Brass Eye

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Simon Amstell, Brian K. Vaughan, and Jordan Morris

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Simon Amstell
Guests: 
Brian K. Vaughan
Guests: 
Jason Kottke
Guests: 
Jordan Morris

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Explaining the Bloop and David Chang's "The Mind of a Chef" with Jason Kottke

Jason Kottke, master collector of the internet's most fascinating links (assembled at his website, kottke.org), shares some current favorites. He recommends diving in to explore the world's unexplained sounds and David Chang's new PBS show, The Mind of a Chef, airing now on PBS and also available online.

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Simon Amstell on provoking Jermaine Jackson, his shamanic quest to find peace, and television fame

Years before he became famous in Britain for skewering celebrities on Popworld and Nevermind the Buzzcocks, Simon's Amstell's childhood ambition was to be on TV. And unlike most kids with dreams of TV stardom, he made it a reality -- but found it less fulfilling than he had hoped. Comedian, writer and TV host Amstell joins us this week to share his experiences in the entertainment industry, including navigating the delicate line between crafting clever comedy and bullying his celebrity guests as a TV host, writing and starring in Grandma's House, a sitcom with parallels to his own life, and seeking enlightenment on a Shamanic quest in South America.

Simon Amstell will be performing his very funny and deeply personal stage show Numb in early 2013. His most recent stand-up special Do Nothing recently aired on BBC America.

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Jordan Morris ranks America's stuff

In this era of constant hustle and bustle, who can keep up with what's HOT and what's NOT in these United States? Fortunately, expert stuff-ranker Jordan Morris joins us this week to fill us in and set us straight.

Jordan Morris co-hosts the podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jordan_Morris.
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Brian K. Vaughan on creation, from babies to universes

Brian K. Vaughan has the kind of strange and epic vision that's made for science fiction and fantasy. He's written award-winning comic book series like Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man, and crafted otherworldly storylines for several seasons of Lost.

His works are notable for their intimacy and beautiful, meticulously crafted characters, despite grandly epic settings. His most recent comic book series Saga is a prime example: Vaughan presents a fundamentally domestic story of parents trying to give their child a good life, backed by a colossal, galactic war. He joins us this week to share why he enjoys storytelling on a grand scale. Vaughan also explains why writing stories about lesser-known comic characters -- like Marvel's weird wildman Ka-Zar -- can be preferable to writing about the big names like Spiderman, and he tracks how fatherhood has affected his writing.

A collection of the first six issues of Brian K. Vaughan's monthly comic book series Saga is available now.
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The Outshot: Brass Eye's Paedogeddon

Please be advised: the content in this week's Outshot may be objectionable to some listeners.

As more details emerge surrounding the BBC's recent horrific pedophilia scandals, Jesse recalls a special episode of the satirical UK television series Brass Eye, called Paedogeddon. The episode was made in response to a similar panic about pedophilia in Britain over a decade ago. Here's a look at Brass Eye's take on media hysteria.

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Satirist Chris Morris, Writer-Director of Four Lions: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chris Morris

Writer-director Chris Morris' new film, Four Lions, is a farce in an unexpected milieu: a terror cell. The film follows the lives of five British-born terrorists as they plan and attempt to execute a suicide bombing. Their efforts (and failures) were inspired by years of research by Morris, who tells us that he became fascinated by the real terrorism stories that struck him as funny. One group of bombers filled a boat with explosives, planning to blow it up alongside a US naval warship. The boat sank while they argued on the dock. Another terrorist was mocked by his compatriots for peeing too loud. He blamed the Jews who manufactured the too-thin bathroom door.

Four Lions was shortlisted for the World Cinema Narrative Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. As a guest on our show, Sundance programmer Trevor Groth told us that while the film was uproariously funny, its greatest achievement was in humanizing the would-be murderers who are its subject. Four Lions enters staged release on November 5th, distributed under the new Drafthouse Films banner.

Morris made his name in the UK and among comedy fans with a series of incisive news satires in the 1990s. The Day Today parodied newscasts with absurd, buffoonish reporters and ridiculous headlines like "Where Now For Man Raised By Puffins?" Steering the ship with utter conviction was Morris behind the anchor desk. The news magazine satire Brass Eye went even further, at one point convincing a Minister of Parliament to introduce a resolution against "cake," a drug that the show had made up out of whole cloth. Morris himself went undercover, asking real street dealers for made-up drugs until they threatened him with violence. Most recently, Morris was a regular on The IT Crowd, created by past Sound of Young America guest Graham Linehan. Another past Sound guest has also been a frequent collaborator: Armando Iannucci, director of In The Loop.

Chris Morris was named #11 in a poll of "comedians' comedians" conducted by the BBC in 2005, finishing one slot behind Richard Pryor, and ahead of comedy legends like Bill Hicks, Peter Sellers and Steve Martin.

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Four Lions & the US of A

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One of the best films we saw at Sundance this year was Chris Morris' Four Lions. It's a satirical look at a London-based group of terrorists. UK-born terrorists, specifically. In the Q&A after the film, Morris talked about the sheer idiocy of terrorists he'd read about in his research, and he was unflinching in satirizing the would-be murderers. What's most remarkable about the film, though, is that these horrible, horrible doofuses are also quite human. That's a pretty remarkable achievement in my book.

The movie opens in a couple of cities November 5th, and it spreads across the country from there. Don't miss it.

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