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Elephant Larry Show at Joe's Pub, NYC


Our friends in the NYC sketch group Elephant Larry have an awesome-packed show coming up, and we've got the details straight from the horse's mouth (or in this case, our pal Stefan Lawrence):

Elephant Larry is going to be hosting an awesome show at the venerable Joe's Pub in New York, on Saturday, September 25th, at 11:30PM. We're going to be doing some of our newer sketches, and bringing in such friends as:

ANDREW WK! MaxFunCon's 2010 Person of the Year! He'll be playing some music and also just goofing with us. Man, just can't wait.
JAKE & AMIR! Of CollegeHumor fame. Funny guys who are totally cool despite their massive heady internet celebrity status.
MATT McCARTHY! You may know him as they redheaded bearded dude from the Verizon commercials, but he's an awesome standup and superfunny. He was recently on WTF podcast, so that's gotta be worth something, right?

Plus we got giveaways and games and it's just going to be a fun night. Please come out and have fun with us! There'll also be an afterparty, though we know not where yet. Shall be announced. Get your tickets here:

And if you're coming, RSVP on our Facebook event so we know to expect and welcome you:

Jack Hannah on Letterman, 2005


My new thing is watching Jack Hannah clips from Letterman.

I highly recommend watching the clip above, which was shared on the forum by GloriousKyle.

Even more than that, though, I recommend watching Thursday's show online. The whole thing's great, including the musical performance by a wonderful country singer I'd never heard named Jamey Johnson, but if you want to cut straight to the animals, fast forward to the second dot on the timeline. Then watch, and laugh like you've never laughed before.

If I ever get a talk show, I want it to be all demonstrations. Cooking segments, animals... fuck celebrities. Just all dumb stuff, all the time.

Stop Podcasting Yourself 131


No guest this week as we talk rock concerts, cartwheels, and job requirements. Later, we rank male nudity possibilities and Graham catches Dave not listening.

Download episode 131 here. (right-click)

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

"Social Courtesy" - A Riffed Short by Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn


Jordan and I created this short film for The Sound of Young America: Live in NYC DVD. Now, it can be shared!

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Coffee Break Spanish


Vital stats:
Format: Spanish class
Duration: 15m-20m
Frequency: every week or two
Archive available on iTunes: all

Both the weirdest and most obvious thing about this show is that its hosts are Scottish. This isn’t terribly strange in itself, though most podcast listeners seem to hail from North America, where voices with full-blown Scots accents remain rare. What’s mildly unnerving is having such a voice teach you Spanish. These particular Scots are good at what they do, no doubt about it, but if you’re a Yank like me, it’ll be all you can to do keep your “Ach!”s, haggis references, and Groundskeeper Willie quotations to a minimum.

But it would be unfair to focus on the exotic provenance of Coffee Break Spanish [RSS] [iTunes], especially since this kind of unexpected internationalism is one of those special delights podcasting has made possible. Stand back and ponder the fact that you can get a grasp on most any reasonably widely-used language — we remain in wait for most of the ones involving tongue clicks — quickly and for free, just by downloading and listening to a few audio files. I don’t know anybody who’s become fluent in a foreign language through podcasts and podcasts alone, but that’s not the point; the point is to get you going.

This is one of the most popular language podcasts around — hell, one of the most popular podcasts around. I chalk this up to two things. First and foremost, the Spanish language itself seems to be in healthy demand. Us North Americites, especially those of us in the southern border states, most likely want to be able to talk with our friends in Mexico. I myself have a jones to visit Mexico City, which seems just strange enough to be deeply fascinating. Failing that, we tend to try to “find ourselves” with extended backpacking journeys across Guatemala. Being from Scotland — er, Escocia — I would bet that the hosts, teacher Mark and student Kara, are more interested in Spain. Y’know, Barcelona. Madrid. García Lorca. Frank Gehry. All that.

This introduces another accentual quality that some might find off-putting: they usually use Spanish rather than the Latin American pronunciation. This strikes me as no big deal, since the latter sounds — from what I can tell — to be a lisp-intensive version of the former, but I sense that some listeners have written concerned e-mails to the producer. In the same way, you may or may not enjoy the goofy sense of humor that periodically surfaces, as when Mark expresses shock and dismay that Kara lacks a rock-solid grasp on the work of Billy Joel, but I can’t say as I mind it. I eventually did get a little irked by the cha-cha-cha flavor of the interstitial production, since it reminds me of everything I disliked about high school Spanish classes.

Yes, I took four years of this language back then, but the merciless sands of time have since reduced my Spanish to ruins. Given my aforementioned Mexico City jones, I figured I’d use Coffee Break Spanish as a first step toward rebuilding my skills. The show claims to be geared toward the absolute beginner, and, for the first few dozen episodes, boy is it: your holas, you buenos diases, etc. If you really are just starting down the Spanish road, it’s one of the easier, friendlier, more accessible ways to do it. There’s nothing especially innovative about the actual linguistic education it imparts — Mark introduces new material every time, Kara learns it, the listener’s given plenty of time to answer themselves, sometimes unusual things happen like cultural discussions or appearances by what sounds like a toddler — but nor is there anything to complain about.

This brings me to the second reason the podcast is so popular: consistency. Language shows tend to podfade rather quickly; they’re second only to maybe hey-my-buddies-are-kinda-funny comedy podcasts in that regard. But Coffee Break Spanish has endured with supreme clarity and regularity. For my own purposes, I wish they’d move a little faster, but hope has appeared on the horizon: about 50 episodes in, they get to the past tense, on which I could use some additional tutelage. The price is definitely right. (Unless you step up to this “freemium”-model show’s additional materials, in which case you’ll have to decide how right the price is yourself.)

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

Donal Logue of "Terriers": Interview on The Sound of Young America

Donal Logue

Actor Donal Logue is one of the stars of FX's new detective series Terriers. He's had roles in literally dozens of films and television series, including the lead in the cult film The Tao of Steve and the sitcom Grounded for Life. He also created the iconic "Jimmy the Cab Driver" character for MTV in the early 1990s.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 145: Megashark with Mike Phirman

Mike Phirman

Mike Phirman joins Jesse and Jordan to discuss Megasharks, Giant Octopi and much more.

Podcast: The College Years: Christmas in September

Davy Rothbart
Christopher Moore
John Waters
Patton Oswalt

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: Christmas in September

It's The College Years' holiday special! Oh happy day. Jesse welcomes a plethora of talented gentlemen on the show for this very special occasion, the first being Davy Rothbart. Davey Rothbart is the editor of Found Magazine, home to the greatest collection of "love letters, birthday cards, kids' homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, doodles." Check out the the Found Magazine book, Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World.

Next, Jesse and Jordan give a little bit of sage advice to Jesse's younger brother, John Thorn. Sage but sobering advice.

Following that, Jesse speaks with author Christopher Moore. They talk about Christopher's Christmas themed book, The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror. Do yourself a favor and read his work.

After that, listen for a good cause, namely Mustaches for Kids. I think the name speaks for itself but just in case, "Mustaches for Kids is a volunteer-run organization started in Los Angeles in 1999 to do good and have fun by growing Mustaches for children’s charities." Naturally.

Speaking of distinguished mustaches, John Waters joins Jesse to share some of his favorite Christmas tunes. If you like his films, most surely you will enjoy his musical tastes. Check out A John Waters Christmas.

Lastly but certainly not least, Patton Oswalt graces the show with his comedy. Added bonus: listen in as Jesse recreates one of Patton's fondest memories.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Rob McElhenney
Glenn Howerton

Rob McElhenney had a short film idea. He roped his friends into helping him film it, and soon it was a sitcom pilot. They took that pilot to FX, and the result was It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. McElhenney, who stars on the show as Mac, is our guest on The Sound, along with one of the buddies he roped into the whole affair, Glenn Howerton. Howerton plays Dennis, and along with their third co-conspirator, Charlie Day, helps write and produce the show.

McElhennye and Howerton talked to us about creating the show without a budget - only a few cameras and some digital video tape. They also explain why people love a set of characters who consistently behave like rude, cruel children. Also: Danny DeVito Limoncello is discussed.

The show returns for FX for its sixth season on September 16th.

Me on IFC's The Grid


The kind folks at IFC have invited me to contribute to a new show called The Grid. They call it "informative entertainment for the short attention span set." Essentially, it's pop culture picks from a variety of folks... myself included. The show premiers tonight at 7:45 Eastern on IFC, but you can see my first segment above. Unlike some people, I'm not a seasoned TV veteran, but I really enjoyed the experience. From what I understand, you can look forward to regular contributions from yours truly in the coming weeks.

My special thanks, by the way, to the MaxFunsters who helped me pick videos via the forum and Twitter!

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