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My Brother, My Brother and Me 140: Hops for Pops


After a two-week absence which we assume was as horrifying for you as it was for us, we return with an episode chock-full of pope jokes and doin' it humor. Sometimes in the same breath. It's good to be back.

Suggested talking points: Papal Exploratory Council, High School Subtraction, Subway Spy, Suds Buds, Red Band Trailer, Giant Eagle

Throwing Shade #66 - LIVE in NYC

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Last year, Bryan and Erin put on their scarfs and headed to NYC during the hottest winter ever to do a sold out show at UCB Theater. This is that show. Well, almost. The last ten minutes was lost in an unfortuante accident involving an ice cream truck, motlotv cocktails, and a sheep farmer named Uleg.
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RISK! #420: Live From San Francisco!

Kumail Nanjiani
Chris Garcia
Caitlin Gill
Glenn Wool

Kumail Nanjiani, Chris Garcia, Caitlin Gill and Glenn Wool tell stories at our spectacular third visit to San Francisco Sketchfest at the Eureka Theatre, Feb 2013.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 97: Possessions in Nine-Tenths of a Car


Andrea brings the case against her friend Joe. Joe has adopted a minimalist lifestyle, and has vowed not to own more than a single car-load's worth of belongings. Andrea thinks he's shunned material possessions to an extreme degree and should acquire some creature comforts. Who is right, and who is wrong? Only one man can decide.


Special thanks to Jon Ahjudah Barr for suggesting this title.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: George Saunders and Maria Bamford

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George Saunders
Maria Bamford

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to the show in iTunes or via the RSS feed, or check out our SoundCloud page to share any or all of these interviews or recommendations!

Comics Recommendations: Hawkeye and Don't Go Where I Can't Follow

Brian Heater and Alex Zalben join us this week to share some comics picks. Alex suggests you check out Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon, a superhero comic about everyday stuff -- like attending a BBQ. Brian recommends Anders Nilsen's Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, a very moving pastiche of a couple's relationship.

Brian Heater curates Boing Boing’s comics column, and Alex Zalben writes about comics for MTV Geek.

Share Alex and Brian's Comics Picks

George Saunders on Creative Challenge and Financial Pressure

George Saunders could have been a geophysicist. In fact, he was one. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines and worked in the oil fields of Sumatra. He came to fiction writing a little later in life, attending Syracuse University's creative writing program (where he now teaches).

Saunders is now well-recognized as one of the greatest short story writers and satirists of our time. He's been awarded a MacArthur "Genius" grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship, along with piles of literary accolades for his collections, which include Pastoralia and CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. His stories often explore a world much like our own, just slightly more grotesque -- societies that are terrifying and recognizable. His writing is incisive, sad, and also really funny. His new collection, Tenth of December, is out now.

Saunders talks to us about how people interpret luck and what they do with it, drawing inspiration from a disturbing dream, and unyielding financial pressure (the kind that doesn't even lift when you win a major award).

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Maria Bamford: Comedy's Orchid

Maria Bamford's comedy is weird and wonderfully distinctive. She's just released a new special, recorded at her home, where she performs a stand up set with breaks "off-stage" to take cookies out of the oven and administer medicine to her pet pug. Her comedy takes on a number of difficult issues, ones that are personal to her -- mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or tough family dynamics (she describes her family's favorite pastime as "Joy Whack-a-Mole"). But she doesn't use humor as a shield. She uses it to confront an issue, point-blank.

Bamford talks to us about why she chose to perform a special in front of her parents, processing awful experiences or feelings into jokes, and why she describes herself as "the orchid of comedy".

The Special Special Special is available now. Her new Comedy Central CD / DVD special, Ask Me About My New God, is due out later this year.

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The Outshot: William Carlos Williams' "Danse Russe"

Jesse ruminates on alone time and... William Carlos Williams' "Danse Russe".

Embed or Share this Outshot on William Carlos Williams' "Danse Russe"

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 262: Foxy Grandpa with Kimmy Gatewood

Kimmy Gatewood

Kimmy Gatewood of the Apple Sisters joins Jordan and Jesse for a discussion of Foxy Grandpa films, the Apple Sisters' Las Vegas show and DF Con 2013.

Stop Podcasting Yourself 256 - Jon Dore

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Jon Dore

Comedian Jon Dore returns to talk dog pranks, juice cleansing, and how to spend fifty bucks.

Download episode 256 here. (right-click)

Get in touch with us at stoppodcastingyourself [at] gmail [dot] com or (206) 339-8328.

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(click here for the full recap)

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The F Plus


Vital stats:
Format: poor and/or freakish writing found on the internet, then read aloud
Episode duration: ~1h, plus the occasional special short
Frequency: weekly, in theory

The internet offers more of a chance than we’ve ever had to engage with the written word and with others who share our interests. As much fruit as this development has borne, The F Plus [iTunes] [RSS] reminds us that we’re dealing with, at best, a double-edged sword. Young “digital natives” aside, most internet users never prepared themselves for a life where they’d need to write anything at all, much less their everyday communication about the things most important to them. And who among us has adequately shielded himself against the universal human temptation to settle into a set of opinions and then retreat into an unthreatening — indeed, reinforcing — echo chamber? At the intersection of these two avenues of misfortune, this podcast taps into a considerable vein of comedy: almost 120 episodes’ worth, at this point, with no signs of resource depletion.

I don’t know whether anyone has written it as a rule of the internet, but for every interest, no matter how fringe, a forum must surely exist. Indeed, the fringier the interest, and so the deeper into the margins of society its practitioners must dwell, the more likely a forum somewhere supports it. The F Plus troupe — whom, for all my listening, still often sound to me like a barely differentiated gaggle of comedic-white-guy voices — scour these fora for the most bizarre, inept, or otherwise laughable posts, then read them out loud in funny voices. Some take pains to faithfully pronounce standard tics and errors — “LOL” becomes “lawl,” an apostrophe-less “I’m” becomes “im” — but that merely pours into the show’s abundant stream of cheap laughs. The deeper, more troubling humor, the kind that gives you as much of a pause as it does a chuckle, comes partially rooted in good old they-walk-among-us fear.

“You have just entered the very heart, soul, and life force of the internet,” reads Urban Dictionary’s top definition by far of the anonymous forum 4chan, to which I have added capital letters. “This is a place beyond sanity, wild and untamed.” And who dwells there? “You depend on us every day. We bag your groceries, we fix your computers. [ … ] We are 4channers. The people devoid of any time of soul or conscience, products of cynicism and apathy, spreading those very sentiments daily.” But this insistent nihilism, just slightly too aggressively dead-eyed to credit, bothers me less than do the punishing waves of ungrammatical self-righteousness this podcast rides. They wash in from all directions: from discussions of childrearing to body modification to something called “fat acceptance” to the relative merits of Stargate and Star Wars. And all those episodes came out recently; if I dug deeper, I’m sure I’d hear from, say, those guys who dress up as Gadget from Rescue Rangers. I understand they see themselves as persecuted, as do every group whose indignation earns the show’s mockery. “I worry that being indignant has almost replaced sex as the main pleasure of a section of the community,” once said novelist Ian McEwan. And you can’t spell “indignant,” after all, without “ig’nant.”

For all The F Plus’ entertainment value — high, by the way — I’m not at all sure I want to dig much deeper. This material discomfits, and not necessarily because of the fear it raises of encountering a frenulum-piercer or an omorashi fetishist or an unschooler in a dark alley. In their seedy anonymity, their self-perpetuating detachment from reality, their crude excess of every base emotion, and especially their sheer incompetence, these posts say things about humanity that we’d probably rather not hear — or, failing that, laugh hard enough to muffle. Encountering this sort of text in the wild, I find I can never actually envision a living, breathing human being typing it in the first place. I instinctively imagine, or simply hope, that I’m reading the work of a monster, or at least one of those hunched, greasy specters who squat on the public library’s computers. Still, nobody’s ever going to make me actually venture into these dampest corners of the internet, though each episode’s show notes provide the links to all the source material, should you dare cast your eyes upon it.

I myself swore off fora of almost all stripes — with, of course, a notable exception here and there — when I realized that internet arguments have, over and above the convictions you bring to them, an all-consuming power of their own. (I also realized that I have no convictions.) Anyone who’s laughed at that xkcd cartoon about someone being wrong on the internet knows what I mean, and understands the futility and waste inherent in that hapless stickman’s position. The F Plus ridicules these go-nowhere arguments and delusional agreement festivals alike. Rightly so, since they strike me as two sides of the same badly debased coin. Then again, if a fifteen-year-old in Wauganaukee can now, with the aid of the internet, find out that he is not, in fact, the only homosexual in the whole world, we’ve made a worthwhile trade-off. Trying to draw a meaningful line to wall that benefit off from that from the lively, completely incoherent discussions going on even now at may, alas, prove a fool’s errand.

Comment or suggest a podcast on the Podthoughts forum thread

[Podthinker Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture [iTunes] and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He's working on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Contact him at colinjmarshall at gmail or follow him on Twitter @colinmarshall.]

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is joining NPR!


It’s official: starting in April, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn will be distributed by National Public Radio! This is the culmination of months and months of meetings, negotiations and planning, and we’re so, so proud to make it public today. (And so, so proud of the sweet illustration that we just made (above).)

We’re excited to be joining forces with the big dogs in public radio, and excited that we’ll no longer have to spend like half of every conversation at every cocktail party explaining the complicated square-rectangle relationship between “public radio” and “NPR.” (From now on, we can just be all, “yup, I do a show on NPR.” It’s gonna be great.)

We’ll be on the same team as our all-time favorites like Terry Gross and Brooke Gladstone, and our new jack favorites like Glynn Washington and Jad Abumrad. It’s an ideal situation.

If you’re a longstanding Bullseye listener, you’ve got nothing to worry about. The show will continue to be produced independently by, but now we’ll also have the cachet and manpower of NPR helping us to bring it to public radio stations around the country. Our hope is that this partnership will mean a better show, better guests and a bigger station lineup.

This is the next chapter in a story that started at my college radio station when I was 19. Twelve years later, I think our show is the best it’s ever been, and now we’re in position to take advantage of that fact.

As a great American once said… haters don’t be mad, ‘cause it’s all about progression… loiterers should be arrested.

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Judge John Hodgman Episode 96: Bench Warrant


Dimitri brings this week's case against his boyfriend, Landon. Whenever the two of them go out to eat at their neighborhood diner, Dimitri wants Landon to sit next to him, leaving the other side of the booth empty. Landon isn't terribly enthusiastic about this, telling Dimitri that it's a little too lovey-dovey for his liking. Will Landon have to take Dimitri's side? Only Judge John Hodgman can decide.


Special thanks to Paul Ruh for suggesting this title.

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