WBEZ | Jesse Thorn http://www.wbez.org/tags/jesse-thorn Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Can Chicago create a sustainable professional comedy industry to rival the coasts? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/can-chicago-create-sustainable-professional-comedy-industry-rival-coasts-97970 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/the%20onion.jpg" style="width: 623px; height: 541px;" title=""></div><p>Considering the hubbub over <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/should-they-stay-or-go-illinois-offers-advantages-business-coasts-don%E2%80%99t-"><em>The Onion</em>’s impending move to Chicago</a>, you would have thought that it was the <em>New York Times</em> announcing it wouldn’t be publishing in New York anymore.<br><br>After the original buzz died down over the news that the free satrical weekly (which was conceived in Madison, Wisc., incidentally) would join forces with <em>The A.V. Club</em> in the Midwest, it seemed that things were calm. Chicago was pleased -- comics in Chicago were pleased, at least -- and well, those New Yorkers would just have to deal.<br><br>But the pot was stirred again with <a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/03/onions-bumpy-ride-chicago/50149/">this <em>Atlantic Wire</em> story</a> that broke at the end of March, which reported ill-will amongst the staffers, enough that many of them said they weren't moving anywhere (and used the move to spark some creative editorial protesting).<br><br>Chicago comedians and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/26/five-reasons-the-onions-n_n_1380867.html">writers </a>were both insulted and inspired over this quote from an unnamed staffer: "Nothing against Chicago. I think it's a great town. But we're here in the center of everything and it's still a challenge to find good people,” he or she told the <em>Atlantic</em>. In response, 24-year-old Chicagoan Josh Nalven said, “One man’s trash is my 401k and full dental” when <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/04/01/breaking_new_yorkers_are_kind.php"><em>Chicagoist</em> talked to him</a>.<br><br>But speaking with the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-31/business/ct-biz-0401-onion-20120324_1_onion-joe-randazzo-staffers"><em>Chicago Tribune</em> last week</a>, editor-in-chief and general manager of<em> The Onion </em>Scott Dikkers&nbsp;said people in Chicago comedy are "younger and hungrier" than those in New York, a quality he’s looking forward to capturing.</p><p>Others aren't so sure comedy writers can make a decent living here. The host and producer of <em>The Sound of Young America </em>(now <em>Bullseye</em>) and<em> Jordan, Jesse, Go!,</em> Jesse Thorn&nbsp;tweeted, "Losing 2/3 of creative staff + moving to a place with close to zero pro comedy writers = recipe for disaster."&nbsp;This spurred a massive thread on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/jessethorn?sk=wall">his Facebook wall</a>, where Thorn further clarified:</p><p>"Make a list of the most successful alumni of The Second City. Then, in a column next to that, write down where all those people live. The reality is that people who want to work in entertainment move to the place where the jobs are, and that is not Chicago. And replacing 2/3 of a staff with people from a theater training program who are getting their first real job is a recipe for disaster."</p><p>Whether or not the staff -- or other writers -- are happy with the move, <em>The Onion</em> consolidating in Chicago offers the city an amazing chance to become a real comedy mecca, not just a state-of-the-art training facility. They want to expand to build a production studio, and take advantage of a 30% Illinois tax credit on all video business -- even web, <a href="http://www.theonion.com/channels/ifc/">where much of their content lives</a>.</p><p>And perhaps they should take a tip from Tina Fey, who famously got her start here. When asked by a fan who’s moving to the Second City what she should expect, Fey said in a promotional video for NBC, “My advice to you about Chicago is that Chicago is a real city. Manhattan is like Epcot center; Chicago is a no. joke. city.”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><br><span><iframe frameborder="0" height="347" id="NBC Video Widget" src="http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=1394795" width="512"></iframe></span></p><p>Today on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>, we’ll speak with <a href="http://ioimprov.com/chicago/performers/instructors">Charna Halpern</a>, co-founder of iO, and <a href="http://www.secondcity.com/about/people/executivebio/153/">Kelly Leonard</a>, Executive Vice President of The Second City, both have helped many young performers go on to fame and fortune (and many more realize that perhaps they want a more stable job). They talk about whether this is the time for Chicago to beat Los Angeles in the comedy industry game. They’re joined by Nina Metz of the <em>Chicago Tribune</em>, who has shared insight on the performance industry <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-13/chicago-hollywood-lake-or-great-white-way-orsomething-97240">for WBEZ in the past</a>.<br><br>And for those coming to the city for the first time, this story, courtesy of Fey, might make them have a better idea of what they’re in for.<br><br>“Let me tell you something about Chicago: I used to have a homeless man living in the foyer of my building whose nose was bitten off. Another person had bitten off his nose, and he was just continuing with his business. That’s Chicago.”</p></p> Thu, 05 Apr 2012 13:49:45 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/can-chicago-create-sustainable-professional-comedy-industry-rival-coasts-97970 Give 'Bullseye' a Try! http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-05/give-bullseye-try-95307 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-05/bullseye-logo-FINAL.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-05/bullseye-logo-FINAL.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 500px;" title=""></p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.3906660132026467" style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Friend of Zulkey.com </span><a href="http://www.zulkey.com/2008/01/the_jesse_thorn_interview.php"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 153); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">Jesse Thorn</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> has revamped his excellent show <em>The Sound of Young America</em> for 2012, renaming it <em>Bullseye</em>. If you read this site, you probably already have a broad range of interest when it comes to pop culture, in which case this podcast is for you. The show features interviews with actors, directors, comics and musicians, recommendations from critics and guest-spots from artists where they talk about their favorite projects from their colleagues. It’s earnest but not snobbish, and more than once has turned me on to a show or artist with whom I hadn’t been familiar. The debut episode features interviews with members of the cast of </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Downton Abbey</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> and the creator/star of the shows </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Angry Boys </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">and </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Summer Heights High</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">, amongst a few other fun features. I hope you </span><a href="http://www.maximumfun.org/2012/01/03/bullseye-outshot-week-january-3rd-2012"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 153); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">check it out</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> and consider subscribing. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br> <br> <span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">On a completely unrelated note, yours truly was quoted in the </span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: italic; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">New York Times</span><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> yesterday in a fun story about how </span><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/05/garden/furniture-the-big-get-bigger.html?pagewanted=all%3Fsrc%3Dtp&amp;smid=fb-share"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 153); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">furniture is so huge these days</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;"> thanks to this silly piece I wrote last summer called “</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-07-14/people-who-live-restoration-hardware-89145"><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 153); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;">The People Who Live at Restoration Hardware</span></a><span style="font-size: 15px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">.” This once again proves my point that if you get on mailing lists, receive catalogues and make fun of them on a public radio blog, you too can get your name in the Gray Lady. </span></p></p> Thu, 05 Jan 2012 14:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-05/give-bullseye-try-95307 Best news of the week: WTF with Marc Maron comes to WBEZ http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-05-31/best-news-week-wtf-marc-maron-comes-wbez-87244 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-31/mzi.cedtdihh_medium.png" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="512" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-31/mzi.cedtdihh_medium.png" title="" width="512"></p><p>A while back, I started getting this e-mail:</p><blockquote><p>"Hey dude, long time no talk. Do you listen to WTF? The podcast? It's awesome. Talk to you later."</p></blockquote><p>After months of stalling, I took the advice of my friends and started listening to this comedic interview show. I started listening and haven't stopped. It's fantastic.</p><p>And now, thanks to WBEZ, I can listen to interviews in my car, that were taped in a car.</p><p>Marc Maron is bringing his wildy popular <a href="http://www.wtfpod.com/">WTF podcast</a> to the WBEZ airwaves. Starting this Sunday (June 5th), the radio-friendly version of <em>WTF with Marc Maron</em> will start a 10-week run in the Sunday night, 8pm time slot.</p><p>Maron is a stand-up comic who has worked for years in comedy clubs, on television and in theater.&nbsp;</p><p>In WTF, Maron takes that amazing performing experience and channels it into interviews with other comedians. What we get out of the podcast is unfiltered, uninhibited and unusual access to the minds of funny people. Why? Because comedians seem to like to talk to other comedians. Because Marc has spent so many years backstage with so many different performers, there is a sense of ease that comes through your speakers. It also gets rid of the useless sound bites and banter that comedians usually spit out during other talk shows and appearances.</p><p>For instance, if I interviewed Louis C.K., it wouldn't result in personal stories about his family and long pauses for tears.</p><p>Maron uses his personal experiences with the subjects to talk about what they know and how they figured it out. Together.</p><p>Marc was kind enough to record a quick video from his garage studio to talk directly to the Chicago audience. It's exciting to see where Maron tapes his show. Well, one place he tapes his show. He's done live shows in theaters, from other people's apartments and from his car.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="281" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/24482229?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" width="500"></iframe></p><p>The radio show is produced by Jesse Thorn and Nick White, of <a href="http://www.maximumfun.org/2011/05/17/wtf-public-radio-show">The Sound Of Young America</a> fame.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 31 May 2011 20:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-05-31/best-news-week-wtf-marc-maron-comes-wbez-87244 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater news 4/15 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-15/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-415-85234 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-15/poster_dirtyblonde_large.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="375" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-15/poster_dirtyblonde_large.jpg" title="" width="255"></p><p>1. <a href="http://www.bohotheatre.com/"><em>Dirty Blonde</em></a> at Theater Wit celebrates the legendary Mae West, and is playing all weekend. But if you can handle some delayed gratification, next Thursday's performance will be even more enlightening:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.filmspotting.net/" style="color: rgb(0, 98, 160); text-decoration: underline;">Matty Robinson</a>,&nbsp;host of the podcast&nbsp;<em>Filmspotting </em>(which just so happens to air on WBEZ), will be speaking beforehand about Mae West and her legacy in Hollywood.</p><p>2. There have been so many Brecht chalk circles in Chicago lately it's like he's having his own mini-renaissance; <a href="http://www.theatremir.com/ccc.html"><em>The Caucasian Chalk Circle</em></a>, which just ended its run, and now <em><a href="http://www.statetheatrechicago.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=101&amp;Itemid=78">The Voodoo Chalk Circle</a>&nbsp;</em>which is in it's second week. Have Brecht-off and see them both. The circle will not be unbroken...or something like that.</p><p>3.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.roosevelt.edu/Event_Details.aspx?ccpaid=124666"><em>The Best Little Whorehouse in Texa</em></a>s, seen last year at the Circle Theater, is being taken on bycollege kids, who I'm sure swear that they didn't do any outside research to get ready for their performances. It runs through this weekend and is sure to be particularly zesty.</p><p>4. An updated take on your favorite guilty pleasure musical <em>Mamma Mia!</em> will be performed at the Gorilla Tango Theater this Sunday, but this time it's called&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.vocalo.org/blogs/archive/201104/come-see-madre-mia-sketch-comedy-show-gorilla-tango-theater">Madre Mia!</a>&nbsp;</em>and seems to involve some men dressing in drag. Be warned: if you're looking for Meryl Streep, you will be very sad.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="237" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-15/Jordan%2C%20Jesse%2C%20Go%21%20with%20special%20guests%20My%20Brother%2C%20My%20Brother%20%26%20Me.jpg" title="" width="623"></p><p>5. Comedy duo Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris of the podcast&nbsp;<em>Jordan, Jesse, Go!</em> specialize in all that is being twentysomething, so if you are twentysomething and want to feel understood, or you want to understand the twentysomething in your life, go by Second City on Sunday. They're usually all distant from you, their tinny voices echoing on your iPod, but you'll be able to see them live and in the flesh now, so take advantage. You'll remember Jesse <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-13/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-413-85129">as the guy</a> that hosted <em>The Sound of Young America</em>&nbsp;(also at Second City), this past Wednesday. This show will also feature brothers Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy and their "advicecast" called <a href="http://mbmbam.wordpress.com/about/"><em>My Brother, My Brother, &amp; Me</em></a>. Don't waste your night watching HBO -- get some advice!</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org?subject=Morning%20Rehearsal%20Email">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 14:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-15/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-415-85234