Keegan-Michael Key’s comedy is inexorably tied with his experiences straddling cultural and racial lines as a young man in the Midwest, and he became a keen observer of his surroundings as a child.
His work with his partner Jordan Peele on the Comedy Central show Key & Peele has earned Key Emmy nominations in five categories including Outstanding Variety sketch series, Writing for a Variety Series, Writing for a Variety Special, Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program, and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Key sits down with Jesse to talk about the differences of approaching comedy from stand up or improv backgrounds, why it’s so easy to immerse himself in distinctive characters like the substitute teacher Mr. Garvey, and why Key & Peele's fifth season will be its last.
Key and Peele’s movie Keanu is now availible on digital HD
Tituss Burgess is an actor who has pursued the truth within himself and his performances. Whether it's been in a church choir or on the Broadway stage, Burgess is ready to give it his all.
His successful audition for a small recurring role on 30 Rock put him on Tina Fey's radar, and he's since been cast as Titus Andromedon on the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Burgess's performance on the show has earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Burgess joins us to discuss his early days growing up in Georgia, inhabiting the character of Titus Andromedon on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and how he contended with a broken microphone while performing live at the Tony Awards.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available for streaming on Netflix.
Jesse explores the top-notch bluffing going on in this week's recommendation, the 1985 Chevy Chase movie Fletch.
Danny McBride is comedic writer and actor who started his career starring in the cult classic comedy, The Foot Fist Way. Although the film went to Sundance and was a modest success, McBride went back to North Virginia to work as a substitute teacher. Danny and frequent collaborator Jody Hill began creating the series Eastbound & Down, which would jumpstart McBride’s career and make him a film and television star.
He has appeared in numerous comedy films, such as Tropic Thunder, 30 Minutes or Less, and Observe and Report. McBride is perhaps best known for writing and starring in the HBO series Eastbound & Down, where he plays disgraced MLB player, Kenny Powers.
McBride sat down with Jesse to talk about about working with Jody Hill, writing for Eastbound and Down, and dealing with people who idolize Kenny Powers just a little too much.
Danny McBride’s new show is called Vice Principals.
Jazz bassist Miroslav Vitouš explains how working with Weather Report on the composition Morning Lake is an experience he will never forget.
Miroslav Vitouš’s new album is called
Jesse talks about the film Hunt for the Wilderpeople and why calling it “twee” is actually a compliment.
Though most people find it difficult to find anything funny about depression and anxiety, comedian Aparna Nancherla. has used her own struggles with mood disorders to inspire her comedy. A rising star in the comedy world, Nancherla bravely reveals her struggles with depression in a way that makes the experience both relatable and hilarious.
Named by Variety as one of the Top 10 Comics to Watch in 2016, Nancherla has appeared as a performer on Conan and Inside Amy Schumer. She's also written for Late Night with Seth Meyers and Totally Biased with Kamau Bell.
Nancherla sat down with Jesse to talk about about her experiences living with anxiety and depression, the ups and downs of writing comedy for television and how she deals with hecklers on Twitter.
As with any established musical genre, there is a quality of sameness that can pervade artists. It’s no less so in the world of hip-hop. But Clams Casino (born Michael Volpe) provides a unique and surprising voice in that world. As an electronic musician and music producer, he has created a distinctive body of work of his own as well through his collaborations with artists including ScHoolboy Q, FKA Twigs and Vince Staples.
Clams Casino joined Jesse to talk about the influences that lead to his unique sound, and some of the ways he paid his dues coming up in the world of hip-hop production. They also discuss his new album, 32 Levels, and how he developed his relationship with rapper Lil’ B. The two of them have long been collaborators, including on the new album, but didn’t really get to know each other until making of the new record.
Clams Casino’s new album is called 32 Levels.
Jesse checks in on the classic movie you should see before going swimming this summer.
Though she didn’t earn a degree in the sciences, author Mary Roach has a knack for writing about them with insight and wit. Whether she’s describing what happens to the body after death or the many aspects of human sexuality, Roach makes her topics accessible and fun.
Roach has authored half a dozen books including: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, as well as articles for magazines including Vogue, GQ, and National Geographic.
Mary Roach sat down with Jesse about whether shark repellant actually exists, life on submarines and how leaches inspired her to write a book on military science.
Mary Roach’s new book is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
William Bell is a soul singer and songwriter whose distinctive sound is forever associated with the legendary Stax Records. Along with with performers like Otis Redding, Sam and Duke, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers, Bell helped create music that continues to entertain and inspire.
He is famous for his hit songs including You Don’t Miss Your Water, Private Number, A Tribute to the King and Everybody Loves a Winner. He also co-wrote the classic song, Born Under a Bad Sign which was originally performed by Albert King and later covered by Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Cream and even Homer Simpson.
William Bell joined Jesse to talk about what it was like beginning his musical career while still a teenager, how he returned to his career after being drafted and what he thinks about his own voice, now that he is in his seventies.
William Bell’s new album is This is Where I Live.
Jesse shares why Tanya Tucker’s voice and classic song, What’s Your Mama’s Name manages to move him every time he hears it.
Lisa Hanawalt enjoys exploring the strange ins and outs of her world using words and illustrations. Her penchant for drawing anthropomorphized animals to represent characters, including herself, reveals a childlike playfulness, even while exploring adult themes.
Her illustrations and writing have appeared in numerous print and online publications including McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. In 2010, she earned the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic for her work on her first comic series, I Want You.
Her work can also be seen on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, where Hanawalt serves as production designer and producer. She can also be heard on the Maximum Fun podcast, Baby Geniuses, which she co-hosts with Emily Heller.
Lisa Hanawalt sat down with Jesse to talk about her work on BoJack Horseman, her latest book of stories and illustrations and her fascination with Martha Stewart’s horse.
Lisa Hanawalt’s latest book is Hot Dog Taste Test
Wyatt Cenac is a stand-up comedian and writer who is best known as a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. On the program, Cenac’s segments often explored issues of politics and society from a black perspective and with a sharp satirical bite.
Cenac served as a writer and voice actor on King of the Hill as well as making appearances on other television shows including Inside Amy Schumer, BoJack Horseman and Maron.
Wyatt Cenac joined Jesse to talk about his new stand-up show, Night Train and the importance of providing a space for alternative voices in comedy.
Night Train is available now on Seeso.com.
Jesse talk about the mystique and the power of baseball’s knuckleball.
Rachel Bloom is a comedian whose humor often involves her bursting into song. She embraces the classic tropes of the Hollywood musical comedy adding her own contemporary twist on her CW show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The show has already earned her a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award.
A veteran of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Bloom has also worked on television shows Allen Gregory and Robot Chicken. But it was her absurdist and hilarious musical videos that first brought her to the industry's attention. The video for her song, Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury went viral and earned Bloom a Hugo Award nomination. She has released two albums including Please Love Me and Suck It, Christmas!!! (A Chanukah Album).
Rachel Bloom sat down with Jesse to talk about her love for musical theater, gaining self-confidence in Hollywood and the logistics involved in being lifted in the air in a giant pretzel.
Singer, songwriter, bassist and cellist Esperanza Spalding explains how Petrouchka by Igor Stravinsky introduced her to a world of sound that she hadn’t known existed.
The Grammy Award winning artist’s latest album is Emily’s D+Evolution.
Find Esperanza Spalding online at EsperanzaSpalding.com.
Jesse explains why he loves a movie that aspires to be nothing more than silly, goofy and funny.
Popstar is in theaters now.
John C. Reilly has shown off his talent for comedy in movies like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers. He's also played a number of dramatic roles in movies like Magnolia and Gangs of New York, and was nominated for an Oscar for playing the cuckolded husband in the movie version of Chicago.
For the past few years, Reilly has also produced and starred in a bizarre show called Check it Out with Dr Steve Brule. So why does a movie star have a faux cable-access show that runs in the middle of the night on adult swim?
John C. Reilly tells Jesse why he chose to take on the goofy, open-hearted and blustery Dr. Steve Brule with comedy duo Tim and Eric, his summer of fun working on the set of Boogie Nights, and what he thinks his duties are as an actor.
Check it Out with Dr Steve Brule is currently airing on Adult Swim. Reilly's new movie The Lobster is in theatres now.
Shamir is a musician who is really hard to pin down. His countertenor voice adds a distinctive flair to his infectious, sometimes poignant dance music but it’s a quality that’s also led to confrontations with classmates who were unaware of his Taekwondo training.
With his debut LP, Ratchet, Shamir drew inspiration from his life in Las Vegas. Shamir's Vegas had nothing to do with The Strip and instead was dominated by tumbleweeds and the distinctive odor of a hog farm.
As Shamir describes it, “I kind of decided to make my music more danceable and lighthearted to take away from the heaviness of the lyrics. Because why not, why does your music also have to be heavy if your lyrics are?”
Shamir tells Jesse about constructing a creative identity in a city known for producing more entertainers than artists; how his love for country music inspired him; and how his mother’s proclivity for earth magic isn't quite his thing.
Jesse recommends Steven Soderbergh's The Limey, a revenge movie that’s really about the way we all fight with our own past.
Rashida Jones was born into a showbiz family, but she didn’t always think she would follow in her famous parents’ footsteps. A love of acting lead to roles in shows like Parks and Recreation and The Office and for movie parts including The Social Network and Celeste and Jesse Forever, the later of which she also wrote. Jones currently stars in the TBS comedy, Angie Tribeca.
Rashida Jones talks with Jesse about playing absurdist comedy dead straight, her early dreams of going to boarding school and how those dreams contrasted with her jarring first impressions of Harvard University. Plus she tells us about her childhood experiences hanging out with Michael Jackson’s llama.
Angie Tribeca is now in its second season on TBS.
For artist Ramiro Gomez, the world of the haves and the have-nots are one and the same. His work focuses on affluent communities and their dependence on a community of immigrants, who become culturally invisible. The son of parents who were once undocumented immigrants, Gomez’s body of work has included re-imaginings of the paintings of David Hockney, with domestic workers re-inserted into familiar scenes.
Gomez’s new book, Domestic Scenes: The Art of Ramiro Gomez was created in collaboration with Lawrence Weschler. For over twenty years, Weschler served as a staff-writer for The New Yorker and was the two-time winner of the Polk Award. He is the author of several books including True to Life: Twenty-Five Years of Conversations with David Hockney and A Miracle, A Universe: Settling Account of Torturers.
Ramiro Gomez and Lawrence Weschler sat down with Jesse to talk about Gomez’s experience as a male nanny, how the work of the painter David Hockney influenced his own art and what it’s like to exist in multiple worlds as a both a man of color and a gay man.
Gomez and Weschler’s book, Domestic Scenes: The Art of Ramiro Gomez is available now.
Jesse explores the fun, artistry and dark irony of the of the classic noir film, The Third Man starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton.
Friday, September 23, 2016
London Podcast Festival
90 York Way, London, N1 9AG
Bullseye (formerly known as The Sound of Young America) is a weekly celebration of the best of arts and culture. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring listeners in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.
The show is carried by public radio stations around the United States, and was the first public radio program west of the Mississippi to podcast. It has received plaudits from publications like Time Magazine (which called it ‘Pick of the Podcasts’) and Salon.com. It was also honoured by the iTunes editorial staff as a ‘classic’ Best of iTunes selection. Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.
Long before he was busy in the sound studio making music, Joe Bataan was a young man getting into trouble on the streets of East Harlem. But after a stint in juvenile detention, he left his life as a gang leader behind and became a band leader instead. Joe Bataan and the Latin Swingers helped bring Boogaloo music into the mainstream.
As well as releasing popular songs in the genre including Gypsy Woman, Bataan also helped to create and coin the term SalsaSoul. Later in his career, he wrote and performed an early hip-hop hit, Rap-O Clap-O. Bataan is featured in a new documentary, We Like It Like That: The Story of Latin Boogaloo.
Bataan sat down with Jesse to talk about his life as a juvenile delinquent in the streets of New York, how he dealt with the backlash against his musical innovations and how he came to create one of the earliest hits in hip-hop.
There are many comedians who use their family life as inspiration for their comedy, but Ali Wong took it a step further when she recorded her latest comedy special while seven and a half months pregnant.
Wong’s comedy is rooted in her willingness to be incredibly frank and honest about her personal life including her relationships, her Asian heritage and the challenges of pregnancy while working as a writer on the hit television show, Fresh Off the Boat.
Ali Wong joined Jesse to talk about being a breadwinner, performing while pregnant and how it feels to talk about painful and personal things like miscarriage in front of a comedy audience.
Ali Wong’s new comedy special, Baby Cobra is available now on Netflix.
While many rappers are content to explore the harshness of street life in their lyrics, Chance The Rapper is a performer who isn’t afraid to explore the soft and warm memories of childhood. In his new album, Coloring Book, Chance combines beautiful melodies with an open and warm heart.