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Stop Podcasting Yourself 254 - Charlie Demers

Charlie Demers

Comedian Charlie Demers returns to talk professoring, pigeons, and the weird kid in class.
Download episode 254 here. (right-click)

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

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 260: A Doorbreaker with April Richardson and Jim Festante

April Richardson
Jim Festante

Comedian and writer April Richardson and writer and actor Jim Festante join Jordan for a discussion of the end times, goth teens, conspiracy documentaries, and christian movies.

My Brother, My Brother and Me 138: Under the Bottom

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This episode of MBMBaM's got all the hot comedy stunts you could ever hope to see: Comedy flips, joke jumps and bad impressions so sick that you'll puke. So maybe don't listen to it in public.

Suggested talking points: Comedy X-Games, Casual Headshots, Twerking, A Real Premium Rush, Birdtrain, Hulk Hogan Buttcrimes

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: Bookclub


Vital stats:
Format: moderated conversations between an author and an audience
Episode duration: ~30m (except when Douglas Adams comes on
Frequency: monthly

Despite having grown up in America, I’ve cultivated an overwhelmingly British, or at least British Empire, roster of favorite writers: Anthony Lane, Geoff Dyer, Pico Iyer, Clive James, Ian Buruma, Jan Morris — the list keeps unfurling, mostly on the other side of the Atlantic. (Even those who seem potentially American, like Douglas Coupland, usually turn out to come from fish-nor-fowl places like Canada.) Sometimes I’ll find my own readers — those, in any case, who’ve never heard me on a podcast — surprised at my lack of an English accent. (Not that they can then get a fix on the oddly placeless one I do have.) Should I put my attraction to U.K. letters down to my failure to master American English, or did too much time spent among all these Brits — natives, transplants, sons of former possessions — cause that failure? Either way, a reader like me can’t help but feast upon a show like BBC Radio 4’s Bookclub [RSS] [iTunes], which offers a robust archive of discussions with many of these very writers.

James and Morris turn up, anyway, as does Coupland. So, too, do an array of British men and women of letters whom I’ve barely read yet have always relished hearing speak: a Martin Amis, say, or a David Mitchell, or a Stephen Fry. Ironically, my serious reading career began when, as a youngster, I got into crime novelist Elmore Leonard and, a bit later, political humorist P.J. O’Rourke, two names I imagine strike reading Brits as among the most American wordsmiths alive. Leonard got his start with Westerns and went on to chronicle the sunnily sordid lives of wisecracking Florida lowlifes; P.J. O’Rourke dares simultaneously to have a functioning wit and vote Republican. They discuss these matters and others with Bookclub host James Naughtie and select audiences of twenty or so readers on their respective episodes or the program. Though most certainly of Britain, the broadcast hardly limits itself to Britain.

We have here, as I more broadly call it, a festival of articulateness. This extends to those sitting below the stage, the “intimate group of readers” who come armed with questions for the author of the month. These they ask, play into stereotypes though it may, in what mostly sound like the watery, faintly offended voices of middle-aged, middle-class womanhood. But know, dear England, that I mean no offense by this. Their equivalents in the states would sound even worse: louder, gravely but obscurely offended, scattering sentence fragments with vain insistence. America has a problem with question quality at literary Q&As; people here would rather ramble, make a declaration of self, or confront the author with half-baked ideas and unbaked lawsuits. Bookclub, perhaps due to a rigorous selection process, suffers no such problem, and can thus devote most of its half-hour, after a handful of quickly incisive opening questions from Naughtie, to a moderated dialogue between author and audience.

Listen to an episode with a novelist like Amis, Julian Barnes, or David Lodge, and you listen in on one more moment in a satisfyingly ongoing relationship between a country and its luminaries. Despite their disagreements — which, given the standard dash of emotional distance, some of these English writers love engaging in — they seem to speak on the same level, to be, no pun intended; on the same page. The Americans come in looking, if not like sideshow attractions, then like rougher-hewn curiosities. Jonathan Franzen and Amy Tan exhibit what I would call our national brand of amiably supercilious discomfort. O’Rourke and Leonard relax into an aw-shucks, brass-tacks attitude toward their craft — for a craft is what they clearly consider it — that must reassure anyone with certain ideas about how they like their Yanks.

Despite long prostrating myself before such eminent tri-named users of American English as John Jeremiah Sullivan and David Foster Wallace — the former I hope to one day hear on this show; the latter, alas, I never will — I doubt I’ll ever attain such mastery myself. Hearing the linguistic contrast between American writers and British broadcasters helps, but I mainly learn other useful lessons about writing from the candidness Bookclub stirs in its guests (the stealthily reserved Franzens of the world notwithstanding). This goes even though most of them write fiction, which I don’t. And if you don’t write at all, the show still has much to teach you about how best to ask about books, to chat about books, and to cast into words your reactions about books. “Boy, Colin,” a friend recently told me, “you really do view the world through the lens of books.” Unable to imagine any other lens, I’d never before considered whether I did or not. If you’re anything like me, this sort of program comes less as an entertaining sound-waves-through-earphones diversion about an entertaining ink-on-paper diversion than as an object lesson in how to consider and discuss reality itself.

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.]

Stop Podcasting Yourself Bonus Episode - LIVE from MaxFunCon East

Hari Kondabolu

Recorded live at MaxFunCon East at Pocono Manor on October 28. Comedian Hari Kondabolu joins us and we spend about 90 seconds tearing a Hulk Hogan shirt off Graham.

Download it here.

In fact, check out this video.

And this one.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 94: Bleached and Mounted Bones of Contention

John Roderick

This week, Nick has a bone to pick with his wife, Sara. Nick admits he has an interest in the macabre, which has led him to consider collecting taxidermied animals, their skeletons, and (possibly) a human skull. Though Sara is willing to let one or two preserved animals lie around the house, she's horrified by the prospect of Nick collecting any more, nor is she terribly enthused about the prospect of sharing their home with what was once a human head. Will Nick's new hobby flourish, or will Sara have it laid to rest? Judge John Hodgman decides.

John Roderick from The Long Winters lends the court his expert testimony. John's most recent album is One Christmas At a Time, a holiday collaboration with Jonathan Coulton. For more signature John Roderick insight, you can tune in to his weekly podcast with Merlin Mann, Roderick on the Line.


Throwing Shade LIVE in SAN FRANCISCO (part of SF Sketch Fest)

01/27/2013 - 04:00 - 05:00
San Francisco
Venue Name: 
SF Punch Line

Come see us live at the Punch Line for 'ssues, Throwing Shade, and Would You Rather. With a special guest Bryan doesn't know about!

Get tickets here

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jeff Bridges, Bernie Glassman, H. Jon Benjamin and Mike Wiebe

Jeff Bridges
Bernie Glassman
H. Jon Benjamin
Mike Wiebe
Marah Eakin
Nathan Rabin

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!

And if you're in the San Francisco Bay area this weekend, come join us at a live taping of Bullseye at the Punchline Comedy Club as part of SF Sketchfest. We'll talk to 99% Invisible host Roman Mars, The Coup's MC Boots Riley, and more. Find tickets and more details here!

The AV Club Recommends: The Imposter and Frightened Rabbit's Pedestrian Verse

The AV Club's Head Writer Nathan Rabin and Music Editor Marah Eakin join us to share some favorite new releases.

Nathan recommends the new DVD release of the documentary film The Imposter: the gripping story of a man who impersonates a family's long-lost son. Marah suggests a listen to the new collaborative album by the Scottish indie band Frightened Rabbit, called Pedestrian Verse.

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Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman on Channeling the Zen of "The Dude"

Maybe you've seen the cult film The Big Lebowski. Maybe you've seen it more than once. The movie lends itself to repeat viewings: it's chock-full of amazing and delirious visuals and wickedly funny and quotable dialogue. But what kind of wisdom can one gain from The Dude, the film's chilled-out slacker hero who's trying simply to "abide"? Maybe the key to living a more Zen life?

The Dude himself, Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges, and the renowned buddhist teacher and social activist Roshi Bernie Glassman join us to talk about following The Dude's example, loving, living life and some of the other philosophical riffing from their new book, The Dude and the Zen Master.

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Getting "Faster and Louder" with The Dictators: Mike Wiebe on The Song That Changed My Life

Mike Wiebe, vocalist for the punk band The Riverboat Gamblers, reveals the song that changed his life: The Dictators' "Faster and Louder", from 1978's Bloodbrothers. The song showed Wiebe that goofiness and edge weren't mutually exclusive, and inspired the Gamblers' beginnings.

The Riverboat Gamblers have honed their brand of melodic punk rock over the past fifteen years. Last year saw the release of their sixth full-length album, The Wolf You Feed. The band kicks off a European tour this spring.

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H. Jon Benjamin on Archer, Bob's Burgers and an Unlikely Career in Voice Acting

H. Jon Benjamin is a writer, comedian and a prolific voice actor, but he's not exactly the man of a million voices. In fact, he's really the man of one voice, which depending on the setting could be the shiftless son on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, the misanthropic dad of Fox's Bob's Burgers, or a self-involved secret agent on FX's Archer. Benjamin has appeared in his own physical form on shows like Parks and Recreation, and in 2011 created and starred in the Comedy Central series Jon Benjamin Has a Van.

Benjamin talks to us about and how his career in comedy and voice acting came together, the humble beginnings of the beloved animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, and the perks inherent in voicing the super-spy and super-jerk Sterling Archer.

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The Outshot: Huell Howser and "California's Gold"

This week, Jesse pays tribute to the documentarian Huell Howser -- a California transplant with a Tennessee drawl and perpetual and infectious sense of wonder.

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RISK! #416: Walking Wounded

Dave Hill
Candace Guardino

Dave Hill and Candice Guardino go through rough rites of passage.

Stop Podcasting Yourself 253 - Devin Mackenzie

Devin Mackenzie

Improviser Devin Mackenzie joins us to talk scones, The Carrie Diaries, and ATM estimates.

Download episode 253 here. (right-click)

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

Brought to you by:

(click here for the full recap)

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