Podcast Reviews update

I have some cool stuff this time. One of the best things about the way that I listen to podcasts (which is, if I like something, I like to listen from the very first show) is that you have the benefit of history to know how things evolved (further than the people talking know at the time). For example, I started listening to TWIT (in the middle, at Ep. 173) and realized that I hadn’t listened to it from the beginning. It’s one of the few that I just listen here or there. So, I decided to start listening from the beginning (they are close to Ep. 400 now, SIGH). (Also, they list it on their website as 2004, but I think it’s 2005, so that’s what I’m writing in the notes.)

Very funny because Kevin Rose is a regular contributor, and it’s before he even created Diggnation. (Which I’ve already been reviewing from the beginning.)

So, here are some updates to what I’ve been listening to. BTW, I only comment/list/give show notes to stuff that I find interesting. There are whole tons of stuff (especially on TWIT) that I’m not going to even mention, but there is also gold in these hills. Hopefully I mined a bit of it for you to get motivated to check out the episode.

So, here you go.


11. Eugene Mirman Part 1. Eugene Mirman. How comics have a hard time getting on TV anymore. Mirman talks about wanting to go on Kimmel. Chris: “To TV, minorities are, by default, characters.” How the “mouth breathers” off of Hollywood Blvd. “don’t know where to focus.” Hard and Phirm had a hard time getting them to focus when they were on Kimmel. Chris: “I feel like there are Mermanites all over the place.” About the dangers of performing in clubs with bands. Opening for Cake, people were just chanting “Cake, Cake, Cake.” About dealing with network censors with comedy. About being Russian. About writing a book in Amherst, Mass. The “pussy comic.” “Amherst: A Place Some Find Dull, Others Adore.” (found on the billboard) Not wanting to offend Dave Matthews (don’t listen, Dave!).

…& God’s Pottery Part 2. God’s Pottery. (First, are these guys for real? I couldn’t tell through the whole thing.) “We take a drug called sunshine in the morning.” Discussing slide whistles. Two Christian comics. Chris asks them if they are a couple. “We are a couple of fun guys.” Chris: “Your T-shirt does say ‘Virginity Rocks.'” They chastise Chris because he said “tit.” They talk about wearing sandals, as a “nod to the big man, J-Dog.” He talks about how falling on his head is what caused him to see Jesus. “Similarly, that’s how time travel was invented.” They perform songs. “Mexicans are the leading exporters of smiles.” “CongratuLatinos.” They talk about girls/women. “We really support them in their cause.” Chris: “What is their cause?” “It goes back to the original Adam and Eve. Eve took the first risk, and kinda messed things up a little bit.” “The title is ‘Women Are People Too.'” Chris: “They’ll be thrilled to know that.” “What a nice nod to the glass ceiling.” Chris: “Do you have groupies?” “Hey, hugging’s good, but hey, you gotta be careful. Sometimes it’s a gateway hug.” Chris: “Is it not OK to masturbate?” “IT IS NOT OK.” “We’re on Tweeter. God’s Pottery is the handle.” “How do you guys feel about poking on Facebook?” “It’s a slippery slope. You start with one poke, and then you’ve got a super poke.” “We support urban music.” “His blackness is not a big deal.” “We don’t see color, except for rainbows.” “We often play a game, ‘Who Loves Jesus More?’; that can get a little heated.”

12. OK Go! “Transvestites are a lot like Netflix’s subgenres. It just gets very very detailed for no apparent reason.” “Is Real Sports like Real Sex?” “Less titties.” Chris: “I think it’s cool….You never know what people are going to respond to on Twitter.” “There’s two ways to look at the dissolution of the music industry… the structures people got paid by are all shrinking or disappearing or imploding… there’s no set way to go about doing it… There’s a way up the ladder. Now, there isn’t that system. The good thing about that, with the dissolution of the mode of distribution, you also have the dissolution of all the creative barriers that were built into it. Or, the types of creativity that grew to flourish in that system. Music videos in 1985 were advertisements. They were paid for by record labels to sell CDs…. in 1994, the artist in that video was akin to a Toyota in a Toyota commercial. The reason they had to be so specific… MTV played 50 or 100, 200 things a year. It was a very tight playlist. If that was your only outlet… There’s an arms race to be the most demographically suitable. If you don’t keep eyes glued to the screen that will then go out and buy skating sneakers, you’re off.” Chris: “I hosted a show on MTV in the 90s, and…we’d get complaints from people… no one watches video shows anymore. They’re the lowest rated shows on television. That’s why they put programming on.” “When the distribution system falls apart, you don’t have those rules anymore. You make something that’s interesting, other people like it, and you’re done…There’s these new creative spaces that open up, because you don’t have those rules anymore.” Chris: “There was always shitty art. It just didn’t survive cause it was shitty.” Ghostbusters vs. I Want a New Drug. Weird Al Yankovic. “He’s paying more attention to what’s going on in the world than anyone I know.” About the treadmill video. “The video cost about $5000. The biggest cost was buying treadmills and returning them, they wouldn’t buy them back at full cost…. There’s really no reason to have a temporary treadmill in your life.” USC vs. UCLA. The TEDX conference. “Wonder is a good drug.” Treadmill video got 50 million views. Chris: “If you can’t see something on the Internet… we get really mad.” “Whose Tube?” The paint thing. Praise for the guy who did the Steadicam work on the Rube Goldberg video. “The fairy tale with the chick who sleeps on the pea?… I was gonna say Rapunzel, but she’s the one with the sweet hair.” SYYN Labs. I thought that it would take one or two people two or three months. It was two and a half months of design, and three months of building. It went from 10 people on average, to about 60.” Chris: “That’s the best thing about nerd sourcing. They will work for free, just so they can work on this special thing.” “I’ve never seen another Rube Goldberg thing that hits beats like that….” Someone admits they’ve never seen The Matrix or Avatar. (Take away his Nerdist card.) About building stuff out of Leggos. A huge discussion about the Muppets. Chris brags about getting the Muppets videos first. Chris talks about the DVD extras on the Muppet movie, with Jim Henson and Frank Oz scouting locations for the Muppets. About SNL. “Do you interview a lot of people who don’t love what they do?” “Now the community we can have with our fans is so much more robust, and so much more interesting.” RE: 8-bit porn “I can’t masturbate to that more than six times, and then, you’re done.” “You see Chun Li’s baloney muffin?” “There’s nothing about being first to use technology anymore.” Chris: “Your videos are all good analog achievements.” “You could do a whole separate podcast about puns.” “We broke away from EMI two and a half weeks ago… It’s great for us in so many ways. We don’t focus on selling records, we focus on making stuff. They are in the business of selling records… We obviously think in a very different way than that… They sort of have to figure out a new way to do business…” Chris: “I think of the record industry like a guy who was really hot in the 70s.” “It’s not a metaphor. It’s like two dozen of those guys.” FOUR STARS

This Week in Tech

0. TWIT, the Pilot (Jan. 17, 2005) Leo and Dave Prager at MacWorld 2005. Kevin Rose can’t hear. Roger Chang. Patrick Norton and his wife Sarah. About buying a Mac Mini. KR: “Did you see the keynote, Leo? That Sony might acquire Apple?” (Steve Jobs) Leo: “Jobs didn’t drop that hint for nothing. There’s definitely something going on.” Leo: “We have a big announcement to make. We have some sort of alliance of former Tech TV people.” Prager… “How would you like to be the VP of marketing?” KR: “We’re all going on different paths, doing different things… there is certain content we just can’t air on G4 anymore… we’re geeks, though… I wanna do more of that…. What I enjoy most is that we were actually teaching people something about technology. It’s so nice to get the emails from people, ‘I learned so much from you guys.’ ” Leo: “(People saying): ‘We want Tech TV back.’ ” Norton could be the “naughty Andy Rooney (online.” Leo: “We wanna get Patrick. We wanna get Yoshi online. Prager, you’re gonna get a website. Roger… he’s at CNET now… Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes this podcast. Have a wonderful evening.”

1. TWIT, Episode 1 Is Online. (April 17, 2005) (“Revenge of the Screensavers”/bleeped out) Kevin Rose. Robert Heron. Patrick Norton. Patrick drove from San Francisco to Denver, Colorado. Driving in the dust. “The only person who’s gainfully employed in television here is Kevin Rose.” Leo is too, but “only” in Canada. “Screensavers is no longer. It’s now called ‘Attack of the Show.’ ” Leo: “Kevin is also working on his own vanity project, his own offline TV show.” Kevin: “Systm is an old kickback to the old Screensavers, where I focus on one particular subject per episode… 15-20 minutes per episode.” KR: “This is kinda the grown-up Broken. More mainstream.” They talk about displaying beer during the TV show. KR: “We wanna keep it also online… We can go really geeky, really take our time, and not have to worry about dumbing it down.” Leo to Robert (about Tech TV): “Do you miss it?” Robert: “After seeing firsthand how TV is really just about numbers in Los Angeles, it makes me realize how special that whole environment was we had in San Francisco at that time.” Leo: “Yeah, we were ignorant.” KR: “It’s a completely different environment down here than it was in San Francisco…. Our owners enjoyed tech. We were constantly having to trim a lot of that out. You weren’t even getting enough information to make it worthwhile… What they want me to focus on Attack of the Show is some of the dark tip stuff….” Leo talks about how Edison developed the first electric chair. He thought it would be a more humane way to die.  Leo: “As it turns out, unless you think have flames spurting from your ears humane, it’s not the most humane way to execute people.” Leo: “I don’t know exactly what this show, this “Revenge of the Screensavers” is going to be. It’s fun to just sit around and talk. Right now, we’re using Skype to do it. We’ve got four people. The quality is good.” Leo: “Certain privileges accrue to the person that owns the mixer.” Leo showed his son a payphone in Paris. “This is history.” They discuss cell phone carriers. They all prefer Verizon. “Where’s the Joni Mitchell?” Leo: “I make sure I don’t take any dirty pictures. Or I delete them right away.” KR: “Thanks for sharing.”  Leo: “Isn’t this walkie-talkie thing stupid?” Leo: “Who wants to sit with loud-mouthed boring people for six hours?” About people talking loud on cell phones. Leo: “What’s your favorite gadget right now, Kevin Rose?” KR: “A miniature camcorder.” Leo: “Is it secret that you do Digg?” KR: “No, people pretty much know.” Leo: “I love it… It’s one better than Slashdot. It’s become really better and better. I use it as part of my news beat check, cause I get stuff that doesn’t show up anywhere else. What’s your plans with that? You gonna grow it?” KR: “All my nights and weekends, I spend working on it. We’re in the process of redesigning little portions of it. It’ll create dynamic RSS feeds for your friends. Just what your friends are digging throughout the day.” Leo: “That’s the future, isn’t it?” Leo mentions wanting to do video at some point with the show. “Better audio.” Leo: “Frankly, I don’t think video adds anything at this point… but maybe down the road.” Leo: “I have nothing against G4 or Charles Hirshhorn…. I don’t think those of us who were involved in it have the same feelings those who watched it did… I don’t think Tech TV is ever gonna come back. That’s long gone.”

2. TWIT, Episode 2 Is Online. (April 24, 2005) They are still calling it Revenge of the Screensavers. Patrick Norton: “At least one of our former coworkers is making a fair amount of money.” Leo: “I know which one… This is the thing that bugs me. Wall Street Journal outed (tech guys) for saying they’d been paid for appearances… Remember Gadget Girl? We found out that her flights were being paid for by one of the companies, and we said, ‘Sorry, you can’t come back.’ ” Napoleon Dynamite? KR: “Not a big fan.” They talk about Tiger and BitTorrent. I got a Cease and Desist letter from G4, saying, “You can’t use the name.” They decide to throw it to the users, to come up with a name. They offer prizes for a good name. Leo: “People are very happy with this podcast. God knows why. Gotta come up with something good every week now.” Leo: “On the set, we’d do LAN parties…. People don’t realize, this was starting to be a problem on the Screensavers set… We’d all be playing Halo 1 (or Halo 2). The TV show was getting in the way.” Leo: “I want to put some content, so it’s not just some guys sitting around talking.” So they talk about some tech. “There’s all these great radio stations coming across Nevada.” Leo: “I just use a little cassette adapter.” Leo: “That’s one of the things about podcasts. It’s for commutes.” Leo asks Kevin about Systm. Revenge of the <BLEEP>…

And then, to really mess everything up…

174. A 10-Ferret Night  Leo is speaking with John Hodgman. Hodgman sent Leo a picture of a ferret. Ferrets are “a good way to warm oneself on a winter night.” Leo: “A 10 ferret night.” They discuss all going to Yale. (Jonathan Coulton has been added to the convo.) The dorms they lived in. John and Jonathan are in Brooklyn. Leo asks if they still play stickball. They say no. They discuss eggnog, as it’s the holidays. Leo thinks it all tastes alcoholic. John says, “The trick is to use alcoholic eggs.” They discuss the gift that John has sent Leo. It’s a bacon scarf. “Do not eat.” They decide to not talk about tech, just celebrate the holidays. “Just tell the truth, and usually, it’s hilarious.” Hodgman continues to describe the origin of the word “noggin.” They continue to explore the origin of the word “piggyback.” Hodgman talks about the word “pygg.” They lose Hodgman on Skype. This progresses to chat about crystal skulls. And then crystal skull vodka. How it’s available in LA, but not NY yet. They speak of Hodgman’s books. “That period in the 90s when we did not speak to each other because I grew a better beard.” “It’s a time when people come together and put aside old arguments and old fake beards schemes, and remind themselves why they like one another.” Leo: “A special holiday edition of TWIT.” “One of them was signed by its creator, Dan Ackroyd. I could not accept such a gift.” Hodgman was a literary agent, and Jonathan was a programmer. Hodgman’s first “job” after being a literary agent was to write an article for Men’s Journal. Leo: “Are you pleased that absinthe has returned to the marketplace?” Hodgman: “It’s the same reason red M&Ms were banned.” Leo: “We’ve got a closet numismatist in our midst. Try saying that fast.” Hodgman: “Some gifts become a kind of burden.” Jonathan: “Holiday Lesson No. 3.” Leo: “Have you seen the video of President Bush dodging the shoe?” Hodgman: “Shoe ducking is a big sport in Texas.”  Jonathan: “Isn’t it duck shoeing?” Leo: “You can’t shoe a duck.” Jonathan: “That’s why it’s a sport.” Leo: “I don’t even like it when they hit him with a pie.” Leo: “If ever I were to field a dodgeball team of former presidents, he would be my first pick.” Leo: (RE the Secret Service) “If they’re fast enough to take a bullet, why can’t they be fast enough to take a shoe?” Jonathan: “They’re not there to jump in front of shoes.” Leo: “I’m told by our chat room that in fact in Iraq it is considered a great insult to throw your shoes.”  Hodgman: “My fans are much more civilized than Jonathan’s.” Leo: “You’re very well-known for The Daily Show, but  probably best known for the Apple switch ads. Do people… Is there a catch phrase? do they say, ‘Hey PC’?” Leo’s advice from his dad: “Rummies have no wind, so don’t worry, you can outrun them…. Never catch the eye of a hobo.” Leo: “What do you call ’em nowadays? Bums?” Hodgman: “Hobo is a very specific subculture…” Leo: “Not all bums are hoboes.” Hodgman:  “In my book..they self-identified as hoboes, and chose a life of wandering and drinking, and wearing the same pants all the time. I’m not talking about the contemporary urban homeless.” Hodgman: “It’s extremely dangerous, actually… There was a hobo serial killer… I don’t advise that to anyone. That’s my holiday gift to the youth.” Leo: “CNN is explaining why the Secret Service did not, in fact, block the shoe. ‘They were in the back room.’ ” Jonathan: “You, unlike a rummy, have plenty of wind.” They argue about the states of New England, and which is better. Jonathan: “I know I should like Bob Dylan. He’s never really excited me.” They talk about Hodgman’s theme song on YouTube. They discuss other boring stuff. “Beat Box Chops is actually the name of his style of beard.” “I thought it was Adam Curry making a mess of things.” “I wasn’t famous enough to get even podcasters to mess with me.” Doing a Podsafe Christmas song.  “Adam… Adam… Adam!” THREE STARS


Podcast Reviews

Updating some podcasts that I’ve listened to since I last posted Podcast Reviews.


176. Sexy Couch Hologram

Sitting on Kevin’s “sexy couch” in SF. Examining polls. Kevin and Alex talk politics. Barack Obama just got elected. Kevin’s family is all Republicans. He’s the “black sheep.” CA gets a bullet train, from SF to SD. YAY! Kevin talks about taking the Chunnel bullet train. Alex is not into it. Kevin talks about being underwater for half an hour, but is more worried about the BART in SF, which also goes underwater. Alex is claustrophobic. They talked about the early days of the Internet. Being network admins on Novell. Searching for porn on FTP. “Computers aren’t special anymore,” Alex. Whether or not fixing computers is, as Kevin says, “an old person thing.” They want to build robots. Heidi Klum doing an ad for Guitar Hero. It would be better if she actually knew the words. CNN uses a hologram for its political reporting for the election. Kevin just got “Memento.” Some girl pours beer on her breasts to get her nipples hard. Ain’t it great to be a podcaster?

 177. Multiview Diggnation Remix!

Kevin gets glasses. When is the proper time to hit back if a girl’s hitting you. Kevin jokes about snipping off a girl’s nipple. Kevin saw a lot of fights in Vegas. Tyson Foods’ use of antibiotics in chicken. Finding money in a wall in a house. Kevin advises people to keep money that they find, don’t tell anyone. :-0 The “nutsac mode” on your camera. Kevin and Alex are officially geeks. Kevin: “I think spammers are worse than a drug dealer.” Kevin recommends a documentary about the font Helvetica. How to really enjoy cacao nibs. The art of crossbows.

View the remixed version at: www.revision3.com/remix

 178. TikiNation

They are at Alex’s house in LA, and Kevin rips into Alex about “losing his manhood” because his fiancee has placed potpourri there. People from TikiBar are here. Dr. Tiki smiles perfectly for the camera, when the Diggnation boys think he’s going to the bathroom. About having a good chair for your ass when you’re a gamer. A woman gets scammed for $400,000 from one of those email chain letters. Alex likes the Mountain themes in Gmail. Dr. Tiki starts manning the camera. (And he’s good.) Alex’s dog is really cute. So’s Lala, whom Dr. Tiki just panned to. Kevin and Alex both love Golden Girls. They talk about guys who “idolize Ron Jeremy.” Kevin thinks he’s “nasty.” Hanna Montana’s “gummy cocks.” “Midget kick boxing.” “LetMeGoogleThatForYou.” Dot com. First ever: “Technical Difficulties.” Glen is not there today… *sigh* Cool on location sponsors. Kevin and Glen are driving back to San Francisco from LA. Great segment. “Why do I wanna fuck that cat? It better be a girl cat.” –Alex How does one ask a girl out? Men and women have very different opinions. “Do you wanna play Oui?” “All of a sudden, it’s like… zip…” Then, a dream about monkeys crawling over someone. “How could you have that relationship? They’d throw poo at you.” –Alex

 179. Hangovers

Brought to you by “Uno Equis. When Dos Equis is a little too much beer.” Alex and his dog are both hungover. Kevin is, but less so. PC magazine shutting down its print edition. Which magazines Kevin and Alex read. Wired is very popular. They give a secret Twitter account and say they wanna do an episode about their favorite Twitter accounts. Alex’s dog is passed out next to him. They talk about the car company bailouts. Kevin wants cool tech in his car that updates automatically via Bluetooth. They have to leave early because, you know, Alex needs to throw up.


27, part 2. Paul F. Tompkins Kevin gives Guy Kawasaki some shit at BlogWorld, apparently. Kevin loves the Blogess. About his beginnings in comedy. Another guy wearing black. Sigh. I hate the now “Oprah, Paris or Demi” game. Horrible, all these interruptions from the crew. About watching TV shows on DVD. TWO STARS


8. Jim Gaffigan. The Nerdist crew is talking a lot in this one. How doing TV doesn’t sell a ticket (to a comedy show) anymore. The Encyclopedia Britannica of comedy. How Gaffigan writes with his wife. I’m biased by the fact that Jim Gaffigan bores the crap outta me, so sorry, I’m zoning out now. TWO STARS

 9. Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. Chris breaks out the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Upping the ante on the OK Go video. How much cooler it would’ve been to be a rock star in the 70s. Do we have to do everything? Having a bowling father vs. a rocket scientist father. Is it essential to have a marketing background to be in a band? Mike was really late joining Twitter. Comparing blogs. How MSM (and band management) doesn’t understand YouTube. Warner Brothers deleted 5MILLION views on YouTube. Which can’t be gotten back. Mike “needs a little bit of privacy” (regarding Twitter). Chris: “We’ve become a culture of aggregators.” Linkin Park has its own social network. Whether it’s better to have millions of half-baked fans or 10,000 really passionate ones. Chris: “Apple is like the hot cheerleader who won’t fuck you, but you’ll carry her books anyway.” Chris would join Linkin Park if he could play melodica. Dealing with Pandora and the music genome thing. Holding onto fans when the band changes direction. The story of Smashing Pumpkins. “I’ve been on TV a decade longer” (than Joel McHale). They talk about productivity and the “4-Hour Work Week.” They talk about how they maintain their schedules (iCal and Evernote). How labels hide the way they take money from artists. Mike explains Kickstarter. Chris’ band called Sniper. musicforrelief.org for a free download. THREE STARS

10. LIVE  Blech. Don’t review live shows. Wait, there is this. Chris: “Vegas to me is a lot like a stripper pole. From far away, it looks all shiny. When you get up close, it smells like poop and sadness.” Gotta get this down. RE: Abercromie & Fitch’s new look. “You really expect to see people doing rails of coke off the folding tables, while vampires are feeding on Asian schoolgirls, while the ghost of Oscar Wilde is blowing the ghost of Andy Warhol, on the back of a unicorn with a dick for a horn, shooting rainbows onto a Project: Runway marathon.” Brilliant.


001. Live from MacWorld

All of the panelists introduce themselves. About how beautiful Africa is. Alex’s Africa project. Photography “is a storytelling medium.” “Make sure when you take a photograph, that you tell a story.” “Is there a story I want to tell? Is there a memory I want to protect?” “When you have a special moment, never let it go. Follow it through to the very end, and then let it go.” “There are very few of those magic, special moments.” Alex Lindsay talks about being at LucasFilm. “Buy a lot of film, take a lot of photos.” “An amateur photographer takes A snapshot. A professional photographer takes 20.” EDFAT. Entire, Details, Focal Length, Angle and Time. An establishing shot or two. Let’s go to details. Then I’ll vary all those shots with different focal lengths. And boy, you’ve got a different story. “I’ll also play with fast and slow shutter speeds.” “It’s like a dance.” If you shoot 14 frames and you have 14 to choose from… “Look at the stuff that’s most visually rich, and concentrate on that.” “Eventually, you find yourself in a photographic place that you couldn’t have predicted.” “Once you get those diamond images, it gives you a goal to work harder.”

 002. The Future of DSLRs

Alex Lindsay in studio with Scott Bourne and Alex’s brother. A discussion of the new SLRs. “We’re getting to a point where we’re almost plateauing. What do the next generation of cameras need to have?” Regarding which camera to buy. “Any camera you spend $400-500.. is gonna do things that the top-of-the-line Nikkon couldn’t do 20 years ago.” “All megapixels are not created equal.” A discussion of bokeh, a Japanese word. “The soft background, the out-of-focus areas, produced by a camera lens.” “It’ll all sort of blur so that you can’t see really anything.” “It gets very complicated… it’s not perfect circles.” LensBaby. Whether it’s better to do it “in camera” or in Photoshop. “We’re gonna see the end of CF cards.” “We will see bigger cards, and bigger brighter viewfinders.” “…and all this stuff will just continue to get cheaper and cheaper…” “The CCD is pretty much dead. I think in the future, we’ll see more C-Moss sensors.” Nikkon vs. Canon. Being able to make a lot of photo corrections in iPhoto.

WTF with Marc Maron

118. Maz Jobrani Maron contemplates “normalcy.” Contemplating “hoarding” vs. “being nostalgic.” He’s “done with the hoarding.” He’s digging “Breaking Bad.” Being on “fart lockdown.” Guys on TV eating themselves into a stupor on reality TV. “I’m happy to help people masturbate.” The distinction between Persian and Iranian. All about the shah. Zorastrian or Muslim? The perception of Iran compared to the reality of it. “The Axis of Evil” comics. THREE STARS

119. Adam McKay FOUR STARS

 120. LIVE in Austin I hate the live shows. So there was this. One guy who was miffed that Marc didn’t remember him. One chick who makes bad jokes about her cat, who died. Fun. One stupid comic. Then a cruel comic. Then another one, talks about his parents. Marc calls this “the deepest (live show)” he’s ever encountered. (Scary.) “I like to drink.” Museum jokes. ONE STAR

121. Ken Jeong Ken talks about being a doctor as well as a comedian, the making of Hangover, and how he still has his medical license, in case this comedy thing doesn’t work out. THREE STARS

122. Jessi Klein Jessi worked at Comedy Central back in its early days and has really enlightening things to say about that, and about temping in NYC. THREE STARS

123. The Creation Museum Marc is skeptical about these creationists and this museum they’ve created to honor their beliefs. But once he smuggles a microphone in, he’s amazed at the nice package they put together. Almost has him convinced. THREE STARS

124. Paul Scheer  Marc has visited Detroit and actually liked it. Marc talks about air travel and harassing a Virgin America rep on Twitter to get a better seat. Marc and Paul discuss the wonders of TV Guide back in the day. Marc was once a clue in a TV Guide crossword puzzle. On how programming a VCR foreshadowed TiVos and DVRs. “Celebrities can only hang out with celebrities. So you find them in weird groupings sometimes.” About doing a bar mitzvah in someone’s house. About meeting Aziz Ansari and Human Giant. About working at MTV and dealing with censors. Big dad fights. Leaving an abusive relationship. Surviving divorce. THREE STARS

125. LIVE Charles Fleischer et al I hate live shows. Blech. This one’s dreadful. Burn immediately. ZERO STARS

126. A.D. Miles/Bobby Tisdale Marc talks about his gratitude on Thanksgiving. How if he didn’t create this podcast, he didn’t know what he was going to do with his life. How he’s dreading participating in the family Thanksgiving thing. How AD Miles knew Marc. How he got the job at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They talk about the Fallon show, and how he seems like he’s enjoying himself. How one never sleeps. The jokes Jimmy won’t do. How working in late night teaches you to not linger agonizing over jokes forever. How he met Zach Galifinakis. “I guess I’ve always been a ham or whatever.” THREE STARS

127. Aziz Ansari Marc recaps his fun at Thanksgiving. That’s what Thanksgiving’s for: “to say in your mind, ‘I’m not going to be like that.'” Aziz is allergic to cats. The craft services truck on Parks and Rec. He has a phone addiction. Marc talks about Aziz’s Indian background, and why he doesn’t use it in his comedy. Aziz is a master of the whole Google affiliate scene. Being on Rolling Stone’s Hot List. Passing out fliers for comedy shows. “Everyone passing you hates you.” The club HA, and how it took advantage of comics. “Do you want to stand in the worst part of New York, and have people hate you for a couple hours?” How working on new material puts you at the same spot as anyone else (open mics in LA). THREE STARS

128. Mike Schmidt Mike has problems parking. Marc thinks he could do half an hour on that. Mike wants advice. Marc tells him to get a director. Mike sees his peers getting much more success than he has. The “Disappointing the Fans” tour. “I’ve been on that for fucking twenty years,” Mike Schmidt. They talk about his one-man show. The wondrous Lily Von Schtupp is his producer. Maron: “I know that people relate to my neurosis.” Schmidt: “The people who listen to me root for me.” They talk about podcasting. A Quentin Tarantino burlesque. About weighing 500 lbs. and scaling back. About how with food addictions, you can’t just give up eating. Mike’s family history. Maron: “Is there a race going on?” “We get comfortable in even the worst of our patterns.” Being attacked by a possum. Fighting zombies. Who would I fuck at the bank? “Everyone’s sucking cock and getting work done.” In Chicago. Mike goes after a group of people who keep talking at a show. Marc talks about doing the “Jerusalem Syndrome.” Maron: “I gotta go to therapy.” Schmidt: “I just finished mine.” TWO AND A HALF STARS

129. Janeane Garafolo Marc talks about lighting some twisted Hanukkah candles. Janeane gets lost getting to Marc’s house. They discuss Air America. Marc: “People have pigeonholed you because of the politics, and I got that too.” Janeane: “…being pigeonholed, it does affect your career… A lot of times females who are vocal, suddenly find themselves less able to work.…. People of color and women are not afforded the same latitude and leeway of their behavior in the workplace as white males are.” “It’s not an agenda. This is our lives.” Talk about the Tea Party, and how speaking about it kept her from jobs. Janeane: “The right wingers don’t ultimately win, otherwise we’d still own slaves and I wouldn’t be voting.” Marc: “You have a certain amount of hope that good will prevail.” Janeane: “Time marches on. It just happens. We have a black president.”  J: “There will always be… small groups of people who will wield a tremendous amount of power, and do a lot of damage.” Janeane mentions Matt Taibi, Rachel Maddow, people online doing their thing. “They are citizens first. They are serving the citizens. They don’t serve their corporate masters. Their consciousness as humans overrides their workplace environment.” Marc: “I don’t think people know anymore what objective reporting is.” J: “I don’t need the news to be entertaining.” M: “Well, people do.” J: “I don’t take things at face value…. I’m going down swinging. I refuse to be bullied by a system.” M: “Let’s talk about the pursuit of happiness.” M: “Do you have any regrets?” J: “It’s much better to live in your truth than to worry about a stupid job on TV.” Janeane seems to pin her lack of work now on Air America. M: “It certainly means you have personal priorities that transcend a lot of bullshit.”  FOUR STARS


Podcast Reviews

I listen to a large amount of podcasts. From the beginning. I decided that I wanted to have my reviews for them posted on my page. So I’m going to do a bunch of them here, and update them as I listen.


OK, I’ve been watching Diggnation from the beginning, but I just started doing the reviews at 171. Sigh.

171. Hummer Kevin and Alex explore more Michelob beers. Do chicks dig leather couches? (This chick says yes.) Alex: “Being bent over one of these things? I don’t know.” This is a best-of-the-year Diggnation.

172. Live from London: Alex Proposes! “The Tuna Pocket.” So many people! Alex proposed, but off camera. Awww. Hippie Glen chugs a beer. Sheep chase Kevin, and Scoble takes pictures. How to pay down your credit card debt. Really incredible footage from the Dead Space game. “If you invested $1000 a year ago, you’d have (average) $21. If you bought $1000 in beer, and took the cans back for recycling money, you’d have $241.00.” Wow.

173. Shot Through the Glass Virgin in London offers a taxi/limo service on motorcycles. Looks very cool. They also have a tour of Virgin in London. Very cool conference rooms. Kevin and Alex have a bizarre idea for an iPhone app for your cat. Really awesome site: www.macrumors.com. Click on the Buyer’s Guide, to see when the latest one was released, and when the next one might come out. Fabulous info! Kevin and Alex have a difference of opinion about Krispy Kreme (Alex is right). All about eyebrow threading and Rachel Ray. Rachel Ray and corn. Oh my! Alex: “Pound away, my friend, just don’t get caught on tape doing it.” Kevin is cancelling his cable, and just doing Netflix and Hulu. RE: Internet fame Kevin: “Everybody’s got to have their own little thing.” Prager’s Borg bear. Kevin: “You’d have to be blazing hot in order for me to do that.” Fabulous footage of driving around London. More on the wonderful Virgin offices. The candy dispenser! Kevin (in the “Love” room): “I guarantee people have thrown down in this room.” The poster of Virgin history is phenomenal.

174. Alex’s Halloween Arachnophobia Um… Kevin and Alex are wearing hats. Cutbacks at Revision 3. Kevin has a new MacBook (unrelated). It’s beautiful. Even Alex likes it. Alex: “Do you think aliens exist?” Kevin: “Sure. To rule them out would be foolish.” Hippie Glenn: “I’ve met ’em.” By this point in the show, these hats make them look hot. Time Warner vs. ATT Uverse. Alex is a bit afraid of spiders. “Pragerpedia.” Watch how red Alex gets when he accidentally says a bad word in the GoDaddy ad. hehe

175. No Shoes First time Kevin and Alex wear no shoes on the podcast (Alex barefoot, Kevin with socks). Kevin thinks that Star Wars MMORPGs shouldn’t focus on killing, but on working things out mentally (since that’s what Jedis do). “You wanna have the Jedis that are meditating, and expanding their mind with tea,” Alex. “It’s not about leveling up by killing things,” Kevin. They don’t know who won the presidential election yet. Kevin does’t wanna group with people. He wants to be a “lone wolf.” Kevin is astonished that the US Army thinks “Twitter is a terrorist tool.” Kevin is astonished that among the people to fear, the US Army adds “vegetarians.” Kevin’s pretty drunk. Hippie Glen messes with the audio, cause he’s a radical vegetarian. Kevin enlightens the Army about “voice-changing technology.” Alex and Kevin talk about whether or not the government is behind the times. They applaud DARPA and some other agencies that are ahead of the times. “I’m not a terrorist, just because we have followers.” They want to go back to Japan. Alex: “I’m gonna kill you, eat your face, and then snowboard.” (About being a vampire at Mammouth.) Kevin and Alex discuss whether or not AIDS would affect vampires. “They’re not even alive!” says Alex. “Blood transfusions are no joke,” Kevin. Whether or not a leather couch would be good for sex. “This is the best email we’ve ever got,” Alex. “It’s gonna be good. Who cares if you get a little sweaty and sticky?” Kevin.


BEST SHOWS (early variety)
1. The Pat O’Brien Phone Sex Tapes
2. Jeff the Jerkoff
3. Customer Service
4. Show No. 1

WORST SHOWS (don’t listen)
1. Marriage and Hookers
2. Scams & Horrors
3. Bartleby the Scrivener

22. Mitch Hedberg, Hippies and the Pope I was just thinking how swoony (and in love) Chemda sounds when talking about Keith in this ep. Then, the next one…

23. Pay Your Fuckin Tab Keith takes another girl on a date (which he says isn’t a date, but he pays for the movie and dinner. And he takes her to see Sin City.). Did anyone tell Chemda about how much SEX is in this movie? He keeps saying that “she wouldn’t have liked it,” but I’d be PISSED if my boyfriend took some other girl to this movie… Hm. I think this ep is the beginning of the end (of their relationship, anyway). And, I think this girl blew him, and he’s lying about it. Also, how Keith & Chemda met. Some other crap about people not paying a tab. Further crap about Michael Jackson. All the car crashes by Keith and Chemda’s. Keith: “It’s always worth it to punch someone.” K & C don’t get excited about going to see Jane Fonda and Bloc Party, since they are missing Greg Giraldo and Bruce Willis. Chemda thinks they put the pretty people in front at talk shows. Keith thinks Terri Hatcher is hot, cause “she’s skinny.” Also thinks Rene Russo is hot. Keith gets kicked out of The Late Show with David Letterman. “That’s why I want to be famous, and be on Letterman.” Some Greg Giraldo comedy. FOUR STARS and major gaping mouth action

24. I’ll Find You, John Petrie Peter Jennings is dying. More on Terry Schiavo. The Michael Jackson trial. Keith gets irate about someone stealing some of his stuff. About how drug addicts love to talk about others, say Keith and Chemda about people they lived with. Bums who sell “camcorders.” Keith: “Remember crack is fucking awesome.” THREE STARS

25. The Relationship Hour Keith and Chemda see Farrah Fawcett at the Late Late Show with David Letterman. Keith: “[Farrah Fawcett and Anna Nicole] should have a crazy-off. My money’s on Farrah Fawcett.” Black albinos. How Chemda hit on Keith. They both hated their first kiss. And had sex on their first date. Chemda: “That’s a big thing with Keith. Do not be cunty to the waiter.” Chemda: “There’s a lot of Ews in this one, and I don’t like it.” K & C talk about getting married. THREE STARS

26. Oy to the Vey Crank calls. Useless for other people. Boring as crap. In-depth Jewishness. Keith’s dad is a bad tipper. Keith’s dad’s jobs. Hasidic Jews leave their hats on in strip clubs. Lameness. Some more anti-Jewness. ONE STAR

27. Then Stop Acting Like Your Stereotype Keith gets hateful email about the last racist show. Chemda defends her Jewishness “coming from love.” This week’s racist group to mock? “Indians.” (Dot Indians) Keith does a party for Indians. They are a bit reserved. Chemda has tooth problems. TWO STARS

28. How to Get Pregnant Chemda’s ordeals at the gyno and the dentist. Clown agent rondelle. Getting pregnant from basketball player’s blowjob sperm. Tricks to get pregnant. KATG’s problems with audio. THREE STARS

(I’ll go back and write up my reviews for the early shows at some point.)

1. Paget Brewster. Great interview out of the gate. Wise, funny, so watchable. She talks about how she and Jon Hamm used to be “pilot killers.” FOUR STARS
1. part 2. Elon Motors guy.
2. part 1.
2. part 2.
3. part 1.
3. part 2.
4. part 1.
4. part 2.
5. part 1.
5. part 2.
6. part 1.
6. part 2.

7. part 1. Matthew Perry. Need we say more? This was one of the best KPCS podcasts ever. FOUR STARS
7. part 2. more Matthew Perry. He’s awesome. FOUR STARS
8. part 1. Curt Smith. From Tears for Fears. He wrote a song for Kevin’s show. TWO STARS
8. part 2. Felicia Day. She is wonderful. She talks about Dr. Horrible, and how she made The Guild herself. FOUR STARS
9. part 1. ??
9. part 2. Josh Malina. TWO STARS
10. part 1. Adam Carolla. TWO STARS
10. part 2. Dana Carvey. Fun stuff. Kevin and Dana knew each other back in the day, starting out in standup comedy. A treasure trove of memories. Carvey seems to have difficulty talking about himself. FOUR STARS
11. part 1. Nia Vardalos. How she got “Big Fat Greek Weddng” made. Possibly the best Larry King Game ever. THREE STARS
11. part 2. Ileana Douglas. Much more entertaining than I thought it would be. She knows/knew a lot of people. On making “Action.” THREE STARS
12. Dan Finnerty. He explains “The Dan Show,” and what it’s like to be married to Kathy Najimy. THREE STARS
13. Kevin Smith. Can this man talk? Um, YES, he can. I unsubscribed from “Smodcast” and “Hollywood Babble On” after watching (er, suffering through) this podcast. ZERO STARS
14. Mike Binder. About the movies he’s made, being a director, his new restaurant. THREE STARS
15. Nick Swardson. Eh. He works with Adam Sandler, and does comedy. TWO STARS
16. Jason Lee. Hear all about how Jason used to be a skateboarder before he started acting. Through the whole interview, he never seems really sure why he’s there. TWO STARS
17. Craig Bierko. Bierko gets all hot and sweaty. Talks about his Broadway chops, and how he never really understood what the hell David E. Kelley was having him say on Boston Legal. THREE STARS
18. Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer. I found this extremely annoying as an episode, but people who like their comedy, or people who salivate over improvers finishing each other’s sentences will salivate over this ep. ZERO STARS
19, part 1. Samm Levine. The guest was supposed to be a director, but since Inglorious Basterds just opened, Samm is a convenient choice, and the first ever repeat guest. ONE STAR (for the lame masturbatory vibe)
19, part 2. Steve Agee. Yawn. Steve is BIG. Kevin is not. Fun topic of convo. Not. NO STARS
20. Hank Azaria. They talk poker. They talk voiceover acting. They talk Huff. Good good stuff here. FOUR STARS
21. Seth McFarlane. McFarlane talks about going to the Rhode Island School of Design, working for Disney, and how the mega show Family Guy was saved by the fans. FOUR STARS
22. Rob Corddry. About being a writer on the Daily Show. TWO STARS
23. Michael Gladis and Rich Sommer (from Mad Men). Jon Hamm is not the only hottie from this show. They talk about the early days, the “unicorn” dilemma, how Michael had to audition again after his contract had been signed. And how great it is to work on this show. FOUR STARS
24, part 1. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Stick to comedians, Kev. Wow, does this slow down to molasses! Singers, not his specialty. Struggling with success. What it’s like to win an Oscar. How Glen met Van Morrison. Singing at Eunice Kennedy’s funeral. No mention of: “Are you a couple? Are you not? What’s up with that?” TWO STARS
24, part 2. Jane Campion. Her intro to Cannes. On her filmmaking process. Kevin and Jane on the joy of writing. Jane: “Everybody is extraordinary.” The power of discovering Keats and Fanny’s love letters. “Who wants to tell stories about poets?” Finding the right actors for a role. Shockingly, she likes Bruno and Borat. THREE STARS
25. Kevin Nealon. Nealon’s been wiretapped. Starting as a bartender at comedy clubs. If Kevin Nealon did impressions, he’d do John Malkovich and John Lithgow. How he got the SNL gig. The madness of SNL. His standup special. His book. Blah blah. Nealon about being on Twitter: “I’m always kidding around.” RE autoasphyxiation: “If someone broke into my house, and was strangling me anyway, I might try it.” TWO STARS
26. Lisa Loeb. Kev likes Zombieland. Lisa is with child. She has a Camp Lisa CD. All about Liz and Lisa. Kids stuff. The national anthem vs. “God Bless America.” Pretty boring. Get some Fage yogurt. Pollak: “We’re foodies too.” The intro of “Oprah, Miley, Demi.” Please make it go away. Explaining her recipe Tweets, and how to find them. Talking about how fun it is to sit home and watch TV was the highlight of this ep. You get the idea. Explaining what cale is. You’re rushing to watch this now, aren’t you? Worst outfit ever. (Did anyone tell her it’s a black background?) Keep hearing someone whispering in the background. They must be bored too. She’s making a line of glasses. Cat cafes in Japan. ONE STAR
27, part 1. Eddie Izzard. Kevin loves Canada. Sammy flips off fans. Please stop these guests from wearing black!! Rewatching Chaplin “in the venue it was designed for.” Does comedy age? The Edinburgh Festival as a career path. How “Stomp” influenced him. Going from being a street performer to a stand-up situation. “Your confidence keeps building. Eventually the material catches up with your confidence.” Ancien Regime vs. meritocracy. “Study the Battle of Austerlitz, if you want a comedy career.” How getting NY to buy into a “straight transvestite” would help the whole rest of the country cave to his brilliance. Eric Idle about Izzard: “You’re doing the stand-up version of Python.” How standup is more respected in Britain. How Brits, Mexicans and aliens would all be classified as “aliens” by the US government. A health-care discussion. “How hard did you have to fight to get rid of slavery?” On being a transvestite. On doing international standup and learning the languages. Whether God exists. Dissecting Hitler’s rise. Going from drama to comedy. TV vs. stand-up. On Jack Nicholson’s progress as an actor. “Thinks like an American.” “In the 1700s, I would’ve been on that boat.” Whether or not we landed on the moon. Doing marathons. About Ricky Gervais and Steve Martin. About ending war, starting with the E.U. Seeing the crew in drag. My eyes!!! FOUR STARS

88. Drobotized Leo, Scott, Alex and Andy discuss the technology of the Drobo, how people don’t recognize how powerful the Drobo is. “You’re buying a rack for $500.” Movin to the cloud.

1. Tom Lennon. Annoying only because all the nerds keep butting in. ONE STAR cause it’s the first show.

2. Drew Carey. Drew talks about his secret life in Second Life. FOUR STARS

3. Adam Carolla. Adam really really really doesn’t like Sid and Marty Kroft. He really doesn’t. THREE STARS

4. Rob Huebel. Eh. TWO STARS

5. Jon Hamm. Hear one of the sexiest men on the planet swear like a banshee. Then Jon does too. 😉 FOUR STARS

6. Joel McHale. Drop into the time machine 50 years, when Chris and Joel are still doing versions of the Soup (Web and straight-up). TWO STARS

7. Andy Richter. This was taped pretty much right after the Conan debacle, before the new show started. Bitter? Him bitter? Oh, and you learn why Hispanics like Morrissey (according to Richter). Dissecting Lady Gaga. Nose fucking with Andy Richter. How fetishes begin. Richter: “I don’t need a hairbrush in my ass.” Hardwick: “Kubrickian sex club where people are nose fucking each other.” Fat stories from the set of “Arrested Development.” How Andy and Conan first met. TWO STARS

WTF with Marc Maron

1. Jeff Ross
2. Jim Earl/Matt
3. Patton Oswalt
4. David Feldman
5. John Oliver/
6. David Cross
7. Nick Griffin
8. Caroline Rhea
9. Jim Gaffigan
10. Sam Lipsyte
11. Todd Barry/
12. Nick Kroll
13. Jerry Stahl/
14. Steve Agee/
15. LIVE
16. Eugene Mirm…
17. Listener Email
18. Al Madrigal
19. Jack Boulwa
20. Zach Galifanakis
21. New Mexico…
22. Doug Stanhope
23. Wyatt Cenac
24. LIVE at UCB
25. Janeane Garafolo
26. Jen Kirkman
27. Jon Benjamin
28. Eddie Brill/
29. Andy Kindler
30. Kyle Kinane
31. Steve Ranna
32. Todd Glass/
33. Sarah Silverman
34. Dana DeArmond
35. Dave Pullano
36. Howard Kremer
37. Bill Burr
38. Matt Braugher
39. Chelsea Peretti
40. Dave Attell
41. Jimmy Pardo
42. Seattle Roadtrip
43. Antonia Cran…
44. John Caparulo
45. Matt Walsh/
46. W. Kamau Bell/
47. Margaret Cho
48. Brendon Small
49. Kumail Nanji
50. LIVE: Ladies Night from UCB
51. Glenn Wool
52. James Wolcott
53. All-Star Super…
54. Vegas/Ron…
55. Rob Delaney
56. Scotland/Do…
57. Jon Dore/Gr…
58. El Chupacabra/
59. Robert Hawkins
60. Bob Odenkirk
61. Dave Hill
62. Myq Kaplan/
63. Jim Short/
64. Road Trip with Eddie
65. Scott Aukerman
66. Brendon Burns
67. Robin Williams
68. Steven Pearl
69. LIVE in Portland
70. Dave Anthony
71. David Wain/
72. Maria Bamford
73. Jim Norton
74. Tracy McMilan
75. Carlos Mencia**
76. Willie Barcen…
77. Moshe Kash…
78. Dylan Brody
79. Ben Stiller
80. Ireland
81. Tig Notaro
82. The Sklar Brothers
83. Jim Jeffries
84. Marga Gomez
85. Dane Cook/
86. Bring the Rock
87. Daniel Handler
88. Nick Swardson
89. Andy Richter
90. Joe Wagner/
91. Matt Besser/
92. Paul Provenza
93. Dana Gould
94. Mike Birbiglia*
95. Patrice O’Neal
96. Judah Friedlander
97. Moshe Kasher
98. Stewart Lee
99. London
100. Episode 100
101. Natasha Legero…
102. Jimmy Pardo
103. Judd Apatow, part 1**
104. Judd Apatow, part 2**
105. Thomas Lennon
106. Whitney Cummings
107. Patton Oswalt
108. Jesse Thorn
109. Bob Saget

You can get previous episodes if you get his iTunes app and buy them (sorta). You can also buy live eps at his store. I like the live eps WAY less, for the record. But for those who want COMEDY from a comedy podcast, these are the way to go.

110. LIVE David Cross, Michael Showalter, et al. Eh.

Remembrance: Robert Schimmel and Greg Giraldo So sad, but so poignant. A remembrance by a friend. Beautifully done. FOUR STARS

111. Louis CK, part 1. Louis talks about his early days, and gets emotional at the birth of his daughter. Poignant and real. A keeper. FOUR STARS

112. Louis CK, part 2. Friends talk, friends make up, friends vow to keep in touch. And Louis CK talks about his current projects. And the reason he writes, edits, acts, directs them. FOUR STARS

113. Ray Romano and Mike Royce. The interesting thing to me about this ep is what you can do on cable that you can’t do on network TV. How gambling is a current in Romano’s life that is now reflected in his Men of a Certain Age character. THREE STARS

114. Jonathan Ames Novelist who talks about some Spaulding Gray revelations. Wrestling with a Mangina. The most emotionally detached guest so far. Ames: “I wanna hide. I don’t wanna put myself out there anymore.” He writes for Bored to Death. Ames: “We’re middle class clowns with the luxury of trying to figure their brains out.” Ames: “I tend to be more oral.” God bless the men who love cunnilingus. Some boxing stuff. Ames: “That is our job. To make people laugh, to feel a little less alone.” Some talk about Bored to Death. Ames: “People don’t really pay attention too much to other people.” TWO STARS

115. LIVE at the Vancouver Comedy Fest. Racist comedy. Oh fun. A deep discussion of the “N” word. Giving someone pudding. Unrated.

116. Sarah Silverman Marc is in Dallas. He marvels at the “Texas fat.” “Death of a Salesman” according to Maron. The plethora of Christian radio in Texas. He ponders what George W. Bush is doing right now. Maybe dropping by? There are pineapples on the comforter. Talking with Sarah Silverman from her Beverly Hills apartment. “I’m not for everyone.” On doing commercials. “I’m hated more than loved.” They look at her book, that Marc is in. How Sarah’s dad looks a lot like some of her boyfriends. “Fuck the comedian until you get funny.” Whether or not she was the defining moment in Dave Atell’s career. About her show cancellation. Sarah’s rabbi sister. Sarah’s never been to Israel. “I’d rather watch Law and Order at home.” About whether or not they want to have kids. “Get kids at the shelter. There’s way more kids at the shelter than dogs.” About letting a joke evolve over a year. “Book people are buffoons, just like Hollywood.” “Remember when we had a band? Me, you, Todd and Louie? For like a day?” TWO STARS

117. Ira Glass Originally scheduled to be a doctor, Ira Glass found NPR and radio. Yet, he marvels at Marc’s ability to be emotionally honest on the mic, as much as Marc marvels at Ira’s “singular voice.” Marc talks about how talking into a mic allows one to be more honest than on a stand-up stage. MM: “A lot of my struggles (on mic) is me becoming a better person. It’s an experiment in humility.” Ira: “A story is always an answer to the question, ‘How should I live my life?’ …And that’s the structure of the podcast.” MM: “By my natural intensity, (I frighten people).” Ira: “Some stories are not inherently interesting.” Marc’s “This American Life” story. Ira: “Most radio stories work best, if where they lead you to is some thought you have about the world.” On being self-involved. MM: “When we are talking to another individual, if we are listening, we are not self-involved.” FOUR STARS


Survivor Has Found God… and Social Media

When people talk these days about reality TV, the images of Snooki making out with a girl (both drunk), or loud housewives screaming at each other in restaurants probably come to mind. But quietly, oh so quietly, the show that started it all is taking this whole concept in another direction.

Let’s for a minute revisit the old direction. Survivor started out eons ago now, with conniving, back-stabbing Richard Hatch winning its first season (you remember him, he later ended up in jail for tax evasion). Throughout its seasons, it has pretty much been thus, too. Lying, cheating, backstabbing, blindsiding people who trust you. That’s how you win.

But its strength, right from that very first episode, has been in listening. In letting people do what they do, and letting things happen. That first outburst by Sue at Tribal Council still gives me chills if I think about it. People are funny, and people will surprise you.

That is really what has kept Survivor at the top of its game all these years, and is, frankly, why Jeff Probst keeps scooping up those Emmys every year (well-deserved). They let people do their thing and they capture it on camera.

But something really significant happened last season. While there had been many backstabbing moments captured on film, this was different. These last couple of seasons of Survivor have added a new wrinkle called Redemption Island. Where you aren’t voted out immediately, you kind of go to a holding area, to fight one last battle for your survival.

The brilliant thing about this new thing is that the Survivors who get sent there are pretty much removed from all the pre-planned and produced hoopla going on with the others. They are pretty much on their own, for days or weeks sometimes.

Matt was the contestant who changed the path of Survivor. You see, Matt believed in God. Strongly. And you’d see him on Redemption Island, getting spiritual, connecting with God, then winning all these challenges. Survivor producers may not have originally planned it that way, but it turned out to be great TV.

Sometimes competitors would get to hang out for a bit, before they had to do battle. Such a thing happened with Matt and an opponent from the opposite team. They were on opposing teams on Survivor, but in the team of religion, they were on the same side. They shared Bible verses with each other, and prayed before their battle.

And here was the moment, as stunning a Survivor moment as that first outburst by Sue when she described Richard as a rat. One competitor on Redemption Island lost. Matt was left behind to fight another later. As the competitor left, he turned and gave his Bible to Matt. “You need it more than me right now,” he said. It was stunning, heart-wrenching. Poignant. Real.

Ratings gold.

And also, brought up a whole new question, one which had been bounced around, in some contestants here or there through the seasons, but usually played down. What if there was a different kind of Survivor? What if you picked people who had a very strong faith, of whatever kind? People who might play Survivor with integrity instead of the old, played-out backstabbing mold? What if you quietly, but surely, looked at the various contestants to see how they make it through their days? What types of prayers do they share? When do they call on God, and how?

And most importantly, is the structure of Survivor such that you cannot win without cheating, lying and back-stabbing? It is, after all these seasons, a thrilling question. A compelling spin on an old game.

We are two episodes into this new season of Survivor: South Pacific. Another recent new wrinkle: contestants from past seasons are brought back. Last season, two “villains” returned: Rob Mariano (who ended up winning) and Russell Hantz (possibly the most hated and evil manipulative player ever). This season, a new direction. The two brought back were known for their spirituality.

Cheerful loving Ozzy, and “Coach,” who was primarily known for meditating and doing yoga on the beach. Right out of the gate, both are molding their teams, not through sneaky manipulation (lying to this one or that), but by trying to function through integrity. Being truthful to their tribemates.

In a really bizarre wrinkle (it’s almost like a parallel-universe Survivor), evil Russell Hantz’s nephew is on the show. Except, he’s the exact opposite. He quotes Bible verse, and gets so troubled when he tells a lie that he has to blurt out the truth, sometimes at very inopportune moments. He is physically struggling with lust in Ep. 2. He endeavors to get the object of his lust booted out, since “I’m a married man. I can’t have her around.” It’s fascinating.

There are hints that in the next episode, he’s struggling with the good and bad sides of his nature.

And it’s not just these three. Ozzy, whom contestant Dawn had called “Bob Marley” just a bit earlier for his free spirit, calms Dawn down when she freaks out a bit, after realizing the tough conditions of actual Survivor. Jeff Probst (whom I take for a very spiritual man himself) always says that Survivor will “kick your ass.” Sometimes it takes awhile to see this, as contestants get emaciated and pass out, or quit. Sometimes it shows up right away.

Dawn, whom I love, cause I can relate to her so much, seems very tightly wound. Very much in control in her normal life. Suddenly in an out-of-control situation. You can imagine. But there, in a deeply spiritual moment, Ozzy the veteran, stops what he’s doing, to counsel Dawn. Tells her (what is obvious to us) that she’s “got what it takes.” (I think she’s got what it takes to win, too.)

And really, the truth of Survivor always has been that you have to push yourself to limits you didn’t know you could get through. There was a moment last season, where two tough talking chickies pulled all sorts of shenanigans, but one week of solid rain brought them to their knees. They both quit.

Since then, new rules have been put into place about the whole quitting thing. It was a Survivor disgrace. To say nothing of the thievery and pushing down people with one leg. It got very nasty. Maybe this is a karmic way for Survivor to get its good mojo back.

Other cast members have their own methods of religion or connection with the Universe. One calls upon her Native American roots, and prays to their gods. Another, a gay policeman, talks about how now he “has nothing to lose.” Each, in their own way, seems to be on a spiritual quest of some kind.

Of course, TV is about conflict, so amidst all these do-gooders, you have to have some evil. We have a poker playing pot seller (medical), a scheming selfish shrewish woman (who’s already been voted out), and maybe a couple of others. But it really looks like this season, the good guys are going to win. Or at least those connected to God. You really should watch.


In other Survivor news, host Jeff Probst continues to push the envelope with social media. Last season, he simultaneously Tweeted to first the East Coast, then the West Coast, as each’s episode aired. It was wonderful. So far this time, he is only Tweeting for one show, but he’s also adding an element called “Tout,” where he can post video segments (answering fan questions during the commercials). It is the most effective use of social media from any show I’ve seen on TV. Great way to get the fans involved–and watching in real time.

All great reasons to tune in to Survivor: South Pacific. It’s going to be a good season, God told me so.

“Social Network” prism as multifaceted as Zuckerberg himself

Two things are the most fascinating after watching “The Social Network,” easily the most fascinating movie of this year. One: most of the people involved with making this movie don’t have a Facebook page themselves.

Two: People can see the exact same movie and come away with totally different viewpoints on who did what. Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter, wasn’t kidding when he likened this movie to “Rashomon.” It is an incredible script, one that is sure to garner Sorkin a long-overdue Oscar. It is as easy to understand if you are a longtime Facebook user, or never even looked at Facebook in your life.

It is a machination of plot, spinning around the transcripts of real court cases. Friend against friend, classmate against classmate. And yet, it speaks to the quintessential question of our techie age: how can we create a cool app/product/website that everyone is going to love and use and make us rich in the process?

What a strange dichotomy that someone who seems to have such difficulty making friends creates the most social product out there.

My friend viewed this movie and came away with an image of Mark Zuckerberg as a “manipulative asshole.” I saw the same movie and saw, finally, the whole story laid in front of me. Saw how Zuckerberg pretty much had to do what he did. I don’t fault him at all, and I was rooting for him. In fact, in finally paying the amounts in question, he did right by his friends. Saverin is back on the Facebook masthead. All is now right with the world.

And just to be safe, he donated to some New Jersey schools on the day the movie opened. No, I see Zuckerberg as a good guy here.

Incredible director David Fincher also excels. The movie is stunningly shot. Harvard has never looked so good. Jesse Eisenberg, in the lead, does a fantastic job of walking us through the story. His best friend, Eduardo Saverin, played by the new Spiderman, Andrew Garfield, really makes you feel the pain he’s going through. Justin Timberlake is just perfect as Sean Parker, creator of Napster.

It’s like a multi-faceted prism. You can see each side clearly, as well as how they are all battling to be most beautiful, or in this case, most right. Wars of class and culture come into play. And out of all this morass, we have the incredible Facebook.

If there is anything faulting this movie it is Sorkin’s lack of knowledge about Facebook. And the fact that really, its key battle: the privacy wars, was completely neglected in this story. Maybe they are saving that for “Social Network 2: Privacy.” I can only hope they have someone who really knows the Internet writing about it this time.

Cause here’s the thing. Nora Ephron got it wrong too, when she wrote the almost instantly dated, “You’ve Got Mail.” It’s different when you live here. When you live on Facebook, online, on Twitter. There are nuances and details that it’s obvious this writer, though brilliant, missed though he combed through mounds of testimony and facts, and got an incredible story fashioned out of it. He missed the heartbeat of Facebook.

This is Facebook basically from the genesis of the idea until it starts branching out into other countries. Then the storyline drops the Facebook part, and focuses on Zuckerberg battling the court cases. By which time, he’s already a billionaire. You’re just not really sure why, if you aren’t already on Facebook.

I can just imagine the Twitter movie. Sigh. I heard Craig Ferguson (who used to mock Twitter himself until he actually got on it and used it) talking to two celebrities this week (on the same show). Both celebrities used the tired old canards: “why would anyone care that I’m getting a haircut? or eating a sandwich? or blah blah blah…” Obviously, they don’t get it. It’s like that with this Facebook movie too.

And, I’m sad to say, that’s what keeps it, for me, anyway, from being one of the best movies ever. It’s like Sorkin was so busy making all the partners dance that he kinda forgot what the party was there for. I’ll bet, if you asked him right now, he couldn’t even explain why Facebook’s growth was so incredible (and continues) and MySpace got huge and stopped growing. That’s pretty key to this story, and would’ve served him well as a screenwriter.

So much of the story is built around the “college campuses” idea, it doesn’t even really branch out into when other people besides colleges started using it. Or why. Why moms and grandmoms are suddenly on it. There is really a deep rich story there, too.

But for now, if we want the Facebook genesis story, this is it. I think it’s a wonderful film. I think it’s going to win the Best Picture Oscar and an Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Aaron Sorkin, and it’s deserved. Go see it!

Why I Continue to Watch Reality Shows, Or You Can’t Fight the Future

When the first season of Survivor (the very first reality show) started, my friends here in Hollywood who write shows for a living loudly proclaimed that reality shows were taking dollars out of the writers’ pockets, and therefore, they (insert footstomp here) were not watching them! Surprisingly, many of them still have this attitude (in Survivor’s 20th season).

This week, I read an article which stated that MILLIONS of people who lost their jobs in this economic crisis were just simply never getting them back. These two items are related.

Simply put, the world is changing. You have two choices: Change with it, or die. Seriously.

You can say all day long that scripted television is better than reality television (and I would agree with that), but that won’t make the networks stop putting cheaper programming in place of it. All writers everywhere can stop watching it, but does that make American Idol less successful? No, it just makes those writers out of touch.

People can argue about how pervasive the Internet is, and how really, they still love to curl up with their favorite newspaper on Sundays, but is that going to stop the iPad from becoming a dominant way to read books or what used to be printed content? No.

So you can stomp your feet and cling to your mainstream media and outdated jobs, or you can evolve and evolve now. The Internet is where it’s at, folks, like it or not. People want media that’s better, faster and on their phone. Whatever that is, and whoever provides it.

As much as big media hates this reality, people can find just as much enjoyment (you heard me, I said JUST as much) from a YouTube video of a cat playing with yarn, or a podcast created in someone’s garage, as with whatever the Big Media is pumping at us currently.

Face it, principled writers: Dancing with the Stars is glitzy and glamourous and fun to watch. Survivor has some of the best location shooting and underwater photography on television. The Amazing Race travels all over the world, so you see cultures you’d never otherwise see. Every hugely popular reality show has good points.

This is our world now. Computerized, mechanized, at your fingertips 24/7. That is our entertainment. Those are our jobs. Come and get ’em. Or at least, quit your bitching about it. It’s not going away.

Kanye’s Stunt Was Staged, Or Who Are We Kidding, WME?

Let’s look at the facts for a minute here.

Kanye West gets up on stage and interrupts an acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards by Taylor Swift.

The audience boos, the country is in an uproar (it’s all Twitter can talk about for awhile). There are rumors of him “being drunk” (as if that makes it ok or understandable).

The next day, everyone apologizes to everyone, and we go on.

Except this. It was fake. And here’s why.

Jay Leno, whom NBC is banking a heck of a lot on with his new 10 pm gig, just happens to have his first show right after the VMAs. Funny. His guest is Kanye West. Huge ratings.

Two days later, Taylor Swift is on The View, also talking about the VMA debacle. Also huge ratings.

Except this. BOTH guests were booked prior to the VMAs.

And, further, both guests are clients of agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) Entertainment. Coincidence? I think not.

Remember that Bruno/Eminem debacle, which later turned out to be staged? Both of them, also clients of WME.

Now here’s the thing.

Do these people actually think this kind of media manipulation works? Obviously they do. They did it with Bruno/Eminem and came back for more for the VMAs.

They don’t, apparently, realize that we are in a different age now. The age of transparency. Where a person is accountable for their actions. Further, where things can be checked with a few keystrokes.

The end result of all of this, to my eyes, is that everyone looks bad.

Eminem. Bruno. Kanye. Taylor Swift.

But most especially the charlatans at William Morris Endeavor, who use these old school tricks when we are in new times. Shame on you!