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Improv Everywhere & the NFL


From the New York Times Q&A with Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere


Instead of organizing thousands of people to take off their pants, how about organizing them to, say, work a day in a soup kitchen, or help Habitat for Humanity put up houses, or something useful? I like fun as much as the next guy, but this is just rampant stupidity.

— Posted by JP

I’m always amazed at how frequently this comes up. There’s a certain type of person who sees our videos of large numbers of people having fun together and immediately feels the need to scold us for not working in a soup kitchen instead (and for whatever reason it’s always a soup kitchen that is referenced.) To me this makes about as much sense as someone angrily writing the N.F.L. and saying, “Why do you waste your time getting hundreds of thousands of people to assemble in stadiums every Sunday when they could be out working in soup kitchens?”

Participation in Improv Everywhere events is just a way to have fun for a couple of hours on a weekend afternoon. While some people might choose to go to a sporting event, movie, or stay at home and type angry Internet comments, our participants choose to, say, shop in slow motion at a Home Depot with 200 other people. Whether or not that is “stupid” is a matter of opinion, but it definitely doesn’t preclude anyone from volunteering with a charitable organization the other 166 hours of the week.

Yes, I have a large army of people that I can easily organize to do unusual things in public spaces, but that doesn’t mean I have the ability to harness it for volunteerism. My participants didn’t sign up for my mailing list to learn about service opportunities, just like people who sign up for season tickets to the Giants games aren’t expecting to travel out to the Meadowlands to build houses for the less fortunate. There are plenty of service organizations people can get involved with, and I’m sure there is plenty of overlap in membership between those groups and ours.

Elna Baker, comedian and author of "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance": Interview on The Sound of Young America

Elna Baker

Elna Baker is a New York-based comedian and writer. Her memoir, "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance," is about her struggle growing up in the Mormon faith, and living as a practicing Mormon in bohemian New York City. She struggles with her weight, her faith, and her virginity as she balances an artistic temperament with a longing to live a traditional Mormon lifestyle.

RIP, Teddy Pendergrass

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One of the truly great voices of soul.

MaxFunCon Podcast Ep. 7: Jonathan Coulton


Jonathan Coulton returns to perform at MaxFunCon after touring his new DVD/CD combo of live performances, it's called: BEST. CONCERT. EVER. If you've never heard his songs before then seriously: get ready to have a new favorite person in your life.

Jump over to to grab it or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Podcast: The College Years: Come Fly With Me!

Jasper Redd
W. Kamau Bell

The College Years is a look deep into the vaults of The Sound of Young America. Take a journey with us every week as we post a new program or two from our salad days.

Today's Theme: Come Fly With Me!

Comedians Jasper Redd & W. Kamau Bell on the show, PLUS a contest to win a chance to fly with Jesse on a WW2 Red Baron Pizza biplane!

Letterman's solution for NBC...


Sam Cooke on American Bandstand

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I watched an American Masters special on Sam Cooke last night on PBS, and now I'm feeling Sam Cooke crazy. No one has ever sang like Cooke. I think he might be my favorite male singer of all time. There's something about the effortless grace of his singing that touches me even in the simplest songs (and many of his songs were very simple). It has the lightness of great pop music, but it also has the depth of great soul music. Very few can combine those two qualities - Al Green and Michael Jackson come to mind - and Sam can out-sing almost any of them.

As you can see from Cooke's conversation with Dick Clark above, he was also a businessman. He ran his own recording and publishing operations, and nurtured other talent as well.

If you're interested in learning more about Cooke, check out this hour-long show we did on him some years ago with Peter Guralnick. Guralnick's book about Cooke, "Dream Boogie," is wonderful as well.

If you want to dip your toes into his musical catalog, I love Live at the Harlem Square Club, a live album that showcases his more gospel-y performance style.

Sade - Soldier of Love


A) Sade is still kicking out the jams. This is a top quality record.
B) Sade is still foxy as hell.

Edit: I guess the record company is allowing embed code... but not embeds. Pretty annoying. Oh well, you can the video somewhere else.

TSOYA Classics: New York Stories (11-3-06)


This week on The Sound of Young America, a new New Yorker and an New Yorker of long standing.

First we talk with Roz Chast, long-time New Yorker cartoonist. Her cartoons have now been compiled into a stately tome called "Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006."

Then a chat with Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader. He talks about how he got the gig after Lorne Michaels came to see him perform in a Southern California backyard, and what it's like to be the new guy at one of television comedy's most revered institutions.
He's TSOYA listener, by the way.

Be sure to check out our bonus audio for discussion of his upcoming movie projects, which involve Michael Cera of Arrested Development, the folks behind Reno 911 and Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk, among others.

Listen to This Week's Show

Bonus Audio: Bill Hader

Download This Week's Show (mp3)
Subscribe to TSOYA Classic: iTunes / Feed

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