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Jim Real, "The Master of Would You Rather," called me with exciting news. An old favorite of ours, Brent Weinbach, was in a Honda commercial. As if that wasn't enough, he was also destroying the audience at Lopez Tonight.


April Underwriting Update


This month, The Sound of Young America and Maximum Fun are fortunate to continue to have the wonderful support of Ask MetaFilter.

On Ask MetaFilter, members ask and answer questions on a wide range of topics, from careers to travel to relationships to technology. Even if you're not a member, you can find solutions to everyday problems by searching MetaFilter's vast database of questions and answers. To learn more, visit

Underwriting The Sound of Young America includes announcements on our weekly, nationally-syndicated public radio program and our 7+ monthly TSOYA podcast episodes, as well as credit on and a place in the banner ad rotation on our active forums. If you, your business, or someone you know is interested in underwriting The Sound of Young America, visit our sponsorships page for more information.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 18: The Colbert Rapport


Andrew and his girlfriend Britt attended a Hollywood party, at which they spotted television's Stephen Colbert. Britt requested assistance in taking a photo with Colbert, but Andrew refused to comply. He argues that when it comes to photographs with celebrities, discretion is key; Britt claims that accepting adoration by fans is part of a celebrity's job.

You may view the evidence for this case after the jump.

Not subscribed to this podcast yet? Use in iTunes or this feed.

Stop Podcasting Yourself 159 - Nicole Passmore

Nicole Passmore

Improviser Nicole Passmore returns to talk tattoos, chest hair, and ice cream.

Download episode 159 here. (right-click)

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

TSOYA Classics: This American Comedy (February 9, 2007)


This TSOYA Classic features comedy from Maria Bamford, Jonathan Coulton, and Clifford & Kidd.

Listen Now

Subscribe to TSOYA Classics: iTunes / Feed

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Mike and Tom Eat Snacks


Vital stats:
Format: two dudes eating and evaluating snacks, with tangents
Episode duration: 30-40m
Frequency: weekly

I tweeted this tweet:
What podcast should I review on Podthoughts this week? Open to all suggestions, except those involving "pop culture" or two dudes yammering.
In rapid response came suggestions of one show compulsively concerned with pop culture and another composed of, yes, the yammering of two dudes. These dudes, comedians Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanagh, host Mike and Tom Eat Snacks [iTunes], or, if you prefer, MATES. But here’s the thing: they don’t just yammer; they chew. They eat snacks. Mike and Tom eat snacks.

At first, I didn’t hear much promise in that either. As a comedic ignoramus, I’d never heard of Cavanagh — he seems to have acted in Yogi Bear — but I remembered a couple distant media scrapes with Black. My irritation at the him-voiced sock puppet (“Because pets can’t drive”) singing “Spinning Wheel” still burns, over a decade later, though time has cooled it a bit. I mainly associate him with an appearance on one of those VH1 shows about the eighties, on which he’s evidently made a whole mini-career out of turning up. I tuned in knowing they would talk about the Delorean DMC-12, one of my favorite automobiles. At the end of the segment, Black said something about John Delorean snorting too much of the “cocaína.” He used a really cartoonish South American-type pronunciation, but just on that one word. I could never figure out why.

As I foresaw from it hours of nothing but “Spinning Wheel”, cocaína, and Ranger Smith, this podcast could only pleasantly surprise me. I keep my expectations low for any show that could easily devolve into just one more TTWGBAC (Two Twenty/Thirtysomething White Guys/Girls Bullshitting About Culture) atop the heaping pile, but Black and Cavanagh turn out to use a couple of ingeniously, near-stupidly simple tactic to ward off the evils of that genre. First, though perhaps not by design, one host has reached his forties and the other has nearly gotten there. Second, they assign themselves a task, give themselves something to do, besides ridicule the coming Footloose remake: they have to eat snacks.

On each episode, Black and Cavanagh eat, react to, and evaluate Combos, cocktail peanuts, Blueberry Muffins, what have the snack aisle. They take their snacking seriously, or at least as seriously as you can take anything when two-thirds of the sentences you speak about it sound purely ironic. (Here we have another example of the relatively venerable podcasting tradition of Ridiculousness Uttered Flatly.) They discuss whether one particular manufacturer’s example of a snack can or should act as a representative of that snack. They get into such directly snack-related debates as whether the set “chips” contains the set “pretzels,” or if they share nothing. They slowly realize that, the more rigidly you try to define the boundaries of the concept “snack,” the less of a division you perceive between snack foods and all other foods.

Wine lovers consider favorite beverage as a nexus of subjects, offering gateways into discussions of subjects as various as history, geography, aesthetics, business, and botany. Black and Cavanagh seem to feel the same way about pizza-flavored crackers. Though their tangential discussions take them through exercise regimens, Canadian identity, life in the entertainment industry, and the Footloose remake, the hosts always return to the snack at hand. It anchors them. It’s just like in meditation, when your mind inevitably wanders from the object of focus; you just guide it back, leaving your practice none the worse for wear. When such freeform podcasts lose their anchor — or, more likely, never bother getting one — they lose their way. As long as Mike and Tom keep Eating Snacks, they’ll retain their compass.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also happens to host and produce The Marketplace of Ideas [iTunes], a public radio show and podcast dedicated to in-depth cultural conversation. Please hire him for something.]

My Brother, My Brother and Me 48: Math Blaster

| 1 comment

After two weeks of terrifying change, we've managed to get the show back on its regular schedule. Though our brief tryst with Tuesday was exciting, we know that there are some folks out there who need a booster shot of wisdom to start off their working week. Well, here you go, wisdom junkie.

Suggested talking points: Hot Pocketism, Citizen of Jamaica, Wake and Cake, Deed to the Boathouse, Dad's Rig, Bongotron 3000, Math Boner, Present Fight, No Rules Just Right, Tickle Prostitute

Dan Charnas, Author of The Big Payback: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Dan Charnas

Dan Charnas is a veteran of the hip hop business and one of a few early writers of hip hop journalism. His newest book is The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop.

JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest on the program is Dan Charnas. He’s held basically every position there is to hold, outside of artist, in the world of hip hop; and has made the transition from a record company guy to writer. His new gargantuan book is, I think, one of the better books about hip hop I’ve ever read. It’s called the Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip Hop. Dan Charnas, thanks for being on The Sound of Young America.

DAN CHARNAS: Thanks for having me.

JESSE THORN: The obvious question is: there are all these books of hip hop history, such as Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop and Brian Coleman’s Check the Technique and a million others; why did you think it was important to write a book that was specifically about the business side of hip hop?

DAN CHARNAS: That’s a really good question. I want to note that Jeff Chang’s book Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop was really one of the big inspirations for writing this book, because what Jeff did was - - he really wrote the first linear history of the culture and more specifically of the generation. None of the great books of hip hop really talked about how the records were made; not in terms of how they were made in the studio, but how the artists got signed, how they got developed, how they got pushed out into the world. But then the larger question of how did this obscure street culture that nobody knew about from the streets of New York become, within 30 years, the world’s predominant pop culture and a multi-billion dollar business. You can’t tell that story, which is a great American story, without talking about the business people.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.

Jesse Thorn in The Union Weekly


Our fall intern, Leo Portugal, conducted a very thoughtful interview with Jesse for Cal State Long Beach's Union Weekly on "learning how to get dressed and broadcast yourself from America's Radio Sweetheart."

The issue also features an interview with past TSOYA guests Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich of Radiolab.

You can read the entire issue right here. Thanks again for your hard work and the great article, Leo!

Culture: Noz's Rap Picks on The Sound of Young America


Noz runs the successful hip-hop blog Cocaine Blunts. He joins us to share the tracks he's most excited about right now.

This week's picks:
Tyler The Creator - Yonkers
Rick Ross & Meek Mill - Perfectionist
Lil B - Don't Miss The Gems
Danny Brown - Lincoln Continental

And two more, cut from the broadcast:
Waka Flocka Flame - Robot Rapper
Wiz Khalifa - Mezmorized

Hear more from Noz at Cocaine Blunts, and be sure to check out our interview with him on The Sound.

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