We are Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris, hosts of the comedy podcast Jordan, Jesse Go!. (We do other stuff too.) Ask us anything!
We are Jordan Morris and Jesse Thorn, and we host Jordan, Jesse Go!, a comedy podcast which has run for about seven years and been featured in Rolling Stone, The Guardian and many other outlets.
When we're not doing JJGo, Jordan is a writer for Comedy Central's @Midnight, and Jesse runs our podcast network, Maximumfun.org, hosts the NPR show Bullseye and serves as Bailiff on the Judge John Hodgman podcast. Our producer Brian Fernandes is also around if you have any questions for him.
Here's a slightly unflattering photo of us that will serve as proof.
As us anything!
From a place where people are polite enough not to ask sarcastic questions.
Sorry, it came from a place of love! I've been listening to MaxFun podcasts for years and am a proud monthly donor.
Hi Jordan, Jesse, and Brian! I love the podcast, and I am excited to listen every week. What is one way that I might not know about that I, as a fan, can be as supportive and positive as possible? What's the best thing that your fanbase can choose to do for you?
- Share the show on social media in a way that would make a non-fan want to listen.
What Jordan said. But with a donation link.
Jesse, ever thought about giving loveable Brian Fernandes a podcast on the network? Or doing a once a month or couple times a year podcast with some staff members for the donation drives?
Shout out to Nick, Julia, Lindsay and Amanda for being awesome at producing, live events and MaxFunCon.
I think you should get excited about a pilot and kickstarter coming soon for MaxFun's first-ever video series.
Do you script your conversations in any way, like by going in with an outline? It sounds incredibly free-form, but somehow remains engaging and fun, every time.
Usually before we start we say something like "I want to talk about Halloween" or "ask me about my trip to blahblahbah"
Then, David Mamet comes in and writes the whole thing.
Typically Jordan is played by Joe Mantegna and I am played by William H. Macy.
Not any further than, "I want to talk about this." We've been working together for more than 12 years now, and we're both professional broadcasters. It's a skill we've learned.
Just wanted to say I think JJGO has been getting even better and better recently! Jordan's times hosting have been excellent when Jesse can't make it.
Jesse: any feelings on Lego? Excited/trepidatious for when the boys will be old enough to play with it?
Jordan: you've been jokingly referencing hashtaggamergate the past couple weeks, but how do you feel about how gamers/geek are viewed in the greater world over the past couple of years? I know you've tried to distance yourself from your "Jordan Plays Street Fighter" persona of the earlier years, but is it a conscious decision to pull away from how awful nerd society has been?
I like Lego a lot. I'm sort of against the special themed kits, though, and that seems like it's all they have anymore. I just had a big suitcase full of miscellaneous pieces that I inherited from my mom's hairdresser's kids. I think that's definitely the way to go.
It's been a long time since Theresa Thorn was on Jordan Jesse Go as a guest, and then to make a very special announcement. And I believe she's said she doesn't listen to JJGo. Aside from the question of when she might make another appearance -- especially now that it would be a podcast cross-over episode -- I have a more critical question. Do Theresa and Jordan get along? I don't think I've ever heard of a Theresa/Jordan friendship story.
Jordan and Theresa do get along quite well. I think my family life and Jordan's single guy life are to some extent on different tracks, and so our social time mostly comes when we get together to do the show.
Theresa hasn't been back on JJGo mostly because there would be no one left at our house to care for our children.
Theresa is awesome. Would totally love to have her back on the show, especially now that she's a podcaster. I imagine if J+T got a sitter for the kids they'd want to do something other than podcast.
I just want to live in a world where Simon and Oscar know you as Uncle Jordan.
I can barely get them to call my actual brothers uncle.
Jesse or Jordan,
Where did you first hear Love You, Kites are Fun or anything by The Free Design?
I wanna say we got a promo of the CD when Light in the Attic reissued them all? I heard Kites are Fun first, and I just thought it was totally amazing.
What is the current status of the Personal Audio patent troll bullshit, and what can we do to help?
Optional follow up question retracted. I suspect that this might not be a good venue for it.
They seem to have pretty much announced that podcasters aren't making enough money to be worth suing, but that is no guarantee that they won't sue. They just won against one of the TV people they were suing, believe it or not. CBS, maybe?
Jesse, All of the MaxFun hosts manage to be funny and (pardon me for using this word) edgy, without resorting to sexist, racist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive jokes. Is that a matter of policy or some sort or contractual obligation, or are you just a really good judge of character?
Yeah, I mean if I felt like people were being any of those things, I wouldn't want to work with them, and ultimately our shows are partnerships. I try not to go into business with someone who doesn't have ethics that I like, basically.
I'm going to ask you the same question as I asked the Stop Podcasting Yourself boys- did you think that the podcast would still be running after all this time? Also, I know this is pointless, but I love it when you have British guests, and you should have them more! However, I know that that's probably down to logistics more than anything!
Honestly? I kind of did. I can't speak for Jordan, but I sort of imagined this as a long-term project.
I like the British guests too. MaxFun's senior producer Colin Anderson was a comedy producer at the BBC, so he knows when people are in town. I've met a lot of great comedy people through him and our friend Josie Long.
Can you elaborate how leaving comments on iTunes helps? Does it help leverage advertisers to bring in more money?
iTunes rankings are based on a mix of subscribers, pageviews and reviews in the last day or so, so when you leave reviews, it improves your ranking. It's also one of the only outward-facing markers of popularity - lots of reviews means lots of listeners and thus, probably a good show.
Hi guys, love the show. I have an actual serious question. Is it difficult to make a living via podcast? I know you fellows have other jobs, but if say Bullseye went web-only & @Midnite was cancelled (god forbid), would you be able to make ends meet?
Jordan's got another job, but I don't. Bullseye overall is a minor money-loser. Put This On does pretty well (the blog and related stuff), and between that and all my other jobs (running MaxFun, JJHo, etc) I do fine. But it's a lot of work, and I do sometimes wish I didn't have to have 12 jobs to make ends meet.
Hi guys! How do you pick your guests for each show? Do you ever come off a recording feeling like your guest for the day was a real dud?
Generally it's people who are friends and acquaintances of ours. Once in a great while it's someone who got pitched to me for Bullseye and I thought a more casual conversation would be better, but even then it's generally someone we're at least acquainted with. Like we just recorded today with two of the Birthday Boys (Tim & Mitch)... they got pitched for Bullseye, but they were on last year, and we know them from comedy world, so we invited them on JJGo.
We really just pick based on who we think will be fun and funny. Once in a while we try to book someone "famous," but that's not a big consideration. We do try extra hard to book women and people of color, just because our circle of comedy acquaintances is tilted a little towards white dudes, and we're already white dudes, so a little variety is good for the show.
Once in a while a show isn't as good as the other ones, but mostly that's because of us. (Or, actually, me.)
What's the funniest thing you've ever heard on another Max Fun podcast?
Almost certainly something Erin and Bryan said or did. There are many, many brilliantly fun MaxFun talents, but once in a while Erin and Bryan get me so bad that I literally hurt myself laughing.
What would happen if someone called in a momentous occasion claiming they had sex with Jordan?
They'd be lying. I've only ever given hand jobs.
Handjobs are sex. And I should know - Jordan took my virginity.
you guys have been friends privately & publicly for a really long time! can you give us any hints on maintaining a friendship for such a long time, especially when it's part of your public persona and livelihoods? or is the answer to that a weekly podcast? :)
Have formalized friendship time once a week is a pretty solid help. Being terrified of interpersonal conflict helps, too, as long as it's mutual.
Jesse, I once met you right before doing a podcast, and your voice was kind of weird and low (because I was so used to the voice I'd heard forever). Then the mic turned on to record, and you got that perfect radio voice. It was shocking how big the vocal transformation was.
So my question is how hard did you have to work to get that radio voice? Or was it something you just always had?
It's just my natural voice, though I did go to theater school and learn to breathe properly and that sort of thing. I think I have a sort of B, B- radio voice, honestly. A lot of people with better voices than I.
What is a question you wish somebody would ask?
How does someone end up with a handle like DuckOfDoom42, and why would someone with that name ask a very thoughtful question in an AMA?
What are your favorite moments of shame / momentous occasions?
Actually my favorite is the dude who called in after he went out for the first time in ladies' clothes. Both because it was such a sweet, intimate, happy call, and because that dude is now living as a lady, is a comic and was a guest on Lady 2 Lady.
Jordan, since Jimmy says fans can't annoy him with these types of things, I will annoy you. Can you PLEASE go back on NNF. I still quote when you were on in season six. get over there! Jesse: I know you got that sweet beard going on right now, but when you are clean shaven, what is your shave kit like? thank you both for everything you do
I've used both a merkur safety razor and a plain old Gillette Mach 3. Maybe I like the latter better.
Are you huggers?
I am not a natural hugger but I pursue hugging as a sort of personal development project.
Jesse - last time you did an AMA you mentioned that you were probably not going to do any more seasons of PutThisOn and that the reaction to the last season had been disappointing. Could you elaborate on this a bit? I really enjoyed the show and it is a shame that it is not coming back :(
I mean, that's pretty much the summary. It was being shared less and less, and thus the audience was declining, for a much more expensive show. It's a huge amount of work to make and doesn't make me that much money in the end. And the blog was doing really great, so it made more sense to focus on that.
That's not to say we'd never do it again or that there wouldn't ever be video again. But there are definitely no immediate plans.
Sad, but I can see it must have been a huge amount of work with those production values.
I think they're really special, and am very proud of them. I'm not sure that they're the kind of video that does really well on the web.
Do you guys find yourself editing out much during the shows? Is it difficult to prompt your guests into inputting?
Also, don't suppose you're planning on releasing the stuff that goes on between segments?? Judging by the way Jordan giggles there must be some gold happening.
Sometimes a guest will start talking about something interesting during the break and Jordan or Jesse will say, "Oh hold on, save it for the air!"
Brian's giving you THE INSIDE DOPE on SHOWBIZ.
Almost nothing gets edited out. Once in a great while we'll accidentally mention a thing that Jordan can't talk about for work reasons or something I haven't announced yet for MaxFun or something. But really like once a year, a couple of sentences.
In between segments we're usually just flapping the door open and closed, because it gets really hot in our studio with three or four people in there. And sometimes Jordan will be like, "hey, I went to a cat cafe, we could talk about that." And I'll be like, "awesome, let's go."
Do either of you have a favorite episode of "Cheers"? What about "NewsRadio"? MST3K?
Newsradio for me it's gotta be The Cane, and then the Johnny Johnson arc. Cheers is harder, because they're so much less about plot, so they sort of mush together.
Hey guys, thanks for doing the AMA! Jordan, How are you enjoying having a steady gig on @Midnight and how has changed the way your days play out? Jesse, how do you feel watching your bud Jordan there succeeding in his chosen field (as you have, I must add)?
[insert obligatory vulgar comment]
I am very, very happy for Jordan. He had a great job for a long time at Fuel, writing, being on-camera, having a lot of leeway, but I know that he's now doing what his real goal always was. And he's really, really good at his job.
Do you think sexism in videogames is mostly just compensation for games knowing they can never be as good as Katamari?
Oh shit I hadn't thought about Katamari in a while. That shit is tremendous.
If you could pull one existing podcast into the MaxFun family, what would it be? Also, hey guys! I'm at work goofing off #WorkGoofs
Answer Me This. But they have a big pay system they built and don't want to abandon.
I haven't listened to JJGo in a while?
Is it still mostly dick jokes?
Love you guys!
Nope. It's mostly in-depth political analysis. We've done a lot of growing up.
The Economist doesn't have a podcast, but if it did, it would be our show.
Love the podcast, guys! With Halloween right around the corner, what were your favorite Halloween costumes you wore as children?
One time I was a guy taking a shower with a big shower curtain that went all around me and a shower head and a towel. One time I was a guy with a shark biting off his head. The shark rested on my shoulders and was made of chicken wire and foam. One time I was a cactus. One time I was Mother Theresa. That was maybe the best one.
Hey guys! I've been listening to Maximum Fun shows since 2010 but only started listening to JJGo a few months ago. I've made it through the first 150 episodes so far.
I decided to listen to a new episode, though, and me and my girlfriend enjoyed your talk with Travis on a drive through Quebec this past weekend. I'm glad to see that you guys will still be funny four years from now.
Anyway, real talk: how cute is Buttercup, really?
I have yet to meet Buttercup, but she looks cute in pictures.
Technical question; There was a bunch of hooplah years ago about the hybrid sweatlodge/murder hole/soundproof recording booth Jesse bought from a(n ethnically ambiguous?) man. Yet, Sunny Ds laughter comes through. Intentional? Is he mic'd?
Oh, and likely you won't remember this, but I phoned in the hockey stick/Valentines Day Momentus Occasion last winter. So; thoughts on the NHL season so far? Any chance of the gang going to see a Kings game?
It's not soundproof. To be soundproof it would have to be built of concrete with no windows and be gas-suspended and all that. It's mostly built to reduce echo and be a dead space. Brian sits about three feet from Jordan's mic, on the other side of a plastic window. And he's a loud laugher.
Hello, long time listener, first time caller: any plans to come over to the UK again?
Also, the Frogtown episode cheered me up no end during a particular creative slump last year so please keep it up with the nonsense.
No immediate plans. That appearance was produced/underwritten by a generous friend/listener. It's tough for us to afford that kind of thing under normal circumstances - we might make $500 or $1000 on a show like that, not counting travel and lodging.
Jesse, your interview with Lynda Barry is one of my favorite things. Do you think she'd ever come on JJGo?
She doesn't live in LA, so I think it would be tough. She is pretty awesome, though. I tried to invite her to MaxFunCon but I never successfully got in touch with her.
Hey guys, I love JJGo. You guys mentioned gaming in the latest EP, what gaming platform(s) do you play on?
...EP because I store your episodes on vinyl apparently.
Our podcast sounds better in mono.
A lot of people don't know that before Brian Fernandes, our show was produced by Brian Wilson.
I have an XBox 360. I would get the new one but I heard it's not that good for playing videos that reside on your computer which is one of the top things I use mine for. Also the PBS app.
What cast member (or character) from "Cheers" would make the best JJGo guest?
Hey you guys, I love the show and MaxFun in general. I'm running out of stuff to listen to though! What are some of your favorite podcasts? (Not including MaxFun ones of course!)
Answer Me This. 99% Invisible. Shields & Brooks from The Newshour. On the Media. KCRW's Good Food and The Treatment. Fresh Air.
I spend a lot A LOT of time with both of your voices pumped into my brain; whilst sleeping, running, working, driving, crafting, chore-ing, etc. Beyond that I spend an equally large amount of time with the content you've curated for me. Is that weird for you to think about? Its a little weird if you think about it.
Nope. That's our jobs.
Jesse, when will you fess up to being a younger version of the time traveler Neal Stephenson?
Our policy on JJGo is that you should never compare anyone's looks to a famous person who isn't famous for being good-looking. I think it's a fair policy.
What's your favorite guest nickname?
Hi Jordan, Hi Jesse. You clearly go out of your way to make yourselves accessible to your audience (maxfun con, cruises etc). When I met you two in Edinburgh last year despite having listened to you for a good 4 years and feeling that kind of intimate connection that seems come from listening to a radio program/podcast, I managed to mix up your names and couldn't think of any of the million questions previously logged in my brain to ask you. At first I was confused - like I say - despite never really having met you, your personalities seem so familiar to me. Then I realised...that's what it's like to be starstruck. Someone like Tom Cruise may be famous to many, but actually I might see a Tom Cruise film once a year. I hear you guys every week. So I suppose what I'm saying is....you're just like Tom Cruise.
Anyway, this leads me to my questions. With all the contact you have with fans do you have any good stories about starstruck fans? And secondly - Jesse especially on this with Bullseye - with all the legendary figures you get to interview do you have any experiences of being Starstruck yourself?
I'm not generally starstruck anymore... but I do get a little nervous sometimes. I've interviewed a couple of the Pythons, and I was nervous then. Bill Withers. Recently Ishmael Butler.
The Bill Withers ep is a favourite and was what made me think of that question originally. You do seem to come up with some very incisive questions - as a Brit I particularly liked the one to Steve Coogan asking if coming back to Alan Partridge at this point in his life was part of becoming comfortable with the idea that it might be what he will always be most famous for. It's not something I ever heard addressed in the British press, and it seemed to be a question he was pleasantly surprised by. I have no idea how you find the time to be so well appraised in so many areas of media and culture.
Chris Morris. Another one I was a little nervous for.
I just saw this a minute ago. Jesse - thoughts?
Jordan - what do you do all day at @midnight? What does writing for that show entail for you?
For @Midnight: There's a research staff that complies all the stuff from around the web. The writers pitch games based on that stuff. When we pick the best stuff, the writers all go off and write jokes (or "answers" in the parlance of the fake game show). The comedians get there a few hours before tape time. They pair off with a writer. Most of the time, they've seen the packet before time and have written a lot of their own jokes (or "answers"). Sometimes they haven't. They work with their writer to figure out the best answers for them. We also write all of Hardwick's copy (that he sometimes changes/punches up).
The show is slowly branching out to include more sketch-like material, and maybe even some field segments down the line. Those will all be written by the writing staff too.
Are there any frequent contestants you pair with a lot?
Speaking of frequent contestants, Ron Funches seems like an ideal JJGo guest.
I don't know Ron Funches at all, but he is a really funny dude. RON FUNCHES, IF YOU ARE READING THIS: PLEASE COME ON OUR PODCAST.
Can you share any stories about talking to a person and only afterward having somebody say, "Do you know who that was?" and finding out it was someone ridiculously famous?
I've walked obliviously past a few celebrities in LA. The woman from Party of Five. I had like a twenty minute conversation with Brian K. Vaughn before I found out who he was. Same with Sara Watkins. Mostly just people hanging out after one of Hodgman's shows :).
Hey guys, I've been a listener for a while and it's actually pushed me to join a Broadcasting Journalism program in college, and I get to see different facets of this kind of stuff, I'm super interested in your guys' jobs!
Jesse! I love the beard so much! Your career has been so fascinating to me for a long time! What would you say is the biggest skill you can learn when working in the recording/radio business?
Jordan! What a guy! What was it like doing on screen interviews and generally having a visual media career (previous to your @midnight writing gig)?
Brian! How is producing for such an awesome company? What's your day to day workload? Is it mostly to do with running the board and stuff? Sorry if this has been asked before, I'm still catching up on episodes (before you became full time!)
Acting and hosting stuff are a TON of fun, but I'm more passionate about writing. My career idol is probably Conan writer Brian Stack. He's a brilliant writer, but gets to do a goofy bit every now and then.
Also he's one of the greatest guys ever.
I guess respecting the audience and learning to anticipate their needs and wants? That and editing. And writing in really short, talk-like sentences.
And Brian's actual not a full-time MaxFun employee... I wish we made enough money to make him fulltime, but he works about one day a week on the show and has a real job in showbusiness the rest of the time.
Jesse, how did you first get involved in men's style/fashion? P.S.- Your beard game is on point.
It's always been an interest of mine, I think received mostly through my mom.
I asked Dave Holmes the same question in a rare fit of missing LA:
Dupars pancakes or Zankou Chicken Garlic Sauce?
Non-question comment: I like both of you very much and your podcast(s) bring me a shit-ton of joy.
I have not eaten the pancakes, and I can't eat the garlic sauce, because it's a migraine trigger, but I definitely LIKE the garlic sauce.
Any chance the King of Books will ever return. What a joy that man was.
Also, what's you guys' favorite thing about Dave Shumka?
Was that Nick Hornby?
We're hoping he'll come back next time he's in LA on book tour, but he has very limited time here and many actual important media outlets would like access to it.
Jesse, what would you say was the most pivotal moment in turning Maximum Fun into the excellent empire it is today? and why was it FLCHORT?(but seriously the first question)
Well, Jordan invented FLCHORT so you'll have to ask him about that.
I think the turning point was just moving to LA and deciding I wouldn't have a job anymore. I was still completely broke for three or four years after that, but it worked out pretty well.
A few other things that come to mind: Adding SPY to the network Getting invited to put The Sound of Young America on WNYC for some specials Getting to host a TV show (and a pilot before that) Making friends with Hodgman
What is your biggest NON-momentous occasion?
Son gives me a hug.
Jesse, I'm looking for a good pair of raw denim jeans on a new-grad's budget. Can you make an recommendations?
Jordan, I'm also looking for a solid pair of jorts. Can you make any recommendations?
Gustin is an advertiser on PTO who make a solid jean for less than $100 a pair.
Hey guys! You may have gone over this before, but how'd y'all go from simple "radioboyz" to ultimate L.A. Standup crew homies? You're friends with everyone! Was it just having all those guests? I wanna know!
We had a pretty successful sketch group in college that did SF sketchfest and stuff like that. We met a lot of people from the scene doing those shows. We kept it going for a little bit in LA doing UCB shows and stuff.
And, you know, I host a nationally-syndicated public radio show and Jordan is pretty deeply involved in the LA comedy scene. We've both put in our time and it's mostly our actual social circle.
Can you have Katie Crown on as a guest? I think she'd be a good fit.
We do not know her but she is welcome on our show based on YOUR RECOMMENDATION. And also she was apparently on Adventure Time, Jon Dore Show and Kroll Show. Those are excellent credits.
She was also on Stop Podcasting Yourself
Well she should PUT THAT IN HER BIO.
Have you ever talked to Nick Repeat Adams about doing his own MaxFun podcast? Those are always my favorite JJGO episodes. I'll take my answer off the air. Thank you guys so much!
Nick is super busy between his showbiz work and family. But I would welcome him into the MaxFun family if he ever wanted to do a show. It'd probably just be about marijuana legalization thought because that's all that guy cares about.
I really, really, really want both of you to appear on Andy Rosen's new show Totally Beverages And Sometimes Hot Sauce.
That said, being completely unconcerned about calories anything like that, what is your ultimate beverage of choice?
I love Dr Pepper, Boylan's Root Beer, frozen coconut limeade, malts, and sparkling water with citrus bitters.
Hey guys, I've been sharing my favorite JJGO episode on Facebook for Max Fun Week. What is each of yours favorite episode?
I literally couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard during the Full Chort episode.
I have a little bit of a tough time remembering what happened in specific episodes, but here's a few favorite guests and moments that come to mind:
Asterios talking about Hobbit Coffee
Kimmy Gatewood from The Apple Sisters talking about going through a car was of dicks.
Maria Bamford talking about building community amongst the meth heads in her neighborhood.
Mary Roach talking about space chimps
Those are all pretty epic.
Not a question, but a good memory. I was on the podcast for a Would You Rather question (either needing to air dry after every shower/bath or something equally unappealing) and you were both very kind to my dull and not-funny banter.
So, has anyone told you how nice you are? If not, this is me doing so: you're both very nice!
I feel burdened by my reputation for niceness. I would much rather have a reputation as a loveable curmudgeon, because I feel like anytime I do anything even a little bit not-nice I get all this, "but you're supposed to be Mr. Positive!" blowback.
But I do try to be nice :).
Hey Jordan and Jesse. You guys are the best. Are there any plans for another MaxFunCon East?
Not at the moment. We had the cruise out of Miami and Orlando, and there's always MaxFunCon regular.
What were your first impressions of each other when you met?
I thought Jesse was cool because he was on the UCSC improv team and had a Kids in the Hall poster.
Then why didn't you do a podcast with that guy Michael from our hall who had a copy of State by State with the State? Oh, right, he wasn't on the improv team. Nice kid, though.
"Geez. This guy is really funny. Like... really funny."
Jesse, I assume that the whole time the MaxFun network has been around it hasn't made you the millions (billions) it makes you now. What did you do to support yourself during that time? I like to think that there is a hidden vault of voice over work that you are ashamed of! Haha.
Anyway, I love the network and thanks for all you and the other hosts and support team do!
I was just really poor, mostly. Before I moved to LA I was a receptionist at a great non-profit called The Trust for Public Land, and worked as an assistant in my dad's very small NGO The Jhai Foundation. I also worked at Macy's for a while.
Jordan and Jesse, you guys have been an inspiration since I've started listen to JJGo and Bullseye. Thanks to you, I tried stand-up, improv, and radio. I'm not really good at any of things, but my life has been greatly improved by having tried.
If I were to meet you in person, and offered to buy you a drink (or candy/snack for Jesse), what would you ask for?
Ginger ale with a dash of bitters. Or Boylan's root beer.
Jesse, where are you from anyway?
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