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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Dana Gould Hour

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Vital stats:
Format: thematic comedy gab, broken up with prepared segments
Episode duration: 1h-1h30m
Frequency: 1-2 per month

“Why do you want to do a podcast? You ain’t gonna do no podcast. You just a johnny-come-lately. You spent too much time on The Simpsons and you lost it, and now you’re trying to get it back, and everybody thinks it’s pathetic. You ain’t no Marc Maron.” Those words come in the voice of Little Richard, as performed by Dana Gould, to convey to us what the discouraging disapproving-dad voice inside his head sounds like. (His theory says that such a voice gets much easier to ignore when it sounds like Little Richard.) This happens on the very podcast that discourages, The Dana Gould Hour [RSS] [iTunes]. Luckily for Gould, and for us, Little Richard can only take that Marc Maron comparison so far. It pleases me to report that Gould has opted not to crank out yet another comedian-interviews-comedians podcast, but to put on more of a... production.

Its episodes, with come out once or twice a month, offer segments, scripted stories, recurring characters, and historical sound clips. I would draw a comparison to Paul F. Tompkins’ Paul F. Tompkast, but I haven’t heard that show yet. The Dana Gould Hour makes the unusual structural choice of interweaving these bits and pieces with group conversations like you’d hear on more standard comedy-gab shows. Each time out, Gould surrounds himself with colleagues — Eddie Pepitone usually shows up, to my increasing delight — and they all riff on a theme. These themes have included the apocalypse [MP3], carnies and theme parks [MP3], and Woody Allen’s wife, Soon-Yi Previn [MP3]. That last one usually gets me onboard, whatever the situation.

Gould, Pepitone, and company digress from these themes, as comedy podcasters do, but unlike most comedy podcasters they tend to return to them with regularity, usually after one of the aforementioned segments has just ended. These include real tales of marginal and/or ill-fated performers from Hollywood history, vintage Cold War-era “duck and cover when you see the flash” public service announcements, and dramatizations of a “manscaping” session with Larry King. Gould and his collaborators display a fascination only exceeded (but, I suppose, far exceeded) by the makers of Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. Among their other preoccupations I identify the Kennedys — perhaps you’ve heard of them — and Murry Wilson, the controlling father of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson. I meant to say that, though I appreciate this show’s take on the Murry Wilson persona, the Peter Bagge-drawn Rock ’n Roll Dad Flash cartoons remain, for me, its ultimate expression — but Gould, so I’d never realized before now, co-developed them!

I’ve known for years that the name “Dana Gould” referred to a comedian without quite knowing his sensibility. (I do occasionally stare at the cover of his album Funhouse and feel it visually represents something about the nineties long since lost, just like Steven Wright’s I Have a Pony does for the eighties.) Me and most of my generation have no doubt inadvertently come into contact with his work many, many times through the Simpsons episodes he worked on. He wrote that one where Homer, Lenny, and Carl form that security company, SpringShield, and also that other one where Selma goes to China to adopt a baby, something Gould mentions having done three times himself. If that Little Richard voice is anything to go by, he fears having squandered valuable time on the Simpsons job, but it hasn’t left him bereft of subjects for discussion. His poor, strictly Catholic childhood in Massachusetts, for instance, still seems to give him material.

Come to think of it, The Dana Gould Hour, though based, like most podcasts, in Los Angeles, delivers an unusually amount of humor directly related to the northeastern United States. Hence, I suppose, that Kennedy thing, and hence the regular segment “Political Talk with Two Guys from Boston,” which I laugh at without understanding quite why. Gould and another fellow play the title characters, Johnny Condon and Robbie Sullivan of Bevel Aqua Heating and Air Conditioning Repair, who briefly touch on a political issue of the day before descending, blithely but inexorably, into volleys of idle, irrelevant complaints and bewildering rhetorical questions. I realized I’ve already lived in Los Angeles too long when I caught myself thinking, without irony, “Psh, from Boston — of course they’re stuck in jobs where they have to work.” Still, these segments take advantage of the genuinely bleak streak — the bleakness of bleak unspoken premises, rather than just bleak punchlines — of Gould and his crew. But wait until you hear them do Goofy as an existentialist Charles Bukowski.

Comment or suggest a podcast on the Podthoughts forum thread

[Podthinker Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture [iTunes]. Contact him at colinjmarshall at gmail or follow him on Twitter @colinmarshall.]

Judge John Hodgman Episode 67: Call in the Family

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Katy's big brother Steve gets on her nerves, as all good brothers do -- and he's had one unbreakable and annoying habit for over a decade. He refuses to leave a voicemail to say "call me back!" and instead relies on a missed call list as an indicator that he's trying to get in touch. Katy says, the rest of the world believes in leaving messages, and he should too! Who is right?

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Throwing Shade Ep. 38: Gandhi, Daniel Tosh, Gay Clubs, Gifs

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This week, on a very special Throwing Shade, was Gandhi gay? Did Daniel Tosh go to far? And what's the difference between "gifts" and "gifs"? Bryan and Erin answer these questions and also lie a bunch in this tender, caring, and affectionate Throwing Shade. Keep it dirty! 
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HELP OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN! ROMNEY IS KILLING HIM IN FUNDRAISING!! 

Put This On S2, E4: Eccentric Style

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Put This On, Season 2, Episode 4: Eccentric Style from Put This On on Vimeo.

Over at Put This On, I just released the fourth episode of our second season. I think it's a really good one, maybe our best ever. You should watch it.

The Great Reveal - Our Flea Market Finds!

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We can't contain our excitement about our new flea market finds for Maximum Fun HQ -- discovered with American Picker Danielle Colby -- and we've got to share them with you. Enjoy!


Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for History/AP Images

Danielle displays one of her finds from a booth with classroom pull-downs.



Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for History/AP Images

Jesse and Danielle point out the find of the day: a fully-functional rocketship ride, perfectly in line with the Maximum Fun logo! At 10 cents a ride, we'll make our money back in no time.


And as promised, a video of Bullseye editor Nick White showing us the rocketship in action! (FYI: There's some NSFW language going on.)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Lisa Kudrow, Eric Andre, and Danielle Colby

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Show: 
Bullseye


Summer TV with The AV Club

What’s worth watching on TV this summer? Our TV critics Erik Adams and Claire Zulkey of the AV Club have a few suggestions (yes, other than Breaking Bad). Adams suggests Disney Channel’s Gravity Falls, which airs on Fridays. Zulkey recommends The Franchise, which airs on Showtime on Wednesdays at 10pm.

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Actress Lisa Kudrow on Web Therapy

Lisa Kudrow broke out to TV stardom on the hugely popular sitcom Friends, portraying the clueless but street-wise Phoebe Buffay. The cast members of Friends were practically America's Sweethearts, but Kudrow has pursued roles as less easily lovable characters in movies like Easy A and the short-lived but critically acclaimed cable series The Comeback.

Most recently, Kudrow has co-created and stars in the improv-comedy series Web Therapy, about a self-centered therapist who has an unusual "modality" approach -- she insists on cutting the usual 50-minute dreams and feelings session to a three-minute web chat. Web Therapy was adapted for TV by Showtime last year, and just began its second season on the network.

Kudrow talks to us about her early career in science research, how the fickleness of middle-schoolers set her on the path to acting, and being mentored by none other than Jon Lovitz.

(Embed or share this interview with Lisa Kudrow)


Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for History/AP Images

American Picking with Danielle Colby

Maximum Fun Headquarters recently relocated to a beautiful, but barren, new office -- and it needed a touch of character. There's probably no better place to find it than at the huge Rose Bowl flea market in Los Angeles, but we needed a seasoned antiquer to help us out. Enter Danielle Colby, star of the History Channel's series American Pickers, who helped us pick a doozy.

Check out our AMAZING flea market bounty for yourself.

(Embed or share this segment with American Picker Danielle Colby)


Comedian Eric Andre

Eric Andre isn't a comedian with a household name, but that didn't stop him from getting his own talk show. And it didn't stop him from breaking every rule in the book when it comes to doing monologues or interviewing guests, either. The Eric Andre Show is hard to describe, but if you know that Andre isn't averse to pouring ketchup down his own pants or borderline abusing his guests, you might start to get the idea. His extremely low-key straight man Hannibal Burress provides a counterpoint to the madness.

Andre talks to us about literally deconstructing the talk show, setting up unexpected situations for guests, and more.

The Eric Andre Show airs Sundays at 12:30am on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

(Embed or share this interview with Eric Andre)


The Outshot: The Fania All-Stars

This week, Jesse recommends that we all overcome any reluctance to let salsa music into our lives, and to begin with the Fania All-Stars.

Do you have a new music love? Tell us about it in your own outshot.

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Stop Podcasting Yourself 226 - Erica Sigurdson

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Guests: 
Erica Sigurdson

Erica Sigurdson returns to talk about the French, male strippers, and panhandlers.

Download episode 226 here. (right-click)

Brought to you by:

(click here for the full recap)

Jordan, Jesse, Go! and International Waters Live in London!

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Date: 
08/11/2012 - 14:30 - 19:00
City: 
London, England
Venue Name: 
Leicester Square Theatre

Jordan and Jesse are headed to London for the Olympics and on Saturday August 11th, they'll be doing two great MaxFun shows in London at the Leicester Square Theatre.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! starts at 3pm (doors at 2:30), International Waters starts at 5:30 (doors at 5), and then everyone will get together for a MaxFun meet-up.

Our special guests will include Graham Linehan, Jon Ronson and more!

Tickets are just ten pounds, and are available now.

Buy Tickets for Jordan, Jesse, Go!

Buy Tickets for International Waters

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 232: Apology Accepted with Humphrey Ker

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Guests: 
Humphrey Ker

British comedian Humphrey Ker joins Jordan and Jesse for a discussion of savory alcohols, British Dennis the Menace, Step Up Revolution and their recent Comic Con experience.

Reference links/footnotes from the show:

My Brother, My Brother and Me 112: The Channing Switcheroo

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For this week's episode, we suggest gathering all your loved ones in a room, and then running away from and locking that room, and then listening to the episode as far away from them as you can possibly get.

Suggested talking points: Thmoreth, Tom Jones Humblebrag, Grad Rags, Costco Actor, Snorks v. Dance Crews, Magic Mike Abridged

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