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.)

This week we're pulling two favorites out of the Bullseye archives. First on the docket: Billy Eichner! He's an actor and comic and host of the hit comedy game show Billy on the Street - where he and a camera crew accost random New Yorkers with questions about Hocus Pocus, Meryl Streep and more. Yes, it sounds great. If you've seen it, you know it's even better.

 

Then, we revisit Jesse's 2016 chat with Ali Wong. She's an acclaimed stand up comic. At the time, she'd just released Baby Cobra. It was her debut hour long special and she recorded the entire thing while 7 months pregnant.

 

7 months!

 

She talks with Jesse about her standup act, her new motherhood and how her relationship with her mom has changed. And finally, for The Outshot: a story about a man who invented a brand new genre of music just by stripping other instruments away.

Direct download: Bullseye181127.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:57pm EST

Tim Blake Nelson is a master of his craft: a character actor with over 80 credits to his name. Roles in films as diverse as The Incredible Hulk, Minority Report and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coen Brothers classic. You remember him: Tim played Delmar in that one - the lovable prison escapee who mistakes John Turturro's character for a toad. His latest role is in another Coen bros film: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. He plays Buster, the star in the first of the film's six vignettes.

 

Then, Mary Randolph Carter. Carter, as she's known, has worked high up at Ralph Lauren for decades - she's a creative director there. That's her day job. In her free time, she collects stuff. She calls it junk. And she's got a lot of junk. She's written tons of books on the topic of junk: antique shops, collections, personal stories, photographs. She talks with Jesse about her books, her decidedly un-minimal design philosophy and her unique, sometimes tragic upbringing.

 

Finally, for the Outshot: Jesse tells you about the power of Police Squad's decidedly un-fancy comedy.

Direct download: Bullseye181120.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:58pm EST

First up this week: Maura Tierney! You know her from her time on the hit drama ER - she played Abby. She's currently on the Showtime series The Affair, as well. And, here's a personal favorite of ours: She also starred on the sitcom Newsradio as Lisa, the ambitious reporter and producer. Her latest role is in the film Beautiful Boy, where she stars alongside Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.

 

Then, Michael Kupperman. He's a comics artist and writer whose work usually comes off as surreal, silly and always hilarious. Not so much with his latest work, though. He made a touching, fascinating graphic memoir about his father. It's called "All The Answers." Michael's dad is Joel Kupperman - who, for a brief period in the 40s and 50s, was one of the most famous people in the nation. Joel spent almost his entire childhood and adolescence on TV as a "quiz kid," answering trivia questions for prizes.

 

Finally, for the outshot: Jesse tells you about the last great album Sly Stone ever recorded.

Direct download: Bullseye181113v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:09pm EST

This week, we're dedicating almost an entire episode to one of our favorite musicians: Kamasi Washington! Kamasi is a saxophonist and composer. In the studio, he's played sax and arranged for hitmakers like Kendrick Lamar, Ryan Adams, Snoop Dogg - and that's just naming a handful. On his own, he's a visionary bandleader with over half a dozen solo records to his name.

 

He broke through in 2015, with his three hour long instant classic "The Epic" - a record that found its way to a bunch of top ten lists and renewed a fiery debate in the music world: can a guy like Kamasi, not yet 40, revive jazz and turn it into a young person's game again? He and Jesse talk about his time playing sax in bands, as a composer and bandleader, and his nearly unbeatable Street Fighter II skills.

 

We'll close out this week's show with a treat: a short story from the one and only Simon Rich! He's been a writer for SNL, the New Yorker and much more. He just put out a terrific new short story collection called "Hits and Misses." The outshot is back next week!

Direct download: Bullseye181106.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:11pm EST