comedies

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chris Rock, John Cleese & Scott Aukerman

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chris Rock
Guests: 
John Cleese
Guests: 
Scott Aukerman


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Chris Rock Explains His Commitment to Stand Up

Chris Rock has never strayed for too long from stand up comedy. He started performing stand up in his late teens, then he was handpicked by Eddie Murphy to be in Beverly Hills Cop II. Rock then spent a few years on Saturday Night Live and In Living Color, and eventually turned to stand up yet again in the mid 1990s.

You probably remember what happened next. Rock released a series of stand up specials, earning him several Emmys and cementing his status as one of the industry's best comics.

It was Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing that inspired him to work behind the camera, as a movie director. Rock directed two movies in the 2000s, Head of State and I Think I Love My Wife. His latest is a comedy called Top Five. Rock stars as Andre Allen, a famous comic who wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Andre can't get audiences to embrace his dramatic turn in a movie about the Haitian slave rebellion -- they just want him to be funny.

Rock will talk about why he's making movies instead of touring stand up clubs, why he isn't worried about becoming "old Bob Hope", and the real reason he's afraid of losing his fame.

Top Five is in theaters this week.

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I Wish I'd Made That: Scott Aukerman on Twin Peaks

Artists are always influenced by the work of others. And sometimes, something an artist sees is SO good, so PERFECT that they wish they had made it themselves.

This happens so often to the people we talk to, that we made a segment about it. It’s called I Wish I’d Made That.

Today you’re going to hear from the Comedy Bang Bang host Scott Aukerman. One of his early jobs was as a writer for the comedy program Mr. Show.

So why does this comedy aficionado wish he'd made the dark, surrealistic murder-mystery show Twin Peaks? He'll explain.

Twin Peaks is currently available on Blu-ray and Netflix, and will be returning to air sometime in 2016 on Showtime.

You can hear more from Aukerman on the TV show and podcast Comedy Bang! Bang!. Season three of the show is wrapping up on IFC.

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John Cleese on His Early Life and the Road to Comedy

John Cleese is one of the most influential figures of comedy. He's best known as one the creative forces behind the legendary comedy troupe Monty Python. But before that, he was almost a lawyer.

Cleese went to Cambridge, studied law, and was about to accept a job with a big firm when another opportunity came up. This one was perhaps slightly less distinguished, but infinitely more appealing to Cleese. The BBC was impressed by his work with his college comedy revue, The Footlights, and offered him a job writing and producing comedy.

In his new memoir So, Anyway… Cleese discusses his journey, from his childhood in prep school, to his early days of sketch comedy at Cambridge, to the co-founding of the Pythons.

Cleese will talk about being one of the "scientific" minds of the Pythons, writing and re-writing with his comedy partner Graham Chapman, and how he felt about the recent Monty Python reunion.

Cleese's new book, So, Anyway… is available now.

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The Outshot: Transparent

Why does Jesse like Transparent? Well, it's the rare television show that has people acting like... real people.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone & The Sklar Brothers

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Melissa McCarthy
Guests: 
Ben Falcone
Guests: 
Linda Holmes
Guests: 
Glen Weldon
Guests: 
Davy Rothbart
Guests: 
Randy Sklar
Guests: 
Jason Sklar

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.

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Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone on Wigs, Their High School Selves, and Making 'Tammy'

Melissa McCarthy knows how to throw herself into her comedy. Physically, emotionally, she goes all out. People who saw her onstage at the Groundlings knew it. But you didn't really see it on-screen yet. She was mostly known for playing the lovable cook and best friend, Sookie St. James, on Gilmore Girls. Then she had landed a titular role on the CBS show Mike & Molly, which won her an Emmy. In 2011 she got a part in Bridesmaids. And her horizons have only expanded from there.

McCarthy's become a film star, mostly in roles similar to her character in Bridesmaids. Maybe a little crass, maybe a bit of a hot mess. She starred in, her husband Ben Falcone directed, and they both wrote the new comedy Tammy.

Tammy follows a midwestern woman whose life is a mess. So she goes on a road trip with her alcoholic grandmother, to get out of her home town for good.

McCarthy and Falcone met in comedy improv classes, bonded, and eventually became partners both in business and in life.

They'll talk about their high school days, including Melissa's goth phase, their fateful meeting in the Groundlings, and what it was like getting Kathy Bates to play a role that was literally written for her.

Tammy hits theaters this week.

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NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour Recommends: 'The Devil's Candy' and 'Oishinbo'

Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to recommend some of their all-time favorite reads.

Glen recommends the manga series called Oishinbo, translated as 'The Gourmet'. It's about two rival newspapers competing to create the perfect Japanese meal. He suggests starting with the volume about sushi.

Linda recommends The Devil's Candy by Julie Salamon, a book about the film production of Bonfire of the Vanities. Salamon was granted unlimited access to the film set. The takeaway? Sometimes folks don't set out to make a bad movie, it just kind of happens.

You can hear Glen and Linda each week on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and find Linda's writing on NPR.org's Monkey See blog.

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Found "To Do's" with Davy Rothbart

Davy Rothbart, Point Guard of FOUND Magazine, shares some of his favorite "finds." He'll share some of his favorite ephemera: to do lists that include items like "hook up with Jen" and "create a circuit of pirate radio stations in the Traverse City area."

FOUND Magazine issue 9 is available now. And stay tuned this fall for FOUND: The Musical, presented by the Atlantic Theater Company.

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"The Sum is Greater Than the Parts": Jason and Randy Sklar on Comedy and Evading the Twin Shtick

Randy Sklar and Jason Sklar are stand up comedians. They're also twins. Their work isn't about their twinness, though. In fact, outside of the two of them looking the same, they barely mention it. But it's integral to what they do. Most double acts are about contrast, the Sklars are the opposite.

They diverge, they come back, and all in the service of releasing a firehose of jokes. The pair have been doing comedy together their entire adult lives. They have their own podcast, Skarlbro Country, they hosted their own TV show on the History Channel, and have racked up lots of movie and TV appearances.

They'll talk about why they didn't want to do bits about being twins, why they wanted to combine comedy and sports on Cheap Seats, and how if they were part of the same person, well, Randy's the head and Jason's the heart.

Their stand up special What Are We Talking About? is available now on Netflix Instant.

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The Outshot: Bug-Eyed, Cartoon-y Wildness (Or Why We Love Hunter Pence)

Jesse will tell you about why he loves the craziest-looking baseball player in the majors, and why you should, too.

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