The Daily Rock Hatch: Jesse Thorn

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I first met America’s Radio Sweetheart back in the early aughts. We were in an improv troupe together, along with a dozen or so Santa Cruz students with a wide variety of hygiene habits. Back then he was just a funny guy from San Francisco, though, if I remember correctly, he’d already seen fit to adopt his modest nickname.

In those early years, I watched his talk show The Sound of Young America evolve, co-opted his co-host Jordan Morris for my own radio show (now the co-host of Jordan, Jesse, Go), and generally flexed my authority in as much as the manager for a scrappy college radio station has any authority to flex. Which is to say, none at all.

Even back then it was clear that TSOYA possessed something other shows didn’t—namely Jesse Thorn, a smooth talking an engaging personality with the sort of polish generally lacking from the crap shoot that is college radio, god bless it. Thorn always knew the right people to interview, and he always knew just how to interview them.

Filling in for him one Thursday, Morris and I interviewed David Cross, crashing and burning all the way. Interviewing a comedian takes a very specific sort of skill set—one I’ve yet to fully master, after all these years. Thorn, on the other hand, continues to do it pretty much every week.

The Sound of Young America has continued to live on, outgrowing its college radio roots, and is now syndicated on 25 terrestrial radio stations (via PRI) and XM. Thorn himself is something of a relic of a largely bygone era—a handful of radio show hosts that recall a time when the radio was a vibrant media. As of late, his presence hasn’t gone unnoticed—Thorn has been the subject of write-ups in both Time Magazine and The New York Times.

When Thorn put out a call for “free advertising,” we gladly obliged. Anyone who tunes in regularly to TSOYA know that, on top of his penchant for all things funny, Thorn is also quite the comics fan. Check out what he had to say on the subject, after the jump.
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