Judge John Hodgman Episode 381: Jerky Duty


Adara brings the case against her friend, Bobby. They host a radio show together and Bobby likes to do fake celebrity phone calls on air. Adara thinks that while it’s sometimes funny, it’s not always successful. She would like him to limit his fake calls. Who's right? Who's wrong?

PLEASE NOTE: This episode makes a brief, glancing reference to the Predator movies. It was recorded weeks before recent news emerged about the problematic personnel decisions that took place in the production of newest Predator sequel.



Here are a few clips from the radio show, where Bobby does some impressions:

Dr. Oz

Robert Downey Jr

How fake calls have created problems (Bobby talking about baseball)

Justin Bieber


Thank you to Adam Labonte for naming this week's case! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put out a call for submissions.



Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Elvis Mitchell and Bob Edwards

Elvis Mitchell
Bob Edwards
Damian Kulash

Elvis Mitchell, Film Critic

Elvis Mitchell is film critic, best known as the host of KCRW’s "The Treatment". Since 1996 he’s interviewed scores of film industry writers, actors and directors on the show. He’s even gone into filmmaking for himself, producing a series of documentaries about race and success called The Black List.

But don’t mistake Mitchell’s tastes for being conventional. He may very well be the only critic in America quoted as enjoying the film Pootie Tang.

He’ll talk about the interplay between television and film, how he got his start in pop culture and why he was arrested on the Canadian border with Cuban cigars and $15 thousand in cash.

You can listen to The Treatment every week on KCRW and on iTunes

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

This segment originally aired 06/26/2012

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Damian Kulash with "The Song That Changed My Life"

OK Go is band who broke out in 2006 with a hugely popular homemade video for their single "A Million Ways".

Lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash talks to us about one of the moments that led him to his place in music- hearing "Rockit" by jazz legend Herbie Hancock of the 1983 album Future Shock.

OK Go just released a new album. It’s called Hungry Ghosts.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

This segment originally aired 08/24/2011

Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Bob Edwards: Broadcasting Icon

Bob Edwards was around at the very, very beginning of NPR. He was the original host of Morning Edition back in 1979 and stuck with public radio for decades. His interviews and insight earned him the Peabody award in 1999 and cemented him as a broadcasting icon.

In 2004 Edwards was controversially removed from his hosting job. Listeners didn’t take kindly to it, but Edwards was quick to move on- to satellite radio. For almost a decade The Bob Edwards Show aired daily on Sirius XM. And a weekend version of the award-winning program was aired on public radio stations via Public Radio International.

Production of The Bob Edwards Show ended in September. To celebrate Edwards’ 40-year career, Jesse will play his 2005 conversation with him. Edwards will talk about his early days at NPR and why he stuck with non-commercial radio for so long.

Reruns of The Bob Edwards Show can still be heard on Sirius XM and on iTunes.

This segment originally aired 08/27/2005

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

Outshot: Ric Burns' Coney Island

Ever feel nostalgia for a time or place that you never even experienced firsthand? That’s what Jesse felt after watching Ric Burns’ documentary Coney Island, a beautiful portrait of America caught somewhere between its past and its future.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

This segment originally aired 05/27/2013

Judge John Hodgman Episode 72: The Nominative Case

Monte Belmonte

Jordan, a lifelong comic book fan, and his friend Charles were discussing the DC comics villain Mr. Mxyzptlk and made a wager: if Jordan's friends could trick him into saying his own name backwards, he'd owe them five dollars. Charles says the group succeeded using Jordan's middle name -- but Jordan refuses to pay up, saying the middle name doesn't count. Who is right, and what's in a name, anyway?


The BBC's "Life: An Idiot's Guide"


Here's a little promo for the BBC Radio 4 Comedy program "Life: An Idiot's Guide," which was taped at Edinburgh this year. Note the presence of MaxFunPals W. Kamau Bell and Josie Long, and right at the top, a brief snippet of the voice of YOURS TRULY.

Why is my voice in there? Because the producer of the show, one Colin Anderson, knows my STRONG POSITION on recording theater instructions. My policy: if you need someone to record the "turn off your cell phones" message at the beginning of a show, I AM YOUR MAN.

Now, hundreds of arts patrons around the world know about my commitment to the ANNOUNCING ARTS.

Stern on Kimmel via HOLLYWOOD MAGIC


Howard Stern appeared on Kimmel from New York City via green screen technology. Totally amazing. Two A+ broadcasters + Hollywood magic.

Nick Thune, Stand Up Comic and Actor: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Nick Thune

Nick Thune is a stand up comedian, actor, guitarist and writer. His observational humor often interlaces storytelling and music.

He's made the late night rounds doing stand up on The Tonight Show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and as a correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He's also had his own Comedy Central special and created the web series "Nick's Big Show".

He recently released his debut album, Thick Noon, on Comedy Central Records.

Adam Carolla, host of The Adam Carolla Podcast: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Adam Carolla

Adam Carolla is a radio and television personality, writer and actor. He hosted or co-hosted The Man Show, The Adam Carolla Show, Too Late with Adam Carolla, and Loveline. He now hosts The Adam Carolla Podcast, one of the internet's most popular. He also co-wrote and starred in the feature film The Hammer.

Carolla grew up in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. After dropping out of Community College, he worked for ten years as a laborer, carpenter and boxing trainer. Having given himself until he was 30 to find a job that used his mind and not his body, he got his first break at 29. Los Angeles radio powerhouse KROQ was having a promotional boxing match, and looking for trainers. Carolla headed to the station, where he was paired with Jimmy Kimmel, who became his colleague and friend.

Carolla talks with us about growing up in an apathetic family, how he found success, and balancing independence with career imperatives.

On the Media Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield: Interview on The Sound of Young America


Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield are the hosts of On the Media, a media criticism show produced by WNYC and distributed by National Public Radio. Their show takes as its mandate the world of media, which they define broadly to include everything from newspapers to standup comedy. Gladstone and Garfield ask tough questions of media moguls, media makers and government officials every week, and seek to fill in holes in our mediated understanding of the world. They're funny, too.

If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Ira Glass
Radiolab's Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich
WFMU's Ken Freedman and Andy Breckman

Jesse on Josie Long: All The Planet's Wonders


British comic Josie Long and her producer Colin Anderson were kind enough to invite me to participate in their lovely BBC radio series "All the Planet's Wonders." My favorite part of the third episode (the one in which I appear) was this:

"Hi, Josie. Tell me some facts about owls!"
"Happy to."

I "act" in the production as a loudmouthed American television host. Which is close to my dream role, which would be in a radio adaptation of Slumdog Millionaire, in which I play the Indian host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and get to say, "Who wanttobeya MILLONAIYH!"

Adam Carolla hits it out of the fucking park.


Podthinker Colin Marshall just posted this from Adam Carolla's first podcast. He was recently let go from his commercial radio gig, and he describes the radio industry *perfectly* in this rant from the first episode of his new podcast. Perfectly. Rare that I'd repost a block of text this long, but Carolla gets it. (And by the way - rent his movie The Hammer, because it's great).

I got into radio many years ago to speak my mind, to do what I wanted to do and to connect with people, and I'd rather have ten smart people than a billion retards listening to me and I've always felt that way and that's what I've always loved about my fans. [KLSX program director] Jack Silver did not feel the same way as I did when it came to that, and I guess that's a good place to start. Jack's basically a good guy, but he knows not what he does. He's a radio guy, and radio guys do radio, and it doesn't really matter whether they have me or the Greaseman or Tom Leykis or Howard Stern; they pretty much have just one mode, and that's radio mode. And I've always said this about radio guys: they're like beavers, and if you took a whole flock, brood, murder -- I don't know what a bunch of beavers are called -- if you took a whole family of beavers and you put them on the roof of the Sears Tower, they would start looking for wood to build a fuckin' dam. Why? Because that's what beavers do; they just build dams. And it doesn't matter whether they're in a stream or 75 stories above Chicago; they're just gonna build a fuckin' dam.

And that's what Jack Silver does. That's his approach to radio. My approach is different. It's long form, and maybe it's not good for morning. I don't know. I did it at night for eleven years. I was told once a month to move it along and take more phone calls and stop telling personal stories and quit complaining about flying first class and I did it anyway and it seemed to work out. So I brought that same mindset into doing morning radio, except for now, I wasn't in an empty building in my mukluks with my sweatpants talking to Dr. Drew, I was in an open office building and I could see Jack through the window and all the other suits. They wanted to build some dams. My feeling is, if you left me alone eventually we could get to where we wanted to get, but that wasn't going to do it. They were very impatient beavers. Again, Jack's not a bad guy, he's just a beaver who wants to build a dam and he's not used to dealing with guys like me. So he had a lot of ideas. A lot of ideas like the "Wing Bowl": we get a bunch of fat guys in there and we see how many hot wings they can eat in twenty minutes. And I would always say, "I don't have anything to say about that," and he would say, "But it's huge in Philly." I realize that was part of the problem.

Another thing is, his comedic sensibility — and I'm going way out on a limb and saying he has a sensibility — was much different than mine. He hated Dana Gould, he hated the Deaf Frat Guy... basically, here's how you knew Jack hated something: if I loved a guy on the show, he hated the guy on the show and vice versa. More "cooch talk", more "Cocktober", more "Manuary", more of that stuff. His suggestions, other than the Wing Bowl, were like, "How about you give out the time?" And I was always like, "Jack, don't you listen to the fucking show? All I do is make fun of the other idiots who give out the time." It's, ironically, a waste of time. See, radio's about spinning wheels and wasting time. It's about guys with subpar intellects killing four goddamn hours a morning. How do you kill four hours? I don't want to kill four hours! I'd like to connect for four hours. And yeah, you're gonna do your bits and some stuff's going to work and some stuff will be better than others and yeah, I can't do four hours of making fun of the mayor, making fun of the department of building or transportation. I understand that. There has to be some laughs. There has to be some smiles. There has to be some jokes in there somewhere, and I understand there's a balance to strike, and maybe I never found that balance.

But what I'd like to do now is a little experiment, because I think this is a really good time for us. And when I say us, I mean guys like me who don't want to sit around and bullshit and make up stories. And by the way, that's the other thing about radio: half the shit you hear is a fuckin' lie. Truth be told, the reason I had to get away from [former co-host] Danny [Bonaduce] is because he stretched the truth so thin I could see through it and I felt like I was an accomplice in a crime when we were talking to our listeners. Danny is another guy who's a good guy, just a bad fit; he does a pro wrestling version of radio. He does the kind of radio that Jack Silver would like, which is... theater of the mind. Pick up a persona and run with it. Whatever you see in pro wrestling, that's about it: take on a persona, drive it into the ground, all attitude, not much content, wash, rinse, repeat. That's essentially what radio does, and I wanted to talk to people.

I always just thought, you're talking to hundreds of thousands of people and what the fuck are you saying? It's a fat guy eating wings? That's what it is? If I had a microphone and it was hooked up to ten Rose Bowls that were filled to capacity and I had it for four hours a day, I would spend half the time watching morbidly obese guys eat hot wings? It seems ridiculous to me, yet that's the direction. That's where we're heading. And then it becomes one of these negative spirals, because it's like, are we just keeping up with the dumbasses, or we causing the demise of the intelligent people? Are we causing them to be dumb? Think about it. That's the logic in radio: "Look, you're smart, fine, but everyone who's listening to you is dumb, so dumb it up for them," as opposed to try to raise their awareness a little and have them come up and meet you.

[ ... ]

Maybe we can assemble a team of interesting, smart people, not only here in California, not only here in the United States, but around the world, anywhere they speak English, anywhere someone has an idea, anywhere they think they're not being serviced by the current 'tards that are being put on the radio, maybe we can make a community. And maybe we can fight back, and maybe we can unite and maybe we can create a place for interesting voices and then this show can become a place for interesting voices. And we can talk without the limits, and without the constraints that you have when you do terrestrial radio.

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