Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Bullseye from NPR is your curated guide to culture. Jesse Thorn hosts in-depth interviews with brilliant creators, culture picks from our favorite critics and irreverent original comedy. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney's, which called it "the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world." (Formerly known as The Sound of Young America.)

It's a rare honor for a guest to be on Bullseye three times, but Swamp Dogg deserves it. He's a psychedelic soul singer with a career that's now spanned six decades. He's been singing soul and R&B since he was 12. Back then he was Little Jerry Williams and his first single featured his mom on drums. He adopted the name Swamp Dogg in the early 70s and put out a bunch of stone cold classics: Total Destruction To Your Mind, Rat On!, Cuffed, Collared & Tagged. On his latest record, Swamp collaborates with some extremely of-the-moment indie talent to create a wild left turn: it's called Love, Loss & Auto-Tune, and it's out now.

Then, Joel Kim Booster. Joel's a writer and comedian. He's written for Billy on the Street, Problematic with Moshe Kasher and Netflix's Big Mouth. And as a standup, he's appeared on Conan, Comedy Central, @Midnight and more. He's also one of the most exciting new comics around. He talks with Jesse about his evangelical, adopted upbringing, his stage persona (which, according to Joel, is "hot idiot"), and why he can't stand to listen to his old material.

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This week, we're thrilled to welcome Nicole Holofcener back on the show - probably one of the most underrated filmmakers around. Her movies are quiet, sort of understated. The protagonists are complex, flawed people, usually women. She's worked with some great actors, too. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in "Enough Said." Frances McDormand in "Friends with Money." Catherine Keener in just about everything she's made. Her  latest film was just released on Netflix. It's called "The Land of Steady Habits." And for the first time, her movie centers on a man. We'll talk about that, plus her childhood growing up among Hollywood filmmaking royalty.

 

Then, have you heard of this show, Lodge 49? It's kind of a comedy / drama set in Long Beach, California. It's kind of hard to say what it's about, but some of the themes include: secret orders (like the Masons), quarter life crises and the stagnating aerospace economy in Long Beach, California. It's funny, weird and disarmingly honest, which is why it's been a hit here at MaxFun HQ. Jesse talks with Jim Gavin, the creator, and Peter Ocko, the showrunner.

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We're replaying two recent favorites this week: first up, Amy Sedaris! Amy's made a career playing characters - and we say this with absolutely *zero* shade intended - people who are kind of grotesque and weird. The weirder and grosser the better - take Jerri Blank on Strangers with Candy or Mimi Kanasis on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, too. But on her show, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Amy pretty much plays herself. She talks with Jesse about how that's a transition out of her normal comfort zone. Also discussed: rabbits, monkfish, and girl scout badges!

 

Then, Paul Reiser - the legendary standup and actor. You've seen him on Mad About You, Red Oaks and Whiplash and more. He also created the Hulu show There's Johnny. It takes place in the early 70s, behind the scene of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Reiser knew Carson about as well as anybody could and dishes on what it was like appearing on his show almost a dozen times.

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This week: Boz Scaggs. The one and only! The hitmaker behind "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" and so much more talks with Jesse about his more than five decade career in music. Lately, like a lot of rockers his age, his work has steered more towards the basics: some blues, some covers here and there, lots of stripped down instrumentation. But behind all that has been a commitment to atmosphere and production - music with an aesthetic that's dark and unsettling in one moment, then in another tender and loving. You know, the kind of thing that makes Boz Scaggs… Boz Scaggs. It's all on his latest record - "Out of the Blues" - which is out now.

 

Then, Maeve Higgins. She's a comic, a podcast host and a memoirist, very well known back home in Ireland. She moved to the New York City in her early 30s. And, yes, like a lot of comics, she worked her observations about America and New York into her set. But she probed deeper. She thought about what lead her to make the move. What it says about her. What it's like being in this strange, amazing city thousands of miles away from home.

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A favorite from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Comedian, writer, and podcast host  Guy Branum recently wrote a book called "My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture." It's a collection of personal essays. Kind of a combination of memoir and manifesto that covers his childhood, college, his early days as comic. It's also got his opinions on football movies, politics, and which city has the hottest guys (It's Los Angeles, btw).

We're revisiting our conversation with Guy from last year where he sat down with Jesse to discuss his truTV series Talk Show The Game Show.

Then, academic and writer Emily Lordi, author of the 33 ⅓ book Donny Hathaway's Live tells us why she thinks the classic Hathaway live performance deserves to be added to the canon of all time great albums. Then, Jesse tells us about why he loves the Errol Morris ESPN documentaries: It's Not Crazy, It's Sports.

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This week, we’ve got another Emmy-nominated guest - W.Kamau Bell! He’s known for his stand-up comedy. But he might be even more beloved for the  television shows he’s hosted. “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” was kind of a hybrid between a political satire show and a talk show. But unlike, say, “The Daily Show” Kamau wasn’t inclined to be the star. Rather, he let his guests do that. Kamau just asked questions - both funny and serious ones. That made the show really special. W. Kamau Bell’s, “United Shades of America,” airs on CNN and is up for three Emmys. He’ll tell us why he’s particularly proud about the series.

Then, we’ll talk to Mike Pesca about his newest book: “Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History”. It’s a collection of essays from over 30 different writers - people like Robert Siegel, Nate DiMeo, Jesse Eisenberg and more. They all ask hypothetical questions about the most pivotal moments in sports history… and what would have happened if things had gone differently. Pesca also talks about what it was like working for NPR as one of two sports reporters and about the time he was the guest host of “Wait Wait.. Don’t Tell Me!” (including the outcry he received for having Kim Kardashian-West on that program).

And finally, for this week’s Outshot, Jesse breaks down “Aretha Live at the Fillmore West” and why the San Francisco-recorded live album might be the perfect showcase for the late Queen of Soul.

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It's Emmy season! Bullseye brings you two talented, fascinating Emmy nominees this week. First up: Megan Mullally! One of the best in the game. Like, maybe you're a fan of Parks and Recreation. She played Tammy, the ex-wife of Ron Swanson. She's a kind of menacing, toxic seductress. Or maybe you saw her on Childrens Hospital, or 30 Rock, or heard her on Bob's Burgers (she plays Gayle). But, she's best known for her role as Karen Walker on the groundbreaking sitcom Will & Grace. She was just nominated for what could end up being her *third* Emmy for her role on the show.

Then, a special treat: Karen Tongson, professor and panelist on our sister show Pop Rocket, talks with the one and only Tracee Ellis Ross. Tracee is nominated in the best actress category for her role on ABC's Blackish - she plays Rainbow Johnson (aka Bow) on the show. She and Karen go deep into her work acting and directing Blackish. Plus, her relationship with her mom... Diana Ross. Diana Ross!

Finally, Jesse tells you about one of the most charming people who ever lived. And she's got a book and documentary to prove it.

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This week, we'll remember Jonathan Gold by revisiting our conversation with him. Jonathan's work in food criticism was legendary. In 2007, his work earned him a Pulitzer. To this date, he's still the only food critic to ever earn that honor. When he joined us in 2011, he discussed the one food fear he just couldn't overcome, and how he discovered Los Angeles and the world – one meal at a time. Plus, he threw shade at the burritos from the Mission District in San Francisco.

 

We'll also revisit our conversation with Beth Ditto from last year. Beth is singer of the band Gossip. Beth talks about the process of creating her solo album, and about her time fronting Gossip. She'll also open up about her queer identity and what it was like setting up punk shows in her small Arkansan town. You can catch her on the road this summer opening for Sam Smith.

 

And finally, Jesse explains how Sly and the Family Stone made a perfect album, even as they slowly disintegrated as a group.

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"Who is your dream interview?" you might ask Jesse Thorn, or another public radio host. And for Bullseye, here is your answer: Randy Newman!

 

Randy's career spans over half a century. He's written music for films (duh), but has also revealed himself to be an artist of the highest caliber on his solo records. His music is beautifully written, funny, dark and unmistakably American.

 

Jesse dives deep into Randy's roots - how a family of musicians and jokesters gave him a love for classic American music and comedy. They'll also talk baseball, run-ins with the two Franks (Sinatra & Jr.), and why he has trouble coming to terms with some of his most critically acclaimed music. This is a real deal all-timer, folks.

 

Finally, for the outshot: enough about rock music! Jesse talks about the terrifying, awesome wonder of Levitated Mass, a sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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This week, we want to introduce you to a new comic:  Johan Miranda. He lives in Los Angeles, was raised in San Francisco. When he was three years old, he and his parents traveled to the US on a tourist visa - and they haven't left since. Johan is one of the approximately 700,000 people covered under the US Government's DACA policy (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). A DREAMer.  And as immigration rhetoric has ramped up, Johan's status in this country has grown even more uncertain. He's got a new one man show to talk just about that - it's called "Why Johan Miranda Should Be Deported" and it's debuting in Los Angeles on July 27.

 

Then, after that: a conversation with Debra Granik. In 2010 she wrote and directed "Winter's Bone," the acclaimed drama that launched Jennifer Lawrence's career and was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Now, the long awaited follow-up is in theaters. It's called "Leave No Trace" and it's been met with similar acclaim. She and Jesse talk about the new film, about the pitfalls of calling an artist a "genius" and her first ever paid movie gig: shooting weddings!

 

Finally: a tribute to Joe Pera. A comedian who will help you buy a tree. Or go to sleep. Or learn about iron.

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This week, we've got April Wolfe holding things down in the host chair. April is a film critic and panelist on the Maximum Fun podcast Who Shot Ya. She also hosts her own show here at MaxFun - it's called Switchblade Sisters. Every week on Switchblade Sisters, April talks with a female filmmaker about a different genre film - horror, cult, western, all kinds of stuff. What follows is a fascinating and refreshing discussion on theory and craft in filmmaking.

 

This time on Bullseye, you'll hear April talk with Bo Burnham. Bo's one of the original Youtube celebrities - before Justin Bieber, before Rebecca Black, even before Leave Britney Alone! But he's turned that career from novelty into a diverse and really funny body of work - standup specials, albums, TV shows. Now he's gone behind the camera and created his first movie - it's called Eighth Grade. It's a funny and sincere coming of age story told from the POV of an Extremely Online 13 year old girl.

 

You'll also hear a touching interview between Jesse and Morgan Neville. The Academy Award winning documentary director just made a new film that looks into the life of Fred Rogers -- Mister Rogers. And finally: April will tell you about the filmmaker and actress who made a brilliant, extremely real movie… and then stopped.

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We're doing something a little different this week: you're about to hear three of our favorite interviews from Heat Rocks, one of our sister shows here at company Maximum Fun. Heat Rocks is a music podcast about passion. It's hosted by Oliver Wang, a veteran hip-hop writer, and Morgan Rhodes - she's a music supervisor who's worked closely with Ava DuVernay. Each week, Heat Rocks brings you a conversation with a guest about the album that shaped their lives. Morgan and Oliver have talked with people like Cut Chemist, Ishmael Butler, Ann Powers and more.

 

Expect deep, compelling conversations about R&B, Soul, Jazz, Hip-hop and more. Oliver and Morgan use each record as a jumping off point to talk about its history, its context, and why we care about it. This week you'll hear from Jay Smooth, the radio DJ and commentator, singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and Vernon Reid, founder of Living Colour.

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Hey all! Just popping in to give you a special treat this Thursday. You've probably heard about it already, but Maximum Fun - the company that makes Bullseye, Judge John Hodgman and more - just produced its very first scripted series. It's called "Bubble," it's sort of a sci-fi sitcom and we're all *extremely* proud of it.

The show follows four twenty-somethings working the same side hustle to make ends meet. They're contract workers for an app called Huntr. The app hires people to kill the monsters that occasionally slip through the town's protective barrier.

On this special bonus episode of Bullseye, you'll hear Jesse talk with creator Jordan Morris and writer/producer Nick Adams. It's a discussion not just about the show but about cities, why people live in them, and the insane lengths some of us will go to just to stay.

Give it a listen and, if you haven't already, subscribe to Bubble! You'll be glad you did.

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We're listening to some of our favorite interviews from Bullseyes past this week, and we've got a couple doozies. First up: the living legend, the master of funk music, Dr. Funkenstein himself: George Clinton, from 2014. The impact he's had on modern music is so huge that he's almost more myth than actual person nowadays, but Clinton's life story is a fascinating one: starting in doo-wop, moving on to Motown, and then creating his own genre from scratch: funk. He'll talk about that, his struggle with drug addiction and some of his best wild stories from Parliament Funkadelic's early days.

 

Then, Cristela Alonzo, from last year. She's a veteran standup comedian and actress. You might've seen her on the ABC sitcom Cristela -  she was the show's creator, star, she also wrote and produced it. Alonzo was actually the first latina ever to do all that on one TV show. She's been working on her standup act more lately, and it's really great. Cristela mixes political humor with her own life story (including her time spent living in an abandoned diner) to a hilarious and really endearing effect. She's also starring on the new Maximum Fun podcast Bubble, which you should check out if you haven't already. C'mon!

 

And, finally: Jesse tells you about an SNL sketch that he connects with on a profound, deep level. And - since you're a Bullseye listener - we bet you will, too.

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So much of Bullseye is about what we think is great in culture today. And, for our money, one of the most compelling creative forces around is a guy named Boots Riley. For the first few decades in his career, Boots fronted the Coup. The Coup are a catchy, deeply political rap group from the Bay Area.

Then, Boots had a movie idea. One that took 6 years to realize. He called it Sorry To Bother You - maybe you've seen the trailer already. Boots wrote and directed it, and it's set to hit theaters July 6. The movie is almost too wild to describe - it talks about telemarketing, race and monsters and so much more. In a deep, fascinating discussion with Jesse, he talks about the movie, the evolution of the Coup, politics and poverty and so much more. This one's an all-timer!

Then, a tribute to the idea of serendipity, as evidenced in a surprising and infectious Max Roach record from the 70s.

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Alia Shawkat came by the Bullseye studios and holy moly, what a brilliant, funny human being! You know her as Maeby Fünke from TV's Arrested Development, which just dropped its fifth season. She also leads the TBS series Search Party these days. But Alia just starred in a really interesting film - it's called Duck Butter, and it tells the story of two women who fall in love and decide to spend the next 24 hours together, awake and totally present.

 

Then, Mackenzie Crook. You've seen him before - maybe it was as Gareth on the original UK version of The Office. Or maybe you saw him in Pirates of the Caribbean or Game of Thrones. But his passion project is Detectorists - a three season British show he stars in and create. It's finally come to the states in its entirety via Acorn TV. It's a show about metal detecting, relationships, and the English Countryside and it's one of our favorite things on air.

 

Finally - we know nobody can break the laws of physics. But if we had to pick one person who might be able to, it'd be NFL running back Barry Sanders. Jesse tells you why.

 

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The talents of Pamela Adlon are many. First, she's an incredible voice actress who's worked on literally dozens of shows. You probably know her best as Bobby from King of the Hill, though, where she was brilliant. Then there's her work on live action TV - she starred on prestige shows like Californication and Louie. And now, she co-created and stars in her own show: Better Things, which wrapped up its second season last year.

 

You'll also hear from up and coming comic James Acaster - he's a regular on British TV and he's just now starting to make a splash over here with his hilarious **four hour long** comedy special on Netflix.

 

The outshot is back next week!

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This week, we've got a real treat for you: Metta World Peace! Even for a former NBA All Star and Champion, Metta has a big personality. When he played he had a reputation for hard defense and an unmatched intensity on the court. When it worked, it made him passionate, tough and nearly impossible to get past. But when didn't, things went south easily. He'd play dirty, get into dustups on the court.

 

But World Peace - who was born Ron Artest - is up front about his flaws. And, in recent years, he's become a powerful advocate for mental health care. It's made him one of the most fascinating people in basketball. And it's also part of the reason his new book "No Malice: My Life in Basketball" is so compelling. He talks with Jesse about the new book - his highs, his lows, his childhood growing up in an enormous housing project in Queens. Plus, the time he met Kobe Bryant in a shower.

 

We also have the song that changed Cut Chemist's life, and a deep, touching outshot on the life of Ed Roberts, a pioneering leader in the disability rights movement.

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Fans of Bob's Burgers, Archer, Home Movies and Dr. Katz, rejoice! Jesse's talking with the incomparable H. Jon Benjamin this week. With lead roles in some of the most popular comedies of all time, it's hard to call Jon a failure. But he doesn't really mind the label. In fact, he just wrote a book called "Failure is an Option: An Attempted Memoir." In it, he recounts his shortcomings in excruciating detail and how, wouldn't you know it, a lot of those failures opened the door to success: failures in family, in work, in serving fajitas. It's a very self-deprecating, self-aware memoir. And since it's written by H. Jon Benjamin, it's also really, really funny.

 

Then, a talk about the gritty golden days of the New York City art scene with filmmaker Sara Driver. Driver just made a new documentary - it's called "Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat." It's a story about one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century and the art community he came up in. Driver lived in that same community and talked with dozens of other people from New York's art scene to tell a totally unique, hypnotizing story.

 

Finally: the outshot is a little different this week. But it won't leave you hungry!

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For over a decade, actress Geena Davis has been spearheading an institute that gathers the numbers on gender balance on-screen. On this week's episode, she shares her fascinating take on what they do with all their findings plus, some heartwarming stories about how her work has shaped the way her children think about TV and film.

 

Then, writer and humorist, Jack Handey of SNL's "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey" offers an explanation as to why the voice of Deep Thoughts might be a psychopath, but definitely not insane.

 

And finally, for this week's outshot: Jesse thinks about the lasting amusement found in a 20-year old website. Welcome. To Bullseye. Welcome to Bullseye. Anything is possible at Bullseye. Welcome to you, who are at Bullseye. Welcome!

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This week, writer and director Robert Smigel breaks down what really happened when he was showrunning "The Dana Carvey" show. Plus, he'll talk about so much more including his time on SNL, and his new movie "The Week Of" on Netflix. And probably his best known creation: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

 

Then, Gillian Jacobs. You know her from her roles on "Community", "Girls,"  and "Love." She'll be in two upcoming films: "Life of the Party" and Netflix's "Ibiza." She keeps busy, but after working so hard these past few years, she tells Jesse why she's taken some time off for a little self-care.

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This week, two great musician interviews from the Bullseye archives. First up: Neko Case. It's hard to think of a singer/songwriter more beloved in the alt country / indie rock world Case inhabits. Her work - about half a dozen solo albums and a long list of collaborations with artists like New Pornographers and kd lang - has thrilled critics for decades now. She and Jesse talk about her transition from drummer to singer and guitarist, her move to a farm in Vermont, and more.

 

Then, Thao Nguyen. Her band, Thao and the Get Down, Stay Down, have been making pop music with a bold, confessional bent for a while now. She and Jesse talk about artistic growth, nurturing relationships with estranged parents and her most recent record - 2016's A Man Alive. Both Thao and Neko are embarking on a big nationwide tour this Summer - find links to dates on the Bullseye page at MaximumFun.org!

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This week, we're talking with two *very* funny people. First: Roy Wood Jr. Roy's a correspondent on the Daily Show these days, but the road he took to get there is fascinating. Roy produced, wrote and hosted on a grab bag of different radio shows, first in his hometown of Birmingham, AL, then in Los Angeles. He's also a standup with his own weird, kind of brilliant form of truth-telling. Don't miss this one.

Then, actor/director/writer Peter Serafinowicz. He's got a starring role on Amazon's The Tick but Lord alive, what a career he's had! He's a music video director, co-creator of some of England's weirdest (and funniest) comedy shows - he also did the voice of Darth Maul in the phantom menace. Remember that?

Finally, if you ever found yourself falling in love with a team because of their goofy logo, have we got a blog for you!

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Don't sleep on this one. It's a celebration of one of the best shows ever: The Wire!

 

First, you'll hear a vintage Bullseye interview (recorded live to tape in the apartment back in '08) with two of the show's most beloved stars: Wendell Pierce, who played Det. Bunk Moreland, and Andre Royo, who played Bubbles. Royo and Pierce talk about the slow response the show got at first, the love they get now and the painstaking efforts Simon and co took to make sure the show got Baltimore right.

 

Then, author Jonathan Abrams. He just wrote a brand new book about the Wire - it's called "All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire." Abrams interviewed cast and crew and writers to unveil a nuanced, fascinating look inside on of the greatest TV dramas of all time.

 

The Outshot will return next week. Spot on!

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Emmy Award winning actress Edie Falco and San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence are our guests on this week's show. Edie Falco is a brilliant, charming person. She's best known for her roles in "The Sopranos" and "Nurse Jackie." These days, she's been getting a lot of movie work: she's starring opposite Jay Duplass in the new movie "Outside In," which is out now.

Then, Hunter Pence. He joined the San Francisco Giants in 2012 and helped bring the team two world series victories. He's a beloved member of the team known for a wacky and kind of inexplicable playing style. Also, he wears high socks. What's not to love!

Finally, for this week's outshot: The Netflix British television comedy "Toast of London." Which might be too weird to watch. But still: watch it!

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Comedy nerds, rejoice! This week Jesse talks with Eugene Levy - the SCTV vet, co-creator of great Christopher Guest movies and American Pie star. Levy just wrapped up season 4 of his terrific CBC series Schitt's Creek. He talks about working with his son, who co-created the show with him, plus lots of great stories from SCTV's good old days!

 

But first: legendary director Alexander Payne. One of the most charming and stylish dudes around. He talks about Downsizing, his latest film. Plus: writer and director Kay Cannon tells us about the Craziest ******* Day of Her Entire Career and Jesse tells you about the pathos and beauty behind the lost bird posters that used to dot San Francisco's Mission District.

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This week, two Max Fun favs. First up: Andrew W.K.! He just released a new album: You're Not Alone. It's his first in almost a decade. You're Not Alone has that same classic Andrew W.K. of inspirational party rock - sometimes delivered in song, sometimes in spoken word. And Andrew reveals a lot of himself in the record, too. He talks about all that with Jesse, plus why he welcomes any and all Mr. Rogers comparisons.

 

Then, Bill Hader. Of course, you know him from his time on Saturday Night Live. He was kind of an impressions guy - he did a mean Vincent Price. But his most famous character was Stefon, from Weekend Update. You remember Stefon, right? He left the show in 2013 and took up acting - he stars alongside Fred Armisen on IFC's Documentary Now! His latest project is a TV show called Barry, out now on HBO. Hader stars as the show's title character, Barry Berkman. Barry's an ex-marine, turned low rent hitman in Ohio, turned aspiring actor in Los Angeles.

 

And finally, Van Morrison doesn't really like to perform live, but that didn't stop him from making a perfect live album. Jesse tells you about it on this week's Outshot.

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Two more classics from the Bullseye archives, y'all. First: pack your knives and listen up! Padma Lakshmi, host of TV's Top Chef, stops for a chat. She literally wrote an Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs - like, literally that's the title of the book. She's got spice recommendations for Jesse, plus she talks about her fascinating childhood spent bouncing between New York and Chennai.

 

Then: how do you make a joke about death?  How about an entire standup special? Well, you just do it. Conan writer and comedian Laurie Kilmartin made a show (and later, album) called 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad, which is about exactly what the title suggests it is. She's also the author of the new book "Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed."

 

Finally, Jesse recommends a Simpsons episode that tells you everything you need know about the Bay Area tech boom.

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This week, some heavy hitters! First, Forest Whitaker. He's of course the star of *countless* great movies. He's got this knack for taking huge figures from history and portraying them complex, fascinating, sometimes really fragile people. He played Charlie Parker in Bird, won an Academy Award for playing  Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Now, he's starring as Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the new film The Forgiven. He talks with Jesse about getting to know Archbishop Tutu as a character and a friend over the years. Plus, hot takes on Battlefield Earth!

 

Then, Armando Iannucci. He's a brilliant comic writer - he created Veep, In The Loop, The Thick of It. And  in all of those projects, he's found most of his material in the vain, ambitious and insecure people who run democracies - UK cabinet ministers in The Thick of It, presidential wannabes in Veep.  His latest project is called "The Death of Stalin" and it's about, well, Stalin. How do you make a comedy based on a guy like that? Listen to find out!

 

Finally, Jesse tells you about The Coup, a group that puts a human side to hard line, radical political rap.

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This week we're bringing you two of our favorite interviews from the Bullseye vault. First, Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the hit CW musical romantic comedy. She talks about the show's roots, overcoming social anxiety and what it's like to go be suspended mid-air on a giant pretzel.

 

Then, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, co-creators of Netflix's One Day at a Time. They collaborated with TV legend Norman Lear to create a late-teens version of his classic sitcom. Mike and Gloria talk about the show's creative process, the value of diversity and the excitement (and drudgery) of having a Quinceañera.

 

Finally, you ever feel like a silly movie? Like the kind where critically acclaimed vocalist Seal gets attacked by a pack of wolves? Well, have we got a flick for you!

Direct download: Rachel_Bloom__One_Day_at_a_Time.mp3
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Two great actors on this week's show! First up: David Oyelowo. He cut his teeth at the Royal Shakespeare company in London. Had smaller parts on British TV and in movies like The Help and Jack Reacher. He broke though when he starred as Martin Luther King in Selma, the Oscar nominated biopic.  Now, he's starring in Gringo, a new THC-tinged action comedy. Oyelowo talks about his love of acting, being nearly killed by Tom Cruise in a car and his terrific bit part on HBO's the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

 

Then, Heather Graham. You probably know her for her iconic roles in Boogie Nights, Swingers, Drugstore Cowboy and more. These days she's working behind the camera. She directed and wrote Half Magic - a comedy about love, sexism, spirituality, and Hollywood.

 

Finally, for this week's outshot: need a gritty detective movie with heart? Jeff Garlin's Handsome has you covered.

Direct download: Bullseye180306.mp3
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First up, a Bullseye fav: Jesse chats with Kim Deal of The Breeders about their new album "All Nerve," which drops this week. Also discussed: the Pixies' breakup, best Italian restaurants for live music in Dayton, Ohio, advancements in personal amplification technology in live music.

Then, Raoul Peck. The director of "The Young Karl Marx" talks about bringing the personal story of the writer of "The Communist Manifesto" to life. Plus: how to make a narrative film about one of the most consequential philosophies in recent history. Finally, on this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about the work of Curtis Mayfield on his brilliant, underrated debut solo record "Curtis."

Direct download: Bullseye180227.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm EDT

It's an Academy Awards spectacular! First: Jesse talks with the amazing Laurie Metcalf. She's up for the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the great Lady Bird. It's her first ever nomination! Laurie's a sincere actor's actor. She was a founding member of the legendary Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. On the hit TV sitcom Roseanne, she played Jackie, Roseanne's sister. She's also starring in an upcoming Broadway rendition of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women.

 

Then, two Oscar winners: Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez! Together they wrote the song "Remember Me," from the hit Disney film Coco. Before that, Kristen and Robert wrote the songs for Disney's Frozen - including the Academy Award winning "Let it Go." They talk with Jesse about how they met, how they collaborate and keep a happy marriage and how Robert is one of only 12 people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar and a Tony.

 

That's right - we got an EGOT in the house!

Direct download: Bullseye180220.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:52pm EDT

First up, a favorite here around the Bullseye office: David Wain! He's a comedy legend, an actor, too. And he just directed the new Netflix film “A Futile and Stupid Gesture.” He and Jesse talk about Doug Kenney, the movie’s subject, whose work changed the trajectory of American comedy.

 

Then: break out the 8mm cameras and the oversized sunglasses! It's time for Belle & Sebastian. Jesse talks with frontman Stuart Murdoch about their latest series of EPs - a trilogy called “How to Solve our Human Problems.” Also: Baseball. Turns out Stuart is Glasgow's biggest Mets fan!

 

Finally, on this week’s outshot, Jesse walks us through the career of rapper Scarface whose lyrics, more than most rappers, mulls over the fear, rage, and consequences of gang violence.

Direct download: Bullseye180213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18pm EDT

First up: Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman. They created and star in the brand new Comedy Central show "Corporate."

 

Look. Technically, Corporate is a workplace comedy. But it's so much darker, weirder and universal than that. The show follows the lives of Matt and Jake, two junior executives in training at Hampton Deville, a hopeless megacorporation. They have just enough power and money to keep working there, but not enough to make any real impact in the company. The show tackles themes like the capitalism, art, suicide, and even the meaninglessness of life. They join Jesse in the studio to chat about getting the shows tone right, what it was like pitching the show to a corporation, and why they cast Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels on <i>The Wire</i> to play the CEO of Hampton Deville. Plus, they talk about how magic mushrooms helped them write some of the episodes -- you don't wanna miss that!

 

Plus, cartoonist and writer Mimi Pond tells us about the craziest day of her entire career. And finally, Jesse tells us about  "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud -- a comic book  about understanding comic books. If you've never picked up a comic book before this is a good place to start, obv.

Direct download: _Corporate___Mimi_Pond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm EDT

One Bullseye episode. *Four* Oscar nominees! First up: Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. They co-wrote "The Big Sick" and you probably heard about it already - the Academy just nominated it for Best Original Screenplay. They're two fascinating, sincere and brilliant people, and the film is a unique, hilarious and subversive take on modern romance. Jesse talked with them earlier this year.

 

Then, the hits keep coming. Director Michel Gondry talks about the song that changed his life. Oscar-nominated actress Allison Janney (West Wing, I, Tonya, Mom) talks about how Paul Newman helped jump start her career. And Jesse tells you about the last movie Orson Welles ever directed.

Direct download: Bullseye180130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT

Have you heard of Another Period? It's a series on Comedy Central with a brilliant, simple premise: it's a reality show set in the gilded age - like the Keeping up with the Kardashians meets Downton Abbey. It's really fun to watch - over the top, subversive, weird and chock full of absinthe references! Its stars and co-creators are Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome and they talk with Jesse about the show, which is entering its third season this week.

 

Then, the one and only Egyptian Lover. Born Greg Broussard he's a DJ, a producer, a rapper sometimes, too. He came up with Uncle Jamm's Army, a hip-hop crew that featured promoter and DJ Rodger Clayton, Ice - T, and shared the bill with acts as big as Run-DMC back in the day. As a solo artist he's released 9 albums, mixing Kraftwerk, Prince, a little bit of G-Funk every now and then, too. He's about to kick off on a world tour with dates in Berlin, Cape Town and Long Beach. He talks with Jesse about the early days of LA hip hop and electro, what a 10,000 person dance party looks like and how he bonded with his future wife over a Kraftwerk record. The ultimate meet cute!

Direct download: Bullseye180123.mp3
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Buckle up, y'all, we've got a dynamite lineup!  First off: Rian Johnson, writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is discussed in extensive detail (don't say we didn't warn you). Besides directing a film in one of the biggest franchises in history, Rian's created the acclaimed movie Brick - kind of a Coen Bros inspired film noir starring teenagers in Orange County. He also wrote and directed the sci-fi thriller Looper, and a few of the most memorable Breaking Bad episodes, too.

 

Then, the Go! Team. Formed in the year 2000 in Brighton, England, the band's basically the brainchild of Ian Parton. He recorded a lot of the band's first album in his parent's kitchen and released it as Thunder, Lightning, Strike - a solid record. On that album you'll find the track "Huddle Formation" - AKA the Bullseye theme song. Their newest album just dropped - it's called Semicircle.

 

Finally: can you be super glamorous and deeply real at the same time? Of course you can, just ask Sylvester.

Direct download: Rian_Johnson__The_Go_Team.mp3
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Fresh New Year, fresh new Bullseye! This week, legendary director Errol Morris. He's the kind of filmmaker that gets shown in film school all the time. He's contributed that much to the field of documentary making. Morris has a way of painting portraits of people in his films that's incredibly vulnerable. A perfect example of this is his first documentary “Gates of Heaven” released in 1978. It’s a film about pet cemeteries, and the connection people feel to their deceased pets. Some of his films, like "The Thin Blue Line" try to find objective truth. That film ultimately helped secure a innocent man's freedom from prison.  

 

His latest project is a six-part miniseries for Netflix called "Wormwood." The series explores the CIA LSD experiments in the late 1950's, and the effects on a man named Frank Olson. The story is mostly told through interviews of Frank’s son, Eric, who's worked for years to uncover the truth. The film is kind of a departure for Errol's signature style -- it blends dramatic reenactments and real life interviews.

 

Plus,  Merrill Garbus of the band Tune-Yards tells us about the song that changed her life. And for this week's Outshot: The 1991 film "The Commitments."

Direct download: Bullseye180109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm EDT

Two Bullseye favorites from the archives this week. First: Terry Crews. A linebacker from Flint Michigan, Terry was picked by the LA Rams in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. In 1996, he played his last season ever for the Eagles.  Then he took up acting - he starred alongside Ice Cube in the Friday After Next, played Chris Rock's Dad on Everybody Hates Chris. Now he plays Sergeant Jeffords on Brooklyn Nine Nine. Lately he's been in the news for taking speaking out against sexual harassment of all kinds - he says he was a victim himself.

Then, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, from 2014. The two co-created and starred in the show Playing House on USA, a favorite of ours here. It just wrapped up its third and final season last year. Male friendship is well represented in comedy, really, really well represented, but female friendship - not so much. And when we do see female friendships, the characters are sort of rote - there's always the same 3 or 4 characters, you know? On Playing House, Parham and St. Clair framed it differently. Their characters are less Carrie and Miranda and more Laverne and Shirley. You can actually imagine them being friends.

Plus, calling all prog rock fans! This week Marc Weingarten and Tyson Cornell, the editors of the prog rock anthology Yes Is The Answer: (And Other Prog Rock Tales), explain why the King Crimson album In The Court of the Crimson King is a classic, and how it laid the foundation for a whole genre.

Direct download: Bullseye180102.mp3
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Look, you're an NPR listener. So we probably don't need to tell you this, but it's been an intense year.  2017 was a lot of terrible and thrilling and amazing things, but it was also a banner year for stand up comedy.

So this year, the Bullseye team put their heads together. Mined the internet for the best in stand up - big names, small names, guests I've talked with before, guests I want to talk with again. You're gonna hear comedy from people like Dana Gould. And Emily Heller. And Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher. And Roy Wood Jr. Say farewell to 2017 with a hearty laugh!

Direct download: EndofYearComedySpecial.mp3
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Light up the menorah, trim the tree, take a walk out in the cool/cold/wet/whatever weather and take it all in: it's the Bullseye holiday spectacular!

We've got Andy Richter, Conan O'Brien's faithful and hilarious sidekick. He says now that he's a father, he finds joy in celebrating Christmas with his family that wasn't really there before. You'll hear holiday etiquette advice from the one and only McElroy Brothers. We'll also talk with Jane Lynch, the star comedian and actor *and* terrific singer. Plus: need a movie recommendation? The Pop Rocket Crew at Max Fun HQ has got you covered.

Direct download: Bullseye171219.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm EDT

Judd Apatow is one of the busiest and most notable behind the scenes guys alive today. Name 10 huge critically acclaimed comedy hits off the top your head - Judd's probably worked on half of them: The Larry Sanders Show, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, Funny People, The Big Sick, Train Wreck, Girls - it just goes on and on. But now, for the first time in over 25 years, he's back on stage. He's been performing live for the last couple years and now he's got his first ever hour long special. It's called Judd Apatow: The Return and it debuts on Netflix this week.

 

Then, Romesh Ranganathan. He's a British stand up and TV host. And while he might not be a household name stateside, he's looking to change that. Romesh just rented a giant amphitheater in Los Angeles for his big debut - it seats nearly 6,000 people. When we first heard about this in November, he'd sold only 74 tickets. Jesse talks with him about why he's doing it, how his family's past informed his comedy, and what it's like going from crying in a corporate bathroom stall to selling out concert halls in London... and hopefully LA.

Direct download: Bullseye171212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm EDT

You know JK Simmons, right? He won an Academy Award for his role in the 2015 movie Whiplash. He's that Insurance guy in those ads. He played J Jonah Jameson in the Spiderman movies. Dude puts in work - there are 183 credits on his IMDB page right now and he isn't slowing down. He's starring in the new drama The Bachelors, which is out now. He'll talk with Jesse about all that stuff, plus, the J Jonah Jameson action figure (with Desk Pounding Action™).

 

Then, Solomon Georgio. Solomon's a stand up from Seattle, via Fresno, via St. Louis, Via Sudan and then Ethiopia, where his parents are from. He's appeared on CONAN,The Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail, Comedy Central and more. Solomon's got a really unique presence on stage. Sometimes he's vulnerable and sincere, sure. But then he'll strike a pose and make an outrageous joke about his perfect thigh gap and like magic - you believe him. His debut record - Homonegro Superior, is out now.

Direct download: Bullseye171205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05pm EDT

We've got a couple of our favorite recent Bullseye interviews this week, first up: Margaret Cho, from last year. She's made a career of searing and revealing comedy. Lately she's been performing on the street to raise money for the homeless, marrying couples on stage,  too. She also just launched a huge international tour of standup, called "Fresh off the Bloat." It kicked off just last week in Scotland.

 

Then, Lisa Hanawalt, the cartoonist and author. When she was a guest in 2016, she'd just released her book Hot Dog Taste Test. Hanawalt's work is full of child like energy. She's obsessed with animals and also animal-human hybrids. Hanawalt also produces and runs the visual elements of the hit Netflix animated show BoJack Horseman, where people and animals live together in a kind of weird, hyper-real Hollywood.

Direct download: Bullseye171128.mp3
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First up this week, the one and only Greta Gerwig! You probably know her as an actor - she starred in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and a bunch of other indies. She's also been in Oscar contenders like Jackie and 20th Century Women. Now, she's written and directed a film of her own: Lady Bird. And no exaggeration - it's one of our favorite movies from this year.

 

Then, Lee Unkrich. For over 20 years now, he's been one of the leading creative voices at Pixar. He worked on Toy Story, Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life, a bunch more. He directed Toy Story 3, probably the darkest and most affecting of the movies in that series.  Now, he's directed Coco, the newest Disney / Pixar movie. Set in Mexico, Coco is a story wrapped up in the Mexican day of the dead - dia de muertos. He'll talk with Jesse about the making of Coco and lots more, especially his time working on Silk Stalkings, the classic 1993 erotic police procedural on USA.

Direct download: Bullseye171121v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19pm EDT

Hey Bullseye fans! We have a special bonus treat for y'all today. We're gonna give you a look at Heat Rocks, the brand new music podcast here at Maximum Fun. It's an interview show that dissects classic, canonical urban and soul albums and the people who love them.

This time, join writer Oliver Wang and music director Morgan Supervisor Morgan Rhodes as they interview tech blogger (and avid Prince fan) about the Purple One's all-time classic "1999."

You can find out more about Heat Rocks at heatrockspod.com or just search "heat rocks" in your favorite podcast app. 

Direct download: BullseyeHeatRocks1117.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EDT

Two legends this week: first up, Amy Sedaris. Amy's made a career playing characters - and we say this with absolutely *zero* shade intended - people who are kind of grotesque and weird. The weirder and grosser the better - take Jerri Blank on Strangers with Candy or Mimi Kanasis on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, too. But on her new show, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Amy pretty much plays herself. She talks with Jesse about how that's a transition out of her normal comfort zone. Also discussed: rabbits, monkfish, and girl scout badges!

 

Then, the great Paul Reiser the legendary standup and actor. He's also the creator of a brand new TV series, it's called There's Johnny and it's premiering this week on Hulu. It takes place in the early 70s, behind the scene of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Reiser knew Carson about as well as anybody could and dishes on what it was like appearing on his show almost a dozen times.

Direct download: Bullseye171114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT

Look, you probably know who John Hodgman is already. He's been on the Daily Show, This American Life, Adventure Time, way more stuff. Here at Maximum Fun he's the judge on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast. John's also written four books. His latest is Vacationland, and it's a pretty big departure. It's kind of a meditation on aging and the world we live in today. It's about fatherhood and adolescence and how to accept that at some point in your life, there's gonna be more road behind you than ahead.

 

Then, Tig Notaro. The comedian's brilliant TV show One Mississippi is back on Amazon for a second season. She joins Jesse to talk about her start in comedy, how she incorporates autobiography into plot points, and the importance of having an all-female writing staff on the show.

 

Finally: Surprise! An outshot about a tiger painting.

Direct download: Bullseye171107v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:28pm EDT

For five seasons, Stephanie Beatriz has starred on the hit fox show Brooklyn Nine Nine. She plays Detective Rosa Diaz, easily the toughest cop in the precinct - she's brave, she's serious, she rides a motorcycle. Now, she stars in a new film - a drama called The Light of the Moon. It's a nuanced, touching and realistic look at the trauma left in the wake of a brutal sexual assault.

After that: Griffin Dunne! He's an actor. You might've seen him on the new Amazon series I Love Dick, or as the lead in the Scorsese classic After Hours. He's also a director, and his latest film focuses on the writer Joan Didion, who happens to be his aunt. He talks with Jesse about the decision to make the film, her legacy in the world of journalism and how he mustered up the courage to ask her some pretty tough questions.

Direct download: Bullseye171031.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

Good October to you, boys and ghouls! It's a very special Halloween Spooktacular edition of Bullseye!

 

First we have Cassandra Peterson, the woman behind Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She'll talk with Jesse about where her iconic character came from, her childhood growing up in the midwest and what it's like to have a pinball game bearing your likeness.

 

Then, a very special visit from comedian Andy Daly (Review, Reno 911, Silicon Valley), with the song that changed his life: the Monster Mash.

 

Plus spooky and ooky movie recommendations from the team at Maximum Fun's Who Shot Ya podcast, and Jesse recommends a Halloween song that's so good… it'll give you chills! Mwahahahaha!

Direct download: Bullseye171024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:38pm EDT

You know Gilbert Gottfried, right? That comedian with the crazy loud voice who tells gross, sometimes kind of tasteless jokes. He was the voice of the Aflac duck at one point, too.

There's really two Gilbert Gottfrieds, though - there's that guy, and there's the pretty quiet guy who has a wife and two kids and, you know, picks up paper towels on the way home or whatever. Now, he's talking about all of that. He's the subject of a new documentary, it's called Gilbert. He talks with Jesse about the process of revealing his private side on camera for the first time.

Then, a deep discussion about Catholicism, love, and privilege with filmmaker Maggie Betts. Her debut film, Novitiate, tells the story of nuns-in-training in the mid 20th century as their lives and society were in total upheaval.

Direct download: Bullseye171017v3.mp3
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First up: Amy Ryan. You've seen her as Beadie Russel on The Wire, in The Office, Gone Baby Gone, a bunch more. She's starring in the new movie Abundant Acreage Available too. She'll talk with us about all that stuff, plus, how she convinced her family it was cool to skip college and give acting a real go.

Then, Shea Serrano. He's a writer. He's covered basketball, music and more for ESPN, Vice, the Ringer, and more. And he took kind of an unusual path to making a career out of it. Born and raised in Texas, Serrano was originally a teacher who'd write in his spare time. He only started writing full time a little over two years ago. His new book is a hot one - it's called Basketball and Other Things, it's beautifully illustrated, and it's out now.

Finally: some beautiful words about the baseball team with the worst record this year.

Direct download: Bullseye171010.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

This week's Bullseye takes you inside the home of the one and only Carl Reiner. A true legend in comedy - Reiner's been in the game since World War Two. Alongside Sid Caesar, he performed on the pioneering Your Show of Shows. He's best friends with Mel Brooks. Reiner also created the Dick Van Dyke Show, wrote Steve Martin's The Jerk and much more. Now, at 95, he's published his 18th book: it's called "Too Busy to Die." Indeed!

Then, Kate and Laura Mulleavy. If you don't know them by name, you've seen their work: the two co-founded Rodarte, one of the most innovative and desirable clothing labels out there. The Mulleavy sisters aren't content to stay put in fashion, though - they just wrote and directed Woodshock, a heady, awe-inspiring film starring Kirsten Dunst.

Direct download: Bullseye171003.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52pm EDT

A dynamite pairing this week! First, Rapper Open Mike Eagle talks about growing up in Chicago, his slow and steady rise to success and his undying love for professional wrestling.

Then, Paula Poundstone. You know her as a legendary standup, as a voice actor, too, probably. But I mean, this is NPR. So you know her as Paula Poundstone from Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me, right? We brought her on to talk about the movie she loves so much she wishes she made it: 2011's Bridesmaids.

Finally: an outshot about a baseball card and a word we can't say on NPR.

Direct download: Open_Mike_Eagle__Paula_Poundstone.mp3
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Two Bullseye classics this week. First up: Judy Greer. You've seen her as Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development, as Cheryl Tunt on Archer, in Jurassic World, a bunch more. She's one of the most successful co-stars in Hollywood. It stands to reason. She’s a gifted actress, she’s funny, she’s beautiful, but she still looks like a real human being you might know in real life. She talks with Jesse about her roles on screen, how she came to terms with being a co-star, and what it's like being recognized constantly on the street.

 

Then, Ice-T, from 2012.  He's been acting for over 25 years and he was a pioneer of West Coast hip-hop in the early 80s.  His breakthrough on screen was in 1991's New Jack City, and he spent the last dozen years or so solving crimes on Law and Order: SVU. He's an MC and as the frontman of the metal band Body Count he's released more than a dozen albums in his 30 year music career. At the time, Ice had just directed Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, a documentary about hip-hop's origins. Ice talks with Jesse about the good old days of rap, where it's headed now, and how he ended up writing bars for the one and only Mr. T.

Direct download: Bullseye170919.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EDT

Two Bullseye classics this week! First up: Jesse's 2014 conversation with The Pointer Sisters, one of the biggest R&B groups ever, about their rise to stardom and struggles to stay together as a family. Then, his 2011 interview with funk bass legend Bootsy Collins. Bootsy talks to Jesse about his career as one of pop music's greatest bass players. Also discussed: how'd he end up playing with James Brown? How'd he keep George Clinton down to earth? And where'd he get those dope star glasses? Twinkle twinkle, baby bubba!

Direct download: Bullseye170912.mp3
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Tim Gunn of Project Runway and more talks fashion, surviving trauma and more. Even some hot couture takes on the American political landscape! Then, singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton talks about his latest work - a dystopian concept album and companion graphic novel - both called "Solid State."

 

Finally: Did you know Norm MacDonald gave one of the funniest Comedy Central Roasts ever? And it wasn't even a roast, really?

Direct download: Bullseye170905.mp3
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Joining us this week is actor Wallace Shawn, whose many film credits include roles in The Princess Bride, the Toy Story films, and My Dinner with Andre. An accomplished playwright and author, Wallace talks to Jesse about his recent book, a long essay titled "Night Thoughts."

But first: a visit from Canadian comedian and director Jay Baruchel. Jay talks about directing "Goon: Last of the Enforcers" and explains what makes the Canadian comedic sensibility so unique. Plus, English singer-songwriter Nick Lowe recalls the 1950s country and western song that changed his life. Finally, Jesse praises a story-driven video game that captures the loneliness and ambiguity of our lives.

Direct download: Bullseye170829.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm EDT

This week, two of our favorite Bullseye guests. First up: Ellie Kemper, star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you haven't seen it, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has a pretty unusual premise. A woman emerges from a mid-western bunker. She’s been held captive there by a cultish kidnapper. She and her fellow captives are national news. So, she moves to New York, the one place she can think of where no one will care. The mix of characters and dense, super joke filled pace has earned Kimmy love from critics and a bunch of Emmy nominations - Ellie's up for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series this year.

 

Then, Flying Lotus. Jesse talked with the musician back in 2010, he'd just released his third record, Los Angeles. Born Steven Ellison, he was at the head of a burgeoning beatmaking scene here in LA that would eventually leave a huge, lasting impact on pop and hip hop. Over the course of five records, dozens of collaborations, FlyLo has created lush, kind of psychedelic soundscapes. It's a little disorienting sometimes, but it's always gripping. Now, Ellison's directed his first ever film. It's called "Kuso," and it's probably one of the most intense, and frankly gross, movies to come out in the last few decades.

Direct download: Ellie_Kemper__Flying_Lotus.mp3
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This week, two Emmy nominated heavy hitters. First up: Alfred Molina. Talk about auspicious starts: Alfred Molina's first American film role was as the "Throw me the idol, I'll throw you the whip" guy in the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Since then, he's had over 150 parts. That includes unforgettable roles in movies like Coffee and Cigarettes, Boogie Nights, and yes - even Spider-Man 2. He just got an Emmy nomination for his role on Feud: Bette and Joan.

 

Then, Louie Anderson, the legendary standup and former TV host. His role as Christine on the FX show Baskets just earned him his second Emmy nomination. When he plays Christine, he's in drag, sort of, but there's no camp to it, no winking at the camera. He takes the part seriously, plays Christine funny when she's funny, plays her sad when she's sad. He says that's due in part because the role is played in tribute to his own mother.

 

Finally: Faye Dunaway. Steve McQueen. Sex chess. These are a few of Jesse's favorite things… in the 1968 film the Thomas Crown Affair.

Direct download: Alfred_Molina__Louie_Anderson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

This week Jesse talks with the great singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco about her new album Binary, and how it's changed her writing process. What you might not know is that she also jammed with Prince. Also, a conversation with actor Aidan Gillen, who you might know as Littlefinger on Game of Thrones and Tommy Carcetti on The Wire. He plays a lot of ambitious, sometimes cagey characters. Finally, Jesse recommends a classic Randy Newman song that reveals the empty promises of fame and adulation.

Direct download: Bullseye170808.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:09pm EDT

[r] This week, two of Bullseye's greatest hits. First up: Rick Moranis. At one point, he was a movie star: Strange Brew, Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and then - he quit. We'll talk about why he doesn't regret leaving show business to raise his children.


Then Jesse talks with the great Lily Tomlin about her storied career. She's been in comedy since the 60s, a bunch of movies and TV shows. She's starring in Grace and Frankie on Netflix, too, which just earned her *another* Emmy nomination.

Direct download: Bullseye170801.mp3
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[r] This week, we've got two of Bullseye's greatest hits: First up, the one and only Dolly Parton! The legend of stage and song talks with Jesse about her impoverished childhood, how she's dealt with fame over the years and the songs that can still make her cry.

 

Then, Steve Coogan. You've seen him in the Night at the Museum movies, maybe Philomena and his The Trip series. But if you're a comedy fan you probably know him best for one character: Alan Partridge. He's done the Alan Partridge character for 20 years now and is gearing up to another TV series around the feckless but charming sports host.

Direct download: Bullseye170725.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm EDT

"The Big Sick" has been out in theaters for a while, and already it's getting a lot of buzz. Critics rated it 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and Emily Gordon are married and co-wrote the movie, which tells the true story of their courting years.

 

Plus, Terrace Martin! The hip-hop producer and jazz musician who's worked with YG, Herbie Hancock, Snoop and Kendrick goes in depth with Jesse about growing up in South Central LA, California's jazz community and how you make a track that'll rattle car doors all over America.

Direct download: Bullseye170718.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:46pm EDT

We've got a special bonus Bullseye for you this week! Tavi Gevinson, editor of Rookie Magazine, actress, podcast host and much more. Jesse interview Tavi in front of a live audience at this year's MaxFunCon.

Direct download: BullseyeTaviBonus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:35pm EDT

[r] This week, we're bringing you a couple of Jesse's favorite past interviews. First up: Vince Staples! The Long Beach rapper is a legend nowadays, with his two critically acclaimed records Summertime '06 and Big Fish Theory. Vince came into the Bullseye studios back in 2014, when he had just a couple mixtapes to his name. Even then at 20, Vince was brilliant, funny and brutally honest.

 

Then we go way back - back to 2009, when Jesse recorded the show out of his apartment in LA. The guests? The Trailer Park Boys, Canadian comedy legends. John Paul Tremblay, Robb Well and Mike Smith play Julian, Ricky and Bubbles, respectively. In a rare feat of comedic ninjutsu, they talk with Jesse *entirely* in character.

 

Finally: Winter is coming, but who cares? Jesse tells you why Game of Thrones is about the journey, not the destination.

Direct download: Bullseye170711.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

Hey y'all! This week, we have Beth Ditto joining us. The former lead singer with Gossip, talks about growing up gay and punk rock in Searcy, Arkansas, and paying a dollar for her first kiss with a girl in a lesbian kissing booth called Homo-A-Gogo in Olympia Washington.

 

Plus, Ernest Dickerson, who directed Juice, maybe Tupac's best film, and also was director of photography on all of Spike Lee's movies up through Malcolm X.

 

Finally, we're here to say it because it's true: Car Talk was the best public radio show ever. Don't @ us.

Direct download: Bullseye170704v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm EDT

What an episode this week! We have New York's very own A$AP Ferg in the house. He and Jesse talk about his love for Madonna, how going to an arts high school changed his life and how being a part of a collective like A$AP Mob can make calling yourself a solo artist kind of challenging.

 

Then, Jonathan Katz joins Jesse. He's the creator and star of the animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. He's also one of the funniest people we've had on - he's got a joke ready for everything. Like, since about 1996, he's been dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. Does he have a joke about that? Of course he has a joke about that.

 

Finally, what's the best Prince album? The Princiest among Prince records? Jesse makes the case for Sign O' The Times, and gets about 6 songs stuck in your head as a result.

Direct download: Bullseye170627v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49pm EDT

This week, we're giving you a sneak peek into The Turnaround, Jesse's new podcast. The Turnaround brings you interviews with some of the best interviewers out there. You'll hear why Marc Maron can't stand letting strangers in house. We've got Audie Cornish, too. she hosts NPR's All Things Considered talking about how she manages to sound as smart as she does during intense, live interviews. Plus: Katie Couric. Name a famous person, especially a politician, odds are Katie Couric's interviewed them: George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, many more. How does she do it? Take a listen to find out!

Direct download: Bullseye170620.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40pm EDT

[r] Big Boi's sold more than 50 millions records as a solo artist and as half of Outkast, maybe the greatest hip hop group of all time. With their 1994 debut Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Big Boi and Andre 3000 introduced one of rap's most distinctive voices: Street-minded, but just as willing to travel to the stars as to stay on the corner.

It's been more than a decade since the last Outkast record, but Big Boi's stayed active pretty much that entire time. He's released three solo albums, collaborated on a couple others. His latest is coming out this month. It's called "Boomiverse" and it's got appearances from Snoop Dogg, Killer Mike, Adam Levine and more.

Then, we hear from Catherine O'Hara. The actress and comedian starred in Beetlejuice, Home Alone, hit Christopher Guest movies like Best In Show and Waiting for Guffman. She's brilliant, charming and funny, as always.These interviews originally took place in 2013.

Direct download: Bullseye170613.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:58pm EDT

This week, Jesse talks with Kathryn Hahn. She's starring in the new Amazon series I Love Dick, which also features Kevin Bacon and Griffin Dunne. The show was created by Jill Soloway, a writer Hahn's been working with a lot lately - she's also in Transparent, Soloway's other Amazon show.

 

Then, Jesse talks about the greatest TV host of all time: David Letterman. New York Times' Comedy Critic Jason Zinoman has a brand new biography on Letterman. In it, Zinoman gives us more than just Letterman's life story - it's critical examination of what made a host like Letterman so brilliant.

Direct download: Bullseye170606.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:08pm EDT

This week, Jesse sits down with actor Carol Kane. They talk about her career that spans 45 years and her newest project - "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which is now in its 3rd season on Netflix. We hear some live comedy from Chris Fairbanks and Jesse tells us why the meta-sitcom The Larry Sanders Show is one of the most real things on TV, ever.  

Direct download: Bullseye170529.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:49pm EDT

As a linebacker from Flint Michigan, Terry Crews was picked by the LA Rams in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. In 1996, he played his last season ever for the Eagles. Then, he took up acting - he starred alongside Ice Cube in the Friday After Next, played Chris Rock's Dad on Everybody Hates Chris. Now he plays Sergeant Jeffords on FOX's Brooklyn Nine Nine.

Now, his latest role is in Sandy Wexler. It's the new Adam Sandler comedy on Netflix. He talks with Jesse about the film, his time in the NFL and how he overcame a devastating addiction to pornography.

Then, Jesse talks with the fascinating Amber Tamblyn. She's an actress and a published poet. In her latest film, Paint It Black, she's making her debut as a writer and director. The movie explores the aftermath of death from a really compelling and human perspective.

This week's Outshot? Gap Band IV. The Sixth album by the Gap Band. Wall to wall bangers, we swear.

Direct download: Bullseye170522.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT

We got John Waters in the studio (he wore a beautiful Commes de Garcon shirt, btw). John has a new book out, it's a transcript of a commencement speech he gave to RISD students in 2015. Jesse talks with him about Little Richard, trigger warnings, and how the film industry tried (and failed) to make the King of Trash compromise his work.


Then, Andy Kindler stops by. Andy's a terrific stand up and hosts the latest season of the Hulu series Coming to the Stage. Since 1996, Andy's also given a speech at the Just for Laughs Festival - it's called the State of the Industry. For about an hour each year, Andy basically puts comedians and the entire industry on blast - popular targets include Jay Leno, Ricky Gervais, and lazy journalists. It's made him one of the funniest and sincere truth tellers in comedy. His newest album is a never before released recording of his original 1996 address.

Direct download: Bullseye170515.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:25pm EDT

This week, Jesse talks with standup and author Moshe Kasher about his new TV show: Problematic. Like a lot of shows nowadays it's got a comedian taking on issues of the day, interviews with newsmakers, plenty of snarky jokes. But instead of John Oliver style polemic takedowns, Kasher takes a cue from legends like Phil Donahue - exploring uncomfortable issues with a genuine inquisitiveness.

Then, Felicia Day of the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 tells us about the inspirational power of The Mighty Boosh - the surreal British TV comedy.


Finally, Brother Ali. He's a rapper based out of Minnesota. There, he's part of the Rhymesayers collective - a label he shares with Aesop Rock, Dilated Peoples, and Atmosphere. For the first part of his career, he focused a lot on making protest rap - speaking truth to power, that kind of thing. His latest record is called All The Beauty In This Whole Life. On it, he takes a refreshing, positive spin on life.

Direct download: Bullseye170508.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:23pm EDT

Jesse talks about life and death with George Saunders, the brilliant author of the new novel Lincoln in the Bardo. But first, Chris Gethard comes by. He hosts Fusion's The Chris Gethard show and stars in Career Suicide, a one-man show debuting this week on HBO. Plus: DJ Jazzy Jeff tells us about the song that changed his life - it's a good one, too.

Direct download: Bullseye170501.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT

This week's Bullseye has a lot of heavy stuff. First up: Phil Elverum. Elverum's career dates back over 20 years, first as the Microphones and later Mt. Eerie. He's produced ambitious, beautiful records that mix genres like folk, noise, death metal, shoegaze and more. In 2016, though, his life took a tragic turn: his wife, Genevieve, died of pancreatic cancer, leaving behind a toddler. On his latest record, A Crow Looked At Me, Elverum takes grief and loss head on.

Then, Werner Herzog, legendary German film director talks about sitcoms, getting shot, and his newest film: the strange, thrilling Salt & Fire.

Direct download: Bullseye170424.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:19pm EDT

[r] First things first: the one, the only Julia Louis-Dreyfus! After a run of 9 years on Seinfeld, one of the greatest TV comedies of all time, she's now entering her sixth season as Selina Meyer on the hit HBO show Veep. Plus, Armando Iannucci, Veep's creator. And Billy Bragg, the folk punk legend, tells us about the song that changed his life.

Direct download: Bullseye170417.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:54pm EDT

Guy Branum, comic and beloved host of MaxFun's own Pop Rocket is on TV now! He's hosting the brand new TV series Talk Show the Game Show on TruTV. Guy talks with Jesse about growing up gay in a rural California town, working on TV and the pleasure of calling out prejudiced athletes on TV. Plus, professor Emily Lordi makes the case for why Donny Hathaway Live is a classic album.

Direct download: Bullseye170410.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21pm EDT

Guess what! With opening day this week, Bullseye is bringing you its first ever Baseball special! Jesse talks with Oakland A's relief pitcher Sean Doolittle about recovering from injuries, getting called up to the majors and the weird path it took him on: starting out as a first baseman, then pivoting to closing out games on the mound. Plus, Tabitha Soren of MTV fame has a new career: photography. She just published a new book that follows the a draft class of ball players over the course of 15 years. Plus: Red Sox organist Josh Kantor on the song that changed his life.

Direct download: Bullseye170403.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:08pm EDT

This week, NPR's Linda Holmes sits in for Jesse Thorn. We kick things off with Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. The three brothers have a brand new TV show called My Brother, My Brother and Me based on their podcast of the same name. Then, Gina Prince-Bythewood the writer/director behind Love and Basketball and The Secret Life of Bee's talks about her newest project - Shots Fired, a fascinating, poignant TV drama on Fox she co-created with her husband.

Finally, don't ever, not for one second, think you can't carry a tune. Linda tells you all you have to do is listen to the crowds at a Pete Seeger show and everyone there can sing like angels.

Direct download: Bullseye170328.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm EDT

Jesse talks with Paul Shaffer, David Letterman's former bandleader and the co-writer of the disco smash "It's Raining Men." They'll talk about his work on SNL and his role in co-founding the Blue Brothers. Plus,  how weird it feels when a thing like the Late Show, something you worked on every day for almost half of your life suddenly comes to an end. Then, children's author Javaka Steptoe, talks about his Caldecott winning book "Radiant Child."


Plus, British documentarian Louis Theroux on the craziest day of his career, and Jesse has some real talk about John Wick 2: it's the best six bucks he's ever spent. No contest.

Direct download: Bullseye170321.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:49pm EDT

This week, comic Wyatt Cenac sits in for Jesse Thorn, and it's a hell of a lineup: Sam Richardson of HBO's Veep stops by to talk about his new Comedy Central show Detroiters. Plus, Syd tha Kyd of the bands The Internet and Odd Future has her first ever solo album - it's called "Fin" and it just came out last month. She tells Wyatt about how the record got made, and why she is in no rush to meet her idols. Finally, for this week's Outshot, Wyatt recommends the weird, hilarious and profound Blaxploitation film "The Thing with Two Heads."

Direct download: Bullseye170314v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:03pm EDT

[r] Jesse sits down for an in-depth conversation with Danny McBride. McBride co-created and stars in the hit HBO series Eastbound and Down and the newer Vice Principals, which is getting picked up for a second season later this year. McBride says that if you like the characters he plays because you relate to them, you probably missed the joke. Then, legendary jazz bassist Miroslav Vitous tells us about the recording session he’ll never forget. Finally, Jesse tells you why Taika Waititi’s movie about two guys killing pigs in the wilderness is twee - and why that’s a compliment.

Direct download: Bullseye170307.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

Guest host Ray Suarez talks with Desus Nice and The Kid Mero - the Twitter legends and hosts of the Bodega Boys podcast have a new show on Viceland. Plus, we go deep into the world of science and film editing with legendary movie sound man Walter Murch!

Direct download: Bullseye_170228.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

[r] Zach Galifianakis talks about fame, unlikable characters and his FX series, Baskets, now in its second season. Michael K. Williams reminisces on his dance career, playing Omar on The Wire and his starring role in the TV drama Hap and Leonard. Plus, Jesse remembers a rapper's powerful reflection on his own mortality.

Direct download: Bullseye170221.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02am EDT

Jesse talks with with Pete Holmes - the star of the new HBO show Crashing. Then, Mike Mills, writer and director of the Oscar nominated 20th Century Women.

Direct download: Bullseye170213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:45pm EDT

Jesse talks with Cristela Alonzo. She starred in the ABC show Cristela, and now she's got a great new stand up special on Netflix called Lower Classy. Plus, Stretch Armstrong, co-host of the legendary hip hop radio show Stretch and Bobbito, which gave rise to a generation of New York rappers.

Direct download: Bullseye170206.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:17pm EDT

Writers Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce talk about how the two teamed up with Norman Lear to make a brand new reboot of Lear's classic sitcom One Day at a Time.


Plus, Todd Mayfield, Curtis Mayfield's son shares a new book about his father.

Direct download: Bullseye170131.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23pm EDT

Laurie Kilmartin is a standup, she also writes for Conan O'Brien. On her new special, 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad, she talks about the loss of her father in a totally honest, touching, and funny way. Plus, comedians Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi on their new TV show, Throwing Shade and the Simpsons episode that tells you everything you need to know about the tech bubble.

Direct download: Bullseye20170124.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm EDT

[r] Jesse sits down with guitarist and singer Corin Tucker to talk about Sleater-Kinney, anxiety dreams, and having to work a second job while on tour. He’ll also talk to to the veteran comic and actor Tom Arnold. Arnold will tell Thorn about working with Roseanne Barr, and how he's coped with the ups and downs of his career.

Direct download: Bullseye_170116_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:28pm EDT

This week, we are delighted to bring you a special presentation of The Judge John Hodgman Podcast. Today, you’ll hear two Judge John Hodgman cases. 

Our first case is Grand Theft Risotto. Mike brings the case against his mom, Maribeth. He says Maribeth knowingly took her daughter-in-law's recipes for a family cookbook and passed them off as her own. Maribeth says that the attribution was implied and there was no wrongdoing.

Our next case: Assault and Hey Batter Battery. Naomi files suit against her husband, Spencer. She’s embarrassed by his loud and incessant heckling at baseball games.

 

Direct download: Bullseye_JJHoSpecial_170109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

[r] Jesse Thorn sits down with legendary musician Bill Withers to talk about growing up in West Virginia, working in the music industry and why he wouldn’t dance onstage. Plus comedian and writer Joe Randazzo joins Jesse to discuss his book Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy.

Direct download: Bullseye_170116.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:01am EDT

Wrap up 2016 with a much needed laugh - it’s Bullseye’s proudest annual tradition - the End of Year Best Comedy Special. You’ll hear some of the year’s best standup: Maria Bamford, W. Kamau Bell, Cameron Esposito, and much more.

Direct download: Bullseye161226.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:03pm EDT

On a brand new Bullseye Holiday special, Jesse talks with Andy Richter about how to love Christmas after getting burned by it. Plus, actress Jane Lynch stops by to share her new album of swingin’ Christmas music.

Direct download: Bullseye161219.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm EDT

Jesse talks to Pedro Almodóvar, the Spanish filmmaker about Julieta, his newest film. Plus, Alexis Krauss from the band Sleigh Bells on the song that changed her life and the hypnotic, enchanting power of old paintings of cows.

Direct download: Bullseye161212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

Jesse talks with John Cale, the musician and producer, about his time in the Velvet Underground, producing artists like the Stooges and Patti Smith, and his latest record. Plus, comic improv legends TJ and Dave and new music from the band Split Single.

Direct download: Bullseye161205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:11am EDT

Jesse talks with Sarah Jessica Parker about her long, dynamic career, including her star roles in Sex and the City and the new HBO series Divorce. Plus, comedy from the legendary Dwayne Kennedy and music from the one singer we should all turn to when we’re feeling down.

Direct download: Bullseye161128.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:35pm EDT

Jesse talks to Colin Quinn about his time on Saturday Night Live and his new Netflix special, New York Story. Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef, model and author takes us deep into the world of spices and herbs. Plus, standup comedy from Sara Schaefer and more.

Direct download: Bullseye161121.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:58pm EDT