The Sound of Young America, by a lot of standards, is doing great...
* We've got an average of about five thousand downloads per show, which is very good to great in the (independent) podcasting world.
* The show's on half a dozen stations.
* The recent trip to New York was a success (though I did lose a fair bit of money on it).
* A couple folks I really admire and respect have really lent a hand and also been very encouraging lately. This means a lot to me.
* A number of folks, including many of the regular commenters here, are donors to the show, and that generates about $200 a month in income, which pays for my expenses. If it weren't for you, I couldn't do the show, literally.
* I think the show's been doing very well in terms of booking, and I feel like I'm continuing to improve as host.
* The preliminary results of the survey I've been running are very positive. People really like the show.
* This blog has a strong audience, and I've never broken news about a new iPod or combined the names of a celebrity couple into a more-convenient single name.
* A nice fella named John is helping me build a forum for the website, which I've always wanted to have.
There are still many, many challenges, though.
* The show hasn't really grown in audience for a year. This has been the case for lots of non-brand-name podcasts, but it is nonetheless discouraging.
* Public radio related partnership possibilities I was very excited about have not come through.
* Although I occaisionally meet someone in public radio who likes the show, and that's exciting (see above), even those few stations who have agreed to take a listen to the show in the past few months have basically ignored me thereafter.
* While the money that's coming in covers the expenses of the show, I'm not taking anything home.
* Since moving to LA about three and a half months ago, I've been able to focus on the show while doing a little bit of freelance work. Unfortunately, despite my borderline ascetic lifestyle, my cashflow has been negative, and I don't have much savings, so I think that may have to end.
* Putting out an hour-long show every week is really hard.
Here's the deal:
I'm looking for ideas. If you have any idea for what I should do, please comment. Anything from little things I should change to big new directions. All are open. Please share your thoughts on others' ideas, as well.
If there's a way you'd like to help, that of course is encouraged, but feel free to suggest off the wall ideas that involve me doing all the work. I am taking on all ideas. Please do share a bit of the "why" in your idea, as well.
One of the biggest reasons I still do the show five years later is listeners like you. I really mean that. Today I got an email from a guy who has all kinds of environmental allergies and immune deficiencies, and he can't leave the house much, but he loves The Sound. A couple weeks ago, I found out one of my favorite public radio personalities is a listener. That kind of stuff really amazes and gratifies me (as you might imagine). That said, the tank's running a little low this week.
So... I'm opening up the floor to new ideas.
Ready... steady... GO!
Directed by Bob Odenkirk for a cable pilot which didn't get picked up, then distributed to some film festivals (including Sundance).
Shannon notes: it's also on Whophin #2.
Through the course of the evening, I gave careful consideration to things.
I really think Heather Lawless should be famous. I think her material is hilarious and her style is totally unique and brilliant. She's going to be in the new Michel Gondry film with Jack Black.
Mike Daisey told a totally engrossing and hilarious story about playing on snowmobiles in his childhood in Maine.
Until we had some technical difficulties, and so Mike and I covered by talking about how silly the word "monologuist" is, and also how to pronounce it (he says Monologue-ist, I say monolojist).
Luckily, Jeff Solomon was on the boards, and he rescued the show from disaster (technical disaster - not artistic disaster - artistic disaster was assured by my presence).
Then David Wain came on stage and was immediately hilarious, which really took the pressure off of me.
Although he couldn't believe I asked that.
Then Donwill and Von Pea of Tanya Morgan rocked the house, or at least shook it a bit and made some jokes in between verses to take the pressure off the whites who'd never seen a rapper before.
I had the pleasure of spending some six hours in the beautiful Newark, New Jersey airport yesterday, and a great part of that time was spent with the Sunday Times. The Magazine this week is all about film comedy, and it's full of good stuff, and even some great stuff.
Chris Rock is interviewed, and calls Deborah Solomon on her traditional BS:
I find Borat’s hostility toward women juvenile and upsetting.
If no one is uncomfortable with your act, you’re probably not digging really deep into yourself.
Borat comes out of your own tradition of shock comedy. You use a lot of profanity and off-color humor, at least when you’re doing stand-up.
Me? What have I ever said that was off color? I don’t think I have ever been off color.
Our pal John Hodgman compiled a group of short essays on the subject "How to be Funny." They include one by another friend of the show, Patton Oswalt, that was SUGGESTED BY YOURS TRULY. I am basically a New York Times reporter.
There is a feature on Will Ferrel that, frankly, is basically completely without insight. There's one on the comedy film business that's somewhat more insightful. There are also pieces on online video and the great Chris Guest.
They also ask "22 funny people" their top five desert island comedies. David Cross ("Actor, Men in Black"), true to form, includes "Rent" and "Homer and Eddie" in his list. There are many, many great films. Laurel & Hardie are quite popular on the lists, perhaps even moreso than the Marx Brothers, and certainly more so than Chaplin or Keaton.
Here's my list:
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
A Thousand Clowns
The Big Lebowski
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(with honorable mentions to The Blues Brothers, the other Python films, and Wet Hot American Summer)
What are yours?
I'm off to NY for TSOYA Live tommorow very early in the morning. I can't imagine I'll have internet access anything like consistently, so don't expect much from me.
see you there!
Over on AST, Patton Oswalt shared this Borat joke that didn't make the Borat film:
Q. What is the difference between a Jew and a bucket of dirt?
A. The Jew is more. "
By Michael Leaverton
The SkyMall catalog, which sells essential products like motorized CD towers, electronic mouth-herpes inhibitors, and personal counterfeit-currency detectors ($499!), is no longer the fertile comedy ground it was last month. Similar to the way The Onion locked up the fake news article, comedy troupe Kasper Hauser has now given us the definitive airborne catalog parody, SkyMaul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane, much to everyone's jealous rage. The excellent humor runs from cover-your-eyes funny to give-yourself-a-bruise funny, but I also suspect it might be, depending on the health of your colon, shit-yourself funny. It's the kind of book to read slowly and cautiously, as items like Divorced Dad "Pancake Time" Trumpet — "Tell them to rise and shine by blowing some bullshit on this Austrian parade trumpet" — prompt explosive belly laughs that could dislodge your liver. Although you can't actually purchase Christian Over-the-Clothes Massage Lotion, Our Worst-Selling Motocross Boots, and a Real Dolphin ("Tell all the naysayers to suck it!"), the book comes with large, colorful, fucked-up photos that'll make old people think they can. Tonight's book-release event features a sketch performance from Kasper Hauser (James and John Reichmuth, Dan Klein, and Rob Baedeker) and the troupe in conversation with McSweeney's editor Eli Horowitz.
Date/Time: Tue., Nov. 14, 8 p.m.
It's almost here!