Comedy Central

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Swamp Dogg and Joel Kim Booster

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Swamp Dogg
Guests: 
Joel Kim Booster

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Photo: David McMurry/Courtesy of Swamp Dogg

Swamp Dogg: On His Musical Upbringing, New Album, and Six Decade Career

Singer/songwriter and three-time Bullseye guest Jerry Williams is best known by his recording name Swamp Dogg. He started in show business as a kid. He put out his first song at the age of twelve with his mom playing drums. Then, in the 60s, he was a record company man. He worked A&R, produced bands, and wrote a few R&B hits.

He adopted the name Swamp Dogg in the early 70s and put out a bunch of classics: "Total Destruction To Your Mind," "Rat On!," "Cuffed, Collared & Tagged."

His music is straightforward soul with a hilarious psychedelic lens.

These days, more and more people are getting hip to Swamp's music. His old LPs have been reissued and he's still making music! He's closing in on two dozen albums now, and just put out a new one called "Love, Loss and Auto-Tune."

Swamp Dogg tells Jesse about what's it's like to for him to still be performing today and, a time he was mistaken for being a white musician.

Click here to listen to Swamp Dogg's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Joel Kim Booster: On His Stage Persona, Defying Stereotypes, and Growing Up in A Conservative Christian Home

A quick warning: This next segment features some frank talk about sex. If that isn't the kind of thing you want to hear, just a heads up.

Joel Kim Booster is a writer and comedian. He's written for "Billy on the Street," "Problematic with Moshe Kasher," and Netflix's "Big Mouth." As a standup, he's appeared on Conan, Comedy Central, @Midnight and more.

He's Korean American and was adopted and raised by a white family in suburban Illinois. His upbringing was conservative and very, very religious - he was homeschooled until he hits his teens, and came out to his parents about being gay in his late teens.

In this interview, he talks to Jesse about his "hot" and "dumb" stage persona, his hopes for the afterlife, and the feedback he gets from other Asian American entertainers and his Asian American followers.

Joel's comedy album is called "Model Minority." You can find out the latest about Joel on his website: I hate Joel Kim.

Click here to listen to Joel Kim Booster's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Outshot: Simon Rodia's Watts Towers

In this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about the masterwork of a four-foot-ten-inch tall, 42-year-old, barely literate, Italian immigrant who wanted to make something big.

Click here to listen to The Outshot on YouTube.

Everything's Coming Up Simpsons Ep 134: My Sister, My Sitter w/ Sean O'Connor

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Guests: 
Sean O'Connor

This week, Sean O'Connor returns to talk about another one of his favorite episodes – My Sister, My Sitter. In the episode, Lisa takes up babysitting. She does such a good job for everyone in Springfield that Marge and Homer ask her to babysit Bart. Things don't end pretty. Sean recounts a gruesome babysitting story of his own. Plus, he talks about what it's like to be a dad, and why letting other people watch your kids is terrifying. Check out Sean's work on the "Late Late Show with James Corden" and Comedy Central's "Hood Adjacent" for which he serves as executive producer and head writer. His latest writing can also be seen on Netflix's "Hilarity for Charity."

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman of 'Corporate' and Graphic Novelist Mimi Pond

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Matt Ingebretson
Guests: 
Jake Weisman
Guests: 
Mimi Pond

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson on their new Comedy Central show 'Corporate'

Technically, the new Comedy Central show Corporate is a workplace comedy. But it's so much darker, weirder and universal than that. The show follows the lives of Jake and Matt, two junior executives in training at Hampton Deville. Every character on the show is a little depressed and angry about working for a soul-sucking giant multinational corporation. Matt and Jake have just enough power and money to keep working there, but not enough to make any real impact in the company. Corporate goes beyond your standard office comedy and dives into deeper themes like the capitalism, art, suicide, and even the meaninglessness of life. Corporate has a great supporting cast including Lance Reddick, Anne Dudek, Aparna Nancherla, and Baron Vaughn. Deadpan humor and satire is tough, but Corporate really nails it.

Jesse sat down with co-creators and stars of Corporate Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson to talk about getting the shows tone right, what it was like pitching the show to a corporation, and why they cast Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels on The Wire to play the CEO of Hampton Deville. Plus, they talk about how magic mushrooms helped them write some of the episodes -- you don't wanna miss that!

Click here to listen to this interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jagrap via Flickr Creative Commons

The Craziest Day Of My Entire Career: Mimi Pond

Mimi Pond is a cartoonist whose work has appeared in the National Lampoon, the LA Times, and the New York Times. For almost a decade she had a regular full page comic in Seventeen Magazine. She's also a television writer. Mimi wrote one of the most iconic episodes of the Simpsons ever made: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire." In that episode, Homer doesn't get a Christmas bonus from Mr.Burns and Homer gets a job at the mall as Santa to pay for holiday expenses. The episode introduced us to the Simpson's family dog, Santa's Little Helper. That episode also introduced the world to the Simpsons -- it was the first episode of The Simpsons to air on television. Mimi's also written for Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Designing Women.

Before all that, Mimi worked at a handful of diners in the 70's as a waitress. She's written two graphic novels loosely based on her time as a server. The first was "Over Easy" in 2014 and the most recent is "The Customer is Always Wrong." We asked her to tell us about the craziest day of her career, and she had a lot to say about one particular dinner shift when the head cook disappeared.

Mimi Pond's book "The Customer is Always Wrong" is out now.

Click here to listen to this segment on YouTube!

The Outshot: 'Understanding Comics'

Finally, for this week's Outshot: "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud. It's a graphic novel about understanding comic books that assumes you know nothing about comics. If you've never picked up a comic book before this is a good place to start.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: J.K. Simmons & Solomon Georgio

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
J.K. Simmons
Guests: 
Solomon Georgio

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

J.K. Simmons on his career, musical theater and what it’s like to be made into an action figure

J.K. Simmons never imagined he would work in film or television. In 1978, he graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in music. Many years later he put that degree to use for the Broadway musical revival of “Guys and Dolls” with his portrayal of Benny Southstreet.

His mainstream breakthrough performance didn’t occur until 1997. For six seasons, he played a neo-nazi named Vernon Schillinger on the HBO prison drama “Oz.” The groundbreaking program was the first hour-long drama produced by HBO. It was also one of the most graphic and violent shows on television at the time. In 2015, J.K. Simmons starred alongside Miles Teller in the movie “Whiplash,” directed by Damien Chazelle. His performance earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a ruthless, sadistic jazz instructor.

He's also known for his portrayal of John Jonah Jameson, the editor of the Daily Bugle in the Spiderman. Simmons’ portrayal is bombastic, unrelentless, and one of the best sources of comic relief in that series. It’s a performance that’s not many degrees away from the rage he channeled in “Oz,” but is done with a sort of charm that only J.K. could pull off.

J.K. Simmons stars in the new drama The Bachelors. In it, Simmons plays a math teacher named Bill Palet. Bill just lost his wife, and he's trying to move past it. One day Bill wakes up, and decides it’s time for a big change. Bill and his son, Wes, move out to California where Bill takes a job at a private school. Jesse talks with J.K. Simmons about the new film, musical theater, and of course, the John Jonah Jameson action figure (with Desk Pounding Action™).

Click here to listen J.K. Simmons' interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Solomon Georgio on his debut comedy album: Homonegro Superior

Solomon Georgio made his television debut on CONAN in 2015. Since then he has appeared on The Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail, Viceland's Flophouse and Last Call with Carson Daly. His writing credits include contributions to “Adam Ruins Everything” on TruTV and “Spongebob Squarepants” on Nickelodeon.

He’s from Seattle, via Fresno, via St. Louis, Via Sudan and then Ethiopia, where his parents are from. These days he lives in Los Angeles. Sometimes his stand-up is vulnerable and sincere, talking about childhood trauma. But then he'll strike a pose and make an outrageous joke about his perfect thigh gap and like magic - you believe him. It’s that kind of charisma that gives him a unique presence on stage.

Earlier this year he got his own half-hour Comedy Central special. On the same day he released his debut record - Homonegro Superior, one of our favorites this year. Jesse talks with Solomon about his new comedy album, what it was like to come out to his parents as gay and what it was like to come out as a stand-up comedian.

Click here to listen Solomon Georgio's interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: ”Child of the Ghetto” by G. Dep

Finally, for this week's Outshot: Jesse talks about “Child of the Ghetto” by Ghetto Dependent. The record came out in 2001 via Bad Boy Records. One highlight is the track “Everyday,” which relays some of the most realistic portrayals of being broke.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Moshe Kasher, Brother Ali, and Felicia Day

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Moshe Kasher
Guests: 
Brother Ali
Guests: 
Felicia Day

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

Moshe Kasher on his new Comedy Central show Problematic

Moshe Kasher has been a stand-up for the last 16 years. You've seen him on The Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon, Conan, and Chelsea Lately.

Now, he's got his own TV show. Problematic with Moshe Kasher is on Comedy Central right now. Like a lot of shows nowadays it has a comedian taking on issues of the day, talking with newsmakers. He's explored cultural appropriation on the show, technology, and Islamophobia, to name a few. But there's something really intriguing in the show's format. He talks with experts and everyday people and the result is this really frank and insightful conversation.

Moshe also had a pretty rough childhood. He grew in Oakland and got kicked out of a bunch of schools and did hard drugs for a while. He talks about that in his autobiography, Kasher in the Rye.

Moshe and Jesse talk about the rough parts about growing up in the Bay Area. He is candid about what he is learning in the transition between doing stand-up and hosting a television show. Finally, he tells us why he thinks a diverse representation of disabled people is lacking in the media, and why he is so keen to take on controversial issues on his new show.

You can watch Moshe's new Comedy Central TV show Problematic Tuesdays at Midnight and his autobiography Kasher and the Rye is out now.

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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Felicia Day on The Mighty Boosh

Felicia Day is a comedian, she's an actress, she's kind of a legend in the worlds of comedy and nerdy stuff. She had a recurring spot on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, worked with Wil Wheaton, she's also created and starred in her own web series called The Guild.

She tells us how with the weird British TV series The Mighty Boosh helped heal her with laughter, when she really needed help.

Felicia currently is starring in the anticipated reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Netflix.

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Photo: Daniel Yang

Brother Ali on his new album and why he's choosing beauty over resistance

Brother Ali is a rapper based out of Minnesota. He's part of the Rhymesayers collective - a label he shares with Aesop Rock, Dilated Peoples, and Atmosphere.

For the first part of his career, he focused a lot on making protest rap. His latest record is called All The Beauty In This Whole Life. And on it, he focuses on a lot more positive stuff. And he does it with a real honesty and openness at the same time. Ali talks about his faith a lot - he's been a Muslim since he was 15. He also talks about his albinism - and how having no pigment in his skin presented a ton of totally unique challenges growing up.

He and Jesse talk about what it was like growing up albino, and how that has affected his racial politics. He tells Jesse what it's like to have a black son in 2017, and why he's chosen to focus his music on love rather than protest in these tumultuous times.

His new album All The Beauty in This Whole Life is out now.

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The Outshot: In The Night Kitchen

Jesse recommends the kids book In The Night Kitchen for children, or adults, who need to remember why dreams are so important.

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Episode 2 - Only Child written by John Hodgman

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Guests: 
John Hodgman
Guests: 
Janet Varney
Guests: 
John Ross Bowie
Guests: 
Abe Chabon
Guests: 
Mark Gagliardi
Guests: 
Josh Malina
Guests: 
Adam Savage
Guests: 
Sage Ryan
Guests: 
Hal Lublin
Guests: 
Ben Acker
Guests: 
John Roderick
Guests: 
Samantha Sadoff
Guests: 
Abby Wait

In this episode of Dead Pilots Society, Ben Blacker interviews John Hodgman (The Daily Show, Pitch Perfect 2, Married, Ragnorak) regarding his dead pilot, Only Child.This episode was recorded live from San Francisco Sketchfest 2016. Along with John's interview, you'll also listen to a never-before-heard live table read of Only Child performed by some of today's funniest comedic actors like:

John Hodgman as John Hodgman, Janet Varney as Bridget and Mom, John Ross Bowie as Dad, Abe Chabon as Miles, Mark Gagliardi as Ed, Simon, and Basoonist, Josh Malina as Alex and Dr. Horchow, Adam Savage as Paul, Sage Ryan as Tim Fitch, Hal Lublin as Coach Mac, Ben Acker as CJ, John Roderick as Dr. Mister, Samantha Sadoff as Tina, and Abby Wait as Posie. Stage directions read by Andrew Reich.

For more Dead Pilot Society episodes, please subscribe to the podcast! Make sure to like us at www.facebook.com/deadpilotssociety, follow us on Instagram @deadpilotspod, on twitter www.twitter.com/deadpilotspod, and visit our website at www.deadpilotssociety.com. Thanks for listening!

Episode 1 - Formosa written by Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant

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Guests: 
Paul F. Tompkins
Guests: 
Ben Schwartz
Guests: 
Craig Cackowski
Guests: 
Alessandra Torresani
Guests: 
Ana Ortiz
Guests: 
Cedric Yarbrough
Guests: 
Carlos Alazraqui
Guests: 
Janet Varney
Guests: 
Kyle Bornheimer

In this pilot episode of Dead Pilots Society, Ben Blacker interviews Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911, The State, The Night At The Museum Films) regarding their dead pilot, Formosa. You'll also listen to a never-before-heard live table read of Formosa performed by some of today's funniest comedic actors like:

Paul F. Tompkins as Frank
Ben Schwartz as Frenchy
Craig Cackowski as Lou, Bellhop
Alessandra Torresani as Margaret O'Sullivan
Ana Ortiz as Carlita
Cedric Yarbrough as Machete Man, Hotel Detective
Carlos Alazraqui as El Coyote, Mickey, Chance
Janet Varney as Middle Aged Woman
Kyle Bornheimer as Archer

For more Dead Pilot Society episodes, please subscribe to the podcast! Make sure to like us on www.facebook.com/deadpilotssociety, follow us on Instagram @DeadPilotsSociety, on twitter at www.twitter.com/deadpilotspod, and visit our website at www.deadpilotssociety.com. Thanks for listening!

Bullseye: Nikki Glaser & Dave Holmes

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Nikki Glaser
Guests: 
Dave Holmes

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

Nikki Glaser on developing a sex-comedy talk show, giving relationship advice, and working in uncomfortable situations

Nikki Glaser is a comedian and host of the Comedy Central series Not Safe with Nikki Glaser. She find humor in talking honestly about sex. On her show, she’s hooked up her friends to a lie detector and asks them about their sex lives, stayed inside of a strip club for 24 hours, attended a foot fetish party, and so much more.

Nikki sits down with Jesse to talk about developing her Comedy Central show with her boyfriend, even when they were in the middle of a breakup. They also chat about working for MTV, going to Trump rallies, and why she just can’t have as much fun at pools any more.

Nikki Glaser’s show is called Not Safe with Nikki Glaser.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Dave Holmes on coming out of the closet, working for MTV, and growing up gay in the midwest

Dave Holmes is a comedian, writer at large for Esquire Magazine, and host of Maximum Fun’s very own podcast International Waters.

Jesse is joined by Dave to talk about growing up gay in the 80s with no real role models to look up to. They also discuss working for MTV, self-acceptance and his new book, Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs.

Dave’s new book Party of One is out now.

The Outshot: The Olympics

Jesse tells us why the Olympics is such a beautiful sports event, even for people that don’t like sports.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Andy Daly and Willie Colon

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Andy Daly
Guests: 
Willie Colon
Guests: 
Erik Adams

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.

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 with Forrest MacNeil premieres March 6th on Comedy Central. Andy is touring The Andy Daly Show, with a sneak peek of Review, this month. Check out his website for tourdates.

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The AV Club Recommends: McConaughey's McConologues and Gorgeous Aesthetics from "True Detective" and "Hannibal"

Crime dramas are having a bit of a moment, and The AV Club's Erik Adams stops by to recommend two shows worth tuning in to: HBO's True Detective and NBC's Hannibal.

True Detective is partway through its first season and airs Sundays at 9pm on HBO.

Hannibal's second season premieres February 28, 2014 and will air Fridays at 10 pm on NBC.

Erik is Associate Editor at the AV Club. You can check out more of his writing every week on their site.

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Karen Kilgariff - "Passwords"

Karen Kilgariff’s been a comedian and a comedy writer for a long time. She was on Mr. Show, performed stand up, and these days she's the Head Writer for the Pete Holmes show on TBS. But when she straps on a guitar, she makes comedy music that’s just this side of melancholy. Here’s the funny, touching breakup song "Passwords" from her new album, Live at the Bootleg.

That record is out now on ASpecialThing Records. You can find it on iTunes.


Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Willie Colón: From Jam Sessions in the Bronx to International Salsa Superstar

When Willie Colón was a kid in the South Bronx, he and some his friends from the neighborhood would take their instruments and jam outside in the summers. His neighbors weren't too pleased, but they probably didn't know they had a budding talent in their midst. Willie went on to secure a record deal in his teens and then become a hugely influential musician and bandleader. His music is salsa: a blend of the Caribbean, Africa, South America and his native New York City.

His discography has now sold over thirty million records, and he's collaborated with legendary figures like Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades.

Willie joins us this week to talk about his early success, how he envisions salsa, and his beginnings with the singer Hector Lavoe. He'll even throw in an explanation of the clave, for those of us not already in the know.

Willie is out on tour frequently; catch up with him on Twitter to find out where he'll be next.

BONUS AUDIO: Check out a part of our conversation that didn't make the final cut for time. Willie talks about working with the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz.

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The Outshot: Cal Smith's "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking"

What makes a great country record? This week, Jesse shares what it is that gives Cal Smith's The Lord Knows I'm Drinking that special something.

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Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Jon Mooallem & Elmore Leonard

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jon Mooallem
Guests: 
Elmore Leonard
Guests: 
Nathan Rabin
Guests: 
Tasha Robinson

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.

How To Save A Species: Jon Mooallem At The Corner of Imagination and Extinction

Whether it's The Lion King, Werner Herzog's "Grizzly Man", or the last kitten video you saw on Youtube, we are constantly inundated with stories about animals. Wilderness has taken a deep hold on our collective imaginations. And at a time when conservation science is making gigantic leaps, while dozens of species are disappearing every single day, the narratives that humans weave about animals have never had such drastic consequences.

It's this phenomenon that inspired Jon Mooallem to write his new book, Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America. Mooallem is interested in how people see, and have seen, wild animals. Focusing on three specific endangered species--the Polar bear, the metalmark butterfly, and the whooping crane--the book explores the intricacies and the repercussions of America's relationship with the wild. Mooallem has contributed to New York Times Magazine, This American Life, Harper's, Wired, The New Yorker, and Radiolab.

Jon tells us about North American dire wolves (yes, dire wolves), America's strange relationship with Humphrey the humpback whale, and the philosophical questions that conservation scientists must ask themselves while donning giant bird costumes.

Black Prairie, a Portland-based band featuring members of The Decemberists, recorded a soundtrack for the book called Wild Ones: A Musical Score for the Things That You Might See in Your Head When You Reflect on Certain Characters and Incidents That You Read About in The Book. They will begin touring with Jon Mooallem next week.

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Kurt Braunohler: "How Do I Land?"

Comedian Kurt Braunohler thinks he can make the world a better place through stupidity, absurdity, and fake Hallmark cards.

His new stand-up album, How Do I Land is available now.

The Dissolve Recommends Documentaries: A Band Called Death and Stories We Tell

Staff Writer Nathan Rabin and Senior Editor Tasha Robinson, from The Dissolve, join us to share two documentaries out now on DVD.

Nathan recommends A Band Called Death, a look at the rise, fall, and eventual resurrection of a band of three black brothers from Detroit who played punk music in the early 1970s.

Tasha recommends Stories We Tell, directed by Oscar-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley. Stories We Tell explores the nature of truth, memory, and family secrets, as Polley tries to uncover her own family's history through personal interviews that start seeming more and more like myth than fact.

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Remembering Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)

Author Elmore Leonard died last month. To honor the great pulp fiction writer, we are airing an excerpt from our interview with him from 2007.

Leonard had a style, a story schema, and a voice of which he was truly a master. His characters got into trouble, the problems grew larger, and they spoke to each other with honed dialogue that influenced readers, writers, and filmmakers for decades. His novels inspired such films as Get Shorty, Out Of Sight, Jackie Brown, and 3:10 To Yuma.

He talks about his love for Hemingway's style, why his dozens of Western novels were more true to life than the stuff he saw on TV, and how nothing gave him more pleasure than sitting down and getting characters to talk.

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The Outshot: Drunk History

Drunk History on Comedy Central has a pretty simple, crude concept: get comedians roaringly hammered and have them talk about their favorite moment in American history. Jesse explains why this is more beautiful than you'd think.

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