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Podcast: The Knights of Prosperity

The cast of The Knights of Prosperity

This week, we talk with Jon Beckerman and Rob Burnett, creators of the new ABC series "The Knights of Prosperity." The series follows a crew of working-class heroes as they attempt to rob Mick Jagger's luxurious penthouse. Beckerman and Burnett are veterans of David Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company, where they also developed the cult favorite dramedy "Ed." Both got their start writing for The Late Show, and Burnett now runs Worldwide Pants.

The new series premiers Wednesday, January 3rd at 9/8C on ABC.

(Note that by popular demand, we're trying a new format for TSOYA podcasts. Each podcast will be a seperate interview, typically running 20-30 minutes, rather than an hourlong radio broadcast. You should generally 1-3 new podcasts per week. If you have any feedback about this, I'd love to hear it. Oh... and if you're a real nerd like me, you might notice that the files have a new naming convention: tsoyaYYMMDD_Guest.mp3. This is to make it easier for you to sort them on your hard drive, and easier for those without high-tech MP3 players to find the shows they want.)

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Previously on TSOYA:

Knights of Prosperity star Maz Jobrani

Podcast: Grind Time with Killer Mike


This week on The Sound of Young America, we go on the grind.

Grammy-winning rapper Killer Mike is a native of Adamsville, Georgia, outside of Atlanta. Since debuting on the Outkast single "The Whole World" in 2001, he has emerged from the shadow of his legendary mentors, combining a ferocious delivery with lyrical density in a manner reminiscent of Ice Cube in his hey-day. He recently released "I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind," a two-CD "street album" with his crew, Grind Time Rap Gang.

Please note: we had a little phone trouble 2/3 of the way through and Mike had to go on speakerphone, apologies for any audio quality issues.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Incidental Music by DJW

Podcast: Best Friends with John Hodgman and Jonathan Coulton


This week on The Sound of Young America, two old friends, both of the show and of each other. We chat with each seperately, and in special blog-only bonus audio (below), we squash a long-simmering feud between them regarding cat care and a series of vicious attack ads.

Jonathan Coulton is a comic singer-songwriter. For the past year, he's written and released (free) a new song every single week. Some, like "Code Monkey," which he performs on the show, have become internet phenomena. Enjoy free downloads of his three musical performances below. He's currently touring with his best pal...

...John Hodgman. Hodgman is the author of "The Areas of My Expertise," a compendium of entirely fabricated facts, history and trivia. For many years, Hodgman was a literary agent, and counted among his clients the B-movie star Bruce Campbell. Today, he's best known for portraying the PC in the Mac-Vs.-PC advertisements for Apple, and for his regular appearances on the Daily Show. See below for special blog-only audio of Hodgman discussing his childhood interest in (but incompetence at) D&D.

If you're coming from an outside link (I see you, boingboing, Coultonblog, etc), be sure to check out our audio archive for past programs (Colbert's head writer, The Flaming Lips, Chuck Klosterman & Dave Foley, etc), and look below for past shows with John H.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Download Jonathan Coulton's Musical Performances (Right Click, Save As)

Code Monkey / Lyrics
You Ruined Everything / Lyrics
The Future Soon / Lyrics

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Bonus: Hodgman Vs. Coulton

Bonus: Hodgman on Dungeons & Dragons

Incidental Music by DJW

Previously on The Sound of Young America:

"All World Knowledge" with John Hodgman and Fred Rees: MP3
"On the Road" with John Hodgman and Henry Rollins: MP3
"ComedyCopia" with a song from Jonathan Coulton
"Joketacular" with a song from Jonathan Coulton

Podcast: Freaks & Geeks

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I'm launching a new initiative on The Sound of Young America... The Legacy Collection. Since we were among the first on the podcasting scene, we have a huge backlog of episodes from long ago (wow! two years!) that I'd like to bring out of the museum, dust off, and share with everyone. This week, it's our show from January 20th, 2005.

Paul Fieg co-created the television series Freaks & Geeks, which responded to a rash of absurd teen dramas like Dawson's Creek with realism, humor and humanity. The show has gained a loyal following on DVD, and helped establish Feig as a guru of awkward adolescence. In his two books, "Kick Me" and "Superstud," he told hilarious and touching stories about his own strugglesto become a man.

Please share your thoughts on the show in the comments section!

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Podcast: Jackson Publick of The Venture Brothers


Jackson Publick is the co-creator of the Cartoon Network [adult swim] series The Venture Brothers. The series is a sometimes bizarre, often surprisingly heartfelt parody of the boys' adventure genre.

Jackson talks about his own roots, including the loss of his mother when he was a child, his aborted college career(s), and his meteoric rise from comic book store clerk to television writer.

Three Big Announcements, One New World!


I hinted on the forum a week or two ago that there were three big announcements that I was holding under my hat that would change the future of The Sound of Young America. Now they will be heard!

Announcement One

A four-week test run of The Sound of Young America premiers this Sunday on KXOT-FM in Seattle/Tacoma. This is our first ever major city station. I know I already announced this, but still, it's pretty kick-ass.

Announcement Two

We're proud to announce our new underwriter, Project Breakout. They're an internet startup -- kind of a cross between YouTube and American Idol. I'm helping them a bit with their comedy section, and they're helping to support the show. You'll hear some tasteful announcements in TSOYA shows (ala public radio underwriting announcements), and some similarly tasteful short discussions on JJGo. Probably we'll put a logo up on the blog here that yu can click on. By the way -- the comedy section will launch soon and they'll be looking for sketch and filmed web comedy, but in the meantime, you can enter the viral video contest they have up already. That's pretty anything-goes.

Announcement Three

The Sound of Young America will have an 11-week trial run on WNYC-FM in New York, one of the nation's biggest and best public radio stations, beginning March 4th. The show will air every Sunday at 6PM.

Announcement Four (not a real announcement)

Thank you. Seriously, thank you. The work here is far from done, but this is some exciting shit.

Yow! Yao!


This is a milestone in the High Five Contest... listener Andy sends us this snapshot of him high-fiving EXTREMELY TALL NBA SUPERSTAR YAO MING!


And if you think Andy is the only one with innovations in high-fiving, check out islanos' French-Canadian SEGWAY HIGH FIVE.

Jonathan Coulton rocks San Francisco


Have you ever been to a concert where the performer asks the question, "Any math fans in the audience tonight?" and is met with a resounding cheer?

Neither had I, until Sunday night. I was home in San Francisco this past weekend, visiting family and friends, and was lucky enough to attend just such a concert -- Jonathan Coulton at Cafe du Nord.

The Cafe is a cozy venue, with seating for about 75, but it was packed to the gills with perhaps 125 attendees for Coulton's show. My party of four ended up standing in the back, which afforded us a wonderful view of both the delightful show and the nerdosity blossoming before us in the house.

A word about the crowd: I'd never been to an event so nerdy as this. It even surpassed the Society for American Baseball Research events I attended in my teen years. I expected as much, but was surprised by the audience's wide age range. Unlike, say, Indie Rock, nerd is a subculture that folks tend to wear throughout their lives, and it was impressive to see a few of the 20-something fans I expected alongside lots of 30- 40- and 50-something fans who surprised me. At first I wasn't sure what to make of it, but then I decided it was great. The nerd quotient ranged from "laughably" to "modestly," but I don't think you should let it stop you from going to the show, whether you yourself are a nerd or not.

After a strong set from opener Mark Silverman, and after I met a TSOYA listener(1) named Chad, who is very nice and once printed business cards for me as a donation, JoCo took the stage to much approbation from the gathered nerd-masses.

A lengthy and delightful set followed, along with two encores. Many of Jonathan's most popular tunes were played, the audience mouthed the words along with him, and so forth. Hilights included a charming and heartfelt song about George Plimpton and a delightful sing-along in which the audience was scolded for not sounding "zombie enough."

JoCo is currently on an oddball tour that will take him to San Diego, LA, Portland, Seattle, Vienna Virginia, Aardmore Pennsylvania and Annapolis Maryland. It's certainly worth your time.

(1) If you see me at a public event, please feel free to introduce yourself. It will shock me, but is unlikely to bother me. Even if we have met before, I will likely have forgotten at the least your name, and probably what you look like. This is an MP, not a YP -- please do not take it as a sign that I don't care about you. For example, last week I couldn't remember for several days the name of a girl I went out with for almost a year in high school. I just am bad at remembering. Also, I am suprised because someone knew who I was, not because I hate meeting listeners or something.

Podcast: Jordan, Jesse GO!: Episode 12: Crazy Homeless Neighbors, etc.


In this week's Jordan Jesse GO!, we're joined by comedian Jen Kirman. We discuss the crazy, meth-addicted homeless people who live outside her window. We also play Would You Rather with listener Carol and Jim Real, the Master of Would You Rather.

Jen Kirkman's new album just came out via our friends at AST records. You can buy it for only $10 here. Here's a sample: "Cockroaches"

Jesse and Jordan are on the scene of a house fire. We have a very, very important question: who is better... Chiwetel Eijofor or Djimoun Honsou?

Jen Kirkman

Jen Kirkman discusses with us the crazy homeless people who live outside of her apartment. They have a tent, a welcome mat, and Christmas lights. Also, they sell drugs to teenagers.

Would You Rather
Jim Real, The Master of Would You Rather and listener Carol from Connecticut play Would You Rather with us. Jim's question: would you rather have sandpaper hands, or be forced to eat only food that you have hunted or gathered?


Our High Five Contest continues with some awesome entries. We want to hear what you want to be like when you're old. And so on.

* What will you be like when you're old? Call and tell us! 206-984-4FUN.
* What defines "being a grown-up" for you?
* Chiwetel Eijofor or Djimon Honsou? Vote Now!


* Review the show on iTunes.
* Do you have a dispute Judge John Hodgman can solve on a future broadcast? Email it to us! Put Judge John in the subject line.
* Have personal questions for Jesse and Jordan? Call 206-984-4FUN and tell us what they are!
* Would you like to play Would You Rather with us on a future episode? Email us or give us a call at 206-984-4FUN.

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

Fantasy Baseball League?


Word has started to leak out that I am a baseball nerd. I'm comfortable with the fact that I've read several hundred books on the subject, have in the past belonged to a special nerd club and attended it's conventions, and ran a rotisserie baseball league from ages 11-16.

Well, some intrepid Young Americans have suggested a fantasy baseball league, and I am an active supporter of the idea. Interested in participating? Get in on the discussion here.

And even if you don't want to participate in this league, you can still listen to our baseball show, featuring Tim & Eric, Will Carroll of The Baseball Prospectus, and Bill "Spaceman" Lee, the former Red Sox and Expos lefty who once wrote a letter to commissioner Bowie Kuhn stating that he (Lee) did not smoke marijuana (though he did eat it on his pancakes every morning).

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