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.)

Get ready for the funniest episode of Bullseye this year. We present selections from the best comedy albums of 2014. This special episode of the program includes chunks from Bob Odenkirk, Cameron Esposito, Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, Hannibal Buress, Sarah Silverman, Hari Kondabolu and many, many, many more.

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[r] Nick Offerman plays Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation. Swanson is one of the most beloved characters on TV… known for his love of meat, his hatred of big government, and his healthy mustache. Then, Jesse interviews Dolly Parton about the sacrifices she made for her astounding career and how she feels about them now.  Plus, Billy Bragg shares the song that changed his life and Jesse explains why you should watch Thief starring James Caan.

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The Bullseye Holiday Special returns for 2014! Music expert Mitchell Kezin talks about his new documentary called Jingle Bell Rocks! It dives into the world of alternative and underground Christmas music. Bill Corbett (the veteran writer and performer from RiffTrax and Mystery Science Theater 3000) talks about his new graphic novel called Super-Powered Revenge Christmas. And there’s another exciting Christmas comic out this year:  TheFlash Gordon Holiday Special: 2014. Jesse will talk to its authors, The Daily Show writers Elliott Kalan, Dan McCoy and their pal Stuart Wellington. Lastly, Jesse reveals his one true holiday tradition.

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Two comedy giants this week. First, Jesse talks to Chris Rock about what it was like to become one of the world’s best stand-up comics in the 1990s. Rock’s got a new movie out. It’s called Top Five. Then, Jesse sits down with Monty Python member John Cleese. They’ll talk about his early life and about what Cleese really thought about the recent Python reunion. Cleese’s new memoir is called So, Anyway. Plus, we ask Scott Aukerman what piece of culture he wishes he had made. His answer? Twin Peaks. Lastly, Jesse tells you about a TV show that lets people just be people.

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Jesse sits down with a cult comedy icon to talk about why Mr. Show influenced an entire generation of new comedians. Bob Odenkirk’s new book of humor fiction is called A Load of Hooey. He’s also got a new stand-up comedy album out. It’s called Amateur Hour. We’ll feature some of it on our year-end Best Comedy of 2014 Special. Plus, the historian, author and DJ Rickey Vincent will tell you about why Parliament’s Mothership Connection ended an era and then started a new one. Lastly Jesse tells you about a song that makes him feel like a better world is possible.

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[r] Mavis Staples is one of the greatest singers of our time -- a gospel, soul, and R&B vocalist known for her deep, rich voice. She began as the lead singer of The Staple Singers, a family gospel group formed by Pops Staples and several of his children. The Staple Singers achieved several hits with "Respect Yourself", "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do It Again". They also became a musical voice of the American civil rights movement with their protest music. Jesse will ask about how Staples balanced her gospel roots with a career in popular music and about what is was like working with Curtis Mayfield and - yes - Prince. Plus, the McElroy brothers from My Brother, My Brother and Me join us to answer listeners’ pop culture questions.

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Paul Reubens created Pee-wee Herman. Jesse sits down with Reubens to talk about growing up in a circus town, Reubens’ early appearances on The Gong Show, and the plans for a new Pee-wee Herman movie. Jesse also talks with Aasif Mandvi. A longtime correspondent for The Daily Show, Mandvi has a new memoir out. It’s called No Land’s Man.

Plus, avant-pop artist Kimbra talks about the song that changed her life, and Jesse tells you about why Steve Reich helps him hear things differently.

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 We break format this week to bring you the Judge John Hodgman Special. Maybe you know John Hodgman from his appearances on The Daily Show, or as the PC from the Mac vs. PC ads. But did you know he's also a fake judge on the internet? On his podcast Judge John Hodgman, he hears disputes from real people all over the world via Skype and tells them who's right and who's wrong. And Jesse Thorn is the bailiff. We'll hear two court cases: in the first, a shy teenager files suit against her pushy dad. In the second, two friends spar over ill-mannered ponies. Then, Judge Hodgman will issue a few snap judgments.

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For a time, Mendes was probably the most famous Brazilian musician in the world. Mendes will talk to Jesse about why bossa nova has such a universal appeal. Jesse will also talk to James Fearnley. He plays accordion for The Pogues. Fearnley will talk about mixing traditional Irish folk with punk music. He’ll also talk about when he knew that lead singer Shane MacGowan’s hard-drinking ways had gone too far. Then later you’ll hear comedian Brent Weinbach’s set from MaxFunCon. Lastly Jesse will talk about tell you about a great new thing on adult swim: What if Jesus lived in America, in 2014? In Compton? Well on this show, he does.

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[r] Hear interviews with two of the best interviewers in the world. First up is Elvis Mitchell. He hosts KCRW’s The Treatment. He and Jesse will talk about their mutual love for the movie Pootie Tang.  He’ll also explain why he was arrested on the Canadian border with Cuban cigars and 15 thousand in cash. Then, hear Jesse’s conversation with broadcasting icon Bob Edwards. He was the host of Morning Edition when it started in 1979. He’ll explain why he stuck with public radio for decades. He’ll also talk about what NPR was like at the very, very beginning,  Plus, Damian Kulash from the band OK GO talks about the song that changed his life. And Jesse tells you about the time when no place on Earth boomed like Coney Island.

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This episode was taped live in the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Dan Harmon joins talks about why he was fired and then re-hired from his sitcom Community, and reveals what might be in store for the future of the show. Actor Rob Corddry talks about growing up as the ‘golden child’ what it’s like being on-set with Michael Bay. Plus, you’ll hear stand-up comedy from Andy Kindler and Steve Agee and music from Sara Watkins and members of the Watkins Family Hour.

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DJ Quik was a house producer for Death Row Records and helped develop the G-funk sound. A lot of times those records were dramatic narratives about gangbanging. He’ll talk about how that drama spilled into real-life and about how he had to remove himself from that lifestyle. He’ll also talk about how he samples, his studio equipment and his awesome, awesome hairstyles over the years. It’ll be fun. Then, you’ll hear stand-up comedy from Cameron Esposito’s brand new album. It’s called Same Sex Symbol. Lastly Jesse will talk about why you should go and get SkyMaul 2: Where America Buys His Stuff.

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Merrill Garbus layers vocals with drum loops and ukulele as the creator of tUnE yArDs. She’ll talk about why she turned away from classical music as a kid, and you’ll hear some songs from her new album. It’s called Nikki Nack. Then Jesse talks to John Darnielle from The Mountain Goats. Darnielle has actually just put out his first novel. It’s called Wolf in White Van.

Plus, fine artist Josh Dorman talks about the painting he wishes he had made, and why that got him in trouble creatively. Lastly Jesse tells you about the real hero of The Onion: The Area Man.

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Ed Helms talks about the advice he received from Stephen Colbert when he first started on The Daily Show. He also talks about why he’s behind a new bluegrass festival in Los Angeles. Now, he’s behind a Los Angeles bluegrass festival. But first, Tig Notaro will talk about how her career has changed since she revealed her cancer diagnosis on stage in 2012. Plus, Nick Frost talks about a role that helped people view him as more than Simon Pegg’s best friend. Lastly Jesse tells you about one of the most meaningful songs ever recorded about being black and female.

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Anna Faris’ break may have come with Scary Movie, but she’s had a long career since then. She’ll talk to Jesse about her roles on The House Bunny and her current starring role on the CBS sitcom Mom. Later, Jesse talks to the jazz drummer Otis Brown III. His new album is called The Thought of You. Plus, FOUND Magazine’s Davy Rothbart brings in some of his latest discoveries and Jesse explains why you don’t know how to flip a coin until David Rees has taught you to flip a coin.

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[r] The writer George Saunders talks about his early creative challenges, the slight constant pressure of capitalism, and Tenth of December, his new book of short stories. Maria Bamford explains why she filmed her new comedy special in front of an audience of two (her parents), and why it's important to talk about scary stuff on stage. Plus, Dan Deacon talks about the song that changed his life and Jesse shares one of his favorite poems by William Carlos Williams. The interviews in this episode originally aired February 2013.

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Todd Glass has been a comic for 30 years but he’s only been out of the closet for about two. He’ll talk to Jesse about why he waited until his late 40s to come out. Todd Glass has a new book out -- it’s called The Todd Glass Situation. Then later, Jesse talks to Raffi. He wanted to be the next James Taylor, but he was about to give up. Then, he made a kids album with his wife, and the rest is history. Plus, the writer Ariel Schrag tells you about why she wants to start working a little bit of magic into her writing about everyday stuff. Lastly, Jesse tells you about the Van Morrison album that was recorded out of pure spite.

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Chuck Klosterman’s newest collection of essays is called I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains. What does it mean to be a modern villain? Why is society so hung up on anti-heroes? For that matter, how would we react if Batman were a real thing? Then another installment of Canonball. Phillip Crandall explains why Andrew WK’s first album of party anthems should be considered a classic. Plus, Karina Longworth shares a couple of her favorite movies about being a punk rocker, and Jesse tells you a secret because you’re good enough, you’re smart enough and people like you. (The number to call to let us know why you love Bullseye is: 206-333-9919)

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George Takei will talk about how he went from a prisoner at a Japanese-American internment camp, to the guy playing Sulu on Star Trek, to a leading marriage equality activist. Then Jesse will talk to Damian Abraham. He’s in the band F***ed Up.  He’ll talk about how he found punk music and what it’s like to still be doing it now that he has a wife and kids. Plus, book picks from the LA Times’ Carolyn Kellogg, and Jesse will tell you about another book, one that makes a pig who spells and does math seem totally ordinary. The number to call to let us know why you love Bullseye is: 206-333-9919

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In the mid-70s Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to bring Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel to the screen. The ambitious space opera would have pre-dated Star Wars, but Jodorowsky's version of Dune was never filmed. The documentary’s director Frank Pavich tells Jesse why. Then Jesse talks to Dee Dee Penny, the frontwoman of Dum Dum Girls about turning a small recording project into a full on garage rock girl group. Plus, Matt Fraction will tell you about how Bruce Lee taught him to write comics, hear some picks from the folks at NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, and Jesse will tell you about one of the least braggy rap songs ever made.

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Ishmael Butler talks to Jesse about the birth and death of Digable Planets and the new record from Shabazz Palaces. Then Allison Janney talks about her Emmy-nominated work on Masters of Sex and Mom. Plus, Michel Gondry talks about the song that changed his life, we hear a couple new rock n roll songs you should listen to immediately and Jesse will tell you about the last Hollywood picture Orson Welles ever directed.

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[r] Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest novel is called The Signature of All Things. It traces the life of a woman living in the 19th century as a botanist. But it’s actually a really fun adventure story. She’ll talk about it, and about the unexpected reaction to her memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Then Jesse will talk to the music industry veteran Daryl Hall. We'll discuss how he used Disco and Punk rock to help create Hall & Oates signature sound. And about their lasting influence. Plus, comedy from Patton Oswalt, our film critic friends at The Dissolve share a couple of all-time greats, and Jesse tells you why any sports video of Bo Jackson -- at his peak -- will make your jaw drop with amazement.


[The segments on this episode have all previously aired at various times]

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[r] Hear Jesse’s interview with one of comedy’s greatest grumps: Lewis Black. He didn’t become a stand-up until his mid-thirties. Find out why he left the theater for comedy and why he actually considers himself a family comic. The answer will surprise you.  Then 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. Andrew Noz shares some of his favorite hip hop tracks, and Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone reveals the hardcore song that changed her life.

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Hari Kondabolu talks about the distinct advantages and disadvantages of being a stand up comedian who's also a former social activist and organizer. Director Jake Kasdan talks about the strategy involved in making a movie called Sex Tape. Carolyn Kellogg recommends some of her favorite westerns. Jesse tells you about Harvey Pekar, a man who made the mundane and everyday feel special.

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Nat Faxon talks about going from bit parts to starring roles, and what it was like to meet George Clooney. Mimi Pond talks about the sex, drugs and profanity she encountered while working at a diner in the 1970s. She put together a graphic novel about all of it. Werner Herzog reveals his origin story. Mark Frauenfelder shares some new culture recommendations. Jesse tells you about The Beach Boys’ Smiley Smile.

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[r] Fred Willard talks to Jesse about why he plays a cocky buffoon all the time, and why he turned down the lead in Airplane! Dave Tompkins talks about how the vocoder went from a military encryption tool to a musical instrument. Eleni Mandell reveals the Tom Waits song that changed her life -- but it’s not the one she meant to hear. Todd Martens recommends a couple of all-time favorites from Wilco and Material Issue. Lastly, Jesse will tell you about Elliott Gould as a noir hero in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye.

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Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone are both creative and romantic partners. They’ll talk about their most recent collaboration, the new movie Tammy. Then Jesse will talk to another family that’s working together: The Sklar Brothers.Randy and Jason Sklars' stand-up comedy special is called What Are We Talking About?  Plus, culture picks from the folks at NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, Davy Rothbart from FOUND Magazine, and Jesse talks about his favorite, crazy-eyed player on the San Francisco Giants.

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Jesse talks to the man inside the Big Bird suit. Caroll Spinney has been Big Bird since the beginning in 1969. He’s actually Oscar the Grouch, too. Spinney will talk about why he’s stayed connected to the world of Sesame Street for so long. Then later, comedian Ian Edwards talks about going from fast-food employee to professional comedian. Plus, some recommendations for great old movies and the reason why Randy Newman’s ‘I Love L.A.’ is ironic but also kind of not ironic.

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Max Greenfield plays Schmidt on the FOX sitcom New Girl. He'll talk about why it’s the role he was really meant to play. But first, Jesse talks to the music critic Carl Wilson. He wrote a book about a Celine Dion album, but more than that the book is about why we like what we like and hate what we hate. Then later, Moby will talk about the punk song that changed his life, the L.A. Times’ book critic Carolyn Kellogg will share a some new fiction and non-fiction you should check out, and Jesse will tell you about the perfect music for riding low and slow.

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Jesse talks with the comedian Nick Thune. For a long time he didn’t talk much about his personal life on stage. That's been changing recently. They’ll talk about that and his new special Folk Hero. Then Jesse talks to the rapper Vince Staples. As a teenager, he got jumped into a gang in Long Beach, where he’s from. He didn’t expect to become a rapper, and he doesn’t think street life is anything to brag about. We’ll talk about his life and newest mixtape. Then, Marc Weingarten and Tyson Cornell explain why In The Court of the Crimson King was a blueprint for prog rock.  And lastly, Game of Thrones just overtook The Sopranos as HBO’s biggest show of all time. Jesse loves it, but doesn’t care how it ends. He’ll explain.

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[r] Maybe you’ve seen Luis Guzman in more movies than anyone else, or maybe it just seems that way. On this episode, Guzman talks about his journey from New York social worker to prolific Hollywood character actor who lives in Vermont. Then later, David Rees talks about why he dedicated himself to the craft of artisanal pencil sharpening. Plus, Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen talks about a heavy record from last year that has already made his best-of-all-time list. And Jesse says that rap isn’t poetry, but that it can be just as densely packed with meaning and allusion. He’ll play a Jay-Z verse that proves it.

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Jenny Slate had a rough first night on Saturday Night Live, but she hasn’t been sweating it since. Things have worked out pretty well. Marcel the Shell has millions of views on YouTube, and she’s even got the lead in a new upcoming movie about a stand up comic dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. It’s called Obvious Child. Later, Loren Bouchard, the creator of Bob’s Burgers, will explain how he pieced together the animated show’s theme music. Plus, the folks at NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour will tell you about a movie-to-TV adaptation that's actually worth watching, and a great new graphic novel. Lastly, Jesse will tell you about the one time he actually believed that live theater was better than just going to the movies.

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Two late night hosts! Jesse talks to John Oliver about why it's sometimes weird to make jokes about American politics when you're a Brit, and how he got used to living in New York. Then Jesse sits down with one of the most iconic late night hosts ever: Arsenio Hall. He'll explain why he's back after almost 20 years. Plus, the folks from Wham Bam Pow will talk about why you should go back and watch 'Cloud Atlas' and 'Back to the Future 2'. Tim Simons, the actor you might know as Jonah on HBOs 'Veep', will explain how he got The Part. Lastly, Jesse will tell you about a charming song that's tough to find on CD. But that's OK because we're going to play the whole thing for you.

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The reason you might not be able to place Judy Greer is because she never really plays the lead. She's come to terms with that, and she's had supporting roles in a slew of great stuff. Jesse will ask her about 'Arrested Development', 'Archer', and her new book of essays. Then later Jesse talks to the director Richard Ayoade about his new movie 'The Double' and his role on 'IT Crowd'. Plus, Todd Martens from the L.A. Times will talk about a couple of records that are destined to be your new favorites. Nick Stoller, the director of the new Seth Rogen comedy 'Neighbors', will talk about the science fiction movie that he wishes he'd made. Lastly, Jesse will tell you about a oft-forgotten Bill Murray movie from 1990 that you've got to watch.

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[r] The author of A Song of Ice and Fire series sits down with John Hodgman for a conversation about Martin's comic book inspirations, his relationship with his fans, and why he likes to kill off so many of his characters. Then later Jesse talks to Mark Oliver Everett (a.k.a. E). He's the frontman of the band Eels. Plus, Jason Kottke will share an infographic making the claim that hundreds of TV shows, from Lost to I Love Lucy, exist only in a young boy's imagination. Lastly, Jesse tells you why you should overcome any reluctance to letting salsa music into your life; and why you should begin with Fania All-Stars.

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Jesse will talk to Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham about how their USA show 'Playing House' came together. We'll also hear from Bob Saget. You know him. 'Full House'. But he'll tell you himself: Danny Tanner is actually the role that changed everything for him. He's proud of it. Then later Jesse talks to Jim Rash. If you've seen him, it was probably on NBC's Community. They'll talk about the awkward-yet-inspiring summer talks he had with his dad and stepfather as a teenager, and the "bad carpet party" that his writing partner Nat Faxon once threw. Plus, Mark Frauenfelder from BoingBoing.net will share a couple of new games you should try out. And there's one very special movie out there. It's a movie Jesse loves. And if you like it too, it means you can be friends.

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[r] As a member of James Brown's band, The J.B.'s, Bootsy helped create the revolution that was funk.  Later, Bootsy joined forces with a very different kind of funk legend: George Clinton. In an extended interview, Jesse will talk to Bootsy about his unique career. Then later the folks at the film site The Dissolve will look back at two classic satires that you should check out immediately. The music critic Oliver Wang will join us to explain how a forgotten Al Green record helped create a new kind of soul music.Then Jesse will tell you about Orson Welles' final masterwork, ‘F For Fake’.

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Steve Coogan’s resume is long and varied, but Alan Partridge has been a constant. Coogan talks about how the character has taken on a life of its own over the past twenty years. Kevin Kerrane talks with Jesse about his classic baseball scouting book called ‘Dollar Sign on the Muscle’. Andrew Noz suggests a couple of favorite all-time rap songs. Hari Kondabolu tries to figure out what happened to Weezer. Lastly, Jesse talks about a very surprising thing he found inside the National Postal Museum.

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It's been awhile since 'Rushmore', but Jason Schwartzman will always remember the advice that Bill Murray gave him on-set. Jesse and Jason will talk about the first time he met Wes Anderson, what it was like to help write 'The Darjeeling Limited' and the experience of working with Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis on 'Bored to Death'. Then later Jesse talks to Russell Simmons. He co-founded Def Jam Recordings and helped build hip-hop. Now, he's written a book about the importance of meditation. Plus, actor Michael Peña will talk about the part that changed everything for him. The AV CLub's Todd VanDerWerff will tell you to check out HBO's 'Silicon Valley'. And everyone knows that rock music came from the blues, right? Well yeah. But there's actually a lot more to it than that. Jesse will explain.

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[r] Rick Moranis was a movie star. Strange Brew; Ghostbusters; Spaceballs; Honey, I Shrunk the Kids... and then, he quit. Find out why he doesn't regret leaving show business to raise his children. Then later, Jesse talks to Mary Roach. Her book 'Gulp' takes readers on a tour of the human digestive system. Glenn Weldon and Linda Holmes from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour will talk about a couple of surprising takes on classic character archetypes. Then, the Bay Area singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen will talk about the Smokey Robinson song that made her want to crawl into the stereo speaker and stay there forever. And Spring is in the air. Warmer weather is nice and all, but Jesse's more excited about Opening Day.

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Check out Jesse's conversation with the most famous drag queen in the world. RuPaul will talk about being inspired by Bugs Bunny and Monty Python, and about his time in Atlanta's underground music scene. Then Terry Crews of Brooklyn Nine-Nine will join us. Find out how he went from a stint in the NFL to a career in the arts and entertainment. Plus, LA Times' book critic Carolyn Kellogg will share the memoir of a former TV repairman who wants to live forever. And what do you do when your parents keep telling you to check out a TV show that you definitely DON'T want to check out? The brothers of My Brother My Brother and Me will offer their EXPERT OPINION. Lastly, Jesse will share what he calls the best hip-hop album ever recorded.

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John C. Reilly is a guy with tremendous range. More than almost anyone. Reilly stars in a bizarre show called Check it Out! with Dr. Steve Brule. Why does a movie star have a faux cable-access show that runs in the middle of the night on adult swim? He'll explain. But first, Jesse will talk to Kristen Bell. Her career-making role in Veronica Mars is so indelible that Jesse honestly came THIS CLOSE to CALLING her Veronica. But that doesn't bother her in the slightest. Plus, writer Evelyn McDonnell will talk about how 5 teenage girls took Japan by storn in 1977. Wham Bam Pow's Carmeraon Esposito and Rhea Butcher will marvel at Antonio Banderas' hair in the movie Desperado. And Jesse suggests a revenge movie that's really about how we all fight with our own past. 

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George Clinton is the 72-year-old master of funk. He paid his dues in the mainstream -- singing doo wop and writing for Motown. Then, with Parliament-Funkadelic he developed a look and a sound that was like nothing else before it. Later Christian Acker talks about the history of the tags you see on walls, park benches and trash cans everywhere. Plus, we'll go into the woods with comedian Chris Fairbanks. Andrew Noz will tell you about great new tracks from Nicki Minaj and Vince Staples. Lastly Jesse will play a song that reminds you of what it feels like to be a teenager. The good parts.

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[r] Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson chases the unexplored secrets of the universe and then tells Jesse why he shouldn't be scared of space. He's the host of the new version of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. Then, Jesse talks with actor and comedian Lily Tomlin about her storied career. Plus, FOUND Magazine's Davy Rothbart is constantly discovering amazing notes and photos that other people have left behind. He returns to the program to share a few of his lastest favorites. (This episode originally aired in April of 2013.)

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Andy Daly is a very pleasant looking guy, in a sort of all-American, unthreatening way. He’ll talk to Jesse about how he used that image to surprise people on his new TV show. Later, Jesse talks to the influential bandleader Willie Colon about salsa: a blend of sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, South America and his native New York City. Comedian Karen Kilgariff will share a sweet, funny and melancholy song. The AV Club’s Erik Adams will tell you about two TV crime shows that you’ll love  -- HBO’s True Detective and NBC’s Hannibal. Lastly, Jesse will reveal the secret ingredient that makes a great country song.

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R&B stars Ruth and Anita Pointer will talk about the records that inspired them and the country song that earned them a Grammy, but mostly, they’ll have a lot of fun remembering all the great hits they had. The composer Bobby Lopez will talk about why Gene Wilder’s performance of ‘Pure Imagination’ changed his life. Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour talk about the new things you should check out this week. Lastly Jesse will talk about why The Muppet Movie, the original from 1979, is one that you should watch again.

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[r] Charlie Wilson made hits in the 80s as the frontman of The Gap Band. In the 90s, he was homeless on the streets of LA. Then he turned it all around. In this extended interview, Jesse talks with Charlie Wilson about his astonishing career with The Gap Band and his later collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Tupac and more. Plus Claire Zulkey and Erik Adams talk about their favorite cop shows, and Jesse tells you which Mountain Goats song you should listen to immediately.

Direct download: bullseye140211b.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EST

Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern’s sitcom Trophy Wife is wrapping up its first season on ABC. They’ll talk about the real life events that inspired the show. Chris Onstad, creator of the online comic Achewood, will talk about why he didn’t want to make just another gag-a-day strip. Comedian Morgan Murphy will talk about why you should tell a family member before going under the knife. Mark Frauenfelder from BoingBoing.net will explain how you can build a circuit while waiting in line at the grocery store. And Jesse will talk about one of TV’s newest sitcoms that has already found its stride.

Direct download: bullseye140204.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EST

The rapper Jean Grae is Jesse’s first guest this week. She’s been working her tail off this past year. She’s got a new LP, a new EP, a new audiobook and a new web series. Later in the show Jesse will talk to Mike Royce and Kevin Biegel. They’re the executive producers of a new TV show called 'Enlisted'. It’s about three brothers in the US Army and it’s FULL of jokes. Carolyn Kellogg will tell you about two new books you should check out. And what’s the etiquette when you’re playing a video game with your boss? Do you let them win? Well, the Brothers McElroy host their very own advice podcast and they’ll share the answer to that question and others. Lastly, Jesse will deliver some very important, very aggressive life advice, courtesy of Paul Anka.

Direct download: bullseye140128c.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EST

Lately, Jessica Walter is known for playing the icy mother figure. After all, she was Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development and is the voice of Mallory Archer on the animated series Archer. But her career stretches back more than 50 years with roles in Play Misty For Me and even on the 90s sitcom Dinosaurs. Jesse and Jessica will talk about all of it. And then later, with the Super Bowl almost here, Nicholas Dawidoff will talk about why FOOTBALL -- more than baseball -- is the thinking-man’s sport. And he’ll tell us what the game might look like in 10 years. Cameron Esposito and Ricky Carmona from the podcast Wham! Bam! Pow! will also join us. They’re going to share a couple of all-time great action and sci-fi movies that you need to see. Then Annie Hart -- from the indie-pop keyboard trio Au Revoire Simone -- will talk about the song that helped her find community as a teenager in suburbia. Lastly, Jesse will say goodbye to an old friend: Candlestick Park.

Direct download: bullseye140121.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am EST

[r] Take a listen to Jesse’s interview with the terrific Pharoahe Monch. He was one half of Organized Konfusion. Even though they didn’t sell a ton of records, they were one of the most impactful hip hop duos of the 90s. Jesse asks how Monch maintained a solo career after the group broke up, even after Monch’s passion for monster movies kinda-sorta contributed to the collapse of his record label. In the second half of the show Jesse talks to the 80s rock n’ roll star Huey Lewis. Find out about his pub rock beginnings, his multi-platinum success with Sports, and the time he snuck onto an airplane bound for London. Plus, Coyle & Sharpe will approach an unsuspecting San Franciscan on the street. Music writer Oliver Wang will tell you about two great records: one got him into hip-hop, and the other is a fantastic slice of Northern soul. And Jesse will talk about his favorite part of Antiques Roadshow.

Direct download: bullseye140114b.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 5:30am EST

First up, Jesse’s conversation with the rapper Bubba Sparxxx. He grew up in rural Georgia and describes himself as a ‘country white boy’. His dad thought a rap career was preposterous. Bubba did it though. Jesse and Bubba talk about the rapper’s career and why it took him seven years to put out his fourth album. Later, Jesse talks to Ian MacKaye. As a member of Minor Threat and Fugazi, he made history in the punk rock world. They’ll talk about the first punk show he ever went to. Plus, Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt will each tell you about a piece of culture SO amazing that they wish they’d made it themselves. A couple of our pals at NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour share two VERY different movies on DVD that you should check out as soon as possible. And speaking of movies -- there’s something really special in theaters right now. We should celebrate it. Jesse will tell you why.

Direct download: bullseye140107b.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 5:30am EST