Cover image of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
(2006)
Society & Culture

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Updated 1 day 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

2006 Ratings
Average Ratings
1763
121
52
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

2006 Ratings
Average Ratings
1763
121
52
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.

The Best Episodes of:

Cover image of Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Updated 1 day 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: Tenacious D & José James

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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 stuff! Jazz singer José James will go deep on the life-changing power of Al Green's Love & Happiness. And instead of the outshot, you'll hear a really affecting, compelling bit of standup from comic Ted Alexandro.

Oct 01 2018

1hr 8mins

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Rank #2: 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 #3: 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 #4: 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 #5: 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 #6: 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 #7: 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 #8: 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 #9: Nicole Holofcener & Lodge 49

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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 of Steady Habits." And for the first time, her movie centers on a man. We'll talk about that, plus her childhood growing up among Hollywood filmmaking royalty. Then, have you heard of this show, Lodge 49? It's kind of a comedy / drama set in Long Beach, California. It's kind of hard to say what it's about, but some of the themes include: secret orders (like the Masons), quarter life crises and the stagnating aerospace economy in Long Beach, California. It's funny, weird and disarmingly honest, which is why it's been a hit here at MaxFun HQ. Jesse talks with Jim Gavin, the creator, and Peter Ocko, the showrunner.

Sep 18 2018

1hr 5mins

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Rank #10: 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 #11: 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 #12: 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 #13: 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 #14: 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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Rank #15: Sarah Jessica Parker & Chris Gethard

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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, personal projects he's ever taken on: a one man show called Career Suicide. Chris' show is a frank, specific and profoundly touching look at mental illness and how he succeeded in showbiz in spite of it. Finally: want to hear the sound of Dad-hood? Bring in the horns and fretless bass!

Oct 08 2018

1hr 7mins

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Rank #16: I Wish I'd Made That: Nick Offerman

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Artists, musicians, and filmmakers are often inspired by what they see or hear. Sometimes that thing is so great, they tell us they wish they made it themselves. It happens so often we made a segment about it called I Wish I'd Made That. Nick Offerman joins us this time around. Nick's probably best known as Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. When we asked him if there was any TV show, movie or album he wish he made, Nick said he leaves all that to the professionals. Instead, Nick tell us about the greatest guitar he ever held in his hands: The Gibson J-200.

Aug 30 2019

14mins

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Rank #17: 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

27mins

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Rank #18: 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 #19: 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 #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

33mins

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