Mexico and Canada's Pop Culture

Guy, Jonathan Rowell, Oliver, and Margaret
Pop Rocket
Guy Branum
Jonathan Rowell
Oliver Wang
Margaret Wappler

Guy, Margaret, and Oliver are joined by special guest, comedian and writer Jonathan Rowell to talk about Mexico and Canada's pop culture. Sabado Gigante, Walter Mercado, You Can't Do That On Television, Porky's and so much more! Plus, The Pop Rocket Book Club talks all about Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.

With Guy Branum, Oliver Wang, Margaret Wappler and guest Jonathan Rowell

That’s My Jam:

Jonathan Rowell - Donny Hathaway – We’re Still Friends (Live)
Oliver Wang - Betty Davis – Politician Man
Margaret Wappler - Feist – The Circle Married the Line
Guy Branum - Fergie – M.I.L.F.$

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Colin Anderson & Christian Dueñas for

Judge John Hodgman Episode 219: Axed and Answered

Monte Belmonte

Jen brings the case against her boyfriend Adrian. Adrian has his heart set on buying and displaying an "artisanal axe" in their home. He says it would be a beautiful and practical item to own. Jen says it breaks her rule against having weapons in the home, and opens them up to other beautiful but dangerous items -- what's next, decorative swords??

Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one man can decide.

Danny Lewin named this week's case via the Judge John Hodgman Facebook page. Thanks, Danny!

If you want to be part of a nicer place on the internet, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @Hodgman, Bailiff Jesse @JesseThorn.

You can also follow our fantastic Summer Bailiff Monte Belmonte and listen to him on WRSI 93.9 The River!



Submitted by Adrian

Exhibit A: "This is my dream axe."

Exhibit B: A photo of their living space, including the mantel where the axe would likely be placed.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Rick Moranis and Booker T. Jones

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Rick Moranis
Booker T. Jones
Carolyn Kellogg

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Rick Moranis on Growing Up Jewish, Canadian Comedy, and Quitting Show Business

Rick Moranis's big glasses and nerdy goofball humor appeared in some of the biggest Hollywood comedies of the 80s and 90s. In just a few years, he starred in Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Those movies filled theaters, sold tons of merchandise, and made Moranis a star. And then, at the peak of this fame, Moranis decided to retire. His wife passed away in 1991, and Moranis decided to become a full-time stay-at-home dad.

Nearly a decade after pretty much signing out of show business, Moranis returned in 2005 with a Grammy-winning album of original music, "Agoraphobic Cowboy." And now Moranis has released his second album, My Mother's Brisket and Other Love Songs, a collection of comedic music inspired by Moranis's Jewish upbringing in Toronto.

Moranis talks to Jesse about his first job selling hockey programs in the nosebleed section, SCTV and the ironic outcome of his famous nose-thumbing at Canadian content laws, and his decision to be a stay-at-home father.

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Related interviews:
Mel Brooks
Catherine O'Hara
Joe Flaherty

Carolyn Kellogg Recommends "The Unknowns" and "Hothouse"

Carolyn Kellogg, book critic and staff writer for the LA Times, joins us to recommend two new books to put on the top of your summer reading list.

First, she recommends The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth. This debut novel set in 2002 follows a Silicon Valley millionaire whose brain betrays him whenever he tries to do the right thing. Parties, ecstasy, sex -- and that's just the first few pages.

Kellogg's next pick is Boris Kachka's Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America's Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Kachka, a veteran New York Magazine journalist, delves into the juicy history of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, the publishing house of Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Philip Roth, and Jonathan Franzen. The book focuses on the personal lives of founder Roger Straus and editor Robert Giroux and provides an insider's look at the secret, ferocious world of publishing.

Read more of Carolyn's writing on books, authors, and publishing at the LA Times' blog Jacket Copy.

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Comedy: Doug Benson on Taken 2 and a Missed Opportunity

What if the folks behind the second "Taken" movie had just given a little more thought to tying the series together? Comedian Doug Benson considers the Taken series, with Liam Neeson, in this clip from his new album, Gateway Doug.

Doug Benson hosts a weekly podcast, Doug Loves Movies, and hosts the ongoing live series, Doug Benson's Movie Interruptions.

Booker T. Jones: Master Of Memphis Soul

Whether he was touring with Otis Redding, backing countless soul stars in the Stax studio, or composing his own instrumental hits like "Green Onions," Booker T. Jones, along with his band The MG's, defined the sound of southern sixties' soul.

Born in Memphis in 1944, Jones was gigging around town before he had entered high school. By college, he was a seasoned session musician and multi-instrumentalist with a hit single to his name. And by 1968, when Stax Records came under new ownership, he had played on over 600 Stax records, including "Try A Little Tenderness" and "These Arms Of Mine".

Perhaps even more impressively, Jones hasn't stopped. He continues to team up with some of the biggest names in jazz, soul, rock, and classical music and, at nearly 70 years old, he has no plans of letting up anytime soon.

Jones tells us stories about the first time Otis Redding sat down next to him at a piano, producing "Ain't No Sunshine" with the (as-yet-unknown) singer-songwriter Bill Withers, and Jones' plans to continue making all kinds of music.

Jones' new album, Sound The Alarm, is out now.

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Related interview:
Bill Withers

The Outshot: "Paranoia" by Chance the Rapper

The Outshot: Paranoia by Chance The Rapper

Jesse recommends "Paranoia," a track off Chance The Rapper's free mixtape Acid Rap. It's a song about an entire part of our country that feels ignored. It's Chance's appeal for human connection.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment with your friends.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 55: Battle Royale


Rachel and Leeman are American citizens who moved to Canada for school and work. Having lived in Toronto for some time now, the couple have planted their roots in Canadian soil and plan to make the city their home for the foreseeable future. They've already become permanent Canadian residents, and enjoy the primary benefits of being Canadian (universal health care, foremost). Rachel believes they should go all the way and become citizens so that they may vote, run for office, and fully commit to life in the Great White North. Leeman takes issue with the Canadian Oath of Citizenship, however, particularly the idea of pledging allegiance to the British monarchy.

Should they stand on guard for thee united as a family, or is Leeman correct in rebelling against the crown? In this royal rumble, only one man can decide!


Canadian House of Pizza & Garbage Jingle


On this week's episode of Judge John Hodgman, The Pizza Pauper, our litigants discussed the very unusual restaurant chain The Canadian House of Pizza & Garbage.

Listener Eric Schumiller started thinking about some cassettes he'd seen on in a shoebox on his neighbors curb. He ran out, grabbed them, and ran to his cassette deck. He found just what he thought he'd remembered seeing - the circa 1980s jingle for CHoPaG.

He generously digitized it for us, and you can hear it above or download it here.

Lyrics below:

Canadian House of Pizza and Garbage,
A place of convenience and value for all.
Maison Canadienne de la Pizza et les Ordures,
Un lieu de commodité et de valeur pour tous le monde.

[spoken]: At Canadian House of Pizza and Garbage, turn garbage into gold! So don't refuse our refuse, or deny our detritus. Only $5 for a pop and a slice, or maybe much, MUCH more!

Canadian House of Pizza and Garbage,
Ontario's stripmall paradise.
Abandon your pride, and come inside,
You might find a motorcycle under your slice...under your slice!

Buddy Cole Gets His Own Bar


I really enjoyed getting the chance to talk with Scott Thompson about his amazing character Buddy Cole earlier this week. I agree that you could hardly have a sharper, smarter character than Buddy.

"Maybe that's why God's such a homophobe and Satan's so sexy..."

Samantha Bee: Daily Show Correspondent and Author of I Know I Am But What Are You: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Samantha Bee

Samantha Bee is the Daily Show's longest-tenured correspondent, having joined the program in 2003. She's also the author of a new memoir, I Know I Am But What Are You?

Bee grew up in an unusual tripartite family, splitting time between a matronly grandmother, a conservative, re-married father and a bohemian, Wiccan mother. She met her husband, the Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, while working in a Sailor Moon-themed stage show at the Canadian National Exposition.

She talked with us from New York City.

The Trailer Park Boys: Interview on the Sound of Young America

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The Trailer Park Boys

Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are the stars of the Canadian documentary-style sitcom The Trailer Park Boys. For years, the show has tracked their charming inability to make anything of themselves. The second film based on the series, Countdown to Liquor Day, marks the end of the show. It was just released in Canada. Viewers in the US can see the show on Direct TV's The 101 Network Thursday nights.

The Trailer Park Boys creator Mike Clattenburg

Mike Clattenburg

Mike Clattenburg is the creator of the Canadian sitcom The Trailer Park Boys. It follows two friends, the scheming Julian (left) and the bumbling Ricky (right), as they plan petty crimes, grow dope, drink, and seek counsel from their wise (but possibly developmentally disabled) neighbor Bubbles (center). It's a surprisingly sweet and spectacularly profane look at life in the maritime provinces of Canada.

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