Alpocalypse

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Weird Al, Geoff Nunberg, Andrew Noz

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Weird Al Yankovic
Guests: 
Geoff Nunberg
Guests: 
Andrew Noz


Hip Hop with Andrew Noz: DJ Quik's Pacific Coast Remix and Rammellzee's Beat Bop

Hip hop blogger and Pitchfork columnist Andrew Noz joins us with a couple of his all-time favorite hip hop tracks. His first recommendation is Pacific Coast Remix by DJ Quik (featuring Ludacris), a track devoted to sunny Los Angeles's dark side. He also suggests checking out the 1983 track Beat Bop by Rammellzee and K-Rob. It's a song from an era where the uptown and downtown communities mingled in a way that the rap world would rarely see again.


Weird Al Yankovic: King of Parody

Weird Al Yankovic is the undisputed king of parody music. Inspired by the novelty songs he heard on broadcasts of The Dr. Demento Show, Yankovic began writing his own comedy songs for the accordion -- starting with a love song to his parents' car, entitled Belvedere Cruisin'.

He sat down with us in 2011, before his album Alpocalypse was released. He talks about his food parodies (think "Eat It"), his special talent for rapping, and having an unusually long and successful career for a parodist (or musician of any kind).

Weird Al just kicked off a nationwide summer tour. He's also just released a new children's book, My New Teacher and Me. You can find more information .


Linguist Geoff Nunberg on The First Sixty Years of Assholism

Geoff Nunberg is a professor at UC Berkeley, the resident linguist of Fresh Air, and the author of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years. He talks to us about his studies into the word "asshole," which began life as a bit of slang used by WWII servicemen and has come to envelop the concept of modern incivility.

We spoke in 2012. The book is now out in paperback.

(More of our conversation with Geoff Nunberg that didn't make the radio edit! Click to listen and share.)

The Outshot: The Late Show with David Letterman

Jesse explains what makes David Letterman such an especially gifted late night host in a world of very good late night hosts.

Got a cultural gem of your own? Pick your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forum.>

(Embed or share this Outshot on David Letterman)

Weird Al Returns to The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Weird Al Yankovic

The musician and parodist Weird Al was on The Sound of Young America earlier this year, but the details of his new album were still under wraps. It was so top-secret, he couldn't even allude to it. We agreed to do the interview if we could do a follow up when Alpocalypse was released.

The caveat from their side -- that we come over to Al's house to record! So this time, we're at Al's to talk about the timing of parodies, getting artists' permission (including Lady Gaga), and where he stores all those Hawaiian shirts.

JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. We booked Weird Al Yankovic to appear on our show six or nine months ago, and it was a great pleasure to get to book him on our show. At the time he had a new children's book out, and he was putting the finishing touches on his new album. We asked if we could hear the album, and they said, no, absolutely not. Everything that “Weird Al” does is kept under lock and key until he decides to release it. He will not even allude to the new album in the conversation.

So this was the compromise that we came up with: we do our interview with Weird Al Yankovic; we talk about the children's book and his career and all of the amazing stuff I've always wanted to talk about “Weird Al” with; but, we would then do a followup interview where we would talk about his new record that we could put out now, when his new record is just about to hit stores. Their caveat was that I would have to do it at Weird Al's house, which is hardly a caveat; I would basically do anything, I would become a furniture mover so that I could visit Weird Al's house.

So before we go to my conversation with Weird Al in the Casa de Al, let's hear a song from his new album Alpocalypse. This is called TMZ, it's a parody of the hit Taylor Swift song “You Belong With Me.”

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC: Welcome Jesse, thanks for coming.

Click here for a full transcipt of this interview, or here to stream or download the podcast.

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