Bullseye with Jesse Thorn (general)
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.)

A heads up, first: There's some talk about sexual assault in this conversation. Nothing graphic, just some discussion of the use of it in comedy, in the abstract.  If you're sensitive to these kinds of topics, we figured we'd give you a heads up.

It's with Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen, creators of the hit show <i>Norsemen</i>. It's a sitcom about vikings, set around the year 790 AD.

Throughout the series we see the villagers and vikings deal with daily life. The vikings pillage. The vikings fight among themselves. They sacrifice slaves. The jokes are great, absurd but delivered bone dry. And the violence is real, and their actions have real consequences. And at the heart of the show, modernity is closing in on them. New inventions. New norms. Pillaging towns doesn't pay like it used to.

Jon and Jonas will give us a behind the scenes look at the show. Plus, they'll explain Taco Friday: the latest food craze in Norway. 

Direct download: Bullseye190322_-_The_Norsemen.mp3
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John Turturro's an acting legend. Lots of directors have actors they like to work with. Turturro's a favorite of both Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers. Starting from "Do The Right Thing," he's appeared in nine of Spike's films, four from the Coens.

He can play tough. Devious. Vulnerable. Brooding. Weird. He's never not himself, but no two roles are ever the same.

He talks with Jesse about his latest film, "Gloria Bell." It's directed by the Chilean filmmaker Sebastian Lelio, kind of an English language remake of his breakthrough 2013 film "Gloria." It's a story about relationship from two people in late middle age. Its messy, nuanced, and the performances from both Turturro and Moore… just keep you transfixed.

Direct download: Bullseye190319_-_John_Turturro.mp3
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Another favorite from the Bullseye archives this week. This time: Roy Wood Jr.! He's a comedian. You've probably seen him as a correspondent on "The Daily Show." He's done comedy pretty much his entire life, but he majored in broadcast journalism and for a while, it was looking like that was gonna be his career. He was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama and first got his start in radio, working at a handful of stations. Sometimes he wrote, sometimes he produced or reported, but at heart, Roy's always been a standup, doing his act whenever he found the time.

Roy talks with Jesse about the difficulty of writing original jokes, gang colors, and how being on the Daily Show has given him an opportunity to share some of his bolder takes on politics and race.

Direct download: Bullseye190315_-_Roy_Wood_Jr.mp3
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We're replying some favorites from the Bullseye archives this week! Today, we're excited to bring you Bill Hader. You know him from his time on Saturday Night Live. He was kind of an impressions guy - he did a mean Vincent Price. His most famous character was Stefon, from the Weekend Update sketches. He left the show in 2013 and went on to perform in movies like Trainwreck, Inside Out and the smash hit Sausage Party. Along with Fred Armisen, he also starred in the IFC show, Documentary Now.

His latest project is an HBO TV show called Barry, which enters its second season later this month. Hader stars as the show's title character, Barry Berkman. Barry's an ex-marine, turned low rent hitman in Ohio, turned aspiring actor in Los Angeles. Bill tells Jesse about working as a production assistant when he first came out to Los Angeles, the influence his parents had on his taste in film, and the struggle he had to project his voice.

Direct download: Bullseye190312_-_Bill_Hader.mp3
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WARNING: This episode contains some discussion of difficult topics. We cover sexual assault, miscarriage, violence against women and more. If you're sensitive to these kinds of topics, we figured we'd give you a heads up.

Our guest is Jena Friedman. She's a comic, a filmmaker, and a writer. She created and hosts a show on Adult Swim. It's called Soft Focus. It's really funny, just like her all of her comedy, but it also talks about some very difficult, sometimes painful topics. It's satire that cuts deep.

Jesse talks with her about the show, about her earlier work on the Daily Show, and her practice of incorporating hard to talk about stuff into her comedy.

Direct download: Bullseye190308_-_Jena_Friedman_PODCAST.mp3
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Has Stphen Root, the actor, had a million parts? It's not a million, right?

Ok. It's 236. Still: wow! Root is is the kind of character actor that can take even the most basic, dreary TV show or movie and light it up. One or two scenes with Stephen in it, say a by the book police procedural or a saccharine sitcom, and that's all you'll talk about. He'll joins us to discuss some of his most memorable roles:

He'll tell us why his voiceover role in "King of the Hill" was one of his favorite gigs. Plus, he'll tell us how he got the part in his most recent project HBO's "Barry," and how he helped flesh out his character's role.

Direct download: Bullseye190305_-_Stephen_Root.mp3
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Two very special bonus tidbits for you this week - live comedy and music from Bullseye's recent show at the Listen Up Festival in Portland Oregon. You'll hear comedy from the great Katie Nguyen - who's performed at festivals all over the place and has written for the New Yorker.

Then, music from the band Roseblood. The band's fronted by Kathy Foster, who also played in The Thermals and All Girl Summer Fun Band. 

Direct download: Bullseye190303_-_Roseblood_live.mp3
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Aurora Borealis! In your kitchen! May I see it? It's a very special Bullseye with Bill Oakley, the veteran TV writer. He worked on Futurama, Portlandia, and some of the greatest Simpsons episode of all time. Including... you guessed it! Steamed hams! The classic Simpsons bit turned ubiquitous, weird and postmodern meme. Bill's also taking up a new career: reviewing fast food on Instagram!

We talk about all that and more from the stage at the Listen Up Festival in Portland, Oregon.

Direct download: Bullseye190301_-Bill_Oakley_live.mp3
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Bullseye is a show about the creative process. And how artists' lives affect the work they make: their loved ones, friends and family, too. But what about when two artists - two genuine creative geniuses - are married to each other?

Corin Tucker, the singer and guitarist of Sleater-Kinney has been with her husband Lance Bangs for over two decades. Earlier this month, they joined Jesse to talk about how they mix music, movies and love... and how they spent this past Valentine's Day. They couldn't even get a table at the Cheesecake Factory!

This interview was recorded on stage at Revolution Hall in Portland Oregon as part of the first annual Listen Up Festival.

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Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener, one of our favorites, is up for an Academy-Award nomination. It's for the adapted screenplay. and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film "Can You Ever Forgive Me?." We'll revisit our conversation with Nicole – when she stopped by we talked about another one of her recent projects, "The Land of Steady Habits." She'll also discuss her childhood growing up among Hollywood royalty.

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Happy Tuesday! This time, we're listening back to our 2018 conversation with filmmaker Debra Granik. In 2010, she wrote and directed "Winter's Bone," the acclaimed drama that launched Jennifer Lawrence's career and was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Now, the long awaited follow-up is available to stream on Amazon. It's called "Leave No Trace" and it's been met with similar acclaim. She and Jesse talk about the new film, about the pitfalls of calling an artist a "genius" and her first ever paid movie gig: shooting weddings!

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Dream interview alert! Today: Jesse talks with Barbara Kruger. 

Kruger is a fascinating and profoundly influential artist. She works in big, bold text usually in white font over ribbons of red. The text is usually superimposed over black and white photos, usually of people. The messages say stuff like "YOUR BODY IS A BATTLEGROUND," "WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO," or "DON'T BE A JERK."

If all that doesn't ring a bell yet, you can find thousands of samples of her work on the internet. Maybe the fonts and colors remind of you something: the Supreme logo? That Instagram Stories filter? It all started with Barbara Kruger.

Jesse talks with Kruger about why she dropped out of art school, how she found footing in the contemporary art world, and what she's trying to communicate these days in her work.

 

 

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Every now and then we like bring you a segment we call to the Song That Changed My Life. It's a chance to find out what makes some of our favorite musicians the person they are today. Stepping up this time: Ludwig Göransson.

Maybe you don't know him by name. But you've heard almost certainly heard his work. He was in Sweden and moved to the States in 2007. And before long, he started working in TV shows and movies as a composer. One of his first was Community. It was actually on the set of Community where he met Donald Glover. The two became friends, then, when he found out Glover could sing and rap, collaborators. Göransson's been the principal producer on all of Glover's Childish Gambino records. He actually just scored several Grammy awards for the song "This is America" by Glover.

He's scored some pretty big films, too: Fruitvale Station, Creed, Venom… and Black Panther. The music he wrote for Black Panther is up for the Academy Award for Best Original Score at this year's Oscars.  

So we asked Ludwig, this brilliant composer and hip-hop producer, to tell us about the song that changed his life. His pick? Enter Sandman by Metallica.

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Adam McKay has had a pretty eclectic career. He started in sketch comedy first as a founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, then as a writer on Saturday Night Live. He studied at Second City, too, so throw that in there.

Then, movies: He collaborated with Will Ferrell to make some stone cold comedy classics: AnchormanStep BrothersTalladega Nights. Lately, though, his work has been more serious. Topical. Political.

A few years back, he wrote and directed The Big Short, which deconstructed and explained the 2008 financial crisis. He helped create the HBO show Succession - a drama about a family that owns a colossal American media empire.

Now there's Vice, his latest movie, which is the story of former Vice President Dick Cheney. It's playing in theaters now and is up for eight Academy Awards.

The common thread with McKay's work is that it's never boring, never forced. He'll take an extremely dumb joke and frame it in a way that's so clever and compelling that you just lose it. He'll find a way to explain credit default swaps that are so entertaining and engrossing that you forget you're learning about... credit default swaps.

In this conversation, Adam tells Jesse how he manages to keep his films fresh, funny and weird, and also shares some of the more reckless tales in improv comedy from his time in Chicago.

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Ladies and germs... Killer Mike! It's been more than a decade since Killer Mike joined us on Bullseye. These days, he's busier than ever. Along with El-P, he's one-half of Grammy nominated duo Run the Jewels. Together they've put out three great albums – with a fourth on the way later this year.

Now, he's got his very own Netflix series, "Trigger Warning with Killer Mike." Killer Mike joins us to talk about the new show. Plus, how he ended up becoming friends with legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory, and what it was like hitting the road campaigning with Bernie Sanders.

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Jesse talks with John David Washington, star of the critically acclaimed film BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee.

Before John David Washington was an actor, he was lacing up the pads every week for a career in professional football. He traveled the globe from Sacramento to Dusseldorf, Germany trying to make it work. It seems fitting, then, that when he took up acting, his breakthrough role was the portrayal of an NFL player on HBO's "Ballers." He joins us to chat about his role in BlacKkKlansman: a compelling and complex look at the life of the first black police officer and detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, and his undercover journey to expose David Duke and the KKK.

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Jesse talks with Tituss Burgess, actor from "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "30 Rock" and more. On UKS, Tituss plays a struggling, needy and desperate Broadway actor. He’s transparently conniving and manipulative, but he’s also sweet, charming and super lovable. He shows his tough past, his lonely circumstances and he’s a real friend to Kimmy.

That warmth comes from Tituss Burgess. Burgess was himself a struggling Broadway actor many moons ago, living in a basement apartment in Harlem, just like his character on TV.

The last episodes of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" are now available on Netflix. 

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Jesse talks with legendary character actress Carol Kane about the last season of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and her 45-year career in the biz.

Carol started acting in 1971 and pretty quickly landed big roles. One of her first films was in the Mike Nichols drama "Carnal Knowledge." She'd later work on other classics like "Annie Hall," "Dog Day Afternoon," and was even nominated for a best actress Oscar for her part in the 1975 film "Hester Street."

But ultimately, Carol found her home in comedy — something she never expected she'd do coming up. She appeared on "Taxi" as the wife of Latka, Andy Kaufman's character. She was in "The Muppet Movie," "The Princess Bride," "Scrooged," and lots more.

On "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," Carol plays Lillian, long-time New Yorker and Kimmy's landlord. The last six episodes of UKS just dropped on Netflix by the way, and what a lovely run it has been.

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Jez Butterworth is a veteran of both stage and screen, he's written about a dozen films along with his seven plays. You can see the wisdom that only experience can bring in action during "The Ferryman," his latest play that's now on Broadway. A younger playwright might have the same grand vision as Butterworth did for the production, but would they have the finesse and thoughtfulness to make it work?

"The Ferryman" will be running in New York until July 7th and if you're in a position to do it, go see it!

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If you're in Hollywood, the stereotype goes that you're either a character actor or a *star*. A character actor shows up in a couple scenes for about five minutes, and, even in that small moment, they make the film. Tony Shalhoub has done that plenty of times.

While a star, of course, is someone you can build an whole movie or TV show around. They're relatable, usually charming, sometimes vulnerable. Tony Shalhoub does that all the time, too.

Tony Shalhoub of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Monk" and more sits down with Jesse Thorn to discuss his long career on the big and small screens.

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A warning about this episode, which originally aired in 2017: the second half of this interview contains some honest and frank talk about sexual assault.

Stephanie Beatriz stars in Brooklyn Nine Nine as Detective Rosa Diaz - easily the toughest cop in the precinct - she's brave, serious, and rides a motorcycle. The sixth and newest season just premiered at its new home: NBC!

Stephanie also starred in the 2017 movie The Light of The Moon. She plays Bonnie, a young woman living in Brooklyn with her boyfriend. Towards the beginning of the film, she goes through a vicious sexual assault, and the movie tells the story of the aftermath of that event - its effect on her work life, relationship, and even mundane daily decisions - like whether or not she wears headphones when she's walking off the subway. It's brutal to watch, but it's also nuanced, realistic, and really touching.

We'll talk about all of that and also how she and her Dad cemented their father-daughter bond by watching Seinfeld:

Direct download: Bullseye190118podcast.mp3
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We've got a favorite from the Bullseye archives to kick off the week: Elvis Costello.

Costello grew up surrounded by music. His mother ran the record section of Selfridges, and his father was an accomplished working musician. As Costello describes in his memoir, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, he didn't intend to make music himself, but felt eventually drawn to it.

The Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and record producer has enjoyed a long career, working on his own and collaborating with other musicians like Burt Bacharach, Paul McCartney, and Annie Lennox.

Elvis Costello joins Jesse to talk about his father’s career and love of music, why Alzheimer’s in his family inspired him to write the book, and who knows him by his birth name, Declan McManus.

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Jesse talks to Karyn Kusama, one of the most unique voices in film right now. She just directed the new film "Destroyer," it's a dark crime drama, told in mostly flashbacks. Karyn discusses why it's important to portray complex female characters in film and media. She also talks at length about "Jennifer's Body," which she directed in 2009. It was very funny and very scary. She'll tell us about the look book she drew inspiration from, and why she thinks the film struggled to find an audience when it was first released. Plus, how she finds pleasure in horror movies. And, sure, a lot of people find pleasure in horror films, but Karyn's answer will still surprise you.

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Chris and Bridey Elliott are father and daughter. Chris is, of course, Chris Elliott. The guy who starred in Cabin Boy and Something About Mary. Who's currently a regular on the TV show Schitt's Creek. Tons more.

Bridey, his daughter, wrote and directed a new movie called Clara's Ghost, which you can buy or rent now. It's a family collaboration: Bridey also stars in the movie, along with Chris, her sister Abby, and her mother Paula.

And it's also kind of a horror movie? Listen to see what we mean. Jesse and the Elliotts talk about the film, family dynamics, and why Chris Elliott did an impression of Marlon Brando dancing around a bunch of bananas on Letterman.

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Happy near year! Two favorites from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Hasan Minhaj, from 2016. He'll talk about his work as a standup and as a correspondent on the Daily Show. Plus: what it was like growing up Muslim after September 11th, and his weird experience covering at the Republican National Convention.

 

Then, another 2016 favorite: Sharon Horgan. She's the brilliant co-creator and star of the TV series Catastrophe, which is available to stream now on Amazon. She talks with Jesse about getting past the awkwardness of writing (and then having to film) sex scenes with her co-star, the challenge of showing the evolution of a relationship before and after having kids, and why she likes playing a character who can sometimes come off as a jerk.  

 

Finally: Jesse talks about the enduring legacy of Prince.

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The Bullseye team has taken on the terrible task of finding the best of the best comedy albums and bringing them to you in a nice little end of year package. Our list includes industry veterans, newcomers and lesser know talents you are going to love. Enjoy, and Seasons Greetings from all of us at Bullseye!

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Get ready for a bonanza of holiday cheer from Bullseye this week! Micky Dolenz of The Monkees taking about the band's new album "Christmas Party." The group recorded it with a cavalcade of hit-makers like Rivers Cuomo, Peter Buck of REM and more. You'll hear from Christmas movie expert Alonso Duralde - he'll tell you why and how to watch the 37 Christmas movies that the Hallmark Channel produced this year. 37!

 

And that's not all! We also get some advice from the McElroy Brothers (hosts of My Brother, My Brother and Me and The Adventure Zone) about holiday conundrums, and last, but certainly not least, soul singer Sy Smith tells us about the holiday song that changed her life.

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We're kicking things off with the brilliant and lively Jason Mitchell this week! Jason's an actor - a really great one. He's been in a lot of acclaimed movies and TV shows. In the acclaimed 2017 movie "Mudbound" he played a world war two veteran returning home in Mississippi. In "Straight Outta Compton," he sort of stole every scene as Eazy-E. He stars in the new movie "Tyrel" - a tense, unsettling comedy/drama about race, machismo and an awkward guys trip to the Catskills.

 

Then: Karina Longworth! She's the host of the terrific podcast "You Must Remember This." She's a writer and historian who specializes in the history of Hollywood's golden age. She digs deep into records and newspaper clippings to find nuanced, fascinating stories about people from that era both famous and forgotten. She's also a published author with five books to her name - her latest is called "Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood."

 

Finally: one of the best years of Jesse's life was spent rolling objects into a ever-growing sticky ball, to please his father, the King of the Cosmos.

 

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Ricky Jay died last month. He was 72. Ricky was a writer. And an actor. And a magician. One of the greatest sleight of hand performers ever, actually. He could throw a playing card almost 200 ft at 90mph. He could pierce a watermelon with the Jack of Hearts.

 

He was also about as close as anyone could get to being a regular on Bullseye. So we were all devastated to learn of his passing. This week, we're remembering his career: his performances in films like Boogie Nights and Magnolia, on TV shows like Deadwood. His confounding and thrilling magic act. And his great books: Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women, Cards as Weapons, Matthias Buchinger: "The Greatest German Living" - just to name a handful. We'll miss you, Ricky.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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First up this week: Steven Yeun! Fans of The Walking Dead know and love Steven for his time on the show as the beloved Glenn Rhee. Lately, though, he's taken on some even more thrilling roles. Last year, he starred in the Netflix hit Okja. Earlier this year he played Squeeze, the union organizing rabble rouser in the hit Sorry To Bother You. And now Steven's starring in a beautiful, engrossing new film called Burning - it's South Korea's entry into the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year.

 

Then, join Jesse as he embarks on a gross, strange and hilarious overview of weird medical history: Trepanation! Humors! Bad surgery! The guides on our tour? Justin and Dr. Sydnee McElroy, husband and wife hosts of the MaxFun podcast Sawbones. They just wrote a new book based on the podcast and have loads of great, gory info. Just in time for Halloween!

 

Finally: Jesse tells you about the person who inspired him to take up radio.

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Two brilliant Brits on this week's Bullseye! First up this week, a conversation with comedy pioneer and Monty Python founding member Eric Idle! Eric's entered a reflective moment in his career now that Monty Python turned 50. He's written a memoir about his life. It's called "Always Look on the Bright Side of  Life: A Sortabiography."

Then, Blood Orange's Dev Hynes. The singer and multi-instrumentalist is also a producer who has worked for artists like Solange Knowles, Kylie Minogue, and Carly Rae Jepson to name a few. His latest album is "Negro Swan."

Finally: Janet Delaney's photo collection of people in San Francisco, playing out their roles in the everyday drama of public life.

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First up this week, a guest we're always thrilled to welcome: Susan Orlean! One of the greatest writers around. You might know her from Saturday Night, Rin Tin Tin or the Orchid Thief - the book that was turned into the Academy Award nominated film Adaptation. She has a new book. It talks about the history of public libraries in the US and a catastrophic fire that almost destroyed one of the nation's largest. The title? The Library Book! It drops this week.

 

Then a conversation with Gregory Porter. He's a Grammy winning jazz singer, the pride of Bakersfield California and, until his junior year of college, an aspiring football player. He recently recorded an album of standards made popular by Nat "King" Cole, and he'll tell Jesse about his deeply personal connection to one of America's most iconic voices.

 

Finally: sometimes you don't need much to make a great comedy sketch. Just a simple premise and about seven hot dogs. Or more. Yeah, actually… probably more than seven hot dogs.

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Two favorites from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Sarah Jessica Parker, from 2016. A fascinating, probing interview that covers her time on Divorce, Sex and the City, LA Story, even Square Pegs, her first ever starring TV role!

Then, Chris Gethard. He's of course the host of the cult hit Chris Gethard show on TV. He's an actor, too - he played Ilana Glazer's boss on Broad City, among other roles. When they talked  last year, Jesse and Chris went over one of his most compelling, personal projects he's ever taken on: a one man show called Career Suicide. Chris' show is a frank, specific and profoundly touching look at mental illness and how he succeeded in showbiz in spite of it.

Finally: want to hear the sound of Dad-hood? Bring in the horns and fretless bass!

Direct download: Bullseye181009.mp3
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So, y'all: Tenacious D. Tenacious D! We spend 40 minutes with Tenacious D this week. We talk with Jack Black and Kyle Glass about the band's early days in clubs and making quick cameos in films. We talk about their new animated series - Post Apocalypto - which is hilarious. We talk about Jesse's fandom of the band - which spans decades and even led him to put up a show poster for the band in the MaxFun Bathroom. This is easily one of our favorite conversations of 2018.

But then: even more great stuff! Jazz singer José James will go deep on the life-changing power of Al Green's Love & Happiness. And instead of the outshot, you'll hear a really affecting, compelling bit of standup from comic Ted Alexandro.

Direct download: Bullseye181002.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:38pm EDT

It's a rare honor for a guest to be on Bullseye three times, but Swamp Dogg deserves it. He's a psychedelic soul singer with a career that's now spanned six decades. He's been singing soul and R&B since he was 12. Back then he was Little Jerry Williams and his first single featured his mom on drums. He adopted the name Swamp Dogg in the early 70s and put out a bunch of stone cold classics: Total Destruction To Your Mind, Rat On!, Cuffed, Collared & Tagged. On his latest record, Swamp collaborates with some extremely of-the-moment indie talent to create a wild left turn: it's called Love, Loss & Auto-Tune, and it's out now.

Then, Joel Kim Booster. Joel's a writer and comedian. He's written for Billy on the Street, Problematic with Moshe Kasher and Netflix's Big Mouth. And as a standup, he's appeared on Conan, Comedy Central, @Midnight and more. He's also one of the most exciting new comics around. He talks with Jesse about his evangelical, adopted upbringing, his stage persona (which, according to Joel, is "hot idiot"), and why he can't stand to listen to his old material.

Direct download: Bullseye180925.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:33pm EDT

This week, we're thrilled to welcome Nicole Holofcener back on the show - probably one of the most underrated filmmakers around. Her movies are quiet, sort of understated. The protagonists are complex, flawed people, usually women. She's worked with some great actors, too. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in "Enough Said." Frances McDormand in "Friends with Money." Catherine Keener in just about everything she's made. Her  latest film was just released on Netflix. It's called "The Land of Steady Habits." And for the first time, her movie centers on a man. We'll talk about that, plus her childhood growing up among Hollywood filmmaking royalty.

 

Then, have you heard of this show, Lodge 49? It's kind of a comedy / drama set in Long Beach, California. It's kind of hard to say what it's about, but some of the themes include: secret orders (like the Masons), quarter life crises and the stagnating aerospace economy in Long Beach, California. It's funny, weird and disarmingly honest, which is why it's been a hit here at MaxFun HQ. Jesse talks with Jim Gavin, the creator, and Peter Ocko, the showrunner.

Direct download: Nicole_Holofcener__Lodge_49.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:19am EDT

We're replaying two recent favorites this week: first up, Amy Sedaris! Amy's made a career playing characters - and we say this with absolutely *zero* shade intended - people who are kind of grotesque and weird. The weirder and grosser the better - take Jerri Blank on Strangers with Candy or Mimi Kanasis on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, too. But on her show, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Amy pretty much plays herself. She talks with Jesse about how that's a transition out of her normal comfort zone. Also discussed: rabbits, monkfish, and girl scout badges!

 

Then, Paul Reiser - the legendary standup and actor. You've seen him on Mad About You, Red Oaks and Whiplash and more. He also created the Hulu show There's Johnny. It takes place in the early 70s, behind the scene of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Reiser knew Carson about as well as anybody could and dishes on what it was like appearing on his show almost a dozen times.

Direct download: Bullseye180911.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:20pm EDT

This week: Boz Scaggs. The one and only! The hitmaker behind "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" and so much more talks with Jesse about his more than five decade career in music. Lately, like a lot of rockers his age, his work has steered more towards the basics: some blues, some covers here and there, lots of stripped down instrumentation. But behind all that has been a commitment to atmosphere and production - music with an aesthetic that's dark and unsettling in one moment, then in another tender and loving. You know, the kind of thing that makes Boz Scaggs… Boz Scaggs. It's all on his latest record - "Out of the Blues" - which is out now.

 

Then, Maeve Higgins. She's a comic, a podcast host and a memoirist, very well known back home in Ireland. She moved to the New York City in her early 30s. And, yes, like a lot of comics, she worked her observations about America and New York into her set. But she probed deeper. She thought about what lead her to make the move. What it says about her. What it's like being in this strange, amazing city thousands of miles away from home.

Direct download: Bullseye_180904.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:38pm EDT

A favorite from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Comedian, writer, and podcast host  Guy Branum recently wrote a book called "My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture." It's a collection of personal essays. Kind of a combination of memoir and manifesto that covers his childhood, college, his early days as comic. It's also got his opinions on football movies, politics, and which city has the hottest guys (It's Los Angeles, btw).

We're revisiting our conversation with Guy from last year where he sat down with Jesse to discuss his truTV series Talk Show The Game Show.

Then, academic and writer Emily Lordi, author of the 33 ⅓ book Donny Hathaway's Live tells us why she thinks the classic Hathaway live performance deserves to be added to the canon of all time great albums. Then, Jesse tells us about why he loves the Errol Morris ESPN documentaries: It's Not Crazy, It's Sports.

Direct download: Bullseye180828.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

It's Emmy season! Bullseye brings you two talented, fascinating Emmy nominees this week. First up: Megan Mullally! One of the best in the game. Like, maybe you're a fan of Parks and Recreation. She played Tammy, the ex-wife of Ron Swanson. She's a kind of menacing, toxic seductress. Or maybe you saw her on Childrens Hospital, or 30 Rock, or heard her on Bob's Burgers (she plays Gayle). But, she's best known for her role as Karen Walker on the groundbreaking sitcom Will & Grace. She was just nominated for what could end up being her *third* Emmy for her role on the show.

Then, a special treat: Karen Tongson, professor and panelist on our sister show Pop Rocket, talks with the one and only Tracee Ellis Ross. Tracee is nominated in the best actress category for her role on ABC's Blackish - she plays Rainbow Johnson (aka Bow) on the show. She and Karen go deep into her work acting and directing Blackish. Plus, her relationship with her mom... Diana Ross. Diana Ross!

Finally, Jesse tells you about one of the most charming people who ever lived. And she's got a book and documentary to prove it.

Direct download: Bullseye180814.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:24pm EDT

This week, we'll remember Jonathan Gold by revisiting our conversation with him. Jonathan's work in food criticism was legendary. In 2007, his work earned him a Pulitzer. To this date, he's still the only food critic to ever earn that honor. When he joined us in 2011, he discussed the one food fear he just couldn't overcome, and how he discovered Los Angeles and the world – one meal at a time. Plus, he threw shade at the burritos from the Mission District in San Francisco.

 

We'll also revisit our conversation with Beth Ditto from last year. Beth is singer of the band Gossip. Beth talks about the process of creating her solo album, and about her time fronting Gossip. She'll also open up about her queer identity and what it was like setting up punk shows in her small Arkansan town. You can catch her on the road this summer opening for Sam Smith.

 

And finally, Jesse explains how Sly and the Family Stone made a perfect album, even as they slowly disintegrated as a group.

Direct download: Bullseye180807.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:05pm EDT

"Who is your dream interview?" you might ask Jesse Thorn, or another public radio host. And for Bullseye, here is your answer: Randy Newman!

 

Randy's career spans over half a century. He's written music for films (duh), but has also revealed himself to be an artist of the highest caliber on his solo records. His music is beautifully written, funny, dark and unmistakably American.

 

Jesse dives deep into Randy's roots - how a family of musicians and jokesters gave him a love for classic American music and comedy. They'll also talk baseball, run-ins with the two Franks (Sinatra & Jr.), and why he has trouble coming to terms with some of his most critically acclaimed music. This is a real deal all-timer, folks.

 

Finally, for the outshot: enough about rock music! Jesse talks about the terrifying, awesome wonder of Levitated Mass, a sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Direct download: Bullseye180731.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:49pm EDT

This week, we want to introduce you to a new comic:  Johan Miranda. He lives in Los Angeles, was raised in San Francisco. When he was three years old, he and his parents traveled to the US on a tourist visa - and they haven't left since. Johan is one of the approximately 700,000 people covered under the US Government's DACA policy (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). A DREAMer.  And as immigration rhetoric has ramped up, Johan's status in this country has grown even more uncertain. He's got a new one man show to talk just about that - it's called "Why Johan Miranda Should Be Deported" and it's debuting in Los Angeles on July 27.

 

Then, after that: a conversation with Debra Granik. In 2010 she wrote and directed "Winter's Bone," the acclaimed drama that launched Jennifer Lawrence's career and was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Now, the long awaited follow-up is in theaters. It's called "Leave No Trace" and it's been met with similar acclaim. She and Jesse talk about the new film, about the pitfalls of calling an artist a "genius" and her first ever paid movie gig: shooting weddings!

 

Finally: a tribute to Joe Pera. A comedian who will help you buy a tree. Or go to sleep. Or learn about iron.

Direct download: Bullseye180724.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm EDT

This week, we've got April Wolfe holding things down in the host chair. April is a film critic and panelist on the Maximum Fun podcast Who Shot Ya. She also hosts her own show here at MaxFun - it's called Switchblade Sisters. Every week on Switchblade Sisters, April talks with a female filmmaker about a different genre film - horror, cult, western, all kinds of stuff. What follows is a fascinating and refreshing discussion on theory and craft in filmmaking.

 

This time on Bullseye, you'll hear April talk with Bo Burnham. Bo's one of the original Youtube celebrities - before Justin Bieber, before Rebecca Black, even before Leave Britney Alone! But he's turned that career from novelty into a diverse and really funny body of work - standup specials, albums, TV shows. Now he's gone behind the camera and created his first movie - it's called Eighth Grade. It's a funny and sincere coming of age story told from the POV of an Extremely Online 13 year old girl.

 

You'll also hear a touching interview between Jesse and Morgan Neville. The Academy Award winning documentary director just made a new film that looks into the life of Fred Rogers -- Mister Rogers. And finally: April will tell you about the filmmaker and actress who made a brilliant, extremely real movie… and then stopped.

Direct download: Bullseye180717.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21pm EDT

We're doing something a little different this week: you're about to hear three of our favorite interviews from Heat Rocks, one of our sister shows here at company Maximum Fun. Heat Rocks is a music podcast about passion. It's hosted by Oliver Wang, a veteran hip-hop writer, and Morgan Rhodes - she's a music supervisor who's worked closely with Ava DuVernay. Each week, Heat Rocks brings you a conversation with a guest about the album that shaped their lives. Morgan and Oliver have talked with people like Cut Chemist, Ishmael Butler, Ann Powers and more.

 

Expect deep, compelling conversations about R&B, Soul, Jazz, Hip-hop and more. Oliver and Morgan use each record as a jumping off point to talk about its history, its context, and why we care about it. This week you'll hear from Jay Smooth, the radio DJ and commentator, singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and Vernon Reid, founder of Living Colour.

Direct download: Heat_Rocks_Special_Jay_Smooth_Meshell_Ndegeocello__Vernon_Reid.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm EDT

Hey all! Just popping in to give you a special treat this Thursday. You've probably heard about it already, but Maximum Fun - the company that makes Bullseye, Judge John Hodgman and more - just produced its very first scripted series. It's called "Bubble," it's sort of a sci-fi sitcom and we're all *extremely* proud of it.

The show follows four twenty-somethings working the same side hustle to make ends meet. They're contract workers for an app called Huntr. The app hires people to kill the monsters that occasionally slip through the town's protective barrier.

On this special bonus episode of Bullseye, you'll hear Jesse talk with creator Jordan Morris and writer/producer Nick Adams. It's a discussion not just about the show but about cities, why people live in them, and the insane lengths some of us will go to just to stay.

Give it a listen and, if you haven't already, subscribe to Bubble! You'll be glad you did.

Direct download: Bullseye180705.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT

We're listening to some of our favorite interviews from Bullseyes past this week, and we've got a couple doozies. First up: the living legend, the master of funk music, Dr. Funkenstein himself: George Clinton, from 2014. The impact he's had on modern music is so huge that he's almost more myth than actual person nowadays, but Clinton's life story is a fascinating one: starting in doo-wop, moving on to Motown, and then creating his own genre from scratch: funk. He'll talk about that, his struggle with drug addiction and some of his best wild stories from Parliament Funkadelic's early days.

 

Then, Cristela Alonzo, from last year. She's a veteran standup comedian and actress. You might've seen her on the ABC sitcom Cristela -  she was the show's creator, star, she also wrote and produced it. Alonzo was actually the first latina ever to do all that on one TV show. She's been working on her standup act more lately, and it's really great. Cristela mixes political humor with her own life story (including her time spent living in an abandoned diner) to a hilarious and really endearing effect. She's also starring on the new Maximum Fun podcast Bubble, which you should check out if you haven't already. C'mon!

 

And, finally: Jesse tells you about an SNL sketch that he connects with on a profound, deep level. And - since you're a Bullseye listener - we bet you will, too.

Direct download: Bullseye180703.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EDT

So much of Bullseye is about what we think is great in culture today. And, for our money, one of the most compelling creative forces around is a guy named Boots Riley. For the first few decades in his career, Boots fronted the Coup. The Coup are a catchy, deeply political rap group from the Bay Area.

Then, Boots had a movie idea. One that took 6 years to realize. He called it Sorry To Bother You - maybe you've seen the trailer already. Boots wrote and directed it, and it's set to hit theaters July 6. The movie is almost too wild to describe - it talks about telemarketing, race and monsters and so much more. In a deep, fascinating discussion with Jesse, he talks about the movie, the evolution of the Coup, politics and poverty and so much more. This one's an all-timer!

Then, a tribute to the idea of serendipity, as evidenced in a surprising and infectious Max Roach record from the 70s.

Direct download: Bullseye180626.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm EDT

Alia Shawkat came by the Bullseye studios and holy moly, what a brilliant, funny human being! You know her as Maeby Fünke from TV's Arrested Development, which just dropped its fifth season. She also leads the TBS series Search Party these days. But Alia just starred in a really interesting film - it's called Duck Butter, and it tells the story of two women who fall in love and decide to spend the next 24 hours together, awake and totally present.

 

Then, Mackenzie Crook. You've seen him before - maybe it was as Gareth on the original UK version of The Office. Or maybe you saw him in Pirates of the Caribbean or Game of Thrones. But his passion project is Detectorists - a three season British show he stars in and create. It's finally come to the states in its entirety via Acorn TV. It's a show about metal detecting, relationships, and the English Countryside and it's one of our favorite things on air.

 

Finally - we know nobody can break the laws of physics. But if we had to pick one person who might be able to, it'd be NFL running back Barry Sanders. Jesse tells you why.

 

Direct download: Bullseye180619.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:39pm EDT

The talents of Pamela Adlon are many. First, she's an incredible voice actress who's worked on literally dozens of shows. You probably know her best as Bobby from King of the Hill, though, where she was brilliant. Then there's her work on live action TV - she starred on prestige shows like Californication and Louie. And now, she co-created and stars in her own show: Better Things, which wrapped up its second season last year.

 

You'll also hear from up and coming comic James Acaster - he's a regular on British TV and he's just now starting to make a splash over here with his hilarious **four hour long** comedy special on Netflix.

 

The outshot is back next week!

Direct download: Bullseye180612.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:34pm EDT

This week, we've got a real treat for you: Metta World Peace! Even for a former NBA All Star and Champion, Metta has a big personality. When he played he had a reputation for hard defense and an unmatched intensity on the court. When it worked, it made him passionate, tough and nearly impossible to get past. But when didn't, things went south easily. He'd play dirty, get into dustups on the court.

 

But World Peace - who was born Ron Artest - is up front about his flaws. And, in recent years, he's become a powerful advocate for mental health care. It's made him one of the most fascinating people in basketball. And it's also part of the reason his new book "No Malice: My Life in Basketball" is so compelling. He talks with Jesse about the new book - his highs, his lows, his childhood growing up in an enormous housing project in Queens. Plus, the time he met Kobe Bryant in a shower.

 

We also have the song that changed Cut Chemist's life, and a deep, touching outshot on the life of Ed Roberts, a pioneering leader in the disability rights movement.

Direct download: Bullseye180605.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:29pm EDT

Fans of Bob's Burgers, Archer, Home Movies and Dr. Katz, rejoice! Jesse's talking with the incomparable H. Jon Benjamin this week. With lead roles in some of the most popular comedies of all time, it's hard to call Jon a failure. But he doesn't really mind the label. In fact, he just wrote a book called "Failure is an Option: An Attempted Memoir." In it, he recounts his shortcomings in excruciating detail and how, wouldn't you know it, a lot of those failures opened the door to success: failures in family, in work, in serving fajitas. It's a very self-deprecating, self-aware memoir. And since it's written by H. Jon Benjamin, it's also really, really funny.

 

Then, a talk about the gritty golden days of the New York City art scene with filmmaker Sara Driver. Driver just made a new documentary - it's called "Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat." It's a story about one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century and the art community he came up in. Driver lived in that same community and talked with dozens of other people from New York's art scene to tell a totally unique, hypnotizing story.

 

Finally: the outshot is a little different this week. But it won't leave you hungry!

Direct download: Bullseye180529.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm EDT

For over a decade, actress Geena Davis has been spearheading an institute that gathers the numbers on gender balance on-screen. On this week's episode, she shares her fascinating take on what they do with all their findings plus, some heartwarming stories about how her work has shaped the way her children think about TV and film.

 

Then, writer and humorist, Jack Handey of SNL's "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey" offers an explanation as to why the voice of Deep Thoughts might be a psychopath, but definitely not insane.

 

And finally, for this week's outshot: Jesse thinks about the lasting amusement found in a 20-year old website. Welcome. To Bullseye. Welcome to Bullseye. Anything is possible at Bullseye. Welcome to you, who are at Bullseye. Welcome!

Direct download: Geena_Davis__Jack_Handey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:53pm EDT

This week, writer and director Robert Smigel breaks down what really happened when he was showrunning "The Dana Carvey" show. Plus, he'll talk about so much more including his time on SNL, and his new movie "The Week Of" on Netflix. And probably his best known creation: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

 

Then, Gillian Jacobs. You know her from her roles on "Community", "Girls,"  and "Love." She'll be in two upcoming films: "Life of the Party" and Netflix's "Ibiza." She keeps busy, but after working so hard these past few years, she tells Jesse why she's taken some time off for a little self-care.

Direct download: Bullseye180515.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11pm EDT

This week, two great musician interviews from the Bullseye archives. First up: Neko Case. It's hard to think of a singer/songwriter more beloved in the alt country / indie rock world Case inhabits. Her work - about half a dozen solo albums and a long list of collaborations with artists like New Pornographers and kd lang - has thrilled critics for decades now. She and Jesse talk about her transition from drummer to singer and guitarist, her move to a farm in Vermont, and more.

 

Then, Thao Nguyen. Her band, Thao and the Get Down, Stay Down, have been making pop music with a bold, confessional bent for a while now. She and Jesse talk about artistic growth, nurturing relationships with estranged parents and her most recent record - 2016's A Man Alive. Both Thao and Neko are embarking on a big nationwide tour this Summer - find links to dates on the Bullseye page at MaximumFun.org!

Direct download: Bullseye180508.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52pm EDT

This week, we're talking with two *very* funny people. First: Roy Wood Jr. Roy's a correspondent on the Daily Show these days, but the road he took to get there is fascinating. Roy produced, wrote and hosted on a grab bag of different radio shows, first in his hometown of Birmingham, AL, then in Los Angeles. He's also a standup with his own weird, kind of brilliant form of truth-telling. Don't miss this one.

Then, actor/director/writer Peter Serafinowicz. He's got a starring role on Amazon's The Tick but Lord alive, what a career he's had! He's a music video director, co-creator of some of England's weirdest (and funniest) comedy shows - he also did the voice of Darth Maul in the phantom menace. Remember that?

Finally, if you ever found yourself falling in love with a team because of their goofy logo, have we got a blog for you!

Direct download: Bullseye180501.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04pm EDT

Don't sleep on this one. It's a celebration of one of the best shows ever: The Wire!

 

First, you'll hear a vintage Bullseye interview (recorded live to tape in the apartment back in '08) with two of the show's most beloved stars: Wendell Pierce, who played Det. Bunk Moreland, and Andre Royo, who played Bubbles. Royo and Pierce talk about the slow response the show got at first, the love they get now and the painstaking efforts Simon and co took to make sure the show got Baltimore right.

 

Then, author Jonathan Abrams. He just wrote a brand new book about the Wire - it's called "All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire." Abrams interviewed cast and crew and writers to unveil a nuanced, fascinating look inside on of the greatest TV dramas of all time.

 

The Outshot will return next week. Spot on!

Direct download: Bullseye180424.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08pm EDT

Emmy Award winning actress Edie Falco and San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence are our guests on this week's show. Edie Falco is a brilliant, charming person. She's best known for her roles in "The Sopranos" and "Nurse Jackie." These days, she's been getting a lot of movie work: she's starring opposite Jay Duplass in the new movie "Outside In," which is out now.

Then, Hunter Pence. He joined the San Francisco Giants in 2012 and helped bring the team two world series victories. He's a beloved member of the team known for a wacky and kind of inexplicable playing style. Also, he wears high socks. What's not to love!

Finally, for this week's outshot: The Netflix British television comedy "Toast of London." Which might be too weird to watch. But still: watch it!

Direct download: Bullseye_180417.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:25pm EDT

Comedy nerds, rejoice! This week Jesse talks with Eugene Levy - the SCTV vet, co-creator of great Christopher Guest movies and American Pie star. Levy just wrapped up season 4 of his terrific CBC series Schitt's Creek. He talks about working with his son, who co-created the show with him, plus lots of great stories from SCTV's good old days!

 

But first: legendary director Alexander Payne. One of the most charming and stylish dudes around. He talks about Downsizing, his latest film. Plus: writer and director Kay Cannon tells us about the Craziest ******* Day of Her Entire Career and Jesse tells you about the pathos and beauty behind the lost bird posters that used to dot San Francisco's Mission District.

Direct download: Bullseye180410.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:21pm EDT

This week, two Max Fun favs. First up: Andrew W.K.! He just released a new album: You're Not Alone. It's his first in almost a decade. You're Not Alone has that same classic Andrew W.K. of inspirational party rock - sometimes delivered in song, sometimes in spoken word. And Andrew reveals a lot of himself in the record, too. He talks about all that with Jesse, plus why he welcomes any and all Mr. Rogers comparisons.

 

Then, Bill Hader. Of course, you know him from his time on Saturday Night Live. He was kind of an impressions guy - he did a mean Vincent Price. But his most famous character was Stefon, from Weekend Update. You remember Stefon, right? He left the show in 2013 and took up acting - he stars alongside Fred Armisen on IFC's Documentary Now! His latest project is a TV show called Barry, out now on HBO. Hader stars as the show's title character, Barry Berkman. Barry's an ex-marine, turned low rent hitman in Ohio, turned aspiring actor in Los Angeles.

 

And finally, Van Morrison doesn't really like to perform live, but that didn't stop him from making a perfect live album. Jesse tells you about it on this week's Outshot.

Direct download: Bullseye180403.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

Two more classics from the Bullseye archives, y'all. First: pack your knives and listen up! Padma Lakshmi, host of TV's Top Chef, stops for a chat. She literally wrote an Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs - like, literally that's the title of the book. She's got spice recommendations for Jesse, plus she talks about her fascinating childhood spent bouncing between New York and Chennai.

 

Then: how do you make a joke about death?  How about an entire standup special? Well, you just do it. Conan writer and comedian Laurie Kilmartin made a show (and later, album) called 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad, which is about exactly what the title suggests it is. She's also the author of the new book "Dead People Suck: A Guide for Survivors of the Newly Departed."

 

Finally, Jesse recommends a Simpsons episode that tells you everything you need know about the Bay Area tech boom.

Direct download: Bullseye180327v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43pm EDT

This week, some heavy hitters! First, Forest Whitaker. He's of course the star of *countless* great movies. He's got this knack for taking huge figures from history and portraying them complex, fascinating, sometimes really fragile people. He played Charlie Parker in Bird, won an Academy Award for playing  Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Now, he's starring as Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the new film The Forgiven. He talks with Jesse about getting to know Archbishop Tutu as a character and a friend over the years. Plus, hot takes on Battlefield Earth!

 

Then, Armando Iannucci. He's a brilliant comic writer - he created Veep, In The Loop, The Thick of It. And  in all of those projects, he's found most of his material in the vain, ambitious and insecure people who run democracies - UK cabinet ministers in The Thick of It, presidential wannabes in Veep.  His latest project is called "The Death of Stalin" and it's about, well, Stalin. How do you make a comedy based on a guy like that? Listen to find out!

 

Finally, Jesse tells you about The Coup, a group that puts a human side to hard line, radical political rap.

Direct download: Bullseye180320.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:41pm EDT

This week we're bringing you two of our favorite interviews from the Bullseye vault. First, Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the hit CW musical romantic comedy. She talks about the show's roots, overcoming social anxiety and what it's like to go be suspended mid-air on a giant pretzel.

 

Then, Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, co-creators of Netflix's One Day at a Time. They collaborated with TV legend Norman Lear to create a late-teens version of his classic sitcom. Mike and Gloria talk about the show's creative process, the value of diversity and the excitement (and drudgery) of having a Quinceañera.

 

Finally, you ever feel like a silly movie? Like the kind where critically acclaimed vocalist Seal gets attacked by a pack of wolves? Well, have we got a flick for you!

Direct download: Rachel_Bloom__One_Day_at_a_Time.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:26pm EDT

Two great actors on this week's show! First up: David Oyelowo. He cut his teeth at the Royal Shakespeare company in London. Had smaller parts on British TV and in movies like The Help and Jack Reacher. He broke though when he starred as Martin Luther King in Selma, the Oscar nominated biopic.  Now, he's starring in Gringo, a new THC-tinged action comedy. Oyelowo talks about his love of acting, being nearly killed by Tom Cruise in a car and his terrific bit part on HBO's the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

 

Then, Heather Graham. You probably know her for her iconic roles in Boogie Nights, Swingers, Drugstore Cowboy and more. These days she's working behind the camera. She directed and wrote Half Magic - a comedy about love, sexism, spirituality, and Hollywood.

 

Finally, for this week's outshot: need a gritty detective movie with heart? Jeff Garlin's Handsome has you covered.

Direct download: Bullseye180306.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:57pm EDT

First up, a Bullseye fav: Jesse chats with Kim Deal of The Breeders about their new album "All Nerve," which drops this week. Also discussed: the Pixies' breakup, best Italian restaurants for live music in Dayton, Ohio, advancements in personal amplification technology in live music.

Then, Raoul Peck. The director of "The Young Karl Marx" talks about bringing the personal story of the writer of "The Communist Manifesto" to life. Plus: how to make a narrative film about one of the most consequential philosophies in recent history. Finally, on this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about the work of Curtis Mayfield on his brilliant, underrated debut solo record "Curtis."

Direct download: Bullseye180227.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm EDT

It's an Academy Awards spectacular! First: Jesse talks with the amazing Laurie Metcalf. She's up for the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the great Lady Bird. It's her first ever nomination! Laurie's a sincere actor's actor. She was a founding member of the legendary Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. On the hit TV sitcom Roseanne, she played Jackie, Roseanne's sister. She's also starring in an upcoming Broadway rendition of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women.

 

Then, two Oscar winners: Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez! Together they wrote the song "Remember Me," from the hit Disney film Coco. Before that, Kristen and Robert wrote the songs for Disney's Frozen - including the Academy Award winning "Let it Go." They talk with Jesse about how they met, how they collaborate and keep a happy marriage and how Robert is one of only 12 people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, and Oscar and a Tony.

 

That's right - we got an EGOT in the house!

Direct download: Bullseye180220.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:52pm EDT

First up, a favorite here around the Bullseye office: David Wain! He's a comedy legend, an actor, too. And he just directed the new Netflix film “A Futile and Stupid Gesture.” He and Jesse talk about Doug Kenney, the movie’s subject, whose work changed the trajectory of American comedy.

 

Then: break out the 8mm cameras and the oversized sunglasses! It's time for Belle & Sebastian. Jesse talks with frontman Stuart Murdoch about their latest series of EPs - a trilogy called “How to Solve our Human Problems.” Also: Baseball. Turns out Stuart is Glasgow's biggest Mets fan!

 

Finally, on this week’s outshot, Jesse walks us through the career of rapper Scarface whose lyrics, more than most rappers, mulls over the fear, rage, and consequences of gang violence.

Direct download: Bullseye180213.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18pm EDT

First up: Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman. They created and star in the brand new Comedy Central show "Corporate."

 

Look. Technically, Corporate is a workplace comedy. But it's so much darker, weirder and universal than that. The show follows the lives of Matt and Jake, two junior executives in training at Hampton Deville, a hopeless megacorporation. They have just enough power and money to keep working there, but not enough to make any real impact in the company. The show tackles themes like the capitalism, art, suicide, and even the meaninglessness of life. They join Jesse in the studio to chat about getting the shows tone right, what it was like pitching the show to a corporation, and why they cast Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels on <i>The Wire</i> to play the CEO of Hampton Deville. Plus, they talk about how magic mushrooms helped them write some of the episodes -- you don't wanna miss that!

 

Plus, cartoonist and writer Mimi Pond tells us about the craziest day of her entire career. And finally, Jesse tells us about  "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud -- a comic book  about understanding comic books. If you've never picked up a comic book before this is a good place to start, obv.

Direct download: _Corporate___Mimi_Pond.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:59pm EDT

One Bullseye episode. *Four* Oscar nominees! First up: Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. They co-wrote "The Big Sick" and you probably heard about it already - the Academy just nominated it for Best Original Screenplay. They're two fascinating, sincere and brilliant people, and the film is a unique, hilarious and subversive take on modern romance. Jesse talked with them earlier this year.

 

Then, the hits keep coming. Director Michel Gondry talks about the song that changed his life. Oscar-nominated actress Allison Janney (West Wing, I, Tonya, Mom) talks about how Paul Newman helped jump start her career. And Jesse tells you about the last movie Orson Welles ever directed.

Direct download: Bullseye180130.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT

Have you heard of Another Period? It's a series on Comedy Central with a brilliant, simple premise: it's a reality show set in the gilded age - like the Keeping up with the Kardashians meets Downton Abbey. It's really fun to watch - over the top, subversive, weird and chock full of absinthe references! Its stars and co-creators are Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome and they talk with Jesse about the show, which is entering its third season this week.

 

Then, the one and only Egyptian Lover. Born Greg Broussard he's a DJ, a producer, a rapper sometimes, too. He came up with Uncle Jamm's Army, a hip-hop crew that featured promoter and DJ Rodger Clayton, Ice - T, and shared the bill with acts as big as Run-DMC back in the day. As a solo artist he's released 9 albums, mixing Kraftwerk, Prince, a little bit of G-Funk every now and then, too. He's about to kick off on a world tour with dates in Berlin, Cape Town and Long Beach. He talks with Jesse about the early days of LA hip hop and electro, what a 10,000 person dance party looks like and how he bonded with his future wife over a Kraftwerk record. The ultimate meet cute!

Direct download: Bullseye180123.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

Buckle up, y'all, we've got a dynamite lineup!  First off: Rian Johnson, writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is discussed in extensive detail (don't say we didn't warn you). Besides directing a film in one of the biggest franchises in history, Rian's created the acclaimed movie Brick - kind of a Coen Bros inspired film noir starring teenagers in Orange County. He also wrote and directed the sci-fi thriller Looper, and a few of the most memorable Breaking Bad episodes, too.

 

Then, the Go! Team. Formed in the year 2000 in Brighton, England, the band's basically the brainchild of Ian Parton. He recorded a lot of the band's first album in his parent's kitchen and released it as Thunder, Lightning, Strike - a solid record. On that album you'll find the track "Huddle Formation" - AKA the Bullseye theme song. Their newest album just dropped - it's called Semicircle.

 

Finally: can you be super glamorous and deeply real at the same time? Of course you can, just ask Sylvester.

Direct download: Rian_Johnson__The_Go_Team.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38pm EDT

Fresh New Year, fresh new Bullseye! This week, legendary director Errol Morris. He's the kind of filmmaker that gets shown in film school all the time. He's contributed that much to the field of documentary making. Morris has a way of painting portraits of people in his films that's incredibly vulnerable. A perfect example of this is his first documentary “Gates of Heaven” released in 1978. It’s a film about pet cemeteries, and the connection people feel to their deceased pets. Some of his films, like "The Thin Blue Line" try to find objective truth. That film ultimately helped secure a innocent man's freedom from prison.  

 

His latest project is a six-part miniseries for Netflix called "Wormwood." The series explores the CIA LSD experiments in the late 1950's, and the effects on a man named Frank Olson. The story is mostly told through interviews of Frank’s son, Eric, who's worked for years to uncover the truth. The film is kind of a departure for Errol's signature style -- it blends dramatic reenactments and real life interviews.

 

Plus,  Merrill Garbus of the band Tune-Yards tells us about the song that changed her life. And for this week's Outshot: The 1991 film "The Commitments."

Direct download: Bullseye180109.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:02pm EDT

Two Bullseye favorites from the archives this week. First: Terry Crews. A linebacker from Flint Michigan, Terry was picked by the LA Rams in the 11th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. In 1996, he played his last season ever for the Eagles.  Then he took up acting - he starred alongside Ice Cube in the Friday After Next, played Chris Rock's Dad on Everybody Hates Chris. Now he plays Sergeant Jeffords on Brooklyn Nine Nine. Lately he's been in the news for taking speaking out against sexual harassment of all kinds - he says he was a victim himself.

Then, Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, from 2014. The two co-created and starred in the show Playing House on USA, a favorite of ours here. It just wrapped up its third and final season last year. Male friendship is well represented in comedy, really, really well represented, but female friendship - not so much. And when we do see female friendships, the characters are sort of rote - there's always the same 3 or 4 characters, you know? On Playing House, Parham and St. Clair framed it differently. Their characters are less Carrie and Miranda and more Laverne and Shirley. You can actually imagine them being friends.

Plus, calling all prog rock fans! This week Marc Weingarten and Tyson Cornell, the editors of the prog rock anthology Yes Is The Answer: (And Other Prog Rock Tales), explain why the King Crimson album In The Court of the Crimson King is a classic, and how it laid the foundation for a whole genre.

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm EDT

Look, you're an NPR listener. So we probably don't need to tell you this, but it's been an intense year.  2017 was a lot of terrible and thrilling and amazing things, but it was also a banner year for stand up comedy.

So this year, the Bullseye team put their heads together. Mined the internet for the best in stand up - big names, small names, guests I've talked with before, guests I want to talk with again. You're gonna hear comedy from people like Dana Gould. And Emily Heller. And Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher. And Roy Wood Jr. Say farewell to 2017 with a hearty laugh!

Direct download: EndofYearComedySpecial.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:48pm EDT

Light up the menorah, trim the tree, take a walk out in the cool/cold/wet/whatever weather and take it all in: it's the Bullseye holiday spectacular!

We've got Andy Richter, Conan O'Brien's faithful and hilarious sidekick. He says now that he's a father, he finds joy in celebrating Christmas with his family that wasn't really there before. You'll hear holiday etiquette advice from the one and only McElroy Brothers. We'll also talk with Jane Lynch, the star comedian and actor *and* terrific singer. Plus: need a movie recommendation? The Pop Rocket Crew at Max Fun HQ has got you covered.

Direct download: Bullseye171219.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26pm EDT

Judd Apatow is one of the busiest and most notable behind the scenes guys alive today. Name 10 huge critically acclaimed comedy hits off the top your head - Judd's probably worked on half of them: The Larry Sanders Show, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, Funny People, The Big Sick, Train Wreck, Girls - it just goes on and on. But now, for the first time in over 25 years, he's back on stage. He's been performing live for the last couple years and now he's got his first ever hour long special. It's called Judd Apatow: The Return and it debuts on Netflix this week.

 

Then, Romesh Ranganathan. He's a British stand up and TV host. And while he might not be a household name stateside, he's looking to change that. Romesh just rented a giant amphitheater in Los Angeles for his big debut - it seats nearly 6,000 people. When we first heard about this in November, he'd sold only 74 tickets. Jesse talks with him about why he's doing it, how his family's past informed his comedy, and what it's like going from crying in a corporate bathroom stall to selling out concert halls in London... and hopefully LA.

Direct download: Bullseye171212.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:12pm EDT

You know JK Simmons, right? He won an Academy Award for his role in the 2015 movie Whiplash. He's that Insurance guy in those ads. He played J Jonah Jameson in the Spiderman movies. Dude puts in work - there are 183 credits on his IMDB page right now and he isn't slowing down. He's starring in the new drama The Bachelors, which is out now. He'll talk with Jesse about all that stuff, plus, the J Jonah Jameson action figure (with Desk Pounding Action™).

 

Then, Solomon Georgio. Solomon's a stand up from Seattle, via Fresno, via St. Louis, Via Sudan and then Ethiopia, where his parents are from. He's appeared on CONAN,The Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail, Comedy Central and more. Solomon's got a really unique presence on stage. Sometimes he's vulnerable and sincere, sure. But then he'll strike a pose and make an outrageous joke about his perfect thigh gap and like magic - you believe him. His debut record - Homonegro Superior, is out now.

Direct download: Bullseye171205.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:05pm EDT

We've got a couple of our favorite recent Bullseye interviews this week, first up: Margaret Cho, from last year. She's made a career of searing and revealing comedy. Lately she's been performing on the street to raise money for the homeless, marrying couples on stage,  too. She also just launched a huge international tour of standup, called "Fresh off the Bloat." It kicked off just last week in Scotland.

 

Then, Lisa Hanawalt, the cartoonist and author. When she was a guest in 2016, she'd just released her book Hot Dog Taste Test. Hanawalt's work is full of child like energy. She's obsessed with animals and also animal-human hybrids. Hanawalt also produces and runs the visual elements of the hit Netflix animated show BoJack Horseman, where people and animals live together in a kind of weird, hyper-real Hollywood.

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Category:general -- posted at: 4:09pm EDT

First up this week, the one and only Greta Gerwig! You probably know her as an actor - she starred in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and a bunch of other indies. She's also been in Oscar contenders like Jackie and 20th Century Women. Now, she's written and directed a film of her own: Lady Bird. And no exaggeration - it's one of our favorite movies from this year.

 

Then, Lee Unkrich. For over 20 years now, he's been one of the leading creative voices at Pixar. He worked on Toy Story, Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life, a bunch more. He directed Toy Story 3, probably the darkest and most affecting of the movies in that series.  Now, he's directed Coco, the newest Disney / Pixar movie. Set in Mexico, Coco is a story wrapped up in the Mexican day of the dead - dia de muertos. He'll talk with Jesse about the making of Coco and lots more, especially his time working on Silk Stalkings, the classic 1993 erotic police procedural on USA.

Direct download: Bullseye171121v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19pm EDT

Hey Bullseye fans! We have a special bonus treat for y'all today. We're gonna give you a look at Heat Rocks, the brand new music podcast here at Maximum Fun. It's an interview show that dissects classic, canonical urban and soul albums and the people who love them.

This time, join writer Oliver Wang and music director Morgan Supervisor Morgan Rhodes as they interview tech blogger (and avid Prince fan) about the Purple One's all-time classic "1999."

You can find out more about Heat Rocks at heatrockspod.com or just search "heat rocks" in your favorite podcast app. 

Direct download: BullseyeHeatRocks1117.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:09pm EDT

Two legends this week: first up, Amy Sedaris. Amy's made a career playing characters - and we say this with absolutely *zero* shade intended - people who are kind of grotesque and weird. The weirder and grosser the better - take Jerri Blank on Strangers with Candy or Mimi Kanasis on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, too. But on her new show, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Amy pretty much plays herself. She talks with Jesse about how that's a transition out of her normal comfort zone. Also discussed: rabbits, monkfish, and girl scout badges!

 

Then, the great Paul Reiser the legendary standup and actor. He's also the creator of a brand new TV series, it's called There's Johnny and it's premiering this week on Hulu. It takes place in the early 70s, behind the scene of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Reiser knew Carson about as well as anybody could and dishes on what it was like appearing on his show almost a dozen times.

Direct download: Bullseye171114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT

Look, you probably know who John Hodgman is already. He's been on the Daily Show, This American Life, Adventure Time, way more stuff. Here at Maximum Fun he's the judge on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast. John's also written four books. His latest is Vacationland, and it's a pretty big departure. It's kind of a meditation on aging and the world we live in today. It's about fatherhood and adolescence and how to accept that at some point in your life, there's gonna be more road behind you than ahead.

 

Then, Tig Notaro. The comedian's brilliant TV show One Mississippi is back on Amazon for a second season. She joins Jesse to talk about her start in comedy, how she incorporates autobiography into plot points, and the importance of having an all-female writing staff on the show.

 

Finally: Surprise! An outshot about a tiger painting.

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:28pm EDT

For five seasons, Stephanie Beatriz has starred on the hit fox show Brooklyn Nine Nine. She plays Detective Rosa Diaz, easily the toughest cop in the precinct - she's brave, she's serious, she rides a motorcycle. Now, she stars in a new film - a drama called The Light of the Moon. It's a nuanced, touching and realistic look at the trauma left in the wake of a brutal sexual assault.

After that: Griffin Dunne! He's an actor. You might've seen him on the new Amazon series I Love Dick, or as the lead in the Scorsese classic After Hours. He's also a director, and his latest film focuses on the writer Joan Didion, who happens to be his aunt. He talks with Jesse about the decision to make the film, her legacy in the world of journalism and how he mustered up the courage to ask her some pretty tough questions.

Direct download: Bullseye171031.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:54pm EDT

Good October to you, boys and ghouls! It's a very special Halloween Spooktacular edition of Bullseye!

 

First we have Cassandra Peterson, the woman behind Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She'll talk with Jesse about where her iconic character came from, her childhood growing up in the midwest and what it's like to have a pinball game bearing your likeness.

 

Then, a very special visit from comedian Andy Daly (Review, Reno 911, Silicon Valley), with the song that changed his life: the Monster Mash.

 

Plus spooky and ooky movie recommendations from the team at Maximum Fun's Who Shot Ya podcast, and Jesse recommends a Halloween song that's so good… it'll give you chills! Mwahahahaha!

Direct download: Bullseye171024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:38pm EDT

You know Gilbert Gottfried, right? That comedian with the crazy loud voice who tells gross, sometimes kind of tasteless jokes. He was the voice of the Aflac duck at one point, too.

There's really two Gilbert Gottfrieds, though - there's that guy, and there's the pretty quiet guy who has a wife and two kids and, you know, picks up paper towels on the way home or whatever. Now, he's talking about all of that. He's the subject of a new documentary, it's called Gilbert. He talks with Jesse about the process of revealing his private side on camera for the first time.

Then, a deep discussion about Catholicism, love, and privilege with filmmaker Maggie Betts. Her debut film, Novitiate, tells the story of nuns-in-training in the mid 20th century as their lives and society were in total upheaval.

Direct download: Bullseye171017v3.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:23pm EDT

First up: Amy Ryan. You've seen her as Beadie Russel on The Wire, in The Office, Gone Baby Gone, a bunch more. She's starring in the new movie Abundant Acreage Available too. She'll talk with us about all that stuff, plus, how she convinced her family it was cool to skip college and give acting a real go.

Then, Shea Serrano. He's a writer. He's covered basketball, music and more for ESPN, Vice, the Ringer, and more. And he took kind of an unusual path to making a career out of it. Born and raised in Texas, Serrano was originally a teacher who'd write in his spare time. He only started writing full time a little over two years ago. His new book is a hot one - it's called Basketball and Other Things, it's beautifully illustrated, and it's out now.

Finally: some beautiful words about the baseball team with the worst record this year.

Direct download: Bullseye171010.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30pm EDT

This week's Bullseye takes you inside the home of the one and only Carl Reiner. A true legend in comedy - Reiner's been in the game since World War Two. Alongside Sid Caesar, he performed on the pioneering Your Show of Shows. He's best friends with Mel Brooks. Reiner also created the Dick Van Dyke Show, wrote Steve Martin's The Jerk and much more. Now, at 95, he's published his 18th book: it's called "Too Busy to Die." Indeed!

Then, Kate and Laura Mulleavy. If you don't know them by name, you've seen their work: the two co-founded Rodarte, one of the most innovative and desirable clothing labels out there. The Mulleavy sisters aren't content to stay put in fashion, though - they just wrote and directed Woodshock, a heady, awe-inspiring film starring Kirsten Dunst.

Direct download: Bullseye171003.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52pm EDT

A dynamite pairing this week! First, Rapper Open Mike Eagle talks about growing up in Chicago, his slow and steady rise to success and his undying love for professional wrestling.

Then, Paula Poundstone. You know her as a legendary standup, as a voice actor, too, probably. But I mean, this is NPR. So you know her as Paula Poundstone from Wait Wait… Don't Tell Me, right? We brought her on to talk about the movie she loves so much she wishes she made it: 2011's Bridesmaids.

Finally: an outshot about a baseball card and a word we can't say on NPR.

Direct download: Open_Mike_Eagle__Paula_Poundstone.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:01pm EDT

Two Bullseye classics this week. First up: Judy Greer. You've seen her as Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development, as Cheryl Tunt on Archer, in Jurassic World, a bunch more. She's one of the most successful co-stars in Hollywood. It stands to reason. She’s a gifted actress, she’s funny, she’s beautiful, but she still looks like a real human being you might know in real life. She talks with Jesse about her roles on screen, how she came to terms with being a co-star, and what it's like being recognized constantly on the street.

 

Then, Ice-T, from 2012.  He's been acting for over 25 years and he was a pioneer of West Coast hip-hop in the early 80s.  His breakthrough on screen was in 1991's New Jack City, and he spent the last dozen years or so solving crimes on Law and Order: SVU. He's an MC and as the frontman of the metal band Body Count he's released more than a dozen albums in his 30 year music career. At the time, Ice had just directed Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap, a documentary about hip-hop's origins. Ice talks with Jesse about the good old days of rap, where it's headed now, and how he ended up writing bars for the one and only Mr. T.

Direct download: Bullseye170919.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm EDT

Two Bullseye classics this week! First up: Jesse's 2014 conversation with The Pointer Sisters, one of the biggest R&B groups ever, about their rise to stardom and struggles to stay together as a family. Then, his 2011 interview with funk bass legend Bootsy Collins. Bootsy talks to Jesse about his career as one of pop music's greatest bass players. Also discussed: how'd he end up playing with James Brown? How'd he keep George Clinton down to earth? And where'd he get those dope star glasses? Twinkle twinkle, baby bubba!

Direct download: Bullseye170912.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:13pm EDT

Tim Gunn of Project Runway and more talks fashion, surviving trauma and more. Even some hot couture takes on the American political landscape! Then, singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton talks about his latest work - a dystopian concept album and companion graphic novel - both called "Solid State."

 

Finally: Did you know Norm MacDonald gave one of the funniest Comedy Central Roasts ever? And it wasn't even a roast, really?

Direct download: Bullseye170905.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:25pm EDT

Joining us this week is actor Wallace Shawn, whose many film credits include roles in The Princess Bride, the Toy Story films, and My Dinner with Andre. An accomplished playwright and author, Wallace talks to Jesse about his recent book, a long essay titled "Night Thoughts."

But first: a visit from Canadian comedian and director Jay Baruchel. Jay talks about directing "Goon: Last of the Enforcers" and explains what makes the Canadian comedic sensibility so unique. Plus, English singer-songwriter Nick Lowe recalls the 1950s country and western song that changed his life. Finally, Jesse praises a story-driven video game that captures the loneliness and ambiguity of our lives.

Direct download: Bullseye170829.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:11pm EDT

This week, two of our favorite Bullseye guests. First up: Ellie Kemper, star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you haven't seen it, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has a pretty unusual premise. A woman emerges from a mid-western bunker. She’s been held captive there by a cultish kidnapper. She and her fellow captives are national news. So, she moves to New York, the one place she can think of where no one will care. The mix of characters and dense, super joke filled pace has earned Kimmy love from critics and a bunch of Emmy nominations - Ellie's up for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series this year.

 

Then, Flying Lotus. Jesse talked with the musician back in 2010, he'd just released his third record, Los Angeles. Born Steven Ellison, he was at the head of a burgeoning beatmaking scene here in LA that would eventually leave a huge, lasting impact on pop and hip hop. Over the course of five records, dozens of collaborations, FlyLo has created lush, kind of psychedelic soundscapes. It's a little disorienting sometimes, but it's always gripping. Now, Ellison's directed his first ever film. It's called "Kuso," and it's probably one of the most intense, and frankly gross, movies to come out in the last few decades.

Direct download: Ellie_Kemper__Flying_Lotus.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:32pm EDT

This week, two Emmy nominated heavy hitters. First up: Alfred Molina. Talk about auspicious starts: Alfred Molina's first American film role was as the "Throw me the idol, I'll throw you the whip" guy in the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Since then, he's had over 150 parts. That includes unforgettable roles in movies like Coffee and Cigarettes, Boogie Nights, and yes - even Spider-Man 2. He just got an Emmy nomination for his role on Feud: Bette and Joan.

 

Then, Louie Anderson, the legendary standup and former TV host. His role as Christine on the FX show Baskets just earned him his second Emmy nomination. When he plays Christine, he's in drag, sort of, but there's no camp to it, no winking at the camera. He takes the part seriously, plays Christine funny when she's funny, plays her sad when she's sad. He says that's due in part because the role is played in tribute to his own mother.

 

Finally: Faye Dunaway. Steve McQueen. Sex chess. These are a few of Jesse's favorite things… in the 1968 film the Thomas Crown Affair.

Direct download: Alfred_Molina__Louie_Anderson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT

This week Jesse talks with the great singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco about her new album Binary, and how it's changed her writing process. What you might not know is that she also jammed with Prince. Also, a conversation with actor Aidan Gillen, who you might know as Littlefinger on Game of Thrones and Tommy Carcetti on The Wire. He plays a lot of ambitious, sometimes cagey characters. Finally, Jesse recommends a classic Randy Newman song that reveals the empty promises of fame and adulation.

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Category:general -- posted at: 8:09pm EDT

[r] This week, two of Bullseye's greatest hits. First up: Rick Moranis. At one point, he was a movie star: Strange Brew, Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and then - he quit. We'll talk about why he doesn't regret leaving show business to raise his children.


Then Jesse talks with the great Lily Tomlin about her storied career. She's been in comedy since the 60s, a bunch of movies and TV shows. She's starring in Grace and Frankie on Netflix, too, which just earned her *another* Emmy nomination.

Direct download: Bullseye170801.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT