Maximum Fun

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Maximum Fun
Type Podcast and radio show
Country United States
Availability Global
Key people
Jesse Thorn
Affiliation National Public Radio, Public Radio International (formerly)
Official website

Maximum Fun is an independent podcast and radio show production organization founded and run by Jesse Thorn. The organization originated with Thorn's college radio show The Sound of Young America which continued in an adapted format and with a new name, Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. Maximum Fun has since grown to include several other programs.

In May 2014, Rolling Stone included three Maximum Fun shows on its list of "The 20 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now": Judge John Hodgman, RISK!, and Throwing Shade.[1]



Bullseye, formerly The Sound of Young America, begun as a combination interview/talk/sketch comedy college radio show which now follows an interview-only format and is available both as a podcast and via NPR on numerous public radio stations across the United States.

Coyle and Sharpe: The Imposters[edit]

Rebroadcasts of audio comedy pranks and put-ons performed and recorded by comedy duo Jim Coyle and Mal Sharpe in the 1960s.

The segments were originally recorded for KGO radio and Warner Brothers Records and preserved by Mal's daughter, Jennifer Sharpe.[2]

Dave Hill's Podcasting Incident[edit]

From the Maximum Fun website: "This incredible podcast features comedian/musician/writer/actor/artist/man-about-town/thinking man Dave Hill sitting down and having a delightful conversation with various notable people, including but not limited to fellow comedians, musicians, actors, authors, supermodels, convicts and whoever else he can talk into it."[3]

The Goosedown[edit]

The Goosedown hosted by comedians Kimberly Clark & Jasper Redd places an African-American spin on pop culture past and present.

International Waters[edit]

A comedy quiz show hosted by Dave Holmes (formerly hosted by Jesse Thorn). The show features world-famous comedians from the US and the UK answering questions about pop culture. Points are awarded for correct answers as well as for funny incorrect answers. [4]

Jordan, Jesse, Go![edit]

A talk podcast where hosts Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris and usually a guest provide a comedic take on a variety of topics. All time number one guest by appearances is "Big Time" Gene O'Neill.

Notable Past Jordan, Jesse, Go! Guests[edit]

Judge John Hodgman[edit]

Main article: Judge John Hodgman

Stemming from a popular segment on Jordan, Jesse, Go!, Judge John Hodgman debuted as a standalone Maximum Fun podcast in November 2010.[5] Hodgman serves as judge and jury, hearing cases brought by listeners on topics ranging from which kind of soap goes in the dispenser on the sink to whether a high schooler is responsible for the theft of a life-sized Ernie doll that he had previously stolen. Jesse Thorn serves as the "bailiff," though this role is occasionally filled by guest bailiffs when Jesse is preoccupied.

The Kasper Hauser Podcast[edit]

Selections of sketch comedy performed by the Kasper Hauser comedy group.

The Memory Palace[edit]

Main article: The Memory Palace

The historical podcast The Memory Palace, hosted by Nate DiMeo, was added to the Maximum Fun network in July 2012.[6]

My Brother, My Brother, and Me[edit]

On January 17, 2011, Jesse Thorn announced the addition of My Brother, My Brother, and Me to the Maximum Fun family. The show is a comedy program that poses as an advice podcast, hosted by real-life brothers Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. Over the course of the show, the brothers answer two types of questions: the real questions, in which listeners of the show write in, asking the brothers for their advice on a certain situation; and the more humorous, ridiculous questions from Yahoo! Answers. The brothers often refer to the latter as "Yahoos."[7]

Oh No, Ross and Carrie![edit]

Oh No, Ross and Carrie! joined the Maximum Fun network in January 2014.[8] The hosts, Ross Blocher and Carrie Poppy, personally investigate claims about spirituality, fringe science, religion, and the paranormal, then discuss their findings on the show. They have investigated a number of religious groups, fringe science claims, and alternative medicine modalities, including Mormonism, dowsing, and Reiki healing.[9] The motto of the podcast is "We show up so you don't have to."[10]


Main article: Risk!

RISK! is a weekly podcast and live storytelling show hosted by writer and actor Kevin Allison. The show's official website describes RISK! as a place "where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public".[11] RISK! started as a weekly live storytelling series in August 2009.


Sawbones, "a marital tour of misguided medicine," is a podcast hosted by Sydnee McElroy, a physician, and her husband Justin McElroy, who is also a co-host of My Brother, My Brother, and Me. The weekly show is a humorous exploration of medical history, focusing on the many ways the medical community has been wrong in the past. It premiered on the Maximum Fun network on June 21, 2013 with an episode about trepanation.[12]

Song Exploder[edit]

Song Exploder is a music podcast produced by Hrishikesh Hirway. Each biweekly episode features musicians deconstructing a single song they recorded and explaining the process of creating the song. The first episode, released on January 1, 2014, featured Jimmy Tamborello of The Postal Service.[13]

The Sound of Young America: The College Years[edit]

Rebroadcasts of episodes of The Sound of Young America from its early days as a college radio show.

Stop Podcasting Yourself[edit]

Stop Podcasting Yourself is a weekly comedy podcast hosted by Graham Clark and Dave Shumka. Each week the comedy duo invites a guest onto the program for a conversational interview. It is sometimes referred to by its acronym—pronounced "spy"—and its listeners are referred to as "bumpers" after Dave mistakenly referred to the audience that way in episode 1.

Stop Podcasting Yourself started independently on March 2, 2008, being distributed through iTunes and its blog. On March 22, 2010, it was announced that the Vancouver-based podcast would join Maximum Fun.[14]

Notable Past Stop Podcasting Yourself guests[edit]

Throwing Shade[edit]

Main article: Throwing Shade

Throwing Shade is a weekly comedy podcast centered around discussions of pop culture, politics, gay rights, and issues important to women, hosted by Erin Gibson (a.k.a. "Feminasty") and Bryan Safi (a.k.a. "Homosensual").[15][16] Gibson and Safi are "equal-opportunity offenders," and their comedic repartee frequently features adult topics and a politically incorrect sense of humor, even as they explore serious cultural and political issues.[17] The podcast launched on November 9, 2011 and on March 5, 2012 it was announced that Throwing Shade was joining the Maximum Fun podcast network.[18]

Other projects[edit]


Begun in 2009, an annual weekend convention where fans of Maximum Fun can spend time with Maximum Fun hosts and other celebrities held in Lake Arrowhead, CA. In fall 2012 MaxFunCon East was offered in the Poconos.[19] The Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival (also known as was held in summer 2013 in lieu of Max Fun Con East.[20]


An online store for Maximum Fun-related merchandise.[21]


  1. ^ "Listen Up: The 20 Best Comedy Podcasts Right Now". Rolling Stone. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Coyle and Sharpe
  3. ^ Dave Hill's Podcasting Incident
  4. ^ International Waters
  5. ^
  6. ^ Nate DiMeo (11 July 2012). "Some Largish News". WordPress. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  7. ^ Jesse Thorn's blog, 17 January 2011
  8. ^ Blocher, Ross and Poppy, Carrie (2 January 2014). "Ross and Carrie Strike Water: Dowsing and Pendulum Edition". Oh No, Ross and Carrie!. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Oh No, Ross and Carrie!". Feedburner. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Doctorow, Cory (25 March 2014). "Oh No Ross and Carrie: podcasting investigative journalists join cults, try woo, and get prodded -- for science!". Boing Boing. Happy Mutants LLC. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "About Us". Kevin Allison Presents: RISK!. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Sawbones". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  13. ^ Hirway, Hrishi. "Song Exploder". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  14. ^ Jesse Thorn's blog, 22 March 2010
  15. ^ "Throwing Shade: Podmass Central". A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Middleton, Josh (January 4, 2013). "Throwing Shade at Delta Burke - and Philly". GPhilly: Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Joseph Gordon-Levitt charms Nerdist and Gilbert Gottfried is unrepentant on WTF: Podmass Centeral". A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Thorn, Jesse. "Please Welcome: Throwing Shade!". Jesse Thorn's blog. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Announcing MaxFunCon East!
  20. ^ Welcome to the Boat Party
  21. ^ TopatoCo: Maximum Fun

External links[edit]