NPR: 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.)

Take pity on our poor intern Brian. We sat him down in front of a computer with a stack of comedy CDs as high as an elephant’s eye. He sifted through hours of hilarious stand-up specials and narrowed them down to the very best. Now we’re ready to share the results with you. It’s here. The Best Comedy of 2013 Special.

Direct download: bullseye131231.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

[r] It’s hard to imagine what American comedy would look like without Mel Brooks. Jesse talks to Brooks about about fighting in World War II (where he managed to even make a few Germans laugh), working with Gene Wilder, and that time Sid Caesar dangled Brooks out the window of a Chicago hotel room. Then later, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann talks to Jesse about why she didn’t choose the path of a typical pop star. Gospel singer Shirley Caesar talks about the song that changed her life. Carolyn Kellogg from the LA Times shares a couple of her all time favorite reads. Lastly, Jesse talks about arecord written by a brilliant man, isolated from the word.

Direct download: bullseye131224.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

[r] This holiday season, listen back to Jesse’s interview with Ronnie Spector. As the lead singer of the Ronettes, she recorded some of the most iconic Christmas music ever made. Then later, hear Jesse’s interview with Fred Schneider. You know his voice. He sang for the B-52s. In 2010 Schneider recorded a Christmas album with his other band, the Superions.  Bullseye’s resident hip hop expert Andrew Noz will tell us about a couple rap songs that will fit in at your holiday party. The hosts of the advice podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me will guide you through some Christmas gift etiquette. Lastly Jesse will talk about the song that he puts on pretty much every holiday season -- and that you should, too.

Direct download: bullseye131217.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

Jack Black will talk to guest host Susan Orlean about which came first, the acting or the music. He'll also talk about why he'd like to work with David Lynch and why he almost didn't take the part in High Fidelity. Then, we’ll revisit Jesse’s conversation with the rapper Bun B. He was one half of UGK, and remains one of the South's greatest hip-hop lyricists. Plus, Pitchfork and Grantland's Ian Cohen will tell you about some new heavy music worth hearing and Susan will tell you about a guy from the Congo who people called 'The Sorcerer of the Guitar'.

Direct download: bullseye131210b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

Who WAS Johnny Carson? Guest host Mike Pesca will talk to Henry Bushkin about just that. He was Carson’s longtime lawyer and fixer. Carson even once called Bushkin his best friend. And Johnny didn’t make friends easily. Then later, we revisit Jesse Thorn’s conversation with a woman who was part of an entirely different television phenomenon - Friends. Lisa Kudrow will talk about playing the “dumb” one on Friends, but also her real life career in brain science. Plus, Jim DeRogatis talks about how the arty punk band Wire proved that you don’t need mega-talent, just some really good ideas. And our friends at the film site The Dissolve will tell you which of the dozens of movies out now are actually worth watching. Lastly, Mike talks about why he’s cheering Keith Olbermann’s return to sports.

Direct download: bullseye131203.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

[r] Actress Catherine O’Hara talks about her start with the Second City’s SCTV, blockbuster success with Beetlejuice and Home Alone, and her perfect encapsulation of comic absurdity in Christopher Guest films like Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind.

But first, Jesse talks to Big Boi -- one half of OutKast. The hip hop duo swung back and forth across the spectrum of popular music -- zigging with cult favorites like “ATliens” and zagging with top 40 hits like “The Way You Move”. Plus, the hosts of My Brother , My Brother and Me offer some advice for your pressing pop culture problems, and Jesse talks about the magical thing that a man built inside his rented garage.


[The segments in this episode aired earlier this year.]


Direct download: bullseye131126.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

Guest host Jordan Morris is back to talk with Brett Gurewitz. Not only is he a founding member of Bad Religion,  he also owns the juggernaut independent punk label Epitaph Records. Jordan asks Brett about his career with Bad Religion and the effect fame and money can have on punk music. Then later, Jesse Thorn talks to stand-up comedian Jimmy Pardo about how he’s been able to craft a perfect sense of artful carelessness in his act. Plus, Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum talk about the roots of their Prince cover band and Jordan talks about the comic book that finally turned him on to Superman.


Direct download: bullseye131119.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

Guest host Jordan Morris sits down with actor Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell. In 2003, Greg co-starred in a movie called “The Room”. Its stilted dialogue, weird plot points and bizarre aesthetics turned the movie into a cult hit. There were a lot of questions about how and why it was made, so Greg worked with Tom Bissell to write a book about the film and its eccentric director Tommy Wiseau. Then later we revisit Jesse’s conversation with fashion blogging star Tavi Gevinson. She'll talk about how weird it is to be a teenager in the world of fashion and why her website Rookie is alternative, but not in the way you'd expect. Plus, Jordan asks the LA Times’ Carolyn Kellogg about what two books you should be reading right now and we play exclusive material from Kyle Kinane’s stand-up comedy set at this year’s MaxFunCon.

Direct download: bullseye131112.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

Take a listen to our show taped live at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum! Bill Hader reveals some of his favorite characters that never made it onto SNL, talks about what it felt like to say goodbye to Stefon, and then storms out of the room shouting expletives at Jesse. Also, June Diane Raphael talks about how she met her longtime collaborator Casey Wilson. Their new movie is called Ass Backwards. Plus, we hear a song from the band The Internet. And be sure not to miss one of Jesse’s most important Outshots ever.

Direct download: bullseye131105.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:30 AM

Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel traces the life of a woman living in the 19th century as a botanist. Jesse will ask Elizabeth about what the reaction to ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ has meant to her -- both the good and the not-so-good. Then Jesse sits down with Gillian Jacobs. She plays Britta on the NBC sitcom Community. Plus, Portlandia’s Fred Armisen talks about the album he wishes HE had made; our film critic buddies at The Dissolve pick out a couple of films you’ll want to watch ASAP, and Jesse tells you why a perfect balance between the real and unreal makes one particular video game so enticing.

Direct download: bullseye131029b.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 9:30 AM