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.)

Once a year the small staff here at The Sound of Young America compiles the best comedy we've heard from the past year.  Our selections may not be poignant, they may not contribute to a broader understanding of our world, but hey, at least they're funny.  Hear from Patton Oswalt, Tig Notaro, Mike Birbiglia and many many others this week on the Sound of Young America's 2011 comedy special.

Direct download: tsoya111226_comedyspecial.mp3
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Ed Levine is the founder and editor of the blog Serious Eats, a forum for sharing "food enthusiasm." He's written regularly about NY food and the iconic American foods and their place in our society. The blog has spawned a new book, called Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are.

Direct download: tsoya111214_edlevine.mp3
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Our contributor Rob Baedeker's new kick is his organic farm, and he shares the letter from his CSA box with us. Rob is a member of the comedy sketch group Kasper Hauser and a freelance writer.

Direct download: tsoya111213_whatsinyourbox.mp3
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Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold talks to us about how he manages the day to day eating, the best pastrami sandwich, overcoming food fears and more. He writes for the LA Weekly and is the author of the highly regarded food guide to Los Angeles, Counter Intelligence.

Direct download: tsoya111211_jongold.mp3
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Carrie Fisher is perhaps best known as Princess Leia from the seminal Star Wars films, but she began her celebrity life as a baby -- the daughter of America's sweethearts, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher.  Carrie battled addiction, mental illness and the ups and downs of celebrity to reinvent herself as a successful novelist and memoirist.  Her new memoir, Shockaholic, is out now.

Direct download: tsoya111207_carriefisher.mp3
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AV Club Editor Keith Phipps and Associate Editor Tasha Robinson join us to give their culture picks for December 2011.

Direct download: tsoya111201_avclub.mp3
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Nile Rodgers launched a string of hits with the group Chic, including "Le Freak" and "Good Times", and went on to become a songwriting and producing superstar.  He was behind Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out", David Bowie's "Let's Dance", Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and many more.  Now, he reflects on decades of hitwriting, collaborating, and the meaning of music in his life.  His new autobiography is Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny.

Direct download: tsoya111128_nilerodgers.mp3
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Our correspondent Jordan Morris pores over what's happening in America to let you know what's best in the US right now.

Direct download: tsoya111121_jordanranks_nov2011.mp3
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Patrick Warburton is a live and voice actor known for his roles on Seinfeld, NewsRadio and The Venture Brothers among others.  He's currently starring in the popular CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement and is the voice behind the talk show host in the animated series Effin With Tonight on Crackle

Direct download: tsoya111107_warburton2.mp3
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Rod Baedeker from Kasper Hauser drops by The Sound of Young America to share with us his ground-breaking lecture he gave at Cal Tech.

Direct download: tsoya111102_chemistrylecture.mp3
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Kate Beaton authors the webcomic Hark! a Vagrant. The comic strips mine history and literature for figures to be reimagined and skewered as petulant children, jaded superheroes and Victorian dude-watchers, accented by a very expressive drawing style. Her comics have recently been collected into a book, also called Hark! a Vagrant.

Direct download: tsoya111031_katebeaton.mp3
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Jeanne Darst is a writer and performer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and This American Life.  She recently published her first book, Fiction Ruined My Family, about her literary family who spent more time drinking than writing.

Direct download: tsoya111028_jeannedarst.mp3
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Don't know where to turn, or who to believe? Try our correspondent Jordan Morris, who brings you the best of America every month.

Direct download: tsoya111026_jordanranks.mp3
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Comedian and comedy-inquisitor Marc Maron talks about turning it all around, doing standup and hosting his smash podcast (turned public radio show) WTF.  His new comedy album is "This Has to Be Funny".

Direct download: tsoya111024_marcmaron.mp3
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Bestselling nonfiction author and The New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean talks to us about the fascinating life of the dog and the character Rin Tin Tin, plus much more. Her new book is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and The Legend.

Direct download: tsoya111017_susanorlean.mp3
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Today's guests from the AV Club are TV Editor Todd VanDerWerff and Assistant Editor Erik Adams. They drop by to discuss their TV picks for the Fall season from Showtimes 'Homeland' to NBCs 'Up All Night' running through the hits and misses with Host Jesse Thorn.

Direct download: tsoya111013_avclubfalltv.mp3
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The legendary funk bassist joins us to talk about creating the persona of Bootsy, playing music with two very different band leaders, James Brown and George Clinton, and more.

Direct download: tsoya111010_bootsycollins1.mp3
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The Long Winters' frontman, John Roderick, talks to us about the song that changed his life: ZZ Top's Gimme All Your Lovin'.

Direct download: tsoya111006_roderick.mp3
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For Jonathan Coulton, success as a musician has come with recording music himself, releasing individual songs online one-at-a-time, and even selling his catalog on a USB drive.  So in a way, his new album Artificial Heart is a terrifying turn to the traditional, and a creative risk.  It was produced with They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh in a studio with a full band, the old-fashioned way.  Jonathan and John talk to us about that process.

Direct download: tsoya111003_coultonflansburgh.mp3
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John Hodgman guest hosts this interview with astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Dr. Tyson is the director of the Hayden Planetarium, but the layperson likely knows him as the host of Star Talk Radio and the PBS program Nova ScienceNOW.

His upcoming projects include a new version of the TV series Cosmos -- originally hosted by Carl Sagan -- and a new book titled Space Chronicles. He talks to us about how money for space exploration stacks up to other spending, his personal space travel dreams, and more.

 

Direct download: tsoya110922_neildegrassetyson.mp3
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John Hodgman guest hosts an interview with the fantasy, science fiction and horror author George R. R. Martin.  Martin is the author of the very popular series known as "A Song of Ice and Fire", which has recently been adapted for the HBO show "Game of Thrones". He joins us to talk about creating a fantasy universe, (very) involved fans, and more.

Direct download: tsoya110919_georgerrmartin.mp3
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Is cultural innovation at risk when we indulge in retromania? Music critic Simon Reynolds joins us to talk about why songs today are more unimaginative when we have unprecedented access to decades' worth of past music, the loop of re-creating old sounds, and more. His new book is Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to its Own Past.

Direct download: tsoya110912_simonreynolds.mp3
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Nicolas Winding Refn is the Danish director of the new film "Drive", starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Refn had a very specific vision for the film, which included trance-like music and throwbacks to the aesthetics of films of his childhood. "Drive" won Refn the Best Director award at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Direct download: tsoya110914_nicolaswindingrefn.mp3
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Robert Popper is a British comedy writer behind projects like the BBC mock educational series "Look Around You" with Peter Serafinowicz and the new BBC America series "Friday Night Dinner".  He's also an accomplished prankster.  We'll talk to him about regressing to childhood in the company of your siblings and parents, the construction of some of his favorite comedy bits, and more.

Direct download: tsoya_110829_robertpopper.mp3
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Paul Scheer, an actor and comedian behind shows like Adult Swim's NTSF:SD:SUV:: and MTV's Human Giant, talks to us about low budgets, when parody comes from a place of love, and more.

Direct download: tsoya110826_paulscheer.mp3
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Damian Kulash talks to us about the moment he heard Herbie Hancock's Rockit, and how it it informed his life today as the lead singer of OK GO.  The band's live album, 180/365, is out now.

Direct download: tsoya110824_stcml-kulash.mp3
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Bruce Campbell is a writer, producer, and cult movie actor who starred in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series and can currently be seen on the USA show Burn Notice. We talked to him about the DIY aesthetic and feeling of his projects, obsessive fans, and how he came to make cult horror movies, of all things.

Direct download: tsoya110822_brucecampbell-b.mp3
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Danny Pudi is an actor and comedian, best known for his role as the pop culture-obsessed Abed Nadir on the NBC show Community.  He talks to us about working on a show that's as much fun to shoot as it is to watch and working improv comedy into a scripted show.

Direct download: 110817_dannypudi-2.mp3
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Bruce McCulloch, best known as one of the members of the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, is a writer, actor and director of movies like Superstar and Stealing Harvard. He talks to us about tracing his musical comedy roots, the dynamics of The Kids in the Hall, and more.

Direct download: 110815_brucemcculloch.mp3
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Our hip hop contributor Noz of the blog Cocaine Blunts joins us to talk about his favorite tracks of the moment.

Direct download: tsoya110812_noz.mp3
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Tig Notaro is a veteran stand-up comedian who you might recognize from her Comedy Central special or perhaps her stint as "Officer Tig" on The Sarah Silverman Program. She's just released her debut comedy album, Good One, on Secretly Canadian Records.

Direct download: tsoya110811_tignotaro.mp3
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This week, guest host Dave Holmes talks to singer songwriter Bob Mould.  Mould is one of the original members of seminal 1980s punk band Hüsker Dü, who's since struck out on his own with alternative rock band Sugar and his own solo projects. His new memoir, See A Little Light: The Trail Of Rage And Melody, goes deep into his past, exploring band politics, his sexuality and more.

Direct download: tsoya110809_bobmould.mp3
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A talk from On the Media's Brooke Gladstone, a conversation between John Hodgman and Toy Story 3's director Lee Unkrich, and comedy from Graham Clark, Maria Bamford, Greg Behrendt, Josie Long, and Jerry O'Hearn. It's all here from our third annual MaxFunCon, a gathering of creative people who wish to be more awesome.

Direct download: tsoya110802_maxfunconspecial.mp3
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Paul Provenza is a veteran stand up comic, but he's also ventured into documenting the world of comedy at large. He's collected interviews with comedians in his book Satiristas and explored the variations of a very dirty joke when directing the film The Aristocrats. He currently hosts Showtime's The Green Room, which seeks to re-create the feeling of being behind the scenes with some of the most celebrated comedians of our time. The show has just entered its second season.

Direct download: tsoya110728_paulprovenza2.mp3
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Jeff Garlin is an actor, director and comic -- and perhaps best known as Larry David's best friend and manager Jeff Greene on the acclaimed HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. The show recently kicked off its eighth season.

Direct download: tsoya110725_jeffgarlin.mp3
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It's that time again - Jordan Morris spells it all out for us. From the bottom to the top, it's Jordan Ranks America.

Direct download: tsoya110720_jordanranksjuly.mp3
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Errol Morris is an Academy Award-winning director who has documented a wide range of subjects, from warfare in The Fog of War to your everyday eccentrics in Vernon, Florida. His talks about his new film Tabloid, and the power of his non-confrontational interview style.

Direct download: tsoya110718_errolmorris2.mp3
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AV Club editors Kyle Ryan and Tasha Robinson join us to talk about their top picks in July's music, movies, and books.

Direct download: tsoya1107115_avclub.mp3
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Jackie Kashian is an LA-based stand up who hosts her own podcast, The Dork Forest. Here's her set from MaxFunCon 2011, a gathering of people who wish to be more awesome.

Direct download: tsoya110713_jackiekashian.mp3
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Filmmaker and actor Simon Pegg talks about nerds' epic climb up the social ladder -- from schoolyard runts to mainstream successes. His new memoir is called Nerd Do Well.

Direct download: tsoya110711_simonpegg.mp3
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Michael Rapaport has an extensive list of credits as an actor, but he visits us to talk about his directorial debut.  He took on the task of following the travails of his favorite hip hop group, A Tribe Called Quest. His new documentary, Beats, Rhymes, and Life illustrates the storied history of Tribe and is in theaters in NYC and LA on July 8th.

Direct download: tsoya110705_rapaport.mp3
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Stand up comedy from Prescott Tolk, from our live show in Chicago earlier this year.

Direct download: tsoya11063prescotttolk.mp3
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When we last spoke to Weird Al, he was working on his top-secret new album. Now he's returned to talk about "Alpocalypse" and the process of parodying other artists.

Direct download: tsoya110627_weirdal2.mp3
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Glenn O'Brien is the author of How To Be A Man, and the Style Guy columnist for GQ. He also created and hosted TV Party, the seminal new wave television show, and edited Interview magazine.

Direct download: tsoya110620_glennobrien.mp3
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Writer and filmmaker Rudolph Herzog explores the jokes employed by the oppressed and the oppressors of Germany's Third Reich in his new book, Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler's Germany.

Direct download: tsoya110608_rudolphherzog.mp3
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Jon Ronson is a journalist, filmmaker and humorist who has written Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and has just published his newest book, The Psychopath Test.

Direct download: tsoya110606_ronson.mp3
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Scot Armstrong is a screenwriter and comedian who has co-written Old School, Road Trip, and Starsky and Hutch among others.  His newest writing project was tackling The Hangover Part II with Todd Phillips.

Direct download: tsoya110602_scotarmstrong.mp3
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Demetri Martin is a standup comedian, writer and actor. His new book is called This Is A Book.

Direct download: tsoya110530_demetrimartin.mp3
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Our friends Nathan Rabin and Josh Modell from The AV Club drop by to expound upon their pop culture picks for right now, including The Lonely Island and Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! Season 5 on DVD.

Direct download: tsoya110526_avclub.mp3
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Mike Royce and Ray Romano are the co-creators of the TNT comedic drama "Men of a Certain Age", which follows three friends through the struggles of middle age.  They've previously worked together on the hit sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond".

Direct download: tsoya110522_romanoroyce.mp3
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Hip hop blogger Noz is back to talk about his favorite songs this month -- listen up to hear about DJ Quik, Fat Trel, E-40 and more.

Direct download: tsoya110520_nozrappicks.mp3
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Prodigy is a Grammy Award-winning rapper and member of the seminal hip-hop group Mobb Deep. His new autobiography is "My Infamous Life."

Direct download: tsoya110518_prodigy.mp3
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Sarah Vowell is an author and humorist whose newest book, Unfriendly Fishes, is about the annexation of Hawaii.

Direct download: tsoya110509_vowell.mp3
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Werner Herzog is an acclaimed (and prolific) film writer and director, known for narrative films like Aguirre, the Wrath of God as well as documentaries like Grizzly Man.  His newest release is a 3D film about the oldest known cave paintings, called The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Direct download: tsoya110501_herzog.mp3
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Want to know what's good in the US of A this month?  Jordan Morris has the scoop.

Direct download: tsoya110503_jordanranks.mp3
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Phil Rosenthal is the creator of the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, which ran for nine seasons on US television. He's also the subject of a new documentary about the challenges of translating the show for a Russian audience.

Direct download: tsoya110505_rosenthal.mp3
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Peter Sagal of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, wrestler-comedian Colt Cabana, singer Robbie Fulks and standup comic Cameron Esposito join Jesse in this live show recorded at Chicago's Second City.

Direct download: tsoya110426_liveinchicago.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm EDT

We're joined by Keith Phipps, the AV Club's editor and Scott Tobias, the AV Club's film editor to discuss their pop culture picks for April 2011.

Direct download: tsoya110413_avclub.mp3
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Das Racist is a Brooklyn hip hop trio known for tracks like "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" and "hahahaha jk?"  They've referred to their particular approach to hip hop as "deconstructualist," combining humor, nonsequiturs, and culture theory.  Their album Relax will be released later this year.

Direct download: tsoya110411_dasracist.mp3
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SuperEgo presents a few words from our current sponsor: The Remington County Folk Festival (and Electronics Expo...?).

Direct download: tsoya110406_folkfestelectronicshow.mp3
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John Darnielle began making music as the frontman of folk rock band The Mountain Goats in 1991.  The band subsequently has gained a cult following and Darnielle has been hailed as one of rock's best lyricists.  The Mountain Goats' newest release is All Eternals Deck.

Direct download: tsoya110408_johndarnielle.mp3
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Carl Newman is the main songwriter and vocalist of indie rock band The New Pornographers, and also performs as a solo act under the moniker A.C. Newman.  The New Pornographers' most recent release is the album "Together".

Direct download: tsoya110404_carlnewman.mp3
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Dan Charnas, a former record company executive, radio host and journalist has authored a history of the business side of hip-hop called The Big Payback.

Direct download: tsoya110321_bigpayback.mp3
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Noz, of the hip-hop blog Cocaine Blunts, shares some of his favorite new tracks.

Direct download: tsoya110323_noz1.mp3
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Craig Rowin has a proposition for all you millionaires out there.

Direct download: tsoya110325_craigrowin.mp3
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Greg Mottola is the director behind Superbad and Adventureland, and has also directed episodes of Arrested Development and Undeclared. His new film Paul is out March 18th, and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Direct download: tsoya110307_gregmottola.mp3
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Bill Hader is an actor and cast member on Saturday Night Live, where he's been known for his great impressions as well as beloved recurring characters like Stefon and Vinny Vedecci. He's also been in several of the most successful comedies of the past few years, including Superbad, Tropic Thunder and Knocked Up. You can see him in a new alien-comedy movie with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost called Paul.

Direct download: tsoya110311_billhader.mp3
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Phil Collins chose She Loves You by The Beatles as the song that changed his life for our ongoing series.

Direct download: tsoya110309_philcollins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:43am EDT

An actor and comedian best known for his work in the Canadian sketch group The Kids in the Hall, Scott Thompson recently released his first graphic novel based on one of his characters, Danny Husk.

Direct download: tsoya110302_scottthompson.mp3
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Weird Al Yankovic is the undisputed king of parody music and the all-time bestselling accordionist. His new children's book is When I Grow Up. His new album is due this summer.

Direct download: tsoya110228_weirdal.mp3
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Comedy from Baron Vaughn and Kasper Hauser plus interviews with Bobcat Goldthwait and Steve Dildarian and music from John Vanderslice from our live show at the San Francisco Sketchfest comedy festival.

Direct download: tsoya110214_sanfranlive.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

Jesse's live conversation at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles with Barry Gordon, the then-15-year-old star of the film A Thousand Clowns. Released in 1965 and now out-of-print, A Thousand Clowns co-stars Jason Robards as Murray, a comedy writer who struggles to come to terms with growing up – something he must do if he wants to stop child protective services from taking away his adopted son Nick.

Direct download: tsoya110221_atc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:46pm EDT

Dick Cavett is best known as a talk show host who spoke with (and listened to) some of America's most celebrated entertainers. With a playful yet sophisticated wit, he hosted The Dick Cavett Show, which aired on ABC and on PBS from the late 60s to the early 80s. He currently writes an opinion blog for the New York Times. In his newest book, Talk Show, he tells some of his best stories about his time as an interviewer and host.

Direct download: tsoya110210_dickcavett.mp3
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Bill Carter is the author of two books about the politics and people of late night television, and a media reporter for the New York Times. His most recent book is The War for Late Night, a thoughtful and exciting behind-the-scenes look at the Sturm und Drang of the late night wars over Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and The Tonight Show.

Direct download: tsoya110207_carter-latenight.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:28pm EDT

Daryl Hall is a singer, songwriter and producer.  He's best known as the lead singer and co-founder of Hall & Oates, who have sold more albums than any other duo in music history.  His current project is a monthly web video series of his collaborations with other musicians, called "Live from Daryl's House".

Direct download: tsoya110204_darylhall.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:50pm EDT

Chuck Brown is known as "The Godfather of Go-Go", a genre of very danceable funk music that he helped originate in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s. His newest release is a 3-disc set called "We Got This". He spoke to us about a song that changed his life.

Direct download: tsoya110202_chuckbrown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

Mavis Staples is a legendary R&B and gospel singer. She began singing as part of a family gospel group formed by her father called The Staple Singers. Her newest album, produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, is called You Are Not Alone.

Direct download: tsoya110131_mavisstaples.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:44pm EDT

First, "Ragtag", a sketch from LA-based comedy group Cream; then a monthly wrap-up of what's up and what's down with Jordan Morris for "Jordan Ranks America".

Direct download: tsoya110128_ragtagjra.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT

Adam Reed is a writer, director, producer and voice actor.  He was the co-creator of the Adult Swim animated series Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo.  He's also the mind behind the FX show Archer, which is entering its second season.

Direct download: tsoya110126_archer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are the stars of a new TV show on IFC called "Portlandia", an affectionate skewering of the young people's bohemian paradise that is Portland, Oregon.

Direct download: tsoya110124_portlandia.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52pm EDT

Heartlines, the late night call-in request show -- "turn on your heartlight and send out a heartline."

Direct download: tsoya110117_heartlines.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:32pm EDT

David Rakoff is an essayist, journalist, and a regular contributor to This American Life.  His latest book is a collection of essays called Half Empty, on taking down optimism and championing pessimism.

Direct download: tsoya110103_rakoff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:19pm EDT

A standup set from one of our comedy heroes, Maria Bamford. Recorded at our last Laugh Night, a benefit for Art Share in Los Angeles.

Direct download: tsota110105_mariabamfordstandup.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:20pm EDT

Lynda Barry is a legend of alternative comics. Her strip Ernie Pook's Comeek earner her a reputation as sweet, funny and fearless. Her two most recent books are about how to create art and writing.

Direct download: tsoya110103_lyndabarry.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 11:30am EDT