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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 212: Blackout with Tami Sagher

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Tami Sagher

Tami Sagher, writer-producer on How I Met Your Mother joins Jesse and Jordan to talk about what Jordan does when he blacks out and more.

My Brother, My Brother and Me 92: Ten Thousand Throbs


Happy Presidents Day, everyone! Join us as we reflect upon the executive successes of administrations past, present and future, and also as we talk about which Presidents are the cutest.

Suggested talking points: Prez Fight, Pinterest, Fly Exam, Psychic Battlefield, Lady Dupe, Scoville Units, Tv Freebase, Dig Deep No Fear, Jeopardy Angels

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Vinyl Countdown

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Vital stats:
Format: Canadians talking about everything and nothing, continually ratcheting up the stakes of elaborately unappealing sex or general disgustingness, usually in public
Episode duration: 30m-1h30m
Frequency: 3-9 per month

“A bunch of guys get drunk at a bar, and some dickhead keeps recording it.” The prospect does not immediately appeal. Several of you may find the deal sweetened if I reveal the identity of that dickhead as Keith McNally, the podcast auteur behind XO, one of the shows I’ve respected the very most in all my years Podthinking. XO repays your listening time with both its high-caliber production — some of the most intricate craft I’ve heard in a podcast that doesn’t also air on the radio — and its seemingly untrammeled access to the psyche of one not-particularly-inhibited young man with a lot on his mind, a high-intensity way of saying it, and the inexplicable ability to combine those qualities without descending into obnoxiousness. A real marriage of the raw and the refined, you might say, which most conceptually strong podcasts officiate in one way or another.

The Vinyl Countdown [RSS] [iTunes], now. This show sits on the opposite end of the production spectrum from McNally’s other brainchild: a bunch of guys get drunk at a bar, and some dickhead keeps recording it. For half an hour, an hour, two hours, two and a half hours, you can hear McNally and a handful of dude- or lady-friends gross each other out; reminisce about antics past; swirl the ice in their glasses; and speculate about what, in a series of made-up realities, each with their own rigid rules, does or does not count as gay. His friends have names like “Robocop Craig” and “Mustard Mike.” When something or someone comes up a lot in these conversations, McNally will occasionally splice together an episode illustrating it, as when he made one out of Louis C.K.’s visits to Opie and Anthony [MP3] (hosts whose manner, worn to a featureless dun by years upon years of morning-zooishness, makes you especially grateful for a challengingly personal program like this one).

To think this began as a video game show. I hadn’t actually started listening back when — if — McNally and his coterie stuck to that agenda; when I first tuned in, things had clearly long fallen into the kind of free-for-all that, listened to from certain angles, almost sounds like chaste formalism. But catch me on a good day, and I just feel delighted at the very fact that, at the touch of a button, I can listen in on a couple hundred hours of some Canadians talking about everything and nothing, continually ratcheting up the stakes of elaborately unappealing sex or general disgustingness, usually in public. I tend to think that certain types of podcasts have grown popular because they give us a line to the sort of conversations that have fallen out of our lives; it certainly hasn’t fallen out of these guys’.

I’ve made this show sound simple, much simpler than it is. The dedicated Vinyl Countdown fan will discover a world of Tolkienesque complexity where countless threads of memory, story, inside joke, and life event link together all the episodes and everyone who has ever appeared in them, primary, secondary, and tertiary players alike. And that doesn’t even account for all of the connections and resonances between this and every other product of McNally’s shoestring internet empire, from XO to I Have a Ham Radio to Shitty Comics to his appearances on Keith and the Girl. The Robocop Craigs and Mustard Mikes of his world have tales to tell, sure, but McNally’s personality remains a presiding force of every minute of audio uploaded under his banner. It wouldn’t work for everybody, and maybe it won’t always work for him, but for that reason, I’ve always given his productions a chance.

We may just have to make peace, dear readers, with the fact that you’ll either find McNally inherently compelling or you won’t, and either way you can’t confidently pin down why. If you’ve never heard a show of his but read this review closely, you might ask, isn’t he base? Well, yes and no; he may compulsively return to base topics, but he doesn’t do it in a base way. If you’ve only heard the shows where he talks about not having a job and just looking at porn and hanging out with his pals all day, you might ask, isn’t he unambitious? Well, yes and no; just look at the volume of internet media he generates, which by almost any standard seems superhuman. If you’ve listened to his screeds du jour and read a few of his tweets, you might ask, isn’t he a troll? Well, yes and no; if he’s a troll, he’s one of those rare trolls who changes his mind a lot and listens to what other people have to say. I’ve dragged my feet on writing about The Vinyl Countdown because I assumed I couldn’t describe it accurately before hearing just a few more episodes, but these thoughts never resolved themselves into answers. And so you read the questions here today.

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

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Daniel Handler, The Sklar Brothers, Mark Frauenfelder and Nico Muhly

Daniel Handler
Randy Sklar
Jason Sklar
Mark Frauenfelder
Nico Muhly

Culture Picks: Mark Fraueunfelder of Gweek

Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing and the Gweek podcast joins us to share his recommendations this week: the drawing game Depict and the Blackwing 602 pencil. (Embed or Share Mark Frauenfelder's Picks)

Author Daniel Handler

Daniel Handler delves into his memories of young love and high school frustrations to pen the novel Why We Broke Up -- the twist? He writes the girl's side of the story. The story is illustrated by a collection of items collected during the relationship; the paintings are provided by New Yorker illustrator Maira Kalman. Daniel Handler is also known by his alter ego, Lemony Snicket, who authored A Series of Unfortunate Events. (Embed or Share Daniel Handler on Bullseye)

Nico Muhly: The Song That Changed My Life

Nico Muhly is a classical composer who's worked with a wide range of musicians, from high-profile composer Philip Glass, to Icelandic snger-songwriter Bjork to indie rockers Grizzly Bear. His opera Two Boys is set to debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the 2013-14 season. He talks to us about the song that changed his life -- Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians. (Embed or Share Nico Muhly on Bullseye)

Comedians The Sklar Brothers

Jason and Randy Sklar, known collectively as The Sklar Brothers, are comedians and actors perhaps best known for their ESPN show Cheap Seats. They've got a new stand up album, Hendersons and Daughters and are the hosts of the comedy podcast Sklarbro Country.
They spoke to us about forming identities as stand up comedians (and twins), broadening sports comedy for the average Joe, envisioning the writing process for Grimm's Fairy Tales, and more. (Embed or Share The Sklars on Bullseye)

The Outshot: The Newsroom

Americans enjoyed a wave of cringe-inducing awkward comedy in Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office. This week Jesse recommends one of their precedents, the Canadian series The Newsroom.
(Embed or Share The Outshot)

Subscribe to Bullseye in iTunes or via the RSS feed!

Stop Podcasting Yourself 204 - Erica Sigurdson

Erica Sigurdson

Comedian Erica Sigurdson returns to talk about keys, too much perfume, and Alanis Morissette.

Download episode 204 here. (right-click)

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 211: Bogus with Tony Millionaire

photo by Guillaume Paumier
Tony Millionaire

Cartoonist Tony Millionaire joins Jordan and Jesse at Thorn Manor to teach us etymology, school dance etiquette, and generational pop culture. Also listen in to find out some of Jordan and Jesse's favorite submissions so far for this year's theme 2012: MORE POWERFUL THAN EVER: GOING APE.

And don't forget to post your submissions for the action item for February: share your art on this theme, in any form, on our forum and Facebook page.

My Brother, My Brother and Me 91: Feeding Frenzy

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We appear to have forgotten that it's Valentine's Week, because this particular episode doesn't include much actionable romantic advice. If only today were a holiday celebrating sword-based home security.

Suggested talking points: The Death of Zydeco, Krill Out Ya' Gills, Handsomeness, Dirty Diamonds, Boxing Tips, Budz, Civil Swords, Panic Rooms

Judge John Hodgman Episode 50: Double Dog Dare


Marybeth and Paul are a couple of busy animal loving attorneys who already own a dog and a cat. Marybeth would like to add another dog to their family to help their current toy schnauzer, Olive, relax. Paul argues that with their busy schedule, and the already antsy Olive, another dog would only exacerbate the situation.

Will the Judge mandate they double down on their puppy love, or will he send this idea to the dog pound? Find out on this week’s Judge John Hodgman.


Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Michael Rapaport, Werner Herzog, AV Club Recommendations, Kasper Hauser News

Michael Rapaport
Werner Herzog
Keith Phipps
Nathan Rabin
Kasper Hauser

Culture Picks: The AV Club

Keith Phipps and Nathan Rabin of The AV Club bring us their recommendations - John Mulaney’s stand up special New In Town, and the movie reboot of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes. (Embed or Share the AV Club's Picks)

Director Michael Rapaport

The hugely innovative and influential hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest began as many groups do -- as a band of friends, passing out demo tapes, dreaming of hearing their songs on the radio. But after releasing five gold and platinum selling albums in the late 1980s and early 90s, the group combusted and left fans like Michael Rapaport in the lurch.

Rapaport was an actor known for his roles in several Woody Allen films, Boston Public, Friends and Prison Break. He set out on his directorial debut to capture the past, present and future of A Tribe Called Quest, hoping to better understand what made them tick. The resulting documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life creates a compelling oral history of the group from interviews with members Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Mohammed and Jarobi White, along with hip-hop producers, radio personalities and other rappers. We spoke to Rapaport last year, and the film is now out on DVD. (Embed or Share Michael Rapaport on Bullseye)

The News with Kasper Hauser

The latest scientific findings, human interest stories, and much more, all brought to you by the top fake news anchors -- San Francisco based sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser. (Embed or Share Kasper Hauser on Bullseye)

Director Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is an acclaimed (and prolific) film writer and director, known for narrative films like Aguirre, the Wrath of God as well as documentaries like Grizzly Man. His filmmaking distinctively pushes boundaries and explores humanity's extremes. His documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a 3D look into the Chauvet Cave, home of the earliest known cave paintings in the world. With a tiny crew and jury-rigged 3D cameras, Herzog looked at some of the first images ever created. Herzog takes the opportunity not just to present to us the beauty of the caves, but to consider what it means to create and how we define our own humanity. We spoke to him about the film last year. It’s now available on DVD, Blu-Ray and Netflix Instant. (Embed or Share Werner Herzog on Bullseye)

The Outshot: "If You Want Me To Stay"

Jesse suggests that one of the best ways to experience Sly Stone is through his beautiful, heartbreaking hit "If You Want Me to Stay." (Embed or Share The Outshot)

Subscribe to Bullseye in iTunes or via the RSS feed!

Stop Podcasting Yourself 203 - Katie Crown

Katie Crown

Comedian Katie Crown joins us to talk about abandoned food, oregano oil, and Kideo.

Download episode 203 here. (right-click)

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