March 22, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• Reminder: Twins Daily is having a get-together Saturday afternoon to watch the Twins-Rays spring training game on television. I'll be there and you should too. Details here.

• They did pretty well casting the show, but seeing the other names on the original call sheet for "The Office" is very interesting. Adam Scott and Mary Lynn Rajskub as Jim and Pam would have been fun.

Zach Lowe's article on Grantland about the next big thing in basketball analysis is fascinating.

• My pick for the best team in the American League probably won't surprise anyone.

• I saw John Mulaney at the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown last weekend and he was incredible. An hour of non-stop laughs, mostly from stories rather than one-liners, and the 500-person crowd couldn't possibly have been more charmed by him. He seamlessly mixed in some funny stuff about Minnesota, coaxed a ton of laughs out of talking to a random audience member halfway through the set, and was basically just perfect. And his opener, Carmen Lynch, was really good too.

• Lynch is coming to Acme Comedy Company this summer to headline her own show, where she'll do closer to an hour instead of the 15 minutes she did Saturday. I'm already looking forward to it. Oh, and here's a picture she took of the audience from backstage (I'm the good-looking one).

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we talked about Kyle Gibson's assignment to Triple-A and whether our bar-buying idea might be helped by Kickstarter.

• Speaking of using Kickstarter to fund a new bar opening, apparently it's already worked locally.

• Life is tough for Jon Hamm. Poor guy must be so whatever the opposite of embarrassed is.

• On a related note (sort of), "March Mad Men" is just a good use of the internet:

Every time I watch a video like that I can't stop thinking about how long it took someone to make.

• Old friend Pat Neshek talked about what life is like six months after losing his newborn son.

Cory Cove, who goes mostly by "Sludge" on KFAN, won a poker tournament worth $50,000.

• Thanks to everyone who submitted mailbag questions via Twitter. Here are all the answers.

• Speaking of comedy shows I'm looking forward to attending, Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi are coming to Minnesota to do a live "Throwing Shade" podcast at Lee's Liquor Lounge on June 27. I wrote about "Throwing Shade" as part of my guide to podcasts last year. It's great, they're great, and I'll bet the live show here will be great.

• Hey guys, did you know "bloggers are where it's at"?

Nick Offerman brought out the big guns to promote his new movie.

• Time-lapse NBA boxscores are pretty damn cool.

• What happens when a Diamondbacks minor leaguer interacts with comedian Rob Delaney on Twitter? Outing yourself as anti-gay marriage and the type of person who has to tell someone that you're unfollowing them on Twitter is quite a combo.

• I hope his one-scene cameo on "Girls" reminds everyone how great Colin Quinn is. I'd love to see a "Girls" spinoff starring Quinn and Alex Karpovsky. And maybe Amy Schumer too.

• I wrote a Royals season preview on HardballTalk and then got wonderful replies on Twitter.

• Oh man, the 80s were crazy.

• Thunderous dunks and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are two of my favorite things, so I loved this:

Jason Terry misses his uncle Charles, basically.

Miguel Sano was in the Twins' lineup against the Yankees last night and had two hits.

• I haven't listened yet, but I'm really hoping this new Beyonce song "Bow Down" is a Westside Connection cover.

Alex Speier of WEEI.com wrote an interesting article about how Alex Meyer almost ended up with the Red Sox. Instead he's the Twins fifth-best prospect.

• Another look at catcher defense that doesn't show Ryan Doumit in a very good light.

• I really enjoyed Jeff Garlin's chat with Will Ferrell (and the Zach Galifianakis cameo).

Lachlan Patterson was a great guest on this week's "Stop Podcasting Yourself" with Graham Clark and Dave Shumka, which has emerged as my favorite podcast.

• I finally saw "Zero Dark Thirty" and thought the first two hours were mostly mediocre and the last 30 minutes were excellent. My favorite part of the whole movie was Andy Dwyer playing horseshoes and my second favorite part was this face. Also, props to the casting director for going with Dwyer, Coach Taylor, Michael Dawson, Pete Eckhart, and Tony Soprano. That's some good taste in television if nothing else.

• Netflix recommendation: "The Trip" starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.

• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "Craig Calcaterra Minnesota"
- "Elliptical workouts for beer drinkers"
- "Jared Burton girlfriend"
- "J.J. Hardy dyes his hair"
- "Guys wearing black socks"
- "Emmy Rossum Mets game"
- "Coach Taylor got fat in Fargo"
- "Had sex with Jack White"
- "John Bonus"
- "How much does Louis C.K. weigh?"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Pistol" by Dustin Kensrue:

November 2, 2012

A podcast-obsessed podcaster’s guide to podcasts

I've always loved talk radio. As a kid I stayed up late listening to nationally syndicated sports talk and as a teenager I was so obsessed with Howard Stern that I recorded his shows on cassette while at school, later paying a New Yorker to send me tapes when he went off the air locally. As an adult I've been lucky enough to do quite a bit of radio, including co-hosting a show on KFAN, but sitting in a studio with a mic in front of me never ceases being a thrill.

Podcasts have taken that to another level, as both a listener and a talker. I do a weekly podcast of my own with co-host John Bonnes called "Gleeman and The Geek" that's been an amazing experience for 65 episodes and averages 7,500-10,000 listeners per show. Podcasts also provide the daily soundtrack to my work life, as I subscribe to more than 40 of them and listen non-stop while writing about baseball for NBCSports.com.

All of which is a long way of saying that I listen to an absurd, perhaps even unhealthy number of podcasts on a regular basis and people who read this blog or follow me on Twitter know that I also talk about podcasts constantly, recommending good episodes and pointing out new shows I've discovered. With that in mind I thought it would be worthwhile to create a guide to my favorite podcasts, so I've highlighted 15 that are absolutely worth checking out.


"WTF With Marc Maron"

I'm not sure if "WTF" is the most downloaded podcast, but it's definitely among the leaders and can probably lay claim to being the most influential podcast. Marc Maron started the show in 2009 after being fired from radio and it has turned into a 300-plus episode collection of long-form, probing, occasionally confrontational interviews with the biggest names in comedy. And in the process Maron has found the following his emotional, honest stand-up comedy deserves.

In a relatively short time Maron has become so synonymous with interesting, revealing chats that he's constantly referenced on other podcasts and many comedians seem to view going on his show as a career achievement. If you have a favorite comedian and want to know their story or what they're like in real life, there's no better place than the "WTF" archives. And along the way Maron will probably become one of your favorite comedians too.


"The Best Show On WFMU"

Tom Scharpling predates podcasting by hosting his radio show on an independent New Jersey station since 2000, but like many listeners I know "The Best Show on WFMU" as a podcast. It's hard to explain Scharpling's brilliance because his weekly three-hour show is unlike any other. He interacts with callers, monologues about music and pop culture, has comedians and musicians as guests, and does lengthy sketches with an always in-character Jon Wurster.

Scharpling's tag line for the show is "three hours of mirth, music, and mayhem" and that's just about right. It took me a while to get into the show initially, because the world he's created is often so absurd and the lines separating people from characters isn't always so clear, but now it might be my favorite podcast. Wurster's characters are great, the callers are great, the guests are great, the music is great, and Scharpling is a spectacular puppet-master and comedic genius.


"Stop Podcasting Yourself"

Here's how good "Stop Podcasting Yourself" with Graham Clark and Dave Shumka is: I didn't discover it until March and yet have already plowed through their 240-episode archive. Friends and comedians from Vancouver who make for a perfect odd couple, Clark and Shumka come across as effortlessly hilarious and endearingly silly. And they do it largely without big-name guests, relying on friends from the Canadian comedy scene who're inevitably great.


"My Brother, My Brother, And Me"

My latest "consume their entire archive like a crazy person" discovery, "My Brother, My Brother, And Me" is an advice show hosted by brothers Travis McElroy, Griffin McElroy, and Justin McElroy. They field questions from listeners, some serious and some not, and dispense mostly ridiculous and silly advice as a conduit for comedy. As you'd expect from three brothers their rapport is pretty amazing and few podcasts get me actually laughing out loud like MBMBAM.


"Doug Loves Movies"

One of the first podcasts I stumbled upon and still a weekly listen, Doug Benson brings on three guests each episode to chat (ostensibly about movies) and then play a name-that-movie contest called "The Leonard Maltin Game" in front of a live audience. I often enjoy the pre-game chatter more than the game itself, but Benson is always great and books tons of well known comedians, actors, and directors on what's basically the world's most laid back game show.


"Throwing Shade"

Erin Gibson was consistently one of my favorite guests on other people's podcasts, so I was thrilled when she started a podcast of her own called "Throwing Shade" about a year ago. Along with co-host Bryan Safi they discuss pop culture, politics, and their personal lives, going from farcical to serious and back again without missing a beat. My crush on Gibson has reached epic proportions at this point--she's a must-follow on Twitter--and Safi is a fantastic foil.


"Fan Graphs Audio"

Along with Bill Simmons' show "Fan Graphs Audio" is one of two sports podcasts to which I'm subscribed, although I listen solely for Carson Cistulli's weekly chat with Dayn Perry that has nothing to do with sports. I was once a guest on Cistulli's show and loved it, but my mom listened and offered this review: "I don't understand what's funny about it." That's probably the perfect tag line for the Cistulli-Perry chats and I find them to be more or less perfection.


"Jordan, Jesse, Go!"

"Stop Podcasting Yourself," "Throwing Shade," and "My Brother, My Brother, And Me" are all part of the Maximum Fun network run by Jesse Thorn, who hosts an interview show called "Bullseye" that can be heard on public radio. I discovered Thorn by way of "Jordan, Jesse, Go!," his other, far less formal podcast with co-host Jordan Morris. Thorn's radio polish and podcast goofiness is a wonderful mix, Morris is an excellent running mate, and their guests are top notch.


"Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast"

Bill Burr is an incredible, well-respected stand-up comedian and in addition to being really funny his podcast is also unique in that it's just him. He occasionally has guests, including his hilarious girlfriend, but 95 percent of the episodes are simply Burr talking/ranting for an hour. I realize that doesn't sound particularly appealing and in most cases it wouldn't be, but Burr makes it work and the more podcasts I listen to the more impressed I am by his ability to entertain solo.


"How Was Your Week"

I could not possibly be more charmed by a woman than I am by Julie Klausner. Her book was a great read, her tweets are 140-character gold, and "How Was Your Week" is a must-listen. She opens each episode with a monologue that somehow manages to seem off the cuff while being way too amusing to actually be improvised, and then welcomes one or two guests, often from totally different walks of life, for half-hour chats that would best be described as delightful.


"The Long Shot"

Sean Conroy is the capable, sarcastically funny host, Eddie Pepitone is the grizzled comedy veteran who's equal parts lovable and bitter, Amber Kenny is the fresh-faced, sharp-witted optimist, and Jamie Flam is the awkwardly amusing punching bag. Together they form an unlikely but incredibly likeable quartet, sharing tales of complaints and triumphs in the Los Angeles comedy world before welcoming a guest to what is, if nothing else, the most crowded podcast.


"Who Charted?"

"Who Charted?" is a rare podcast with a truly unique format, as co-hosts Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack use charts as a jumping off point for hour-long chats with guests. They often stray from the format, sometimes hilariously so, but the ability to come back to a discussion about the No. 1 song in the country or the week's highest-grossing movie keeps things rolling smoothly along with their great chemistry and playful humor. Oh, and Vilaysack is a Minnesotan.


"Totally Laime"

Hosted by Elizabeth Laime and her husband/sidekick "psychic" Andy Rosen, the mix of silliness, sweetness, and occasionally raunchy humor found in "Totally Laime" is hard to resist. Each show features a guest, usually a comedian or actor, but the hour-long episodes definitely seem more like chats among friends than traditional interviews. Laime is consistently funny and charming while encouraging the guests to go as far down the silliness path as they want.


"The Joe Rogan Experience"

Joe Rogan is a stand-up comedian, actor, reality television host, and UFC analyst, but his best work might be as a podcaster. Multiple times per week he and sidekick/podcast network kingpin Brian Redban welcome a guest for the longest of long-form conversation, often lasting 2-3 hours. Rogan is never short on interesting stories or weird theories and seems to genuinely love digging deep with people, which makes for consistently entertaining episodes.


"Comedy Bang Bang"

Scott Aukerman is runs Earwolf, which is home to "Who Charted?" and "Totally Laime," among other podcasts. Before all that he hosted his own show, which features interviews with comedians, actors, and musicians mixed with crazy, improvised sketches in which characters interact with those same (real) guests. It's so good and so weird that it became a television show on IFC, but the "Comedy Bang Bang" podcast remains as fun as when I started listening a few years ago.


Just missed the cut: "Your Mom's House" - "Fitzdog Radio" - "The J.V. Club" - "The B.S. Report" - "You Had To Be There" - "The Todd Glass Show" - "Professor Blastoff" - "The Champs" - "Weird Adults" - "Nerdist" - "This Feels Terrible" - "You Made It Weird" - "Bullseye" - "Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend" - "The Adam Carolla Show" - "Dave Hill's Podcasting Incident" - "Making It With Riki Lindhome" - "Call Chelsea Peretti" - "Pop My Culture" - "Fixing Joe" - "You Know What Dude" - "Mental Illness Happy Hour" - "Sklarbro Country"

And if you haven't already, please check out my podcast: "Gleeman and The Geek"


July 6, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• I was on KFAN today with Paul Allen and Paul Charchian, and it was probably the most fun I've ever had on the radio. We talked Twins and shower sex, obviously. Download it here.

Kevin Costner's little daughter in Field of Dreams played Louis C.K.'s girlfriend in the season premiere of Louie, blowing my mind in the process.

• Speaking of which, C.K.'s lengthy, unedited chat with Bill Simmons made a great podcast.

• I'm pretty sure this article is saying that picking Mila Kunis as Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com makes me a great person women should be lining up to date.

Kris Humphries probably thought he'd never be on TMZ again once Kim Kardashian dumped him, but he was wrong. Congrats?

• No word yet on whether smoking this stuff will make you want to eat tasteless donuts.

• News that Brandon Roy is coming out of retirement to sign a two-year, $10 million deal with the Timberwolves makes this excellent eulogy of his career worth reading again.

• I've always felt guilty about having to step away from The Hardball Times after co-creating the site back in 2004, but this news makes me feel better about the future of THT.

• Vikings fans wondering how much to regret missing out on drafting Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III should read Evan Silva's detailed breakdown of Christian Ponder.

• If you haven't already, check out my star-studded, picture-filled, booze-drenched recap of the SABR convention in downtown Minneapolis.

• And here's a tidbit for anyone who already read the recap: Pizza Luce's general manager got in touch with me and he's a longtime AG.com reader. As always, the internet is amazing.

• I've enjoyed basically everything Aaron Sorkin has ever done, including HBO's new good but flawed show The Newsroom, but seeing his recycled dialogue all in one place is pretty jarring:

Of course, his recycled dialogue is livelier than most new dialogue, so I'll take it.

• People: Still the worst.

Mark Appel likely lost out on at least $2 million by the Astros and Twins passing on him in favor of Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton, and there isn't much Scott Boras can do about it.

• I know absolutely nothing about hockey, but Ben Goessling's detailed timeline of how the Wild snagged Zach Parise and Ryan Suter was still a very interesting read.

• I subscribe to 50 podcasts at this point, but two that have recently moved to the front of the line are Stop Podcasting Yourself with Graham Clark and Dave Shumka and Throwing Shade with Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi. I listen to both immediately when they come out each week.

• This might be the closest I'll ever come to having something I wrote in an actual newspaper, so my mom was pretty excited.

• Speaking of my mom being excited, she's now incredibly jealous of Jared Burton.

• It may not matter because the Twins stink, but everyone was right about Detroit's defense.

Jim Thome is back in the AL with the Orioles, who come to Target Field on July 16.

Jon Heyman, who regularly blocks critics and other writers on Twitter, didn't credit Buster Olney for breaking a story before him because Olney blocked him on Twitter.

• Two odd stories involving MLB play-by-play announcers, as Dave Barnett took an indefinite health leave from the Rangers and the Diamondbacks basically told Daron Sutton to go away.

• I'm obviously biased, but based on what NBC has done since taking over the Sunday Night Football franchise from ESPN it would be nice to see what they could do with MLB games again.

Cameron Maybin doesn't hit many homers, but he sure makes them count when he does.

• Finally, in honor of Roy and his bum knees giving it another go this week's AG.com-approved music video is "The Weary Kind" by Ryan Bingham:

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