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Stop Podcasting Yourself 246 - Warren Bates

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Warren Bates

Warren Bates returns to talk fast food promotional cups, communal dining, and Graham's dumb art project.

Download episode 246 here. (right-click)

Get in touch with us at stoppodcastingyourself [at] gmail [dot] com or (206) 339-8328.

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 253: Gasbagging with Sara Benincasa

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Sara Benincasa

Comedian Sara Benincasa joins Jordan and Jesse for a discussion of Gordon Ramsay, trolling, Sara's bathtub talk show, and eating alone.

RISK! #409: In My Own Skin

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Andrew Solmssen
Lee Harrington

My Brother, My Brother and Me 131: Outliers


Justin learned the power of his own shirtless form, Travis read a whole book (without help!) and Griffin got engaged. It truly is an important week for our family's growth and well-being.

Suggested talking points: The Quintuple B, M'load, Garfield Surgery, The Time Travis Almost Saw Neil Diamond, Dildos in Disguise, Shoe Slogans, Secret Butt Presses, Gift of the Magerbil

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: SMoviemakers


Vital stats:
Format: Kevin Smith interviews the makers of films he likes
Episode duration: 50m-2h30m
Frequency: erratic

Finally, someone has given Richard Kelly a chance to explain himself. Actually, wait a second — he had a chance to explain himself, back on the Donnie Darko DVD commentary track. Or at least he had a chance to explain the movie — and to my great dismay, he did, with a sweaty, near-schizophrenic detail and consistency. But Kelly’s appearance on SMoviemakers [RSS] [iTunes] happened years later, after the world had already sneered his follow-up, the chaotically paranoid Southland Tales, into an early grave. Say what you will about the coherence of Kelly’s movies; they’re something, or at least they aspire to that state. My memories of Donnie Darko remain as hauntingly askew as the film itself, and as for Southland Tales, well, J. Hoberman and Manohla Dargis don’t win themselves over. I never would have expected a guy like Kevin Smith to lend Kelly a sympathetic ear, but so he does on the debut episode of this, his filmmaker-on-filmmaker interview podcast. And in a certain maligned-auteur-on-maligned-auteur way, the invitation makes perfect sense.

Whenever I bring up the maligning of Kevin Smith, I ask myself whether I’ve done my share of that maligning. Alongside many cinephiles of my generation, I thrilled to Clerks and everything it revealed about the potential of micro-budget independent filmmaking in the nineties. But like several other of the subsequent movement’s leading lights, Smith has arguably proven damp cinematic powder. Even a picture like Chasing Amy, regarded as one of his strongest efforts, falls victim to both a half-hearted interest in craft and an unpalatably thorough seediness. Smith himself admits, as a born writer and talker, to never finding film a particularly good fit. With the advent of podcasting, which made possible his flagship program SModcast and its countless spin-offs, he may at last have found his medium. SMoviemakers goes up a level by sitting him down with other directors, and ones he admires, thus harnessing his considerable drive as a film fan and his experience (even if he disclaims real skill) as a filmmaker.

This places him well to, say, spend four separate eighty-minute episodes talking to Penny Marshall, discussing her entire career project by project. Not only has he seen, and loved, Big, Awakenings, and A League of Their Own (not to mention the run of Laverne and Shirley) over and over again, he knows exactly what it would have taken to make them. Just as this goes for a grande dame of family films, it goes for a young genre director like Scott Derrickson, with whom smith conducts an almost three-hour two-parter. “Isn’t it interesting as fuck?” Smith asks us at the end of part one. And even though I’ve never watched — and let’s face it, may never watch — one of Derrickson’s movies, indeed it is. The same goes for the live panel episodes with guests who worked on Valley Girl, The Rocketeer, and The Breakfast Club. Whatever you think of his work, Smith’s enthusiasm has always made him likable, and that work gives him the expertise which this show fuses with that most enjoyable part of his public personality.

Yet you may sense a certain arrestedness in the choice of films here. If Smith has retained the winning level of film fervor you’d see in a fourteen-year-old, he may have accomplished it by sticking to the same films he liked as a fourteen-year-old. He tells a representative anecdote before the Breakfast Club conversation about how, immediately after seeing the movie in the theater, he put his name down to rent it at his local video store, months before its Betamax release. Nineteen-eighties teen pictures, budget horror, comic book adaptations, the deliberately cultish, feel-good Hollywood — it’s not as if I expect an exhumed Andrei Tarkovsky to jump on the second mic, but damn. It reminds me that I’ve never quite gotten comfortable with the type of adulthood of which Smith made himself a prototype: married with children (child, in Smith’s case), but still deeply invested in Batman (doing a dedicated Batman podcast, in Smith’s case). This always struck me as the worst of both worlds — barren fifty-year-olds with worn W.G. Sebald novels in hand being, clearly, My People — but he seems to be having one hell of a good time, who am I to quibble?

One strong sign that Smith’s interests may run to a deeper place appears, curiously, in a live SMoviemakers dedicated to a pillar of his moviegoing adolescence: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Though he usually speaks with what we might call the common touch — “Get the fuck outta here,” goes his most common reply to guests’ answers — there he launches into a hyperarticulate panegyric (as star Peter Weller later calls it) to the film’s brazen defiance of tradition, genre, and any form of audience expectation. This willingness to drop the viewer into an existing universe and trust them to possess the intelligence to figure it out on their own, he says, is art. Run with that thought, Kevin. And might I suggest that, into this fine showcase for your conversational abilities, you next invite your fellow alumni from the nineties indie boom? Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater, Steven Soderbergh, Quentin Tarantino — can an iPod, let alone a stage, even contain that much sheer excitement about movies?

Comment or suggest a podcast on the Podthoughts forum thread

[Podthinker Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture [iTunes]. Contact him at colinjmarshall at gmail or follow him on Twitter @colinmarshall.]

Maron Chats with Conan about Roosters


Our friend Marc Maron was on Conan last night talking about Cuba, Hawaii and roosters that can't tell time.

Alumni Newsletter: Week of November 27, 2012

  • Our own Graham Clark, co-host of Stop Podcasting Yourself, has launched my favorite web series of 2012 to-date: “Graham Clark Wilderness Man”. This is must-see internet.
  • Eugene Mirman has announced that his first hour-long standup special, Eugene Mirman: An Evening of Comedy in a Fake Underground Laboratory will premiere on Comedy Central at midnight on Dec. 14th. Rumors are suggesting that it will include a theremin. If you’re in NYC, he’ll also be hosting a free simultaneous watching event / celebration at Bell House in Brooklyn.
  • The State Department recently invited party-rocker Andrew WK to perform at the US Embassy in Manama. He quickly announced on his own website that he would be a “cultural ambassador” who would unite the human race “with love and partying.” But, sadly, it was not to be. The State Department, shortly after reviewing his “entire body of work” rescinded the invitation. Andrew tweeted later that he believed the trip had been cancelled solely "because I'm too party."
  • Louis CK will release his fourth HBO special in early 2013. It will be filmed at one of the stops on his current tour. Good news for you folks without cable: he will eventually make it available as a $5 download from his website.

  • Your long wait is over: here is Brandon Bird’s T-mas Card for 2012. Fa la la la la, Fool!
  • Saddest comedy news of this holiday season: Wyatt Cenac is leaving the Daily Show. His last appearance will be on December 13th - the show’s last edition for this year.
  • Happiest news: Both Key and Peele and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell have been renewed for another season.
  • Bonus news: Hodgman on both 30 Rock AND the Daily Show this evening. Stay in. Make popcorn.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 86: The Statute of Physical Limitations


Shumanay brings this week's case against her husband Jon. A chronic illness has long prevented Shumanay from engaging in strenuous physical activity, but recent improvements in her condition have allowed her to take up running. She would like to take advantage of her new abilities by participating in a long-distance endurance run with obstacles, but Jon objects to the plan, citing possible threats to Shumanay's health and a belief that Shumanay's chosen race is silly and embarrassing. Who is in the right? Judge John Hodgman decides.


Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: RJ Smith on James Brown, Comedy from Cameron Esposito, Mark Frauenfelder

RJ Smith
Cameron Esposito
Mark Frauenfelder

All-Time Favorites with Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder

Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder joins us this week to share some all-time favorites: a great dungeon crawler for iOS called The Sword of Fargoal and Chandler Burr's The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession, a fascinating book exploring the science of scent.

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R.J. Smith profiles the Godfather of Soul, James Brown

R.J. Smith is a former senior editor at Los Angeles Magazine and a music journalist who's written for the Village Voice and Spin. For his latest project, he took on the task of profiling the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Smith's extensive biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, follows the musician from his childhood, raised in a whorehouse, wearing burlap sack underwear, to stardom, and then to reinvention.

James Brown was a hugely influential musician and performer, known for hits like "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and "Get Up (I Feel Like a Sex Machine)," and he was one of the driving forces behind the creation and popularity of funk music. But he was also much more than that -- a tenacious businessman who ran his finances into the ground, a man of messy and confusing political alliances, and a hardliner on drug abuse (who eventually fell to his own drug addictions).

Why didn’t Brown’s politics fit neatly into a particular mindset? And why, unlike nearly all of his black contemporaries, did he endorse Nixon? What drew crowds of screaming fans to his performances? And how did he survive the rise of disco? Smith's book delves into Brown's storied and complicated life and music career of six decades, as well as his effects on pop music, politics, and race relations in 20th century America. This interview previously aired July 24, 2012.

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Comedy from Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito is a standup comic who's been featured on this show and performed at TBS' Just for Laughs Chicago, South by Southwest, and the Aspen Rooftop Comedy Festivals. She recently moved to Los Angeles right in time for the 4th Annual MaxFunCon, and joined us to perform a set musing on her childhood appearance. This segment previously aired July 24, 2012.

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The Outshot: Cheers

Why not go where everybody goes your name? This week, Jesse recommends that you revisit Cheers. This segment previously aired July 24, 2012.

Do you have a piece of pop culture that keeps you coming back? Share your own Outshot on our forums.

(Embed or Share The Outshot on Cheers)

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Stop Podcasting Yourself 245 - Katie-Ellen Humphries

Katie-Ellen Humphries

Katie-Ellen Humphries returns to talk about how people ask each other out on dates, Dave's mustache, and Magic Mike.

Download episode 245 here. (right-click)

Get in touch with us at stoppodcastingyourself [at] gmail [dot] com or (206) 339-8328.

Brought to you by:

(click here for the full recap)

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