Bullseye

Bullseye: Keegan-Michael Key & Tituss Burgess

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Keegan-Michael Key
Guests: 
Tituss Burgess

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Keegan-Michael Key on Race and Comedy and Why 'Key & Peele' Is Coming to an End

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 on Being 'Titus Andromedon' on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Following Your Instincts

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.

The Outshot: Fletch

Jesse explores the top-notch bluffing going on in this week's recommendation, the 1985 Chevy Chase movie Fletch.

Bullseye: John C. Reilly & Shamir [r]

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Bullseye
Guests: 
John C. Reilly
Guests: 
Shamir

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John C. Reilly: "Freedom and Anarchy" On Set, and Honesty in Acting

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: Adding Light to Darkness With His Music

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.

Shamir's latest album is called Ratchet. He's currently on tour in the US and Canada. You can find more on his website.

The Outshot: The Limey

Jesse recommends Steven Soderbergh's The Limey, a revenge movie that’s really about the way we all fight with our own past.

Bullseye: Rashida Jones & Ramiro Gomez & Lawrence Weschler

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Rashida Jones
Guests: 
Ramiro Gomez
Guests: 
Lawrence Weschler

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Photo: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Rashida Jones on Growing Up in the World of Celebrity, Absurdist Comedy and Her Youthful Dreams of Becoming a Judge

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.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Ramiro Gomez & Lawrence Weschler on the Invisible Service Community in Affluent Los Angeles and Negotiating Multiple Worlds

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.

The Outshot: The Third Man

Jesse explores the fun, artistry and dark irony of the of the classic noir film, The Third Man starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton.

Bullseye: Joe Bataan & Ali Wong

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Joe Bataan
Guests: 
Ali Wong

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Joe Bataan Talks about Juvenile Delinquency, Boogaloo and Creating an Early Hip-Hop Hit

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.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Ali Wong Talks Marriage and Money and What It’s Like Performing Thru Her Pregnancy

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.

The Outshot: Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book

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.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: DJ Quik

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Bullseye
Guests: 
DJ Quik
Guests: 
Michael Ian Black

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DJ Quik Talks About Bollywood Samples, Life Imitating Art, and Hairstyles

DJ Quik is one of the most prolific figures in West Coast hip hop. He's a great rapper, but first and foremost, he's always considered himself a producer. He's produced some of the most inventive samples and beats of the genre. And even though he geeks out about latest and greatest studio equipment, he's always used whatever it takes to capture the sound he wants -- even if it means recording a music sample with a VCR.

Quik first made a name for himself in the hip hop scene in the late 80's and early 90's, handing out homemade mix tapes and deejaying around Los Angeles. He's since released ten albums, and produced records for everyone from Tupac, Snoop Dogg and Xzibit to Tony! Toni! Toné!.

He'll talk about why a leaked record and a couple of guns made him realize he needed a new circle of friends, why he never wants to stop making pretty beats for his records and his inspiration for his awesome, awesome hairstyles over the years.

DJ Quik's new EP is calledRosecrans. It's available now.

Michael Ian Black Talks About Children’s Halloween Costumes - Recorded Live at MaxFunCon East 2012

Michael Ian Black is an actor, comedian and author perhaps best known from his work with the sketch comedy troupe The State, or from his subsequent collaborations with State-mates both on television (Stella, Michael & Michael Have Issues) and film (Wet Hot American Summer). His disarmingly charming smarm made him a perfect fit for the talking-head format of VH1, but it also makes him a terrific author, as evidenced in latest book Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (but also my mom’s, which I know sounds weird).

Michael Ian Black performed live at MaxFunCon East in 2012.

The Outshot: Skymaul 2

Have you ever picked up and actually flipped through one of those in-flight catalogs? Well, the sketch comedy group Kasper Hauser takes all of the grotesque and excessive product offerings of Skymall, and brings them to another level in Skymaul 2: Where America Buys His Stuff.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Nick Hornby & Luis Guzmán

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Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Nick Hornby on 'Funny Girl', Creativity and Ambition

Nick Hornby became famous as a literary writer for men. His first three books were about guys, fans specifically, Fever Pitch was a memoir about Hornby’s love of soccer; High Fidelity was about a record store owner, struggling with love. About A Boy was about a sort of boyish man tending to a mannish boy.

Hornby has since written several other books and screenplays, including Oscar nominees An Education and Brooklyn.

His recent novel, Funny Girl, is about a working class young woman in the 1960s who leaves her small town in search of a career on television, and her success on a BBC sitcom.

Nick Hornby sat down with Jesse to talk about why he set his novel in the mid-60s (and why its protagonist is a woman), personal ambition and creativity, and what it's like to be a Hollywood dinner guest.

Funny Girl is available now in paperback.

The interview originally aired in March 2015.


Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Luis Guzmán on 'The Part'

Luis Guzmán is a veteran character actor. But back in the early 1990s, he was still working as a social worker on the Lower East Side, and acting was more of a side gig. Then he got a role that put him on the map -- the thuggish sidekick Pachanga in the 1993 movie Carlito's Way.

As Guzmán tells it, everything crystallized with that role.

You can currently see Luis Guzmán in the role of Jesse Sallander on the CBS hospital drama, Code Black. On the show, he plays the role of the trauma unit’s senior nurse, affectionately referred to as “Momma”.

The interview originally aired in March 2015.

The Outshot: Devil in a Blue Dress

Jesse explains why Easy Rawlins, of Devil in A Blue Dress, is a different breed of private detective.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Dwayne Kennedy & Noel Fielding

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Dwayne Kennedy
Guests: 
Noel Fielding

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Dwayne Kennedy on His Debut EP, Using Jokes About Race as a Barometer, and Playing Different Kinds of Crowds

Dwayne Kennedy has been in the stand up comedy game for about thirty years now, performing everywhere, from Showtime at the Apollo to the Late Show with David Letterman, but he's still a bit of a comic's comic.

He'll talk to Jesse about why he's recorded plenty of his sets, but is only releasing his debut stand up EP this month. Plus, he'll explain how he's adapted his comedy for different audiences and how he's used jokes about race as a barometer.

His debut record is called Oh No! It's Dwayne Kennedy and is available now on Bandcamp. You can also check out Dwayne Kennedy's site for a schedule of his upcoming shows. See if he's coming to a city near you!

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Photo by Jesse Thorn

British Cult Comic Noel Fielding on 'The Mighty Boosh' and Creating New Worlds

If audiences in the United States know Noel Fielding, it's for his cult comedy show The Mighty Boosh, a comedy double-act turned radio program and then TV show. It aired here on Cartoon Network's adult swim. But Fielding is much better known in his native UK for not only the Boosh (which has done arena tours) but his appearances on quiz shows and his specific sense of style.

Fielding is touring the United States this spring with a live show called An Evening with Noel Fielding, which features some of his beloved characters and frequent collaborators (like Rich Fulcher).

Fielding sits down with us to talk about his comedy "marriage" with his Mighty Boosh creative partner Julian Barratt, his personal aesthetic, and creating new worlds on the radio, on TV, and on the stage.

His show The Mighty Boosh is available now on Seeso.com. Find out if An Evening with Noel Fielding is coming to a city near you by checking out Fielding's site.

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The Outshot: Beyoncé's "Formation" and Taking Space

Jesse considers the backlash to Beyoncé's new single, and explains why he thinks it's worth your attention.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Barney Frank & Mission of Burma

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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