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.)

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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."

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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!

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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.

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