Episode 139: Jon Hamm, Irish Latkes, and Bottled Etiquette


This week: Actor Jon Hamm takes us way beyond the Mad Men universe… Comedian and author Michael Ian Black says “you’re not doing it right”… atheist author Alain de Botton teaches religion… writer Amelia Gray sees ghosts… Jon Glaser’s high concepts… the sobering history of “Axis Sally”… and Rico tastes a bit o’ the boxty. Plus, a new tune from Beach House, and a joke in the key of “corny.”

Icebreaker: Oliver Ackermann

Brooklyn rocker Oliver Ackermann, of the creepily-monikered band A Place to Bury Strangers, tells us one of the corniest jokes in the universe… bar none. APTBS heads out on international tour this week.

Small Talk: Sadie Stein

Sadie Stein, deputy editor of The Paris Review, tells us about the next craze for high-brow middle-school kids: striking Vladimir Nabokov’s signature pose. A.k.a. “Nabokoving.”

A History Lesson With Booze: Axis Sally and the “Liquid Propaganda”

This week back in 1949, an American judge sentenced Mildred Gillars – better known as “Axis Sally” – to prison. Learn about the All-American gal who became the seductive voice of German propaganda during WWII… then take a swig of bitter drink with a deceptively sweet surface:

THE LIQUID PROPAGANDA, as ginned up by Matt McGrath at MOUTON in Columbus, OH, Mildred’s hometown in her later years.

Sugar the rim of a cocktail glass — an homage to Miss Gillars’ voice — and set aside.

Add to shaker over ice:

  • 1 1/2 oz Plymouth gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo

Shake and strain into sugared glass. Then sink to the bottom of the glass:

  • 1/4-1/2 oz. Campari

…creating some dark bitterness below the surface. Drink, watching your tablemates very closely.

Guest List: Jon Glaser’s High Concepts

Comedian Jon Glaser currently writes and stars in “Delocated!” – a show on Adult Swim about a family in the witness protection program…that stars in a reality show. To remain anonymous they wear ski masks at all times and have their voices altered. It’s a unique concept (like many of the sketches Jon created for Late Night with Conan O’Brien), so we asked him to name some other high concepts that had his head spinning:

Guest of Honor: Jon Hamm

Golden Globe-winner Jon Hamm’s in the midst of a banner month: This week, he stars in the romantic comedy “Friends With Kids;” and in a few weeks, the long-awaited fifth season of “Mad Men” hits the small screen, in which he once again plays ad man Don Draper. He tells Brendan about pesky questions, his All-American past, and the star system. As in, the one in the sky.

Eavesdropping: Amelia Gray

Author-to-watch Amelia Gray has published two provocative short story collections, and this past week she just released her first novel, Threats. It’s an unsettling, affecting portrait of a man coping with the death of his wife…and with ominous threats he finds printed on scraps of paper. We won’t spoil the mystery, but we will share this excerpt that’ll have you buzzing at your next dinner party…

Main Course: Boxty

By this point, we’re all pretty familiar with St. Patrick’s Day cuisine: Guinness…and another Guinness. With maybe a chaser of Shepherd’s Pie. But there’s a delicious and far less well-known Irish dish called “Boxty.” Picture a crepe — or sometimes a latke — with an Irish twist. Rico samples boxtys with chef (and Irish expat) Geraldine Gilliland, who features an entire boxty menu at her Santa Monica gastropub Finn McCool’s… a place she literally shipped over from the old country.

Etiquette: Michael Ian Black

Michael Ian Black is one of the comic minds behind the sketch troupe “The State,” and he co-created comedy TV series like “Stella” and “Michael and Michael Have Issues.” In honor of his new memoir “You’re Not Doing It Right,” Brendan and Rico invite Michael to tell listeners how to do etiquette right. Which apparently means scolding your kids’ friends, inviting yourself to Tweet-ups, drinking from bottles…and partying with Capote.


One for the Road – Myth
We leave you with a listen to the new single from Baltimore duo Beach House – a soaring, dreamy pop tune called “Myth.”

Other Music in this week’s show:

The Sea & Cake – “The Argument”

Aphex Twin – “Boy/Girl Song”

Tipsy – “Liquordelic”

Elvis Costello – “Radio Silence”

Duke Ellington – “Swingin On the Campus”

Menehan Street Band – “The Traitor”

Elliott Smith – “Angeles”

Billy Joel – “A Matter Of Trust”

RJD2 – “A Beautiful Mine (Theme To ‘Mad Men’)”

Nine Inch Nails – “28 Ghosts IV”

Kevin Shields – “Alone In Kyoto”

Thin Lizzy – “Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed (instrumental runthrough)”

Fishbone – “Party At Ground Zero”

CocoRosie – “God Has a Voice, She Speaks Though Me”

Beach House – “Myth”

Billy Joel – “A Matter Of Trust”

Alain de Botton Believes in Non-Belief

Chattering Class, Guest of Honor

Alain de Botton has penned a string of bestsellers exploring the nature of Architecture, Philosophy, Work, Status, Love, and Religion. But, y’know, maybe one of these days he’ll try to focus on something actually important.