Bullseye

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Andy Daly and Willie Colon

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Andy Daly
Guests: 
Willie Colon
Guests: 
Erik Adams

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Andy Daly and "Review": Rating Life Experiences, from Addiction to Pancakes to the Prom

Comedian, actor and writer Andy Daly recognized early in his career that his audience was responding to him as a "nice, little boy". Who could blame them? He's a nice-looking guy, with an all-American charm about him. So he used his Howdy Doody look to his advantage, and began creating characters. The kind of characters that start off as unthreatening nice guys, and slowly escalate into extreme sociopaths.

Andy continues to use this element of surprise in his new Comedy Central show, Review. Andy plays Forrest MacNeil, who is a reviewer. But he doesn't review books, or movies, or consumer products. He reviews life experiences, rating them on a scale of one to five stars. In the first few episodes, he answers viewers' questions from "What would it feel like to steal?" to "Will prom really be the best night of my life?" to "What is it like to get a divorce?"

No life experience is too insignificant or too life-altering for Forrest MacNeil, who takes his job very seriously.

Andy joins us to talk about his first acting job (working with a rollerblading mime), developing his own style of comedy, and how he identifies with Forrest, who's devoted so much of his life and energy to his work.

Review with Forrest MacNeil premieres March 6th on Comedy Central. Andy is touring The Andy Daly Show, with a sneak peek of Review, this month. Check out his website for tourdates.

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The AV Club Recommends: McConaughey's McConologues and Gorgeous Aesthetics from "True Detective" and "Hannibal"

Crime dramas are having a bit of a moment, and The AV Club's Erik Adams stops by to recommend two shows worth tuning in to: HBO's True Detective and NBC's Hannibal.

True Detective is partway through its first season and airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.

Hannibal's second season premieres February 28, 2014 and will air Fridays at 10 pm on NBC.

Erik is Associate Editor at the AV Club. You can check out more of his writing every week on their site.

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Karen Kilgariff - "Passwords"

Karen Kilgariff’s been a comedian and a comedy writer for a long time. She was on Mr. Show, performed stand up, and these days she's the Head Writer for the Pete Holmes show on TBS. But when she straps on a guitar, she makes comedy music that’s just this side of melancholy. Here’s the funny, touching breakup song "Passwords" from her new album, Live at the Bootleg.

That record is out now on ASpecialThing Records. You can find it on iTunes.


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Willie Colón: From Jam Sessions in the Bronx to International Salsa Superstar

When Willie Colón was a kid in the South Bronx, he and some his friends from the neighborhood would take their instruments and jam outside in the summers. His neighbors weren't too pleased, but they probably didn't know they had a budding talent in their midst. Willie went on to secure a record deal in his teens and then become a hugely influential musician and bandleader. His music is salsa: a blend of the Caribbean, Africa, South America and his native New York City.

His discography has now sold over thirty million records, and he's collaborated with legendary figures like Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades.

Willie joins us this week to talk about his early success, how he envisions salsa, and his beginnings with the singer Hector Lavoe. He'll even throw in an explanation of the clave, for those of us not already in the know.

Willie's forthcoming album is called Blanco Luna. He tours frequently; catch up with him on Twitter to find out where he'll be next.

BONUS AUDIO: Check out a part of our conversation that didn't make the final cut for time. Willie talks about working with the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz.

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The Outshot: Cal Smith's "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking"

What makes a great country record? This week, Jesse shares what it is that gives Cal Smith's The Lord Knows I'm Drinking that special something.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Pointer Sisters

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Bullseye

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

The Pointer Sisters Get Excited (About Music, Clothes, and More)

The Pointer Sisters have always been musical chameleons. They had huge dance-pop hits in the 1980s, like "I'm So Excited" and "Jump (For My Love)", but at that point they had already found success in genres from jazz to R&B to disco, and even won a Grammy for their country hit, "Fairytale". The sisters grew up in Oakland, California and were taught by their reverend father that rock and roll was 'the devil's work'. However, when their parents weren't around, they snuck in listening sessions to Elvis, The Supremes, and James Brown.

Sisters Bonnie and June Pointer formed the earliest incarnation of the group in 1969, joined within several years by Ruth and Anita. They recorded their debut self-titled album in 1973, and the single "Yes We Can Can" became their first hit. They went on to record more hits over the next few decades, including "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)", a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire", and "He's So Shy".

Ruth and Anita Pointer join us for a wild and entertaining interview about their signature vintage style, forging their own musical path, and mixing family with business.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour Talks About Letters to Boys and Anthropomorphic Ants

Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to recommend a couple of their current favorite new books.

What if instead of pretending your teenage love letters never existed... you published them, and let the world take a look? Linda recommends the new memoir Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public, by Pamela Ribon. Ribon spent much of her free time in high school penning over-the-top notes to her crushes, and provides original drafts, with asides from her adult self.

Glen recommends the new graphic novel Ant Colony by Michael DeForge -- a debut novel that's psychedelic, surreal, darkly funny, and definitely not for kids.

You can hear Glen and Linda weekly on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and find Linda's writing on NPR's Monkey See blog.

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Bobby Lopez on The Song That Changed My Life: "Pure Imagination"

Think of a song you know by heart. A song that's been in your life for such a long time, you don't even remember when you first heard it. Maybe it was in your favorite movie as a kid.

Bobby Lopez writes those kind of songs. He's a composer for musicals and movies, and co-created the hit Broadway shows The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q. Most recently, he's teamed up with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez to write for Disney's Frozen. The pair's songs have inspired movie singalongs and a score of YouTube covers, and their breakout hit Let It Go, is nominated for an Oscar.

This week, Bobby shares the song that changed his life: the inspiring and magical Pure Imagination, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

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The Outshot: The Muppet Movie

Why do folks get into showbiz? If you think it's all to get attention, fame, or money, let The Muppet Movie show you why you're wrong.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Creators of Trophy Wife and Chris Onstad

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Emily Halpern
Guests: 
Sarah Haskins
Guests: 
Chris Onstad
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

The Co-Creators of "Trophy Wife" Explain: It's Not What You Expect

It would be reasonable to assume that the ABC sitcom Trophy Wife is about a rich older man and his ditzy, beautiful young wife. It might be kind of insulting, or it might be drawn in shades of reality TV. But though the show does feature Bradley Whitford as an older man (twice divorced, with three kids) and a younger wife played by Malin Akerman, the title is pretty tongue in cheek. Trophy Wife isn't about jealous ex-wives, a vacuous new wife, and a slimy older dude. It's about a complex family situation and the people within it.

The show's creators, Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, envisioned the show from the trophy wife's point of view. What is it like to join to a family that existed well before you came along? If you're one of several authority figures and parents, what's your role?

Halpen and Haskins had special insight into that situation. As Haskins says, "I started dating and eventually married my next door neighbor...who is a gentleman 20 years my senior who has been married actually 3 times, but we didn’t think America could handle that."

The show features a great ensemble cast. The spouses are played by Whitford, Akerman, Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins, and the family's children are played by Albert Tsai, Warren Lee and Bailee Madison.

We'll talk to creators and showrunners Sarah Haskins and Emily Halpern about the blended family that inspired the show, writing real characters for children and their ensemble comedy predecessors.

Trophy Wife airs Tuesday nights at 9:30 on ABC.

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Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: Robinson Crusoe on Mars, and Fun with Circuits

BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder stops by to give a glimpse of the future.

He suggests checking out a new novel out this month called The Martian by Andy Weir. It's a tale about an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars, and his struggle to stay alive with few supplies, his wits, and ingenuity.

And if you've ever thought about circuit building at the grocery store, he suggests learning a new skill with a game for iOS called Mho's Resistance.

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Comedy: Morgan Murphy Explains What to Do Before a Facelift

Even if you're scared to death of plastic surgery, maybe you've considered, even for a split second, getting a little work done. It could just be your little secret! No one would have to know!

But you really should tell someone if you're going to go under the knife. Morgan Murphy will explain. She joined us last year at MaxFunCon 2013 for our comedy showcase in the woods of Lake Arrowhead.

Morgan Murphy's new special is Irish Goodbye. You can find it on Netflix, iTunes or Amazon. She'll be joining us at this year's Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival. Stay tuned for more details.

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Chris Onstad and "Achewood", a World of Anthropomorphic Stuffed Animals

Chris Onstad is behind one of the most popular and critically acclaimed online comic strips. It's called Achewood, and it's set in a fictional town populated by anthropomorphic stuffed animals and pets. The strip is surreal and funny, and it involves many different characters with detailed backstories but the two most prominent are "Ray Smuckles", a very successful and fortunate cat, and his childhood best friend "Roast Beef". Chris Onstad stopped making the strip for awhile in 2011. But the hiatus is over now and he’s back making new comics. We're revisiting our conversation with Onstad from 2009.

Onstad tells us about how he collected the many moments that would become Achewood strips, struggling to write something funny every day, and discovering the joys of self-publishing online.

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The Outshot: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Jesse tells us about a TV show in its first season that's already running at full-speed: Fox's ensemble comedy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jean Grae and Kevin Biegel & Mike Royce of "Enlisted"

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Jean Grae
Guests: 
Kevin Biegel
Guests: 
Mike Royce
Guests: 
Carolyn Kellogg
Guests: 
My Brother, My Brother and Me

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Jean Grae on an Accidental Hip Hop Career

Rapper Jean Grae, formerly known as What? What?, has been a stalwart member of New York City's underground hip hop community for decades. She was born into a musical family, though she didn't exactly follow in her parents' footsteps. Her father, Abdullah Ibrahim (also known as Dollar Brand), helped to found South African Jazz and her mother, Sathima Bea Benjamin, was a gifted singer and composer. Grae was born in South Africa and her parents made sure she knew her roots -- but she was also a New Yorker, through and through.

She joins us this week to tell us about growing up with talented musicians as parents, her accidental hip hop career, and why she doesn't shy away from outrageous, cartoonish violence in her lyrics.

Jean Grae has had a very busy year. Her latest projects include a new full length, Gotham Down, a new EP called Jeannie, a an audiobook entitled The State of Eh, and a webseries in which she writes, directs and stars, Life with Jeannie.

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Carolyn Kellogg on New Books: Utopic and Dystopic New York

We're joined by Carolyn Kellogg, book critic for the Los Angeles Times, to talk about two books with very different views of New York City.

Her first recommendation is the apocalyptic noir novel Shovel Ready, by Adam Sternbergh.

Her second recommendation is a look at the utopic vision of a New York institution. Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel, by Sherill Tippins is about the famous Chelsea Hotel and its artists and philosophers in residence.

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My Brother, My Brother and Me Proffer Advice: Reading Classic Lit, Gaming with Your Boss, and Solo Concert-Going

Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy and Griffin McElroy stop by Bullseye to solve our cultural quandaries. Listen to their advice on reading classic literature like "Super Fudge", playing video games with your boss and grooving solo at a James Taylor concert.

If you still have questions that need answers, the McElroy brothers host a weekly advice show for the modern era called My Brother, My Brother, and Me. You can subscribe wherever you download podcasts and send your queries to mbmbam@maximumfun.org.

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Kevin Biegel and Mike Royce of "Enlisted": Taking on Military Comedy

It's been awhile since television or film successfully took on military comedy. While the 1970s and 1980s had several military-based hits -- M*A*S*H, Hogan's Heroes, Stripes, Private Benjamin -- there hasn't been much to see as of late.

The executive producers of Enlisted, a new comedy from Fox, aim to change that. Kevin Biegel and Mike Royce have combined forces from the worlds of workplace and family sitcoms. Their resumes include writing and producing credits for Scrubs, Cougar Town, Everybody Loves Raymond and Men of a Certain Age.

Enlisted is about the military-as-workplace, but it's also about family. The show features a trio of brothers in the US Army. Oldest brother Pete had a promising start to his career serving in combat in Afghanistan, but one mistake gets him reassigned to a platoon of misfits on a support base in Florida. It also means he has to supervise his siblings -- a sarcastic middle child and an overenthusiastic baby brother.

Biegel and Royce talk to us about their goal of creating a grounded comedy that doesn't deal in outlandishness, learning about real pranks and antics happening on-base, and how a "bunch of softies" make a show about soldiers.

Enlisted airs Friday nights at 9pm on Fox.

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The Outshot: Paul Anka on Showmanship

Paul Anka, a consummate entertainer with few peers, has very high standards. This week, Jesse shares what he dubs as one of the greatest after-show recordings of all time and reminds us to live and move with conviction.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jessica Walter, "Collision Low Crossers" and Annie Hart

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jessica Walter
Guests: 
Nicholas Dawidoff
Guests: 
Annie Hart
Guests: 
Cameron Esposito
Guests: 
Ricky Carmona

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

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Jessica Walter Talks about Vulgar Lines on "Archer", Love for Lucille Bluth and Showbiz Secrets

If you only know the actress Jessica Walter from her recent work, you probably know her from her role as the singularly-focused, boozy, terrifically manipulative matriarch Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development or her voice acting on the animated spy spoof, Archer. But her career stretches back fifty years, with hundreds of TV appearances, from 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.

Jessica sits down with us this week to talk about getting line reads for (the often quite vulgar and racy) scenes on FX's Archer, her love of Lucille Bluth and working with Clint Eastwood. She even divulges a few trade secrets from her role on Flipper.

The fifth season of Archer is airing now on FX on Monday nights.

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Wham Bam Pow Gets Pumped about "Heat" and "Terminator 2"

Sometimes you're in the mood for a foreign film. Or maybe you've got a hankering to binge-watch sitcoms. If you're in the mood for blow-'em-ups and futuristic sci-fi adventures, the folks at the action and sci-fi movie podcast Wham Bam Pow have just the ticket.

Ricky Carmona recommends Michael Mann's Heat, which teamed up Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro for a film about one last heist.

Cameron Esposito recommends Linda Hamilton's approach to taking care of business in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Don't worry if you didn't see the first one -- it's fine to jump right in.

For more high-energy recommendations from the hosts of Wham Bam Pow, subscribe to their podcast and find out what you're missing.

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Annie Hart, L, with Au Revoir Simone members Heather D'Angelo and Erika Forster

"The Song That Changed My Life" with Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone

Annie Hart of Au Revoir Simone grew up in the suburbs of Long Island. As the story goes for a lot of teenagers, she didn't quite fit in. The kids at her school wanted to spend time at the mall. They weren't interested in making stuff, shooting videos and writing zines.

Annie found a whole new world, and a whole new group of friends, through music. The song that changed her life is "Knew Song", by the Long Island hardcore band Silent Majority.

Au Revoir Simone's most recent album is Move In Spectrums. They'll be on tour with Broken Bells this spring. You can find their tourdates on their website.

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The Secret Inner Life of Football: Nicholas Dawidoff on a Year with the New York Jets

For all of the analysis on sports networks and the countless hours that Americans spend watching it every week, the sport of football is, in a way, inaccessible. It's composed of complicated plays, and there's a distance between the spectator and the quarterback in his helmet on the field. It's enjoyable and exciting to watch, but it's hard to unpack. "While you can see what's been planned, it's all grounded in a plan that's secret and private," says writer Nicholas Dawidoff.

Dawidoff sought to go inside the world of football, to get a glimpse of the working lives of the coaches and players who spend their weeks planning and strategizing, all for a few brief hours of play on the field. He spent a year embedded with the controversial coach Rex Ryan and the players of the New York Jets, and the result is his new book, Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football.

Dawidoff talks to us about why football -- not baseball -- is the real thinking man's sport, the intense and short professional careers of players, and what he thinks the sport will look like over the coming decades.

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The Outshot: Candlestick Park

This week, Jesse says goodbye to an old friend.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Pharoahe Monch and Huey Lewis

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Pharoahe Monch
Guests: 
Huey Lewis
Guests: 
Oliver Wang

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Pharoahe Monch: Your Favorite Rapper's Favorite Rapper

Pharoahe Monch has been a voice in the hip hop world for over twenty-five years. In that time, he’s worked on six studio albums -- three as half of Organized Konfusion with his partner Prince Poetry (better known as Prince Po) and three as a solo artist. His seventh album, P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), is due out early this year, continuing where the MC left off with 2011’s W.A.R. (We Are Renegades).

Nowadays, it’s understood that Monch is a rapper with intelligent, intricate lyrics that give a unique perspective on issues such as gun violence. Early in his career, however, he and Prince Poetry were rap novices under the name Simply II Positive MCs. They caught the attention of the influential record producer Paul C and became Organized Konfusion. Although Monch and Prince Poetry never achieved big commercial success together, Organized Konfusion became one of the most respected underground rap groups of the ‘90s. The group separated in 1997, but Monch went on to become a fruitful solo artist, scoring a career-defining hit with his biggest single, Simon Says.

This week, we revisit Jesse’s 2009 interview with Monch. They’ll talk about the controversy surrounding the an infamous Godzilla sampling, Monch’s fond memory of Paul C, and the MC’s struggle with asthma in a profession that’s all about controlled breathing.

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Oliver Wang Talks About a Life-Defining Record and a Dip into Northern Soul

This week, music writer Oliver Wang stops by to recommend a hip hop album and a soulful single.

His first recommendation is De La Soul’s debut album, 3 Feet High & Rising. The trio proved that three guys from Long Island with a clever, twisted sense of humor could make an impression on the hip hop scene.

He also suggests a listen to The De Vons’ single “Someone to Treat Me (The Way You Used To)". The song is a classic example of Northern Soul (and has an interesting producer credit to boot).

Oliver Wang is the proprietor of the soul music blog, Soul Sides. He’s also the professor of sociology at Cal State, Long Beach and co-editor of the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

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Coyle & Sharpe: The Imposters

In the early 1960s, two well-dressed young men roamed the streets of San Francisco with a tape recorder and a sense of whimsy in their stride. James Coyle and Mal Sharpe would conduct man-on-the-street interviews and bamboozle unsuspecting bystanders with their hilarious and bizarre setups and put-ons.

SF Sketchest will hold a "Salute to Coyle & Sharpe", recognizing their influence in comedy, on February 9th. For tickets or more information, visit our event page.

Want more Coyle & Sharpe? Subscribe to the podcast here.

Huey Lewis: From Busking in Morocco to Multi-Platinum Success

It seems strange now, but when Huey Lewis and the News released their first record in 1979, music executives weren't expecting them to become a huge success. With bombastic hair bands on one end of the rock spectrum and sneering punk rockers on the other, there didn't seem to be much of a place for Lewis and company's fun, bluesy pub-rock. But thumbing their noses at industry naysayers turned out to be the right move for Huey Lewis and The News. Case in point: 1983's Sports, their first record to hit number one on the Billboard charts.

Thirty years later, the band's commemorating the thirty-year anniversary of that album with an expanded re-issue of Sports, featuring remastered tracks and live versions of songs like "The Heart of Rock & Roll" and "I Want a New Drug". Huey Lewis sat down with Jesse to talk about the album that brought them to stardom, as well as his experiences writing songs for Back to the Future and Pineapple Express, how to stow away on an airplane to Europe (well, it worked in the seventies), and how a trip to Morocco convinced him that a career in music was possible.

Huey Lewis and The News' 30th Anniversary Edition of Sports will be released on May 14. For more information about the band and their US tour, you can check out their website.

This week, we revisit Jesse’s interview with Huey Lewis. They’ll talk about his pub rock beginnings, his multi-platinum success with Sports, and the time he finagled his way onto an airplane bound for London.

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The Outshot: Antiques Roadshow

There's a pretty simple formula to Antiques Roadshow: someone comes in with a knickknack and has it assessed by an expert. Next comes everyone's favorite part: the big reveal, where they find out what their item is really worth. That's part's pretty great, Jesse says – but there's something about Antiques Roadshow that he loves even more.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bubba Sparxxx and Ian MacKaye

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bubba Sparxxx
Guests: 
Ian MacKaye
Guests: 
Linda Holmes
Guests: 
Glen Weldon
Guests: 
Megan Mullally
Guests: 
Stephanie Hunt

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Bubba Sparxxx on Schoolyard Rap Battles, Overcoming Addiction and Country-Hip Hop Fusion

Bubba Sparxxx defines his life as a cycle of "falling down and getting back up." He’s a white rapper from the South who you may know for his hit with the Ying Yang Twins, "Ms. New Booty," -- or perhaps you remember his debut single from 2001, "Ugly".

Sparxxx grew up in a rural area near LaGrange, Georgia, where he was no stranger to the occasional schoolyard rap battle. After high school, he made the move to Athens, Georgia with hip hop ambitions and, eventually, released the album Dark Days Bright Nights with the help of record producers Timbaland and Organized Noize. His next two albums, Deliverance and The Charm, established his commercial success and Sparxxx became known as a rapper who could effectively blend country and hip-hop.

However, after The Charm’s release in 2006, Sparxxx stayed relatively silent for the next seven years. He appeared on a couple Girls Gone Wild DVDs, rumors surfaced of his troubles with the IRS and he struggled with drug addiction. With the release of Pain Management in 2013, he came back on the hip hop scene with a fresh perspective. On the album, Sparxxx returns to his small town roots with songs like the celebratory "Country Folks" and the nostalgic "LaGrange," proving that, after a long fall down, he can always get back up.

His newest album, Pain Management is out now.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour on Deadpan Satire and Early John Cusack

Glen Weldon and Linda Holmes of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to share some of their all-time favorite comedies.

Glen recommends the 1992 film Careful, directed by Guy Maddin, which is partly a parody of the German mountaineering films of the ‘20’s and ‘30’s. It’s set in the fictional town of Tolzbad, where the townspeople, petrified of starting a devastating avalanche, supress their emotions to live as quietly as possible.

Linda’s pick is The Sure Thing, a 1985 comedy directed by Rob Reiner. It stars a pre-Say Anything John Cusack who hits the road in an effort to reach a "sure thing".

You can hear Glen and Linda weekly on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and find Linda’s writing on NPR’s Monkey See blog.

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I Wish I’d Made That: "Singin’ in the Rain" and "The Music Box" with Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt

Have you ever listened to a song or watched a movie so exceptionally perfect that you thought "I wish I’d made that!"? We’ve been there too. In this segment, we talk to creative people about the works that inspired them, and maybe inspired a little envy too.

This week, we caught up with Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Stephanie Hunt to talk about the things they wish they’d made: a Laurel and Hardy short called The Music Box and a classic scene from Singin’ in the Rain.

We caught up with Megan and Stephanie at Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme where they performed in their band Nancy and Beth.

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Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat & Fugazi: Love for Ted Nugent, His First Show, and Punk Ethics

As a member of Fugazi and Minor Threat, Ian MacKaye made history in the punk rock world. Fugazi’s DIY ethics made a lasting impression on the music industry and Minor Threat’s song "Straight Edge" managed to start a movement, even though it was never MacKaye’s intention.

He grew up in Washington D.C. in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Back then, it wasn’t a city known for its rock scene. That didn’t stop him from teaming up with drummer Jeff Nelson to form the band Minor Threat, which would go on to have a profound and lasting impact on hardcore punk. Although the band was short-lived (1980-83), it was enough to start a movement. MacKaye coined the term "straight edge," which referred to a punk rocker who abstains from drugs and alcohol. Eventually, a subculture formed around the concept and individuals who wanted to listen to their music with a clear head began calling themselves "straight edge".

Later in his career, he formed Fugazi, a band which would go on to make six studio albums and had a pretty unique approach to touring practices. The group would travel cross-country, rarely charging more than five or ten dollars for a show as a reaction to the uncontrollable greed of the music industry.

This week, Jesse revisits his 2009 interview, conducted live on stage with MacKaye. They’ll talk about the MacKaye's roots in D.C., his lasting legacy, and why he loves to work.

MacKaye is a co-founder and owner of Dischord Records and currently sings and plays baritone guitar in The Evens.

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The Outshot: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Every now and then, a movie comes along that’s so quotable and unexpectedly funny that it begs for a sequel...but it doesn’t get one. After nine long years, it looked like Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s Anchorman wouldn't return with its own brand of special weirdness.

This week, Jesse This week, Jesse explains why you should make your way out to the multiplex.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Best Comedy of 2013 Special

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Bullseye

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

It was a great year for comedy. Everyone from seasoned stand-ups to musical comedy groups came out with hilarious new material. We listened to all of it and picked the absolute best for you to enjoy. Get ready for the Best Comedy of 2013 Special, as picked by our staff at Bullseye.

You’ll hear selections from the following, almost all of which are available for purchase (with the exception of the sets from the Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival).

Kumail Nanjiani - Beta Male

Kathleen Madigan - Madigan Again

Pete Holmes - Nice Try, the Devil

Moshe Kasher - Live in Oakland

Bill Cosby - Far From Finished

Maria Bamford - Ask Me About My New God!

Mike Birbiglia - My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

Eugene Mirman - An Evening of Comedy in a Fake, Underground Laboratory

Todd Glass - Todd Glass Talks About Stuff

Craig Ferguson - I'm Here to Help

Chris Hardwick - Mandroid

The Lonely Island - The Wack Album

Dana Gould - I Know It’s Wrong

John Roy - Alexander Hamilton

Josie Long - from the Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival

Jasper Redd - from the Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival

Kurt Braunohler - How Do I Land?

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ronnie Spector, Fred Schneider, and My Brother, My Brother and Me

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Bullseye
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My Brother, My Brother and Me
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Andrew Noz

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

It’s the time of year when Bullseye focuses on what truly matters during the holiday season: great interviews with fascinating people. Celebrate with the Bullseye Holiday Special.

Girl Group Legend Ronnie Spector on Christmas, John Lennon, and a Perfect Coiffure

Ronnie Spector was the lead singer of the 1960s girl group The Ronettes. Along with her sister and cousin, she sang on five Top 40 hits, most notably Be My Baby, which still gets regular airplay on oldies stations.

But when it comes to her recordings with her ex-husband and producer Phil Spector, it might be the holiday songs off A Christmas Gift for You that remain closest to our hearts.

Spector spoke with Jesse in 2010 and explained that Christmas has always been a part of her life. When she was six years old, she sat on Santa’s lap at Macy’s and fell in love with everything about the holiday. The Ronettes recorded “Frosty the Snowman,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” and “Sleigh Ride” for the album and, since their release in 1963, all three songs have become holiday classics.

Spector talked to us about puzzling over Santa's journey to her NYC apartment as a kid, going on stage at the famed Apollo Theater as an eleven-year-old, and knocking on doors with The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards.

This segment originally aired in December 2010.

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Andrew Noz on Holiday Rap: Outkast and Gucci Mane

Holiday songs don't have to all be Dean Martin or Michael Bublé. Hip hop critic Andrew Noz stops by the show to suggest a couple of rap songs that will be perfect for your holiday party.

The first is Outkast’s Player's Ball. It was originally recorded as a Christmas song for the LaFace Family Christmas album and with a few tweaks, it was repurposed as the group’s debut single. Then, Andrew says you should check out Gucci Mane’s Weird. It’s a great track that features a whole bunch of weird lyrics that allude to Christmas.

You can find Andrew Noz on Pitchfork, the Fader, or check out his blog at Cocaine Blunts.

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My Brother, My Brother, and Me Give Holiday Advice

Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy and Griffin McElroy stop by Bullseye to answer some of your most pressing holiday quandaries. They take on Dickensian fairs, lazy gifting, and the perfect playlist for your holiday party.

If you’ve still got questions that need answers, the McElroy brothers host a weekly advice show for the modern era called My Brother, My Brother, and Me. You can subscribe wherever you download podcasts, and send your queries to mbmbam@maximumfun.org.

This segment originally aired in December 2012.

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The B-52s' Fred Schneider on Christmas Music, Wacky Poetry and Creating a Signature Sound

There are few bands that better define outrageousness than The B-52s. And there is no greater symbol of that group's outrageousness than Fred Schneider. As frontman for The B-52s, he’s crossed a Georgia drawl with a unique style of talk-singing in songs like Love Shack and Rock Lobster.

In 2010, Jesse sat down with Schneider to talk about the holidays. The vocalist had just recorded a new Christmas album with his band The Superions. The album is called Destination… Christmas! and features several goofy holiday songs like “Fruitcake” and “Crummy Christmas Tree”.

Schneider tells Jesse how he comes up with his nutty lyrics, why he decided to write poetry in college and, most importantly, how to compose holiday songs on the fly.

This segment originally aired in December 2010.

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The Outshot: This Christmas by Donny Hathaway

On this week’s Outshot, Jesse tells you about his absolute favorite holiday song. He puts it on every year, and explains why you should too. Take a listen to This Christmas by Donny Hathaway.

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Special Credits

Be sure to check out these holiday classics, also in this week's show:
Father Christmas - The Kinks
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Darlene Love
I Hate Christmas - Oscar the Grouch
Down On Christmas - Stompin’ Tom Connors

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jack Black and Bun B

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Bullseye

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Our guest host this week is the author and The New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean. You can find more from Susan at her website or follow her on Twitter. Thanks, Susan!


ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Jack Black on Musical Snobbery, Childlike Innocence, and the Roles He's Yet to Play

Jack Black always seems to be on the verge of breaking into song. Whether he’s a slacker substitute teacher in School of Rock, an earnest funeral director in Bernie, or a snobby record store clerk in High Fidelity, music has a way of seeping into his performances. Maybe that’s because Black’s portrayals often possess an unbridled joy that’s difficult to capture with spoken dialogue.

Although he's known for his comedic strengths and has often played the "shlubby loser", Black has showed that he's capable of much more. For Peter Jackson’s King Kong, he played a 1930s filmmaker intent on creating an epic narrative, no matter how far into the heart of darkness he has to travel. In Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding, he was a disappointing groom prone to occasional bursts of anger. Most recently, he played the titular character in Richard Linklater’s Bernie, a film based on the true story of a kind, gentle mortician accused of murder in a small Texas town. It’s the subtlety of performances like these mixed with the intensity of a man who also headlines the rock band Tenacious D that truly make Black a unique performer.

Guest host Susan Orlean gets to the bottom of Black’s career, from his early days performing one-man shows in his living room to working with some of the biggest names in show business. They’ll talk about some of his early childhood performances, dissecting musical tastes, a new HBO pilot, and why seeing him on Broadway wouldn’t be entirely out of the question.

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Ian Cohen on New Heavy Music Releases: Death Grips and Iron Chic

Ian Cohen, contributing editor at Pitchfork, stops by to recommend some new heavy music releases.

He suggests a listen to two new records: Government Plates by experimental hip hop and noise group Death Grips, and Iron Chic's The Constant One.

You find Ian's writing at Pitchfork and Grantland, or follow him on Twitter.

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Bun B of UGK on Rhyming, Big Breaks and Mourning Pimp C, "The Yin to My Yang"

Bun B was half of UGK and still is one of the South’s greatest hip-hop lyricists. Alongside partner Pimp C, he spent two decades rhyming and recording classic hip-hop and helped establish Texas as a force to be reckoned with in the national hip-hop scene. Pimp C died six years ago this month, but Bun has continued to record and release music as a solo artist. His newest album, Trill Og the Epilogue, was released in November.

Jesse sat down with Bun B in 2009 to talk about underwriting a music career with street crime, rhyming with Jay-Z, and his reaction to Pimp C's frequent arrests, setbacks, and untimely passing.

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The Outshot: The Sorcerer of the Guitar

Guest host Susan Orlean goes under the spell of "Franco" Luambo Makiadi, The Sorcerer of the Guitar.

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