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.)

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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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[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.

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[r] This week, we've got two of Bullseye's greatest hits: First up, the one and only Dolly Parton! The legend of stage and song talks with Jesse about her impoverished childhood, how she's dealt with fame over the years and the songs that can still make her cry.

 

Then, Steve Coogan. You've seen him in the Night at the Museum movies, maybe Philomena and his The Trip series. But if you're a comedy fan you probably know him best for one character: Alan Partridge. He's done the Alan Partridge character for 20 years now and is gearing up to another TV series around the feckless but charming sports host.

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"The Big Sick" has been out in theaters for a while, and already it's getting a lot of buzz. Critics rated it 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and Emily Gordon are married and co-wrote the movie, which tells the true story of their courting years.

 

Plus, Terrace Martin! The hip-hop producer and jazz musician who's worked with YG, Herbie Hancock, Snoop and Kendrick goes in depth with Jesse about growing up in South Central LA, California's jazz community and how you make a track that'll rattle car doors all over America.

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