TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 663: Juvenile Court With Kurt Braunohler

Kurt Braunohler returns as we re-open Juvenile Court! Dads who gotta dance, siblings, and age minimums for William Friedkin’s THE FRENCH CONNECTION!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 663

Guests: Kurt Braunohler



Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I’m Bailiff Jesse Thorn. It’s been a long time since we have opened up the doors of our juvenile court, but the letters from kids have been piling up! It’s time we clear them from our docket.

John Hodgman: Piling up.

Jesse Thorn: Piling up, John—like the toys in a child’s uncleaned room.

John Hodgman: Piling up like the abandoned toys next to the garbage hole at the dump in Western Massachusetts. (Chuckling.) Which I used to look at forlornly, thinking that’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

Jesse Thorn: John, my home right now is locked in an eternal battle between my children leaving small pieces of plastic on the floor of various kinds and my new dog picking them up and turning them into differently shaped small pieces of plastic.

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: Go Junior. My name is Judge John Hodgman, and this is Juvenile Court. But this isn’t about parents bringing their kids to court for the things they leave lying around. This isn’t like parents with Lego dents in the bottom of their feet, because the kids can’t clean up. This is about kids who have beef with their parents and with their siblings. And we have a very special guest joining us. He is a parent, and he’s also one of the funniest people in the world. An incredibly tall person, incredibly charming person, traveled the entire country on a jet ski. He’s wonderful. He’s the cohost of the podcast Bananas. Welcome back to the show, Kurt Braunohler. Hi, Kurt!

Kurt Braunohler: Hello! Hello John. Hello Jesse.

Jesse Thorn: Nice to see you, Kurt. You’re a man whose life has been transformed by parenthood.

(Kurt confirms.)

But I think—when I say transformed, I want to be clear. Having known you for 15 years or so, you were a dad 15 years ago—long before you had children.

Kurt Braunohler: (Laughs.) I know. I was. I always say like my life finally caught up with my looks. I’ve just been looking like a dad for 40 years with no kids. You know?

Jesse Thorn: Yeah. (Laughs.) Eventually your life experience was comparable to the commercial casting notices that you received from your agent.

(They laugh.)

Kurt Braunohler: The joke was always that, yeah, like that dad seems too drunk. You know? And now it’s like, hey, that dad is too drunk.

Jesse Thorn: drunk. Kurt, you were on After Midnight the other night on CBS, a wonderful program featuring some of our favorite comedians like Judge John Hodgman.

(Kurt agrees.)

And it got to the final round.

(Kurt giggles.)

John Hodgman: Oh, this was an incredible moment in broadcasting history.

Jesse Thorn: You used your “call a friend”. And magic occurred.

Kurt Braunohler: It was—so, the bit that—they were like, “Look, if you lose, you’re going to have to call someone and tell them you lost.”

And then I was like hm. And I called Lauren, and I was like, “What if—”

Jesse Thorn: This is your wife.

Kurt Braunohler: Yeah. “What if I lost, and I called you, and you just told me like don’t come home?”

And then she was like, “No, that’s dumb.” And I was like okay. And she was like, “Well, no. What if you call, you have to explain it to the kids that you lost. Like, that they’re very excited.”

And I was like, “Okay, that’s much funnier.”

And so, then I just told Taylor. Because I’ve done the show before, and I just told Taylor like hey—

John Hodgman: The host of After Midnight.

Kurt Braunohler: Taylor Tomlinson, who hosts the show. I just said, “Just make me lose.” Because it’s all fake, you know? And she was like, “Okay! Okay, great. You have a bit?”

And I was like, “We have a bit.” And then—so, I lose. I have to call. And you can hear the kids in the background, because it is dinner time. You know?

John Hodgman: How many children do you have?

Kurt Braunohler: I have two. I have a four- and a six-year-old. Almost seven.

John Hodgman: Four and six years old. Okay, great.

Kurt Braunohler: And Olive is my six-almost-seven-year-old. And Lauren’s like, “Oh,”—I tell her I lost—”I’m so sorry.” And then asks—and then she’s like, “Can you explain it to the kids? Because they were really excited.” (Laughing.) And then like the audience just goes like, “AAAAH, NOOO!”

(Jesse cackles.)

And then you just hear Olive’s little voice come on. (In a baby voice.) “Hi, Papa!”

(They laugh.)

And then I tell her, and then you just hear Lauren going, “Oh, no, no. Olive! No, no, Olive! Olive!” And it just seems like Olive’s very, very upset. Olive was like—she just immediately walked away. She’s like, “I’m going to turn it on the TV and see what’s happening.” She thought it was like happening right then and there. But she wasn’t actually very upset, but it sounds like she was very upset.

Jesse Thorn: It was really magical.

Kurt Braunohler: It really looks magical.

John Hodgman: But as a child of Braunohler, Olive knows a bit when she hears one.

Kurt Braunohler: She knows a bit when she hears one. (Laughs.) But I think what was very disconcerting, I think, for her was she could hear the audience in the background—you know, like having reactions, which I don’t think she expected. She understood a bit was coming.

Jesse Thorn: She’s used to you performing to dead silence.

Kurt Braunohler: Exactly! (Cackles.) Exactly.

John Hodgman: Well, we’ve got complaints from a lot of children.


None from Olive, though. We did not receive any letters from your child, Olive.

Kurt Braunohler: Oh, she’s got complaints.

John Hodgman: But maybe we can capture that lightning in a bottle by emailing her by the end of the podcast and see if we can dig up an issue. What complaint do you think she would have with you, if you were to ask her?

Kurt Braunohler: Oh, it would probably be about some unfairness between her and her brother. Because the younger sibling, I do think, gets away with a lot of stuff.

John Hodgman: Yes. Oh, yes. That’s true. I mean, I’m an only child, but I’ve observed it.

(Kurt agrees.)

Also, they get a lot of different kinds of and more attention being the baby.

Kurt Braunohler: Yeah. And more sympathy on some things. And I think she feels that, even though we try and assuage it.

John Hodgman: Which reminds me, as a gesture of gratitude for your coming on the show, I have a couple of gifts for your kids. Yeah, I have a single bit o’honey for Olive. And for your younger child, I have a cashier’s check for $5,000.

(Kurt “wow”s.)

It just seemed—I just know what they like.

Jesse Thorn: It’s good that she knows not to accept a personal check.

John Hodgman: No, no, no. I received explicit instructions—cashier’s check only, please.

Kurt Braunohler: Is a bit of an official unit of honey measurement?

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: Yeah. Only thing worse than a bit of honey is a megabit of honey.

Jesse Thorn: Here’s a case from Samantha, age 10, in San Jose, California. “Dear Judge John Hotman, which is what I used to call you when I was little.”

John Hodgman: I remember that, Samantha.

Jesse Thorn: Love it.

John Hodgman: Now, Samantha’s all grown’d up, and I hope that Samantha can call me Judge John Wrongman. But go on.

Jesse Thorn: (Laughs.) “My dad, Todd, likes to dance in public—especially in stores. It’s embarrassing. Dancing with me at home is fine. Dancing along to Mom’s ringtone is also fine. Dancing is fine! As long as no one else is around.

(Kurt fails to suppress a giggle.)

“But he says Dad’s just gotta dad! And that shaking his booty in public is okay. Please make him stop. Thank you for saving me.”

John Hodgman: Uuh, I don’t know, Kurt. Should we save Samantha? From Todd, the dancing dad?

Kurt Braunohler: (Laughs.) I wonder—I mean, we should—I mean, I wonder—my main question is what is the option here? Is to rob Todd of his rights to dance?

John Hodgman: Yeah. You know, Kurt, it’s fairly settled law here in the court of Judge John Hodgman that weird dads have an inalienable right to embarrass their children, at any possible opportunity.

Kurt Braunohler: You know, I think we can go to a rule that’s often abused in my home, which is “my body, my choice”. So, we’ve taught “my body, my choice” from a very young age, to the point where many children in a household—my household—have attempted to use it to justify not going to school.

(Jesse cackles.)

Because it is my body, my choice. And then that puts you in a sticky situation of having to—you don’t want to say my body, my choice isn’t right! But then you have to have side rules about “my body, my choice”. But still, “my body, my choice”. Todd’s body, Todd’s choice to dance.

John Hodgman: Let me ask you, as a dad, Kurt. And you too, Bailiff Jesse Thorn. Are there any things that—any behaviors that you are banned from doing by your children? So, for example, my children—who are now grown, but for many years—get very upset with me when I say grazie, especially in Italy.

(Kurt cackles.)

We visited Italy one time, and I said grazie, and they said, “No, don’t do it dad, no.” And now I say it all the time just to annoy them.

Kurt Braunohler: That’s very funny.

John Hodgman: And is there anything that you’re banned from doing?

Jesse Thorn: When my daughter Grace is in the car, I’m not allowed to listen to anything on the stereo. Not just music. Nothing. I can’t listen to the baseball game. I can’t listen to music. I can’t listen to whatever. I can’t listen to a driving meditation. Truly, there’s no sound allowed. But I think like sound is a big one, because I have neurodivergent kids. Like, they’re very sensitive to different kinds of sounds. So, like I also, as a—broadly speaking, despite the fact that I have in the living room a beautiful vintage Macintosh receiver and turntable and gigantic JBL speakers that are my most treasured possessions and maybe, I don’t know, 1,000 records on the wall. I am not allowed to listen to them.

(Kurt laughs.)

John Hodgman: Yeah. I think that the proper ruling is—Todd?


Todd, the dancing dad? You may dance. You have the human right to dance. But instead of dancing like no one is watching, dance like Samantha is watching and feel how that feels, to know that your daughter Samantha is feeling embarrassed because of you. Take that into consideration. She has feelings.

Jesse Thorn: Here is something from Sam in Silver Spring, Maryland. “I’m almost 11 years old, and I want to watch the 1971 crime movie The French Connection, with Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider.”

(They chuckle.)

How do you know a child is a Judge John Hodgman listener? They want to watch The French Connection. My dad says no. As a compromise, he said I could watch Joseph Sargent’s The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.”

John Hodgman: Elliott Kaelin’s favorite movie, by the way.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, and one of my favorites too. Top ten all time for me, I think.

(John agrees.)

“I loved it. But it’s not The French Connection. I asked my parents friends, and at least one of them says I should watch it.” By at least one of them, I think he means one of them.

(They agrees.)

“That person is very thoughtful and considerate. My dad is a lawyer. He says, if you rule against him, he will respect the legal process.”

(Kurt “wow”s.)

John Hodgman: So, for those who don’t know—according to Common Sense Media, because I’ve never seen this movie., which rates movies for suitability for kids—

Jesse Thorn: Wonderful website.

John Hodgman: The French Connection, is “boring with cursing just for the sake of it and no plot to speak of”. That was submitted—

Kurt Braunohler: Wait! Oh, that’s a review that someone submitted to Common Sense.

John Hodgman: That’s a review.

Kurt Braunohler: That’s Common Sense’s final word.

Jesse Thorn: That’s not Common Sense’s—yeah. A professional film critic wasn’t like, “BO-RIIING!”

Kurt Braunohler: “Cursing for no reason!”

John Hodgman: “Cursing for the sake of it!”

But you get a more complete plot synopsis from a user named MissionImpossibleTomCruise, who says, “Parents need to know that The French Connection is a gritty but classic police drama directed by William Friedkin about two cops that are trying to stop a drug dealer that is shipping drugs from France to New York. This classic has great acting, a great screenplay, great directing, and overall a great cop film. This is one of the best or the best cop films ever made. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.” And the point is that MissionImpossibleTomCruise, who submitted that review, is 11 years old. Whereas the person who just said “boring” is an adult.

So, I think it shows that different age groups can appreciate things in different ways. And maybe some kids, especially kids who know that the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three was directed by Joseph Sargent, which I didn’t know—as opposed to the remake that was directed, I think, by Tony Scott. Hang on.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, I think that was a Tony Scott joint.

John Hodgman: In any case, anyone who knows that there are two versions of the Taking of Pelham One Two Three, I would say that Sam is a budding—if not established—cineaste, there in Silver Spring, Maryland. Silver Screen, Maryland, they should call it! Before I rule on this—Kurt, what was the first R rated movie you ever saw? Do you remember?

Kurt Braunohler: Mm-hm! Oh, I do. I was—I don’t know, between 10 and 12, I guess. I saw—my mom took me to see Christine, because she loved horror. She loved Stephen King. She loved all of the Stephen King books. And so, she really, really, really wanted to see it. Single mom. And so, I ended up going with her.

John Hodgman: How old were you?

Kurt Braunohler: Can we look up what year Christine came out? I was either 10 or 12. 12, I feel like is old enough. Maybe I was 8. I just remember being like, “Oh, I don’t—I don’t want to do that again.”

John Hodgman: John—

Kurt Braunohler: 1983! Oh, I was 7! (Cackles.) Yeah, that—so, I was 7 years old. And, you know, Christine is a car that kills people.

John Hodgman: And it was directed by John Carpenter, the master of terror himself.

Jesse Thorn: And seven, of course, is roughly a second grader.

Kurt Braunohler: And yeah, yeah, yeah. My daughter’s about to be seven. I would not bring her to see an R rated movie. At the same time, I am not a single parent. And it is also not the early ’80s, where things were loosey goosey.

John Hodgman: Absolutely. But look, I said that I’ve never seen The French Connection, and that was true… as of yesterday. And I thought should I watch it? And then I was like, well, I’m not going—I mean, it’s a big blind spot in my movie watching, ‘cause it’s a very famous movie. But I’m not going to let Sam in Silver Screen, an 11-year-old, give me homework. I’m a grownup. I can’t just see a movie ‘cause Sam’s making me. But then I was up at three o’clock with insomnia. And I’m like you know what, Sam? You win. I’m going to watch The French Connection on my phone in the middle of the night in bed, the way it was meant to be seen.


And I’m glad that Sam made me watch this movie! Have you seen it, Kurt?

Kurt Braunohler: No, I wouldn’t—now I wanna see it!

Jesse Thorn: I’ve seen it. It’s fantastic. I would argue that the two Common Sense Media reviews that we heard—that it is one of the best cop films ever made and acclaimed, incredible performance from Gene Hackman and won all those Oscars; and that it is boring and has swearing for swearing’s sake—are both true.

(They laugh.)

And they add up to one of my favorite movies. (Chuckles.)

John Hodgman: I mean, I would say, yes, that’s absolutely true. I did not find it boring at all. I find it riveting. One of the reasons that I had avoided seeing it is that it is so famous for its car chase scene. And it’s not exactly a car chase scene; it’s a car chasing an elevated train. But there’s like this groundbreaking, exciting, dynamic, never-before—and brutal. Like, that car takes a lot of damage. It’s a really exciting scene, but it’s so famous for that, that I thought that’s probably all that it was. But frame by frame, it’s one of the—I mean, William Friedkin did a good job directing that movie. Frame by frame, it’s one of the most interestingly framed and paced films of all time. It has a documentary style feel. And Gene Hackman is so good in it, and William Friedkin did not want to give him that role. He wanted to go to Paul Newman, but it’s like, no! Like, there’s a reason why your dad suggested watching The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, because these are two movies from the ’70s, set in New York—a New York that no longer exists, starring the most frumpiest meat men of all time.

(They cackle and Jesse agrees.)

Walter Matthau and Gene Hackman wearing big, thick dad overcoats and dad gloves and dad hats in New York winter. It’s a real vibe. And the fact of the matter is that like Popeye Doyle, the character that Gene Hackman plays, is a monster. He is in no way a good person. And you should be warned, Sam, whenever you might see this film—and Sam’s dad—that like it’s full of excessively bad language—and one word in particular that is particularly explosive—within the first five minutes or so. It is gritty, it is seedy, it is dark. And the fact that you are watching this guy, Popeye Doyle, pursue this bad guy for no reason other than spite—it’s really fascinating. It’s a great, great movie. So, it’s an incredible film. And I thank Sam for the prodding to finally see it. But should I then return the favor and overrule Sam’s dad and order Sam to watch The French Connection? Kurt, what do you think?

Kurt Braunohler: 100% yes.

John Hodgman: Really?

Kurt Braunohler: Mm-hm. I also feel like Sam’s father has opened the door by agreeing to the very official judicial process that happens herein. So, then I believe—I think that we are given the right to order—not allow, but order Sam to watch it.

Jesse Thorn: I think it’s possible—if I can take what you said one step further. I think it’s possible Sam’s dad wants to watch The French Connection with Sam, but just needs cover.

(Kurt cackles.)

Like, just needs someone to blame when Sam goes to school and starts using the F word. He would say, “Well, listen, my favorite podcaster, Sam’s favorite podcaster—” Yeah, I think that’s what’s going on here.

Kurt Braunohler: When he starts dressing like Gene Hackman. A beanie pulled down, a big trench coat.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, and just wearing a little tweed trilby.

John Hodgman: What if Sam went as Popeye Doyle for Halloween as a result? That would be—

Kurt Braunohler: (Through laughter.) Fingerless gloves!

John Hodgman: Yeah, that would be incredible. But you know, look, you say you’re almost 11, Sam. So, I guess that means you’re 10, I hope it doesn’t mean you’re seven.

(They laugh.)

And I would say, you know, around 11/12 and certainly into 13, it is time for kids to start experiencing culture that’s a little bit above their pay grade. It is okay. It is appropriate for them to be a little bit disturbed and to not understand and to seek understanding. And that—I’m not saying that they should de facto just watch stuff that is R rated or whatever. But I would say that if the piece of art is worth it, if it is a really good piece of art—The French Connection really is—then I think it’s okay. In particular, I would say, Sam, you should really look at how Friedkin frames the shots. You should look at the scene where the bad guy is having a gourmet meal in a restaurant.


And you can see Gene Hackman staking him out through the window, and he’s eating a piece of pizza and having coffee at the same time. It’s beautiful juxtaposition. If you’re the cineaste that I believe you are growing or have already become—Sam from Silver Screen, Maryland—you want to look at this movie, if only for film history and for film composition. Because it’s reeeally spectacular. And Sam’s dad, I wish you good viewing. Two thumbs up.

Jesse Thorn: I want Sam’s dad to know that, given this ruling, it’s really important that Sam’s dad watch this movie with Sam. Not just to interpret the bad parts for Sam. You know, the slur that you mentioned, John. Those sorts of things and the sort of dark main character. But also, just to give Sam a chance to like grow in his understanding of fiction. Like, what a beautiful thing this movie is. Incredible movie. And he’ll get so much more out of it if his dad is there to share it with him.

Coming up around the corner, we’ve got juvenile versus juvenile justice! Yes, that’s right. Sibling rivalries.

(John “oooh”s.)

But first let’s take a quick break and hear from our partners.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Welcome back to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. We are clearing the docket in our juvenile justice court this week with our friend Kurt Braunohler. We got a couple of cases from kids that they’ve brought against their own siblings, including this one from Arya in Pittsburgh.

“I have a dispute with my younger brother, August. I was born on September 28th, 2009. He was born on July 20th, 2012. That’s two years and ten months later. But August is constantly claiming that I’m only two years older than him. He doesn’t actually believe this, but he knows that it gets under my skin. I’m asking you to order August to either round up and say that I’m three years older than him, or just say that I’m two years and ten months older than him. Thank you for your consideration.”

Kurt Braunohler: I feel this one.

John Hodgman: First of all, preliminary side ruling—August has the wrong name. How could you be named August when you were born in July?

Kurt Braunohler: I mean, my kid’s named August, born in September.

John Hodgman: WHAT?

Jesse Thorn: (Laughs.) The best laid plans of mice and men, John.

Kurt Braunohler: Because we wanted Gus. His name is Gus.

John Hodgman: Yeah. Okay. That’s fair. That’s fair. Gus is great.

Jesse Thorn: And you had eliminated Gustopher as a possibility?

Kurt Braunohler: Yeah. And Gustaf had been—

John Hodgman: Gustaf had been taken?

(Kurt confirms.)

Yeah, exactly. Okay. Well, then I take it back, August. Your name is correct. But you know, Kurt, you are the parent of two children. Are you indeed a sibling as well?

Kurt Braunohler: I’m both an only child, and I have many siblings. Because my dad had many, many children. But I am an only child from my mom’s side, and I grew up with my mom.

John Hodgman: Okay. So, how are you reacting to what’s going on between August and Arya?

Kurt Braunohler: It is a constant battle in our home as well, because Gus is two and a half years, almost to the day, younger than Olive. And Olive—first off, it started as confusion. Because it’s like sometimes she’s three years older than him and sometimes she’s two years older than him. And so, we always say it’s two years, and it similarly annoys Olive as well. And my approach to it has been—and then when Gus does insist on it, and in stuff like this, that the insistence is always a means of getting under the older one’s skin—and I say, “You are in control. of whether or not this works. You are allowing this to work. You simply do not respond, and it will stop. But the—that doesn’t work.”

(Jesse giggles.)

John Hodgman: That doesn’t pay off.

Kurt Braunohler: That never works. But I do want her to understand that she is in control of whether or not she gets annoyed by this.

John Hodgman: Well, you know, one of the things that’s true about parenting is that you can say the wisest things, and they will be ignored.

(Kurt cackles and agrees.)

And yet, those words still got into their heads.

Kurt Braunohler: Right, they’re in there somewhere.

John Hodgman: They’re in there somewhere rattling around, and someday a long distant echo will come back to Olive, being like, “Oh yeah, I don’t have to let this get to me.” It might be something completely different. Maybe in Olive’s adult life! Maybe that’s when Olive will finally get the message.

Jesse Thorn: I think there is a clear way to express this that is also accurate, and that is “almost three years older”.

John Hodgman: Almost three years older.

Kurt Braunohler: Could I pitch two and 5/6ths?


John Hodgman: Uuuuh, yeah, that rolls right off the tongue. Absolutely.

Jesse Thorn: Trippingly, as Shakespeare would say.

John Hodgman: Arya, I am going to say—and enter it into the record of Judge John Hodgman—that you are essentially three years older. I’ll even go further than nearly. Essentially three years older. Your perception of reality is absolutely true and valid. And I can drop the gavel on that, and I’m going to do it for you right now, so you’ll know forever.

Kurt Braunohler: Here it comes.

(A loud thump.)

John Hodgman: Judge John Hodgman dropped the gavel. There is no discussion about it. Just let it slide, and make sure that it doesn’t get on your nerves. And I don’t think August is going to do it anymore. Or at least less. Don’t give him the satisfaction, they say.

Jesse Thorn: Here’s something from Ruslan in Tucson, Arizona. “My name is Ruslan, and I am eight years old. My sister Katya is 13. I want her to stop stealing my limbs for warmth. She does this, because she’s very cold, and I am very warm. I don’t like it! When she steals my arm, I can’t use my arm! She also grabs my neck with cold hands, and I do not like that at all. I would like a ruling that she stop doing this.”

John Hodgman: Ruslan, thank you for writing that letter, which we have not edited in any way. This is exactly how it is written. Ruslan’s sister Katya is hugging him or grabbing him or cuddling with him when he doesn’t feel like it.

Jesse Thorn: And occasionally, what we call Homer Simpson-ing him.

John Hodgman: Yeah, right. Occasional cold-hand strangling. Like it’s—I’m going to say, first off, it is not okay to wrap your hands around someone’s neck, even if your hands are cold. It’s not a good way to warm up your hands. It’s definitely a great way to violate that person’s personal space and sense of safety. So—

Jesse Thorn: Their body, their choice.

Kurt Braunohler: Their body, their choice.

John Hodgman: I don’t know that I could—and I think for stealing limbs as well. I think that Katya’s gotta get a cold-hands-off policy enacted here. Don’t you agree, Kurt?

Kurt Braunohler: I mean, (sighs) I have to come back to my single guiding light—my body, my choice.

John Hodgman: Katya, do keep your hands off people without getting full consent and happy, affirmative consent. And don’t strangle your brother to warm up your hands. That doesn’t work.

Jesse Thorn: Our guest is the great Kurt Braunohler, and we will have more Juvenile Court in just a moment.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Let’s take a quick break, because I want to take this opportunity, John, to thank all of the folks who are members of Maximum Fun. Whether you are a longstanding member, a brand-new member. Whether you joined during the MaxFunDrive, boosted, upgraded, maintained your membership, you’re totally our heroes and make this show possible. And every year at MaxFunDrive time, I am reminded of that, and I am filled with gratitude for that.

John Hodgman: Obviously, I couldn’t agree with Jesse more. And I dare say, for me personally, this is one of the most fun MaxFunDrives of all time. We had such a great time meeting you all on our live streams and hearing from you about what MaxFun means to you is truly, truly moving to me personally. And so, I also join Jesse in saying thank you so much for making this possible. I literally don’t know what I would be doing without you. So, thanks.

Jesse Thorn: We put together, John, a big Jordan, Jesse, Go! live streaming show during the MaxFunDrive. It’s still up there on the MaxFun YouTube channel. So, it’s MaxFunHQ on YouTube. And if you want to go watch, you can. Including, John, live footage of me and Renee Colvert from the former MaxFun show Can I Pet Your Dog? performing “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors. She plays Seymour; I play Audrey. So, if you want to get a load of my gams, that’s the place to go.

John Hodgman: Yeah, that was an incredible moment, I have to say. So—well, here’s to you, the listeners and the member supporters. Thanks again for your support. And I do have a couple of things coming up, now that we turn our eyes to the future. In June. June 29th specifically, I will be returning to curate the comedy stage at the Solid Sound Festival at the Mass MoCA—that’s the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art—in North Adams, Massachusetts. What’s Solid Sound, you say? Well, it’s only the arts and music festival hosted every other year by none other than the band Wilco. Jeff Tweedy leads the band, and he and the band bring not only their own sweet musical stylings to two big shows on Friday and Saturday night in a big old beautiful field that surrounds a former electrical parts factory—


s—turned into a large-scale installation art museum, but also there’s all kinds of music and food and fun and delights and a comedy stage that’s inside. So, whether it’s rain or shining, you’re going to see some comedy, and I’m going to be hosting it. Our friend Jean Grae is going to be there. Our friend Dave Hill is going to be there. The incredible Sydnee Washington is going to be performing. Brittany Carney is going to be performing and other surprises. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Solid Sound is what it’s called, and you can find it by using your search engine! Hey, that’s up in western Massachusetts, but what’s happening in—? I just want to say, I am so excited that someone has tricked Paul F. Tompkins into going to Maine!

(Jesse laughs.)

And I mention this because the Waldo Theater in Maine is this wonderful theater that’s been refurbished and hosts these incredible films and performing arts in Waldoboro, Maine—which is not that far from Portland. And they have an incredible lineup all the live long day, but they’re bringing Paul F. Tompkins and his Varietopia variety show to Maine. And that’s happening on April 30th, and I really, really, really—I’m encouraging—I mean, the tickets are going fast; it will sell out. I really want Paul to get a real Maine welcome, which is to say icy stares and no reaction whatsoever. No, I want him to get a fake welcome of people who are really excited to see him there. And he’s going to be traveling all over the country. As you know, he’s a friend of the show. And I’m so excited that he’s going to be going to Maine and also Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and also Boston and so many other places.

If you just Google “Paul F. Tompkins Varietopia”, you’ll see everywhere he’s going. But please go see Paul in Maine. Jesse, what do you got going on?

Jesse Thorn: I’ll just say, John, that we have had some really incredible guests on Bullseye lately. Just in the past couple of weeks, Peter Dinklage, John Malkovich, Jenny Slate, the wonderful R&B singer SiR, senator and Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Bradley. This week, Paula Pell, one of the funniest people in the world, and Shabaka Hutchings, who’s one of the greatest jazz musicians in the world right now, as far as I’m concerned. So many cool episodes of Bullseye for you to listen to. And! Coming right up around the corner, both Alison Brie and Keita Takahashi, the creator of Katamari Damacy.

John Hodgman: Holy—! Well, yeah, that’s—I mean, talk about S tier level guests. It’s hit after hit of the most interestings and delightfuls over there on Bullseye. And I’ll tell you something, we were just talking about Paul F. Tompkins—our friend, one of my favorite comedians. You know where I heard about him? The show that became Bullseye.

Jesse Thorn: Holy cow.

John Hodgman: Did you know that? The Sound of Young America.

Jesse Thorn: I don’t think I knew that.

John Hodgman: Yeah. I mean, I think that that’s the first time I ever heard him interviewed, and I’m like I like this guy. And you know what? It turned out to be true.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah. Turns out he’s a genius. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: It turns out—and I was like you know what? It turns out I like both of these guys. Paul and Jesse Thorn, top interviewer in the world. Bullseye. Check it out.

Jesse Thorn: Let’s get back to the courtroom and Judge John Hodgman.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Welcome back to the Juvenile Court of Judge John Hodgman. I’m Bailiff Jesse Thorn. Kurt Braunohler is here from the Bananas podcast, our good pal. We’re clearing the docket of cases from children. This one is from Musa in Jupiter, Florida.

“I want to have free control over all screens in the house. But my mom says no. The people involved are me, my mom, my stepdad, and my two cats.”

(They chuckle.)

John Hodgman: I’m not sure how the two cats are involved. Unless they’re cats—you know, have you seen the cats on Instagram who like love to watch cartoons? There are a couple of different cats that the whole deal on their Instagram accounts is that they have a special little chaise lounge for watching cartoons, a cat-sized chaise lounge. And they’re constantly waking their person up all the time to get them to turn the cartoons on. They love watching cartoons. Spirited Away is a favorite. Which is like this is the greatest cat of all time. I can barely get my cat to look at a piece of kibble.

Jesse Thorn: Wait, they specifically like anime?

John Hodgman: Yeah, I don’t know what to say. It’s incredible.

Jesse Thorn: I think that we should do a panel at Anime Con in downtown Los Angeles.

John Hodgman: Oh, just for cats?

Jesse Thorn: Just for cats that love anime!

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: And then film that, and then we’ll make a fortune.

Jesse Thorn: Some are into Dragon Ball; some are into Miyazaki.

John Hodgman: Maybe that’s why the two cats—maybe they’re into watching television. But we asked Musa his age, and he reported saying that he is 11 and 1/6ths years old. How’s your oldest again, Kurt?

Kurt Braunohler: About to be seven.

John Hodgman: You got a screen policy in your house that’s evolving or taking shape?

Kurt Braunohler: We have. It’s evolving, because we just recently got into a thing called Legends of Learning. Which is a—I don’t know how they haven’t been sued by Pokémon, but it’s essentially Pokémon Go.


But you have to do math in order to battle. And because it’s math, we’ve kind of allowed it. But that is usually like 10 to 20 minutes a day for that, because they play it together. And then TV—we’ve been trying to get rid of TV in the morning before school.

John Hodgman: It takes a lot of work to reduce screen time in a child’s life takes.

(Kurt agrees.)

It takes a looot of discipline on your part.

Kurt Braunohler: The screen is so easy, and that is it’s evil, right? But I also don’t necessarily consider family viewing of television to be like screen time. And I know that a lot of people do. Because we’re interacting; we’re all doing it together. It’s collective. That’s the way I grew up. We would eat dinner and watch TV together.

John Hodgman: What would you watch?

Kurt Braunohler: A Team, The Hulk.

John Hodgman: I love it when a plan comes together, by the way.

Kurt Braunohler: I know, me too.

Jesse Thorn: You are really watching the best television programs. Just the creme de—they say peak TV, peak prestige television was just a few years ago. But they hadn’t seen The Hulk.

Kurt Braunohler: The Hulk was so good.

John Hodgman: When would you say that you had control of, quote, “all screens in the house”? Obviously, very you know—

Kurt Braunohler: Limited amount of screen.

John Hodgman: A very different definition of screens at the time. But when did you have full control?

Kurt Braunohler: Probably pretty early on. But the thing is that social media didn’t exist. And so, now that social media—the evil—exists, full control of screens should not be given—

Jesse Thorn: Ever.

Kurt Braunohler: Until high school, like late high school. (Chuckling.) I’m trying to push it off. I haven’t engaged—

John Hodgman: Oh, wow. Good luck, buddy!

Kurt Braunohler: I know, I know. That’s the good luck, right? I can tell myself to go jump in a lake. That’s John Hodgman—

John Hodgman: Yeah, talk about big brother over here. Talk about big brother, 1984. It’s a—you know, Musa, I feel you. Like, you are coming up—you know, we were talking about another 11-year-old or near 11-year-old. And it is not inappropriate developmentally for you to start seeing some stuff that’s outside of your—you know, a little above your pay grade. But the stuff that is online, compared to the endless reruns of Gilligan’s Island and Three’s Company that I watched in the afternoons when I got home from school—it’s a lot more extreme. And that’s an issue.

Kurt Braunohler: And there is an entity. I think that is my main issue is that there is an entity engaging the brain. Once you have an artificial intelligence that is geared towards your child’s brain and trying to feed it things that will, you know, drop dopamine, that I think is where we get into a problem. So, as long as you’re not engaged with a neural net of any sort—

John Hodgman: I mean, I have to say, like it’s really, really challenging. I think that full control of screens is something that’s going to be part of your kids’ lives before they are—what did you say? You wanted them to be 35?

Kurt Braunohler: (Laughs.) Like, high school. I want at least high school.

John Hodgman: Yeeeah. In middle school, it’s going to be an issue. Is there middle school in LA?

Jesse Thorn: We just send children straight to set.

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: Yeah. They have their tutors on set. Like, it seems like at this point, the rule of thumb tends to be kids get phones in middle school. Right or wrong. I’m just saying that is sort of where it’s at. And so, it’s not a surprise that Musa is starting to feel like—if not now, at 11 and 1/6th, Musa is going to have friends soon who have phones and have access to a lot of stuff. And there is a lot of parental control software that you can use and et cetera, et cetera. And I guess you can use that. I mean, do what works for you.

But I think that the only and best thing to do is to offer a lot of modeling of behavior of what you watch and what you engage with. Showing kids, your kids, stuff that is really good—like watching television together as you do, Kurt. Certain television is not merely not-evil, but kind of essential. Mr. Rogers, Adventure Time, The French Connection, The French Connection 2.

(They laugh.)

Yeah, and in terms of social media, you owe it to your kids to start talking now, before they even encounter it, that there is stuff that will get to them—highly sexualized material, highly explicit material, and a lot of, you know, right-wing recruitment material.


If you can even call it the right-wing. There’s a lot of bad stuff out there. And more so now than ever, I think you should be having a conversation, Musa, with your mom, your stepdad, and your two cats about what the algorithm is and what it’s designed to do and what it’s going to do to you.

Jesse Thorn: I have really strong screen time feelings, John—which is that I think all children should have the childhood experience that I had at my father’s house. My father was a single dad from when he and my mother divorced when I was a young kid ‘til when he remarried when I was eight or nine. So, we had a good run from like four to eight of my dad being a single dad in an apartment. And my dad only cooked—he only knew how to cook pasta, steak, and salad. And we couldn’t really afford steak, so it was just pasta and salad. And we had a—this is in, I want to be clear, the late ’80s. We had like maybe a 10- or 12-inch black and white television. We would watch one episode of Cheers, and then we would watch that classic father/son bonding television program, the McNeil Lehrer News Hour.

(They laugh.)

The PBS News Hour, we would watch together.

Kurt Braunohler: We could—here’s a pitch then, based on that. Do you remember the small seat booths at airports, where you could go in, put a quarter in, and then watch black and white TV on a 10-inch screen?

John Hodgman: Yes, and bus stations as well.

Kurt Braunohler: And bus stations. If we have one of those installed in the house, then that child has total control over that screen. (Laughs.)

Jesse Thorn: I love this. This is like when the Brady Bunch got a payphone.

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: Oh, Musa, you don’t get any of these references. And that’s why I am also ordering your mom, stepdad, and two cats to get you a bus station chair with a coin-operated TV in it that will only show you episodes of the Brady Bunch, so you can catch up. Catch up and go back in time with our Gen X and elderly Millennial ramblings. Believe me, that’s going to be the most exciting television you’ve ever watched.

Jesse Thorn: Here’s something from Oliver, age nine, in Brooklyn, New York City.

“I really love graphic novels, and I want my mom to read them to me. My mom, Emma, says graphic novels aren’t real literature, and are too boring to read to me. I would like the judge to rule that my mom will read me at least one chapter of a graphic novel before bed every week. Thank you for your consideration.”

Kurt Braunohler: Ah, I feel this one.

John Hodgman: Go on, tell me.

Kurt Braunohler: Olive started reading very young and gravitated towards—once she was done with like kid books, gravitated towards graphic novels. Because the—like, just the word count of a chapter book I think was intimidating. And now it is her preferred—although, she has moved on to chapter books, it is her preferred book—are graphic novels. And I have decided to take it as a win, even though I would prefer her to be on chapter books. And I keep explaining like with the graphic novel, it’s one person’s imagining of what it looks like and feels like. Whereas with the words, it’s you! Like, you get to actually—it’s what you would imagine. And so, I’ve been trying to work with that, but I’ve just taken it as a win. If she’s reading a graphic novel, I’m fine with it.

John Hodgman: Yeah, I think that’s exactly right, Kurt. I mean, I understand the distinction that you’re drawing, because reading a graphic novel is a very different kind of reading experience from reading prose, in the same way that people come to the court of Judge John Hodgman all the time saying like, “I listened to this book on audiobooks, but my friend Dave says I didn’t actually read it, because I didn’t read-read it,” or whatever. And that is true that that’s a different way of experiencing the work, but one that is as equally valid as reading the prose.

And similarly—I mean, I think that, yes, you are having the images drawn for you by the artist or the illustrator of that book, by the creator or the illustrator of that book. But the compensation is you get to encounter some wonderful art, you know? And obviously comic style storytelling is ancient, perhaps even older than prose. And it’s a very, very valid way to engage with story. And I get it. But that said, it is—as a parent reading to a child, reading a comic book or a graphic novel is harder to me than reading a regular, old book.

Kurt Braunohler: Agreed. Because there’s also large sections where it’s like you say one word—


—and then it’s just look at, look at, look at, look at, look at, look at—

Jesse Thorn: And you have to match pace. It’s very awkward.

(Kurt agrees through laughter.)

John Hodgman: Yeah. I mean, it’s a little bit more challenging. Not that I didn’t do it and love to spend that time. I mean, any amount of time that you’re reading with your children—

Kurt Braunohler: Is good.

John Hodgman: Is iiinfinitely valuable. And so, you know, my inclination is—without further information—to rule on the side of Oliver.

Kurt Braunohler: I have a sinking suspicion that Oliver is not giving us the full story. I have a sinking suspicion that Oliver is saying, “I would like the novel, the graphic novel to be read instead of my mom reading or my parent reading a regular chapter book—a chapter of a regular book to me.”

John Hodgman: It could be.

Kurt Braunohler: And as long as it’s not “instead of”, I’m okay with it.

Jesse Thorn: He’s only asking for one chapter a week.

Kurt Braunohler: A week?! I thought a night!

Jesse Thorn: One chapter a week.

Kurt Braunohler: Oh, this is very reasonable. This is a reasonable child!

John Hodgman: There is, as they say on Reddit, missing reasons here. We did get some more background. So, on the one hand, Oliver specifically wants Emma—his mom—to read Dogman by Dav Pilkey. You’re familiar with this, Kurt Braunohler?

Kurt Braunohler: Oh yes, he’s an excellent author. He has a very cool style, and he invented the patented flip and fight, I think it’s called. Which is very, very funny. He invented—he wrote the Captain Underpants series as well.

Jesse Thorn: He has my undying loyalty, because many, many, many years ago—20 years ago, when Jennifer and I—our producer—both worked at KZSC in Santa Cruz, California, my colleague Jordan Morris—with whom I now host Jordan, Jesse, Go!—and I did a fundraising show for the station at the base of the uc Santa Cruz campus, where the cars come in. With the remote equipment. We brought out the remote equipment, blew the dust off of it, and recorded an entire episode of the show in public, in our underpants. And when we did that, Marc Maron was one of the guests. Our friend, Marc Maron.

(Kurt cackles.)

God bless him. But when we did that, I had the idea to write a note to Dav Pilkey’s publisher and say, “Hey, we’re a community radio station. Could we have some copies of Captain Underpants to give away as thank you gifts for our underpants fundraiser?”

And they sent—I’m talking about a cubic yard of Captain Underpants books. And what I didn’t tell them is like this is a small community radio station. We were hoping for maybe 15 people to give money or 20 people to give money. And so, there was just free Captain Underpants books in the lobby of KCSE for three years after that.

(Kurt laughs and John “wow”s.)

But I’ve always been so grateful. They sent the most encouraging note and were like so excited about it.

Kurt Braunohler: Oh, that’s awesome.

Jesse Thorn: And Dav Pilkey does wonderful, wonderful work for kids with learning differences as well. And you know, his work is really well tuned to kids who—you know, there’s a lot of kids who read graphic novels, because parsing text is challenging for them.

John Hodgman: Yeah, I was just gonna say—a friend of our show, Jon Kimball of David Rees and Jon Kimball’s Election Profit Makers just was talking about—he has a brain difference called aphantasia, which it makes it difficult for him to picture concepts in his mind, like to imagine. So, you know, part of the joy that we have of reading is creating a mental picture of the castle or the dragon or Popeye Doyle in a, you know—

Jesse Thorn: Are you reading the novelization of The French Connection?

John Hodgman: Yeah. I am. That’s my next project.

Jesse Thorn: Got it.

(They chuckle.)

John Hodgman: But some people maybe have difficulty, and the pictures are a real help in terms of them comprehending and enjoying the story. But Captain Underpants, not uncontroversial due to the underpants content. Over here on Common Sense Media, Freeinfaith99, an adult, gave Dogman two stars.

Kurt Braunohler: Oh, come on.

John Hodgman: They say, “The covers of these books make them seem innocent, fun, and a perfect book to get reading. But they’re truly disappointing. He just crosses the line as what would be deemed inappropriate to the minds of young children. Because of these books, my son thinks it’s okay to write ‘cuz’, C-U-Z, instead of ‘because’.”

Kurt Braunohler: (Laughing.) Oh no!

John Hodgman: And then FreeinFaith goes on to say—

Jesse Thorn: (Referencing The Music Man.) Oh, you got trouble!

John Hodgman: “Because of these books, my son has quadrupled the amount of potty words he says.” But of course, FreeinFaith spells quadrupled, quad-R-O-O-P-L-E-D. So—

Kurt Braunohler: Oh, there it is.

John Hodgman: I’m closing the tab on you, FreeinFaith. You’re wrong.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, FreeinFaith—it sounds like what FreeinFaith needs is a boy’s band.


John Hodgman: Yeah. You’re wrong. And Oliver, I think you’re right. But one thing we might not have considered is that Emma might have their own feelings about graphic novels and comics that might be personal, that might explain their resistance to this. And would it shed any light—and I have permission to use Emma’s last name—would it shed any light if I were to tell you the true fact that Emma’s last name is Batman?

(Jesse chortles.)

Kurt Braunohler: No. No, it does not.

Jesse Thorn: This is a childhood trauma issue. And I don’t mean that Emma’s parents got murdered after they went to the opera.

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: It was the movies, Jesse. It was Zorro. I don’t know whether Emma dealt with any Batman related teasing on the playground that maybe made her turn her back on the world’s greatest detective and all of his illustrated ilk, but Dogman is not Batman, Emma. And comics are good. So, read them to your child, even though it’s a little bit of a different experience as a reader.

Jesse Thorn: I’ll say this—you know, my friend Jordan, with whom I did that underpants broadcast and with whom I host the podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!—he’s got a young adult graphic novel on the way, called Youth Group.

(John and Kurt react with excitement.)

I say preorder that, lock it and load it for when that kid hits 12 or 13. Make it happen. Youth Group by Jordan Morris.

John Hodgman: Wait, how old is Oliver? Age 9?

Jesse Thorn: Yeah. That’s old enough certainly to watch The French Connection, but I’m not sure—

John Hodgman: Yeah, I was gonna say that’s prime Exorcist age.

(Jesse laughs.)

Don’t watch—hey, Oliver, don’t watch The Exorcist. Don’t do it. It’s not okay.

Jesse Thorn: No. Too much. Too scary.

John Hodgman: Too much. Too scary.

Kurt Braunohler: Can I just recommend Raina Telgemeier’s young adult graphic novels are fantastic.

John Hodgman: Oh, of course! Smile!

Jesse Thorn: Smile, Guts—what are the other ones? Well, we don’t have to remember all the names.

Kurt Braunohler: Drama.

Jesse Thorn: They’re really wonderful. Yeah. And I like them most, because the dad in them is a San Francisco Giants fan. My kids always run to me holding it, “Look, this dad is a Giants fan too!” Okay, that’s it. Our docket is clear. Everybody’s already preordered Youth Group by Jordan Morris and acquired Zita the Space Girl for their younger children. Wonderful book.

John Hodgman: And everyone’s gone over to Kurt Braunohler’s social media. I mean, I’ll say to Musa, you are allowed to check out Kurt Braunohler’s social media.

Kurt Braunohler: You can find it at That’s Kurt with a K, comedy with a C.

Jesse Thorn: Kurt is also one of the hosts of the very funny podcast Bananas, that’s about strange stories in the news, strange behaviors by persons as reported in the news.

Kurt Braunohler: Yes, strange news and storytelling is how we say it.

John Hodgman: I can’t wait to listen.

(Kurt laughs.)

Let me restate that. It’s one of my favorite podcasts; I listen every week.

Jesse Thorn: Judge John Hodgman created by Jesse Thorn and John Hodgman. A big welcome to Nattie Lopez, our new social media director.

Kurt Braunohler: Welcome.

Jesse Thorn: And this is important, Kurt. If anyone out here is listening, and they have dank Judge John Hodgman memes—we want these memes to be very dank!

John Hodgman: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not medium dank.

Jesse Thorn: No mid! No mid memes! Dank meeemes! Send them to Nattie on our Instagram account, @JudgeJohnHodgman. Because the meme-age is gonna be extraoooordinary.

John Hodgman: I just wanna say something to the listeners of Judge John Hodgman, who visit us over at Instagram or Facebook or whatever it is. Like, the algorithm is not your friend. The algorithm is not our friend. But you could help the algorithm be a little bit more friendly to the podcast you love by making sure that you like and send and share and do that kind of thing. Because that will spread the stuff around, they tell me. And I appreciate all of you who are out there following us. We have a lot of fun in the comments over there in the Instagram page and everywhere we are, including TikTok and YouTube now! So, if you’re a fan of the show, and you want people to discover it, that really helps—if you like and share and whatever it is they ask you to do. Smash the buttons.

Jesse Thorn: Can I offer something just as a starter, just as an idea? “When bae be like: be mindful of the work you leave for others”?

John Hodgman: Yeah, as a meme. I love it!

Jesse Thorn: Yeah. Just a possible meme. Just one possible meme. One dank, possible meme.

(Kurt giggles.)

John Hodgman: “Not me with a hot dog that isn’t a sandwich.” Right.

Jesse Thorn: No. Our video editor is Daniel Speer. Watch the videos on our YouTube channel! Yeah, whole episodes up there and videos for free, for you! Our podcast is edited by A.J. McKeon. Our producer, Jennifer Marmor. Photos from the show are posted on our Instagram account, at We’re also on TikTok and YouTube, @JudgeJohnHodgmanPod. Follow and subscribe to see our episodes and video only content.


Special thanks this week, by the way. We have beautiful, brand-new video equipment here in the studio that was set up this morning in a mad scramble by our colleagues, Valerie, K.T., and Bikram. So, our thanks to all three of them for setting up this sweet new stuff.

John Hodgman: It’s great to see your faces, Kurt and Jesse. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m here too.

Jesse Thorn: Our YouTube videos are looking better than everrr.

John Hodgman: BTE.

(Glasses clink.)

Clink. Hey, Jesse, do you remember when we spoke a couple episodes ago with Abby and Tyler about top five lists?

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, I sure do.

John Hodgman: So, a lot of people are—Kurt, we had—these nice young people have a little dispute about top five lists. And if I remember correctly, Abby was an actuary. And we wanted some hot actuarial gossip from her office.

(Kurt laughs.)

Jesse Thorn: Hot actuary goss.

John Hodgman: And she told us some.

Jesse Thorn: She spilled the tea.

John Hodgman: We had to redact it; we had to bleep it out, because we didn’t want anyone to get in trouble over at her office. And people have been begging us to know what’s the actuary goss. And you know what? We are people of our word, and you will never know!

Jesse Thorn: Mm-hm.

John Hodgman: But it did get us thinking, why not some hot goss that you’re willing to reveal? Submit your cases about gossip. Did your sister spill the beans to your parents about your secret tattoo? Are you a celebrity who wants to take a celebrity gossip Instagram account to court? You know I’m a messy judge who lives for drama! Send me all of your gossip at

Jesse Thorn: And Judge John Hodgman, since we got Nattie on board right now, I’m going to expand this request. I’m going to ask if you’re listening to Judge John Hodgman right now and you’re an actuary, a certified public accountant, or you work more broadly in the insurance industry—

John Hodgman: And reinsurance, I trust, as well.

Jesse Thorn: Exactly. What’s the hot goss? Send it to us on Facebook or on Instagram, @JudgeJohnHodgman. Send us the Goss. We will anonymize it and share it with the world. Perhaps here on the show, perhaps on our social media accounts.

(John “ohhh”s.)

We want to know actuarial goss, certified public accountant goss. I’m going to accept bookkeeper goss. And I’m also looking for insurance industry goss, okay? Anything regarding making sure that our numbers are in line and our lives are secure.

John Hodgman: Send it all to JudgeJohnHodgman at Instagram and Facebook, and obviously submit your cases—all cases, whatever they might be! Big or small, we hear them all. What’s the last thing we say on this podcast, Jesse?

Jesse Thorn: (Listlessly.) I don’t know. What would you say it is?

John Hodgman: (Petering off.) We’ll talk to you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast?

Jesse Thorn: (Laughing.) Please keep that in. We’ll talk to you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast!

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Transition: Cheerful ukulele chord.

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Speaker 3: Of artist owned shows.

Speaker 4: Supported—

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