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Comedy Podcast The Bugle Takes on News Corp. from the Inside

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According to British comedian and author Andy Zaltzman, when the British tabloid The News of the World was accused of wrongdoing in the now infamous phone-hacking scandal, the paper "did not just cross the line . . . it drove through the line in a high-speed tank, reversed back over the line, picked it up, taped the line back together, headbutted it, released the line into the woods, ran after it, kidnapped it, chained it to a radiator in its dungeon, fed it half a slice of stale bread and a glass of water every day, and whacked the line round the kneecaps with a baseball bat before releasing it and saying, 'Right, line, I never want to see you anywhere near one of my articles again, comprende?'"

That's a quote from the July 10th 2011 edition of the topical British comedy podcast The Bugle. The Bugle is hosted weekly by Zaltzman and Daily Show correspondent John Oliver. As a popular new satire program, it wouldn't ordinarily be surprising to hear the hosts make scathing jokes about the almost-too-shocking-to-be-real hacking scandal and subsequent shuttering of The News of the World. But it was certainly a bold move for a podcast that is presented by a paper that is actually part of the News Corp. empire. "In full disclosure," says Oliver during the show, "this podcast is presented by The Times of London - a sister paper of The News of the World. But more of an older, more mature, less slutty sister than its tear-away, shameful, dirty younger sibling who has repeatedly brought disgrace upon the whole, admittedly flawed, family."

While many Murdoch-owned publications downplayed news of the scandal's most appalling allegations, the Bugle refused to hold back. For example, at one point during the show Zaltzman jokes that his grandmother-in-law got a telegram from the queen for her 100th birthday and that he hacked into it as per "company policy." Later, Oliver tells Zaltzman to "[d]elete your emails, Andy -- quick!"

To learn more about The Bugle, check out this summary of the show from our own Podthoughts column. You can also find the show on itunes.

And if you've been hiding in a cave all summer and missed out on hearing the details of the hacking scandal, you can catch up quickly by watching this clip wherein John Oliver (at his other job) provides an impressively concise and scathing summary of the key allegations to date.

Stop Podcasting Yourself 178 - Abby Campbell

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Guests: 
Abby Campbell

Abby Campbell returns to talk about getting married to one of our hosts. Find out which one. The answer may surprise you.

Download episode 178 here. (right-click)

Brought to you by: (click here for the full list of sponsors)

Mavis Staples and Win Butler cover "The Weight"

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Undoubtedly one of the finest summer festival performances this season, delivered fresh to your desktop: Mavis Staples and Arcade Fire's Win Butler cover the Band's classic "The Weight" during last weekend's Outside Lands festival in San Francisco.

All choked up now.

I'm gonna miss summer.

Jordan Morris on "The Indoor Kids"

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Our own Jordan Morris was the guest on last week's episode of Kumail Nanjiani's podcast for Gamers (with a capital "G"), "The Indoor Kids". If you want to know Jordan's top five fighting games, you can download it now from Nerdist or from the show's itunes page.

Classic TSOYA Shirt Blowout

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We've recently transitioned to a new TSOYA shirt style here at MaxFun World HQ. We've got a couple dozen of our classic glow-in-the-dark style left (as worn by Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere, above), and in order to clear precious shelf space, we're clearing them out at six bucks apiece. Buy as many as you like, but they're only available in ladies' sizes and men's small. Shipping is three bucks.

Comedy Writer, Actor and Director Bruce McCulloch: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bruce McCulloch

This week, actor, writer and comedian Janet Varney is guest hosting for Jesse! Janet is one of the hosts of the long-running segment Dinner and a Movie on TBS, a writer for the DVD commentary series Rifftrax, and is one of the co-founders and producers of SF Sketchfest (an amazing celebratory festival of comedy in San Francisco).

She'll talk to Bruce McCulloch, best known as one of the members of the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. Since his KITH days, Bruce has written and directed for film and television. Among his projects are movies like Superstar, Dog Park and Stealing Harvard, the ABC series Carpoolers, the KITH miniseries Death Comes to Town, and even a stint on SNL. In this interview, Bruce talks about tracing his musical comedy roots, the dynamics of The Kids in the Hall, producing comedy, and more.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.
OR
Stream or download this interview now.

JANET VARNEY: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Janet Varney in for Jesse Thorn.

My guest is none other than Bruce McCulloch. For years he's been a member of the amazing Canadian comedy troupe Kids in the Hall. They had a television show in the 90s; the movie Brain Candy that was released in 96; and the awesome recent miniseries, Death Comes to Town.

On his own, Bruce has released two comedy albums. He's directed films like Superstar and Stealing Harvard, and he's collaborated with Bill Burr, Norm McDonald, and many others. We'll talk about all that, but first let's hear this clip from Kids in the Hall with Bruce appearing as Gavin; a grade school boy who's eager to have interactions with nonplussed adults.

Bruce McCulloch you guys know, of course, as a member of Kids in the Hall, but he's also released two comedy music CDs, Shame-Based Man and Drunk Baby Project; he created the ABC series Carpoolers, and has written and directed several films including Dogpark and Comeback Season. He also has a young impetuous Standard Poodle named Meatball.

Holy Flying Circus

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Shortly after Monty Python released "Life of Brian" in 1979, John Cleese and Michael Palin went on BBC2's "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" (a chat show with an opening sequence which suggests that it is ideal post-coital viewing) to defend their work in a debate against author Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood, the then Bishop of Southwark.  The result was a now somewhat famous broadcast which has been excerpted frequently (as in the documentary footage above from "Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer's Cut)"), but only rarely presented in its entirety. 

Now, according to the Guardian, BBC4 is making a drama about Python's creation of "Brian" and the troupe's subsequent struggles to defend the film.  The show, "Holy Flying Circus", which will air sometime this autumn, was written by Tony Roche (who also wrote for "The Thick of It") and will focus much of its attention on this odd yet fascinating bit of television history. 


This Week Live

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Here is a quick list of cities and venues where you can catch some face time with your favorite MaxFun performers during the coming week. Click on the name of the venue for ticket info.

From time to time, of course, there are shows which are likely to be so popular that I wouldn't recommend waiting until the week of the performance to buy tickets. I'll list one or two of those separately each week. Buy now:

My Brother, My Brother and Me 67: Borrowed from a Horse

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Look: You're here, we're here, let's just get this thing done. Just a quick and dirty episode, fired straight from the hip, like guns are sometimes fired. By cowboys. Really, really hasty and inaccurate cowboys.

Suggested talking points: Gorto: The Enormous Man, Jackback and Vid Kid, Fleetwood Maxx, Horse's Heatguts, Couchsurfing, Belly Shirts, Sam Elliott's Moustache, Cinco de Lovemaking, Spanking Party

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Totally Laime

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Vital stats:
Format: half-interview, half-goofaround with (primarily) Southern California comedians
Episode duration: 30m-1h
Frequency: weekly

Jen Kirkman. Patton Oswalt. Paul Scheer. Kyle Kinane. Jackie Kashian. Marc Maron. Paul F. Tompkins. These are just some of the names that, in my years of Podthinking, I’ve grown so very weary of typing — but not of hearing the voices that come out of the human beings with whom we associate those names! Despite my near-total ignorance of these comedians’ actual performances on stage and screen, I encounter them all the time through their appearances and productions in the comedy podcast world, which draws like a hopeless addict from the pool of personalities based or often found in Southern California. This familiarity certainly made it easy for me to plunder the archives of Totally Laime [RSS] [iTunes], one of the most Southern California comedian-having podcasts going.

If you want to start a Southern California comedian-having podcast — I’ll resist making up an awful abbreviation, for now — you can play it a few different ways. You might grab a buddy and simply goof around, maybe in segments, with a new Southern California comedian each week — but, let me assure you, you’ll be entering a damned crowded, damned top-of-the-bell-curve field. On the spectrum’s other end, you might bring your Southern California comedians on for straight-up one-on-one interviews — but, let me assure you, you do not want to go up against Marc Maron, the acknowledged master of that subform. A bunch of shows instead split the difference between those two extremes, and Totally Laime hits it just about dead center.

Elizabeth Laime, the program’s host, its namesake, and a young L.A. comedy-doer, shares the cockpit with her boyfriend. Or maybe they’re married; I haven’t quite figured that out yet. (You can help by leaving a comment telling me to “do my homework.”) Whatever their legal status, this couple most definitely likes puppies. They also rent what sounds like an awfully nice house in Silver Lake, since guests call attention to its niceness and Silver-Lakeiness with strange frequency. (I can understand it, though I’m a Koreatown man myself; too few mandu shacks in Silver Lake.) The Southern California comedians drive to Silver Lake — or, sure, already live there — drop by their home, and spend an hour or so discussing their careers, having some laughs, and talking about Oprah.

While by no means a super-segmented show — and, so my Podthinking experience has taught me, wisely not a super-segmented show — Totally Laime wields a secret weapon in the form of its “Oprah game.” Laime and her man ask the Southern California comedian of the week to pick a number between one and however many episodes of Oprah exist, and they they all discuss whatever subject Oprah and her guests did on the episode of Oprah that corresponds to the number. I actually really like this idea, but I can’t begin tell you why. Some Southern California comedians display a startling familiarity with Oprah’s oeuvre, but I guess that falls in line with the vast knowledge of reality and other “people with problems” television with which comics tend to keep surprising me. Did you know there’s even an animal channel now? I think it’s called “Animal Planet”.

Reflecting on it, I think I was slightly disingenuous in claiming such a lack of familiarity with the careers of Totally Laime’s guests. One of my very favorite of the show’s interviews features a certain Mr. Jesse Thorn [MP3], whose work I’d like to think I know quite well indeed. In that conversation, Jesse gets to reminiscing about his undergraduate days at UC Santa Cruz. This prompts Laime to mention her alma mater, UC Santa Barbara. Hey, I’m a Gaucho too! I hereby close this educational loop by reviewing her podcast. Us middle-tier University of California students gotta stick together.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to host and produce The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], a public radio show and podcast dedicated to in-depth cultural conversation. Please hire him for something.]
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