Cover image of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
(1987)
Society & Culture

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Updated 6 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

1987 Ratings
Average Ratings
1748
120
49
25
45

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

1987 Ratings
Average Ratings
1748
120
49
25
45

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

Updated 6 days ago

Read more

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.)

Rank #1: Julio Torres on 'My Favorite Shapes,' 'SNL,' and 'Los Espookys'

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Julio Torres has created some of our favorite sketches for Saturday Night Live in recent memory. His sketches on the show are a little different than standard SNL fare. It's not the in-your-face humor about politics or the need for cowbell, but it's a little dreamy and magical. Julio recently released his first comedy special on HBO, 'My Favorite Shapes.' It's a little sideways from what you'd expect from a comedy special. Julio talks about ... his favorite shapes. The shapes have lived lives you'd never quite expect, but really, the shapes help us learn more about Julio. He's also one of the creators of the new HBO show, Los Espookys. In the show, a group of friends who turn their love of horror films into a business. Think the gig economy for spooky events. We're big fans of Julio, and we're thrilled to share this conversation about Julio's recent success!
Aug 27 2019
44 mins
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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
33 mins
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Rank #3: 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
46 mins
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Rank #4: 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
1 hour 25 mins
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Rank #5: 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
1 hour 1 min
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Rank #6: 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
45 mins
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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
1 hour 5 mins
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Rank #8: Randy Newman

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"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 music and comedy. They'll also talk baseball, run-ins with the two Franks (Sinatra & Jr.), and why he has trouble coming to terms with some of his most critically acclaimed music. This is a real deal all-timer, folks. Finally, for the outshot: enough about rock music! Jesse talks about the terrifying, awesome wonder of Levitated Mass, a sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Jul 30 2018
1 hour
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Rank #9: 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
51 mins
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Rank #10: 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
36 mins
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Rank #11: 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
35 mins
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Rank #12: 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
33 mins
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Rank #13: 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
24 mins
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Rank #14: Tony Shalhoub of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and more

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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" and more sits down with Jesse Thorn to discuss his long career on the big and small screens.
Jan 22 2019
27 mins
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Rank #15: 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
40 mins
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Rank #16: Megan Mullally & Tracee Ellis Ross

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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 nominated for what could end up being her *third* Emmy for her role on the show. Then, a special treat: Karen Tongson, professor and panelist on our sister show Pop Rocket, talks with the one and only Tracee Ellis Ross. Tracee is nominated in the best actress category for her role on ABC's Blackish - she plays Rainbow Johnson (aka Bow) on the show. She and Karen go deep into her work acting and directing Blackish. Plus, her relationship with her mom... Diana Ross. Diana Ross! Finally, Jesse tells you about one of the most charming people who ever lived. And she's got a book and documentary to prove it.
Aug 13 2018
1 hour 14 mins
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Rank #17: 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
30 mins
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Rank #18: 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
43 mins
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Rank #19: 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
1 hour 5 mins
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Rank #20: Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz

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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 her boyfriend. Towards the beginning of the film, she goes through a vicious sexual assault, and the movie tells the story of the aftermath of that event - its effect on her work life, relationship, and even mundane daily decisions - like whether or not she wears headphones when she's walking off the subway. It's brutal to watch, but it's also nuanced, realistic, and really touching. We'll talk about all of that and also how she and her Dad cemented their father-daughter bond by watching Seinfeld:
Jan 18 2019
33 mins
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