Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Baseball Special with Tabitha Soren, Sean Doolittle, and Josh Kantor

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tabitha Soren
Guests: 
Sean Doolittle
Guests: 
Josh Kantor

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.


Photo: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Oakland A's Relief Pitcher Sean Doolittle

This week Jesse talks to Oakland Athletics' reliever Sean Doolittle, who's been called one of the most interesting players in baseball.

Sean had an improbable journey to the majors. He was originally drafted as a hitter in 2007 before being sidelined by knee injuries. He didn't play for two years as a result. Sean talks to Jesse about the physical and mental obstacles he faced during recovery. At one point, he thought about giving up and going back to college to earn his degree.

Eventually, Sean was encouraged to try his hand at pitching instead. As it turns out, he had an excellent arm and could throw in the mid-to-high-90s. He's been on the A's since 2012, and was selected as an All-Star in 2014.

Sean's known as one of the nicest guys in the majors. He's used his platform as a baseball player to raise awareness about a number of causes, including veteran homelessness and the Syrian refugee crisis. Jesse talks to Sean about his outspoken support for LGBT rights, somewhat of a rarity among his fellow players.

You can find out what Sean's up to on Twitter.


Photo: Jim Harrison

Boston Red Sox organist Josh Kantor on the Song that Changed His Life

For fourteen years, Josh Kantor has been the organist for Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park. He's known for playing creative renditions of popular songs, and six years ago he started taking fan requests via Twitter.

In this Song that Changed My Life segment, Josh recalls one of first Twitter requests he ever got: "Halo" by Beyonce.

When he's not delighting Red Sox fans, Josh plays keys for a rock band called The Baseball Project, a baseball-themed supergroup that includes members of R.E.M. You can find him on Twitter,
where he's now taking song requests for the new season.


Photo: Kevin L. Jones/KQED

Photographer and former MTV newscaster Tabitha Soren on her new book, Fantasy Life

This week Jesse talks to the artist Tabitha Soren. You might remember Soren from her previous life as a newscaster if you watched MTV in the early 1990s. During the era of "Rock the Vote" and Bill Clinton, she was one of the most recognizable young faces on television.

Now Soren is an accomplished artist and photographer, whose work has appeared in galleries around the country. She has a new photography book called Fantasy Life: Baseball and the American Dream, which follows the 2002 Oakland Athletics draft class.

Soren admits she didn't know much about baseball before starting this project. She started shooting the Oakland A's draft class in 2003, while helping her husband with a book he was writing. That book was Moneyball, which became a New York Times bestseller and a movie by the same name. Fantasy Life is an update of sorts to Moneyball. Taken over the last fifteen years, the collection of photographs chronicles the lives of 21 players, most of whom are no longer playing baseball.

Soren talks about the incredible odds that these players faced, and how their struggle is a parable for a uniquely American obsession. She also explains why not knowing much about the game helped her tell a different story than most baseball photographers.

Fantasy Life is now available on Amazon.


The Outshot: The Glory of Their Times

Jesse shares about a book that he believes may be the greatest sports book ever written. Curiously enough, it was written by an economics professor, and it's called The Glory of Their Times.

The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It is available on Amazon.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: My Brother My Brother and Me and Gina Prince-Bythewood

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Justin McElroy
Guests: 
Travis McElroy
Guests: 
Griffin McElroy
Guests: 
Gina Prince-Bythewood

This week Linda Holmes of NPR's podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour fills in for Jesse this week.

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.


Photo:Screenshot Via MBMBaM Youtube Channel

My Brother My Brother and Me on their SeeSo show of the same name

This week guest host Linda Holmes talks with Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy, the hilarious three brothers behind the comedy advice podcast My Brother, My Brother and Me. Recently, the brothers became the creators and stars of their very own TV series by the same name on the Seeso streaming network.

The McElroys tell Linda why it was important to them to film their new show in Huntington, West Virginia, where they grew up. They dish on the common misconceptions of their hometown, and what it was like to rope fellow Huntingtonians, including the mayor, into their antics.

The McElroys’ irreverent yet humane sense of humor has won them a following of very passionate fans, especially online. There’s even a McElroy wiki that catalogues the many callbacks and gags that have appeared in their comedy over the years, not to mention the brothers’ other shows with spouses, family members, and friends.

The McElroys tell Linda about how growing up in the same household shaped their comic sensibilities -- and how even after all these years, they’re still trying to make each other laugh.

All episodes of My Brother, My Brother and Me are now available to stream on Seeso. A free episode is available here.


Photo: Larry Busaca/Getty Images

Gina Prince-Bythewood on her new Fox miniseries Shots Fired

Gina Prince-Bythewood is a producer and writer who is probably best known for her 2000 movie Love and Basketball. Raised in Pacific Grove, California Gina moved down to Los Angeles to attend UCLA, graduating from the film school with honors. Gina has directed many movies since her 2000 breakthrough, films such as The Secret Life of Bee's and Beyond The Lights.

Her new project called Shots Fired, created with her husband Reggie Rock Bythewood, was a film idea turned mini series dealing with issues of race inequality and police corruption and violence against the black community. The murders of unarmed black men and women at the hands of white police officers and in particular the acquittal of George Zimmerman from the murder of Trayvon Martin were the catalyst for this project.

Gina tells Linda how rejection has influenced her work ethic, why she thinks it's important to represent diverse experiences and casts, and why she think Love and Basketball is cherished by so many people.

You can watch Shots Fired on Fox every Wednesday at 8/7c.

The Outshot: Pete Seeger

Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Linda tells us about a musician who can turn literally anybody into a great singer, doesn't matter who you are.

Pop Rocket Episode 116: Bonus! Jesse Thorn Interviews Guy

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Jesse Thorn

This week we have a bonus Pop Rocket episode for all of you Rocketeers!
Jesse Thorn, our boss and creator of Pop Rocket, interviewed Guy for Pop Rocket's sister show Bullseye with Jesse Thorn about his new truTV show Talk Show the Game Show. Although the Bullseye interview won't air for a couple of weeks, Jesse wanted to release this episode to you, our beloved listeners, as a thank you for your continued support.
As I'm sure you know by now, it is the MaxFun Drive, the 2 weeks out of the year where we ask you, our listeners, to give back in whatever way possible. You can go to the MaxFun website to donate at whatever level you can. You can also pick up some awesome thank you gifts, among which is the INCREDIBLE Pop Rocket enamel pin designed by Megan Lynn Kott. We really can't make this show without you and we so appreciate anything that you can give. Make sure to make some noise about your contribution to Maximum Fun by using the astag #MaxFunDrive.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Danny McBride and Miroslav Vitous

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Danny McBride
Guests: 
Misoslav Vitous

[r] 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.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Danny McBride on Writing Dark Comedy, Returning to High School, and Playing the Antihero

Danny McBride is a comedic writer and actor who started his career starring in the cult classic comedy, The Foot Fist Way. Although the film went to Sundance and was a modest success, McBride went back to North Virginia to work as a substitute teacher. Danny and frequent collaborator Jody Hill began creating the series Eastbound & Down, which would jumpstart McBride’s career and make him a film and television star.

He has appeared in a number of comedies, such as Tropic Thunder, 30 Minutes or Less, and Observe and Report. McBride is perhaps best known for writing and starring in the HBO series Eastbound & Down, where he plays disgraced MLB player, Kenny Powers.

McBride sat down with Jesse to talk about about working with Jody Hill, writing for Eastbound and Down, and dealing with people who idolize Kenny Powers just a little too much.

The second season of Vice Principals is out this summer.

Miroslav Vitous on the Recording Session that Changed His Life

Jazz bassist Miroslav Vitouš explains how working with Weather Report on the composition "Morning Lake" is an experience he will never forget.

Miroslav Vitouš's new album is called Music of Weather Report.

The Outshot: The Hunt For The Wilderpeople

Jesse talks about the film Hunt for The Wilderpeople and why calling it "twee" is actually a compliment.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Desus Nice, The Kid Mero, and Walter Murch

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
The Kid Mero
Guests: 
Desus Nice
Guests: 
Walter Murch

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.

Ray Suarez guest hosts this week.


Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Desus Nice and The Kid Mero on their new Viceland TV show Desus & Mero

Desus and Mero have worked together since 2013 when they started their first podcast Desus vs. Mero but have actually known each other since going to summer school together in The Bronx. Both Mero and Desus have huge Twitter followings, where they first cultivated a rapport. Eventually, they transferred it to podcasting. After their first podcast ended, they started The Bodega Boys which has a similar vibe and is everything that makes podcasts great; improvised, diverse, hilarious, and irreverent. Their success in podcasting has lead to Vice tapping them to host their flagship late-night show on Viceland, the new television network. It's called Desus & Mero, of course.
In for Jesse Thorn, public media legend Ray Suarez talk with Desus and Mero about their new TV show and the differences between being funny on twitter and producing a TV show or podcast. They tell us why they talk about race so much, and give us a look into what it was really like to grow up in Bronx in the 1980's.


You can watch Desus & Mero weeknights at 11 p.m. on Viceland. You can also find The Bodega Boys podcast on iTunes or wherever you download podcasts.


Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Walter Murch talks sound and film editing and the new book about him, Waves Passing in the Night

Three time Academy Award winning sound designer and film editor Walter Murch has been a part of Hollywood scene for over 50 years. One of his most frequent collaborators is Francis Ford Coppola - he worked on Apocalypse Now and The English Patient. In his free time, though, he does something completely different: astrophysics. He's particularly mesmerized by Bode's Law, the almost 250 year old theory that explains the spacing and orbit of the planets. Murch is the subject of Lawrence Weschler's new book Waves Passing in the Night, which chronicles Murch's education in astrophysics.
Murch tells Ray about how the move from analog to digital machines changed the game, his obsession with science and astrophysics, and what he learned about sound editing from Marlon Brando.
Waves Passing In The Night is out now.

The Outshot: The Young Pope

Photo: HBO

Ray tells us why the HBO limited series The Young Pope is so surprisingly captivating.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Pete Holmes and Mike Mills

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Pete Holmes
Guests: 
Mike Mills

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.


Photo: Frederick M Brown/Getty Images

Pete Holmes, creator and star of HBO's Crashing

This week Jesse talks with standup comic Pete Holmes. He's the creator and star of Crashing, a brand new show on HBO that's based in part on his life.

Compared with many of his standup peers, Pete had somewhat of an atypical upbringing. He was raised as an evangelical Christian and attended a Christian college, where he studied to be a youth pastor. He began performing standup in his early 20s, getting his start in New York City's club scene before playing to crowds around the country.

At the age of 28, Pete's marriage fell apart, which forced him to reevaluate his life and beliefs. Pete talks to Jesse about how setbacks such as his divorce and the cancellation of his late night show on TBS, The Pete Holmes Show, ended up paving the way for his current success. His divorce also supplied autobiographical material for his new HBO series Crashing. In the show, he plays a young comedian who finds himself dazed and newly single after his wife leaves him for a boxer.

Crashing premieres on HBO on February 19th.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Mike Mills, director of 20th Century Women

Jesse also talks with Mike Mills, director of 20th Century Women, which is up for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Before his career in feature films, Mills made his name directing short films and music videos, working with bands like Air, Blonde Redhead, and Pulp.

In 2010, Mills directed Beginners, a comedy/drama that told the story of a fictionalized version of his father, who came out of the closet in his late 70s. Christopher Plummer, who played his dad, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Mills' latest film, 20th Century Women, is about his mom. It tells the story of Dorothea (Annette Benning), a single mom living in a big house in Santa Barbara with two boarders and her teenage son, Jamie. The movie is also an exploration of the 1970s cultural landscape, including 2nd wave feminism and punk rock.

Mike talks with Jesse about his relationship with his parents, who grew up in the Depression era, as well as his philosophy on character development. He also tell Jesse about one of his first loves: skateboarding.

Learn more about 20th Century Women and where you can watch it.

Photo: YouTube

The Outshot: Babe: Pig in the City

You might laugh if you hear about a movie with CGI-rendered talking animals, but that just means you haven't seen Babe: Pig in the City. In this week's Outshot, Jesse explains why a movie about a brave little pig wandering through a bustling metropolis makes him cry every time he watches it.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Cristela Alonzo and Stretch Armstrong

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Cristela Alonzo
Guests: 
Stretch Armstrong

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.


Photo: Tommaso Boddi / Stringer

Cristela Alonzo has a new stand-up special on Netflix, Lower Classy

Cristela Alonzo is a veteran standup comedian, actress, writer, and producer. She's also something of a pioneer. You might remember her from the ABC sitcom Cristela, where she was the first Latina to create, write, produce, and star in her own show.

In this week's episode, she talks to Jesse about her formative years growing up in South Texas with an undocumented parent. Hiding from police and immigration raids were daily realities in her small border town. Her family was also desperately poor--she recalls squatting in an abandoned diner.

Down the road, Cristela discovered she had a talent for weaving those tough experiences into comedy gold. That gift is on full display in her new Netflix standup special, Lower Classy, as she takes on difficult topics including racial stereotypes, immigration, poverty, and parenting, all with her trademark smile and laugh. Cristela recalls the long journey that led to the special, and how being a comedian is, for her, about more than simply making people laugh.

Cristela Alonzo's new standup special, Lower Classy, is available to stream on Netflix now.


Photo: John Phillips / Stringer

Stretch Armstrong

Stretch Armstrong is a renowned DJ, record collector, and writer. It's impossible to tell the story of New York rap in the 1990s--what some people consider the Golden Era of Hip-Hop--without at least mentioning The Stretch and Bobbito Show, the influential college radio program that he and Robert "Bobbito" Garcia co-hosted from 1990 to 1998.

In their time, Stretch and Bobbito were among the only FM radio outlets for a generation of New York rappers. MCs like Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, Notorious BIG, and Nas. The behind-the-scenes stories from those days are the stuff of hip-hop folklore, and the subject of documentary that came out a little over a year ago, called Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives. It's available to stream on Netflix now.

Stretch, whose real name is Adrian Bartos, also recently co-authored a book. He and Evan Auerbach teamed up to make a visual history of New York City's club scene, called No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988-1999.

The Outshot: "Wells for Boys"

In this week's Outshot, Jesse shares a Saturday Night Live sketch that spoke to him in a particularly magical way. Behold, Wells for Boys:

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: One Day at a Time, Todd Mayfield, and SAINt JHN

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Gloria Calderon Kellett
Guests: 
Mike Royce
Guests: 
Todd Mayfield
Guests: 
SAINt JHN

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.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce on their new show One Day At A Time

Gloria Calderon Kellett has been in show business as a writer, producer, and actor for almost two decades. She began her career writing on Andy Richter’s show Quintuplets. She also worked on How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement. When Norman Lear, the legendary TV producer approached her about doing a reboot of One Day at a Time - his 1970s hit sitcom - she jumped at the chance.

She was joined by Mike Royce, a veteran TV producer of shows like Everybody Love Raymond and Men of a Certain Age, and Gloria. The two tell Jesse about how they began to conceptualize the new show, how Gloria avoided being being labeled as the "latina writer" during her career, and how they approached writing about marginalized communities in a sitcom format.

You can watch the reboot of the Norman Lear classic One Day At A Time by streaming it on Netflix.


Photo:Jesse Thorn

SAINt JHN tells us about The Song That Changed His Life

New York based rapper SAINt JHN spent his youth travelling between Guyana and New York. He realized early on, following his older brother’s lead, that he wanted to be a rapper. He began his career as a songwriter, with credits that include Usher’s 2016 hit Crash. He's now writing songs for himself and creating work for GØDD COMPLEXx, his music and art collective.

He knows the record that got him started - it's a 1999 album: Jay Z's Vol 3. He even remember the song that changed his life: Jay's classic Dopeman.

You can listen to SAINt JHN’s latest single Roses on his Soundcloud and make sure to watch the music video that he directed and produced.


Photo: Self/Twitter

Todd Mayfield

You might think that growing up the son of one of history’s most beloved R&B and Soul singers would be the greatest gift. But Todd Mayfield and his siblings didn’t always see it that way. Curtis Mayfield, who defined a whole generation of politically conscious music, left behind an incredible legacy of stories, music, and touched lives. Todd, despite his propensity to separate himself from his father in his younger years, felt it necessary to biographize his father’s life through anecdotes, interviews with friends and family.

This week, Todd and Jesse talk about what it was like growing up with Curtis Mayfield as a father, his musical transition from the 1960s to the more politically involved records of the 1970s, and the incredible music that he was able to create when he was paralyzed from the neck down during the late 80s to his final days in 1999.

Todd’s biography of his father, Traveling Soul: The Life of Curtis Mayfield is out now.

Photo: Daniel Boczarski / Stringer/Getty Images

The Outshot: YG

This week, Jesse talks about LA rapper YG’s particular sound and philosophy.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Laurie Kilmartin and Throwing Shade's Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Laurie Kilmartin
Guests: 
Erin Gibson
Guests: 
Bryan Safi

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.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Laurie Kilmartin on parenthood, losing her father, and her new SeeSo comedy special

Comedian and writer Laurie Kilmartin is probably best known as one of the finalists on the 7th season of Last Comic Standing. She has also written 2 books and has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy award. Last year, Laurie's 83 year old father was diagnosed with cancer. She had to take time off from her dream job as a staff writer on Conan O’Brian’s late night show and flew up to visit her father in Northern California as much as she could. During the months of her father's declining health, she took to Twitter writing jokes about her experience of losing a parent to cancer.

She talks to Jesse about her new SeeSo comedy special called 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad. She gets candid about what it’s like to lose a parent and how instrumental Twitter was in coming to grips during the process.

You can find more information about how to stream her special here.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi on their new TV Land show Throwing Shade and how to be funny without being offensive

Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi are comedians, writers, actors, and podcast hosts. They met in 2010 as writers for Current TV, a news channel that was created by Al Gore and Al Jazeera. Erin covered feminist issues while Bryan covered the LGBTQ beat. In 2011, when Current TV closed its doors, Erin and Bryan knew that they still had more to say so they decided to start the Throwing Shade podcast hosted by Maximum Fun.

In studio with Jesse, they discuss their origin story, the differences between making podcasts and TV, and how to have a sincere and funny opinion without being offensive.

You can watch Throwing Shade on TV Land every Tuesday evening at 10:30/9:30c.

The Outshot: The Simpsons move to Cypress Creek

This week, Jesse tells us what an almost 20 year old episode of The Simpsons has to do with Silicon Valley, and why we should care.

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn Holiday Special with Andy Richter, Jane Lynch, Pop Rocket, and MBMBAM

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Andy Richter
Guests: 
Jane Lynch
Guests: 
Griffin McElroy
Guests: 
Travis McElroy
Guests: 
Justin McElroy
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler

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.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Andy Richter on the dealing with the holidays, his favorite holiday movies, and his new SeeSo special, Home for the Holiday’s

Andy Richter probably best known for being Conan's O'Brien's sidekick, buth he's been a comedian for almost 30 years. You've probably seen him in Madagascar, Arrested Development, or maybe you watched his Emmy nominated TV series: Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
Now, he sits down with Jesse to talk about his new SeeSo comedy special Andy Richter's Home for the Holidays

Margaret Wappler and Wynter Mitchell on their favorite holiday films

Journalist and novelist Margaret Wappler and digital strategist Wynter Mitchell are hosts on Bullseye’s sister show, Pop Rocket.
This week, they sit down with Jesse to talk about their favorite Christmas films. Some of them will surprise you.
You can find every episode of Pop Rocket and more information about the show here.

Justin, Travis, and Griffin Mcelroy answer some holiday questions

The brothers from the Maximum Fun produced advice show and podcast, My Brother, My Brother and Me field some questions from listeners, and give some holiday advice.

Jane Lynch on her new Christmas album, hating the holidays, and coming out in a post-Ellen America

Emmy and Golden Globe award winner Jane Lynch is best known for her hilarious portrayal of Sue Sylvester on ABC’s Glee, and if you've seen a Christopher Guest movie, odds are her's was the funniest character - no small feat. Recently, she's teamed up with Kate Flannery and Tim Davis on A Swingin' Little Christmas, a big-bad era inspired Christmas album.
This week, she sits down with Jesse to talk about that album, her arms-length relationship with Christmas, and what it was like for her to come out as gay after comedians like Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell paved the way.

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