Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Andy Daly & Jean Grae


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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 is currently in its second season on Comedy Central

This interview originally aired February 25, 2014.

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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 busy couple of years. At the time we last spoke with her, she had a new LP called Gotham Down, a new EP called Jeannie, an audiobook entitled The State of Eh, and a webseries in which she writes, directs and stars, Life with Jeannie.

She's since released more new music, including the new EPs Saix and iSweaterGawd, all available on her Bandcamp page.

This interview originally aired January 28, 2014.

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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. And to slice like a... well, you know.

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Judge John Hodgman Episode 215: Great Balls of Ire


Aron brings the case against his wife Molly. They recently moved into a new home, located next door to a public park. The kids playing in the park continually kick or throw balls over the fence, and the couple's yard is strewn with the balls. Aron and Molly can't agree on how best to return the balls and appease the kids. Who's right? Who's wrong?

Harish Krishnamoorthi named this week's case via the Judge John Hodgman Facebook page. Thanks, Harish!


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Judge John Hodgman Episode 173: Gross Misconduct


Is it ever OK to clip your fingernails in public? Molly brings the case against her mom Susan. Molly says that Susan has a habit of clipping her fingernails at inappropriate times. Susan says she follows proper etiquette and tries to be discreet. Who's right? Who's wrong?

A huge THANK YOU goes out to Joel Mann and community radio station WERU-FM in Blue Hill, Maine for their help this summer. And you can do as the Judge does and Donate to WERU's Summer Fun-a-Thon pledge drive, happening now!

Thanks to Brian Koppe for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.


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Judge John Hodgman Episode 154: Visitation Rights

John Roderick

Kevin insists that his best friend Ross abandon his daily routine and small-town life and visit him in the city once in awhile.

We're joined this week and next by Guest Bailiff John Roderick of The Long Winters and the podcast Roderick on the Line, with Merlin Mann. Thanks John!

If you want to join our conversation about this episode, please click on the Forum link below.

Thanks to Ellen Houlihan for suggesting this week's case name! To suggest a title for a future episode, like us on Facebook at Judge John Hodgman. We regularly put a call for submissions.


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The Memory Palace Episode 49: Dreamland

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M.O.P. - Cold As Ice


N****s thinking M.O.P. stands for "mop" and shit.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 9: The Parenthetical Petition


Judge John Hodgman decides the case of a couple who disagree: do parentheses have a place in fiction?

Recorded live at The Talent Show in Brooklyn with guest bailiff Elna Baker.

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Matt Berninger of The National: Interview on The Sound of Young America

Matt Berninger

Matt Berninger is the frontman of the Brooklyn rock band The National. Their latest release is High Violet. He talked with us about the bands roots, in Cincinnati, and about slowly developing the group from hobby to headliner.

JESSE THORN: It’s The Sound of Young America, I’m Jesse Thorn. My guest, Matt Berninger, is ten years or a little bit more into his rock and roll career with his band The National. They’ve gone from a tiny, independent label of which they were partly the boss to, with each passing record, a little bit more national renown. They’ve now made the transition from critic starlings to at least the indie mainstream’s darlings, and they’re continuing to grow. Their newest album is called High Violet. Let’s hear a little bit of one of the singles from the record, “Bloodbuzz Ohio.”

Matt Berninger, welcome to the Sound of Young America. It’s so great to have you on the show.

MATT BERNINGER: Thank you, thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Click Here For a Full Transcript of Our Interview

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