There's been a lot going on for us lately... I moved Bullseye from PRI to NPR, we're launching two new shows on Thursday, we just announced our new alternative comedy and indie music cruise... and that's just the start of it. And outside of a meeting at 11:30 pacific, I've got some time today. So: ask me anything.

Comments: 432 • Responses: 99  • Date: 

Gladhands37 karma

How do you feel about the decidedly advertorial bent that menswear blogging has taken. It is unethical?

JesseThorn46 karma

It really bothers me. There are a lot of people right now who are behaving in a way that is both immoral and illegal. It's very difficult to run a business in that environment, because when other people are doing it, advertisers won't buy from you unless you're willing to do it.

I think we have a pretty clear policy, but even the joking title of our reviews segment, "We Got It For Free," sometimes bothers people. We only accept free review product we think would be interesting to review, and we turn stuff down a lot, and review things negatively when they merit them. And we also don't accept quid pro quo - you can send us stuff for review, but we won't promise to review it.

The bigger problem, though, is people with other business relationships in the fashion industry acting as "journalists" and not disclosing their business relationships. That really bums me out.

JesseThorn35 karma

I want to say that anyone who is asking me questions, instead of talking to the guys from The Trailer Park Boys, is both A) foolish and b) appreciated.

luvrhino22 karma

Can you please start selling Bailiff Jesse "Shut Your Pie Hole" t-shirts at

Or even, Bailiff Jesse's Pie Holes, which are like donut holes, except that they're basically bite-sized pies, with the crust and pie filling?

JesseThorn13 karma

You're full of great ideas.

wylm19 karma

MaxFun podcasts are a part of my commute practically every day. Thanks for doing everything that you do. I can't think of any insightful questions for you, so I'll just leave this leading question:

How important is it that everyone be aware of (and contact their elected representatives about) the patent troll threatening podcasting?

JesseThorn19 karma

Thanks for bringing this up. It would be impossible to overstate how important the patent troll situation is to the future of podcasting (and innovation in the US). As a journalist, I don't feel it's appropriate for me to recommend specific policy actions, but as a businessperson, I hope people will learn about the issue and take action.

Seriously, we could be put out of business by this in a heartbeat, and we're not the only one.

paulmgardner14 karma

What's the future of International Waters? I'm a fan.

JesseThorn12 karma

It's still pretty cloudy. I'm inclined to see how it does in the pledge drive in April before I make any decisions. The production is very complicated, and expensive and it hasn't taken off like I hoped it might. I think it's a really great show, though. One possibility is having someone else host it, but that sort of depends on me having the money to pay someone.

monstermanual2 karma

Why do you think it hasn't caught on? I really love the show, and I don't understand it.

JesseThorn7 karma

It has a significant (five-figure) audience, but it's smaller than our other shows. And it's a lot more expensive and complicated to make than our other shows.

Jezy_Gray14 karma

Hey, Jesse! Loyal Max Fun listener/donor here. Congratulations on the switch to NPR. Wishing you all the best moving forward.

Important question: do you heat your Grape-Nuts in the microwave, or eat them cold like an animal?

JesseThorn5 karma

I have heated them in the microwave, but I live in LA, so hot cereal isn't a priority for me. Mostly cold, like an animal.

joshcoles13 karma

Could you convince me to sign up for your floating shuffleboard tournament this autumn? I'm a student with limited $$$ and flying down to Florida on top of the cost of the tournament itself might be a bit much for my budget.

JesseThorn15 karma

We designed the cruise for folks with a little money in their pocket - I don't want to raid your textbook budget. That said, I think we have a really special event planned. And it's getting even better as more people sign up.

peacenerd13 karma

Just saying thanks for introducing me Tig Nataro. At least in podcast form.

JesseThorn7 karma

She's the best.

And I'm glad there's one person who didn't figure that out from TAL :).

Metcarfre12 karma

Oh, I see you got your account figured out so I can search your history. Awesome! Um... come on back to /r/malefashionadvice anytime!

OH! What's the deal with PTO ballcaps? Whenabouts are they coming/can we order them, and will you by any chance ship to Canada?

JesseThorn6 karma

One of the bosses of Reddit turns out to be a friend of a friend, and he lent me a hand.

W/R/T the ballcaps, we will ship to Canada. They'll probably come in in about two months - early baseball season. Have to make some tags for them which will take a few weeks, and then the factory takes about six weeks to make them. They're really awesome - I have a prototype.

anaccount104510 karma

What is your favorite pair of shoes/boots?

JesseThorn12 karma

The one I'm most fond of is my Arrow Moccasins... but they're not really the ones I wear the most. Maybe besides that my Alden Indy boots, though that's a bit of a cliched response.

cruftbox10 karma

Which is preferable for neckties: Four-in-hand, half-Windsor, or Windsor?

JesseThorn27 karma

Definitely four-in-hand.

laughtracksuit2 karma

Depends on the collar ! A spread really demands a wider, fuller knot. Pity that we see all these kids with a four in hand, with a really severe cutaway spread collar. Looks dreadful.

JesseThorn7 karma

I disagree.

tennisplayingnarwhal1 karma

what do you think of using the oriental on silk knit ties?

JesseThorn4 karma

never heard of it. Generally I find that complicated tie knots are a solution looking for a problem.

Metcarfre6 karma

I'm going to go out on a limb and say Four-in-hand generally. It's certainly my preference.

floatate2 karma

And 007's

JesseThorn10 karma

And Alan Flusser's, and the Duke of Windsor's, and Bruce Boyer's, and...

skepticaljesus9 karma

How will the ethics provisions in your new NPR contract square with the comedy on JJGO? Will you have to be careful about what you say and what opinions you put out there as a result?

JesseThorn10 karma

You can actually check out the NPR ethics policy here. It's pretty reasonable. The main way it'll affect me is that I won't be commenting publicly about candidates or legislation. I've never made that kind of politics a big part of my professional life, so it was perfectly fine to give that up. A small price to pay.

The big difference is that at PRI, their position was that I was an entertainer, and NPR is a much more journalism-focused organization, so I'm a journalist there. Which I'm cool with.

castironbrick10 karma

But you've still got full access to dick jokes on JJGO, right? This is crucial.

JesseThorn17 karma

Absolutely. In fact, I checked that when I was negotiating with NPR. I was like, "You understand that I host a show that's unspeakably vulgar, right?" They said yes. There are JJGo fans at NPR.

tankintheair3159 karma

Did you always intend for Maximium Fun to be a hub for so many different podcasts? I don't see many other public radio producers doing as much in podcasts as you seem to.

Also there seems to be a large divide between Bullseye and all of your other podcasts(eg. swearing, humor, direction or lack there of). There seems to be an almost different Jesse on Bullseye than there is on JJGo. Did you always intend for such a different divide, and which do you like doing more?

Finally, kill, marry, bang. Ira glass, Jad Abumrad, and Roman Mars.

JesseThorn15 karma

That's a really tough K/M/B. I'd probably marry Roman, because he's a good friend of mine and I think we'd make a good couple. I'd sleep with Jad because he's very handsome (Ira's pretty handsome, too, but Jad has a sort of lithe grace). And I guess then I'd have to kill Ira. Which would be a little Oedipal. But let it not go unsaid: Ira is the BEST.

I definitely always conceived of Maximum Fun as a network. We launched with Coyle & Sharpe and Kasper Hauser. Most public radio producers (Roman being the rare exception) have jobs, so they don't need to worry about stuff like this. I need to make a living, and public radio doesn't pay.

I actually talked to Ira once about how he'd love to host a JJGo-type show (he's a very funny guy, and a big Stern fan). He doesn't have the time, and it could damage his brand, so he doesn't, but I'd love to listen to that.

JorgeCS2 karma

Who wouldn't want to marry Ira Glass?!

JesseThorn5 karma

Well, he does have a lovely and charming wife already.

BarkMeowWoof9 karma

No question here, just a note of thanks: Thank you for bringing The Memory Palace into the fold. Its hard to write this and not sound like a parody of a podcast listener, but - the show captures a sense of wonder that I am always glad to be reminded of.

JesseThorn6 karma

It took me a long time to convince Nate, so I'm glad folks appreciate his work as much as me.

ticktackalackin9 karma

How much time would you say that you spend on PutThisOn. You clearly are a busy man, and have many obligations and responsibilities, so I'm just wondering how much of the pie PTO gets.

JesseThorn7 karma

Right now I work maybe 60 hours a week? Of that, maybe half is Bullseye-related, 25% PTO and 25% Max Fun (Other).

RiotDavin9 karma

You're a dude who has to deal with a lot of haters. I've always been impressed by how you've done so--can you talk some about that? How do you manage it (external/internal/etc.)?

JesseThorn20 karma

Yeah, it's pretty out-of-proportion to my level of success/fame/money.

It's really hard. It really sucks. People can be shockingly mean. Trying to find a way to deal with it is hard, too. It'd be one thing if I was on a crusade of some sort... though maybe that's not even true.

Just the other night at dinner, my wife told me, "I don't want this to ruin your life, Jesse." It's that serious.

Honestly, I have no desire to be famous, but I do have a really strong desire to do the stuff I do and make a good living and so on... and unfortunately being famous sort of comes along with that, necessarily. I don't really enjoy self-promotion and that kind of thing, but I know that it's essential to me getting to do the work I want to do. It's tough.

AtigunAlaska8 karma

Public radio employee here, thanks for the AMA.

What prompted the move from PRI to NPR?

How would you convince markets who don't carry your show(s) to carry them?

What's been your biggest hurdle to overcome?

JesseThorn7 karma

PRI gave me an amazing opportunity five or six years ago, and I will be forever grateful to them for that. They also have a huge staff of really wonderful people who I will really miss working with.

I basically felt that the only route forward for Bullseye was to get on more public radio stations, and from talking to other folks and negotiating with NPR and other distributors, it seemed clear that NPR was our best shot at that. It's not guaranteed by any means, but it is a good shot.

As far as convincing stations to carry our show, we're working on a plan with NPR now to do that. I haven't got a lot of money to put towards it, and unfortunately there's not a lot of money that will come my way even if it works, but I want to make it happen.

Our biggest hurdle, really, is structural. There are a lot more reasons to keep your schedule the same than there are to change it. Upsetting the boat has a lot of downsides for a public radio programmer, relative to commercial media or my ideal dream situation. They're also generally not in the core audience of our show, so there's less of that personal, "I gotta take this risk, I know in my gut this thing's gonna work" that might overcome those structural issues.

lego77 karma

Who do you think you could trust with a secret, like "I held up a bank" type of secret... Chip Dipson, or Dip Dobson?

JesseThorn20 karma

Chiwetel Ejiofor.

ggggbabybabybaby7 karma

No question, just thanks for getting me interested in dressing well. I stumbled across Put This On because Lonely Sandwich was involved and every funny nerdy web person links to everything he does. Thanks to you I spent my Sunday catching up on podcasts and polishing my shoes.

JesseThorn6 karma

You're welcome! I love Sandy, too, and starting PTO was largely an excuse to get to work with him.

TheNarn7 karma

I want to live more to the Immortal Power: Plug It In lifestyle how can I do that? Also as an overweight guy I find it hard to dress nice, any suggestions?

JesseThorn7 karma

Generally the rules are the same for you, the stakes are just higher. Keep the aesthetics simple, but besides that, just know that your weight means you'll read as "sloppy" to people, and you have to correct for that.

I wrote a big post about this for PTO, maybe someone can track it down.

imnotwillferrell7 karma

should the san jose sharks attempt to trade dan boyle for a top 6 forward? i'm torn on this.

JesseThorn34 karma

If it's not in NHL 95, I do not know the answer.

If it is in NHL 95, the answer is "Jeremy Roenick."

NateGoldman6 karma

Hey Jesse -

Congrats on the move to NPR. I work over at WBUR, Boston's NPR affiliate. Hope you can come into the station sometime if you're 'round these parts.

So I started listening to your show when it was Sound Of Young America, and I remember you were talking to someone about how YOU got started, and you said something along the lines of "I would often make commitments before I had time to think them out, but since the commitment was made, it just was never an option NOT to pull through."

It was in the context of how prolific of an interviewer you were and your many appearances all over the place.

Some may not view that as great advice, but I just wanted to say it certainly played a role in a very important shift in thought process for me. So I simply wanted to say thanks.

G'luck to ya sir.

JesseThorn5 karma

Thanks, Nate.

What I really meant by that was/is that I'm naturally a shirker of work and responsibility, and one of the ways that I've found to keep myself moving is to motivate myself with the fear of public favor.

I'm not certain it reflects a healthy way of working, but I've gotten where I've gotten because of it.

thedictatorscut6 karma

If is a success, are you hoping to make it an annual occurrence? Because I was (figuratively) on board as soon as I saw the lineup, but I have to go to a wedding that week.

JesseThorn10 karma


eliason6 karma

What is it like at live events to interact with fans whom you don't know at all, but who feel like they've spent hours and hours with you? Does that asymmetry of familiarity feel weird sometimes?

JesseThorn2 karma

Of course. But mostly it's just nice. It's like being at a party where you never get asked, "So... what do you do?"

The only time it's really awkward is when people forget to introduce themselves... because it's weird to be five minutes into a conversation and be like, "And you are...?"

philduf6 karma

I always wondered, I is your relationship with Jordan outside of the podcast? Do you guys ever hang out? You have such an amazing chemistry, I always picture you guys living together in a treehouse.

JesseThorn9 karma

We hang out sometimes, but we sort of live on opposite sides of LA. I think of him as my best friend, but much of our relationship is actually on the air. That said, we have traveled together when we were doing sketch together, and been RAs together, and had lots of experiences together above and beyond on-air.

Part of our chemistry, also is that we're both professional broadcasters who care very much about making a good show. It's not happenstantial. I think people get that about me, but understand that Jordan's been doing this for ten years, too - he is a very skilled and talented broadcaster. In addition to being a great guy and really funny.

JoeBlu5 karma

What changes for Bullseye because of the move to NPR? More funding, wider distribution?

JesseThorn6 karma

In some ways, not much. There will be different audio logos on the show, and it'll be on a different section of the public radio content distribution intranet site, but mostly it'll be the same. We get about the same amount of money.

The real difference (we hope) is that NPR is a more powerful brand both to the public and to stations. They have more marketing muscle, they're more recognized, they're just plain bigger. Our hope is that that will help us get on stations.

A friend who runs another prominent national show that's distributed but not produced by NPR told me, "Jesse, when it comes time for a station to pick something up, you just want to be on the list of shows that says NPR on the top."

Aestro175 karma

Is it possible to wear the Cubicle Jockey uniform (polo and slacks, button-down with no tie and slacks) without feeling like a dingus?

JesseThorn8 karma

It's hard. Really hard. If you replace the slacks with chinos, it's possible. But definitely hard.

zombiphone5 karma

After listening to way too many JJ Go and Bullseye episodes, I've come to the conclusion that your interview style is genius, and may be one of my favorite things to listen to.

How did that happen? Was is a natural evolution, just from working in podcasting for a million years? Or did you take a class on how to lead an interviewee? Does that class exist?

JesseThorn8 karma

A) Thank you, that's very kind.

B) I've just done it a long time. I certainly admire and copy interviewers like Terry Gross, Ira Glass, Howard Stern and Marc Maron. Two of those are folks I now know in real life, and I can ask them stuff from time to time... but generally it's just about being sincerely curious and asking open-ended questions.

yoss865 karma

How much management do your Maxfun network podcasts require? Do you have to do anything to keep them on "brand" or hold them to any sort of standard (NPR's journalism code writ small)?

JesseThorn5 karma

We choose to work with people we really like, who we really trust to represent us well. This hasn't come up thus far.

plasticanimal5 karma

I love Jordan, Jesse, Go! so much that I built a podcast studio in my basement. After a dozen practice episodes and three official ones, my "Jordan" has started to cancel recordings because he's "sick". Should I beat him up?

JesseThorn9 karma

Having a partner who's consistent makes a really, really huge difference. It is something I have always been immensely grateful to Jordan for, and something I think he appreciates from me.

F6x5 karma

I know you take great care with your appearance, and cycling can be hard on clothing. Can you share some tips on what you wear on your commute, and how we can cycle to work and show up dressed to impress?

JesseThorn4 karma

When I decided to bike to work, I asked around, and everyone said Rapha was the good stuff. I bought my bike for $30 at a garage sale, so I bit the bullet and bought some Rapha gear on sale and eBay. It is very expensive, almost comically so, but it is indeed really, really good.

johnwilliams7134 karma

Why did you block me on twitter? Was I a jerk? Im sorry. Can you unblock me?

JesseThorn8 karma

Presumably. I accept your apology - lmk your twitter handle and I will unblock you.

If someone sends me something mean or says something mean, I generally just block them so I don't have to deal with it. I've found it's the lowest-impact way to deal with that stuff. Otherwise I feel bad and want to get in a big discussion over it and I just have too much shit to do. But I'm happy to accept apologies.

Mariokartfever4 karma

Hi Jesse, read PTO every day, and have turned many of my guy friends onto it so they can buy their own clothes and stop stealing mine.

Can you describe your worst wardrobe malfunction?

JesseThorn21 karma

My dong is out right now.

KazamaSmokers4 karma

So. Merrill Markoe. Please tell all.

JesseThorn2 karma

Basically, she had been on TSOYA once a couple of years ago. I didn't want to have her right back on there, but I thought I'd offer to have her on JJGo, because I knew she had a new book out. She agreed to do it, but kind of thought she was doing us a favor. She was disappointed we hadn't read her new book, which her publicist didn't send us in time. She was a little salty on the air, then a few days later she went on our friend Greg Fitzsimmons' show and alluded to having just done "the nightmare podcast." It was a real bummer. I think it was particularly a bummer because I found out about all of it second hand while I was working 16-hour days in Italy, shooting S2 of PTO. Also because she's a genuine comedy legend, and we hate to have someone leave the show feeling bad.

CarlosFugazi4 karma

Hi Jesse. the collision course between traditional TV and live webstreaming seems to be accelerating all the time and the cost of producing "professional" looking broadcasts I assume is as well.

Do you ever envision creating an television channel?

JesseThorn9 karma

Video production remains exponentially more expensive than audio. We spent $75,000 on S2 of PTO, which was about an hour of total content. You also generally have to re-acquire your audience between every episode. That makes the economics of video production very tough.

We are working on some stuff, and I hope to continue to do so, but it's hard to make the math work.

JoeBlu3 karma

Based on your recent interview with Roman Mars, it sounds like you've both encountered a "public media audience" that isn't interested in much new (or funny) content. Any thoughts on how radio stations should change to attract a more adventurous audience?

JesseThorn8 karma

I saw an interesting presentation about the public radio audience at a conference last year... a significant portion of them are adventurous. One of the three broad categories they'd broken the audience into was like "Cultural Explorers" or something. I think that there's also an older, squarer audience that wants straight, hard news all the time. The tricky bit is that it can be tough to move towards one without bothering the other.

If I were to pick one thing I'd change, I'd want to see exclusive territorial rights to programming. So if someone is carrying All Things Considered, the other station in town has to counter-program, rather than just carrying the same show.

luvrhino3 karma

With your distribution change, approximately how many minutes (or hours) each year will you save by not having to explain what PRI is and how it's not the same thing as NPR?

JesseThorn7 karma

So many fucking minutes. So many.

HammerAttack3 karma

Have you had any interactions with David Cross since that one time he was less than impressed on JJGO?

JesseThorn4 karma

That was on TSOYA, back in the olden tymes. I wasn't there - I wasat an internship in Washington DC.

I once emailed him to ask if he'd go on the show to talk to Larry the Cable Guy about the part in Larry's book that was all about DC. Cross agreed, but Larry the CG did not.

HammerAttack3 karma

Oh, that's right. I just remembered Jordan being involved and assumed.

So, do you ever get nervous about having certain guests on? Not really because of them being huge celebrities or anything, but because you've maybe heard horror stories from other people?

Have you ever embarrassed yourself or asked an accidentally inappropriate question to a guest?

JesseThorn6 karma

We generally wouldn't book someone who was genuinely a jerk. We've had some guests on who aren't known or enjoying interviews - E from Eels comes to mind. Generally those folks really appreciate an interviewer who gives a hit, and are perfectly fine. E was great, for example, and his publicist even took the unusual step of warning me ahead of time that he was a little uncomfortable with interviews.

I've definitely embarassed myself before... not frequently, but it's happened. I'll try to remember something specific, but I'm not coming up with anything now. Usually if you're just human and modest, it's not that big a deal.

Most scared ever was either Terry Gilliam or Bill Withers. Just because I admire them so much. And Withers put me through the wringer, but it was maybe my favorite TSOYA interview ever.

captanalpersuader3 karma

Do you listen to music while exercising? If so what's your favorite "I gotta get this done" track?

JesseThorn8 karma

My main exercise is cycling to work, which I've taken up relatively recently, and walking my dog. I usually listen to podcasts. If I did need a "get this done" track, it would definitely be "Ante Up" by MOP. Close second to "You Will Remember Tonight" by Andrew WK.

nquinn913 karma

Why isn't there another Max Fun Con East this year? I couldn't make it last year but I was totally gonna go this year!

JesseThorn6 karma

We only have so much organizational capacity, and was a higher priority.

davebrewer3 karma

How has becoming a father influenced your viewpoint as an interviewer? As a content creator? As a fashion guy?

Thanks for everything you're doing - it has all been very helpful as a guy trying to figure out how to be authentic and classic at the same time.

JesseThorn6 karma

It's really hard to work as hard as I have and have a kid. That's the main way. I love my son, and want to spend more time with him, but I also have about three full-time jobs, and none of them could support my family independently of the others. That's been very painful to deal with, frankly.

Also: I swear more now.

hughfirmin3 karma

Jesse – PTO once reposted answers to the question "why are you so dressed up today?" – some serious and some not-so-serious. What are your go-to answers to this question? (or perhaps you never get asked?)

JesseThorn2 karma

Depends on the context... sometimes a joking "because I give a shit."

I think people that I interact with are either folks who don't know me, who appreciate that I look nice, or folks who do, who know that I dress that way.

HenkieVV3 karma

Recently, I noticed something: it's extremely easy to spot which of my colleagues reads fashion blogs by the degree to which they follow certain trends that exist almost exclusively on-line: grenadine ties, double monks, Aldens (which may be bigger in the US, I dunno; they're just rare here in Holland), etc. I never know what to make of this whole "dressed by the internet"-thing, especially as I suffer from it as well.

Any insights as one of the leading causes of people being dressed by the internet?

JesseThorn4 karma

Yeah, that's tough. I think generally there are two things to remember. One is that (at least where I live), people are still distinctly in the minority. I laugh about people's obsession with double monks sometimes, but honestly I might go a three months without seeing someone IRL wearing them. So I generally just think it's better to be putting a little effort in, even if you're a bit of a follower.

normsy3 karma

How happy are you to have taken down the McGrath cruise within a matter of days?

Will you be wearing the fox hat on the cruise at all?

JesseThorn7 karma

I was delighted to have taken that frosty-tipped so-and-so down quickly. But disappointed that it invalidated what I had planned to me a major component of our marketing effort.

And I just got the fox hat. I'd be hesitant to bring it on the cruise, because it's too special. It's pretty amazing.

lucifer-obgyn3 karma

Jesse! We spoke once on Tumblr and you told me your son, Simon, had been saying "cock" a lot and was working on his dick jokes. That being said, have they progressed beyond "cock"?

Ad astra, Jesse, you magnificent bastard.

JesseThorn4 karma

Luckily he's not saying "cock" any more. I can't remember what he was trying to say that came out cock, but it was pretty amazing and hard not to laugh.

He actually talks a LOT and knows a lot of words, but most of them he says in a sort of jumbled-up way. Which is funny, because from what my folks tell me, I was a little bit of a late speaker, but was really careful about saying everything perfectly right from the start.

MCwaffle893 karma

Do you think the NPR model of listener/government supported media is viable into the future?

JesseThorn6 karma

Absolutely. I think you can see that NPR is one of the only media outlets growing in audience, audience share and production over the past ten years or so.

woodycanuck3 karma

Any updates on the patent trolls situation? Is the EFF taking the lead on this, or is everyone sort of doing their own thing right now? I'm concerned that the bigger podcasts will just pay these guys off and the smaller ones (with fewer resources) will not be able to fight it.

JesseThorn7 karma

I am concerned about the same thing. Honestly, though, there are very few podcasts with the resources to pay them off.

Right now, the EFF has taken up some organizational responsibilities, but they don't have the resources to fully lead the charge. Many of us in the community have been meeting to try and plan a response, but ultimately the sticking point is that patent litigation costs from a million to two or three million dollars.

It's our hope that one of the tech companies (or the very largest media companies) with an interest in podcasting will take the lead financially. In the meantime, we want people engaged in the issue and talking to their lawmakers.

JorgeCS3 karma

You've consistently taken the "good, fast, cheap: pick two" approach on your blog. What do you think of menswear blogs that take a decidedly "budget conscious" approach to buying new such as Dappered?

I love PTO but the feeling of dejection I get when I see the price for whatever article of clothing I'm reading about is getting to be a bit much. You are the Lucy to my Charlie Brown.

JesseThorn15 karma

I generally much prefer buying used to buying new, but low-quality. I'm also a big supporter of buying less rather than buying worse. I know those sound cliched, but they're both very real.

imnotapunk2 karma

How much effort do you put in to ensure garments are produced in an ethical (in regards to animals, humans and the earth as a whole) fashion?

JesseThorn3 karma

It's certainly a consideration for me, and definitely one of the reasons I really appreciate buying used or buying directly from the maker. That said, I'm not a vegan or anything, and I do buy mass-made clothing sometimes.

johnwilliams7132 karma

Have you listened to K.Flay yet? It's pretty hot. I know you like hip hop. She seems like she'd have an interesting story to tell.

JesseThorn3 karma

Read this on her Wikipedia: "During her freshman year, K.Flay and a friend were discussing modern rap music. Believing that most hip-hop hits on the radio were simplistic, misogynistic, and formulaic, she proclaimed that even she could do a song like that. To demonstrate, K.Flay spent that night writing a song called Blingity Blang Blang, which she described as "a low-budget rap parody that contained far too many obscenities." Realizing that she actually enjoyed it, she wrote two more songs before the end of the year."

Sorry, not interested.

BusinessClassPanda2 karma

I'm so glad you simplified the beginning of JJGo, getting rid of the pre-recorded intro. When I go back and listen to old episodes it's almost painful compared to the current set-up.

I am really sad about, because I can't go and knowing about it has just been painful. Jesse, why are you so mean?

I think there should be a sports themed addition to the MaxFun stable of excellence. I'm not sure if it's a blog or podcast or just a segment, but I really appreciate your take on sports. It's interested and knowledgeable without you being a total meathead or obsessive stat junkie. What would it take to make this happen?

Why isn't Jordan Morris the most famous funny person in America? When listening to JJGo, this fact astounds me. You're great too, but you also have a ton of things going for you at the moment-- a fleet of podcasts, a fantastic radio show (best in class, at least), not to mention your menswear exploits and fuckfests. Looking back at this, I'm not sure what my point is but I'm saying it anyway.

JesseThorn5 karma

I'd love for Jordan to get to run a funny TV show, or at least write for one, but he makes a good living doing what he's been doing. I know he's told me that JJGo is his most rewarding work, because of how profoundly it touches people. Just this weekend, a staff member at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, our favorite place, recognized him and offered him a personal tour.

As far as sports... if you haven't checked out the Sklar Brothers' show, I recommend it highly. Especially the episodes I guest on :). I just recorded a full interview with them for the first time, I imagine that'll be out this week. And Mike Pesca's Slate show is great, too.

Make_it_Snow2 karma


JesseThorn9 karma

It's a phrase we use to weed out annoying pedants who make incoherent jokes in reddit threads.

matt_bp2 karma

Jesse, have you ever considered including public policy programming within Maximum Fun? I suspect you'd be great at it, and now you're a journalist and all.

JesseThorn3 karma

Well, certainly Throwing Shade is about public policy in large part, though it's a comedy show.

Certainly it's something I've considered, but for now, I feel like the arts-and-culture space is where I can make the biggest impact (and enjoy my work the most).

casio2822 karma

Hi Jesse, Tony Zito here. Can you give us any hints about the shows you're unveiling on Thursday?

JesseThorn8 karma

Since you asked so nicely... both are all new shows that I'm executive producing. We've been working on developing them for some time. Both are hosted by very, very funny women. One is about motherhood and one is about "dick flicks" - action and sci-fi movies. We've got a bunch of awesome people involved in the production of the shows, and I really believe in them.

These are the first shows I've produced that I'm not involved in on-air. They're stuff I couldn't be involved in on-air. They're partnerships between us and the talent, and I'm really excited about them.

bottleface2 karma

Bailiff Jessie Thorn, how does one get into podcasting?

JesseThorn2 karma

By podcasting.

woweezowee912 karma

At what age did you start "dressing like a grown up", as the Put This On motto goes? I'm nearly 22 and have suddenly caught the menswear bug

JesseThorn7 karma

Gradually through my mid-20s. I think 25 was a turning point - I was running my own business, felt like a grownup and thought I could pull it off.

Brandorff2 karma

What's more important for a tweed sport coat, high-end cloth like Harris Tweed or being made by a reputable manufacturer?

JesseThorn4 karma

Tweed is relatively forgiving in terms of the quality of the garment, because it's so heavy. If it fits well, a decently-made tweed coat is pretty similar to a fancy one. I'd focus on fit.

eliason2 karma

Is is easy or difficult to move between the clean/public-radio mode of Bullseye and the profane/dick-joke mode of JJGo? Do you ever find yourself wanting to curse or make blue jokes during Bullseye interviews?

JesseThorn7 karma

It's totally natural, actually. It's the difference between being at a party with people you don't know and being at a pizza parlor with your two or three best friends.

caveman80002 karma

What's up with JJGo's new intro. It is so somber I feel like you are about to announce the death of someone.

JesseThorn2 karma

We thought the whole big thing was a little weird for new listeners.

buymagicfish2 karma

Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders?

Thank you section:

  • Thanks for convincing me to watch Undefeated
  • Thanks for suggesting way back when that I should go to West of Pecos in the Mission
  • Thanks for helping me look so damn great (pocket square category picked up at sale in SF, I'm the guy who came with his wife who only came to meet you)

JesseThorn2 karma

geez. I gotta go Bo Jackson. Just because he was so strong, too. But Sanders is definitely the most amazing athlete I've ever seen playing for one of my hometown teams. Just barely ahead of Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco in their primes.

sturg1dj2 karma

Geez Louise Jesse, how many times are you going to do this? Just kidding.

Tell me, the suma, great citrus fruit or greatest citrus fruit?

JesseThorn5 karma

Sumo. Greatest.

sturg1dj2 karma


and BTW this is the 3rd time you have responded to a question from me in some form of media, and all were useless questions.

I feel we are now friends.

If you are ever in the glorious west coast of Michigan you can totally sleep on my couch.

JesseThorn3 karma

It's tough to overstate how much I like to avoid my actual work.

floorplanner2 karma

What bunny was revealed on the most recent New Bunny Day?

JesseThorn3 karma

These days, my family is all about Hero Dogs.

thesupermikey2 karma

What is going to be the biggest challenge with the switch the NPR? You talked about politics and political disclosure on JJGo a few back.

JesseThorn2 karma

Honestly, the main challenge is the same: getting our show on stations. We hope that NPR will be able to help with that. The politics thing will take a little getting used to, but it really, sincerely isn't a problem.

brs6772 karma

How is NPR to work for? I've kind of wondered this since the whole Jaun Williams sitution, which is still up in the air for how it really happened since you couldn't trust a word either side said. Do they give you a lot of freedom to voice opinions, whether popular or not?

JesseThorn6 karma

I don't actually work for NPR, they just distribute my show. I own the show.

That said, I certainly know folks who work at NPR and have worked at NPR. My impression as an outsider is that there are some sort of "big institution" issues, but mostly people really love working there. People who work in public radio are generally quite smart, kind, and committed to the world at large, which makes for a good co-worker.

NPR does really believe in objective journalism, and I think that's reflected by the fact that they're one of the most trusted journalism institutions in the country. So "voicing opinions" if it's public, you're a journalist, and those opinions are about politics, particuarly, is frowned upon. But that's what you sign up for. NPR's ethics guide is very interesting, thoughtful and really explains this well.

WindsorTerrace2 karma

Ravello or cigar cordovan ?

JesseThorn6 karma

I like classic burgundy. I'm a big burgundy shoe guy. Wearing Alden #9 boots right now, in fact.

F6x2 karma

Can you talk about the SHIELD Act and what podcast fans can do to help?

JesseThorn5 karma

As an NPR journalist, I don't want to get involved personally in pending legislation. That said: it's a really, really, really, REALLY important issue that I hope podcasting fans will look into.

LanceConz2 karma

Hi Jesse, big fan. I discovered JJGo with the "Black Bart Simpson" episode and was hooked as soon as somebody married dick jokes with cultural studies concepts. I've been wanting to ask this for a while:

How do you prepare for interviews? Let's say outside from reading their new book, listening to their new album or otherwise engaging with their new thing (assuming they're promoting a new thing). I've been interviewing various pop culture figures for a few years now – your William Shatners and Weird Als, for example – but I never quite feel like I've prepared enough to get the facts and information I need while having the conversation.

JesseThorn2 karma

I mostly just read read read. I plan a few topics that I want to go to, and then go from there. I don't usually write questions. I also like to read other interviews with the person, which generally sort of suggest in my mind ideas for stuff I'd have asked if I'd been in that position.

addict4272 karma

Hey, Jesse. I'm a college student who's used PTO to turn my wardrobe inside-out over the course of the last eight or nine months. Keeping an eye on your reblogs, I'm starting to get the feeling that you're a fan of hip-hop (and not just the mainstream stuff). Am I reading too much into this? If not, who are your favorite rappers, sonically and sartorially?

JesseThorn6 karma

I am. Derek actually founded a very influential hip-hop magazine in the mid-90s, as well. He doesn't follow hip-hop much these days, but I know that if I email him about Saafir, he'll know who that is :).

My favorite rappers of all time are probably... let's see... Devin the Dude. Scarface. Pharoahe Monch. Jay-Z. DJ Quik. Outkast.

Sartorially... Andre 3000, obviously.

RedditIsImmature2 karma

No question, just wanted to say thanks. My wife and I listen to a lot of Maximum fun podcasts and really enjoy them. For my birthday she got us tickets to MaxFunCon west this year. Looking forward to it.

JesseThorn2 karma

You'll really love it. It's kind of amazing.

vonxylo2 karma

The Memory Palace is very different from anything out there now. Are there any podcasts that you feel are innovating the medium?

JesseThorn2 karma

Innovating? Well, there's APM's show The Truth, which I think is very innovative formatically. I don't really value innovation that much in and of itself when it comes to media.

crshank2 karma

Career high point and low point?

Most common mistake men make in their wardrobe or style?

What are your thoughts on the state of both podcasting and public radio?

JesseThorn3 karma

Those are really big questions. For career high point, I'd go with when I interviewed Bill Withers, or maybe when Ira Glass said something nice to me about JJGo, completely unexpectedly. Or maybe when I first signed with PRI. Low point... there were a lot in the early years, when I was really worried about stuff like "rent" and "food." And it was really hard after my son was born to keep the whole thing going.

dantondrobot2 karma

Any rappers/hip hop artist going to be on Bullseye soon?

JesseThorn4 karma

Jean Grae just cancelled on us recently. Frankly, it's so hard to get rappers to show up that it's hard to put in the effort to book them. Even though that's my favorite part of the show. It's just that we have one employee booking the show part-time, and if she spends a month chasing after somebody's cousin/manager and then at the end of it they just decide not to show up, the cost piles up.

gribbly2 karma

If you could pick anyone to interview you, who would it be?

JesseThorn2 karma

Terry Gross.

trowawae2 karma

How did you make the transition from college radio guy to podcaster (in terms of learning the technical side, what equipment to buy, actually funding that equipment, etc.)? Was there overlap between TSOYA the college show and TSOYA the podcast?

Thinking of starting up my own thing, but in a very tight place financially right now.

JesseThorn2 karma

Basically, I started the show in college at the college radio station. Did it through college there, and for about two years after. Podcasting started towards the end of that, and I started podcasting the show too. At some point around then I left the college station and moved to the local NPR station, but still with no pay. Was producing the show at my apartment in SF by then. Didn't really make any money at all until after I moved to LA in like 2006 or so, which is three or four years after college. Didn't make a living until maybe 2008 or so, and it was a very modest living.

akauf2 karma

Hi Jesse, what are some of your all time favorite episodes of JJGO?

JesseThorn3 karma

People don't believe me when I say this, but I genuinely forget episodes right after they happen. A couple of episodes stand out negatively, mostly for unpleasantness afterwards, but for positive... it's hard to remember. Ira Glass once complimented me on the episode where I talked about my dog's illness, that meant a lot. I remember really enjoying an early episode where Paul Rust and Neil Campbell were on in character as presidential candidates, but one was... maybe Bart Simpson? And one was the screenwriter of Back to the Future 3? Something like that. I remember really liking the one where Tig was really uncooperative. She later explained that she didn't know what a podcast was :). Really they're all a blur.

minzeb451 karma

Can you help me explain to my wife why black beans on a burrito is wrong? We live in the Midwest, and "it tastes good" seems to be a good enough reason for her. And two new shows? Of course this is awesome, but I barely have enough time to listen to the shows you already put out. This will be a pleasant challenge.

JesseThorn1 karma

It's a cultural thing, really. I have an arbitrary way I want it done.

I'm also a little bothered by the fact that putting black beans on a burrito sort of conflates all Spanish-speaking people's foodways into one thing. You might as well put yuca in there or something.

BusinessClassPanda1 karma

I have a wedding coming up where I will be in the wedding party. The groom has made tux rental arrangements, but said if we already own a tux that's fine too--just a plain black tux, bow tie, cummerbund set up.

My question to you: What is a fair price to pay for a tux? What brands or stores should I avoid like the plague? Any particular recommendations?

More powerful than ever. Plug it in.

JesseThorn4 karma

we've actually written about this a fair amount. I think you can get a good tux for a hundred bucks if you have the time. Mine cost me $35. A tux has the added advantage of being relatively timeless, so you can buy one from any era (with certain limits, of course). That said, if you're buying new at a store, it'll be like any suit - you can get something for $200-300, something decent for $500-600, something good for $1000+.

Mwem1 karma

Who drew the picture for

eliason1 karma

As I recall the site said "Art by Jesse Thorn"

JesseThorn1 karma

Yes, I drew it. You can still view it on the current site, if you click on "updates" and scroll down a little.

skepticaljesus1 karma

I'm a MaxFun donor. I contribute $10/mo. I know this is a thorny issue, but would like to know honestly if this is the appropriate amount I should be donating. I want to feel like I'm doing my part. I listen to most MaxFun shows on a weekly basis, with particular interest in Bullseye, JJGo, JJHo, Risk!, and International Waters.

I ask because Kevin recently mentioned on Risk! that the show was becoming financially untenable, and I gather that resources at MaxFun are similarly strained.

What's the amount that if every listener contributed their fair share would make your operation supportable for the foreseeable future?

JesseThorn2 karma

I think being a monthly donor is all I can ask. If every listener donated a quarter a month, we'd all be doing great. The main difference is between giving and not giving.

sadsadguy1 karma

Is Judge John as smart as he sounds in his podcast? Also, not sure if you're involved in choosing who gets selected, but roughly how many cases are brought to the Judge before one is selected?

Thank you, and keep up the great pie-hole shutting.

JesseThorn1 karma

John is really, really smart. As smart a person as I know. He didn't go to Yale as a legacy, let's put it that way.

We get a couple dozen cases a week, I think. We'd love to get more. Sometimes there's stuff we want to do, but one of the parties is hesitant, or the logistics don't work... more cases = more better as far as we're concerned.

sirsamuelpinncer1 karma

Jesse - Big fan of Putthison...what's the best spot to buy an engagement ring? Other than the commerical go tos like Tiffany, Harry Winston etc...any classy, boutique recommendations?

Thank you,

Sir Samuel

JesseThorn2 karma

I'd be inclined to recommend an estate ring, as I'm not a big fan of buying new diamonds.

ishydee1 karma

I read all your answers with your voice

JesseThorn5 karma


JezusGhoti1 karma

What are some inexpensive and easy things a man can do to break free of "the uniform" that's all over /r/malefashionadvice, without getting too far out of his own comfort zone?

JesseThorn8 karma

Wear something other than desert boots :).

zachlinder1 karma

Jesse, I bought these shoes last week. Can you please link me to a good belt? Also, how necessary is that leather defender spray?

JesseThorn4 karma

Leather defender spray? Don't know what that is.

I like Naragansett Leather for inexpensive casual belts of very high quality. Otherwise just trawl eBay for something from Brooks Brothers or similar. You should be able to get something good for $30 or so.