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.)
We'll chat with 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 has shared the bill with acts as big as Run-DMC back in the day. As a solo artist he's released 10 albums, mixing Kraftwerk, Prince, a little bit of G-Funk every now and then, too. He talks with Jesse about the early days of LA hip-hop and electro, what a 10,000 person danc...more
Eugene Levy is hands down one of the funniest people in history. The Canadian-born actor and funnyman got his start in the world of improv when he joined Chicago's Second City. His first big break was on the Canadian sketch show SCTV, where he played a variety of roles. He later began collaborating with fellow improv mockumentarian Christopher Guest. Eugene joins Bullseye to talk about the very funny SCTV sketch that inspired Saturday Night Live's Norm McDonald and his work on all eight of the A...more
The Song That Changed My Life is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite artists about the music that made them who they are today. This time around, we're joined by the musician Cuco. He got his start making music in his bedroom. He combines dreamy synths, catchy hooks and a bit of jazz trumpet to create a sleepy psychedelia vibe. So where did he get his psychedelic bedroom pop sound? Cuco explains how Tame Impala's Feels Like We Only Go Backwards helped him visuali...more
There's no one else on the planet quite like Jeff Goldblum. He came onto the scene over four decades ago with the role of "Freak #1" in the 1974 revenge fantasy Death Wish. Since then, he's appeared in countless films, television and theater productions including; Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Portlandia, The Fly and as everyone's favorite chaos mathematician in Jurassic Park. Chances are, he's a part of one of your favorite movies. Jeff joins us to talk about his new film, The Mountain, his i...more
British actor Lesley Manville is truly a master of her craft. You might know her work with the brilliant director Mike Leigh. She starred in some of his best movies like Secrets & Lies, All or Nothing and Another Year. She's had a long and successful career overseas – and she's finally breaking through in the states. In 2017, she portrayed Cyril in Phantom Thread. The stunning performance earned her an Oscar nomination. Lesley joins us to talk about starring in the BBC sitcom Mum, and how she a...more
When it comes to hip-hop from the Bay Area, E-40 is quite possibly the greatest of all time. His distinctiveness has kept him relevant for three decades now, from mob music in the 1990's to hyphy slaps in the aughts to new music today. E-40 joins us to talk about his new record, Practice Makes Paper. We'll pull up some deep cuts from R&B singer Saint Charles, who 40 more intimately knows as his Uncle Chuckie. Chuckie was a huge inspiration for E-40 growing up. E will also take us to the root of ...more
Baseball week at Bullseye continues with filmmaker Aviva Kempner. She'll talk to us about her documentary The Spy Behind Home Plate. The film follows the life of catcher-turned-World War II spy Moe Berg, quite possibly the smartest man to play baseball. Moe played baseball back in the era of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, learned Sanskrit at the Sorbonne, and took some of the earliest known photos of Tokyo.
It's baseball week here at Bullseye and best-selling authors Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik are stepping up to the plate. They're the writers behind the book, The MVP Machine: How Baseball's New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players. The book looks at how previously cast aside players are transforming themselves into All-Stars. And, they'll talk to us about how players aren't the only ones changing the game. And even if you're not into baseball, we promise there are some lesson...more
Chuck Klosterman has written tomes of the written word for GQ, ESPN, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Guardian, and plenty more. In 2014, he joined us to talk about I Wear the Black Hat, which examined villainy through pop culture figures like Batman, Kanye West and LeBron James. In 2016, he talked about his book: But What if We're Wrong, which examined how the present will be perceived in the future. But this time around, Chuck joins us to tell us about the craziest day of his career. Trust u...more
Jeff Chang is a journalist and music critic with an emphasis on hip-hop music and culture. His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Village Voice, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Spin, and many more. Jeff Chang returns to Bullseye to talk about his latest project, "We Gon' Be Alright." It was originally a book released back in 2016. Recently, it was turned into a web series by Indie Lens Spotlight. The series deals with some really tough questions about race in America with no e...more
*A heads up to listeners, this episode contains many censored expletives throughout the interview.* J.B. Smoove is without a doubt one of the funniest people we've ever had on Bullseye. He got his start in television as one of the stars of Def Comedy Jam in the mid-90's. In the early aughts, he became a writer on Saturday Night Live. But, he's probably best known for his role as Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm. J.B. joins us to talk about his time on SNL. We'll hear about a few of his favorite ske...more
Bullseye guest host Shereen Marisol Meraji, host of NPR's Code Switch, talks with the musician Ahmed Gallab. You might know Ahmed as the man behind the band Sinkane. Ahmed and Shereen discuss his latest album, growing up in the U.S. as the son of immigrants and how he connects his Sudanese roots to his music. Sinkane's latest album is titled Dépaysé and is available now.
Guest Host Shereen Marisol Meraji, host of NPR's Code Switch, chats with actor Garcia. Garcia plays Jake Rodriguez on 'Tales of the City' on Netflix, a part-remake part-sequel to the TV miniseries you might remember from the 90's. Garcia and Shereen discuss their first breakout role, being pigeonholed as a trans character in Hollywood and how their chosen family led them to acting.
Pitcher Sean Doolittle is the closer for the Washington Nationals, and no, it's not The Closer you're thinking about. Sean's been called one of the most interesting players in baseball. He'll talk about his unorthodox path to the major leagues, starting out as a first baseman, recovering from serious injuries and then pivoting to closing out games on the mound. Sean's also known as one of the nicest guys in MLB. He's used his platform as a baseball player to raise awareness about a number of iss...more
This week, we're revisiting our conversation with Emmy-award winning actress Edie Falco. She's best known for her roles in The Sopranos, Oz and Nurse Jackie. When she spoke to us in 2018, she had just starred in the movie Outside In. Edie talks to Jesse about landing her first acting gig — which she started the day after she graduated from acting school at SUNY Purchase. Plus, Edie tells us why she thinks comedy isn't for her, and what it was like to work with James Gandolfini for nearly a decad...more
Linda Holmes is a pop culture critic and host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. She just released her debut novel, Evvie Drake Starts Over. It's about love and loss and the choices we make that sometimes require us to start from scratch. Linda joins the show to talk about her start in writing and how the game of baseball contains a great lesson on the importance of perseverance.
Joe Talbot is the director of The Last Black Man in San Francisco. It's a beautiful film about a guy named Jimmie and his desire to reclaim a San Francisco house built by his grandfather, many moons before tech booms rolled in and massive amounts of money changed the city. Joe talks about gentrification, his thoughts on authenticity in the Bay Area and the best reaction to a movie Jesse has ever heard.
Director Sara Driver refined her craft during New York's indie filmmaker boom in the late 1970s-1990s. Her directorial debut came in 1981 with You are Not I, a film about a young woman who escapes a mental institution during the chaos of a pileup. We revisit our conversation with Driver from 2018 where she discussed her docmentary, Boom For Real. It tells the story of a young Jean-Michel Basquiat and the New York arts community around him. Sara currently appears in Jim Jarmusch's latest zombie f...more
H. Jon Benjamin is the voice behind some of television's most beloved animated characters. He's the voice of titular character "Bob" in Fox's heartwarming sitcom Bob's Burgers. He also plays Sterling Archer in FX's Archer, which just premiered its 10th season this past spring. Revisit our conversation with the actor as he talks about his book, his work on so many great TV shows and the beauty of fatherhood.
Who comes to mind when you think of a character actor? Sure, there are a lot of good ones, but there's no one quite like the great Wallace Shawn. On screen, he's had over 180 credits! You've seen him in films like Clueless, The Princess Bride and My Dinner with Andre. He's also had regular roles on Gossip Girl and Crossing Jordan. Wallace is also an Obie award-winning playwright and the author of several books. When he joined us back in 2017, he had just written Night Thoughts, an extended coll...more
We're revisiting our conversation with John Waters! You might know him as the director and writer of classics like Pink Flamingos, Hairspray and Cry-Baby, but even though he hasn't made a movie lately, he keeps pretty busy. He's done a ton of live performances, released a few compilation albums, and he just released his memoir and seventh book, Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder. When he joined us in studio, John talked about Make Trouble, a book based off of his commencement...more
Kulap Vilaysack is an actor, comedian, showrunner, and director. She just directed her first feature length film, Origin Story, about her family's journey to the U.S. and finding her biological father in Laos. It's a film about dealing with family secrets, empathizing with difficult parents, and connecting with brand new ones. We talked to Kulap about facing her family's darkest secrets and finding healing through the pain.
We're back with John Bradley who played Samwell Tarly on a tiny little show called Game of Thrones for eight seasons. The HBO program recently had its series finale which was the network's most-watched program of all time! John talks about performing on one of the biggest TV shows in history and how his perceived weaknesses made him the perfect actor for his character's arc.
If you go to an art museum: contemporary, encyclopedic, local... odds are most of the art displayed was made by white men. Even if you leave out the renaissance painters and the Dutch Masters. It's still not that common to see a solo show by a woman or a person of color these days. This was even more true in the mid-80s. Some of New York's most prominent galleries showed less than 10% of women artists. Others were showing no women at all. In 1984, an art collective known at The Guerilla Girls dr...more
Veep is a show full of despised, incompetent and unlikable characters. And is there anyone less likable, more incompetent than Jonah Ryan? Played by Timothy Simons, the tall, petty and mercurial Jonah went from a lowly white house staffer to New Hampshire's least popular members of Congress to long-shot presidential contender. Simons explains why thick skin doesn't always protect you from all of Veep's famously devastating insults. Plus, how being a dad has impacted his acting career and knowled...more
The Last Poets are a groundbreaking collective with a sound that merges spoken word with jazz and hip hop. They came on the scene in the late sixties with a message of unity, social justice, and empowerment. Their message included frank lyrics about all that was wrong with their world and all that could be done to make it better. They're the godfather's of hip hop Two of the groups original members Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan have a new album out called Transcending Toxic Times. It fuse...more
Lisa Hanawalt is a cartoonist, writer, and author of four brilliant books, including Hot Dog Taste Test, My Dirty Dumb Eyes and her latest book, Coyote Dog Girl. You may be familiar with her work on the popular animated Netflix series BoJack Horseman where she's a producer. Hanawalt is the creator of the new show Tuca & Bertie. It's an animated series on Netflix about two Anthropomorphic bird women. They live in Bird Town. Tuca is a toucan. She's outgoing and fun, but kind of a mess, too. She do...more
The Tick is one of the strangest, most compelling superheroes ever. Creator Ben Edlund has lived with the character for over 30 years now. The Tick has been a comic book series, an animated TV show, a video game, and a live action TV show. Now, The Tick is back with another live-action TV show on Amazon. The Tick is kind of this giant man in a blue suit with antennas on his head. He's got all the classic trappings of a superhero: strength, speed, invincibility. But he's also kind of a dope. Edlu...more
So many of the sketches Paula Pell has written for Saturday Night Live are stone-cold classics. There's the Culps, Ana Gasteyer and Will Ferrell's bizarre pop music duo. The Spartan Cheerleaders. The Tony Bennett Show. Remember when Justin Timberlake brought us on down to Omeletteville? We have Paula Pell to thank for a lot of wonderful and hilarious work on SNL. Paula pulls back the curtain and discusses some of her more controversial work on the classic program. Pell also joins us to talk abo...more
Bullseye takes a look back at our conversation with folk rock legend David Crosby. His work paved the way for the folk rock movement. He was a founding member of The Byrds and performed at Woodstock as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. With a career that has spawned over 50 years and two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, David is a living legend. David is the subject of a new documentary called David Crosby: Remember My Name which premiered at Sundance. Then, Jesse talks ...more
This week, a favorite from the archives: Jesse's conversation with world-class comedian Wanda Sykes. She's a legend in the comedy world and her ability to tackle pop culture and the political spectrum with equal agility has earned her many accolades. She's also had many scene-stealing roles as an actor in shows like Black-ish, Broad City and Curb Your Enthusiasm. She's been nominated for nine Emmy awards and she won one for her writing on The Chris Rock Show. We just got word that Wanda will be ...more
We're thrilled to share our conversation with cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty. We're huge fans of his children's book – "Who Needs Donuts?" Mark's wonderfully illustrated book tells the story of a kid in a cowboy suit who's bored with his family. He hitches up his wagon and heads out for the big city in search of donuts. After a wild adventure he realizes there are things far greater than donuts. It's a charming and hilarious book for kids. And, trust us, adults will love it, too! Mark Alan Stamaty...more
Have you seen "A.P. Bio?" It's one of the funniest network sitcoms out these days and its latest second season is going strong on NBC. The show tells the story of a disgraced Harvard Philosophy professor (played by Glenn Howerton of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia") who finds himself teaching Advanced Placement Biology at a high school in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. Mike O'Brien created the show, and he joins Jesse to talk about the show's new season. Plus: his own childhood in Toledo, and ...more
This week: the great Open Mike Eagle! He's a rapper and TV host: Alongside Baron Vaughn, Mike co-stars in a new Comedy Central show called "The New Negroes". It's sort of a variety show - combining live stand up with original music videos Mike made with other artists. When Bullseye talked to Mike in 2017, he'd just released a record called "Brick Body Kids Still Daydream." His latest album - "What Happens When I Try to Relax" - is out now.
Jesse talks with one of the greats: Laurie Metcalf. You definitely know Laurie from from Roseanne. For 9 years she played Jackie, on the hit TV show. She's now starring in The Conners, the new Spinoff. She's also an Academy Award nominee for her work alongside Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird, the fascinating, beautiful coming of age film directed by Greta Gerwig. These days, Laurie's been working a lot on Broadway. She's been nominated for a bunch of Tony's and won 2017's Best Actress award for her r...more
Brian Raftery writes for GQ, Wired and Rolling Stone, among others. He just wrote a really interesting book. He called it "Best Movie Year Ever" and in the book's 300 pages, Brian makes the case that one of the most interesting and memorable years in cinema history... was 1999. The year that saw the release of Office Space. Rushmore. Three Kings. Being John Malkovich... you get the point. It's a great read, tons of interviews and insight into a year that not just saw a bunch of classic movies bu...more
What follows is one of our favorite interviews we've recorded this year. Seriously. It's with an artist you probably haven't heard of. His name's Tom Scott. He's from New Zealand. He's been a rapper there for about 10 years now, he's one of the biggest role players in the small, burgeoning scene there. Last year he created the group Avantdale Bowling Club and released a self-titled record for the group. It combines jazz with hip-hop in the same way Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly did. It's ...more
This week, Jesse talks with the director Mike Leigh. He isn't that well known. He's never made a blockbuster. He's been nominated for seven Academy Awards and hasn't won any. He doesn't work with super famous actors, either. He likes it that way. His films are honest. And real. And touching. Maybe you aren't familiar with Mike Leigh, but: trust us. This is a fascinating, funny and poignant conversation about filmmaking that will leave you wanting more.
Todd Douglas Miller directed Apollo 11, the new documentary. It compiles thousands of hours of footage from the moon landing into one brilliant, compelling narrative feature. There's no narration. No interviews. All images and voices from the mission and the run up to it. Some of the footage you've seen, but a lot of it you haven't. A lot of breathtaking 70 millimeter shots in Apollo 11 have never been released to the public until now.
It's a strange thing, to be famous, right? Like, really really famous. Famous like Khalid, the singer. He's sold millions of albums. Hundreds of millions of plays on streaming apps. Odds are, there are people right now listening to his music within ten miles of you. People who, right now, constantly check his Instagram for updates. He deals with it in stride, though: making brilliant music and trying to touch the heart of every fan at his shows. He's today's guest on Bullseye, and we're thrilled...more
Every now and then, we bring you a special segment called The Song that Changed My Life - it's a chance for musicians we love to dish on the song that made them who they are today. This time: Stephen Malkmus, the former frontman of Pavement. The band's been called one of the best acts from the 90s. They recorded so many songs that capture the decade perfectly: Cut Your Hair. Range Life. Stereo. Malkmus has kept on since the band broke up in '99 - dropping 8 records between then and now. His late...more
Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle created an star in the brilliant new show PEN15, on Hulu. It's show about middle school. Or, I guess this is more accurate: it's about middle school you might have actually experienced. It's set in the year 2000 and it captures the era perfectly: N*SYNC songs, lip gloss, bebe tanks and all. But PEN15 digs deeper into what it means to be 12 or 13. It's a scary, weird, uncertain time. And nobody really knows what they're doing. It's a show about kids that definitely is...more
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 Norsemen. 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 fi...more
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 la...more
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...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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. Pl...more
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.
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.
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...more
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.
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 p...more
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 font...more
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 Commu...more
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: Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights. Lately, though, his work has been more serious. Topical. Political. A few years back, he wrote and directed The Big Short, which deconstructed an...more
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...more
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 BlacKkKlans...more
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 hi...more
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 —...more
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, ...more
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" ...more
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 he...more
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...more
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 whe...more
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 mea...more
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 Jess...more
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!
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 B...more
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 Longwo...more
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 sho...more
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 ...more
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, ...more
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, sil...more
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 t...more
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....more
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 R...more
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 Por...more
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, perso...more
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 ...more
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 collaborate...more
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 o...more
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. Al...more
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 a...more
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 G...more
This week, we've got another Emmy-nominated guest - W.Kamau Bell! He's known for his stand-up comedy. But he might be even more beloved for the television shows he's hosted. "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell," was kind of a hybrid between a political satire show and a talk show. But unlike, say, "The Daily Show" Kamau wasn't inclined to be the star. Rather, he let his guests do that. Kamau just asked questions - both funny and serious ones. That made the show really special. W. Kamau Bell's, "...more
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 nomi...more
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 o...more
"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...more
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...more
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 A...more
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 peo...more
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 mons...more
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...more
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 Ju...more
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 ...more
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 reg...more
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...more
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...more
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...more