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Cover image of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

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.)

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Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda is the star and creator of the biggest musical this century has seen: Hamilton. These days, he's got another show on Broadway: Freestyle Love Supreme. It's an improvised hip-hop performance where the performers get their prompts from the audience. He's also starring in the new HBO show His Dark Materials. It's a fantasy series based on the book by the same name. Lin-Manuel Miranda talks about how his career has changed since Hamilton. We'll also talk about the time he turned down a part in a Marvel movie.

40mins

26 Nov 2019

Rank #1

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Bill Hader on Barry, Saturday Night Live and 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 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.

33mins

12 Mar 2019

Rank #2

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Jeff Goldblum

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 iconic past roles and his latest role as a new father.

46mins

6 Aug 2019

Rank #3

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Danny McBride & Miroslav Vitous

[r] Jesse sits down for an in-depth conversation with Danny McBride. McBride co-created and stars in the hit HBO series Eastbound and Down and the newer Vice Principals, which is getting picked up for a second season later this year. McBride says that if you like the characters he plays because you relate to them, you probably missed the joke. Then, legendary jazz bassist Miroslav Vitous tells us about the recording session he'll never forget. Finally, Jesse tells you why Taika Waititi's movie about two guys killing pigs in the wilderness is twee - and why that's a compliment.

1hr 7mins

6 Mar 2017

Rank #4

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Billy Eichner & Ali Wong

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.

1hr 5mins

26 Nov 2018

Rank #5

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Pete Holmes & Mike Mills

Jesse talks with with Pete Holmes - the star of the new HBO show Crashing. Then, Mike Mills, writer and director of the Oscar nominated 20th Century Women.

1hr 11mins

14 Feb 2017

Rank #6

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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!

1hr 11mins

20 Jun 2017

Rank #7

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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.

1hr 23mins

17 Apr 2017

Rank #8

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Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' and 'Gilmore Girls'

Amy Sherman-Palladino has worked on some of the most unique programs to be ever greenlit for the TV screen. You've seen her work on Gilmore Girls. For three seasons, she was a writer on Roseanne, and wrote some really iconic episodes. Her latest work can be seen on Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Amy Sherman-Palladino joins us to talk about what she learned working on Roseanne in her early 20's, and how that experience helped her create Gilmore Girls. Plus, did you know the Gilmore Girls pitch kind of happened by chance? Of course, we'll take some time to talk about Mrs. Maisel , too!

45mins

20 Aug 2019

Rank #9

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End of Year Comedy Special!

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!

1hr 23mins

26 Dec 2017

Rank #10

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End of year stand-up comedy special 2018!

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!

1hr 25mins

25 Dec 2018

Rank #11

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Amy Sedaris & Paul Reiser

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.

1hr 1min

10 Sep 2018

Rank #12

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Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi! The best ever. Steve joins us to talk about the latest season of his hit TBS show Miracle Workers, now in its second season. The anthology series steps back into the Dark Ages for season 2 with Steve playing a peasant with a name we can't say on NPR. Let's just say he's a guy named after his occupation and he makes his living shoveling the kind of stuff that usually rolls down hill. The show is created by Simon Rich and co stars Daniel Radcliffe with guests appearances by Peter Serafinowicz and Chris Parnell. Steve chats with us about what it's like to play a "Sweatpants god," dying on screen dozens of times, and how his father shaped his career in the civil services as well as acting. Plus, he'll talk to us about trying his hand at stand-up as an eighteen year old kid from Long Island.

50mins

11 Feb 2020

Rank #13

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Jay Leno

Stop what you're doing, turn off the kitchen sink, pull over the car... our guest is Jay Leno! He'll look back on a comedy career that's stretched almost 45 years. Jay's one of the biggest TV hosts in the history of TV hosts. A guy who, by his own admission, never got much love from critics. He got cast, more or less, as the villain in the late night battles with Letterman and Conan. He'll open up about those late night wars in this in-depth interview. He'll also reflect on his childhood and how that's influenced his comedy. From sleeping in alleys on the streets of New York, to hosting The Tonight Show for decades. It's a remarkable story, and we hope you'll join us.

57mins

10 Sep 2019

Rank #14

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John Hodgman & Tig Notaro

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.

1hr 6mins

6 Nov 2017

Rank #15

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Saturday Night Live's Paula Pell

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 about her latest project: Wine Country. She co-stars alongside SNL alums Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Rachel Dratch. Sincerely, one of the funniest people we've ever had on the show. Don't sleep on this one!

36mins

14 May 2019

Rank #16

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H. Jon Benjamin

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.

30mins

18 Jun 2019

Rank #17

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Rian Johnson & The Go! Team

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.

1hr 5mins

16 Jan 2018

Rank #18

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Tim Gunn & Jonathan Coulton

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?

1hr 3mins

5 Sep 2017

Rank #19

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Tituss Burgess of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

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.

24mins

1 Feb 2019

Rank #20