Cover image of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
(2055)
Society & Culture

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Updated 4 days ago

Society & Culture
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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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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.)

iTunes Ratings

2055 Ratings
Average Ratings
1794
130
55
28
48

Jay Leno is...

By andymckim - Sep 11 2019
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annoying with his fake humblenes. Otherwise Bullseye is a pretty decent show

Great

By Souljoi - Sep 06 2018
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Great questions and nice conversation with people that I want to hear from.

iTunes Ratings

2055 Ratings
Average Ratings
1794
130
55
28
48

Jay Leno is...

By andymckim - Sep 11 2019
Read more
annoying with his fake humblenes. Otherwise Bullseye is a pretty decent show

Great

By Souljoi - Sep 06 2018
Read more
Great questions and nice conversation with people that I want to hear from.
Cover image of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Latest release on Jan 25, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 4 days ago

Rank #1: Lin-Manuel Miranda

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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.

Nov 26 2019

40mins

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Rank #2: Bill Hader on Barry, Saturday Night Live and more

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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.

Mar 12 2019

33mins

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Rank #3: W Kamau Bell & Mike Pesca

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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, "United Shades of America," airs on CNN and is up for three Emmys. He'll tell us why he's particularly proud about the series. Then, we'll talk to Mike Pesca about his newest book: "Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History". It's a collection of essays from over 30 different writers - people like Robert Siegel, Nate DiMeo, Jesse Eisenberg and more. They all ask hypothetical questions about the most pivotal moments in sports history... and what would have happened if things had gone differently. Pesca also talks about what it was like working for NPR as one of two sports reporters and about the time he was the guest host of "Wait Wait.. Don't Tell Me!" (including the outcry he received for having Kim Kardashian-West on that program). And finally, for this week's Outshot, Jesse breaks down "Aretha Live at the Fillmore West" and why the San Francisco-recorded live album might be the perfect showcase for the late Queen of Soul.

Aug 20 2018

1hr 5mins

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Rank #4: Amy Sedaris & Paul Reiser

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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.

Sep 10 2018

1hr 1min

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Rank #5: Jeff Goldblum

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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.

Aug 06 2019

46mins

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Rank #6: End of year stand-up comedy special 2018!

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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!

Dec 25 2018

1hr 25mins

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Rank #7: Billy Eichner & Ali Wong

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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.

Nov 26 2018

1hr 5mins

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Rank #8: Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' and 'Gilmore Girls'

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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!

Aug 20 2019

45mins

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Rank #9: H. Jon Benjamin

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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.

Jun 18 2019

30mins

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Rank #10: Jay Leno

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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.

Sep 10 2019

57mins

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Rank #11: Saturday Night Live's Paula Pell

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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!

May 14 2019

36mins

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Rank #12: Clipping's Daveed Diggs: noise rap, Hamilton & Sesame Street

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Let's start taking bets for the next person to EGOT: that is, the next person to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony award. Our money is on Daveed Diggs. He's already got a Grammy and a Tony for his fantastic work on the Broadway smash hit Hamilton. So, he's halfway there! Diggs has one of the most varied resumes in entertainment. He's an actor on the small screen. You've seen him on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Get Down, Black -ish and Sesame Street. He's a writer, too – he co-wrote the screenplay for Blindspotting, a movie about violence and gentrification in Oakland, his hometown. He also co-stars in the film. And, if that wasn't enough he's a very talented musician as a member of the rap group Clipping. Diggs joins us to talk about Clipping's new record, his various acting roles, and of course, Hamilton. Let's go!

Oct 08 2019

1hr 3mins

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Rank #13: Linda Holmes, pop culture critic and author of 'Evvie Drake Starts Over'

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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.

Jun 28 2019

40mins

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Rank #14: Was 1999 the Best Movie Year Ever?

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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 but changed the way studios marketed them. Listen to this one for a fascinating conversation about film!

Apr 19 2019

51mins

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Rank #15: Veep's Timothy Simons looks back on seven years of Jonah Ryan

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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 knowledge of elementary school handball.

May 28 2019

43mins

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Rank #16: Chuck Klosterman

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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 us, this is one story you don't want to miss! Klosterman's latest book Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction is out now.

Jul 21 2019

14mins

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Rank #17: Tituss Burgess of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

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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.

Feb 01 2019

24mins

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Rank #18: Wanda Sykes

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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 starring in a special 90 minute live performance of "All in The Family," the groundbreaking Norman Lear sitcom. It airs later this month on ABC - she'll be playing Louise Jefferson.

May 07 2019

35mins

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Rank #19: Eugene Levy from "Schitt's Creek," "American Pie" and more

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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 American Pie movies. You read that right. Eight! Plus, he'll talk to us about what it's like working with his son Dan on their hit show Schitt's Creek, now in its fifth season.

Aug 13 2019

33mins

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Rank #20: Comic and actor J.B. Smoove

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*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 sketches that never made it to air. He'll also talk about his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and why he always goes to an audition in character. Plus, he'll tell us about the time he told Howard Stern, and we quote: "You can't eat spaghetti on an open patio." Join us to learn exactly what he means!

Jul 16 2019

34mins

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