Bullseye

Bullseye is a public radio show about what's good in popular culture. With a keen editorial eye, Bullseye sifts the wheat from the chaff, and brings you hot culture picks, in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary creative people and irreverent original comedy.

Bullseye is equal parts funny and fascinating. Whether you're already plugged in to the culture map, or looking for a signpost, Bullseye will keep you on target. More About Bullseye

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ray Suarez & Dan Deacon

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ray Suarez
Guests: 
Dan Deacon
Guests: 
Phoebe Robinson

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.

Thanks to everyone who came out to our World Tour of Several American Cities! Here’s our show recorded in front of a live audience at NPR Studio 1 in Washington D.C.

For more photos - including action shots of Dan Deacon's set - click here!


Photo by Kenneth Lecky

Comedy: Phoebe Robinson on Break Ups, Cat Calling and Bi-Racial Mathematics

New York comedian and writer Phoebe Robinson opened our DC show.

Her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, will launch soon with WNYC. Robinson co-hosts the show with The Daily Show's Jessica Williams.

You can find more from Phoebe, including live dates at her website, www.phoeberobinson.tumblr.com.


Photo by Kenneth Lecky

Ray Suarez on Being the Face of Diversity and Life as a Role Model

Ray Suarez is a broadcast journalist and writer with a thirty-plus year career in journalism. He currently hosts Inside Story on Al Jazeera America. Previously he was a senior correspondent on the PBS NewsHour and before that was the host of Talk of the Nation on NPR.

He has explored the cultural history of the United States in three books which include Latino Americans: The 500 Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation and The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America.

Ray Suarez shared the stage with Jesse to talk about growing up in Brooklyn, frequently being the first non-white hire and how it feels to be an unintentional role model.

Inside Story airs weekdays at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT on Al Jazeera America.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Photo by Kenneth Lecky

Dan Deacon on His Love of Aerosmith, Theatrics and Touring with Miley Cyrus

Dan Deacon is a longtime Bullseye favorite -- an electronic musician who's earned a large following for his fun and exciting live shows. He's become known for his own unique brand of audience participation during his sets.

Deacon performed live in front of our studio audience and also talked about his early affinity for Aerosmith, incorporating theatrics into his performance and what it’s like to tour with Miley Cyrus.

Dan Deacon’s latest album is Gliss Riffer.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Aya Cash and Roger Angell

| 2 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Aya Cash
Guests: 
Roger Angell

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.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Aya Cash of "You're the Worst" on Identity, Rejection and Her Fallback Plan

Aya Cash got her first starring role on television shortly before she was ready to move on to her fallback plan. She was cast as one half of a pair of narcissistic jerks on FXX's dark romantic comedy, You're the Worst. Her character Gretchen meets her match in Jimmy, who behaves as badly as she does, and they fall in love. The lovers are cynical about monogamy but are committed to making it work as they deal with real-life issues, including clinical depression.

Aya sat down with Jesse to talk about of the tremendous effort she made to be unique in high school, how she handles the unpredictable nature of auditions and how she almost gave up acting and opened an antique store.

You're the Worst was recently renewed for a third season on FXX. Season 2 of the show is now available on Hulu.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

Roger Angell on Aging, Writing and the Humanity of Baseball.

The writer and editor Roger Angell has been a contributor to the New Yorker since 1944. His writings on baseball don't dwell on scores and statistics. Instead, he's deftly explored the humanity of both fans and players. He has also served as the chief fiction editor for the magazine for many years.

This Old Man is his most recent collection of essays. Last year, the title piece went viral for its honest and frank discussion of aging and loss.

Roger Angell joined Jesse to talk about the physical prowess of modern ball players, accepting his fate as a baseball fan who would never play professionally, and finding love and companionship in his nineties.

This Old Man: All in Pieces is available in bookstores now.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.


Photo: MGM-Barry Wetcher

The Outshot: 'Creed'

Jesse explains how the tribute to the everyman in Rocky endures in the latest sequel, Creed, and tells us how it goes one step further.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Joel Hodgson & Dr. Robert Hicks

| 1 comment
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Joel Hodgson
Guests: 
Robert Hicks
Guests: 
Hari Kondabolu
Guests: 
Spraynard

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.

Thanks to everyone who came out to our World Tour of Several American Cities! Here's our show recorded in front of a live audience at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia.


Ohoto credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Joel Hodgson on the Rebirth of Mystery Science Theater 3000

Joel Hodgson is a writer, comedian and actor, best known for being the creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). On the show he played the role of Joel Robinson, a janitor who was forced by two mad scientists to serve on a spacecraft called the Satellite of Love. Hodgson and his three robot friends, Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot and Gypsy humorously riffed on a countless series of terrible B-movies that they were forced to watch. The show maintained a loyal following even after ending its original run in 1999, and was recognized by Time magazine as one of the top 100 television shows of all time in 2007.

Joel joined Jesse to talk about rebooting of MST3K after a successful crowdfunding campaign, garnering over six million dollars and securing funding for a complete new season of the show. The revived show will feature new cast members Jonah Ray, Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt.

Find out more about MST3K by visiting its Kickstarter page.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.


Photo credit: Mütter Museum & the Historical Medical Library

Dr. Robert Hicks of the Mütter Museum Talks about Medicine's Evolution, Death and Antique Medical Devices

Dr. Robert Hicks is the Director of the Mütter Museum & the Historical Medical Library in Philadelphia. The museum is recognized as one of the finest and most fascinating museums in the world. Its collection of anatomical specimens, models, antique medical equipment and medical oddities draws over 130,000 visitors every year.

Dr. Hicks shared the stage with Jesse to not only talk about the museum’s work, but also conduct a few experiments on Bullseye's host.

Find out more about the Mutter Museum by visiting its website, or checking out the collection in person.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

Hari Kondabolu on Name Mispronunciation, Rachel Dolezal, and More

Hari Kondabolu is a socio-political stand-up comic who has performed on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show with David Letterman. His debut album, Waiting for 2042 is available now.

To find more about his scheduled tour dates, visit Hari's website.

The music of Pennysylvania punk-band, Spraynard

Spraynard is an American punk band from West Chester, Pennsylvania. They have released several split EPs and three albums. Their latest release is called Mable.

Spraynard's music can be found at spraynardband.bandcamp.com.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kaitlin Olson & Jeff Chang

| 0 comments

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.

RIGHT CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE


Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Kaitlin Olson on "Sweet Dee" and the Morally Bankruptcy in It's Always Sunny on Philadelphia

Kaitlin Olson plays Sweet Dee on the long-running sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dee is the only female member of "The Gang", a bunch of depraved, self-centered pals who run a bar. The Gang is constantly looking for ways to get rich quick, humiliate their enemies, get out of work, and prove once and for all the talent, charisma and brilliance they hold to be self-evident. In an unusual move for a solo female character, Dee doesn't serve to counterbalance the guys' bad behavior -- she absolutely matches their pace.

Olson talks to us about creating a more fully-fleshed character for Dee, how she came to comedy, and how she ended up dating (and marrying) her showrunner.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia just began its eleventh season. It airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on FXX.

This interview originally aired in January 2015.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Photo credit: Jeremy Keith Villaluz

Jeff Chang on Art, Race, and How Diversity Now Means "Them"

About ten years ago, Jeff Chang published his book Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. His new book is a sort of follow-up -- it chronicles some of the cultural and racial shifts we've experienced as a nation. It's called Who We Be: The Colorization of America. It's now available in paperback.

Chang talks to us about what "diversity" means to us today, the struggle for artists to defy racial categorization, and how and why corporations embraced multiculturalism.

This interview originally aired in January 2015.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview

The Outshot: What It Means to Be Superhuman

Jesse tells us about the life and legend of Andre the Giant.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this segment.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Neko Case & Herb Alpert

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Neko Case
Guests: 
Herb Alpert

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.


Photo credit: Katie Stratton/Getty Images

Neko Case on Self Determination, Loss, and Life on the Farm

Neko Case has been producing exceptional music as a solo artist as well as a collaborator with the indie-rock band, The New Pornographers. Her work has not only revolved around rock, but also the genre of country music.

Case recently released a retrospective vinyl box set, Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule which collects her music from throughout her career, including some out-of-print and hard to find titles.

Neko Case sat down with Jesse, and told us why she cringed when listening to one of her early songs, how the loss of her parents shaped her personally and creatively, and how living on a farm in Vermont improves her life as artist.

Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule is available now.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.


Photo credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Herb Alpert on Discovering, Losing and Redisovering His Musical Voice

Herb Alpert is most famous for the music he created with his band, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. The title song of his first album, The Lonely Bull was not only a hit, but was the first album released by A&M Records, which he co-founded with his partner Jerry Moss.

His musical career has spanned over 5 decades and his roles have included him serving not only as a musician, but also a producer. His work with artists have included collaborations with The Carpenters, Liza Minnelli and Janet Jackson. He has also earned numerous awards including 9 Grammys, a Tony and an 2012 National Medal of Arts award.

Herb Alpert joined Bullseye to talk about his brief career as a film actor, how difficult emotional times helped him to become a better musician and how insecurity can persist even when an artist knows he or she is creating something special.

Herb Alpert's most recent album Come Fly With Me is available now.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.


photo credit: Slavin Vlasic/Getty Images Entertainment

The Outshot: Danny Hoch’s Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop

Danny Hoch's Jails, Hospitals and Hip-Hop began as a one-man-show which explored the multi-cultural and multi-lingual world of New York during the rise of hip-hop culture. A version of his play was released as a film in 2000.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Best of Comedy of 2015 Special

| 0 comments
Show: 
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.

We gave our staff the awesome responsibility of choosing the best comedy albums of 2015. They listened to hours and hours of material, and we're now prepared to showcase some of the best comedy released in the past year.

Like what you hear? Click through to find their albums!

Kyle Kinane - I Liked His Old Stuff Better
Emily Heller - Good for Her
Ron Funches - The Funches of Us
Sara Schaefer - Chrysalis
Hampton Yount - Bearable
Drennon Davis & Karen Kilgariff - I Don’t Care, I Like It
Mike O'Brien - Tasty Radio
Eddie Pepitone - In Ruins
Sheng Wang - Cornucopias Are Actually Horrible Containers
Guy Branum - Effable
Aziz Ansari - Buried Alive
Eugene Mirman - I’m Sorry (You’re Welcome)
Eliza Skinner - Recorded Live at MaxFunCon 2014 - Angry Little Goats Podcast
Matt Braunger - Big Dumb Animal
Wayne Federman - Chronicles of Federman
Beth Stelling - Simply the Beth

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Barney Frank & Mission of Burma

| 0 comments
Show: 
Bullseye

Thanks to everyone who came out to our World Tour of Several American Cities! Here's our show recorded in front of a live audience in Boston at Oberon Theater at ART.

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.


Photo credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Barney Frank on Being In (and Out) of the Closet and What He Misses About Congress

The Honorable Barney Frank served as a House Representative for the state of Massachusetts for thirty-two years, from 1981 to 2013. He was the first congressman to come out as gay, and marry his same-sex partner while in office.

His legislative accomplishments included the Dodd-Frank Act, which brought about Wall Street reform and increased consumer protections. He was also influential in the passing of legislation regarding the environment, political reform and civil rights.

His memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, is available now.

Barney Frank joined Jesse to talk about his early career in politics and why he felt his career in public service was incompatible with his private life; what he liked most about being a congressman; and why he believes that people who love campaigning are either liars -- or psychopaths.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

Comedian Lamont Price on the Emotional Trauma of Breakfast Cereal

Lamont Price is one of Boston's top comics -- he's the winner of the New York Underground Comedy Festival and has been named as one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch”.

He took the stage at our live show to to talk about coconuts, movies, and... breakfast cereal?

You can follow Lamont on Twitter @LPizzle.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.


Photo credit: Fire Records

Mission of Burma on Being Loud, Noise and Post-Punk, and Middle Age

Though the post-punk band Mission of Burma’s initial iteration was short-lived and resulted in only one full-length album, an EP and a few singles, their music influenced generations of musicians outside their home of Boston. Their appeal was still strong when they reformed in 2002 with band members Roger Miller, Peter Prescott and Clint Conley, adding new member Bob Weston.

Since then the band has continued to perform live and has released 4 albums including their most recent, entitled Unsound.

The band performed a live set for us, and sat down with Jesse to talk about reforming the band after almost two decades apart, why they don’t make an effort to be rock stars and the subtle difference between being "legendarily loud" and being "hard to take".

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn Holiday Special: Rob Halford & Ronnie Spector

| 1 comment

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.

RIGHT CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE


Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Rob Halford of Judas Priest rings in Christmas in his own unique style

Rob Halford is the legendary Metal God, and frontman of seminal heavy metal group Judas Priest. The band's hits include Breaking the Law, You've Got Another Thing Coming and Hell Bent For Leather. One of his solo albums is a heavy metal holiday celebration called Halford III: Winter Songs.

Halford sat down to talk with us about why he included the most spiritual songs on his Christmas record, the early days of Judas Priest, and what it was like to be both a metal god and a closeted gay man.

This interview originally aired in December 2009.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

Girl Group legend Ronnie Spector on Christmas, the Beatles and the perfect coiffure

Ronnie Spector, the very bubbly and Christmas-spirit filled lead singer of legendary 60s girl group The Ronettes, performed what became Christmas classics on A Christmas Gift for You From Phil Spector, and she's recorded some more recent songs to add to the list with Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever.

This interview originally aired in December 2010.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

The Outshot: The Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

Jesse doesn't have many holiday traditions. But he'll tell you about the one thing that he makes time for every year: The Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: David Cross, Tavi Gevinson & Pharoahe Monch

| 1 comment
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Cross
Guests: 
Tavi Gevinson
Guests: 
Aparna Nancherla
Guests: 
Pharoahe Monch

Thanks to everyone who came out to our World Tour of Several American Cities! Here's our show recorded in front of a live audience in Brooklyn, New York at the Bell House.

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.


Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

David Cross on His New Sketch Comedy in 'W/Bob & David', Stand Up Comedy, and Living in NYC

David Cross co-created Mr. Show, one of the most beloved and influential sketch comedy shows, with his comedy partner and collaborator Bob Odenkirk.

Twenty years after the premiere of that program, Cross and Odenkirk recently released a new sketch show on Netflix, W/Bob & David.

Cross joins us to talk about the evolution of his stand up, the decision to create a new show with Odenkirk, and a certain club tour.

W/Bob & David is available now for streaming on Netflix. Cross also created and stars in The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, which returns for a third season on IFC January 7th.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.


Photo credit: Robyn Von Swank

Comedy: Aparna Nancherla

NYC-based comic and writer Aparna Nancherla has appeared on Conan, @midnight and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. She currently performs stand up and also writes for Late Night with Seth Meyers.

You can find out more about Aparna (including where to see/hear her!) at www.aparnacomedy.com.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.


Photo credit: Petra Collins

Tavi Gevinson on Acting, Dealing with Negativity Online, and Editing 'Rookie'

Tavi Gevinson found an audience online when she was still a pre-teen blogging about fashion. Now 19, she's gone to found an online magazine for teenage girls called Rookie, and to act on Broadway, in films and on TV.

A new collection of writings from Rookie is collected in Rookie: Yearbook 4. It's available in bookstores and online now.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

Music: Pharoahe Monch and DJ Boogie Blind with 'Time2', 'Broken Again' and a Special Performance of 'Simon Says'

We were joined for an amazing live set from legendary rapper Pharoahe Monch and DJ Boogie Blind.

Pharoahe Monch's latest full-length is called PTSD. To buy his albums or see where he's performing next, find him at www.pharoahe.com. You can check out DJ Boogie Blind on Twitter @BoogieBlind.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.

Embeddable Audio Player Code (Copy and Paste)

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John Cleese & Dee Dee Penny

| 0 comments

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS EPISODE DIRECTLY

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.


Dave Hogan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

John Cleese on His Early Life and the Road to Comedy

John Cleese is one of the most influential figures of comedy. He's best known as one the creative forces behind the legendary comedy troupe Monty Python. But before that, he was almost a lawyer.

Cleese went to Cambridge, studied law, and was about to accept a job with a big firm when another opportunity came up. This one was perhaps slightly less distinguished, but infinitely more appealing to Cleese. The BBC was impressed by his work with his college comedy revue, The Footlights, and offered him a job writing and producing comedy.

In his memoir So, Anyway… Cleese discusses his journey, from his childhood in prep school, to his early days of sketch comedy at Cambridge, to the co-founding of the Pythons.
Cleese will talk about being one of the "scientific" minds of the Pythons, writing and re-writing with his comedy partner Graham Chapman, and how he felt about the recent Monty Python reunion.

Cleese's memoir, So, Anyway is available now in paperback.

This interview originally aired December 9, 2014.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.


Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Dee Dee Penny of Dum Dum Girls Talks about Early Days on MySpace, Creating a Persona, and Overcoming Anxiety and Stage Fright

Kristin Gundred, AKA Dee Dee Penny, is the creative force behind the band Dum Dum Girls. But she wasn't always front and center. She's played in bands for almost fifteen years now, playing drums and singing in other people's groups. Eventually she realized the only way to create the music she wanted was to do it herself. So Dee Dee created a MySpace page and started working on her music.

Now Dee Dee and Dum Dum Girls have three studio albums under their belt, including their most recent, Too True.

Dee Dee talks to Jesse about making music in her bedroom, constructing the persona of Dee Dee Dum Dum, and overcoming anxiety and stage fright to be a rock musician.

This interview originally aired August 19, 2014.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this interview.

The The Outshot: Is 'What's Up Fatlip' the Least Braggy Rap Song Ever Written?

Don't call it a comeback. Jesse tells us about the LEAST braggy rap song ever written, "What's Up Fatlip?"

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment.