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"All is right in the world."

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That is what "Back In Business" Brian Lane told me when he sent me this video, and he was right.

Podcast Coyle & Sharpe Episode 37: Dead Can Dance

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Welcome to season two of Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters! In the early 1960s, James P. Coyle and Mal Sharpe roamed the streets of San Francisco, microphone in hand, roping strangers into bizarre schemes and surreal stunts. These original recordings are from the Sharpe family archive, which is tended by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe. You can learn more about Coyle & Sharpe on their website or on MySpace. Their recent box set is These 2 Men Are Imposters.

On this episode: Coyle and Sharpe talk to a local man about a scientist who makes corpses dance by installing an electronic gizmo inside of them. The local man's reaction is quite wonderful.

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Podcast: TSOYA Classic: The American Dream

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Show: 
Bullseye


We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Classics.

Guests Louis CK, Florian Keller, and Neil Hamburger. Louis CK is one of America's best standup comics -- we talk with him about his new kind of old-fashioned sitcom. Florian Keller writes in his book "Andy Kaufman: Wrestling with the American Dream" that Kaufman's work was a satire of that cherished ideal. Also, America's Funnyman, Neil Hamburger stops in to talk about his sad, sad, sad life.

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

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Podcast: Louis CK, standup comic, writer and director

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Show: 
Bullseye


Louis CK is a standup comic, writer and director. His newest hour-long comedy special, Louis CK: Chewed Up will soon air on Showtime, and he's on the road now with another hour of comedy called Hilarious. He created and starred in the HBO sitcom Lucky Louie, and wrote and directed the cult film Pootie Tang. He talked with us about how the difficulties of his family life manifest on stage, and about how the legacy of George Carlin inspired him as a comic.

Louis has been a guest on The Sound several times. You can hear him talk about Lucky Louie and his first specials here. Our first interview with Louie, in the College Years, can be downloaded from this link.

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
Patton Oswalt
Chris Parnell
Mike Birbiglia

Blogs I Love

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I think one of the most essential functions of a blog is to recommend other blogs. My automatic blogroll (to the right and below) is so gargantuan and unwieldy that I'd gladly forgive you if you've never explored it. I read a lot of blogs.

Here are a few favorites...

Big Happy Funhouse is a found photograph blog. The proprietor Ron hand-selects a new vernacular photo each day, and the results are often revelatory... not to mention touching and hilarious. The photos are a voyeuristic look into a different life. If you're interested in snapshots, I'd also recommend Square America, a curated collection of same, and this older TSOYA, with Lorca Shepherd, director of the lovely film "Other People's Pictures."

If you listen to Jordan, Jesse GO!, you know about my interest in men's style. Lately I've been checking out the men's clothes blogosphere, and my two favorites are certainly A Suitable Wardrobe and A Continuous Lean.

A Suitable Wardrobe, run by a San Francisco clotheshorse named Will, is a catalogue of classic men's style. Will posts daily, and each post is a nugget of timeless sartorial wisdom. This is a place to learn about grey flannel trousers, brown suede shoes and the finer points of repp ties. His advice is best followed by the stodgy and rich, but it's also consistently on point, and is as useful to a guy shopping at H&M or J Crew as to the guy shopping at San Francisco's famous Wilkes Bashford or Cable Car Clothiers. If you, like me, are of the poorer persuasion, you'll be happy to know that he has softened his stance on made-to-measure pajamas, though he still recommends having six or seven sets, so you can have a fresh pair every night.

A Continuous Lean is also focused on classic men's style, but with a contemporary, streetwearish twist. Here's a place to learn about classic American-made workwear and how to wash your raw denim, as much as when to use which tie knot. It's another stop where if you take the recommendations literally, you can quickly start spending a lot of money, but of course learning to recognize quality and shop effectively can blunt that blow. ACL is curated with a keen eye, and the articles are informative and clearly written.

It wouldn't be a blogroll without personal friends, right?

I'm not a tumblr myself, but some of the sharpest internetizens I know are, and their short-form, link-heavy blogs always give me something to think about. Merlin Mann, Scott Simpson and Adam Lisagor from You Look Nice Today (and of course The Monsters of Podcasting) are my very favorites. I can always rely upon them to dig up something that will fascinate me. While Paul Scheer has a higher tolerance for so-bad-it's-good than I do, he and his Human Giant comrades do a great job as well. In my book, Kottke is the world's #1 linkdumpy blog, but you probably already knew that. (And if you want to hear every time comedian-related media shows up on the web, check out the aptly-titled Jumbo Dump).

What are your favorites? I just made a forum thread for this, and I'd love to learn more from you.

Podcast: Andy Daly & "Nine Sweaters"

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Show: 
Bullseye
Andy Daly in character, photo by Liezl Estipona

Andy Daly is a comedian, actor and improviser in Los Angeles. He's probably best known for his stint on Mad TV, or his role in the recent Will Ferrel vehicle Semi-Pro. He's just released his first CD of character monologues, called "Nine Sweaters." In the spring, he'll be seen as a co-star of the HBO comedy series "East Bound and Down."

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If you enjoyed this show, try these:
The Human Giant
Chris Parnell
Mike Birbiglia

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: Best of Season 3

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To all ye donors out there, we've got a special treat. We recently came in possession of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour: Best of Season 3" DVD, and we want you to have it. It's really an awesome show that was incredibly influential. Who ever would like it, and is a donor, please e-mail casey@maximumfun.org your address and a one sentence reason why you deserve the DVD's.

We have a winner! Laura, congrats, and enjoy!

Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: "Hudson and Gaines"

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After absorbing punditry, be it on the radio, television or elsewhere, readers possessed of a sensibility like your Podthinker's come away with only one question: how on Earth could this be entertaining? Plopping down a couple heavy-handed political commentators and having them yammer back and forth about nothing seems to sell, but why and to whom? One could do the necessary research to answer that, but with a form so absurd, it's more effective to simply mock it. According to Hudson and Gaines [iTunes link], that's the way to make pundity entertaining.

Fictional podcasts are few and far between, and this one's conceit is especially amusing: in the tiny northern town of Great Haven, local community college adjunct professor and radio host Craig Gaines is joined by Mike Hudson, a hardware store monopolist who brings his sponsorship dollars to the table as long as he can co-host Gaines' program, providing what he believes to be the conservative yang to the professor's liberal yin. They bicker back and forth about the local issue of the day, be it the jocks pranking the nerds [MP3], the proposed construction of a tunnel under the city [MP3] or the results of Great Haven Community College's interdisciplinary panel on global warming [MP3]. They rarely agree, but when it comes to sniping at their arch-enemy Larry Forbes who more successfully broadcasts out of the hated Troutown, they're a thousand percent on the same page.

As a moderate centrist, your Podthinker finds all points on the political spectrum strident and risible. Hudson and Gaines shares that perspective. On the right, Hudson is a dim-witted blowhard asserting a suite of contradictory fixed ideas, a knee-jerk militarism and a Philistine disregard for art and culture. He also thinks playing in a marching band is a dead-on indicator of homosexuality. On the left, Gaines is a weenie who adheres to all the feel-good, recumbent-bicycle lifestyle stereotypes in the book, smugly spouting off about the bohemian enclave of Great Haven he calls home, running on mealy-mouthedly and at length about how army recruitment steals our children's "whimsy" and insisting that "Canadian bacon" be called "back bacon". In a typical episode, some new issue will look like good news for either Hudson or Gaines — an air show for the former, say, or a mandate for disabled stadium seating for the latter — but by the end of the program, new developments will have broken, tables will have turned and someone's joy will have been deflated. Each installment is its own little sitcom.

The interplay between Hudson and Gaines provides sustained chuckles, but it's in the production department that this podcast truly shines. Hudson and Gaines is one of the best-produced podcasts in existence: it superficially sounds like a real small-town AM talk show, yes, but it feels like a real small-town AM talk show as well. Whoever cuts this together apes the painfully dopey commercial radio aesthetic perfectly, from the ridiculously overblown bumper music to the consultant-imposed "weather checks" and "resets" to the jittery, maddening commercials to the maudlin, confusing Ad Council PSAs. How apropos that Jesse recently posted Mark Ramsey's presentation about how radio's got to get its act together. Listen to that alongside H&G, if possible; then you'll really get the message.

Vital stats:
Format: fake political talk
Running since: October 2006
Duration: 20m-30m
Frequency: trimonthly (yeah, seriously)
Archive available on iTunes: all

[Podthinker Colin Marshall once worked in commercial radio and there developed a proper loathing of the Ad Council. Get him at colinjmarshall at gmail, suggest a podcast for Podthoughts here, or submit your own podcast for the next by-Max-Funsters column here.]

Jesse + Luke Burbank = Too Beautiful to Live?

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Luke Burbank
was kind enough to invite me on his very fun radio program, Too Beautiful To Live, last night. It was all kinds of fun. I got to talk with Luke and his charming producer/co-host Jen, and play their game Awesome/Not Awesome. You can listen below, or download the hour directly with this link.

Nice shirt, Tom Lennon!

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Nice shorts, Sprinkles!

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