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.)

As a holiday gift, Bullseye features a conversation between two incomparable wits: Dick Cavett and Dave Hill. This event was taped live at MaxFunCon East in October of 2012. 

Direct download: bullseye121225.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

It's the Bullseye 2012 Holiday Special! But don't worry, there will be no Rudolph, and no Jingle Bells ... not if Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick have written an album full of all original Christmas songs. Then the guys from My Brother, My Brother and Me will offer their advice on some holiday-season quandaries. Plus, Tim DeLaughter The Polyphonic Spree talks about theChristmas extravaganza they took on the road. 

Direct download: Bullseye121218.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jesse interviews Dolly Parton about the sacrifices she made for her astounding career and how she feels about them now.  Plus, Judd Apatow talks about his new comedy This Is 40. It explores the struggle many married couples face as they juggle all life throws their way, while still nurturing a strong relationship.Then, Jason Reece from the rock band ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead reveals the Fugazi song that changed everything for him. 

Direct download: bullseye121211b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

An interview with the delightful stand-up comic Simon Amstell. On TV, he prods at the powers-that-be and has even caused a few walk-offs. But despite the escapades, Amstell spends much of his time on stage and off looking inward, at himself. The self-doubt got so deep, he went on a shamanic quest to South America to find answers. Plus, Brian K Vaughn on his new comic book series SAGA. It's a new space fantasy with a deep mythology.



Direct download: bullseye121204.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

James Brown wasn't just the Minister of the New New Heavy Super Funk and the Godfather of Soul. He was the hardest working man in show business, and a complex character to boot. RJ Smith profiles the legend of popular music in an extensive biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. Plus, comedian Cameron Esposito muses on her childhood appearance.

Direct download: bullseye121127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Tavi Gevinson talks about how weird it can get navigating the fashion world as a teenager. Then Retta – the comedian and actress you might have seen on Parks & Recreation – talks about how to steer clear of typecasting. And comedian Michael Ian Black reveals what happened when a trick-or-treater showed up at his door dressed as a cat's tail. 

Direct download: bullseye121120b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

A conversation with the New York cultural authority Fran Lebowitz. Find out why she was expelled from high school, why she waltzed into a publishing office barefoot to submit her first manuscript, and why she's had writers block for more than thirty years. Plus, hip hop drummer and producer Karriem Riggins on the James Brown song that changed his life. 

Direct download: Bullseye121113.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

 

Stephen Tobolowsky is a veteran character actor. Now he's an author, too, but his book isn't about Hollywood stuff. It's about normal stuff from his life like getting held up at the grocery store, or spending Christmas tripping on acid. Plus, Kasper Hauser delivers all the news that's fit to ... make up. And Jesse talks about Frank Ocean's new album – the best R&B record he's heard in years.

Direct download: Bullseye121106.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Ice-T talks to us about interviewing Snoop, Rakim, and a bunch of other famous rappers for his documentary on rap. Plus, did Ice REALLY write rhymes for Mr. T? Jesse also talks to Greta Gerwig, star of the movie Lola Versus, and Aaron Freeman (formerly of the rock band Ween) about the song that changed his life.

Direct download: bullseye121030.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele talk about their comedy beginnings on MADtv; impersonating everyone from presidents, to weather men, to gang members on their Comedy Central show; and a card game that Jordan Peele designed himself Plus, Jesse faces a gaming obsession of his own and the Brothers McElroy solve listeners' pop culture quandaries. This episode originally aired earlier this year. 

Direct download: bullseye121023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer explores the relationship between music, the mind and the body. The comedian Dave Hill performs in front of his toughest audience yet: 250 maximum security felons. But it doesn’t turn out quite how he expected. And we hear a sample from comedian Demetri Martin's new album.

Direct download: Bullseye121016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

The writer, director and musician Liam Lynch talks to us about bringing back his sock puppet duo Sifl and Olly and how he met not ONE, but TWO Beatles. Plus, linguist Geoff Nunberg talks about how the word "asshole" found its way into our lexicon in his new book Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years. Plus, only the BEST of fake news from Kasper Hauser.

Direct download: bullseye121009.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jesse talks to Syl Johnson – the soul singer who has been sampled on countless hip-hop records -- about turning down the record deal that ended up going to Al Green. Julie Klausner sits down with Gillian Flynn, the author of Gone Girl. Her characters are connivers, schemers and would-be-killers. But she kinda likes ‘em. Plus Matt Berninger from the band The National remembers sitting in a golf cart on a driving range, being pelted with golf balls, and taking solace in music of The Smiths.

Direct download: bullseye121002.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jesse talks to Rob Delaney, one of the funniest guys on Twitter with over a half a million followers. He might prefer the virtual world because he’s so uncomfortable with the human body.
And co-host Julie Klausner talks to Nellie McKay who couldn’t hate the internet more. Plus, contributor Jordan Morris returns to the program to PUT AMERICA IN ITS PLACE ... by ranking its stuff. 

Direct download: Bullseye120925.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Wayne White is the subject of a new documentary directed by Neil Berkeley. If you ever wished you could live in Pee-Wee Herman's bizarre and amazing playhouse - Wayne's the man responsible for that dream. Jesse talks to both Wayne and Neil about how the film came together. Martín Perna and Jordan McLean of Antibalas talk with us about their big influence -- the Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Plus, comedian Brent Weinbach offers acting tips.

Direct download: bullseye120918.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Mets pitcher RA Dickey talks about fighting his way through 10 years as a marginal pro baseball player before giving himself over to the uncontrollable but devastating knuckleball.Then we travel back to the early 60s, on the streets of San Francisco, where James P Coyle & Mal Sharpe convince a man to rob a bank for them -- all in the interest of humor. Plus, Erik Adams and Claire Zulkey from the AV Club share some of their all-time favorite television picks, two very different police procedurals :Law & Order and Police Squad! And for his Outshot, Jesse suggests you check out The Best Show on WFMU. 

Direct download: bullseye120911.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

W. Kamau Bell, host of Totally Biased, calculates the gentrification sweet spot. Singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell's life is changed by a Tom Waits song, even though it wasn't the one she meant  to hear. And comedian Mike Birbigilia makes a movie. He says it's the hardest thing he's EVER DONE -- but he's down to do it all again. 

Direct download: Bullseye120904.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Guest host Jordan Morris sits down with Kurt Andersen to talk about creative procrastination, why a new generation is happily digging into its parents record collection, and Andersen's new book True Believers. The comedian Chris Fairbanks shares a story about a nice neighborly mugging. Plus, actress Ari Graynor talks good old fashioned phone sex in her new movie For A Good Time Call.

Direct download: Bullseye120828c.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Black Dynamite's Michael Jai White and Carl Jones talk about their favorite blaxploitation films of the 70s. Actress Rachel Dratch walks into a bar, and six months later she's pregnant. Plus, Jason Brewer, guitar player for the The Explorers Club, on the song that changed his life. Here's a hint: he saw it in the movie Back to the Future. 

Direct download: bullseye120821.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jesse talks to Ben and Christopher Wagner about America’s most beloved broadcaster -- Mister Fred Rogers -- and they all hold back tears. Plus, Jesse sits down with another beloved, cardigan-wearing American – Mr. Bob Newhart! And did you know God calls into sports talk radio programs? Bullseye features another chapter of God’s memoir, as written by comedy scribe David Javerbaum. Plus, Jason Kottke shares the best of the web.

Direct download: bullseye120814b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jordan Morris sits in for Jesse and talks to the influential punk band Redd Kross about their own influences -- from Deep Purple to Ziggy Stardust -- and then asks where they disappeared to for almost a decade. Plus, the comedian and actor Matt Braunger turns a minor argument with a friend into a serious comedy career. And the comedian Todd Barry delivers good news about skipping household chores.

Direct download: bullseye120807.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Michael Ian Black talks about his memoir: "You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations". Plus, Black explains why he started compulsively Googling the phrase "Fat Kevin Federline". The writer Tom Bissell recalls his path to creative success ... and why that road probably doesn't exist anymore. And comedian Pete Holmes reveals the thing that really ticks him off: a bad sandwich.

Direct download: bullseye120731.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

James Brown wasn't just the Minister of the New New Heavy Super Funk and the Godfather of Soul. He was the hardest working man in show business, and a complex character to boot. RJ Smith profiles the legend of popular music in an extensive biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. Plus, comedian Cameron Esposito muses on her childhood appearance and summer music recommendations from The Low Times podcast.

Direct download: bullseye120724.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:55pm EDT

Lisa Kudrow -- the “dumb” one from Friends -- talks about her career in brain science, and her current Showtime show Web Therapy. Plus, Eric Andre deconstructs the talk show -- quite literally.
And Jesse
goes on a hunt for the ultimate flea market find, with American Picker Danielle Colby.

Direct download: bullseye120717.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Robert Glasper transforms the 90s grunge hit Smells Like Teen Spirit into something surprisingly beautiful. Jesse talks to Pendleton Ward about his animated show Adventure Time. It combines two great elements of teenage boyhood: innocence and Dungeons & Dragons! And Found Magazine's Davy Rothbart shares a mysterious note uncovered in Texas.

 

 

Direct download: bullseye120714.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Mark Adams – a magazine editor who had never even slept in a tent as an adult– treks through the Andes tracing the journey of Hiram Bingham. And the comedian Dave Hill ALSO throws himself into a difficult situation – performing at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. As a goof! Plus, Jordan Morris helps get America in order – by ranking its things.

Direct download: bullseye120703b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Elvis Mitchell on how he made a career writing about movies, and why he was arrested on the Canadian border with Cuban cigars and 15 thousand in cash. Kevin Barnes, from of Montreal, goes small in the studio but BIG and BOLD on stage. Plus, the Brothers McElroy solve listeners' pressing pop culture problems and use a lot of Jurassic Park refereces in the process. 

Direct download: bullseye120626b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Mark Duplass is involved in half a dozen projects. But he isn't worried about spreading himself too thin. Plus, Jesse talks to the writer and comic Scott Aukerman about sketch comedy on the cult classic Mr. Show, scripts for doomed film projects, and what it's like hosting a new, surreal TV talk show: Comedy Bang Bang. And David Rees gets serious about the ART of pencil sharpening.

Direct download: bullseye120619d.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

In his new movie, Ice-T interviews Snoop, Rakim, and a bunch of other famous rappers. Plus, Ice reveals whether he wrote raps for Mr. T in the 80s. Jesse also talks to Greta Gerwig -- star of the new movie Lola Versus, -- and Aaron Freeman -- formerly of the rock band Ween -- about the song that changed his life. 

Direct download: bullseye120612.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Daniel Handler delves into his memories of young love to pen the novel “Why We Broke Up” -- the twist? He writes the girl's side of the story. The Sklar Brothers talk about their new comedy album – from performing as identical twins to broadening their sports-nerd base. Plus Jesse suggests the Canadian TV show The Newsoom and American composer Nico Muhly shares the song that changed his life. [originally aired February 2012]

Direct download: bullseye120605.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Comedian Kurt Braunohler explains his improvised anti-game show, where among other things, comedians are challenged to verbally shame puppies. The comedy group Kasper Hauser will interrupt our entertainment program to bring you a fake news broadcast. And the novelist Walter Mosley on his distinctive brand of detective fiction. Plus the AV Club's Scott Tobias and Nathan Rabin discuss Wes Anderson's new film Moonrise Kingdom and the new stand-up comedy special from Hannibal Buress

Direct download: bullseye120529.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey talks about fighting his way through 10 years as a marginal pro baseball player before giving himself over to the uncontrollable but devastating knuckleball.Then we travel back to the early 60s, on the streets of San Francisco, where James P Coyle & Mal Sharpe convince a man to rob a bank for them -- all in the interest of humor. And for his Outshot, Jesse suggests you check out The Best Show on WFMU.

Direct download: bullseye120522b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady talks about the unpredictable and emotional music of the punk band The Replacements, and how one their songs changed his life. Video game journalist and TV host Morgan Webb talks semiotics, video games, and who REALLY makes up the gaming community. The actor Benedict Cumberbatch talks about putting his spin on one of pop culture's most ubiquitous heroes, Sherlock Holmes. And Jason Kottke suggests you check out the documentary Senna -- about the Brazilian Formula One driver, and two mini-documentaries about HAM.

Direct download: bullseye120515.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jesse interviews comedian Chris Gethard about booking P. Diddy at a tiny theater in New York. Lawrence Weschler talks about why CGI faces will never look quite right, and why humans are addicted to narrative. Plus some all-time TV picks from Erik Adams and Claire Zulkey, and pop culture advice from My Brother, My Brother and Me. [Episode originally aired January 2012]

Direct download: bullseye120508.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Michael Ian Black talks about his memoir: "You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations". Plus, Black explains why he started compulsively Googling the phrase "Fat Kevin Federline". The writer Tom Bissell recalls his path to creative success ... and why that road probably doesn't exist anymore. And comedian Pete Holmes reveals the thing that really ticks him off: a bad sandwich.

Direct download: bullseye120501.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am EDT

The actor Tony Hale talks about his early commercial work, his faith, and who to call when you need to learn a few new swear words ... FAST. Writer and director Nick Stoller extols the virtues of the romantic comedy genre. His new movie is The Five Year Engagement. Kasper Hauser return with their very, VERY fake news. Plus, resident comics critics Brian Heather and Alex Zalben return with their top picks for the week. 

Direct download: bullseye120424.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Comic actress Rachel Dratch walks into a bar, meets a guy and six months later she's pregnant. It's all in her new memoir. Plus, the creators of the comedy TV show Eagleheart talk about their primary inspiration: Walker Texas Ranger; and about working with the show's star - Chris Elliott. Blogger Greg Kottke shares some of his best cultural finds. And contributor Jordan Morris returns to tell America what's hot and what's not in his segment Jordan Ranks America. 

Direct download: bullseye120417.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

An interview with jazz pianist Robert Glasper, who transforms the 90s grunge hit Smells Like Teen Spirit into something surprisingly beautiful. Then Pendleton Ward talks about his animated show Adventure Time. It combines two great elements of boyhood: innocence and Dungeons & Dragons! Plus, Found Magazine's Davy Rothbart shares a mysterious note uncovered in Texas.

Direct download: bullseye120410.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EDT

Jesse talks to Benjamin and Christofer Wagner about America’s most beloved broadcaster --Mister Fred Rogers -- and they all hold back tears. Plus, Jesse sits down with another beloved, cardigan-wearing American: Bob Newhart! And did you know God calls into sports talk radio programs? Bullseye features another chapter of God’s memoir, as written by comedy scribe David Javerbaum. 

Direct download: bullseye120403.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am EDT

The comedian Moshe Kasher talks about his amazing new memoir, rapper Lateef the Truthspeaker reveals how jazz scat changed his life, and Jesse talks to the directors of Undefeated -- it's a sports documentary, it won an Oscar, and Mike Pesca says it's better than Hoop Dreams! Plus, AV Club writers suggest you check out the film Being Elmo and Adult Swim's Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule.

Direct download: bullseye120327.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Unsung soul maverick Swamp Dogg reflects on his long and storied recording career, with hits ranging from R&B, to psychedelic to country. John Mulaney debuts a second stand-up comedy special and continues his meteoric rise. Plus, Alex Zalben and Brian Heater offer up their recent comic book recommendations, a new Kasper Hauser News Update and Jesse shares his pick for the best live recording ever. 

Direct download: bullseye120320.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Author and comedian Baratunde Thurston talks about how to be black, whether it's in high school at Sidwell Friends, in college at Harvard, or while working at The Onion. His satirical self-help book is called -- that's right! -- 'How to Be Black'. Plus Chuck Bryant and Josh Clark -- hosts of the podcast 'Stuff You Should Know' -- introduce us to Lucha Libre (also known as Mexican professional wrestling!). 

Direct download: bullseye120312.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Actor Jeffrey Tambor talks about his portrayal of Jesse's favorite television character -- Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show. Then, an interview with Doug Jones. He's tall and skinny, with a skinny face. His physicality and mime training have informed his performances in prosthetics for Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth and the Silver Surfer. Plus, Andrew Noz suggests the rap songs you should check out this week and God speaks out about what REALLY went down with Noah and the ark.

Direct download: bullseye_120306.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Keegan-Michael Key & Jordan Peele talk about their comedy beginnings on MADtv; impersonating everyone from presidents, to weather men, to gang members on their new Comedy Central show; and a card game that Jordan Peele designed himself! Plus, Jesse faces a gaming obsession of his own and the Brothers McElroy solve listeners' pop culture quandaries.

Direct download: bullseye120228.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

This week David Wain makes the successful leap from cultiest-of-cult comedy to the mainstream multiplex – and keeps things super funny. Correspondant Jordan Morris ranks all of the things in America because we told him to. Plus, the AV Club offers some of their all-time favorite culture picks, and Jesse talks about his JAM -- DJ Quick's Pitch In Ona Party. 

Direct download: bullseye120221.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Daniel Handler delves into his memories of young love to pen the novel “Why We Broke Up” -- the twist? He writes the girl's side of the story. The Sklar Brothers talk about their new comedy album – from performing as identical twins to broadening their sports-nerd base. Plus Jesse suggests the Canadian TV show The Newsoom, Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing brings his recommendations and American composer Nico Muhly shares the song that changed his life. 

Direct download: Bullseye120214_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Actor Michael Rapaport profiles his favorite hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, and ends up documenting their deep-rooted friendships and conflicts. Filmmaker Werner Herzog looks into the Chauvet Caves of France, where the oldest known cave paintings exist, practically untouched over thousands of years. Plus, AV Club offer their culture recommendations, Jesse suggests you listen to Sly Stone's “If You Want Me To Stay” and comedy group Kasper Hauser make up the news. 

Direct download: bullseye_120207.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Tim and Eric are known for the surreal and uncomfortable comedy in their sketch show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. They also promoted Shrek 3 without permission from the movie studio. Now, they've made a billion dollar movie of their own. Cartoonist Roz Chast explains some of her day-to-day fears like balloons, water, and sitting on the ground. Plus a section from God's memoir (as dictated to comedy writer David Javerbaum) and Jesse suggests Randy Newman in his outshot. 

Direct download: bullseye_120131.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jenna Fischer talks about her totally-made-up-sounding first acting gig in LA, auditioning for The Office, and what all the actors are doing on their computers when they're in the background of a shot. The very real Jack Handey talks about his days as Steve Martin's neighbor, and how he writes Deep Thoughts. Plus this week's video game recommendations from Heather Anne Campbell and more!

Direct download: bullseye_120124.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Aisha Tyler funnels her childhood outsider-y experiences toward comedy and performance. She's on the animated FX show Archer. David Hornsby talks about building comedic stories from his real life relationships. His new animated FX show is called Unsupervised. Plus, the AV Club shares their recommendations and Jordan Morris puts America in its place … by ranking everything.

 

Direct download: bullseye_120117.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

In a supplement to this week's interview, Lawrence Weschler talks with Jesse about The Museum of Jurassic Technology. Don't miss this!

Direct download: bullseye12013_weschlerextra.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Jesse interviews comedian Chris Gethard about booking P. Diddy at a tiny theater in New York. Lawrence Weschler talks about why CGI faces will never look quite right, and why humans are addicted to narrative. Plus rap picks from Andrew Noz and pop culture advice from My Brother, My Brother and Me.

Direct download: bullseye120110.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The first episode of Bullseye! Jesse interviews the cast of Downton Abbey, a costume drama on PBS Masterpiece that is NOT BORING AT ALL. He'll also talk to Chris Lilley, the Australian comedian behind Summer Heights High and the new HBO show Angry Boys. Plus, hear culture picks from the AV Club and the song that changed the Baltimore musician Dan Deacon's life.

Direct download: bullseye_120103.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am EDT