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Podcast: Scharpling & Wurster, 2-3-05

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Show: 
Bullseye

The Sound of Young America: The Legacy Collection is an effort to highlight some of the older shows in our vast audio archive. We were pretty much podcasting before anyone actually listened to podcasts, so I'm guessing you haven't heard these shows.

This week, it's an hour-long visit with our friends Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster, of The Best Show on WFMU. The Best Show is a weekly three-hour decent into madness. Tom hosts, and a variety of oddballs -- many real, some imagined -- call in to discuss their problems, play on-air games and discuss their insular world. Tom is generally a genial host, but when provoked, he transforms into a despot, wielding his catchphrase, "GET OFF MY PHONE" at any and all offending parties.

TBSOWFMU is best known for Wurster's calls. Jon assumes one of a variety of personae and calls Tom, often with a perfectly reasonable comment or response to a question or contest. Slowly, over the course of twenty or thirty minutes, things spin out of control. Often, Tom is left incredulously blubbering his dissent in response to a stream of bizarre proclomations on the other side of the phone.

This episode of The Sound of Young America features an interview with Jon & Tom as well as a selection of material from one of the compilation CDs they release on their label, Stereolaffs.

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

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Podcast: Beyond the Fringe

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Show: 
Bullseye

The Sound of Young America: The Legacy Collection is an effort to highlight some of the older shows in our vast audio archive. We were pretty much podcasting before anyone actually listened to podcasts, so I'm guessing you haven't heard these shows.

This program is an hour-long look at the scions of UK comedy, Beyond the Fringe. Through a stage show and LP, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller changed the course of satire in the UK and abroad.

We talk about Beyond the Fringe with a curator from the Museum of Television and Radio, and play examples of their work.

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

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Podcast: Con Man Simon Lovell

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Show: 
Bullseye


Simon Lovell is a former professional con man and card shark. His book is called: "How to Cheat at Everything: A Con Man Reveals the secrets of the Esoteric Trade of Cheating, Scams and Hustles."

We talk with Simon about the emotional toll that running the con for a living can take. Also: how to avoid being conned yourself.

Please share your thoughts on this program on our forum!

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The Sound of Young America is underwritten in part by Project Breakout

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Lily Tomlin v. David O. Russell: HOLY SHIT

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David O. Russell is one of my favorite directors... "Three Kings" is one of my favorite films of all time, and I really enjoyed "I Heart Huckabees." I was surprised when I read Sharon Waxman's allusions to the bizarre and intense set tensions on Hucakbee's, which she wrote about in the Times in 2004. She talked about it a bit, iirc, in our interview with her upon the release of her book "Rebels on the Backlot," which profiled Russell. (MP3)

The above though -- holy shit. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Lily Tomlin too. So I'm just reeling.

Here's an excerpt from a Playboy interview with the star of Three Kings, George Clooney:

PLAYBOY: What made you want to do [Three Kings]?
CLOONEY: David Russell wrote as good a script as I've ever read. I fought to get it. He wanted a lot of other actors before me. They went to Mel and to Nic Cage. I wanted to work on this movie. David is in many ways a genius, though I learned that he's not a genius when it comes to people skills.
PLAYBOY: Did you learn about that the hard way?
CLOONEY: I did. He yelled and screamed at people all day, from day one.
PLAYBOY: Did he yell at you?
CLOONEY: At me often — and at someone daily. He'd throw off his headset and scream, 'Today the sound department flicked me!' For me, it came to a head a couple of times. Once, he went after a camera-car driver who I knew from high school. I had nothing to do with his getting his job, but David began yelling and screaming at him and embarrassing him in front of everybody. I told him, 'You can yell and scream and even fire him, but what you can't do is humiliate him in front of people. Not on my set, if I have any say about it.'

Another time he screamed at the script supervisor and made her cry. I wrote him a letter and said, 'Look, I don't know why you do this. You've written a brilliant script, and I think you're a good director. Let's not have a set like this. I don't like it and I don't work well like this.' I'm not one of those actors who likes things in disarray. He read the letter and we started all over again.

But later, we were three weeks behind schedule, which puts some pressure on you, and he was in a bad mood. These army kids, who were working as extras, were supposed to tackle us. David wanted one of the extras to grab me and throw me down. This kid was a little nervous about it, and David walked up to him and grabbed him. He pushed him onto the ground.

He kicked him and screamed, 'Do you want to be in this f**king movie? Then throw him to the f**king ground!' The second assistant director came up and said, 'You don't do that, David. You want them to do something, you tell me.' David grabbed his walkie-talkie and threw it on the ground. He screamed, 'Shut the f**k up! F**k you, and the AD goes, 'F**k you! I quit.' He walked off.

It was a dangerous time. I'd sent him this letter. I was trying to make things work, so I went over and put my arm around him. I said, 'David, it's a big day. But you can't shove, push, or humiliate people who aren't allowed to defend themselves.' He turned on me and said, 'Why don't you just worry about your f**ked-up act? You're being a d**k. You want to hit me? You want to hit me? Come on, pussy, hit me.' I'm looking at him like he's out of his mind. Then he started banging me on the head with his head. He goes, 'Hit me, you pussy. Hit me.' Then he got me by the throat and I went nuts. I had him by the throat. I was going to kill him. Kill him. Finally, he apologized, but I walked away. By then, the Warner Bros. guys were freaking out. David sort of pouted through the rest of the shoot and we finished the movie, but it was truly, without exception, the worst experience of my life."

Maximum Fun Fantasy Baseball League

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Two owners were last-minute dropouts in the Maximum Fun Fantasy Baseball League.

This means two owners will have the chance to join!

If you're interested, here's the league page. Email commissioner Zach L. at zachlinder at gmail.

Ready, steady... GO!

Anne Beatts joins the Project Breakout panel!

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As some of you know, I'm one of the judges for the first-ever comedy contest hosted by our underwriter Project Breakout. Biz Ellis of Sketchfest NYC is also on the panel.

But I'm really excited to announce the third judge... original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts.

Anne's been teaching comedy writing at USC, along with private sketch writing workshops, for some years now. Besides writing for SNL, she also helped create the National Lampoon Radio Hour, and is one of the all-time greats of sketch writing.

If you do comedy, enter a video into the competition at ProjectBreakout.com. You could win an all-expenses paid trip to NYC to participate in Sketchfest NYC... not to mention a three-day mentorship from the team at Sketchfest NYC, who'll help you learn the ins and outs of the comedy biz.

This American Life Preview

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Above: a segment from the new television version of This American Life, which premiers on Showtime March 22nd. The animator, as I'm sure you can recognize, is Chris Ware.

In case you missed it, here's our interview with Julie Snyder, This American Life's senior producer. Julie talks about the process of adjusting to a new medium.

Well here's some encouraging news.

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Quoth Variety:

"Knocked Up" is uproarious. Line for line, minute to minute, writer-director Judd Apatow's latest effort is more explosively funny, more frequently, than nearly any other major studio release in recent memory. Indeed, even more than the filmmaker's smash-hit sleeper "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," his new pic is bound to generate repeat business among ticketbuyers who'll want to savor certain scenes and situations again and again, if only to memorize punchlines worth sharing with buddies. Currently set for a June 1 release, this hugely commercial comedy likely will remain in megaplexes throughout the summer and, possibly, into the fall.

Full review here.

(thanks Lindsay!)

Jacobus of the 14th Century: Faeries Dispute

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Vlogger Jacobus of the 14th Century discusses a dispute with his compatriot Reginald on the topic of Faeries.

More Jacobus here.

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