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.)

Most Recent Episodes

Jason Schreier on the rise and fall of gaming's biggest studios

For the better part of a decade, the video game industry has made more in revenue than Hollywood. Year after year, it's not even close. Some of the biggest blockbuster games can pull down a billion dollars within a week of being released, and they can continue making money for years afterwards. But video games can take enormous amounts of work to produce, and because the industry is notoriously opaque, studios can sometimes become toxic workplaces. That's where Jason Schreier has made his career: Instead of writing reviews or reporting on player communities, he investigates the studios that make games. He's uncovered labor abuses, creative and legal disputes behind the scenes, and all sorts of workplace misconduct. And he does it by going directly to the workers involved. His new book, Press Reset, is his latest work in that field. Based on dozens of interviews with people who make games, it tells the origin stories of some of the most renowned video game studios in the world — and how those same studios eventually collapsed.

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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Actress Ann Dowd attends the 2019 NYWIFT Muse Awards at the New York Hilton Midtown on December 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo: Lars Niki/Getty Images) hide caption

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(Photo: Lars Niki/Getty Images)

Ann Dowd

Ann Dowd is a veteran actor. Her career began on the stage, first in Chicago, where she went to school, then in New York. She started appearing on screen in the '90s in shows like The Baby-Sitter's Club and Law & Order. As she has continued her acting journey, she has starred in many memorable parts including her roles in the HBO series "The Leftovers" and the 2012 film Compliance. She may be best known for her role as the sadistic Aunt Lydia in the hit series "The Handmaid's Tale," which earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She joins guest host Linda Holmes to chat about the new season of The Handmaid's Tale, similarities between some of the different roles she's played, and when she made the switch from studying medicine in school to studying acting. Plus, she'll talk a little bit about her new film Mass which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

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The Song That Changed My Life: Doc Severinsen

The Song That Changed My Life is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite artists about the music that made them who they are today. This time around, we're joined by American jazz trumpeter Carl Hilding "Doc" Severinsen. Doc is an amazing trumpet player who led the band over at "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" for thirty years and almost the entirety of Carson's run. He's known for his impeccable-styled costumes and eclectic musical styles. He's recorded with Eddie Fisher, Dinah Shore and still tours at 93 years old. He's had an enchanted career that extends all the way back to the second world war where a chance encounter gave him the opportunity to play for his childhood idol—trombonist Tommy Dorsey. Catch "Never Too Late: The Doc Severinsen Story" on your local PBS station.

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Documentary filmmaker Rick Prelinger. Joi Ito/Flickr Creative Commons hide caption

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Joi Ito/Flickr Creative Commons

Archivist and filmmaker Rick Prelinger

Rick Prelinger is an archivist and professor at UC Santa Cruz. He's a collector of found and discarded footage: home movies, outtakes from industrial videos and never before seen b-roll from old feature films. Rick also co-founded the Prelinger Library in San Francisco. It's one of the largest collections of ephemeral films in the world. In the film series Lost Landscapes, Rick compiles footage from his archives to create documentaries about changing cities. He's covered San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Detroit and more. We talk with Rick about his film series, how he curates his archives and his passion for all things ephemeral. Plus, Rick shares a story about the time he found a video of himself as a child in someone else's home movies.

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William Jackson Harper

William Jackson Harper won the hearts of fans as the sweet philosophy professor Chidi Anagonye on NBC's The Good Place. The role helped jump start his career and earned him a handful of award nominations including an Emmy nod. In 2019, he also starred in the critically acclaimed horror film Midsommar. His latest project is a leading role alongside Aya Cash in the romantic comedy We Broke Up. He's also set to appear in the upcoming Amazon series The Underground Railroad, which is directed by Barry Jenkins. He joins guest host Linda Holmes of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour to talk about his new film and upcoming projects, The Good Place, some of the TV shows he's been binging and a new hobby he's picked up during the pandemic. Plus, they'll chat about his love for scary movies and dive into some of his favorite horror films and thrillers.

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Documentary Filmmaker Ric Burns

Ric Burns has written, produced, and directed many documentaries over the last 25 years that capture fascinating narratives about different topics in American history. A few subjects he's covered include New York City, The American Civil War, The Chinese Exclusion Act, and many more. His latest documentary explores the life, work, and legacy of the legendary neurologist and bestselling author Oliver Sacks. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer in early 2015, Sacks approached Burns about creating a documentary to tell his life's story. Ric Burns chats with Jesse about his experience working closely with Oliver Sacks on the project before his passing in August of 2015. He also talks about how creating this film alongside Sacks changed him as a person and the way he sees the world.

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Director Raoul Peck

Raoul Peck makes sweeping, breathtaking, insightful films that marry the political to the personal. As a director, he's made both documentaries and feature films. That includes 2000's Lumumba about the assassinated Congolese leader, Patrice Lumumba, 2016's Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro which vividly reworked the writings of the late James Baldwin and 2017's The Young Karl Marx—a biopic about the German philosopher's young adulthood. His latest project is Exterminate All the Brutes, an HBO docuseries. Based on the book by Sven Lindqvist, the film delves into the destruction and desolation caused by European colonialism in places like Australia, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

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Remembering Jessica Walter

Last month, the actor Jessica Walter died. She was 80 years old, her family says she passed away in her sleep. Her career spanned over six decades. She's starred in hundreds of on screen performances, from Arrested Development, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Love Boat, and Trapper John, M.D. to a starring role in Clint Eastwood's directorial debut Play Misty for Me. We're taking a moment to remember the brilliant Jessica Walter by revisiting our conversation from 2014. At the time she was promoting the latest season of the animated show Archer. She talked about her voice work on the program, her love of Lucille Bluth and working with Clint Eastwood.

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(Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TBS)

Nicole Byer

Nicole Byer is a force of nature. She hosts two game shows and four podcasts. She also writes and does stand-up and improv. She's an Emmy-nominated actor. And if all that wasn't enough for you, she's a great follow on Twitter. She joins Bullseye for a wide-ranging interview with guest host Tre'vell Anderson. She talks about hosting game shows, adjusting her comedy career to work in the pandemic, and her voice acting work — including her upcoming role as Susie Carmichael's mom Lucy on the upcoming Rugrats reboot.

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YANN COATSALIOU/AFP/via Getty Images

David Mitchell and Robert Webb

British comedy duo David Mitchell and Robert Webb have been making audiences laugh for over two decades. They began their career performing on stage and eventually transitioned to the world of television with their breakout sketch comedy shows The Mitchell and Webb Situation and That Mitchell and Webb Look. In 2003, they starred on the hit British sitcom Peep Show, a cult favorite that helped them reach international audiences. In 2017, they reunited for the sitcom Back, which is now in its second season. Mitchell and Webb join Bullseye to talk about their latest show, their experiences performing together as a double act over the years, and why they often create "unpleasant" characters in their shows. Near the end of the interview, we also talk with Robert Webb about some controversial tweets he posted in 2018 and later deleted that criticized a charity that provides care and support for transgender and gender nonconforming kids.

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