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Doctor Who Writer Steven Moffat and Stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Stephen Moffat
Matt Smith
Karen Gillan

The sci-fi adventure series Doctor Who has been a fan favorite for more than 40 years. The original run of the show, from 1963 to 1989, is mostly remembered by Americans for its cheesy special effects and distinctly British eccentricity. A series revamp in 2005 dispensed with the former and kept the latter - it's a huge hit, both critically and commercially, in the UK.

This month the fifth series of the new version of the show launched on BBC America, with a new head writer (the highly acclaimed Steven Moffat), a new Doctor (Matt Smith) and a new companion (Karen Gillan). Moffat, Smith and Gillan are our guests on this Sound of Young America. They talk bout the significance that Doctor Who held in their lives, and about what it's like to put a personal stamp on a revered cultural phenomenon.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Biggest Mistake


Vital stats:
Format: TTWGBAC/L.A. comedy improversation
Duration: ~1h
Frequency: weekly
Archive available on iTunes: all

One episode of The Biggest Mistake [RSS] [iTunes] features an hour-plus guest appearance by Jordan Morris. [MP3] It's a good time. Many chuckleworthy jokes are cracked. Only a few fall flat. If you hang around a speakeasy like this, chances are that's all the prompting you'll need to check the show out. If that's not all the prompting you need, let me assure you that, paradoxically, you'll only really learn if you want to listen to this show by, uh, listening to it.

I do have to hand it, in kind of a left-handed way, to hosts Dan Dominguez, Paul Jay and Jennifer Goldberg: they've picked an imposingly steep mountain to climb. While I routinely declare moratoria on further Podthinking about programs of the Two Twenty/Thirtysomething White Guys/Girls Bullshitting About Culture (TTWGBAC) form or those revolving around the feeling-ever-smaller Los Angeles comedy scene — on the podcast beat, you hear volumes of this that would make grown men lose control of four out of five bodily functions — I always find my way back. Here, in that spirit, is another intersection of both.

It is by no means bad to birth a podcast of this breed in 2010, but it's hard: the hosts/producers of such a show have a daunting bout of self-distinguishment cut out for them. Task one would be rising above the landslide of cheap or free — usually free — cultural bullshitting and L.A. comedy that has covered the podscape. Task two, tougher still, would be to take on the existing titans of the genre(s), hoisted aloft as they are by their grandfatherly seniority and aggressively loyal fanbases.

But nothing I've heard from The Biggest Mistake suggests they can't do it! I looked up the show upon first hearing it was helmed, in part, by Dominguez. Though I remembered him quite fondly from an appearance on The Paul Goebel Show, I couldn't quite remember why. Smart money's on the fact that he announced there that his MySpace username was "danshitsyourfaceapart." For whatever reason, it stuck with me. I simply had to know what the guy was going to do with his own podcast.

On it, he's joined by fellow L.A.median (there's no elegant portmanteau) Jay, of whom I was previously unaware. The stool's third leg exists in the form of Goldberg, co-host as well as producer as well as Jay's ladyfriend. Though she may or may not be a comedian, technically speaking, she is beyond dispute comedic. The couple hold their own, but at least in the first eleven episodes, Dominguez stands out as the dominantly strange presence. As his choice in MySpace accounts suggests, he's willing to take a few more and more absurd risks than your average L.A. comedian bullshitting about culture on a podcast. This means his lines occasionally fall into awkward silences, provoke bewlidered half-laughs or are total nonsense. But they're something. They're real and alive.

Since it's such early days, I'm quite interested to see how The Biggest Mistake will ultimately form a solid identity with which to set itself apart. Within the TTWGBAC and/or Never Not Funny-ish conversational comedy formats, it couldn't be simpler: the hosts get together, bring on a comedy-y guest and chat about ridiculous subjects for about an hour — no segments, no listener participation, no discernible regular features. And that can totally work. It must be said, though that the podcast's tagline — "Like all other podcasts, only more so. And then some" — may or may not inspire confidence. It could signal a refreshing self-awareness about some of the already ossified tropes of this newish medium. Or it could be meant ironically. And don't they say irony is the song of a bird who's come to love its cage?

[Want to hire Podthinker Colin Marshall to Podthink at your bat mitzvah? colinjmarshall at gmail.]

MaxFun T-Shirt Contest 2010!


This is our third annual t-shirt contest. We're really going to be blowing the doors of things this fall, and that's why I think we need the greatest t-shirt contest in history.


Here's how it'll work.

This year, there will be THREE winners... because we're looking for THREE t-shirts. One Sound of Young America t-shirt, one Jordan, Jesse, Go! t-shirt, and one Stop Podcasting Yourself t-shirt.

The rules:

You can submit up to two of each design (six entries, total).

Entries should be emailed to

You can use up to four printed colors, plus any shirt color available for the Alternative Apparel basic tee.

Include printable vector graphics (.EPS format) and a web-friendly jpeg of your design (400 pixels wide), plus your name, address and phone number.

We will accept entries until the eve of MaxFunCon - Thursday, May 6th.

When you enter, you are giving us permission to use your design (duh).

We'll be posting the entries as they come in in three threads - one for each show.

Finalists will be determined by a popular vote, then the winners will be selected by a panel of EXPERTS and SUPER CELEBS, which will most likely include MY MOM. In the past, this panel has included Mike Birbiglia, Jonathan Coulton, Maria Bamford, John Hodgman and other Friends of MaxFun.

Winners will receive a free t-shirt of their design, any item they want from the MaxFunStore, a copy of our upcoming TSOYA DVD, and a care package of crap that's sitting around our office.

Podcast: Coyle & Sharpe Episode 84: Meet the Celebrity - Lorenzo Shower


Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle & Sharpe would like you to meet the namesake of modern bathing, Lorenzo Shower.

God's Pottery: Sex and Abstinence on The Sound of Young America

God's Pottery

Gideon Lamb and Jeremiah Smallchild of the Christian folk music duo God's Pottery share some insights on the subject of sex and abstinence for teens, and sing their hit "The Pants Come Off When the Ring Goes On." Their new book is "What Would God's Pottery Do?"

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 130: Hansen Camp with The Sklar Brothers

The Sklar Brothers

The Sklar Brothers join Jesse and Jordan for a talk about Hanson, Hansen's, the dark side of Canada and more.

The making of an SNL set...


Watch live as an SNL sketch's set just barely comes together in time for air. The flats are literally being held up by stagehands. Amazing.

via The Comic's Comic

Dave Chappelle on Man-on-Man Rape


So, uhm, if you don't like rape jokes, this ain't for you.

But it's nice to see Chappelle on stage being funny.

Hansen + Weird Al + Tailfeather Shaking


Thinking 'Bout Somethin'

HANSON | MySpace Music Videos

Ever since Andrew W.K. told us on Jordan Jesse Go! about hanging out at Hansen's songwriting fantasy camp, I have felt that the Hansen brothers are among The Good Ones. This exceedingly pleasant song and its accompanying video, which features both Weird Al Yankovic and an elaborate recreation of one of the best dance numbers in The Blues Brothers (the Ray Charles "Shake Your Tailfeather" scene) is further evidence.

Positive Day


Friends of MaxFun Joe Garden, Dave Holmes and John Moe are spearheading a wonderful movement today on Twitter: Positive Day.

If you're tired of negativity, griping and snark, from others or from yourself, take a second to support positive day by posting something positive on Twitter and tagging it #PositiveDay.

I just posted a link to "Everybody Loves Grampa," the blog of Grampa, Dave Shumka of Stop Podcasting Yourself's dog.

Pass it on!

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