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By all accounts...

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Beck killed on Saturday Night Live this week. All I could find online was this video of him performing on German TV. Anybody got an SNL link for me?

Interview: Miles Rohan of the Corduroy Appreciation Club

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Miles Rohan always wanted to start a club. Also, he really liked corduroy. So he started a Corduroy Appreciation Club, with cocktails, speakers and secret rituals, to meet every year on 11/11 -- the date most resembling corduroy.

Do you really like corduroy, or clubs, or both?

If I’m not wearing at least one piece of corduroy, I don’t feel right. The repetition, the parallel lines, the thickness I’ve always thought, provided a kind of order and support. And because I’m not entirely the most orderly person, it helps. But even when I was little I loved corduroy. It made me feel grown up and sophisticated. I’m more of a pin wale person, but at times I love a nice wide wale.

I like the idea of old social clubs, like The Elks and The Moose Club quite a lot. More secretive groups like The Masons or Skull and Bones have always fascinated me. That’s what the Corduroy Appreciation Club is based on, old, mysterious social clubs with secret symbols, mottos, handshakes and the like.

Do you have officers?

There are several people who help a great deal with the Corduroy Appreciation Club. I had tried to get it off the ground for a few years, but just couldn’t. My wife, Jordana, is beyond helpful and was integral to the eventual launch. She’s a graphic designer and was able to articulate much of my ideas about aesthetic for materials like our corduroy swathed membership cards. Beyond her, many friends have been incredibly helpful and supportive. We have a Vice President, a Director of Operations, a Corduroy Social Council Chair, and several “Cord-inators.” We have a new president of our UK Chapter.

What if there was a club chair made of corduroy? It'd be a nice chair, and perfect for meetings or social occasions.

That’s a marvelous suggestion. Like a corduroy throne? As we expand I think that each chapter should have one. I know The Masons have special chairs. We have plans to actually have a clubhouse or lodge by November 11th, 2011. 11/11/11, the date which most resembles corduroy—ever. And the place would be essentially made of corduroy, corduroy covered walls, furniture, rugs, and lampshades...everything corduroy.

Your rules state that you must wear at least two items made of corduroy. Unless you're wearing a corduroy suit, isn't that a little odd?

I don’t think so. People seem to like the challenge and the serious nature of the rule. People wear corduroy hats or skirts, many women have corduroy purses. The rules encourage creativity. People have come to meetings with homemade corduroy headbands, shoes, necklaces, ipod cases. Some claim to have on corduroy underwear, but I’ve just taken their word, I’ve never checked. We’re having official Corduroy Appreciation Club Corduroy Ties made up for purchase.

Please share one of your club's secrets.

Our most prominent and public club symbol is a left-facing whale, which is a pun on wale. Wales are the raised ridges which make corduroy, corduroy. Whales also poses longevity, sociability and intelligence-all attributes the CAC wishes to aspire to. We have a complex system of numerology based on the number 11 because it’s the first natural number to resemble corduroy and is therefore extremely important to us. The Hendecagon, an 11-sided polygon figures prominently. Our secret rituals cannot be divulged here or anywhere. Members face dismissal if they are found to betray the Loyal Corduroy Oath.

The Corduroy Appreciation Club meets November 11th at the Montauk Club in Brooklyn. The guest of honor will bill author Jonathan Ames. I'm sure it will be a great event, though for obvious reasons I have to reccomend that you skip it in favor of Prank the Dean's New York debut at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.

Podcast: The College Years: Feelings

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It's a big day for Jesse, Jordan and Gene as they take calls on the topic of "feelings." Who will share the most emotional story?

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Jimmy Pardo on the Late Late Show

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The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

We've had a bit of animus towards the Late Late Show here at TSOYA headquarters ever since a friend of ours was booked on the show, but then banned from air by an exec for being "too weird."

That said, it's great to see the always charming and funny (never not funny, even) Jimmy Pardo on the show. I don't think TV can quite match the live experience when it comes to a comic like Jimmy, whose act is maybe 2/3rds crowd work, but the extended phone bit had me rolling.

Previously on TSOYA:
Jimmy "The Shooter" Pardo interview

Todd Barry Contest Winners!

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Thanks to everyone who entered our contest for free tickets to The Sound of Young America Presents: Club Chuckles at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco.

Our winners were Mark M. and Christian O. for the early show, and Jane S. and Evren S. for the late show. Each gets a pair of tickets and the satisfaction of knowing the fruits of God's love.

Of course, if you didn't win, you can still buy tickets now -- they cost about half the price they'd be if you were going to this show at one of the comedy clubs in town. Whutta deal.

Kasper Hauser Comedy Podcast: SkyMaul: D.U.I. Mask

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"The D.U.I. mask really works!" - actual quote from the actual David Foster Wallace

As part of The Kasper Hauser Comedy Podcast, I'm posting weekly pages from their upcoming book (in stores 10/31) "SkyMaul: Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane." If you subscribe to the podcast, you'll get them automatically, but you can also see them here at maximumfun.org.

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Interview (and contest!): Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Book

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Dierdre Dolan is the author of "Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Book," a coffee table book for the socially disinclined. This big, beautiful text offers a sort of oral history of the show, including interviews with everyone from the set designers to Larry David himself. I talked with her about the book, and I'm giving two away, as well -- look for the contest below the interview.

Why does the world need a book about Curb Your Enthusiasm? There's a TV show already.

The book is for fans of the show who want to know more -- how it's made (what does the editor, director, producer do); what are the real relationships between the cast like; what does the process of an entirely improvised show entail exactly. It's a non-fictional account of a fictional TV show.

Who did you talk to (besides LD) who gave you the most insight? What was the insight?

Director Bob Weide, director Larry Charles, actor/executive producer Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines and Susie Essman were all full of insight, and they all said the same thing: Larry David listens to himself more than anyone else, and that's why the show works. It's not that David won't ask for everyone's opinion, it's just that ultimately he trusts his own inner compass about what's funny more than he trusts anyone else's. This is one of the keys to the show's success. HBO leaves him alone where most network shows would be offering tons of suggestions and notes (expected to be followed). With Seinfeld, Larry David earned the right to ignore the network suits. And of course, since so much of the comedy comes from his own life, it only makes sense for him to be the last word on a line read or an edit. The more personal comedy stays, the funnier it usually is. Comedy writing by committee doesn't work as well.

David is notoriously unwilling to analyze his work, and you are one of the few folks who's spoken with him formally about Curb. What did he say that surprised you?

I know one thing that surprised David was that, after years of working behind the scenes on Seinfeld, he found it so enjoyable to be in front of the camera acting (he says it's much easier than writing). He never anticipated how much he would enjoy acting. I've been on the sets of a number of different TV shows, and "Curb" was hands down the happiest. When asked about their jobs, actors often say that they spend all day laughing at work, but on "Curb" everyone really does spend all day laughing because every take is different and funny in a new way.

In terms of analyzing his own work, David said he thinks the secret to the success of "Curb" and Seinfeld is that he writes about the ordinary things -- the small slights and annoyances of daily life (not enough shrimp in our chinese order, the annoying girlfriend of a good friend, etc.).

"When we were doing Seinfeld I realized that there was this whole world available that nobody was writing about," says David. "And I didn't understand it. I mean it puzzled me. What's the big deal? It just wasn't being done. And I'm not immodest when I say that. I just didn't see anythign being done like Seinfeld. And that's why people took to it."

What horrible thing that Larry's done on the show did you most identify with?

I relate to the smaller things because I live on a smaller scale than his character -- like the fight he gets into with Jason Alexander because he won't meet him halfway for a meeting, or when he complains about the waiting policy at the doctor's office. I'm also a grudge holder, so I identify with that too.

Is there something you've done in your life that's as awful as the things Larry does serially on the show? A particular incident you can share with our readers in all its gruesome detail?

I asked a woman when she was due once, and then she told me she wasn't pregnant. I couldn't figure out if the right move was to apologize and come up with some convoluted explanation, or just let it go. Instead I spent the next twenty minutes talking a mile a minute praying she would just forget that I ever asked the question.


Curb Your Enthusiasm the book is in stores now, but if you want to save the copy you're buying for the misanthrope on your Christmas list... why not try to win one for yourself?

Here's the contest: share with us, in the comments, the single most awful, Larry-David-esque thing you've ever done. If you want to do it anonymously, email it to me at jesse@maximumfun.org, and I'll post it for you. On Monday, I'll decide my two favorites, and each will get a copy of the book.

Ready, steady... go!

Previously on The Sound of Young America:
Interview with Curb producer Robert Weide (MP3)

And you thought their food was gross.

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I was rooting around the McDonald's website, looking for a sound clip of their "I'm Lovin' It" theme to play after Dan Levitin mentioned that jingle being stuck in his head at the end of our interview last week. I couldn't find the song, but while I was there, I saw this...

In case it's difficult for you to read, or you need someone to repeat it to make it seem real, I quote this tree directly: "Like the mighty Baobab, McDonalds(R) and I will not be moved."

When slavery was toppled... McDonald's was by Frederick Douglass' side.

When children were fighting for equal access to education... Clarence Thomas had the McGriddle.

When Dr. King was shot... the Rev. Jackson was there. With a Filet-O-Fish Sandwich.

Is it real? Yes. All too real. (And apparently, both Tom Joyner and The Tavis Smiley Foundation are involved.)

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