Writing Jokes with Jesse Thorn (NPR, Maximum Fun)

Just very wise, decent people who also happen to be genuine geniuses.

[@JesseThorn on Twitter]
@Bullseye Host. @MaxFunHQ owner. @PutThisOn creator. Satin for them draws, velvet for the mic and a pound for the cause.

Who plays the opening jingle to “Bullseye”?

The GO! Team

What initially motivated you to create The Sound of Young America?

I wanted to do something with the two funniest guys I knew, Gene O’Neill and Jordan Morris. And I wanted to do something that I hadn’t heard elsewhere.

What is one of the most difficult parts of building and maintaining a podcast network (empire)?

For me? Balancing all the creative work I dreamed of doing with a lot of responsible dad work that I have to do to make that happen.

What’s the most gratifying part?

Honestly, knowing that I help my friends make money from their work.

What do you enjoy most about having conversations?

Laughing. Easy.

How do you know when an interview is going well?

When I feel like the guest is having a fresh insight on the spot, and sharing it. Or we’re laughing.

How does one become America’s Radio Sweetheart?

By ironic fiat.

Who has been one of your favorite interviewees and why?

I’ve had so many, but maybe Bill Withers had the most impact on me. Or George Saunders. Just very wise, decent people who also happen to be genuine geniuses.

Did you ever do stand-up?

The closest I’ve ever come was hosting a show a few times with Jordan Morris at a standup club. You really have to do that to do it right. Our, “here’s six jokes we just wrote” style was not working for the 22-year-old Pasadenans who won tickets on the radio.

What makes a joke funny?

Weiners, mostly.

Follow @jokewriting on Twitter