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.)
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

From 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.)More from Bullseye with Jesse Thorn »

Most Recent Episodes

Bo Burnham and Won't You Be My Neighbor's Morgan Neville

This week, we've got April Wolfe holding things down in the host chair. April is a film critic and panelist on the Maximum Fun podcast Who Shot Ya. She also hosts her own show here at MaxFun - it's called Switchblade Sisters. Every week on Switchblade Sisters, April talks with a female filmmaker about a different genre film - horror, cult, western, all kinds of stuff. What follows is a fascinating and refreshing discussion on theory and craft in filmmaking. This time on Bullseye, you'll hear April talk with Bo Burnham. Bo's one of the original Youtube celebrities - before Justin Bieber, before Rebecca Black, even before Leave Britney Alone! But he's turned that career from novelty into a diverse and really funny body of work - standup specials, albums, TV shows. Now he's gone behind the camera and created his first movie - it's called Eighth Grade. It's a funny and sincere coming of age story told from the POV of an Extremely Online 13 year old girl. You'll also hear a touching interview between Jesse and Morgan Neville. The Academy Award winning documentary director just made a new film that looks into the life of Fred Rogers — Mister Rogers. And finally: April will tell you about the filmmaker and actress who made a brilliant, extremely real movie... and then stopped.

Bo Burnham and Won't You Be My Neighbor's Morgan Neville

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Heat Rocks Special! Jay Smooth, Meshell Ndegeocello, & Vernon Reid

We're doing something a little different this week: you're about to hear three of our favorite interviews from Heat Rocks, one of our sister shows here at company Maximum Fun. Heat Rocks is a music podcast about passion. It's hosted by Oliver Wang, a veteran hip-hop writer, and Morgan Rhodes - she's a music supervisor who's worked closely with Ava DuVernay. Each week, Heat Rocks brings you a conversation with a guest about the album that shaped their lives. Morgan and Oliver have talked with people like Cut Chemist, Ishmael Butler, Ann Powers and more. Expect deep, compelling conversations about R&B, Soul, Jazz, Hip-hop and more. Oliver and Morgan use each record as a jumping off point to talk about its history, its context, and why we care about it. This week you'll hear from Jay Smooth, the radio DJ and commentator, singer/songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and Vernon Reid, founder of Living Colour.

Heat Rocks Special! Jay Smooth, Meshell Ndegeocello, & Vernon Reid

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Bonus! Bubble's Jordan Morris & Nick Adams

Hey all! Just popping in to give you a special treat this Thursday. You've probably heard about it already, but Maximum Fun - the company that makes Bullseye, Judge John Hodgman and more - just produced its very first scripted series. It's called "Bubble," it's sort of a sci-fi sitcom and we're all *extremely* proud of it. The show follows four twenty-somethings working the same side hustle to make ends meet. They're contract workers for an app called Huntr. The app hires people to kill the monsters that occasionally slip through the town's protective barrier. On this special bonus episode of Bullseye, you'll hear Jesse talk with creator Jordan Morris and writer/producer Nick Adams. It's a discussion not just about the show but about cities, why people live in them, and the insane lengths some of us will go to just to stay. Give it a listen and, if you haven't already, subscribe to Bubble! You'll be glad you did.

Bonus! Bubble's Jordan Morris & Nick Adams

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George Clinton & Cristela Alonzo

We're listening to some of our favorite interviews from Bullseyes past this week, and we've got a couple doozies. First up: the living legend, the master of funk music, Dr. Funkenstein himself: George Clinton, from 2014. The impact he's had on modern music is so huge that he's almost more myth than actual person nowadays, but Clinton's life story is a fascinating one: starting in doo-wop, moving on to Motown, and then creating his own genre from scratch: funk. He'll talk about that, his struggle with drug addiction and some of his best wild stories from Parliament Funkadelic's early days. Then, Cristela Alonzo, from last year. She's a veteran standup comedian and actress. You might've seen her on the ABC sitcom Cristela - she was the show's creator, star, she also wrote and produced it. Alonzo was actually the first latina ever to do all that on one TV show. She's been working on her standup act more lately, and it's really great. Cristela mixes political humor with her own life story (including her time spent living in an abandoned diner) to a hilarious and really endearing effect. She's also starring on the new Maximum Fun podcast Bubble, which you should check out if you haven't already. C'mon! And, finally: Jesse tells you about an SNL sketch that he connects with on a profound, deep level. And - since you're a Bullseye listener - we bet you will, too.

George Clinton & Cristela Alonzo

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Boots Riley

So much of Bullseye is about what we think is great in culture today. And, for our money, one of the most compelling creative forces around is a guy named Boots Riley. For the first few decades in his career, Boots fronted the Coup. The Coup are a catchy, deeply political rap group from the Bay Area. Then, Boots had a movie idea. One that took 6 years to realize. He called it Sorry To Bother You - maybe you've seen the trailer already. Boots wrote and directed it, and it's set to hit theaters July 6. The movie is almost too wild to describe - it talks about telemarketing, race and monsters and so much more. In a deep, fascinating discussion with Jesse, he talks about the movie, the evolution of the Coup, politics and poverty and so much more. This one's an all-timer! Then, a tribute to the idea of serendipity, as evidenced in a surprising and infectious Max Roach record from the 70s.

Boots Riley

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Alia Shawkat & Mackenzie Crook

Alia Shawkat came by the Bullseye studios and holy moly, what a brilliant, funny human being! You know her as Maeby Fünke from TV's Arrested Development, which just dropped its fifth season. She also leads the TBS series Search Party these days. But Alia just starred in a really interesting film - it's called Duck Butter, and it tells the story of two women who fall in love and decide to spend the next 24 hours together, awake and totally present. Then, Mackenzie Crook. You've seen him before - maybe it was as Gareth on the original UK version of The Office. Or maybe you saw him in Pirates of the Caribbean or Game of Thrones. But his passion project is Detectorists - a three season British show he stars in and create. It's finally come to the states in its entirety via Acorn TV. It's a show about metal detecting, relationships, and the English Countryside and it's one of our favorite things on air. Finally - we know nobody can break the laws of physics. But if we had to pick one person who might be able to, it'd be NFL running back Barry Sanders. Jesse tells you why.

Alia Shawkat & Mackenzie Crook

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Pamela Adlon & James Acaster

The talents of Pamela Adlon are many. First, she's an incredible voice actress who's worked on literally dozens of shows. You probably know her best as Bobby from King of the Hill, though, where she was brilliant. Then there's her work on live action TV - she starred on prestige shows like Californication and Louie. And now, she co-created and stars in her own show: Better Things, which wrapped up its second season last year. You'll also hear from up and coming comic James Acaster - he's a regular on British TV and he's just now starting to make a splash over here with his hilarious **four hour long** comedy special on Netflix. The outshot is back next week!

Pamela Adlon & James Acaster

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Metta World Peace & Cut Chemist

This week, we've got a real treat for you: Metta World Peace! Even for a former NBA All Star and Champion, Metta has a big personality. When he played he had a reputation for hard defense and an unmatched intensity on the court. When it worked, it made him passionate, tough and nearly impossible to get past. But when didn't, things went south easily. He'd play dirty, get into dustups on the court. But World Peace - who was born Ron Artest - is up front about his flaws. And, in recent years, he's become a powerful advocate for mental health care. It's made him one of the most fascinating people in basketball. And it's also part of the reason his new book "No Malice: My Life in Basketball" is so compelling. He talks with Jesse about the new book - his highs, his lows, his childhood growing up in an enormous housing project in Queens. Plus, the time he met Kobe Bryant in a shower. We also have the song that changed Cut Chemist's life, and a deep, touching outshot on the life of Ed Roberts, a pioneering leader in the disability rights movement.

Metta World Peace & Cut Chemist

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H. Jon Benjamin & Sara Driver

Fans of Bob's Burgers, Archer, Home Movies and Dr. Katz, rejoice! Jesse's talking with the incomparable H. Jon Benjamin this week. With lead roles in some of the most popular comedies of all time, it's hard to call Jon a failure. But he doesn't really mind the label. In fact, he just wrote a book called "Failure is an Option: An Attempted Memoir." In it, he recounts his shortcomings in excruciating detail and how, wouldn't you know it, a lot of those failures opened the door to success: failures in family, in work, in serving fajitas. It's a very self-deprecating, self-aware memoir. And since it's written by H. Jon Benjamin, it's also really, really funny. Then, a talk about the gritty golden days of the New York City art scene with filmmaker Sara Driver. Driver just made a new documentary - it's called "Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat." It's a story about one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century and the art community he came up in. Driver lived in that same community and talked with dozens of other people from New York's art scene to tell a totally unique, hypnotizing story. Finally: the outshot is a little different this week. But it won't leave you hungry!

H. Jon Benjamin & Sara Driver

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Geena Davis & Jack Handey

For over a decade, actress Geena Davis has been spearheading an institute that gathers the numbers on gender balance on-screen. On this week's episode, she shares her fascinating take on what they do with all their findings plus, some heartwarming stories about how her work has shaped the way her children think about TV and film. Then, writer and humorist, Jack Handey of SNL's "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey" offers an explanation as to why the voice of Deep Thoughts might be a psychopath, but definitely not insane. And finally, for this week's outshot: Jesse thinks about the lasting amusement found in a 20-year old website. Welcome. To Bullseye. Welcome to Bullseye. Anything is possible at Bullseye. Welcome to you, who are at Bullseye. Welcome!

Geena Davis & Jack Handey

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