Maximum Fun Drive

MK172: In Bed W/ Steven LeMay (Maximum Fun Drive, Marriage Equality Under Attack, Female Illusionist, Drag Queens, Ru Paul, Project Runway, Ageism, The Cockettes)

Minority Korner
Steven LeMay

It’s the last week of the Maximum Fun Drive - ya’ll have been rocking it, and Nnekay is back to ring in all the Maximum Fun Drive fun! We also have a special Guest Cohost Bay Area Legend Steven LeMay, star of the SF drag stage production of of Sex & the City, he’s been on Project Runway and he shares so many great insights especially into the evolution of drag, history of drag, ageism in the gay, and performance community, his thoughts on current Drag Queens and the popularity of mainstream Ru Paul’s drag race, along with his journey into finding himself as a “female illusionist”. James is taking you to court with 5 cases across the country that are dismantling marriage equality, and could get pushed up to the Supreme Court... or is it 6? James and Steven will debate about that. Plus politics, the election, and lots of fun, and Nnekay will be back to chime in to tell you how you can get involved in this year’s Maximum Fun Drive! Let’s do it!


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A message from MaxFunster Darryl From Montana


OK, kids, the fundraising drive is winding to a close, but the need to keep Jesse fed will continue. As an esteemed donor, I will exercise my right to feel superior and lord it over all you non-contributing deadbeats. (Isn't that what my $5 per month bought me? I thought so!) So, I want to give you some inspiring words that might help push you from non-donor to donor.

My personal story: This is the first public media I have ever contributed to. I grew up watching PBS (Nova, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, uncounted specials, etc, etc) and whenever it was pledge time, I felt not a twinge of guilt or compulsion to donate. I laughed at their pathetic pleas for help. I scorned their miserable attempts to make me feel guilty. I spat on their offers of tote bags, record albums, 8-tracks, and other hippie paraphernalia. (My mom made me clean the spit off the TV but it was so worth it.)

But now, I am a donor. A whole $5 a month. That's really not enough. That is a pitiful amount. I am a grown up person with a job and everything! But, I know many of you are in the same situation I am, financially. There are times when there is not $5 left before payday. It sucks, and it's not because I blow it on Hot Wheels cars and whiskey. I'll spare you the miserable details, but I am a single father of a high shool graduating daughter, and my cash is spoken for by an ex-wife, attorneys, and the IRS before I even see any of it. Plus being a dad costs a lot too. For someone with a decent career, and a good amount of freelance web design work, I'm still just squeaking by.

All that to say: my own needs are such that I can easily not contribute, and not feel a bit of guilt about it. I'm sure your specifics are different. You certainly married better than I did, or did not marry at all, avoiding the whole "paying-an-ex-with-blood-from-a-stone" scenario. And you may not be a single parent, or have the IRS breathing down your neck. But, you have other things: school expenses, dorm fees, hookers and blow, bus passes, clothing, big dank, and, probably even purchases of that rock and rap music you kids love so much. (This is because you are too dense to have learned how to get it for free, like normal people, but that's another story.)

In any case, there's plenty of reasons you can't donate, and that's fine. But as I often tell my daughter when she feels overwhelmed by a task:

Don't say "I can't." Say, "How can I?"

Here's some creative ways to donate:
First open a PayPal account if you don't already have one. Move whatever money you can into that account. $5, $10, $20, whatever. Then, donate $5 a month. (Or more!) You will have a cushion so the $5 doesn't come out of your bank account when you least expect it, and you have to scream OH SHIT because you overdrew.

Then. keep funding the PayPal account by selling things on eBay, skipping a lunch or two (eat leftovers!), donating plasma, begging your friends, or signing up to be a test subject at a medical facility.

There are countless ways to figure it out if you really try. One movie each month is more than $5, even at matinee prices. It might take some sacrifice. It might take some time. But it can be done. And you can do it!

If it turns out you really, really, can't donate right now, that's fine. It's just one more person for the donors to feel superior to. But, keep listening to the podcasts, and telling others about them. The more people who listen, the better the chances of Jesse of getting more support. Spread the Word of Jesse. Tell your best friend that Jesse loves him and has a wonderful plan for his life. Think of how empty and dark your life was before Maximum Fun came in and gave you hope and laughter. Don't let your friends remain in the dark!


Want to pledge by phone?


You can.

Use the button above to pledge by phone. You just click it, type in your number, then your phone rings, then my phone rings. You'll tell me what you want to pledge, then I'll invoice you via email.


Why not just pledge online?
There is no good reason not to do it online. However, if making myself available to you via telephone gets you to pledge, then who am I to turn that down?

Will I stil get prizes?

Should I call before 9AM or after 9PM pacific time?
Absolutely not. If you do, I will be very annoyed.

What if you don't pick up?
Then I'm not around to answer the phone. Leave your name, email address, and what pledge you'd like to make. Please spell out your email address clearly.

Are you driving to Santa Cruz for Maximum Funny on Friday? Will you still be answering the phone?
Yes, I am driving to Santa Cruz, and no, I won't be answering the phone then. This offer is only open today and tommorow. And potentially next week if I can, but no promises.

What if you're eating lunch? I think it's gross to talk to someone on the phone who's eating.
Tough shit, I have to eat or I'll die.

Are these calls going to some Indian call center?
My grandfather's grandmother was full-blooded Osage, and I take offense at that remark.

Pledge Drive Thank-You Gifts


Note (5/19): Due to the great success of the drive so far, we're basically all out of the donated thank you gifts. For the duration of the drive, our new thank you gift is a second edition of our world-famous carnival poster. It'll have different art in the same vein, and while I can't show you a picture of it because I haven't had it printed yet, please rest assured: it is awesome. Each will be hand numbered and signed by yours truly. This will be a one-time printing only. Just write "Poster" in the thank-you gift space when you make your pledge.

I want to thank all the authors, editors, publicists, comics, artists and writers who've contributed thank-you gifts to the MaxFun Drive. My goal was to accumulate 100 thank you gifts. We've now got 150!

Everyone who pledges $2, $5, $10, $20 a month or more will get a thank you gift. I don't have an inventory system, so I can't guarantee your choice, but offer a few preferences when you check out and we'll do our best. The first hundred or so folks to donate will get a poster/pamphlet for John Hodgman's new book, which is called "More Information Than You Require." This beautiful poster features information on one side, and a TAXONOMY OF ALL WORLD KNOWLEDGE on t'other. It is not, by the way, available in stores.

Here's what we've got:

Five copies of Adam Koford's "LOL Cats" book
Five copies of McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes
Five copies of Jack Handey's "What I'd Say to the Martians, and Other Veiled Threats"
Five copies of "If I Did It" aka The Kittenpants Anthology, featuring interviews with David Cross, Michael Showalter & David Wain, Bruce Campbell and many others.
A number of Uncle John's Bathroom Readers
Five copies of Chuck Thompson's very funny Smile When You're Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer
Five copies of Kenny Mayne's An Incomplete and Innacurate History of Sport
Ten copies of Mike Edison's "I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage tales of pot, porn, punk rock, pro wrestling, talking apes, evil bosses, dirty blues, american heroes and the most notorious magazines in the world."
Five copies of Dan Kennedy's "Rock On: An Office Power Ballad"
Five copies of Tanner Colby and Tom Farley's "The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts"
Five copies of Arkansas by John Brandon from McSweeney's
Five copies of At A Crossroads: Between A Rock and My Parents' Place by Kate Williamson (a MaxFunster, btw)
Five copies of Will Shortz' 1001 Sudoku Puzzles to do Right Now!
Five copies of the big beautiful "New York Times Guide to All Essential Knowledge"
Five copies of The New York Times: Crosswords to Keep Your Brain Young
Five copies of my new filing techinique is unstoppable by David Rees
Five copies of Gorrilaz: Rise of the Ogre
Five copies of each of the following books by George Saunders: The Braindead Megaphone, Civilwarland in Bad Decline, In Persuasion Nation, The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil, and Pastoralia
Five copies of Sloane Crosley's I Was Told There'd Be Cake
Five copies of John Hodgman's The Areas of My Expertise
Five copies of The Onion's Our Dumb World
Five copies of Tony Millionaire's "Premillenial Maakies"

Five copies of Steven Wright's "I Still Have a Pony"
Five copies of Michael Ian Black's "I Am A Wonderful Man"
Five copies of Chris Trews' nerdcore album "Terp 2 It: The Freshest Dude"

Five copies of Brian Regan's "I Walked on the Moon"
Five copies of Mike Birbiglia's "What I Should Have Said Was Nothing"
Five copies of Wholphin Number 5

Five full-size promo posters from Showtime for This American Life, signed by Ira Glass
The zine pack: five copies of the beautiful literary zine Kaleidotrope, and five of the similarly beautiful "Busted" issue of the zine Fray (including a piece by MaxFunster Bucky Sinister)
Five one-month subscriptions to Never Not Funny Primo

The Maximum Fun Drive: All the Details


The Sound of Young America, Jordan, Jesse Go!, this blog, and all our other programs are supported by your donations. That is how I eat, buy microphones and suchlike.

Presently, less than 2% of MaxFun listeners donate to support the show. My goal in this pledge drive is to recruit new donors and bump that number up to something a bit less... well... embarassing.

A consortium of 26 listeners, all of whom already donate, have issued a challenge to those of you who don't donate, yet. For every new donor, they will give a total of $37.70. Some of these folks are giving a lot, some just a dime or a quarter. They all are going above and beyond to encourage new donations.

That's not the only incentive to give, either. I'll be printing a special t-shirt for the drive -- one for every donor who gives $5 or more per month. It was designed by Cody Mix, and it's awesome. You can see it above.

All donors will get a Maximum Fun Club card, and I'll try to get everyone stickers as well, supplies permitting. I've also got a whole box of really cool posters for John Hodgman's upcoming book, which feature a TAXONOMY OF ALL WORLD KNOWLEDGE. I'll give those out until they're gone, too.

Furthermore, we have over 150 awesome thank-you gifts donated by generous publishers, artists, authors and all-around great people. These range from comedy DVDs to books to zines to even some original art. A complete list is here, and I'll give one away to every new monthly donor.

So dig into your pocket and find five or ten bucks a month to support Maximum Fun. Or even two, I'd take two.

Your 2008 Pledge Shirt!


Congratulations to Cody Mix, winner of the T-Shirt Contest! Cody's special TSOYA shirt will be our special pledge thank-you for EVERYONE who gives $5, $10 or $20 per month in this year's drive (and everyone who already gives at those levels). My thanks go to our CELEBRITY JUDGES: Mike Birbiglia, Maria Bamford, Jonathan Coulton, Brandon Bird, Rob Baedeker of Kasper Hauser and my mom. You can check out the voting tally here.

T-Shirt Contest: The Finals are Here!


Last month I announced a t-shirt contest. I asked MaxFunsters to create designs for a special shirt which will be produced only for this pledge drive period. A limited-edition gem that expressed the true spirit of Maximum Fun.

Well I asked, and you responded. We got almost 50 amazing designs. Your votes narrowed them down to five finalists, each of whom will get an iTunes gift card for their contribution.

Chris Vendrick
Cody Mix
Tom Deja
Zachary Richter

Our celebrity judges are currently judging, and we'll announce the winner at the end of the week.

Your celebs are:

Rob Baedeker is a writer, professor and member of a comedy group you may have heard of: Kasper Hauser. He also has a way cool little baby.

Maria Bamford is a standup comic who has performed headlining shows around the country and toured extensively with the Comedians of Comedy. She's also super stylish.

Judith Thorn is a college professor and accomplished academic. She used to make clothes for Miles Davis, but he was kind of a dick. Also, she is my mom.

Jonathan Coulton is an accomplished singer-songwriter and internet sensation. His hit song "First of May" recently shifted focus on that holiday from solidarity among the world's workers to solidarity among those who enjoy outdoor fucking. He also gave me the idea for this whole thing.

Brandon Bird is an artist whose work plays with pop cultural themes. He himself has designed t-shirts, one of which I once saw at Nordstrom's. Also, he made Brave Cone Dog.

T-Shirt Contest: Get to Voting!


Maximum Fun Drive 2 is around the corner (May 15th-31st!), and to celebrate, we're creating a special one-print-run-only t-shirt to give out to donors.

For the past month, we've been accepting design submissions at The entry period is now CLOSED -- but the voting continues! You have until May 2nd to visit Pixish, make a quick account (very painless, no spam), and vote up or down the 42 amazing submissions. Your voting will determine the final five, all of whom will get iTunes gift cards.

Next week, our celebrity panel will be announced, and those celebs will pick the special one-off shirt. The resulting choice will be offered as a thank-you to everyone who pledges $5, $10 or $20 per month in the Maximum Fun Drive. The creator of the shirt will get some sweet new headphones and of course a free shirt.

Remember that we're looking for a shirt that anyone who might give would enjoy... and GET VOTING!

(Above: Space Whale and Astro Diver, by Glorious Kyle)

Maximum Fun Drive II: May 15-30th!


Hey pals...

Last year around this time, held our first ever pledge drive. It was a roaring success, and built the foundation for the year of growth we've had. This year, I hope to do even better.

Currently, only a tiny percentage of MaximumFun listeners and web users donate. Donors represent only about 2% of TSOYA listeners -- that's one in fifty. And that doesn't even consider listeners to our other shows or users of our site.

So: this drive is all about new donors.

Here are some questions you may need answered:

Q: When will the drive take place?
A: The second half of May, though of course you can donate any time.

Q: Will there be prizes?
A: Yes, of course, there will be lots of prizes. Like funny books, for example. If you have prizes you'd like to offer, email me.

Q: What about a special t-shirt?
A: There WILL be a special t-shirt. It will go to all donors who give $5, $10 or $20 per month, including both new and existing donors. It will only be available during this pledge drive.

Q: Will there be Maximum Fun Packs?
A: Yes, all new donors, at any level, will receive Maximum Fun Packs, including Maximum Fun Club cards and TSOYA stickers.

Q: I'm already a donor, what about me?
A: First of all, you're fucking awesome. Second of all, you will be automatically entered into the prize drawing. Third of all, if you donate $5/month or more, you'll get a t-shirt. Fourth of all, if you want to increase your donation, you can! Just cancel your old donation, and start a new one!

Q: I require CHALLENGES to motivate me to give. Will there be a CHALLENGE?
A: Yes. A consortium of 25 or so MaxFunsters has banded together to challenge you to donate, as they have done. This consortium includes celebrities such as television's John Hodgman and my mom, Judy Thorn. For every new donor who signs up for a monthly donation at any level, they will donate over $35 to This is their way of suggesting gently that you get up off your butt and donate.

Q: Where does my donation go?
A: To the costs of running a vast media empire. If you're interested, here's some info on the finances of Maximum Fun for 2007.

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