The Blog of Young America

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Khraigslist

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Kasper Hauser's Khraigslist is the funniest thing in the world.

Screencap via Web Diversions

My new style guru: Evil Norm Macdonald

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Kudos to The Sartorialist for spotting Evil Norm Macdonald in Florence, Italy, where he is plotting a simulateneous takeover of the worlds of comedy and men's style.

Here's to you, Evil Norm, for setting my heart aflame!

The Kids in the Hall's Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye

Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald (above: second and third from left, respectively) are founding members of the Canadian sketch comedy group The Kids in the Hall. The pair talk about meeting in improv class and their rise to prominence in the Toronto comedy scene of the late 1980s. They also talk about their national tour (just concluded). They'll soon be shooting a new limited series for Canadian television.

Special thanks to our Las Vegas affiliate, KNPR, for hosting us for this interview, which was conducted during The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas.

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Chris Parnell
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Klosterman & Foley with Dave Foley

Podcast Coyle & Sharpe Episode 47: Finger Filters

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe try to get an investor for a new line of cigarette filters made of hollowed out human pinky fingers.

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Rob Corddry's "Children's Hospital"

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Rob Corddry's first-ever writer/director outing is the new web series Children's Hospital on theWB.com. It features his sketch/improv group Naked Babies, who you may remember from this sketch Jordan wrote, as well as Megan Mullaly, Ed Helms, Rob Heubel and a bunch of other people who are very famous to comedy nerds. It's produced by the same team who produced Wainy Days (including David Wain), which is one of the only other funny web series of which I am aware.

Check out the first episode above. All ten are up now, and you can check them out here.

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "The Best of Ideas"

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During a recent trip to Vancouver, your Podthinker strained to determine what, exactly, separates Canadian stuff from American stuff. Though no Canadian dares call their country "basically the U.S.", the similarities vastly outnumber the differences, but it's the differences that intrigue. In the Podthoughts on Vancouver's Stop Podcasting Yourself, "civilizedly bland, sort of pleasantly inferior" was the phrase of choice, and perhaps it still applies. But upon reflection, it doesn't quite capture all the nuances. To discover the true qualities of Canadian-ness, it's necessary to go to the mothership, the juggernaut that is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and more specifically, to its long-running program Ideas.

The miracle of podcasting has brought this 43-year-old pillar of Canadian radio to the rest of the Earth in the form of The Best of Ideas [iTunes link], which every Monday delivers one hour of the five-hour-a-week program straight into one's Zunehole (or whatever). Through this show, an exploration of philosophy, technology, literature, science, art and society, one can identify the elements of the Canadian sensibility in microcosm.

First, Ideas is earnest. No matter the topic — Utopianism, quantum physics, the translation of literature — the program treats it as if it's of the utmost importance. Joined with a surprisingly wide purview, it's an admirable quality indeed, though it's hard not to wonder if the producers really — really — care so deeply about all the subjects on which they touch. Your Podthinker would go so far as to submit that some of their topics don't warrant earnestness: witness, for example, the four hours (!) Ideas blew on the maudlin, fanciful economic musings of Karl Polanyi.

Second, Ideas is dignified. The announcers' tone, and especially that of host Paul Kennedy, sound like the very concept of standing up straight, as if the production department's top priority is producing a clean, crisp and almost pressed sound and feel. This is respectable, though it sometimes results in stories that sound like dequirkified This American Life segments.

But third, Ideas doesn't take itself too seriously. The kind of importance and propriety with which the show imbues its material is the same kind of importance and propriety one sees in Canada itself: clear and present, but not overblown. Like its motherland, Ideas seems to realize that it's not exactly holding the fate of the world in its hands, which loosens things up and allows for a bit of experimentalism. But it also knows that you simply don't leave the house in sweatpants.

Fourth, Ideas suffers from identity anxiety. While a solid majority of its concepts are as fascinating as they come, a good ten percent are non-starters. These duds often concern the question of Canadian identity, which appears to be a periodic national preoccupation. (On the grand list of humanity's worries, the substance of Canadian identity would seem to rank rather low, though one has to wonder what does hold those provinces together.) Hand-wringing about multiculturalism also worms its way in every so often, and one three-parter on "the trouble with tolerance" was so ridiculous that your Podthinker has held it up as the ultimate example of mealy-mouthed, unproductive discussion ever since.

Fifth, Ideas takes its time, and that's how the show shines brightest. Your Podthinker has heard no other radio program or podcast willing to devote the sort of length and depth to its topics that Ideas does. Two hours on Robert Weaver, the "godfather of Canadian Literature"? Four hours on historian Jocelyn Létourneau? Three hours on surveillance? All are allowed. Better yet, when Ideas runs an interview, it's be a long-form conversation running at least 50 minutes. The other edge to this sword means that one must endure the occasional extended go-nowhere riff on tolerance of uncritical celebration of Polanyi's crackpot ideas about the noble savage, but so be it.

Vital stats:
Format: cultural variety
Running since: 1965
Duration: 1h
Frequency: weekly
Archive available on iTunes: previous four weeks only

[Podthinker Colin Marshall also likes those two-dollar coins they've got up north. Get him at colinjmarshall at gmail or discuss Podthoughts on the forum here. Submit your own podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]

JJGo Ep. 83: Hadrosaur Cove with guest Paul Scheer

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The wonderful Paul Scheer joins J&J for discussions of dinosaurs, Ted Turner, celebrities who are fun and more.

ACTION ITEMS:
* Holiday Projects
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* What is the worst novelty music-themed bumper sticker you can find? How about Incredible Hulk Christmas paraphernalia?

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Call 206-984-4FUN to share your thoughts on these ACTION ITEMS.

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Our theme music: "Love You" by The Free Design, courtesy of The Free Design and Light in the Attic Records

Now THOSE are cookies!

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Holiday Cookies for Jordan and Jesse from Jeremy on Vimeo.

Not only did Jeremy and Meredith send me and Jordan cookies for the Holiday Contest, they also made this amazing video of the whole thing.

TWENTY DOLLAR PRIZE!

Alan Zweibel Interview on The Sound of Young America: Original Saturday Night Live Writer and Author

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Show: 
Bullseye


Alan Zweibel is a comedy writer. He was an original writer on Saturday Night Live, helping to originate Weekend Update, and write many of Gilda Radner's signature characters. He also co-created the groundbreaking sitcom It's Garry Shandling's Show with Shandling, and wrote several films and on many other television projects. He also helped Billy Crystal develop the Broadway hit 700 Sundays. Most recently, he has been a producer on Curb Your Enthusiasm, working with his old friend Larry David. His new book, a collection of short pieces, is called Clothing Optional.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Anne Beatts
Chris Parnell
Zines with Josh Karp on The National Lampoon

David Mitchell is Husslin

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David Mitchell has discovered the ultimate get rich quick scheme.

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