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Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you and our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you. About

MaxFunCon: The Movie

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Join us for MaxFunCon 2011, June 10th-12th in Lake Arrowhead, California.

Tickets go on sale at MaxFunCon.com on Black Friday, November 26th.

Gamer Grub with Jordan on The Grid

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In case you've been living UNDER A ROCK, I've been hosting an IFC show called The Grid, and Jordan has been a regular contributor. Above, one of his great segments, on a very sad product called Gamer Grub.

Watch! Thursdays, 7:45 PM Eastern / 4:45 Pacific.

Stop Podcasting Yourself 140 - Paul F. Tompkins

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Guests: 
Paul F. Tompkins

Famous comedian Paul F. Tompkins returns to talk knock-off toys, award shows, refugees, and bachelor parties.

Download episode 140 here. (right-click)

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

Podcast: The College Years: Beyond the Fringe

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Guests: 
Rebecca Paller

The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.

Today's theme: Beyond the Fringe


In this episode of The College Years, Jesse speaks with Rebecca Paller, curator at The United States Museum of Television and Radio, about the four legendary British comedians Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennet and Jonathan Miller and their awesome early 60's show "Beyond the Fringe." The occasion for this interview was The United States Museum of Television and Radio's screening of the original show in New York and Los Angeles. With plenty of audio outtakes "from Beyond the Fringe," and Rebecca's expert knowledge on the subject, this podcast is definitely worth a listen.

Judd Apatow: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow is a comedy writer, director and producer. He has become one of the largest comedic forces in Hollywood with films like Knocked Up and the 40 Year Old Virgin. Apatow's new book, I Found this Funny, is a compilation of work by some of his favorite authors. Sales of the book benefit 826 National, a literacy charity.

He spoke with Jesse Thorn from his Los Angeles office about his long career. As a high school student, Apatow used a radio show barely audible on the campus of his school to book interviews about a career in comedy with legends like Jerry Seinfeld, Henny Youngman and John Candy. He became a standup comic early, and was featured in the HBO Young Comedians special in 1992. Then he turned his attention to writing, working extensively with Garry Shandling, who became his mentor. In these early years, he worked on The Ben Stiller Show and on Shandling's seminal The Larry Sanders Show, where he also got his first shot at directing.

The tone of his films grew from in part from advice he received from Shandling while working on Sanders: that he should always seek the truth of his characters. The success of Apatow's movies ushered in a new era of loose, character-driven comedies which were a stark contrast to the star- and gross out-driven comedies of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

This special edition of The Sound of Young America also includes two pieces from I Found This Funny written by Sound of Young America contributor Simon Rich. "My Mom's All-Time, Top Five Greatest Boyfriends, by Jordi Stromson, Age 11" is read by comedian and writer Jen Kirkman; "My Friend's New Girlfriend" is read by actor and sketch comic Paul Scheer.

Coulton Cruise!

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I was in New York last week, and stopped into Jonathan Coulton's beautiful Brooklyn apartment for a visit with the Coulton family. I was excited to hear about all the cool stuff that's been added to the Jonathan Coulton Cruise, including Peter Sagal and a couple of our pals from Rifftrax. You can check out the full itinerary for the cruise, which sets off in January, here.

Judge John Hodgman Ep. 3: Are Machine Guns Robots?

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This week on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast, a dispute between friends. One insists that machine guns are a type of robot - they perform a difficult and onerous task, are programmable and he wouldn't want to fight them. The other demurs, and has asked Judge Hodgman for a final ruling.

To listen to this week's Judge John Hodgman podcast, subscribe in iTunes or using this feed.

Discuss the ruling on our forum here.

Horse in a car!

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HEY YOU GUYS! THERE'S A HORSE IN THAT CAR!

Via our good friend Brian "Back in Business" Lane.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Bad at Sports

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Vital stats:
Format: “contemporary art talk”
Duration: an hour, on average
Frequency: weekly
Archive available on iTunes: all

As a title, Bad at Sports [RSS] [iTunes] was funny, I’m sure, for at least 150 episodes. As for the following 120, I wonder. It’s a podcast about art, so the truth of those words is undeniable — if you’re looking for common ground among art students, that scrap may be as common as they get — but the observation seems less sharp than it could be. As with what it names, I find myself both impressed on the conceptual level and slightly disappointed by the muddle on the practical one.

Let’s be clear: this is a damned ambitious show that more than delivers on its promise. That promise, specifically, is of “contemporary art talk,” and boy, is there some contemporary art talk in here. Each weekly episode comes nears or exceeds an hour, delivering long-form conversation with an individual artist or a set of associated artists (or curators or critics or professors or what have you) plus extra segments on various goings-on in contemporary art. Though Chicago-based, the empire of Bad at Sports contributors seems to have reached both coasts of the country as well as into the wider world. There’s a lot of parochialism in podcasting; to see it a bit of, er, tri-coastalism, let alone internationalism, is heartening in itself.

The show also strikes a blow — has struck many blows, ever since 2005 — for the interview of substance. Occasional bouts of distractingly glitchy editing aside, the conversations adhere to both the rhythms and durations of, y’know, actual conversation. The correspondents’ enthusiasm for the works of and concepts in visual art under discussion is usually obvious, as is their genuine desire to hear and learn from the answers to their questions. (You’d be surprised how rare this actually is in the interview-y arts.) They’re not afraid of digression, either, which may lay some conversations defenseless to charges of indiscipline, but which — by definition, I suppose — takes them in delightfully unpredictable directions.

So far, this sounds like a pretty perfect podcast — a “Triple-P”, I call it — especially if you happen to be into the visual arts. Yet there’s a problem with the execution, a wily and amorphous one, that I’ve been trying to pin down for quite some time. At this point in my examination of the program, I can only conclude that it’s the same syndrome that afflicts contemporary art conversation in general: nobody’s quite sure how seriously they’re supposed to be taking it.

The Bad at Sports crew ostensibly takes pride in their ability to flip back and forth between the concrete and the abstract, between deep critical discussion and fart jokes. There’s no doubt that they can do that, but the transitions aren’t seamless; they’re marred by the low-level but ever-present discomfort of someone out at sea and only somewhat sure what to do about it. They talk to an astonishing variety of today’s artists, most of whom sound as if they are or could be doing interesting things, but lingering, unsettling issues about the value, relevance, direction of the entire artistic enterprise sap the edge from their confidence. “Oh, should I be asking you about how you actually make your work?” they seem to be thinking. “Or is that dumb? Should I be asking about the theories behind it? Or wait, does none of this matter? Should I make a fart joke?”

This isn’t always a dealbreaker, though, and it’s entirely possible that I’m reading too much into a slight uneasiness. To be honest, I could simply be projecting the epic frustration I harbor about the nutritionless mash of verbiage that often passes for assessment in contemporary art, or, worse, the tenure-hungry academic yammer about Gender (Dis)loc[a/u]tion that’s staggered on, zombielike, since 1992 or so. Bad at Sports is actually a bit better about keeping such nonsense out of this show than most venues in the wider art conversation, but that’s a low bar. It seems to be the show is enough of a force to get down to work on the noble task eradicating it entirely.

[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.]

Amy Sedaris, Actress, Comedian and Author: Interview at The Sound of Young America Live at WNYC

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Amy Sedaris


Our final guest from our live show at WNYC's Greene Space: Amy Sedaris. The very funny actress, comedian and author is known for her role in the creation of the bizarre TV comedy Strangers with Candy and its main character, Jerri Blank. She's also written a bestselling book on entertaining, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, which she discussed on The Sound of Young America several years ago.


Photo credits WNYC and Casey De Pont


Amy talks with us about where to get the best decorative preserved chipmunk, the power of transformation through costume, and crafting out of necessity. Her new book, which captures her can-do spirit and love of all of the aforementioned, is Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, is out now.

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