Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

United States

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.)

Episodes

Kumail Nanjiani, Emily Gordon & Terrace Martin  

"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.

Bonus: Tavi Gevinson  

We've got a special bonus Bullseye for you this week! Tavi Gevinson, editor of Rookie Magazine, actress, podcast host and much more. Jesse interview Tavi in front of a live audience at this year's MaxFunCon.

Vince Staples & The Trailer Park Boys  

[r] This week, we're bringing you a couple of Jesse's favorite past interviews. First up: Vince Staples! The Long Beach rapper is a legend nowadays, with his two critically acclaimed records Summertime '06 and Big Fish Theory. Vince came into the Bullseye studios back in 2014, when he had just a couple mixtapes to his name. Even then at 20, Vince was brilliant, funny and brutally honest. Then we go way back - back to 2009, when Jesse recorded the show out of his apartment in LA. The guests? The Trailer Park Boys, Canadian comedy legends. John Paul Tremblay, Robb Well and Mike Smith play Julian, Ricky and Bubbles, respectively. In a rare feat of comedic ninjutsu, they talk with Jesse *entirely* in character. Finally: Winter is coming, but who cares? Jesse tells you why Game of Thrones is about the journey, not the destination.

Beth Ditto & Ernest Dickerson  

This week, we have Beth Ditto joining us. The former lead singer with Gossip, talks about growing up gay and punk rock in Searcy, Arkansas, and paying a dollar for her first kiss with a girl in a lesbian kissing booth called Homo-A-Gogo in Olympia Washington. Plus, Ernest Dickerson, who directed Juice, maybe Tupac's best film, and also was director of photography on all of Spike Lee's movies up through Malcolm X. Finally, we're here to say it because it's true: Car Talk was the best public radio show ever. Don't @ us.

A$AP Ferg & Dr. Katz  

What an episode this week! We have New York's very own A$AP Ferg in the house. He and Jesse talk about his love for Madonna, how going to an arts high school changed his life and how being a part of a collective like A$AP Mob can make calling yourself a solo artist kind of challenging. Then, Jonathan Katz joins Jesse. He's the creator and star of the animated series Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. He's also one of the funniest people we've had on - he's got a joke ready for everything. Like, since about 1996, he's been dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. Does he have a joke about that? Of course he has a joke about that. Finally, what's the best Prince album? The Princiest among Prince records? Jesse makes the case for Sign O' The Times, and gets about 6 songs stuck in your head as a result.

Katie Couric, Marc Maron & Audie Cornish  

This week, we're giving you a sneak peek into The Turnaround, Jesse's new podcast. The Turnaround brings you interviews with some of the best interviewers out there. You'll hear why Marc Maron can't stand letting strangers in house. We've got Audie Cornish, too. she hosts NPR's All Things Considered talking about how she manages to sound as smart as she does during intense, live interviews. Plus: Katie Couric. Name a famous person, especially a politician, odds are Katie Couric's interviewed them: George Bush, Jimmy Carter, Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton, many more. How does she do it? Take a listen to find out!

Big Boi & Catherine O'Hara  

[r] Big Boi's sold more than 50 millions records as a solo artist and as half of Outkast, maybe the greatest hip hop group of all time. With their 1994 debut Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Big Boi and Andre 3000 introduced one of rap's most distinctive voices: Street-minded, but just as willing to travel to the stars as to stay on the corner. It's been more than a decade since the last Outkast record, but Big Boi's stayed active pretty much that entire time. He's released three solo albums, collaborated on a couple others. His latest is coming out this month. It's called "Boomiverse" and it's got appearances from Snoop Dogg, Killer Mike, Adam Levine and more. Then, we hear from Catherine O'Hara. The actress and comedian starred in Beetlejuice, Home Alone, hit Christopher Guest movies like Best In Show and Waiting for Guffman. She's brilliant, charming and funny, as always.These interviews originally took place in 2013.

Kathryn Hahn & Jason Zinoman  

This week, Jesse talks with Kathryn Hahn. She's starring in the new Amazon series I Love Dick, which also features Kevin Bacon and Griffin Dunne. The show was created by Jill Soloway, a writer Hahn's been working with a lot lately - she's also in Transparent, Soloway's other Amazon show. Then, Jesse talks about the greatest TV host of all time: David Letterman. New York Times' Comedy Critic Jason Zinoman has a brand new biography on Letterman. In it, Zinoman gives us more than just Letterman's life story - it's critical examination of what made a host like Letterman so brilliant.

Carol Kane  

This week, Jesse sits down with actor Carol Kane. They talk about her career that spans 45 years and her newest project - "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," which is now in its 3rd season on Netflix. We hear some live comedy from Chris Fairbanks and Jesse tells us why the meta-sitcom The Larry Sanders Show is one of the most real things on TV, ever.

Terry Crews & Amber Tamblyn  

As a linebacker from Flint Michigan, Terry Crews 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 FOX's Brooklyn Nine Nine. Now, his latest role is in Sandy Wexler. It's the new Adam Sandler comedy on Netflix. He talks with Jesse about the film, his time in the NFL and how he overcame a devastating addiction to pornography. Then, Jesse talks with the fascinating Amber Tamblyn. She's an actress and a published poet. In her latest film, Paint It Black, she's making her debut as a writer and director. The movie explores the aftermath of death from a really compelling and human perspective. This week's Outshot? Gap Band IV. The Sixth album by the Gap Band. Wall to wall bangers, we swear.

John Waters & Andy Kindler  

We got John Waters in the studio (he wore a beautiful Commes de Garcon shirt, btw). John has a new book out, it's a transcript of a commencement speech he gave to RISD students in 2015. Jesse talks with him about Little Richard, trigger warnings, and how the film industry tried (and failed) to make the King of Trash compromise his work. Then, Andy Kindler stopy by. Andy's a terrific stand up and hosts the latest season of the Hulu series Coming to the Stage. Since 1996, Andy's also given a speech at the Just for Laughs Festival - it's called the State of the Industry. For about an hour each year, Andy basically puts comedians and the entire industry on blast - popular targets include Jay Leno, Ricky Gervais, and lazy journalists. It's made him one of the funniest and sincere truth tellers in comedy. His newest album is a never before released recording of his original 1996 address.

Moshe Kasher, Felicia Day & Brother Ali  

This week, Jesse talks with standup and author Moshe Kasher about his new TV show: Problematic. Like a lot of shows nowadays it's got a comedian taking on issues of the day, interviews with newsmakers, plenty of snarky jokes. But instead of John Oliver style polemic takedowns, Kasher takes a cue from legends like Phil Donahue - exploring uncomfortable issues with a genuine inquisitiveness. Then, Felicia Day of the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 tells us about the inspirational power of The Mighty Boosh - the surreal British TV comedy. Finally, Brother Ali. He's a rapper based out of Minnesota. There, he's part of the Rhymesayers collective - a label he shares with Aesop Rock, Dilated Peoples, and Atmosphere. For the first part of his career, he focused a lot on making protest rap - speaking truth to power, that kind of thing. His latest record is called All The Beauty In This Whole Life. On it, he takes a refreshing, positive spin on life.

Chris Gethard, George Saunders, & DJ Jazzy Jeff  

Jesse talks about life and death with George Saunders, the brilliant author of the new novel Lincoln in the Bardo. But first, Chris Gethard comes by. He hosts Fusion's The Chris Gethard show and stars in Career Suicide, a one-man show debuting this week on HBO. Plus: DJ Jazzy Jeff tells us about the song that changed his life - it's a good one, too.

Werner Herzog & Mount Eerie's Phil Elverum  

This week's Bullseye has a lot of heavy stuff. First up: Phil Elverum. Elverum's career dates back over 20 years, first as the Microphones and later Mt. Eerie. He's produced ambitious, beautiful records that mix genres like folk, noise, death metal, shoegaze and more. In 2016, though, his life took a tragic turn: his wife, Genevieve, died of pancreatic cancer, leaving behind a toddler. On his latest record, A Crow Looked At Me, Elverum takes grief and loss head on. Then, Werner Herzog, legendary German film director talks about sitcoms, getting shot, and his newest film: the strange, thrilling Salt & Fire.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Armando Iannucci and Billy Bragg  

[r] First things first: the one, the only Julia Louis-Dreyfus! After a run of 9 years on Seinfeld, one of the greatest TV comedies of all time, she's now entering her sixth season as Selina Meyer on the hit HBO show Veep. Plus, Armando Iannucci, Veep's creator. And Billy Bragg, the folk punk legend, tells us about the song that changed his life.

Guy Branum  

Guy Branum, comic and beloved host of MaxFun's own Pop Rocket is on TV now! He's hosting the brand new TV series Talk Show the Game Show on TruTV. Guy talks with Jesse about growing up gay in a rural California town, working on TV and the pleasure of calling out prejudiced athletes on TV. Plus, professor Emily Lordi makes the case for why Donny Hathaway Live is a classic album.

Baseball Special with Tabitha Soren & Sean Doolittle  

Guess what! With opening day this week, Bullseye is bringing you its first ever Baseball special! Jesse talks with Oakland A's relief pitcher Sean Doolittle about recovering from injuries, getting called up to the majors and the weird path it took him on: starting out as a first baseman, then pivoting to closing out games on the mound. Plus, Tabitha Soren of MTV fame has a new career: photography. She just published a new book that follows the a draft class of ball players over the course of 15 years. Plus: Red Sox organist Josh Kantor on the song that changed his life.

My Brother, My Brother and Me & Gina Prince-Bythewood  

This week, NPR's Linda Holmes sits in for Jesse Thorn. We kick things off with Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. The three brothers have a brand new TV show called My Brother, My Brother and Me based on their podcast of the same name. Then, Gina Prince-Bythewood the writer/director behind Love and Basketball and The Secret Life of Bee's talks about her newest project - Shots Fired, a fascinating, poignant TV drama on Fox she co-created with her husband. Finally, don't ever, not for one second, think you can't carry a tune. Linda tells you all you have to do is listen to the crowds at a Pete Seeger show and everyone there can sing like angels.

Paul Shaffer, Javaka Steptoe & Louis Theroux  

Jesse talks with Paul Shaffer, David Letterman's former bandleader and the co-writer of the disco smash "It's Raining Men." They'll talk about his work on SNL and his role in co-founding the Blue Brothers. Plus, how weird it feels when a thing like the Late Show, something you worked on every day for almost half of your life suddenly comes to an end. Then, children's author Javaka Steptoe, talks about his Caldecott winning book "Radiant Child." Plus, British documentarian Louis Theroux on the craziest day of his career, and Jesse has some real talk about John Wick 2: it's the best six bucks he's ever spent. No contest.

Sam Richardson & Syd of The Internet  

This week, comic Wyatt Cenac sits in for Jesse Thorn, and it's a hell of a lineup: Sam Richardson of HBO's Veep stops by to talk about his new Comedy Central show Detroiters. Plus, Syd tha Kyd of the bands The Internet and Odd Future has her first ever solo album - it's called "Fin" and it just came out last month. She tells Wyatt about how the record got made, and why she is in no rush to meet her idols. Finally, for this week's Outshot, Wyatt recommends the weird, hilarious and profound Blaxploitation film "The Thing with Two Heads."

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