Spend a Couple Hours »Blue Jam

Surreal Radio Comedy

If you know Chris Morris, you probably know him from the precursor to The Daily Show, The Day Today or from his more extreme and controversial Brass Eye. While the epically strange radio show Blue Jam has bits of that off the wall take on real life humour (a woman describing organized baby fights for example) this is a far, far more somber and surreal trip than faux documentary tends to offer up.

I received this well sought after (well, among a small subsection of American Chris Morris fans) in a very serendipitous way. I had stumbled across its existence while researching Snuff Box and no more than a few weeks later, our dear friend Matthew (who often has cult and rare pop culture goodies to share) had it ready for my hot little hand without me ever mentioning it once.

The sometimes hypnotic, constantly inappropriate, and poetically absurd show, of which there are hours and hours of, is nearly indescribable, which I realize is extremely lazy to say, especially when you are trying to describe it to others but there you are. It also, particularly if you are already on the darker side of moody, puts you in one hell of a head space. It is hilarious in its own way but I’d be extremely weary of who you might recommend it to. While it grows on me more and more, I think this could be one of the most brilliant finds I’ve had in a while, it is beyond being an acquired taste.

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Posted on March 7, 2010

Laughs »Today in the Past

Fake Information Podcast

Former professional literary agent John Hodgman‘s wealth of false facts and made-up histories always make me laugh; his brief daily podcast, Today in the Past, is more of the same… which is one of the only instances where that is a very, very good thing.

Make sure to read excellent tomes The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require, which the podcast was created to promote.

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Posted on January 31, 2010

Spend a Couple Minutes »Suscribe to the WTF with Marc Maron podcast

WTF podcast with Marc Maronat the iTunes Store

You don’t have to send him any money, and you don’t have to use the justcoffee.coop coupon code he keeps talking up, but this weekly, hour long podcast by comics and for comics is worth listening to. It’s true, Maron himself is a bit much and yes, he does comes on strong (though you’ll get used to him soon eventually), and yes, there are definitely times you won’t feel like listening to him talk about how he told off a jerk in the airport for lacking even the most basic human decency, but once you become familiar with Maron’s point of view and wrap your head around the show’s core concept: an angry, former alcoholic (he’s also divorced) comedian interviews some of today’s most popular comedians – some former alcoholics themselves – with an occasionally contemptuous tone and a constant self-absorption that’s so real and unnerving it cannot be faked, I think you’ll really like it.

A steady stream of really, really funny people including Patton Oswalt (whose success Maron is almost okay with), Zach Galifiakis (always charming), Sam Lipsyte (author of the novel Home Land), Jerry Stahl (who, next to founder George Dawes Green, is the best story teller I’ve heard on the Moth in awhile), David Cross, Maria Bamford (who I never really appreciated until Maron had her on the show and I took in her performance in long-form), Eugene Mirman, and Matthew get into really entertaining conversations mainly about themselves…

It may take a couple of episodes, but it’s definitely worth getting in to.

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Posted on December 6, 2009

Spend a Couple Hours »New Yorker Fiction Podcasts

My love affair with yuppie radio just keeps on going. The New Yorker Fiction Podcast, available free from iTunes, is delightful: every month a celebrated author picks a story from the magazine's archives, reads it, then discusses with fiction editor Deborah Treisman.

It requires an uninterrupted chunk of dedicated listening time, which can sometimes be hard if work is busy, but it's worth trying if you can find the time.

So far I've been captivated by Joshua Ferris (author of Then We Came to the End) reading George Saunders's “Adams”; Jonathan Franzen (author of The Corrections) reading short, funny pieces by Veronica Geng and Ian Frazier; A.M. Homes (author of The Safety of Objects) reading my beloved Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” and Richard Ford reading John Cheever's “The Reunion”.

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Posted on September 7, 2009

Spend a Couple Hours »Radio Lab

Did you ever have a great teacher that just made their subject fascinating? That's what listening to Radio Lab with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich is like. With their goofy wit and accessible info, I find myself amazed by science and actually learning more things about certain subjects that I remember than when I was in school. (I only had one memorable teacher, Mr Nichols, and it probably helped us to remember what he said because we all had crushes on him).

I'm listening to their archives and can already highly recommend the programs on sleep, stress, and sperm (that's three separate episodes by the way). If you've exhausted your This American Lives and have a curiosity in the mysteries of science, this entertaining show will be a god send to you.

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Posted on August 3, 2009

Spend a Couple Hours »This American Life Live

tal liveI'm so very excited to see This American Life live on the 23rd and I want to give everyone who wasn't able to get tickets, or doesn't live here, plenty of heads up because even though the show's sold out. you can still see it live, kind of, at your local movie theatre. From the TAL site:

Ira Glass will host an actual episode of the radio program, performed onstage by some of our favorite contributors. Dan Savage, Starlee Kine, and Mike Birbiglia will tell stories. David Rakoff and Dave Hill will conduct a ?pecial investigation.' Plus a new cartoon by Chris Ware, additional visuals by Arthur Jones, and a very special appearance by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! The performance will last around two hours. We're going to capture the whole thing with a bunch of HD cameras, and send it live* to movie theatres all over the country.

So get tickets now, it's showing at a bunch of theaters here in the city, including the big one at 14th Street.

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Posted on April 13, 2009