Welsh musician and composer John Cale moved to New York during the mid 1960’s. Instantly becoming part of the experimental music scene, along with Lou Reed, he was one of the founding members of seminal band Velvet Underground. He left the band in 1968 and since then has released dozens of albums. One of his most successful albums Fragments of a Rainy Season, originally recorded live during his 1992 tour, has just been reissued.
This week, John tells Jesse about his time in Velvet Undergound, working as a producer for The Stooges and Patti Smith, and who his favorite hip-hop artist is.
You can find more information about the reissue of Fragments of a Rainy Season here.
TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are two of the most successful improv artists to ever exist. Both veterans of Chicago’s prestigious improv school Second City, they met in 2002 and had an instant connection that is very rare to find in an improv partner.
This week, Jesse sits down with the pair at the first ever Chicago Podcast Festival to discuss their improv methods, their road to longform improv, and why they never left Chicago, and why stand-up would be easier than improv
Solo Project of musician Jason Narducy who has played with everyone from Superchunk to Bob Mould. Here is his set from Bullseye live at the Chicago Podcast Festival.
Find more information and music here.
Comedian Colin Quinn is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, but would probably describe himself first and foremost as a stand-up comic. You might've seen him in Amy Schumer’s TrainwreckThe Cop Show. He loves New York, and has written and starred in five one-man shows that talk about his lifetime spent in the Big Apple.
This week, he sits down to talk to Jesse about his newest one-man show New York Story, that he produced alongside Jerry Seinfeld available on Netflix. They also discuss his time on Saturday Night Live and the right way to joke about race in 2016.
Padma Lakshmi has gone through many career changes during her time in the public eye. She began her career as a model turned actress, then became a writer, and now hosts TV’s Top Chef on Bravo. She has written two cookbooks, a memoir, and now The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices.
Padma and Jesse talk about cultural differences she had to reckon with growing up between India and the United States, her role on Top Chef, and her new book The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices.
Sara Schaefer is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and podcast host. She has recorded one comedy album and has appeared on many late night shows. This week, we've included some of her set from last year’s MaxFunCon, a yearly bi-coastal conference that gathers creative and funny people to learn, teach, and most of all have fun. Tickets to MaxFunCon 2017 go on sale this Friday.
This week, Jesse tells us what is so pleasant about the non-pretentious Amazon series Red Oaks.
Jemaine Clement’s upbringing in a small community in New Zealand could have led him to career making cookies or cheese. Instead he found a way to transform his sense of humor into a career making other stuff -- things like music and comedy.
Along with his partner, Bret McKenzie, he is a member of musical comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords which aired as a television show for two seasons on HBO. Clement has also written and produced with McKenzie and other longtime collaborators on movies like What We Do in the Shadows.
Clement join us to talk about working in the comic drama People Places Things, his early comedic influences back in New Zealand, the challenges he faced producing a television show, and how the word “grommet” resulted in his last physical altercation.
Jonathan Ames is a writer who has earned a reputation for ruthless honesty when writing about his own life and those of his fictional characters. Whether the topic is alcoholism, sexuality or depression, Ames’ books and television projects delve deeply into what it means to be human, with wit and care.
Ames created the beloved HBO show Bored to Death. Now, he's the creator and showrunner of the new Starz show Blunt Talk, featuring Patrick Stewart as cable news host Walter Blunt.
Blunt Talk is in its second season and airs Sunday nights at 8:30 est on the Starz network.
Ames sat down with Jesse to talk about how he came to create his new show, why he's obsessed with the "valet", and why his characters are constantly "questing" with greater purpose.
Our takeaway? ALWAYS BE PREPARED.
Growing up in the Calvinist church, Paul Schrader didn't see a movie until his late teens. Since then, he has more than made up for it, writing, producing, and directing influential films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Affliction.
Willem Dafoe, having worked on 7 films in the past with Schrader, trusts his film-making style and sensibility. Dafoe's Hollywood breakout role was in the 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A., and has starred in many other beloved films such as Platoon and the Last Temptation of Christ.
This week, Schader and Dafoe sit down with Jesse to discuss their new film, Dog Eat Dog. They discuss Schrader’s childhood, his earlier screenplay and directorial premieres and Dafoe school’s Jessie on acting and how he gets into character when portraying psychotic characters.
Thirty years ago, David Crosby was one of the biggest rock stars in the world, being a part of two game changing and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted bands Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Byrds. Decades after his depart from playing with bands, he continues to play music on his own.
In conversation with Jesse, David discusses his transition into music, his addiction and recovery from drugs, and his latest album Lighthouse.
This week, Jesse recommends Ray Barretto’s inaugural album Acid as an album that had much ambition and achieved so much at a time when the music on it was still new to the American aural palette.
Norman Lear is a Hollywood legend who is responsible for cultivating an entire genre of television: the American Sitcom. After serving time in the U.S. Army during WWII, Lear began a career in Public Relations, eventually turning his sights to television production. During the 1970’s, he had some of the most successful TV shows running, including All In The Family, Maude, and The Jeffersons. After his tenure creating sitcoms, he went on to work on movies and writing.
You can find the upcoming PBS documentary about his life, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You here.
Riz Ahmed is a British actor who has been in many notable films including Chris Morris'
Swet Shop Boy’s new album Cashmere can found here.
This week, Jesse talks about why if you like strange, weird, yet insightful TV, Starz’s Blunt Talk is the show for you.
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.
Jeff 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.
Jeff Chang’s newest book- We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation- is an exploration of the current unrest abound in the United States through a series of essays.
Jesse also tells us about the life and legend of Andre the Giant.
Danny Fields is a music manager and publicist who was instrumental in signing and promoting some of the biggest names in Punk Rock history.
This week, he and Jesse discuss his decision to leave the ivy league tract, his time in Andy Warhol’s Factory, and what it was like managing The Ramones.
Judith Light has had an almost 40 year acting career in which she’s played strong female characters on shows like One LIfe To Live and Who’s The Boss?. She is now continuing in this motif with her tenure on Broadway, winning two Tony Awards for her performances in the last 5 years, starring in a one woman show, and of course her groundbreaking performance in Transparent.
Judith sits down with guest correspondent Keith Powell to discuss her work on Transparent, the cast’s relationship with Jill Soloway, and the famous courtroom scene on One Life to LIve that launched her career.
You can watch Transparent on Amazon and find information about her one woman play here.
Jesse talks about Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some as a reflection of the necessity for people to fall into spells of nostalgia, even if just for 90 minutes.
Hasan Minhaj is a Senior Correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and is currently touring with his one man show Homecoming King. A native of the Sacramento area, his comedy is characterized by a mix of political and satirical comedy.
This week, he and Jesse sit down to discuss his one man show, stand up comedy in other countries, and the current political climate in the United States. Plus, Hasan knows a lot about sneakers.
Hasan is currently on tour with his show Homecoming King.
Margaret Wappler is journalist, columnist, pop culture critic, short story writer, podcast host , teacher, and now a novelist.
Margaret and Jesse talk about her new novel Neon Green, how she took care of her ill father as a teenager, the writing process, and the 1990’s.
You can find Margaret’s book here.
This week, Jesse talks about non-people of color still not getting the plight of people of color’s everyday reality.
Jesse sits down with acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee. Spike tells us about how addiction is made explicit in his movie, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, how he really feels about Larry Bird and about his own very serious addiction.... to Air Jordans.
Spike Lee’s latest film, Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to off the Wall is available on VOD.
Jesse sits down with Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair. Katja Blichfeld is a casting director who previously won an Emmy for her work on 30 Rock; Ben Sinclair is an actor. The two are a married couple, and created the webseries High Maintenance. The show follows a New York City marijuana delivery guy as he visits his various clients.
The series has been picked up by HBO and will be making its debut on the network this month.
MTV2's Wonder Showzen looked like a kids' show. But it wasn't. It really, really, wasn't. Jesse tells us why Wonder Showzen is his favorite TV satire of the past decade.
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.