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Jordan, Jesse, Go!: Episode 160: Manatee Rex with Matt Gourley of Superego

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Guests: 
Matt Gourley

Matt Gourley from Superego joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about Syfy original movie creatures and more.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The David Feldman Comedy Podcast

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Vital stats:
Format: comedy, but mostly left-wing anger
Episode duration: 20m-40m
Frequency: every 3-7 days
Archive available on iTunes: last 10

Some will surely come away from The David Feldman Comedy Podcast [iTunes] [RSS] feeling as if they’ve been sold a bill of false goods. Might I suggest a retitling to The David Feldman Enervated Left-Wing Spitecast? A slightly mean way to open, I realize, but I feel the show pushed me to this point and beyond. I would’ve had the same reaction to chocolate-chip ice cream that called itself “chocolate.” The program most certainly contains comedy; that’s not in doubt. It just contains a lot more enervated left-wing spite.

Feldman’s podcast shares content with his broadcast on Los Angeles’ KPFK, and I’ll get e-mails about how that should’ve been warning enough. I’ve heard plenty of neat shows on that station — why, just yesterday I was listening to something about African electronica — but heated agreement festivals about the endless humiliations of powerlessness and the countless evils of the Republican party run rampant on its schedule. Feldman and his variety of guests tend to cover the same ground. While unlikely ever to conclusively determine if the United Nations should try George W. Bush for war crimes or for a lot of war crimes, they do claim without hesitation the unparalleled presidential suitability of Dennis Kucinich, that “it’s axiomatic that supply-side economics doesn’t work” (a rare misunderstanding of the term “axiomatic” and probably of supply-side economics as well), and that taxing the rich more will obviously right the nation’s woes.

I didn’t mean to go so hard on this show, but it opens an old wound. Were I a conservative, a Republican, or what have you, we could chalk this up to a difference of opinion and move on. But I’m not! I’m just a guy who still resents having been told that the left would offer a thinking man’s sanctuary in the low-I.Q., high-volume arena of American politics — then getting mercilessly hailed with statements like those above. Feldman and his guests are right to criticize the flimsy, buffoonish generalizations and over-reductions spouted by the high-profile right, but must they respond in kind? Fighting fire with fire has a certain ring to it, granted, but allow me to suggest water.

Still, Feldman’s a comedy writer and performer, and he does deliver laughs. His funniest and/or most interesting moments, almost meta-comedy, deal the mechanics of his jokes, the nature of the comedy business, and his own long history in the business. While not an especially sterling example, I did like how he followed a joke about Larry King Live ending “after 50,000... soiled adult diapers” with a consideration of what other humorous things he could’ve gone through 50,000 of on television. One three-way conversation about the nature of sitcom writing versus other comedy writing sticks out as enlightening, and even a few minutes where Feldman and a colleague go one-for-one with their old Reagan jokes (yes, really) definitely didn’t sound like something I’d hear on the garden variety hosted-by-a-22-year-old comedy podcast.

But jeez, it always comes back to the politics. This happens so frequently and so gratingly that I eventually found sweet relief in Feldman’s bursts of bitterness that only have to do with his career-related disappointment. Why do I find the political talk so bothersome, you ask? Why can’t I just ignore it? Maybe it’s the same reason armchair quarterbacking frustrates me. You ain’t playin’ on the team. You sure ain’t coachin’ the team. In fact, you have no way to meaningfully affect the game. It won’t make much difference in your life — your actual, real, everyday life — if your guys win or if the other ones do, so why pretend? Why hasten your heart attack about it? Most armchair quarterbacks don’t have a lot else going on, so you can’t really blame them. But what conclusion to draw about armchair quarterbacks skilled and practiced enough to make you laugh out loud, if only they felt like it?

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to be the host and producer of public radio’s The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], the blogger of The War on Mediocrity and the writer of The Ubuweb Experimental Video Project.]

The Newest Maximum Fun Podcast: My Brother, My Brother and Me!

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Please welcome the newest podcast to join the MaxFunFamily: My Brother, My Brother and Me!

MBMBaM is quite literally a family affair; here's how they describe themselves:

My Brother, My Brother and Me is an advicecast for the modern era featuring three real-life brothers: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. For about one-half to two-thirds of an hour each week, with new episodes dropping every Monday, the brothers McElroy will answer any query sent our way, each fielding questions falling into our respective areas of expertise. We operate like a streamlined, advice-generating machine. It’s both terrifying and humbling to behold.

It was already a favorite amongs the MaxFun faithful in the forums, and when I gave it a listen, I was struck by how funny, charming and above all, "Max Fun-y" it is. I emailed the McElroys, and the rest was history.

So, please welcome the McElroys into the family!

Check the show out RIGHT NOW in iTunes.

You can also download this week's episode directly from this link, or listen using the player below.

LBJ Orders Pants

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This is the latest from my non-MaxFun project, Put This On.

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson needed some pants, so he called Haggar to ask for some. The call was recorded, and later became one of the most beloved White House tapes of all time. For the reason why, you'll have to watch.

Animator Tawd Dorenfeld helped us create this short.

Watch! Enjoy! Share!

A new MaxFun Podcast

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Tomorrow, we'll be announcing a new addition to the MaxFun family.

It's a show that was introduced to me by some MaxFunsters and quickly became a favorite, and I think you'll really enjoy it.

If you want to know what it is, though... you'll have to wait 'till 10 AM pacific time tomorrow.

Thanks, The Riverboat Gamblers!

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The great indie record store Amoeba, which was outlets in the Bay Area and here in LA, has a video series called "What's In Your Bag?" Various high-cred bands go shopping at Amoeba and talk about why they picked what they pick.

In the episode above, sent to me by listener Paul, the Texas punk band The Riverboat Gamblers discuss their picks - among them Jimmy Cliff and No Age. One of the guys in the band picked out Killer Mike's debut LP, and much to my surprise, he said his inspiration was hearing Mike on his "favorite show," The Sound of Young America!

Thanks, guy from Riverboat Gamblers! That's nice of you!

(PS: I recommend Mike's two indie LPs, I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind volumes 1 & 2, over his debut, which has some great tracks but is a bit hit-and-miss.)

Downton Abbey: Unmissable.

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I've just finished watch the first season of Downton Abbey. It's currently running on PBS' Masterpiece in a slightly abridged form, and ran I guess last year on ITV in the UK.

Frankly, it's one of the best TV dramas I've ever seen. I'd put it on par with Mad Men and within spitting distance of The Wire.

It's a period drama, and an upstairs/downstairs drama, but it won't meet your expectations for either of those things. Well, maybe it will in part... if you're into that kind of thing, you'll enjoy it. But I'm not, and I was blown away.

Basically the first season is about an Earl and the danger to his estate. Because he lacks a male heir, the estate, including his American wife's fortune, will pass to a second cousin he's never met, who doesn't even want it. Because of the laws of the nobility, that's how it has to be. This is also a tremendous threat to his three daughters, who are thus forced to marry into the aristocracy or lose their positions in life, and to the entire household.

That hardly begins to describe how elegantly written, acted and directed the series is. It has all the twists and turns of a soapy TV drama (or at least many of them), but I found it absolutely compelling throughout. I never felt forced away from the material, which is usually my reaction to all but the best TV drama.

Do yourself a favor and watch it on PBS. Or buy the DVD, which is only $17 right now on Amazon, and is unabridged.

For those already on board, I've started a thread on the forum for discussion. Let's keep it spoiler free at least until the PBS run ends.

The Alumni Newsletter: January 14, 2011

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  • Samantha Bee ramps up to live a cynicism-free life with the help of the OWN network.

  • Rapper Killer Mike, aka Mike Bigga, has released a new track from PL3DGE, his newest album due in February. He's also collaborating with El-P on an album -- you can find a snippet here.

  • Gary Hustwit, director of the consumer design documentary Objectified, has launched the website for his newest documentary Urbanized, blogging his thoughts and the progress of the film. Urbanized will explore who designs our cities and is responsible for urban design, and how they do it.

  • Electronic musician Dan Deacon is set to score Francis Ford Coppola's newest film, a gothic romance titled Twixt Now and Sunrise, out later this year.

  • Ze Frank is soliciting photos of people recreating pictures of their parents for his new project, Like Mom, Like Dad.
  • Judge John Hodgman: Maritime Edition

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    Judge Hodgman entered the field of maritime law while on Jonathan Coulton Cruise Crazy earlier this month, ruling on two very different cases brought forward by cruise participants.

    First, brown gravy versus cream gravy.



    And a post-holiday ruling on the appropriate time to play Christmas and other seasonal music.

    Thank you to "Simalot" for providing documentation of our cases at sea.

    Stop Podcasting Yourself 148 - Pete and Courtney Johansson

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    Guests: 
    Pete Johansson
    Guests: 
    Courtney Johansson

    Pete and Courtney Johansson join us to talk about foreign toilets, lotions, and creative breakups. So giggly.

    Download episode 148 here. (right-click)

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

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