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

Maximum Fun Fantasy Baseball

| 0 comments

Season Two of the Maximum Fun Fantasy Baseball League is getting ready to kick off. Our commissioner this year is Paul Reiser (not that Paul Reiser). I remain Superfluous Figurehead Commissioner for Life.

If you're interested in participating, you have to get an invite from Paul, so post in the forum thread here. The league is open to all MFers in good standing (that means you).

While you're thinking about the Best Sport in America, why not listen to our baseball episode, featuring "Spaceman" Bill Lee and a special baseball quiz from Tim & Eric?

(Photo: Don "Caveman" Robinson, baseball legend)

Podcast: Ben Karlin of The Onion, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report

| 1 comment
Show: 
Bullseye

Ben Karlin was an early editor of The Onion before heading to Hollywood to work on film and television projects. He eventually helped create the Jon Stewart version of The Daily Show as it's head writer and eventually Executive Producer. He was lead writer on the Daily Show's enormously succesful book, "America: The Book." He co-created The Colbert Report, then quit, in part to edit the new book "Things I've Learned From Women Who've Dumped Me." The book is a collection of essays on, well, the subject in the title.

Discuss this episode on the forum!
Download This Show (MP3)

Subscribe in iTunes
Review the show in iTunes
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show Online


Please allow our low-bandwidth server a little time after you click "play"

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)


If you enjoyed this show, try these ones:
Patton Oswalt
Power of Love with Dan Savage (MP3)
Neal Pollack

What's the problem with NPR?

| 4 comments

NPR has doubled its audience in less than ten years, and yet it's in crisis -- crisis enough to fire CEO Ken Stern last week.

What's the problem?

In (very) brief, NPR is largely a member organization -- its board, in large part, is composed of member station representatives. These member stations are freaking out as the national organization distributes more and more content directly to listeners via the web, satellite and podcasting. Ken Stern was a (relatively) aggressive advocate of this direct distribution, and so he got canned. (They said he left by "mutual agreement.")

The question for NPR is pretty simple: how do they satisfy listeners and stations?

Here's how I see it...

Public media's first responsibility is to serve the public. That's absolutely A#1. So both stations and national organizations should most certainly pursue any technology that makes their content more useful or convenient to the public. Making things harder for listeners is a terrible, terrible idea. So that means podcast every fucking thing, and think of any and all other things you can do to serve the public better.

If I was a station right now, I'd do a couple things. One is accept that radio use will decline slowly over the next 10-20 years. That's just reality. One is create programming that sustains itself, whether it's hyper-local, national or niche-oriented, then put that out into the world. The last is the one that I don't hear from NPR, which is that if NPR is making money from podcasts of their shows, and stations are making less from the radio broadcasts, stations should pay less.

I'm not really a public radio insider, so I can't suggest equations. And obviously, stations are a HUGE part of my own strategy for TSOYA for the forseeable future. But it feels like this whole debate is built upon a bizarro-world disconnect. Yes, the situation is tough. So be entrepreneurial.

Snoopdewoop f. Short Dogg & Fabby Davis Jr. on Conan

| 0 comments

Always nice to see the Yay represented on national TV... even if I tried to book FAB recently and failed. This is Snoop's new single "Life of the Party."

The Dana Carvey Show on Hulu

| 3 comments

The Dana Carvey Show aired on ABC when I was a teenager. You know how people are always talking about the huge impact The Ben Stiller Show had on them? That's how I felt about The Dana Carvey Show.

At the time, I didn't know who Robert Smigel, Steve Carrel, Stephen Colbert, Louis CK, Dino Stamatopoulos, Spike Feresten, Dave Chappelle, Jon Glaser or Charlie Kaufman were, but each of them were contributors to the show. What I did know was that Skinheads From Maine was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. In fact, when I had a brief opportunity to gush to Stephen Colbert last year, that was what I gushed about.

Dana Carvey is an interesting performer. He can be fantastically funny, but like another Bay Area legend, Robin Williams, sometimes that humor can be overwhelmed by... I dunno... broadness and a whiff of desperation. Here, he's surrounded by a spectacularly capable crew of writers and performers, and while he's occaisionally a bit over-indulgent (do we need interstitials from the Church Lady?), he's generally superb. The rest of cast, including the lesser-known figures like Bill Schott is uniformly excellent, as well.

The show has been astonishingly difficult to find for many years. Relatively recently it's shown up in digital form (I spent college scouring the interwebs looking for it), and now, it's in convenient digital form on the new multi-giant-conglomerate media site Hulu. I urge you to check it out.

One odd side note: for some reason, episode one, which featured the "controversial" opening sketch with Bill Clinton feeding a broad variety of barnyard animals at his teat, is not featured in the lineup.

Below, Skinheads From Maine, touchstone for 15-year-old Jesse.

"Nice sunset, there."
"Yeeeauhh. Weathah's the only thing the Jews don't control."

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: The Gift of Gab

| 0 comments


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Clasics.

On this week’s show, we’ve got This American Life contributor and writer David Rakoff, as well as California hip-hop duo Blackalicious.

David Rakoff contributes humorous essays to PRI’s This American Life and is also the author of the collection “Don’t Get Too Comfortable.”

Blackalicious, made up of Chief Xcel (DJ/producer) and Gift of Gab (MC), is a mainstay of the alternative hip-hop scene. Their most recent album is “The Craft.”

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

Download This Week's Show
Subscribe to TSOYA Classic: iTunes / Feed
Please Donate to Support the Show

Listen to This Week's Show


Podcast: Jesse Go!, Ep. 31: Big Time Gene O'Neill

| 1 comment

Big Time Gene O'Neill takes over for Jordan. Then something happens.

Introduction
Jesse and Gene discuss sibling jealousy and Gene's BIG TIME Hollywood family.

Transformers
Gene reviews Transformers -- comparing the movie to a dream, not so much in the exciting fantasy sense, but more in the "what the hell just happened" sense.
The Listener Speaks


Some miscellaneous, non-pertinent calls, including a drunken lecture.
Talkin' Babies


"Having a baby is a lot like going to prison."

Project Breakout


There's a new comedy competition at www.comedy.projectbreakout.com: Sketch Comedy VS. Stand-Up. Visit the site for details on how to enter!

Zoo Animal Showdown!
Elephant Vs. Sloth


Listeners share their thoughts on this week's match-up, and we find out which beast came out on top.

Next Match-up:
Bear Vs. Rhino

Sure to be a showdown of gargantuan proportions - its the battle of Majestic Horn vs. Slashing Claws! Vote today!

More Stupidity

Highlights in this week's batch include the eating of change and the wearing of pee.


Outro


Hey everyone, check out Jordan at the Del Close Improv Marathon at the UCB in New York this Friday. If you don't, you're a turkey. It's that simple. He'll be performing with the group Macguffin at 8:30 PM, followed by The Smartest Panel of Experts in the Universe Ever at 12:30 AM. GO OR YOU'RE A TURKEY.


ACTION ITEMS:


*Vote in the third round of the Zoo Animal Showdown! Visit the forum for details.
*Jesse's going on vacation next week. Call in and ask a question you wouldn't want Jesse to be there for.

CONTINUING ACTION ITEMS:

* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

Subscribe in iTunes
Podcast Feed
Discuss the show on the forum
Download This Episode

Hear This Episode Now



Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

Don't forget: Human Giant tonight!

| 0 comments


Season two of The Human Giant premiers tonight on MTV, and if you miss it, YOU'RE PROBABLY AN ASSHOLE!

Over on their blog, the HG boys are hilighting their season premier posters, seen on walls around NY and LA, and encouraging you to "deface the shit out of them," then take a picture and send it in.

Right here on this blog, I'm encouraging you to "listen to the interview I did with them last year."

Listen to The Human Giant


The State of Never Not Funny

| 4 comments

Our friends at Never Not Funny have made some big changes lately, and everyone and their uncle has asking me what I think.

For those who don't know, NNF is a comedy-talk podcast hosted by MaxFunPals Jimmy Pardo and Matt Belknap. Jimmy has been one of my favorite comics for years, and has hosted several TV shows on cable. Matt is the founder of ASpecialThing.com, which is a great website that I've been visiting since I was in college, when it was part of a comedy news site called Fugitive Alien. My nerd-roots with these guys are deep. I feel very lucky to know them in real life these days, and they're awesome guys who I respect and admire. The show is really wonderful, maybe my favorite podcast. I'm not alone, either, they have a very strong listenership.

Here's what they've been up to:

* They've just completed their 100th episode, which was taped live in LA.

* Jimmy's brother-in-law, Andrew Koenig, videotaped the show and is producing clips for his new site, MonkeyGoLucky.com like the one above.

* They're going pay. They'll be charging $20 for their next six months of weekly episodes -- about 75 cents apiece. There will also be 20 minutes of each episode offered free to non-paying customers.

It's the lattermost thing that's been most controversial. It remains very unusual in the world of podcasting to charge for your work. This is in part because the technology has been difficult to implement. It's also in part because it is difficult to build an audience when you're charging. Mostly, it's because everyone else's shit is free.

So there are a couple of questions this suggests, the first of which is: should podcast creators be able to charge for their content? My answer to that is an emphatic yes. I think talented people working hard to create great content should be rewarded for doing so, and I think that the price these guys are asking is very, very modest. I know I will be paying the money gladly.

Another question is: is this the best way for them to monetize this content? I think in Jimmy and Matt's case, yes. Both have real lives and families, and neither is a salesman. They tried an advertising model with a failed comedy portal early on, and later reached out to advertisers without much success. I know from my own experience that this is a very, very tough row to hoe.

Should they take donations? I know from my own experience that Jimmy in particular finds asking for donations distasteful, and I certainly understand where he's coming from. I also know from experience that this, too, is a tough row to hoe. Even producing a public radio show, something people are used to donating for, I get donations from less than one percent of my listeners. Donations are a part of what lets me eat, but even if NNF was getting the kind of support I'm getting from their audience, split between two guys... it wouldn't be much.

The last question is: will it work? I don't know. I know the show has lots of fans, about as many as my show, and lots of them love the show plenty. Many of those folks will pay. Even if they lost 75% or 85% of their audience, they's still be pulling in one full-time income between the two of them. I think they'll make money.

The question for me is how this will affect their growth. It's my guess that at the minimum 65% of their listeners won't pay. Probably more like 90%. How many will continue to listen to the free short podcasts? How many will tell their friends? How many will sample when sampling costs $1.99? All of that remains to be seen. The worst case scenario is that 1,000 people pay for these 26 episodes... then 500 for the next 26... and so on. That's not my prediction, but it's certainly possible.

What do you think of the move? What do you think will happen? There's been an excited discussion of issue in the forum.... join in!

Syndicate content