Bullseye with Jesse Thorn (NPR)
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.)
Jason Mitchell & Karina Longworth (12/2018)
We're kicking things off with the brilliant and lively Jason Mitchell this week! Jason's an actor - a really great one. He's been in a lot of acclaimed movies and TV shows. In the acclaimed 2017 movie "Mudbound" he played a world war two veteran returning home in Mississippi. In "Straight Outta Compton," he sort of stole every scene as Eazy-E. He stars in the new movie "Tyrel" - a tense, unsettling comedy/drama about race, machismo and an awkward guys trip to the Catskills. Then: Karina Longworth! She's the host of the terrific podcast "You Must Remember This." She's a writer and historian who specializes in the history of Hollywood's golden age. She digs deep into records and newspaper clippings to find nuanced, fascinating stories about people from that era both famous and forgotten. She's also a published author with five books to her name - her latest is called "Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood." Finally: one of the best years of Jesse's life was spent rolling objects into a ever-growing sticky ball, to please his father, the King of the Cosmos.
Remembering Ricky Jay (12/2018)
Ricky Jay died last month. He was 72. Ricky was a writer. And an actor. And a magician. One of the greatest sleight of hand performers ever, actually. He could throw a playing card almost 200 ft at 90mph. He could pierce a watermelon with the Jack of Hearts. He was also about as close as anyone could get to being a regular on Bullseye. So we were all devastated to learn of his passing. This week, we're remembering his career: his performances in films like Boogie Nights and Magnolia, on TV shows like Deadwood. His confounding and thrilling magic act. And his great books: Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women, Cards as Weapons, Matthias Buchinger: "The Greatest German Living" - just to name a handful. We'll miss you, Ricky.
Billy Eichner & Ali Wong (11/2018)
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.
Tim Blake Nelson & Mary Randolph Carter (11/2018)
Tim Blake Nelson is a master of his craft: a character actor with over 80 credits to his name. Roles in films as diverse as The Incredible Hulk, Minority Report and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coen Brothers classic. You remember him: Tim played Delmar in that one - the lovable prison escapee who mistakes John Turturro's character for a toad. His latest role is in another Coen bros film: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. He plays Buster, the star in the first of the film's six vignettes. Then, Mary Randolph Carter. Carter, as she's known, has worked high up at Ralph Lauren for decades - she's a creative director there. That's her day job. In her free time, she collects stuff. She calls it junk. And she's got a lot of junk. She's written tons of books on the topic of junk: antique shops, collections, personal stories, photographs. She talks with Jesse about her books, her decidedly un-minimal design philosophy and her unique, sometimes tragic upbringing. Finally, for the Outshot: Jesse tells you about the power of Police Squad's decidedly un-fancy comedy.
Maura Tierney & Michael Kupperman (11/2018)
First up this week: Maura Tierney! You know her from her time on the hit drama ER - she played Abby. She's currently on the Showtime series The Affair, as well. And, here's a personal favorite of ours: She also starred on the sitcom Newsradio as Lisa, the ambitious reporter and producer. Her latest role is in the film Beautiful Boy, where she stars alongside Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. Then, Michael Kupperman. He's a comics artist and writer whose work usually comes off as surreal, silly and always hilarious. Not so much with his latest work, though. He made a touching, fascinating graphic memoir about his father. It's called "All The Answers." Michael's dad is Joel Kupperman - who, for a brief period in the 40s and 50s, was one of the most famous people in the nation. Joel spent almost his entire childhood and adolescence on TV as a "quiz kid," answering trivia questions for prizes. Finally, for the outshot: Jesse tells you about the last great album Sly Stone ever recorded.
Kamasi Washington & Simon Rich (11/2018)
This week, we're dedicating almost an entire episode to one of our favorite musicians: Kamasi Washington! Kamasi is a saxophonist and composer. In the studio, he's played sax and arranged for hitmakers like Kendrick Lamar, Ryan Adams, Snoop Dogg - and that's just naming a handful. On his own, he's a visionary bandleader with over half a dozen solo records to his name. He broke through in 2015, with his three hour long instant classic "The Epic" - a record that found its way to a bunch of top ten lists and renewed a fiery debate in the music world: can a guy like Kamasi, not yet 40, revive jazz and turn it into a young person's game again? He and Jesse talk about his time playing sax in bands, as a composer and bandleader, and his nearly unbeatable Street Fighter II skills. We'll close out this week's show with a treat: a short story from the one and only Simon Rich! He's been a writer for SNL, the New Yorker and much more. He just put out a terrific new short story collection called "Hits and Misses." The outshot is back next week!
Steven Yeun & Sawbones (10/2018)
First up this week: Steven Yeun! Fans of The Walking Dead know and love Steven for his time on the show as the beloved Glenn Rhee. Lately, though, he's taken on some even more thrilling roles. Last year, he starred in the Netflix hit Okja. Earlier this year he played Squeeze, the union organizing rabble rouser in the hit Sorry To Bother You. And now Steven's starring in a beautiful, engrossing new film called Burning - it's South Korea's entry into the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year. Then, join Jesse as he embarks on a gross, strange and hilarious overview of weird medical history: Trepanation! Humors! Bad surgery! The guides on our tour? Justin and Dr. Sydnee McElroy, husband and wife hosts of the MaxFun podcast Sawbones. They just wrote a new book based on the podcast and have loads of great, gory info. Just in time for Halloween! Finally: Jesse tells you about the person who inspired him to take up radio.
Eric Idle & Blood Orange's Dev Hynes (10/2018)
Two brilliant Brits on this week's Bullseye! First up this week, a conversation with comedy pioneer and Monty Python founding member Eric Idle! Eric's entered a reflective moment in his career now that Monty Python turned 50. He's written a memoir about his life. It's called "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography." Then, Blood Orange's Dev Hynes. The singer and multi-instrumentalist is also a producer who has worked for artists like Solange Knowles, Kylie Minogue, and Carly Rae Jepson to name a few. His latest album is "Negro Swan." Finally: Janet Delaney's photo collection of people in San Francisco, playing out their roles in the everyday drama of public life.
Susan Orlean & Gregory Porter (10/2018)
First up this week, a guest we're always thrilled to welcome: Susan Orlean! One of the greatest writers around. You might know her from Saturday Night, Rin Tin Tin or the Orchid Thief - the book that was turned into the Academy Award nominated film Adaptation. She has a new book. It talks about the history of public libraries in the US and a catastrophic fire that almost destroyed one of the nation's largest. The title? The Library Book! It drops this week. Then a conversation with Gregory Porter. He's a Grammy winning jazz singer, the pride of Bakersfield California and, until his junior year of college, an aspiring football player. He recently recorded an album of standards made popular by Nat "King" Cole, and he'll tell Jesse about his deeply personal connection to one of America's most iconic voices. Finally: sometimes you don't need much to make a great comedy sketch. Just a simple premise and about seven hot dogs. Or more. Yeah, actually... probably more than seven hot dogs.
Sarah Jessica Parker & Chris Gethard (10/2018)
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!