The Blog of Young America

Maximum Fun is your home on the internet for things that are awesome. Our blog will guide you, our family of podcasts will entertain and inform you, and our lively forum community will connect you with others. About

Who are you on "Sex and the City"?

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Jordan Morris "Boy Detective" wrote this sketch, which was performed for Funny or Die by the amazing, amazing, amazing improv group Naked Babies -- John Ross Bowie, Rob Corddry, Brian Huskey and Seth Morris.

I VOTE FUNNY.

A message from MaxFunster Darryl From Montana

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OK, kids, the fundraising drive is winding to a close, but the need to keep Jesse fed will continue. As an esteemed donor, I will exercise my right to feel superior and lord it over all you non-contributing deadbeats. (Isn't that what my $5 per month bought me? I thought so!) So, I want to give you some inspiring words that might help push you from non-donor to donor.

My personal story: This is the first public media I have ever contributed to. I grew up watching PBS (Nova, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, uncounted specials, etc, etc) and whenever it was pledge time, I felt not a twinge of guilt or compulsion to donate. I laughed at their pathetic pleas for help. I scorned their miserable attempts to make me feel guilty. I spat on their offers of tote bags, record albums, 8-tracks, and other hippie paraphernalia. (My mom made me clean the spit off the TV but it was so worth it.)

But now, I am a donor. A whole $5 a month. That's really not enough. That is a pitiful amount. I am a grown up person with a job and everything! But, I know many of you are in the same situation I am, financially. There are times when there is not $5 left before payday. It sucks, and it's not because I blow it on Hot Wheels cars and whiskey. I'll spare you the miserable details, but I am a single father of a high shool graduating daughter, and my cash is spoken for by an ex-wife, attorneys, and the IRS before I even see any of it. Plus being a dad costs a lot too. For someone with a decent career, and a good amount of freelance web design work, I'm still just squeaking by.

All that to say: my own needs are such that I can easily not contribute, and not feel a bit of guilt about it. I'm sure your specifics are different. You certainly married better than I did, or did not marry at all, avoiding the whole "paying-an-ex-with-blood-from-a-stone" scenario. And you may not be a single parent, or have the IRS breathing down your neck. But, you have other things: school expenses, dorm fees, hookers and blow, bus passes, clothing, big dank, and, probably even purchases of that rock and rap music you kids love so much. (This is because you are too dense to have learned how to get it for free, like normal people, but that's another story.)

In any case, there's plenty of reasons you can't donate, and that's fine. But as I often tell my daughter when she feels overwhelmed by a task:


Quote:
Don't say "I can't." Say, "How can I?"


Here's some creative ways to donate:
First open a PayPal account if you don't already have one. Move whatever money you can into that account. $5, $10, $20, whatever. Then, donate $5 a month. (Or more!) You will have a cushion so the $5 doesn't come out of your bank account when you least expect it, and you have to scream OH SHIT because you overdrew.

Then. keep funding the PayPal account by selling things on eBay, skipping a lunch or two (eat leftovers!), donating plasma, begging your friends, or signing up to be a test subject at a medical facility.

There are countless ways to figure it out if you really try. One movie each month is more than $5, even at matinee prices. It might take some sacrifice. It might take some time. But it can be done. And you can do it!

If it turns out you really, really, can't donate right now, that's fine. It's just one more person for the donors to feel superior to. But, keep listening to the podcasts, and telling others about them. The more people who listen, the better the chances of Jesse of getting more support. Spread the Word of Jesse. Tell your best friend that Jesse loves him and has a wonderful plan for his life. Think of how empty and dark your life was before Maximum Fun came in and gave you hope and laughter. Don't let your friends remain in the dark!

-Darryl

Podcast: ESPN Anchor and Author Kenny Mayne

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Show: 
Bullseye


Kenny Mayne has been a fixture on ESPN for fifteen years. He's best known for his exceedingly dry wit, which he displayed as an anchor on SportsCenter in the 1990s, and in semi-fictional field pieces for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. He recently published his first book, a combination humor book and memoir called "An Incomplete and Innacurate History of Sport."

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Bill James
Nick Hornby
Jarret Grode

Baby is the Bagpipes

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Thanks to maxfunster girlofdestiny, who pointed out that there are a ton of Viva Variety clips on YouTube. Timely, since our Reno 911 interview unexpectedly included a lot of Viva Variety talk (well, on the podcast it did, anyway). Above: "Baby is the Bagpipes."

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "60-Second Science" and "60-Second Psych"

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It's a modern problem: I'm a busy guy, but I also loves me some science. These two conditions were completely irreconcilable until the advent of the medium known as "podcasting", by which compressed audio files containing spoken information can be distributed to one's portable audio devices. (Or in my case, just to my computer — yeah, I'm one of those guys.) Scientific American, the science magazine whose surprisingly well-crafted articles belie its tacky covers, has come to the salvation of those who have just enough time for a couple daily bites of science, but not enough time to live a normal life: 60-Second Science [iTunes link] and 60-Second Psych [iTunes link].

The conceit is obvious: you give us a minute plus time for an intro and sponsorship announcements, and we give you a fascinating discovery. (They've only broken from the form once, when Ben Stein angried up their blood. [MP3.]) I'd have ensured maximum information density by hiring the guy from the Micro Machines commercials, but the producers have instead opted for a series of friendly-sounding hosts who deliver their knowledge payload in a more relaxed manner, supplying corny jokes when time allows.

60-Second Science tells you the kind of geeky stuff geeky fifth-graders might geek out about. For example:

  • Lasers can generate lightning [MP3]
  • Students forced to learn math via word problems do worse on tests (hatred of those problems about Farmer Brown's pasture: validated!) [MP3]
  • A computer can learn to play the clarinet [MP3]
  • Scientists are being trained to run for political office (shyeah, good luck with that) [MP3]
  • The duck-billed platypus has an odd genome (no surprise there, I suppose) [MP3]

And I, for one, believe that there's a geeky fifth-grader inside us all. If yours has felt a little beaten-down lately, there are worse ways to revitalize it (such as hanging out with geeky fifth-graders).

More relevant but also more speculative — and yes, those of you in the natural sciences, feel free to enjoy a hearty chortle about the fact that "science" and "psych" are distinct podcasts — 60-Second Psych concentrates on the behavioral side of things, showcasing all sorts of discoveries about humans and how we got this way. Revelations include:

  • When we really want something, we're biased toward believing it's rare and vice versa (which elegantly explains the "WOW!" "L@@K!" "RARE!" arms race on eBay) [MP3]
  • Even the meanest among us have enough neuroplasticity to learn to be kind [MP3]
  • The desperate search for evidence of ESP continues to disappoint (well, doi) [MP3]
  • Us FaceSpace-addicted Gen-Yers are no more self absorbed than previous generations (but who's gonna top the Boomers, amiright?) [MP3]
  • The real motivator for exercise? Fear [MP3]

What with all the exciting work being done in a bewildering variety of fields, subfields, and sub-subfields and its implications for the way we live, it's never been more important to be scientifically informed. (Insert rant here about, oh, I don't know, stem cells or something.) 60-Second Science and 60-Second Psych do not by any means constitute all the scientific knowledge you need, and indeed, without a decent grounding in their subjects it's tough to make them stick in your mental latticework. But they are excellent supplements to a steady diet of books, magazines, newspapers and critically-acclaimed television specials.

[Direct all correspondence to colinjmarshall at gmail. Podthoughts discussion thread available here.]

W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E.

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The man Wale isn't quite as impressive to me as he is to some, but he does have skills, and that D.A.N.C.E. song is bananas, so the combination is great. A little rapping is great for cutting the general... uhm... Frenchness of the original. Nice to hear someone repping the District, too. Besides these MaxFunsters who are planning a meetup around the Paul F. Tompkins show, of course.

Slick Rick: You Can Stay!

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I'm usually against "Free XXX Rapper" campaigns. Most rappers (not all, of course) have great legal representation, and if they end up in jail, it's because they did some shit they deserved to go to jail for.

My feelings on Slick Rick, however, are completely the opposite. Rick was born in the UK, though he moved to New York as a toddler. Unfortunately, he never went through the many hoops to become a US citizen. In 1990, Rick shot a cousin who the rapper accused of trying to extort and kill him. His plea arrangement in the case was specifically tailored to avoid triggering deportation. After he was released, the interpretation of the rules changed, and the government has been trying to deport him more or less ever since.

Of course, letting Rick become a citizen of the United States is enormously beneficial to our country. He's one of the great musicians of his generation, and he's been working tirelessly to help prevent violence since his release. If you've ever heard him speak, he's an eloquent voice for a better country.

Yesterday, New York's new governor, David Patterson, gave Rick a full pardon. His lawyers will file for a waiver of deportation within two weeks. I couldn't be more pleased.

Hurray for the Rickster!

Here's the full story in the NY Times.

I'm off to Santa Cruz for Maximum Funny!

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I'm headed to Santa Cruz -- Saturday night is the big show!

I'll be hosting a performance by Mary Van Note, Brent Weinbach and Kasper Hauser at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. We're calling it "Maximum Funny," and all the proceeds from the show will benefit KUSP, the station that carries TSOYA in the Scruz.

Check out Wallace Baine's really nice piece in the Santa Cruz Sentinel for some more info about the show... or check out Traci Hukill's great piece in the Metro Santa Cruz.

This thing's gonna be a blast, and the money goes to a great cause. Get your tickets at KUSP.org.

"Jesse, you only like rap music."

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Band of Horses, "No One's Gonna Love You" from The FADER on Vimeo.

WRONG. I also like THE HORSE BAND, and their hit single "No One's Gonna Love You."

Podcast: Reno 911!'s Stars and Creators Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney-Silver

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Show: 
Bullseye


Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant and Kerri Kenney-Silver are the co-creators and co-stars of Comedy Central's Reno 911!. The show, a mockumentary in the style of COPS, is headed into the second half of its fifth season. The trio also collaborated on the Comedy Central series Viva Variety, and worked together as members of the sketch comedy group The State.

During our interview, they revealed that The State will be producing a Comedy Central special later this year, along with a DVD release of the full series, including numerous extras.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Two Sides of a Coin with Dave Attell and Michael Showalter
The Nucular Option with Geoffrey Nunberg and Stella (David Wain, Michael Ian Black & Michael Showalter)
Patton Oswalt

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