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

Susan Orlean & Gregory Porter

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.

Susan Orlean & Gregory Porter

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Sarah Jessica Parker & Chris Gethard

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!

Sarah Jessica Parker & Chris Gethard

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Tenacious D & José James

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.

Tenacious D & José James

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Swamp Dogg & Joel Kim Booster

It's a rare honor for a guest to be on Bullseye three times, but Swamp Dogg deserves it. He's a psychedelic soul singer with a career that's now spanned six decades. He's been singing soul and R&B since he was 12. Back then he was Little Jerry Williams and his first single featured his mom on drums. He adopted the name Swamp Dogg in the early 70s and put out a bunch of stone cold classics: Total Destruction To Your Mind, Rat On!, Cuffed, Collared & Tagged. On his latest record, Swamp collaborates with some extremely of-the-moment indie talent to create a wild left turn: it's called Love, Loss & Auto-Tune, and it's out now. Then, Joel Kim Booster. Joel's a writer and comedian. He's written for Billy on the Street, Problematic with Moshe Kasher and Netflix's Big Mouth. And as a standup, he's appeared on Conan, Comedy Central, @Midnight and more. He's also one of the most exciting new comics around. He talks with Jesse about his evangelical, adopted upbringing, his stage persona (which, according to Joel, is "hot idiot"), and why he can't stand to listen to his old material.

Swamp Dogg & Joel Kim Booster

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Nicole Holofcener & Lodge 49

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.

Nicole Holofcener & Lodge 49

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Amy Sedaris & Paul Reiser

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.

Amy Sedaris & Paul Reiser

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Boz Scaggs and Maeve Higgins

This week: Boz Scaggs. The one and only! The hitmaker behind "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" and so much more talks with Jesse about his more than five decade career in music. Lately, like a lot of rockers his age, his work has steered more towards the basics: some blues, some covers here and there, lots of stripped down instrumentation. But behind all that has been a commitment to atmosphere and production - music with an aesthetic that's dark and unsettling in one moment, then in another tender and loving. You know, the kind of thing that makes Boz Scaggs... Boz Scaggs. It's all on his latest record - "Out of the Blues" - which is out now. Then, Maeve Higgins. She's a comic, a podcast host and a memoirist, very well known back home in Ireland. She moved to the New York City in her early 30s. And, yes, like a lot of comics, she worked her observations about America and New York into her set. But she probed deeper. She thought about what lead her to make the move. What it says about her. What it's like being in this strange, amazing city thousands of miles away from home.

Boz Scaggs and Maeve Higgins

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Guy Branum & Emily Lordi

A favorite from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Comedian, writer, and podcast host Guy Branum recently wrote a book called "My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture." It's a collection of personal essays. Kind of a combination of memoir and manifesto that covers his childhood, college, his early days as comic. It's also got his opinions on football movies, politics, and which city has the hottest guys (It's Los Angeles, btw). We're revisiting our conversation with Guy from last year where he sat down with Jesse to discuss his truTV series Talk Show The Game Show. Then, academic and writer Emily Lordi, author of the 33 ⅓ book Donny Hathaway's Live tells us why she thinks the classic Hathaway live performance deserves to be added to the canon of all time great albums. Then, Jesse tells us about why he loves the Errol Morris ESPN documentaries: It's Not Crazy, It's Sports.

Guy Branum & Emily Lordi

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W Kamau Bell & Mike Pesca

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.

W Kamau Bell & Mike Pesca

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Megan Mullally & Tracee Ellis Ross

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.

Megan Mullally & Tracee Ellis Ross

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