Those are the stakes, Casey. If I find against you, you are fired.

casey

Oh, okay.

john

Sean—oh, wait a minute. What was your guess, Casey?

casey

Oh, I think that was the press release from Farmer John's Hot Dogs about breaking ties with Dodger Stadium.

john

Okay. Press release from Farmer John's Hot Dogs about breaking ties with Dodger Stadium, because... they supplied the hot dogs?

casey

Yes.

john

That's your guess? Sean, what is your guess?

sean

Okay. That was also my guess, as well.

john

Oh! Okay. Same guess. Doesn't happen often.

casey

Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

sean

[Wincing inhale.] Augh. I wish I was called on first. Now it seems like I'm copying Casey. But that is my guess.

john

Well... Here's a question. _[_Sean laughs.] Here's a question for you, Sean. Are you employed by Maximum Fun? Do you work at Maximum Fun on any shows?

sean

I have no affiliation with Maximum Fun.

john

This is the sound of a gavel.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

I find in Casey's favor. [Sean laughs.]

jesse

Wow.

john

Look. I had a feeling you two baseball... brains would know what I was referring to! That big news in the world of baseball food—breaking chews (news), as our friends over at the Doughboys would say—in the past couple of weeks! Long-term supplier of hot dogs to Dodger Stadium for their famous Dodger Dog, Farmer John, is no longer supplying hot dogs. They have not yet announced who will be commissioned by the Queen of Hot Dogs to supply the royal hot dogs— [Someone laughs quietly, John stifles laughter.] —to Dodger Stadium, but they are—even though they haven't announced it, they're still serving hot dogs, I would imagine.

jesse

The good news, John, is that the legendary Dodger Dogs of Dodger Stadium are exactly the same as all other hot dogs. [John laughs.] Slightly longer. That's the big difference between Dodger Dogs and non-Dodger Dogs.

john

Let me say, I did a—a fair amount of Dodger Dog research coming up, because this case revolves around hot dogs at the baseball park. [Jesse laughs.] I was struck by how long those dogs were. I never knew that they were foot—like, foot-longs. Right?

jesse

I think they're less than a foot long. I think maybe ten inches, would be my guess.

john

The point I'm making is we're in the midst of this interim hot dog period at Dodger Stadium. I mean, you knew that Farmer John was supplying them before. There is a supplier yet to be announced. But right now—there's enough mystery in a hot dog to begin with. You don't need to have some questions about its provenance. [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.]

jesse

We don't need to—we don't need to be worried about what farmer will be bringing them to the stadium.

john

Even though you both technically guessed correctly, in that you referred to the subject that I was referring to, [stifles laughter] neither of you guessed the Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2021 article— [Multiple people laugh, John stifles laughter.] —entitled, "Say it ain’t so, Vin: Farmer John Dodger Dogs are no more," filed by Bill Shaikin at 4 a.m. Pacific Time. That is the only answer I would have accepted. [The litigants laugh.] And by the way, Farmer John is owned by Smithfield. So technically it was a Smithfield press release, so... I gotcha, sporties! Now we gotta hear this case. Casey, you seek justice here in this court before me. What is the nature of your complaint?

casey

So, Sean and I are good friends, and we go to—

john

Hoo, boy. Can I just say—

casey

Yes?

john

—I can attest to that. Because as usual when recording a podcast, the best stuff happens before we hit record. There was a ton of incredibly friendly intimate banter about, uh, what is it called? The Dash Egg Cooker?

casey

Yes.

john

Before we got into this. And I tried to get you—I said, "Save it for the air, you guys! This will prove that you are friends! Your friendly banter about the Dash Egg Cooker." But did you save it for the air? No, you ignored me. And you just kept talking about that egg cooker. And then Jesse came in, having just used the—the same egg cooker! [Someone laughs quietly.] And the three of you had friendly banter. And where was I? Left out. So... I don't even know what this egg cooker is. [Someone laughs quietly.]

jesse

You gotta get one of these cookers.

john

[Sighs.] Okay. You're good friends. You love eggs. What else?

casey

Yes. Well, I will just say that Sean actually gave me that Dash Egg Cooker as a gift.

john

I see. I see.

casey

That's how I first came in contact with the Dash Egg Cooker. So Sean and I are good friends—

john

Right.

casey

—and we go to baseball games together—

john

Sure.

casey

—frequently. I've probably gone to more baseball games with Sean than any other human. And... he frequently has little antics he likes to pull when we go to the Dodgers games that make me incredibly uncomfortable!

john

Little antics.

casey

Little antics.

john

Mm-hm.

casey

Major antic—the most troubling one—was when he brought in his own hot dogs from Costco, instead of purchasing the—the Dodger Dogs.

jesse

Wait! Which Costco? The Los Feliz Costco?

sean

There's actually a little bit of a—[chuckles quietly] of a disagreement. My memory is of bringing the hot dogs in, preparing them at home, uh, bringing them into a thermos in the car, and then transferring them into buns, and then bringing them into the park. But I had—

jesse

[Laughing] You brought a thermos full of hot dogs? [Multiple people are laughing.]

sean

Yes. But they don't—

john

That was my favorite Spin Doctors album, by the way. [Jesse and one or both litigants laugh.]

casey

There is video evidence of this, as well. This is captured on video.

john

We shall get to the evidence, Casey. [Sean laughs.]

casey

Okay. Okay.

john

The question is on the table: Did the hot dogs originate at Costco? [Stifles laughter.] And was it the Los Feliz Costco? 'Cause apparently this is a local Los Angeles podcast where I have no place!

sean

There is a Costco approximately 15 to 20 minutes' drive from Dodger Stadium. I pondered the notion of stopping by that Costco to procure the dogs, but at that point it seemed like too much work. It was easier for me just to make the dogs at home and bring them in.

john

Where were the dogs from?

sean

It's, uh, the Hebrew National brand, from the supermarket.

john

All-beef kosher hot dogs.

sean

Yes.

john

By the way, Sean. When I eat a hot dog... Hebrew National. It's the best.

sean

Nice. We're in agreement.

john

Really, really good hot dog. I don't know if it's any Farmer John; I've never had a Dodger Dog. Alright, so... You did send in some video evidence. Let's take a look at that. This will be posted on the Judge John Hodgman page at MaximumFun.org _[_adding the plug under his breath] /join. Jennifer Marmor, would you please share your screen, and share the video with us here in the virtual courtroom?

clip

Patrick Mallon**^: What's happening right now? Sean: [Laughing] I'm getting the dogs out from their—their temperature-controlled thermos. Patrick: [Chuckles.] And where did you get the hot dogs? Sean:** I'm sealing the surface—the thermos—for odors.

jesse

[Laughs.]

clip

Patrick: Where did you get the hot dogs? Sean: They're Hebrew Nationals. Patrick: From where? Sean: Actually—which actually taste better than Dodger Dogs. People don't know. [Patrick laughs.] [Tinfoil crinkling.] Sean: They're still hot. Ooh, they're hot to the touch. Feel. Touch. Patrick: Oh my god, these are fresh! [Clip audio is momentarily drowned out by laughter from the courtroom.]

jesse

[Laughing] He's wrapping them in foil! [Clip audio stops.] [Beat.] [Laughing] WHAT?! [Other people are laughing quietly. They get less quiet as Jesse speaks.] So—if—if anyone out there is imagining a system that makes sense, I wanna disabuse them of that idea. What Sean is holding is a commuter mug full of hot dogs. But we're talking about just bare, cooked dogs. Which he is fishing out with chopsticks and putting into a piece of foil that he brought?! Then turning that into a sort of dog brick. Which I presume he stuffs in his pants—[stifling laughter]—uh, Spinal Tap–style.

john

[Laughing] Yeah, exactly!

jesse

To sneak into the stadium!

john

You got really focused on the thermos there, Sean. [Multiple people laugh.] When—was that you who shot the video, Casey?

casey

No, that was my friend Patrick Mallon who shot that video and narrated it.

john

Okay. The focus on the thermos was taking everyone's attention away from the fact that you were using chopsticks to root hot dogs out of it. [One or both litigants laugh.] And then, you—it's like—this is one of these answers that only pose more questions. What happens after you put the hot dogs in the foil?

sean

Well, Dodger Stadium actually allows outside food into the park. As well as sealed water bottles.

john

Okay. Okay. Okay.

sean

Outside of that, obviously bringing in alcohol and things like that is not allowed.

john

Right.

sean

You're well within your rights, per stadium policy, to bring in outside food.

john

Really! Any food at all. Even the weirdest foil-wrapped hot dog. [Casey laughs quietly.]

sean

Yes! And that's actually a tradition from some local Italian delis, people bringing in subs, and I've seen people bring pizza into the park as well.

jesse

Are we talking here, Sean, about Eastside Italian Deli?

sean

That's the one!

john

Oh, boy. Local news with Jesse Thorn! And these guys! [Multiple people laugh quietly.] Favorite hotspots of Los Angeles! [Sighs.] I really can't wait to get ba—I'm just jealous. 'Cause I'd love to be there in Los Angeles and go to a baseball game with you, Jesse; that would be so much fun.

jesse

Let's go! Let's hit up Eastside Italian Deli, get some sandwiches with some...

john

Yeah!

jesse

...firemen.

john

Now that I know some of the tricks of the trade, I could get a sub sandw—oh, even better than this. I could get a hot dog... [John stifles laughter, Jesse laughs quietly.] ...hollow it out, and pour a gin martini in there. [The litigants and Jesse laugh.] Put a little—top it off.

jesse

Plug it.

john

Plug it with the plug.

jesse

Sammy Sosa–style.

john

Mm-hm. And then... none's the wiser! I got myself a gin dog!

jesse

Mm-hm.

john

Okay, Sean. [Stifles laughter.] You answered a question. [One of the litigants laughs.] But evaded the one that I asked. Are you eating these things bunless? You're just walking in with this foil packet of dogs, and then... just snacking on 'em with your fingees once you get in?

sean

Sure. Well, the whole system was designed to make sure that the dog would be as hot as possible when I was enjoying it in the stadium, so it came straight out of the insulated thermos with hot water, using chopsticks for sanitary reasons, naturally. And then wrapping them up in foil. And then when I got into the stadium, I would transfer the warm dogs into the bun— [One or more people are stifling laughter.] —and, uh, it was a nice, nice way of enjoying a hot hot dog.

john

Where was the bun?

sean

The bun was—was in a bag. Uh, separate.

john

Were you steaming it in a Dash Egg egg cooker that you had— [Multiple people are laughing.] —that you were charging off a solar panel?! [More laughter.]

jesse

I imagine Sean with all the buns underneath a ten-gallon hat. [Everyone laughs.] "Howdy!" On his way in.

sean

Inside my trench coat. That's where I store the—the buns.

john

So you're also bringing in your own buns. Are you bringing in your own condiments?

sean

Uh, I do not bring in my own condiments.

john

You just ate 'em bare. You ate these dogs bare?

sean

Well, this is where my case is on a little bit shaky footing, and I might have to throw myself on the mercy of the court. [Multiple people burst out laughing.]

jesse

Oh, this is, huh, Sean? Not the part where you're fishing hot dogs out of a thermos with some chopsticks! [More laughter.]

sean

Um, I—I have, uh, on occasion, uh, procured condiments from the condiment section of the stadium.

john

And you are concerned that I will deem that to be theft.

sean

Yes.

john

I see.

jesse

It's MaxFunDrive time, and we wanna tell you what you can get if you become a member of Maximum Fun. So let's take a break from the courtroom to do that. John! Happy MaxFunDrive! There's only a couple days left!

john

I have to say, the point of MaxFunDrive for me has always been the "fun" as much as the "fund." And this one has been among the most fun. [Both stifle laughter.]

jesse

Is that just 'cause you keep putting Dracula teeth on people on Instagram?

john

Yes! On my Instagram account @johnhodgman, I am, and have been, featuring photographs of members of the MaxFun community. It's the theme of this MaxFunDrive. I'm talking about your podcast hosts—also, behind-the-scenes folks! Producers, editors, office staff. All the people who are supported by your generous membership within MaxFun. They all look human to me, so I don't know what you're seeing.

jesse

Hm.

john

They just seem like regular, amazing humans who are part of this—[stifles laughter]—community. But playing with the community—both the community of MaxFun professionals, but also the community of listeners on the Reddit, on all social media and so forth—it's just part of what makes MaxFunDrive so much fun. And it really—you know, I really have been thinking a lot this year about the community, and the play that we get to—interplay we get to have with each other. And you know, it's good to join this community! Because not only do you have a good feeling, 'cause you're supporting all this, but you get stuff! So look. Membership at Maximum Fun starts at $5 a month. That already gets you all of the bonus content. Not that we just released this year! But over the past several years. So not only do you get the podcast that I recorded with your friend and mine, Jordan Morris, Shootin’ the Bries, the second episode of our quadrennial podcast about cheese, you also get the original podcast of Shootin' the Bries. [Stifles laughter.] Not only do you get Jesse and me and Jennifer Marmor watching Dracula, a favorite movie of mine—less so of Jesse's—and talking about it... We also have me and John Moe of the incredible new MaxFun podcast Depresh Mode, watching and talking about, uh, Destroy All Monsters, an incredible kaiju movie that I had not seen since I was a kid watching channel 56. That's just at the $5 a month level. Jesse, what if people decide to join or upgrade to the $10 a month level?

jesse

Well, that's the enamel pin level. These beautiful pins have been a mainstay of MaxFunDrives past. We create new ones every year with the help of the artist Megan Lynn Kott. They are only available in the MaxFunDrive. And there is one for literally every single Maximum Fun show. What do you think of the Judge John Hodgman one this year, John?

john

I think it's a—it's an important reminder that Draculas can get any job! It's a beautiful lapel pin with a picture of a Dracula on it, and the public service announcement surrounding that Drac's sad face: "Draculas can have any job." Remember it. Wear it. Let people know.

jesse

And if you're able to join MaxFun this year, remember that you're not just joining on your own behalf, but you're also joining on behalf of the folks who can't join MaxFun this year. One of the bedrock principles of Maximum Fun is that we try and give away our shows for free to everyone. We don't want to put up a paywall and prevent people from listening to our shows. And for that reason, when you become a member of Maximum Fun, and you enable the production of this show and other MaxFun shows all year round, you're also paying for listeners who aren't able to become members. And certainly this has been a tough year for a big segment of our population in the United States and the world. And so we are extra doubly grateful to folks who are able to become members becoming members, because it makes it possible for us to continue to share our work with everybody, irrespective of their means. That means a lot to me; I'm very proud of it.

john

And me as well! And if you go to MaximumFun.org/join, you can buy a gift membership for someone in your life who loves the podcasts but maybe, you know, can't afford to chip in right now. And that's certainly understandable.

jesse

Or even somebody who you don't know who loves the podcasts, and can't afford to chip in! You can buy them for an anonymous listener who is not yet a member because they can't afford to be. And we will match you up with that person. It's all at MaximumFun.org/join. But more important than all of those good feelings, John, is what you and Elliott Kalan have planned.

john

Right. So. Couple of MaxFunDrives ago, I got on a little idea spree. And I said—[stifles laughter]—without really consulting with our friend Elliott, cohost of the Flop House podcast on Maximum Fun. And my dear friend from way back in the Daily Show with Jon Stewart days. I said that if we reached a certain goal of new and upgrading and boosting members, that Elliott and I would record a special podcast about my favorite British historical miniseries from the 1970s, I, Claudius, and I would make Elliott watch it, 'cause he never had. And sure enough, the MaxFun community came through. We met our goal. And then Elliott and I had a tremendous amount of homework to do! [Stifles laughter.] We had to create a whole other podcast! [Jesse laughs quietly.] That was originally going to be members-only content, but we eventually released it to the world, because with the help of Jordan Kauwling—who was then a Maximum Fun production fellow, and now is an associate producer with the Flop House podcast, with FANTI—uh, she really transformed it into something much, much bigger and, you know, audio-licious than it deserved to be. [Jesse chuckles, John stifles laughter.] For a show about a—you know, a 1977 British miniseries that looked like it was shot in the basement. And the help of Jordan Kauwling's mom, Avis, who is a superstar.

john

I, Podius became one of the most excitingly fun, [stifles a chuckle] weird, unexpectedly great things that both Elliott and I—and I dare say Jordan as well—felt that we had the pleasure to be a part of. And it all happened because of a rash promise made during the exuberance of MaxFunDrive, emphasis on "fun." So we wanted to have more fun together. We have a very ambitious goal this—in this last week. Our goal as a network is to reach 28,000 new, upgrading, and boosting members. And, you know, we're working towards it! We're chugging along! But as an extra... incentive, shall we say... I'm here to announce to you that the Claud Squad will return. [Jesse snickers quietly.] But only under a certain condition. Our ultimate goal—28,000 new, upgrading, and boosting members. I want to talk about boosting a little later on. If we hit 25,000, the Claud Squad will reunite for one last job—maybe not last. Another one. And we will release a podcast covering Elliott Kalan's favorite movie, and one that Jordan and I both like but haven't seen for a long, long time... The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, starring Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw.

jesse

Once, I went to Elliott Kalan's house for his birthday. His birthday party was... him showing The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, his favorite movie, and giving a, uh—[laughing] what can only be described as a Turner Classic Movies–style introduction to the film. And I remember turning to my wife Theresa, and saying... [Stifles laughter.] "I can't imagine a worse idea than making your adult birthday party making other people watch your favorite movie after you give it an introduction," [laughing] but Elliott is so great, and this movie is so great, that he somehow pulled it off.

john

I mean, look. It's a terrible idea for a birthday party; it's a great idea for a podcast. 'Cause Taking of Pelham One Two Three, if you've not seen it is a great, exciting movie—

jesse

Absolutely. Oh, it's so great.

john

—about a subway heist in 1970s New York. It's got every character actor you—from New York in the seventies that you can even think of. With Walter Matthau—Wal—someone in a studio said, "Let's make Walter Matthau the leading man of this picture."

jesse

Yeah, and Walter Matthau said, "Let me see what I can do about that." [Laughs.] [Jesse makes wordless "harrumphing" sounds.]

john

You can read the Wikipedia page for TP123. I'm not gonna bore you about it now; I aim to bore you about it later. When we make the thing. When we hit 25,000 new, upgrading, and boosting members. Now, when you go to that Wikipedia page, you'll learn something that I learned that makes this even more exciting. Not only is there Taking Pelham One Two Three, TP123 orig—and maybe you knew in 2009, Tony Scott remade TP123 with Denzel Washington and John Travolta. So there's that that we could cover, too. I didn't know that it was based on a novel! TP123 the novel! Nor did I know that it was re-made as a TV miniseries between the two! 1998, Edward James Olmos—that's Captain Adama from BSG, Battlestar Galactica—and Vincent D'Onofrio! Who once... stood around staring at my kids when they had a lemonade stand in Park Slope years ago. [John and Jesse laugh.]

jesse

[Laughing] Not buying a lemonade?

john

Nope. Just holding a cigarette behind his back, observing at a safe distance. Nothing—nothing creepy—

jesse

[Laughing] Sure.

john

He was just being Vincent D'Onofrio; that's—that's what you want. [Laughs.]

jesse

Yeah. [Laughing] Right.

john

That's what you want from Vincent D'Onofrio. I wanna get him on this podcast. I wanna talk to him about that. But here's the deal. Right? We wanna do a podcast that covers all of this media. The whole panoply of the TP123-iverse. In fact, we wanna break down TP123 into two episodes. So if you get us to 25k, we'll do TP123. But only the first half. If you get us to 28k— [Clap.] Unlocks everything! TP123 '74. TP123 '98. TP123 2009. Plus TP123 the novel.

jesse

And you cannot argue that we at MaxFun do not have our fingers on the pulse of American culture. [Laughs.]

john

Come on! This is—this is what everyone's been demanding!

jesse

You've been demanding! [Laughing] You've been demanding a podcast about the 1970s airport novel The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. [Recovers briefly.] That was transformed into the—the legendary grimy New York classic, the film Taking of Pelham One Two Three, then later into a shiny Tony Scott movie with—[laughing]—with John Travolta at the very end of the peak of his powers.

john

Look, no one asked for I, Podius, either! [Jesse laughs, John stifles laughter.] But it became—but it became something very special. Because Elliott Kalan, as you point out, really knows how to talk about the things that he loves. Jordan Kauwling is an incredible producer and voice on the show, who has an incredible perspective, as well as access to her mom Avis, who's a podcast superstar. And then there's me, too. The Walter Matthau I dream of being of podcasts. That would be the greatest, if I could be the Walter Matthau of podcasts.

jesse

[Sighs wistfully.] Wow.

john

I'll be lucky if I'm the Jack Klugman of podcasts, honestly. TP123, The Taking of Podcast One Two Three, is in your hands! Get us to 25,000 new, upgrading, and boosting members, and we'll do—I—I won't be a jerk about it. We'll do all of TP123, not just the first half. But get us to 28k, our goal, by the end of this week? And then all of a sudden, you've unlocked a five, six–episode podcast. It is the return of the Claud Squad. II, Podius. That's Two, Podius. The Taking of Podius One Two Three. The complete season! [Jesse laughs.] So that's what I got to offer!

jesse

[Laughing] Go to MaximumFun.org/join, please! We need your help! [Recovers.] Even if you're just boosting your membership by a dollar a month, [laughing again] we need you to make this—this dream a reality!

john

Yeah, just boost a buck a month! That counts towards the goal! If you're a $5-a-month member, boost to $6 a month— [Clap.] Boom! You count! That counts towards the goal. You're gonna get yourself some TP123 magic!

jesse

MaximumFun.org/join. Let's get back into the courtroom.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

john

What else does Sean get up to, besides this? Is this the one thing?

casey

This was the most egregious thing, but there have been other incidents. Sean was under the—the notion for a while that you could just walk down to the lower level without a ticket. Because there was a special type of foamy Kirin beer being served down there that Sean wanted to procure. [Jesse and/or Sean laughs quietly.]

john

Mm. Mm.

casey

And Sean was like, "Oh, I—you can go down to the lower level. That's Dodger policy. They let you down to the lower levels." And I said, "No they don't! That—no stadium has such a policy. You can't—you have to have a ticket to go to the nicer levels." So he tries to walk down the steps to go to the lower level, and the attendant says—

john

Right. Get that foamy Kirin beer.

casey

Wants that foamy Kirin beer.

john

[Vin Scully impression] "Hey, sports fans! You like foamy Kirin beer?" [Jesse laughs.] "Go on over to Dodger Stadium, and pop one open! Easternmost in quality, westernmost in... foaminess." [Stifles laughter, ends Vin impression.]

jesse

Sean! Why not pour that foamy beer into a nice, cold thermos? [Sean and John laugh.]

john

[Laughing] Yeah.

sean

Well, let me say in defense of that beer, that the top is a frozen slushy of beer. And it's the only place in the continental United States where you can buy that.

john

That's a statement in offense of beer. [Everyone laughs.]

casey

Anyway, she says, "You need to have a ticket down there." And I didn't wanna go with Sean on his little adventure anyway, but I was with Sean, and—

john

You're a good boy.

casey

And then—I'm a good boy. I'm a rule follower.

john

Yeah. Yeah.

casey

And Sean goes, "Oh, uh, my dad has my ticket." Which was a lie.

john

Oh my god.

casey

And I was annoyed, because I thought, "Sean, you should have included me in the lie. Now I have to come up with my own, unique lie, and I don't even wanna be in this situation anyway." And basically, she blocks Sean from going down to the lower level.

john

Right.

casey

And Sean is mad because, quote-unquote, "They changed Dodger policy," which was never a policy; I don't know where he came up with that. And then the next time we go to a Dodger game, Sean solved this problem—

john

Yes?

casey

—by not buying a more expensive ticket, but by Photoshopping a ticket so he could get down to the lower level to get his foamy Kirin beer. [Jesse laughs.]

john

[Vin Scully voice] All for that foamy Kirin beer. I tell you, folks! People'll do a lot of things for that foamy Kirin beer!

sean

And Casey keeps saying "foamy Kirin." [Stifles laughter.] It's a frozen slushy–topped Kirin. It's a one-of-a-kind beer. You can only get it in Dodger Stadium, or in Japan. It's a very rare beer.

john

"Hey there, folks! John Hodgman here for foamy Kirin beer! Tired of enjoying unspoiled beer?" [Multiple laugh quietly, John stifles laughter. More laughs as he continues.] "Well, guess what? On the lower level, you can get yourself some beer slushy! And all you need is a forged ticket. That's right! People are doing all kinds of crazy things to get that taste—that wild taste of that foamy Kirin beer. Easternmost in quality, westernmost in theft."

jesse

"Just remember, BYOT: Bring Your Own Thermos."

john

[Laughs; normal voice resumes.] I have to applaud your leveling-up of your game, Sean. [Sean and Casey crack up.] Though I am myself a rule follower and a good boy, and ashamed of your bad boy antics... [More laughter.] Photoshopping a fake ticket is better than saying, "Uh, my dad has my ticket." [More laughter.] Because as far as I can tell, you're not 12. [John and one or both litigants laugh.]

jesse

Yeah.

john

Like, it's very possible—you're a young man. It's very possible you could go to the game with your daddy. [John and someone else laughs.] But that you would be like, "Daddy's holding my tickets, and I just—can you just let me down? My daddy has the tickets, and I want some of that foamy beer!" [More laughter.] You went straight to counterfeiting! A premeditated act of deception and forgery. All for a little bit of foamy Kirin beer. He said, in the voice of Frances McDormand, Oscar winner, from the movie Fargo. Okay. Sean, how do you defend these antics?

sean

Well, in my defense, I look at Dodger Stadium, and many sports stadiums, as reverse Titanics. [Jesse and possibly others laugh as Sean continues.] In that the lower-level, and lower-class people, are placed at the top of the stadium, and essentially segregated from the—from the upper-class people. [Stifling laughter] And the food options at the lower levels—

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Sh—Sean, hold on. Hold on, Sean. [Multiple people laugh.] To be clear, you don't see them as reverse Titanics in that they spring, fully formed, from icebergs. [More laughter.]

sean

Uh, correct.

jesse

[Laughing] Okay.

sean

[Stifling laughter] I—I see them in the sense of a reverse class system.

jesse

Right.

sean

Where the upper levels have worse food and beverage options, and the lower down you go, there's more premium private restaurants, and food and beverage options. And then when you get down to the lowest level, it's all you can eat, and there’s a whole buffet, and there's prime rib and all kinds of crazy stuff down there.

john

Setting aside the moral question of this inequality... it is not a reverse class system. It's a class system. [Everyone laughs.]

sean

Right. I just mean on the Titanic, the—the upper class—[stifles laughter] the altitude is totally reversed.

jesse

Yeah. I think Sean is absolutely correct in this assertion. Having gone to a baseball game with my baseball friend Dimitri, who works for a law firm that represents the Dodgers, I have not only sat in the... fourth row or something, but eaten at the buffet that Sean describes. There is a special room that only people who are friends with someone—

john

Sure.

jesse

—who works for a law firm that represents the Dodgers can go into. And you can eat anything in there! The furniture included! [John and someone else laughs, Jesse stifles laughter.] It's like a Ross that's going out of business!

sean

Yes. It's the Dugout Club, and I've—I've stayed there also, as the guest of—of lawyers, and it's quite stark, the difference being from the upper deck, where Casey and I usually sit, and going down into the—the belly of the beast. It's, uh—it's very shocking.

john

So, I'm trying to understand. Is it that you believe this class system should be abolished? It is morally wrong, and therefore it is morally right for you to try to foil it at every turn? Or is that you've tasted that sweet Medallion Status of that Dugout Lounge, and you just can't help yourself? You gotta get back, even at the cost of your own soul?

sean

Right. I think it's because I've reached the Medallion Status, so I have to try to claw my way back down into those levels.

john

Yeah.

sean

And also, if I'm not stealing somebody's seat—I'm just going down for some food and beverage—I don't see why I should be penalized for that. When the point of the rules is to keep the upper people from coming down to steal seats.

jesse

You're gonna claw your way down, and you don't care whose backs you have to reverse-stand on.

john

[Laughs.] Casey, you've heard Sean's defense. To be fair, this is his experience in the ballpark. If he's gonna get thrown in baseball jail for... making up a ghost daddy who's holding his secret good ticket— [A litigant laughs.] —or making up a ticket which he could probably get actual—in some kind of actual trouble for. [More laughter.] Might even get ejected from the park. You're just living your upper-deck life yourself! What do you care? How does him—why does this bother you so much? And what form does this bother take?

casey

Well, like I said, I am a rule follower. And so, you know, just by being with him, I feel like I am breaking the rules, and it's causing me discomfort.

john

Mm-hm.

casey

And you are correct; it is his life to lead. And I'm not asking him to change any of his other bizarre behaviors, which are plenty, and I— [Someone laughs.] But I—just at the Dodger Stadium. When I'm with him in a more intimate, you know, capacity, because I'm—we're going together.

john

Alright. It makes you uncomfortable, it makes you anxious.

casey

Mm-hm.

john

What are his other behaviors that you're talking about? _[_Someone laughs.] If I understand correctly, if I rule in your favor, you want me to... ban Sean-antics within Dodger Stadium. But the Sean-antics that exist outside Dodger Stadium that you would allow include what?

casey

You're exactly right. I only want the ruling to come down on his antics at Dodger Stadium, because I—

john

Please use the term: Sean-antics.

casey

Sean-antics; excuse me.

john

Thank you.

casey

To remove the Sean-antics from Sean would be to remove Sean from Sean. I just—I—

john

You can't take the Sean-antics out of the Sean.

casey

Yeah, you cannot.

john

Right.

casey

You know, we can put them at bay at Dodger Stadium—

john

What are some of the other Sean-antics that Sean has gotten up to?

casey

He doesn't explicitly break the rules, but he pushes the boundaries. So, you know, Sean was all over the GameStop... thing recently.

john

Oh, boy. Sean was buying shares in GameStop, running up the price? Trying to cause those hedge fund jerks to lose their money?

casey

Yes.

john

Uh-huh.

casey

And then Sean is also the only person I know that—you know how the Monopoly game at McDonald's—?

john

Oh, yeah.

casey

How they say, "No purchase necessary" to get the Monopoly pieces?

john

You telling me Sean's one of these guys who say, "Uh, I'll be having a Monopoly piece, and I believe no purchase is necessary"?

casey

Yes.

john

Right.

casey

There's other things I could probably—[laughs]—bring up, but that's the kind of way he lives his life, and I appreciate that about him! I believe his brothers call him Shady Sean. [John and Jesse crack up.] And, uh—but I—and I love that about Sean!

sean

Shifty Sean, but yes. [Laughs.]

john

What is it? Shifty Sean?

sean

Shifty Sean.

casey

Oh, excuse me! The only thing that really makes me so anxious is when we're at Dodger Stadium together.

john

So Sean, when you hear that, how do you feel? To hear that your friend is feeling anxious and upset by your... Sean-antics?

sean

I mean, it really hurts me. I—I don't wanna cause Casey any anguish or anxiety. And I'm happy to go down to the lower levels by myself. [Someone chuckles.] Uh, and if need be, I—I sort of asked him as an offer if he'd like to come. I wasn't begging for his company. [Casey laughs, Sean stifles laughter.] So I'm—I'm happy to explore the park on my own. I'm—[stifling laughter] I'm a big boy.

john

You're a big boy whose daddy has his ticket. [Multiple people laugh.]

sean

And—yeah. I mean, I think Casey's—like he's saying, he's very much a rule follower, and it's by the book, and I'm looking for loopholes, and I also like finding rules that don't make sense and that are meant to be broken. And I feel—I feel kind of sorry for Casey, too, sometimes, when he's just so anxious and worried about what other people think of him all the time. _[_Someone laughs.] I just don't really care too much about what other people think about me, and I just think people don't—people aren't really focused on ourselves as we are in our own heads all the time. And so I think that that could be a useful perspective for Casey, to help alleviate some of his anxiety.

john

Casey, is there—I mean, do you take anything from that? Do you feel that maybe... you are too concerned about what people are thinking? You're afraid about what your fellow upper-deckies are gonna think of you because you know, uh, Shifty Sean? And hang with him?

casey

I'm just concerned that I'm gonna get into some sort of confrontation, which Sean... doesn't see—it doesn't seem to faze Sean in the same way that it fazes me.

john

But why would you be involved in the confrontation? Just because you're near him? [A litigant laughs.] Or you don't wanna be the—you don't wanna be in a situation where you have to go like, "I don't know that guy!" [John and Casey laugh.]

casey

[Struggling to get the words out through laughter] Yes! I—

john

"I came with my own daddy. I don't know that guy at all." [More laughter.] "We just—our daddies left us here together!" [Laughs.]

jessen b2

Yeah.

john

"Because they went off to go get some—to go get some, uh—drink vodka out of a hot dog!" [Jesse chuckles.]

casey

I guess I—I don't wanna have to be put in that situation, where I—where I'm like, "Officer, I don't know this man." You know? [John snorts.] But you know, just being next to Sean, I feel like I am getting pulled into some of these situations.

john

I feel you, because as folks who are listening know, we now have a virtual courtroom where I can see everyone. And... you know what? I'm just gonna screenshot this right now. So that we can refer to this. [Screenshot sound effect from John's device.] Okay. This will be posted on the show page at MaximumFun.org, of course. 'Cause we have here Casey, who is truly the picture of a—a young John Hodgman. [Multiple people laugh.] Just an—a nice, good boy—are you an only child, Casey?

casey

No, I have two younger brothers.

john

Okay. Oh, so you're extra-responsible!

casey

Mm-hm! I have to be!

john

I gotcha. Who are your brothers, Shifty Sean?

sean

I have two older and one younger, so I'm sort of a middle child.

john

Ohhh, boy, did this all fall into place. [Sean and/or Casey laughs.] You're a—a twin middle child! Right?

sean

Yes.

john

Sean? You're lost in the mix! You've been an agent of chaos since the moment you were born trying to get attention! [More laughter.] And what I was gonna say when I was gonna post this is like, [stifles laughter] "I can understand, young John Hodgman!" But Casey, you're a whole person in your own right. You're not a reflection of me. I've—I've been—uh, through my—[stifles laughter] through my psychotherapy and ketamine, I've learned that other humans are not a reflection of me; they're a whole human being. [Someone laughs quietly.]

casey

Thank you.

john

But like, I feel you. And I can feel the chaos energy that is emanating from Sean through the internet. [Sean and/or Casey cracks up.] Like, he's sitting there in a black T-shirt, with his black beard, in front of a weird, gray, maybe Brooklinen sheet? I don't know! [More laughter.] And he's just kinda weaving his shoulders around the entire time. Like, is always constantly moving around, and—god, and you know, just—standing next to Sean, you're like—you don't know what's gonna happen. You don't know where this kid's gonna go.

jesse

If you don't move, John, you can't see all the angles.

john

I know! I feel like that's exactly right. I feel like Sean is looking for the angles at all times. "How can I sneak into that room? How can I get past that barrier? How can I break this rule? How can I get that foamy Kirin beer?" I can see why you feel a little unnerved!

sean

Also, I'm—I'm very tall. I'm six-foot, six-inches.

casey

I'm very short.

sean

And I believe—how tall are you, Casey? Five-nine?

casey

I'm five-seven, Sean. That's very kind of you. [Someone laughs quietly.]

john

And you're—and you're five-seven? Well, that's—look at you two, Mutt and Jeff! This is a—cartoon characters! [Multiple people laugh quietly; John exclaims wordlessly.]

jesse

Casey, I have a question about your experience at the ballpark with Sean. I grew up going to baseball games at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, where it was cold and miserable, and there were about 11,000 people in a 45,000-seat stadium. You went to games in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, I'm sure, uh, where outside of those years when the Twins were really great, it was probably a pretty similar situation, only with more plastic bags, uh, lining the outfield walls. Dodger Stadium is very full.

casey

Mm-hm!

jesse

Almost all the time. And so enforcement of going to different levels is pretty active. If this were a situation more like the Metrodome when you were a kid, and when you and Sean wandered down to the lower level, no one stopped you... would you feel the same way? Is it the rule-breaking, or the embarrassment of being caught?

casey

I think it is both. Because in my mind, if there is no one there to stop you, that is the stadium's way of saying, "We don't really care if you go down to the lower levels." But at Dodger Stadium, a woman's job is to stop Sean from getting the foamy Kirin beer.

jesse

Mm-hm.

casey

And so in my mind, Dodger Stadium is saying, "We do care about this," and also, I am not a man of confrontation. Except with Sean. But that's another issue. So I would say it's both. Rule-following and the confrontation.

john

I have a question. Is it possible, baseball fans, that, uh, the Dodger Stadium could have once been a place where they didn't care about people going down to the lower decks? Is Sean's memory of a policy totally fictive, or—?

sean

Yes, you used to be able to move around the park, uh, at your whim. The thing to remember about Dodger Stadium, too, is it's built in Chavez Ravine. And so it sort of has a dark history of evicting a lot of Mexican-American families there. They stole a lot of the land, and paid undervalue through eminent domain, and instead of building the promised public housing, they ended up giving it to the Brooklyn Dodgers to help get them to move into LA, so—

john

So your plan is to get a foamy Kirin beer and donate it to— _[_Casey laughs.] —displaced persons and their families, as reparations?

jesse

[Jesse slips into Public Radio Voice.] Sean, it's MaxFunDrive time, and I'm—I'm grateful that you took the time to plug my Bullseye interview with Eric Nusbaum, the author of Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between. You can find it on NPR.org, or MaximumFun.org, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Go ahead, Judge Hodgman!

john

Your plan for that foamy Kirin beer is to get it, and to give it to the families of the displaced communities as a kind of reparations? Or is your plan to drink that delicious... [becoming Vin Scully again] undeniable taste of foamy Kirin beer? Served only on the lower decks, to the best people! [Stifles laughter.] Easternmost in quality, westernmost in exclusivity!

jesse

Well-known... to Jesse's friend Dimitri. [John laughs; all impressions end.]

sean

Not necessarily! I'm saying that a system— [Someone laughs.] —that's built with such arbitrary and classist rules isn't necessarily a system that you should be afraid about trying to circumvent, or work around, or be embarrassed or anxious about having a minor interaction with a security guard over.

john

Alright. You're saying this—the whole system is effed, and therefore it's okay to sneak a beer.

sean

Exactly.

john

Alright. There's something to that, I gotta say, Casey.

casey

I—that has nothing to do with sneaking hot dogs into Dodger Stadium.

john

Oh, right. Sean, I'm about to go into my skybox chambers and, um, enjoy some, uh, [stifles laughter] foamy Kirin beer, and come to my verdict. Bringing it back to hot dogs—you would like me to rule in your favor, and if so, sentence Casey to make his own hot dogs and bring them into the park. And eat them with Sean. Is that what you want me to do? ...Not just to leave you alone. [Casey laughs.] He's got to proactively bring in his own wiener thermos?

sean

Well, Casey clearly has a lot of, uh, anxiety and trauma over bending the rules, so I think it would be a really natural way for him to help confront his fears and grow.

john

[Stifles a chuckle.] Okay, I think I've heard enough in order to make my decision. I'm going to go into my skybox, and get myself some pigs in blankets, and some cheese cubes from those silver trays, and sit in my recliner seat, uh, and listen to the game, as I formulate my verdict. I'll be back in a moment on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

jesse

Sean, how are you feeling about your chances in the case?

sean

I'm really alarmed. I was really alarmed when the judge, uh, referred to Casey as a young—a younger version of himself. [Someone laughs.] Uh, that really put me on shaky grounds.

jesse

How are you feeling, Casey?

casey

I feel pretty good. Like Sean said, the judge referred to me as a younger version of himself, which was... very kind. Um, I—I wasn't sure how this was gonna go! Honestly. Because I've told this case to many people, and it's been pretty 50/50.

jesse

Have they seen the video, though? 50/50 when you describe it. When you—[laughing] but when you show a grown man trying to fish hot dogs out of a commuter mug with some chopsticks so he can drop them into some foil he had in his pocket...

casey

Yeah. That—this is usually just when I'm verbally telling the story. I don't—I haven't shown the people the video, so...

jesse

Yeah.

casey

But, uh, yeah! I feel pretty good!

jesse

Sean, it looked like you drove to Dodger Stadium. If you're such a wonderful schemer, how come you didn't take the Gold Line to Chinatown and walk up the hill?

sean

I should have. I have done research on that, and it is part of my future schemes. I just—I don't think I could ever get Casey to go along with that one.

jesse

Yeah. Casey's very lazy. As his employer, I can confirm that.

casey

[Unamused] Okay. [Jesse bursts out laughing.] I—I would go along with that, Sean! I like public transportation!

sean

It's just sort of hard to tell with Casey. You never know what's really gonna trigger him and set him off sometimes. I'm—I'm even embarrassed to propose new ideas.

jesse

This guy's a powder keg, there's no doubt about it! [The litigants laugh.]

casey

Oh, boy.

jesse

I'm—I've known Casey for 15 years, and there's no question that at any moment, he could explode. [More laughter.] He's been holding it inside this whole time, making documentary films about pie. And, uh, at any moment he might lash out, Sean. I don't think you're wrong about that. We'll see what the judge has to say about all this when we come back in just a moment.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, it's the final break of the MaxFunDrive. The final Judge John Hodgman opportunity for us to ask you to join us at MaximumFun.org/join. If you've listened through all of this stuff, maybe we've already convinced you. Maybe you need something special to flip the switch and get you to get out your phone, or get out your computer, and go to MaximumFun.org/join. So, our—the woman who runs our social media, and our customer service and customer relations, is named Stacey Molski. And long before Stacey was an employee of Maximum Fun, she used to go to all your shows in New York. She was a big John Hodgman fan. And that's actually what led her to MaxFun. She wrote a beautiful Twitter thread that I would encourage people to read on her Twitter, @staceymolski, about what the MaxFunDrive means to her as an employee. But she linked to something on, of all places, my Tumblr. Now, I haven't posted to Tumblr in quite a while. But this was from something that I had... re-Tumbled, or whatever it was called, on my Tumblr from hers, that she wrote before she worked at MaxFun. Before I honestly had any idea who she was. And I didn't remember this! Because when I... reposted it, I didn't know Stacey at all. I had never met Stacey. She lived in New York at the time. And I wanted to read a little bit of it, because I just—I was so touched by it, to think that this person that I've known in my—in my office for the past whatever it is, five years, wrote this before I had ever met them. She wrote:

jesse

"Hi, friends. Today is the last day of the MaxFunDrive. Sorry I waited so long to tell you about this, but don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to make the world a better place. “If you don’t already, you should consider listening to, and becoming a member of, Maximum Fun. It’s a podcast network full of funny, informative, delightful shows. I started listening to it because John Hodgman started a show on there. I know about a lot of good things because of Hodgman. Frankly, you should probably listen to him. “I listened to Jordan, Jesse, Go! for hours when I couldn’t fall asleep on an old, slightly terrifying Russian sleeper train traveling through Poland. I listened to Sawbones while eating dinner, despite that week’s slightly nauseating topic." [Jesse stifles laughter. He is a little choked up.] "I listened to the Memory Palace—" —a former MaxFun show— "—at three AM in an empty station, waiting for a train to take me home. I listened to My Brother, My Brother and Me as I unpacked and tried to fall asleep on the floor mattress the first night in my new apartment. Anyway, you get it.

jesse

"Besides entertainment, Maximum Fun does amazing things like host a comedy and music festival on the open seas, and host what essentially sounds like a summer camp for creative adults. “On the cruise, I somehow made lifelong friends in the matter of 72 hours. Those people have offered me their homes to stay in, tickets to things, sent me links to things I love, introduced me to even more new awesome stuff, made me laugh, planned a vacation with me. One of those people just helped me move. MOVE! That is crazy. You realize that, right? “So trust me, you’re getting a lot more than some laughs. It’s a pretty good investment. “Everything Maximum Fun does, they are able to do because of listener support. Go to MaximumFun.org. Check out a few shows. I guarantee you'll find at least one you love. And if you love it, consider donating, so they can keep doing things you and I love."

jesse

[Jesse is still choked up.] And, um, like, I said, I didn't know—um, I knew that Stacey was a listener when we hired her. And I know that she loves MaxFun because of, you know, her commitment to her work in the office, of course. But this is from before I had any idea who she was.

john

Mm-hm!

jesse

And, um—[stifles laughter] uh, when I read that the first time and almost right now—I'm holding it together, but almost right now—I cried, because I was so touched that this incredible person had come to her—like, her life and career through Maximum Fun! And I know that there are so many other ways that Maximum Fun touches people's lives. Because people tell me about it! And I'm proud of the shows that we make and stuff. I'm proud of... the people that work with us. People like Jen. And Stacey. And I think probably the thing that I am most proud of about Maximum Fun is that a long time ago, I decided that we weren't gonna build a startup that we were trying to scale, and whatever. That we weren't gonna build something that would be the ultimate platform for people to sell... motherboards online. That we weren't gonna—that we were gonna start something that was member-supported. That was, first and foremost, a community. And I know that there's—you know, there's no way for me to personally know every member of the audience of Maximum Fun. There's no way for us to make something that is perfect for every single one of those people. But I know that the fact that we did it that way a long time ago was the right thing to do. And continues to be the right thing to do. And I'm just—I just wanted to express how grateful I am for every single one of you who are a member, because, um— [Stifling tearful laughter] I didn't start it 'cause I thought it would turn out like this. I—I started it because I thought, "Well, if I'm gonna pour myself into something, I oughta do it the right way."

jesse

And, um, it—never—there's never a day that passes that I am not touched and honored that we get to do this this way.

john

You know, I—obviously I know Stacey, because she had come to some shows that I would do in New York. And I was so amazed when she made the move across the country to join Maximum Fun. I didn't know about that letter, but it doesn't take me by surprise. And I'm thrilled to continue, you know, knowing Stacey! 'Cause like everyone within the Maximum Fun community, they're an incredible person. Last week I spoke a fair amount about how much I appreciate and am grateful for you, the listeners. And for entrusting us to invade your ears, and your private spaces every week. And truly, the letters that you've written back to me over the years have meant so much to me, and sustained me. You have kept me company, and I'm grateful to the chance to keep you company. But I'd like to say a minute in honor of Stacey and everybody who works at Maximum Fun! The folks who work behind the microphones. You're supporting them, too. And they deserve it. I mean, Jennifer Marmor does such incredible work. I had to—I was posting a normal picture of her on my Instagram today. Just a normal shot of her smiling, with her normal teeth. [Jesse laughs quietly.] And I kinda had to make a list of the things that Jennifer does for the show. I mean, she... interviews the litigants, pre-interviews the litigants and writes up all kinds of notes for Jesse and me so that we know what we're talking about.

john

When we go out on tour, and we will again, she has been—she is the once and future tour manager and also producer of the live shows, which is an incredible amount of work. She runs the Judge John Hodgman Instagram account, which is always updating you with incredible visual evidence, and photos of people's pets, and perhaps Dracula children. And, you know—[chuckles]—as I mentioned in the caption to this totally normal photo, like, I—I hate to add extra work, but I'm so grateful that she's picked up the mic a little bit over the past couple of months, and kept us company here among the J-Team. 'Cause I'm really glad to know her, and I want you to know her, too. Because Jennifer, like all of the producers—like Jordan Kauwling, who I mentioned, who helped us with I, Podius—like all the producers and editors and the staff, and everyone who works at Maximum Fun, they're as much a part of this community. And one of the things that Jesse has done, aside from just fostering a community of people who talk into microphones, is an employment scenario where people are respected. Where people are paid fairly. Where people get good benefits. Where people are not hired to—you know, as contracts… workers. They are brought in as employees. This is what we want employment to be. And I think it perhaps goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. I mean, not only is this among the smartest group of people who are almost exclusively younger than me that I've encountered. But they are people from many, many different walks of life, and backgrounds. And that Maximum Fun producer fellowship really is helping to make podcasting a much more inclusive and representative space than... basically any other podcast company, sorry.

john

And it's been doing it for a lot longer than it needed to through public pressure, if you understand what I'm saying. It was—it has always been a core principle of Maximum Fun to be the kind of community that includes everyone. Among listeners, among hosts, and just people working and making a living supporting those shows. That's what the community is. And it's—it's really important that we remember all the people who you don't hear every day. Because when you go to MaximumFun.org/join, you're helping them make a living. And they deserve to make a living! So do you! The other thing that I wanted to mention before we go is that, you know, we've been doing this show for ten years. And Stacey's letter really brought home that there are people who have gone through profound life changes, and indeed, people who have grown up—if not in this community, like face to face, going to MaxFunCon, or, you know, working at Maximum Fun, or, you know, being a part of the making of the podcasts—you know, as listeners. They've been part of this community; they've grown up in this community. I mentioned the Shooting the Bries show that I did with Jordan, which is a members’ bonus content episode, [stifles laughter] and I talked on that podcast about my habit of eating cheese at night. Which is not a good thing to do. Just sneaking into the refrigerator and eating slices of white American cheese in the middle of the night.

john

And I heard from a listener named Amy, saying, "You know, I really—I totally feel your night cheese habit. And I'm really glad to be listening to it, 'cause I'm in the hospital about to have a baby." And I said, "Great." And at 1:52 AM, she sent me a picture of her baby! It was a really great-looking baby! And as far as I can tell, not a Dracula. Fingers crossed. I mean, look. All Dracs are welcome, too. You can have any job if you're a Drac, and you can definitely be a member of the community. Sorry, Jesse. But it really brought home that, you know, people's lives are entwined in this community, and I think in a very special, unique, and happy way. And when you become a member, when you upgrade, or when you boost, you are showing your support for this community. Now, we understand—and I hope that it's clear from the beginning—that if the only support you can offer is moral support, that's incredible. You know? Retweet a hashtag. Tell a friend. Do what Stacey did! Just write a letter to your friends, saying... "Check this out! You might like it!"

john

But if you are able to chip in, not only will you be supporting the community of podcasters and behind-the-mic producers, and editors, and staff, and everything else. But as Jesse, I think, pointed out really meaningfully is, you're supporting the community members who maybe can't afford to join right now. You know? Think of it that way. MaximumFun.org/join is the way that you can bring someone into the community who might not be able to afford to support us in the way that they might want to.

jesse

I was in the office today, and I saw our colleague Christian, who has occasionally leant a hand editing this show over the years. And, um, I was just so—[chuckles] I was just so happy to see him! I'm so grateful for my colleagues. I'm so grateful for you, John, and Jen. Like, so... by such a comfortably wide margin the worst year of my life, and I—and you guys have... all—you know, when I say "you guys" I mean John and Jen, but I also mean our litigants, and I also mean everyone listening, have lightened my load this year, in so many ways. So, thanks everybody. And we promise we won't be back with, uh, more MaxFunDrive pitches until next year. Uh, but go to MaximumFun.org/join and—and get a pin! Go get a pin, you know?

john

Get a pin!

jesse

Go get a tea infuser! Go get—go get—go get a—sorry, I'm done with all these feelings. Let's go get something. Go get—[stifling laughter] go get a pin. MaximumFun.org/join. Go get a pin!

john

MaximumFun.org/join!

jesse

[Chuckles.] Let's get back to the laughs. Uh, go to MaximumFun.org/join.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman reenters the courtroom and presents his verdict.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

john

First of all, Casey, I'm flattered that you would take my labeling you as akin to a young John Hodgman as a compliment. For, even as I meant it as such, I also knew that saying it is actually something of a curse. [One or more people laugh, John stifles laughter.] You don't want this. You don't want this! You don't want to be young John Hodgman. You want to be Casey... last name withheld. No, O'Brien! I'll say it! Probably—you're on the website! MaximumFun.org.

casey

I am!

john

You want to be yourself. And in one way, you are not me at all. In a very important way. Right? Which is that you are the eldest of three kids. Whereas Sean is the second-youngest of four. And while I am no expert in siblings, because I have none—never needed 'em. That's what I said to my mom and dad. [Multiple people laugh, John stifles laughter.] "Seems unnecessary. One and done. That's how I feel this should be, this family." I do know enough, through observation and talking and extended family, to know that—and I don't wanna generalize—but, you know, older children tend to be the responsible ones. And tend to be kind of surrogate parents to their younger kids. That was definitely the case in my father's growing up, who was the oldest of three. Whereas younger children, and especially middle children—especially the second-youngest, where you have two middle children— [Someone laughs quietly.] —who are fighting it out for most middlest, to paraphrase My Brother, My Brother and Me. You know, that's a very different personality trait. That is someone who is like, "Yeah. My world is pure chaos. Why should I not be part of the chaos?" [More quiet laughter.] Which is how Sean strides into Dodger Stadium. Armed with a certain amount of cultural critical sophistication. That this whole system known as Dodger Stadium is built on lies, material inequality, a formalized class system, the dispossession of marginal communities, and much like the United States itself, should be burned to the ground. Or at least I should get a free beer. [Sean and/or Casey laughs, John stifles laughter.]

jesse

I mean, John—as a Giants fan, I would argue that there is no greater foundational evil than simply building a stadium in which the Dodgers play.

john

[Laughs.] I'm just gonna say that, you know, Sean, your cultural critique is astute! But is it a moral basis for what you are doing? [Someone laughs quietly.] My instinct is that you are applying it to get out of trouble. [More laughter.] That as it may, you are built to create chaos. You seek it out. You exploit chaos where you can. And I can tell you that as a younger—and not even much younger John Hodgman, but as a—throughout the—my years of being John Hodgman, I have found... spiritual older brothers like you, Sean. Guys that I liked to metaphorically go to the baseball game with, who were much less rule-followy than me! And who would do things like get away with stuff just 'cause they could. Or would challenge my automatic acceptance of rules that are arbitrary, or unfair, or purposefully exclusionary. So I've stood next to those tall Seans, Casey. And I've lived that danger. I understand the attraction, and I also understand the benefit! Because it has caused me to challenge some of my instinctive shying away from confrontation. It has caused me to be a little bit—a little bit bolder. And if I'm gonna follow the rule, I think about it first, before just automatically doing it.

john

I'm not saying that you're an automatic rule follower, Casey. I'm saying I know where you're coming from, and you are getting something out of this relationship. I'm not gonna order you to stop being friends. [John and one or both litigants laugh.] So I think that when Sean says that you—you know, you might gain something from his Sean-antics... you can explore for yourself whether you think that there is truth there or not! But I can say for myself, I've engaged in Sean-antics before. And... I'd—I wouldn't change that part of my growing up. But Sean... you know, we're here psychotherapizing Casey. I think you have some blind spots that you haven't examined. Mostly that you're, um—six-foot-six? Yeah. You may or may not be aware of this privilege. Uh, but you can get away with a lot of stuff at six-foot-six. [One or both litigants laugh.] You can break a lot of rules at six-foot-six. You just walk through the world in a different way than Casey does, at five-foot-seven. I shrunk, by the way. Last doctor's appointment. I lost an inch. Five-foot-nine now. I can't be—I can't—it's not—it's a different thing when you stride the Earth like a demented god. Like— [Someone laughs.] Looking to sow chaos and get that rich, foamy beer. And I think you should be considerate of that! You know? How old are you, Sean?

sean

I'm 32.

john

Yeah, you're 32. You're a grown man. You're not a kid. Your daddy doesn't have your ticket. You have your ticket. _[_Someone laughs.] You—you're reach—you're not yet at, but kind of right on the bubble of, an age when Sean-antics—it's time to put childish Sean-antics behind you, because all the points have been proved. The world does not need you to get a free beer that you haven't paid for in order to understand that capitalism sucks. [Sean and/or Casey laughs, John stifles laughter.] You know, ultimately, you're a human being, and sharing space with another human being, that's what we're all trying to get back to through this pandemic experience. The chance to be in the same space with human beings, and share their air, and everything else. And I will say that Casey put his finger on something that perhaps you haven't examined, which is that the person who was guarding the gate to that lower level... They didn't come up with this system! They're doing their job! And they are, you know, mostly just kinda brushing back people who get lost, or are trying to con a beer, or whatever it is. But you know, their job is to... hold that line. Right or wrong. And a six-foot-two guy coming up and obviously lying about his daddy having his ticket, [stifles laughter] that's a flag for them! That makes their day harder! It doesn't make their day easier, in any case.

john

And on a basic level, you're a participant in the system to begin with, 'cause I presume you're not sneaking into the ballpark. You are paying for the ticket. You could pay, and that's the—that's the secret of Medallion Status. It's—it's bogus! All you do is pay for it! [Laughs.] It's not given to you by God. Or whatever. So, this is a—what we call, in the sport of baseball, a split decision. Sort of. Casey, I know, feels anxious, and I think is made anxious by your Sean-antics, and I think you should hear him. Ultimately, Sean, I'm going to... rule in your favor, however. With the provisos I've already given you, to do some reflection upon why you are able to break rules. And how those breaking of rules may affect other human beings directly. Like the people that you are swindling with a fake ticket. But you are an independent human being, who can go and try out any Sean-antics he wants, and is willing, presumably, to accept the consequences. I mean, I—I don't know what would happen if you were caught with an obviously forged ticket. You might be kicked out of the game! Poor Casey would be up there in the upper decks, never knowing if he's ever gonna see his friend again. [A litigant laughs, John stifles laughter.] And the other thing that I would order—so I can't find in your favor, 'cause Casey doesn't really have standing aside from his own feelings. Which is rough, you know, Casey, but that's—that's baseball. You know what I mean? That's baseball.

john

But Sean... cannot be putting those hot dogs in that thermos anymore. [One or more people laugh quietly.] That's just a crime against hot doganity. Like, hot dogs, as a food, do not require a lot of respect. But you, as a human, deserve some self-respect. I think bringing in your own hot dog—since it is allowed, I mean, why not do it? But I think that there's a—as someone who is moving from the young, rebellious portion of your life, and eventually maturing into the, uh, older, uh, weird dad, "I gotta come up with a new system" portion of your life? Start thinking about a better way to keep those hot dogs warm, that do not require transfer from a thermos to tinfoil. There is a lot of insulated packaging that is available now, and can keep that heat right in there. You get those hot dogs really hot, put 'em in tinfoil, put it—I don't think you need to put them and keep them in hot water. 'Cause there's nothing grosser than that. And I challenge you to come up with a bun-steaming mechanism. And yes. Not only do I order in your favor because you are a free and independent agent of chaos, but also, when you have perfected—if and only when you have perfected your new hot dog-into-Dodger-Stadium system, then you and Casey will have those hot dogs together, in the upper decks, [fiercely] where people like you belong. This is the sound of a gavel.

music

The "Charge" fanfare by Tommy Walker. Six notes on an organ, energetic.

john

Judge John Hodgman rules; that is all.

sound effect

[As Jesse speaks below: Door opens, chairs scrape on the floor, footsteps.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Door shuts.]

jesse

Sean, how are you feeling about this split decision?

sean

I'm really elated. I felt like the judge really ruled in my favor in order to keep on bringing hot dogs into the stadium; I just have to come up with a—a less obtrusive system than the thermos one. And I'm also gonna reflect more on my tall privilege, and also how my actions can cause Casey stress when he's along with the ride for me.

jesse

I mean, I am not here how to tell you how to bring hot dogs into Dodger Stadium, but I'll go ahead and tell you how to bring hot dogs into Dodger Stadium: ten-gallon hat. [Someone laughs quietly.] I mean, the answer's right there in front of you, or... right there on top of your head. Casey, how are you feeling about this decision?

casey

[Sighs.] I feel okay. I'm glad I don't have to bring in my own hot dogs with some strange thermos contraption setup, so that makes me happy, but I'm also disturbed that... if Sean, like, brings hot dogs in his pockets, or something, that I'm gonna have to eat those in Dodger Stadium. That's—that's an unsettling thing to think about as well. So I feel okay. And I feel seen by the judge.

sound effect

[Door opens and shuts.]

john

I'm not gonna make you eat pocket dogs, Casey. You will have to sign off on the scheme. And I would like to be kept in the loop.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] As soon as the MaxFun office reopens, we're having Pocket Dog Day. Everybody brings hot dogs to the office in their pockets! [One or more people laugh.] Casey, Sean, thank you for joining us on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

This is it. The end of the MaxFunDrive. Our very final pitch. Thanks to everybody who's become a member at MaximumFun.org/join. If you haven't yet, it's quick. It's easy. [A dog is barking in the background.] We're grateful for all your support of every kind, and, uh, like I said, we—we promise. It won't be 'til next year that we ask you again. But seriously, on my behalf? [Stifling laughter] Please, make John and Elliott make that podcast. Go to MaximumFun.org/join.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Another Judge John Hodgman case in the books. Thanks to everybody who's become a member of Maximum Fun by going to MaximumFun.org/join. In a moment, we'll have Swift Justice, but first our thanks to Marley Jay for naming this week's episode, "Amicus Beef." If you would like to name a future episode, be sure to life Judge John Hodgman on Facebook! That's where we put out our calls for submissions. You can follow John and I on Twitter, at @JesseThorn and @hodgman. Uh, please do not Tweet us corrections about the fact that I should have said, "John and me." I realize it.

john

Can I just leave it in my drafts, then?

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Yes, please. Just leave it in your drafts.

john

[Stifling laughter] 'Kay.

jesse

Hashtag #JJHo, and check out the MaxFun subreddit to discuss this episode. That's at MaximumFun.Reddit.com. We're on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman. John is personally on Instagram at @johnhodgman. I am at @put.this.on. Make sure to follow that Judge John Hodgman account for evidence and other fun stuff. Our producer is the brilliant Jennifer Marmor. Now, Swift Justice! Where we answer your small disputes with quick judgment. Lauren says: "Instead of replacing dirty placemats, my husband turns them over and uses, quote, 'the B side,' unquote." [Stifles laughter.] "He needs to stop this, and just replace the dirty placemat with a clean one."

john

I don't have a problem with what Lauren's husband is doing, Jesse. I think it's perfectly reasonable, if the placemat isn't that dirty, you can flip it over. I don't—I don't care. All I care is that they don't have placemats that look like 45 rpm record albums. [Stifles laughter.] Of hits of the '50s, and one of them is the A side, and the other is the B side. Then I would be like, "Get me out of this retro diner."

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

[Laughs.] That's it for this week's episode. Submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org. No case is too small. And remember: It's MaxFunDrive time. Visit MaximumFun.org/join to become a member of Maximum Fun. We'll talk to you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

music

A cheerful ukulele chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—audience supported.

About the show

Have your pressing issues decided by Famous Minor Television Personality John Hodgman, Certified Judge. If you’d like John Hodgman to solve your pressing issue, please contact us HERE.

Follow @judgejohnhodgman on Instagram to view evidence from the cases tried in court.

How to listen

Stream or download episodes directly from our website, or listen via your favorite podcatcher!

Share this show

New? Start here...