Kumail Nanjiani

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Best Comedy of 2013 Special

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Bullseye

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It was a great year for comedy. Everyone from seasoned stand-ups to musical comedy groups came out with hilarious new material. We listened to all of it and picked the absolute best for you to enjoy. Get ready for the Best Comedy of 2013 Special, as picked by our staff at Bullseye.

You’ll hear selections from the following, almost all of which are available for purchase (with the exception of the sets from the Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival).

Kumail Nanjiani - Beta Male

Kathleen Madigan - Madigan Again

Pete Holmes - Nice Try, the Devil

Moshe Kasher - Live in Oakland

Bill Cosby - Far From Finished

Maria Bamford - Ask Me About My New God!

Mike Birbiglia - My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

Eugene Mirman - An Evening of Comedy in a Fake, Underground Laboratory

Todd Glass - Todd Glass Talks About Stuff

Craig Ferguson - I'm Here to Help

Chris Hardwick - Mandroid

The Lonely Island - The Wack Album

Dana Gould - I Know It’s Wrong

John Roy - Alexander Hamilton

Josie Long - from the Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival

Jasper Redd - from the Atlantic Ocean Comedy and Music Festival

Kurt Braunohler - How Do I Land?

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 304: Jerry Jack Off with Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon

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Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Emily Gordon

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, hosts of the Indoor Kids, join Jordan and Jesse to for a discussion of children's books, Bud Light Cranberita, and the magic of cutting a doughnut in half.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kumail Nanjiani, Lake Bell and Sergio Dias

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Lake Bell
Guests: 
Sergio Dias
Guests: 
Andrew Noz

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.

Kumail Nanjiani on Identity, Comedy, and Shaking Hands with Girls

When Kumail Nanjiani was a boy growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, he absorbed a fair amount of American culture. He loved Ghostbusters and Gremlins. He read MAD Magazine. And he knew that someday, he'd move to the U.S. What he never imagined is that he'd become a comedian.

His first exposure to stand up comedy was a Jerry Seinfeld HBO special, and a few short years later, Kumail was on stage himself. He's performed with The Second City, at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, and on numerous late night shows. He also co-hosts a stand up showcase, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, and now often appears on TV, with appearances on Franklin and Bash, Portlandia, Veep and Newsreaders.

Kumail talks to us about growing up Pakistani, choosing a distinctly American way of life, and creating comedy about things you love, rather than things you hate.

Kumail's new Comedy Central stand up special, Beta Male, is available on CD+DVD and by direct download.

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BONUS AUDIO:
Kumail Studies The Cheesecake Factory for "Portlandia"
Kumail on Mike Judge and the Butthead Voice

Rap Recommendations from Andrew Noz: Earl Sweatshirt's "Hive" and Chief Keef's "Go to Jail"

Hip hop contributor Andrew Noz stops by to share some of his favorite new tracks, incidentally both by rappers still in their teens.

He recommends "Hive", the first single off the new album by the youngest member of the Odd Future crew, Earl Sweatshirt. It's dense, well-written, and long-awaited. Earl Sweatshirt's album Doris is out August 20th.

On the other end of the spectrum, slowed way down, is Chicago-based Chief Keef's autotuned, warbly track "Go to Jail", off his upcoming mixtape Almighty So. You can find that song on Chief Keef's Soundcloud.

Andrew Noz is the columnist for Pitchfork's Hall of Game, and also blogs and Tumblr-s regularly at Cocaine Blunts and Tumblin 'Erb.

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Photo credit Denise Truscello

Sérgio Dias on The Song That Changed My Life: Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock"

Os Mutantes founder and guitarist Sérgio Dias describes the song that opened his mind to the world of rock 'n' roll when he was just a kid living in Brazil. That song was Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock".

The psych rock band that would become Os Mutantes formed in Brazil in the mid-1960s. They experimented with psychedelic guitars, bossa nova and tropicalia to create a distinct sound. The band broke up in 1978, but their music continued to garner fans, from Kurt Cobain to Beck to David Byrne.

Os Mutantes released an album of eccentric and beautiful new tracks earlier this year, titled Fool Metal Jack. The band will embark on a U.S. tour in November.

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Lake Bell on Voiceover Cliques, Racing Cars, and Making the Transition from Actor to Director

Voiceover is everywhere. On commercials, describing the tight curves in a sports car; in movie theaters, reminding you to turn off your cell phone and end your conversation. Those voices are booming and confident. But they're not often female.

Lake Bell found these disembodied voices intriguing. She wrote, directed and stars in the new comedy In a World... The movie is about an an aspiring female voice over artist, her power struggles in the industry and within her own family, and the pursuit of change.

Lake talks to us about her favorite accents, her work on the ensemble comedy Childrens Hospital, and handling the transition from actor to director.

In a World... is in theaters now. You can also see Lake as part of the ensemble of [adult swim]'s Childrens Hospital, which airs Thursdays at midnight on the Cartoon Network.

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The Outshot: The Big Con by David Maurer

Jesse recommends The Big Con, by David Maurer, for a fascinating look at the profession of the confidence man.

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Plus, this week's credits... movie trailer style.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Shane Carruth of Upstream Color and Rodney Ascher of Room 237

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Shane Carruth
Guests: 
Rodney Ascher
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Emily V. Gordon

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Video Games with The Indoor Kids: Ms. Splosion Man and BioShock Infinite

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, co-hosts of video game podcast The Indoor Kids, join us to share their favorite new releases. Their first pick is Ms. Splosion Man, an imaginative platformer newly available on iOS. (Think Super Mario meets spontaneous self-combustion.) For a lengthier experience, check out BioShock Infinite, which (literally) takes the first BioShock to even greater heights.

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Upstream Color Director Shane Carruth on Creating Cryptic Cinema

Nearly ten years have passed since the release of writer/director Shane Carruth's first low-budget film, a complex time travel movie called Primer. Film fans are still obsessed with teasing out the intricacies of the story, about a time-travel machine and the men who engineered the machine. But within that story, there are emotional and ethical struggles that keep the audience riveted -- a quality that's become a hallmark of Carruth's small but powerful filmography.

Carruth wrote, directed, starred and composed all of the music for Primer, and he had the same all-consuming roles in his new film, Upstream Color. The movie is just as difficult to explain as his first. Upstream Color's two lead characters seem to have a shared experience of bodily manipulation, and cling to that sameness because they have nothing else. The movie delves deeply into identity and loss, and comes through with a powerful emotional experience.

Shane Carruth joins us to talk about the upsides and downsides of independent filmmaking, why plot summary doesn't always get to a movie's heart, and the best James Bond movie that will never be made.

Upstream Color is in select theaters nationwide. The film is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and on demand on May 7.

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Comedy: Kyle Kinane Goes on a Fast Food Adventure

Kyle Kinane had a problem. He was craving fast food, but he'd had a little too much to drink. But he found a solution. It involved a little bit of ingenuity, a wallet's worth of cash, and a very patient cab driver.

This clip comes from Kyle Kinane's latest special, Whiskey Icarus, which is available as a digital download or a CD/DVD. He'll be performing at MaxFunCon 2013 in late May.

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Director Rodney Ascher Opens The Door On Room 237

Stanley Kubrick's movie The Shining made a huge cultural impression. It's a classic horror movie about the psychological tolls of isolation, the dissolution of a family, the Holocaust, and how Kubrick helped fake the moon landing.

Wait a second. The Holocaust? Moon landing? Yep. The new documentary Room 237 features increasingly eye-widening theories about the hidden subtexts of The Shining. Movies often inspire intense debate over authorial intent, but Kubrick's known perfectionism and deliberate filmmaking often take this discussion to another level.

Room 237's director Rodney Ascher sits down with us to discuss some of the film's more creative theories, as well as whether or not there's such a thing as too much interpretation.

Room 237 is out now in select theaters nationwide and available on video on-demand.

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The Outshot: The Grand Tour by George Jones

Pop music is usually for young people – what better audience is there for short, simple, high-energy music? But what does pop music sound like when it grows up? To answer that question, Jesse takes a look at a song by George Jones, called The Grand Tour.

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Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 234: Kenny Floggins with Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon

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Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Emily Gordon

Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon from The Indoor Kids podcast join Jordan for a discussion of the Olympics, karaoke, dental dams, and Jordan's new signature Bud Light Lime-A-Rita cocktail.

Jordan's drink recipe and links after the jump!

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Michael Ian Black, Tom Bissell, Video Game Picks and Pete Holmes

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Guests: 
Michael Ian Black
Guests: 
Tom Bissell
Guests: 
Pete Holmes
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Heather Anne Campbell

Video Game Recommendations from Kumail Nanjiani & Heather Anne Campbell

We return to the world of video games for this week's culture picks, and our gaming experts, comedian and video game journalist Heather Anne Campbell, as well as comedian and host of the video game podcast Indoor Kids Kumail Nanjiani, have selected a pair of downloadable games for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Kumail recommends the sadly haunting experience of the post-apocalyptic thriller I Am Alive, while Heather suggests you check out the almost fully female fighter Skullgirls.

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Comedian, Actor and Author Michael Ian Black

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 his latest book You're Not Doing It Right: Tales of Marriage, Sex, Death, and Other Humiliations. In Black's second memoir, he goes in-depth on the issues of his marriage and parenthood, and the result is a book that is shockingly honest, informative, and incredibly funny.

Michael sits down with us to discuss recommitting himself to marriage in six week intervals, getting into stand-up late in life, and his obsession with Googling "Fat Kevin Federline". You can hear his podcast, Mike & Tom Eat Snacks, with Ed co-star Tom Cavanagh on iTunes or at Nerdist.com. You're Not Doing It Right is now available wherever books are sold.

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Comedy by Pete Holmes: “Subway”

If you watch the Super Bowl, or even just television, you probably know comedian Pete Holmes best from commercials, where he adorably doles out financial advice as the voice of the E-Trade baby. Last year he was named one of Variety's Ten Comics to Watch, and with good reason. As a stand-up, Holmes has a mostly goofy and positive energy. But as he reveals on his new album Impregnated With Wonder, there is one thing that can really set him off: a bad sandwich.

You can find Pete's podcast You Made It Weird on iTunes, or by visiting Nerdist.com.

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Journalist, Critic, Writer Tom Bissell, author of Magic Hours

Tom Bissell is a journalist, video game critic and author whose latest book, Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, is a series of pieces attempting to capture all angles of the creative process, in all sorts of artistic forms: from Herman Melville, writer of Moby Dick, to Chuck Lorre, creator of Two and a Half Men; from the mind of filmmaker Werner Herzog to the madness of The Room's Tommy Wiseau. Magic Hours collects the very best of Bissell's ten-year career, with essays featured in The New Yorker and Harper's, as well as several original pieces written solely for the book.

Tom joins us to discuss the dumb luck that makes some books resounding classics of literature while others fade from the collective conscious, and the value (or lack thereof) of a journalism degree. You can find his video game writing online at Grantland.com. Magic Hours is now available in bookstores everywhere.

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The Outshot: Malcolm Tucker & The Thick of It

On this week's Outshot, Jesse recommends one of his absolute favorite shows, the brilliantly profane political satire The Thick of It -- particularly its foul-mouthed protagonist Malcolm Tucker. As creator Armando Iannucci's new show, Veep, is underway on HBO, BBC America is finally bringing The Thick of It to US audiences, Saturday's at midnight. Don't miss it.

Got a hilariously profane favorite of your own? Don't just keep it to yourself, f***ing tell someone by heading to the MaxFun forum and picking your own Outshot.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bob Newhart, Mister Rogers and Me, Video Game Picks and God On Sports

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bob Newhart
Guests: 
Benjamin Wagner
Guests: 
Christofer Wagner
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Heather Anne Campbell

A friendly remind that our annual MAX FUN DRIVE is happening right now. If you love this show, please take a moment to support it. Your donations make this show possible, and there’s a level of support to suit any budget. Thank you.


Video Game Picks with Kumail Nanjiani & Heather Anne Campbell

This week's pop culture recommendations come from the realm of video games, and sharing their expert opinions are comedian and video game journalist Heather Anne Campbell, as well as comedian and host of gaming podcast The Indoor Kids Kumail Nanjiani. Heather urges you to check out the inconceivably gorgeous hand-held adventure Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita, while Kumail endorses the side-scrolling platform throwback Rayman Origins.
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Comedian and Actor Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart is an actor, stand-up and legend of American comedy. A pioneer comedian in every sense, Bob began his comedy career when he and a friend improvised over-the-phone comedy routines to kill boredom at work, and subsequently sold the bits to radio stations. The "phone sketch" would be a schtick that would last throughout Newhart's career, and featured quite prominently in the release of his 1960 comedy album debut Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart. The album was an unprecedented hit as a comedy recording, outselling Elvis Presley and winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Its success eventually led Newhart to television, first with a variety sketch show in the early '60s, and then a pair of sitcoms: The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s, and Newhart in the early '80s.

Bob joins us to reflect on his comedy career, from how he honed his craft as a solo straightman -- leaving the wild responses on the other end of his phone conversations entirely in the minds of the audience -- to what keeps him going today when he's accomplished so much as a performer. Newhart still performs dozens of nights a year as a stand-up, while acting in both film and television. You can find him at BobNewhart.com.
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God on Sports

A January poll found that 43% of people believe God was willing Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to improbable victories, while many more were flabbergasted by the implication that God might be deciding sports games. Has the Almighty ever swayed athletic outcomes? Does He even care for sports at all? Get the straight truth from The Man Himself. The answer may surprise you.

This excerpt is from The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, with David Javerbaum.

David Javerbaum is an Emmy-winning comedy writer and former executive producer of The Daily Show. You can see more of his work with God on Twitter @TheTweetofGod.

Our voice of God is provided by comedian and Funny or Die writer Seth Morris, who is also on Twitter @SethISMorris.
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Directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me

Christofer and Benjamin Wagner are brothers and the co-directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me, about children's television personality Fred Rogers, and the effect he had on the lives of generations of kids. For Ben -- who moonlights as a documentarian between his day-job as an executive with MTV News -- it was a project that began more than ten years ago, when he discovered Mister Rogers really was his neighbor, living next door to him at a vacation home in Nantucket, MA. Rogers' heartfelt sincerity, and his ability to truly live in the moment, compelled Ben to learn more about the man and about the countless lives he'd forever changed.

The Wagner Brothers sit down with Jesse to discuss the film, the overwhelming experience of meeting Mr. Rogers in person, and the way he helped so many grow up in ways they might not even have noticed. Mister Rogers & Me is currently available on DVD, and is airing on PBS stations across the country.
(For an EXTENDED version of this interview with Benjamin and Christofer Wagner or to share with friends, click here!)


The Outshot: Boy

On The Outshot this week, Jesse looks back on the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and finds his favorite film of the fest is only now getting the theatrical release it so richly deserves. The film is Boy, from Māori writer/director/star Taika Waititi. It tells the story of a young Māori boy named, well... Boy. Boy is given the chance to reconnect with his deadbeat father (Waititi) after years apart, as Dad's been away in jail. You can see and hear our interview with Taika Waititi and James Rolleston here.

It's a story bursting with youthful optimism, while the darkness of adulthood creeps in around the edges. It's in theaters now.
Got a little-known film of your own you want to spread the word about? Head on over to the MaxFun forum and pick your own Outshot.
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Jordan returns to "The Indoor Kids"

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Jordan is back this week on the wonderful gaming podcast "The Indoor Kids." According to Jordan's own summary of the episode, "Kumail, Emily and I talk lost games, judge-related pornography and games to play when you’re unemployed."

Can't beat that. Check it out here.

Jordan Morris on "The Indoor Kids"

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Our own Jordan Morris was the guest on last week's episode of Kumail Nanjiani's podcast for Gamers (with a capital "G"), "The Indoor Kids". If you want to know Jordan's top five fighting games, you can download it now from Nerdist or from the show's itunes page.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 187: The Duckiverse with Kumail Nanjiani

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Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani

Kumail Nanjiani, comedian, podcaster and actor joins Jesse and Jordan to discuss Jesse's new child, the Duckiverse, Mortal Kombat and more.

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