Outshot

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Gilbert Gottfried and Filmmaker Maggie Betts

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Gilbert Gottfried
Guests: 
Maggie Betts

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 by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Gilbert Gottfried on his career in comedy, losing gigs, and the new documentary Gilbert

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried has been entertaining the world since he was 15 years old. His roles include being a cast member on season 6 of SNL, an accountant in Beverly Hills Cop II, and voicing the parrot Iago in Aladdin, the classic Disney cartoon.

Gilbert has a reputation for pushing boundaries in comedy. On stage he plays sort of a character - he squints his eyes, screams at the top of his lungs, and his material usually hovers between tasteless, dumb, and more often than not: really, really, funny.

But the real Gilbert is sensitive, quiet and friendly. And it's that Gilbert Gottfried that's featured in the new documentary. It's called Gilbert, directed by Neil Berkeley. In the movie, Gilbert opens up about his second life we don't know much about: his wife and kids, his childhood, his successes and failures.

You can keep up to date with Gilbert Gottfried on his website.

You can also catch Gilbert Gottfried on his podcast Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast!.

Listen to Jesse's interview with Gilbert Gottfried!

C Flanigan/FilmMagi

Maggie Betts on her new film Novitiate

So far, Maggie Betts has directed only three films. A documentary, a short, and now her first-ever narrative feature, Novitiate, which hits theaters October 27. The film follows a group of women training to be nuns in 1964 a time when Catholic church was at a crossroads: society was changing, attendance was down, and the church responded to all that by executing a bunch of reforms, some popular, some not so much.

An interesting fact about Maggie is that she grew up with the Bushes. Her dad was good friends with George W. Bush, she was roommates with his daughter Barbara.

Maggie talks to Jesse about what inspired her to make Novitiate, and not needing permission to make movies.

Watch the trailer for Novitiate here.

Listen to Jesse's interview with Maggie Betts!

The Outshot: 1998 Out of Sight

In this week's Outshot, Jesse points out how Out of Sight created the George Clooney that we all know.

Listen to Jesse's Outshot on Out of Sight!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Amy Ryan & The Ringer's Shea Serrano

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Amy Ryan
Guests: 
Shea Serrano

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 by Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Amy Ryan on her leading role in Abundant Acreage Available and being a character actress

First up is actress Amy Ryan. You've seen her as Beadie Russel on The Wire, as Holly on The Office, in movie like Gone Baby Gone, and a bunch more stuff. She's now starring in the new movie Abundant Acreage Available. She sits down with Jesse to talk about all those roles, and growing up as an aspiring actress in Queens, New York -- including the time she convinced her family it was cool to skip college and give acting a real go.

Watch a trailer for Abundant Acreage Available, out now.

Listen to Jesse's interview with Amy Ryan!

Photo by StockX

The Ringer's Shea Serrano on hip-hop, basketball, and following his writing dreams

Next up is the writer Shea Serrano. He's covered basketball, music and more for ESPN, Vice, The Ringer, and more.

Born and raised in Texas, Shea was originally a middle school teacher who'd write in his spare time. Though he only started writing full time a little over two years ago, he now has a huge legion of followers on social media, a New York Times bestseller in The Rap Yearbook, and an AMC television show in development that's based on the same book.

His new, beautifully illustrated book is called Basketball and Other Things, and it's out now.

Listen to Jesse's interview with Shea Serrano!

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Outshot: Losing in Baseball

In this week's Outshot, Jesse argues that losing in baseball isn't so bad. It's actually kind of comforting.

Listen to Jesse's Outshot on losing in baseball!

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Carl Reiner & Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Carl Reiner
Guests: 
Kate Mulleavy
Guests: 
Laura Mulleavy

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.

Carl Reiner on His Time in The Army, His Relationship with Mel Brooks, And on His Memoir

Comedy legend Carl Reiner has been doing comedy since World War II. He's the creator of The Dick Van Dyke Show, one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Carl also co-wrote and directed one of Steve Martin's most successful shows, The Jerk. And as expected, his best friend is no one other than Mel Brooks. Get this: they watch Wheel of Fortune when they hang out.

Carl is also a prolific writer with nearly 20 book titles to his name. Still writing at the age of 95, he recently released a memoir, Too Busy to Die, about his journey to who he is today.

Carl invited Jesse to his home to talk about his time in the army and his memoir.

You can find Carl Reiner's memoir on Random Content.

And you can check out Carl's screen credits on IMDb.

Click here to listen to Carl Reiner's interview on YouTube!

Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/Getty Images

The Mulleavy Sisters on Their Fashion Company, Rodarte, and Their New Venture into Filmmaking

Kate and Laura Mulleavy are fashion designers who grew up in Northern California and graduated from UC Berkeley. Kate and Laura blew up after they designed just ten pieces in their parent's kitchen. They made the cover of Women's Wear Daily, and they got a face to face meeting with Anna Wintour.

In 2005 they founded Rodarte, their clothing brand. Acclaim has followed since. Kate and Laura won the CFDA award for womenswear designers of the year. And they even helped design costumes for the movie Black Swan.

Now, Kate and Laura have directed their first-ever movie, Woodshock, starring Kirsten Dunst.

The sisters join Jesse to talk about directing a movie and running a fashion company.

You can keep up with Kate and Laura's fashion company on their website.

Click here to listen to Kate and Laura Mulleavy's interview!


Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

The Outshot: Dead Prez's Hip-Hop

In this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about how Dead Prez created the most urgent sound hip-hop ever produced.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on Dead Prez's hit song, "Hip-Hop"/!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Open Mike Eagle and Paula Poundstone

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Open Mike Eagle
Guests: 
Paula Poundstone

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Open Mike Eagle on his unconventional path to becoming an emcee, Chicago rap, and getting laid off

You could call Open Mike Eagle an up-and-coming rapper, though his rise has been anything but typical. Mike currently lives and makes his living in Los Angeles, but he was born in Chicago. He was a teacher for the first part of his adult life, and he actually didn't release his first album until he was almost 30.

Mike's known for crafting humorous and clever rhymes, which isn't altogether uncommon in rap. But his style is weirder, left of center, and even self-deprecating at times. For example, the first album he released was titled "Unapologetic Art Rap."

Things are looking up for Mike these days. Mike's latest album dropped a couple weeks ago, called Brick Body Kids Still Daydream. Outside of rap, he co-hosts Tights and Fights, a wrestling podcast on Maximum Fun. Also, he and comedian Baron Vaughn just got their own Comedy Central show that's currently in development, called "The New Negroes."

You can stream and buy Mike's album on Bandcamp.

Click here to listen to Open Mike Eagle's interview on YouTube!

Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

I Wish I'd Made That: Paula Poundstone on Bridesmaids

Also, Paula Poundstone joins us to talk about a movie she wishes she made.

Paula's been doing standup comedy since 1979. She's appeared on pretty much every talk show, has had recurring roles on TV and a bunch of specials. And you almost definitely know her voice from the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!

These days Paula's keeping busy with a bunch of new projects. She hosts a new NPR podcast called Live from the Poundstone Institute where she interviews experts and academics in front of a live studio audience. She also has written a new book called The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. In it, she tries pretty much every trick in the book to live a happier life, including taekwondo, reorganizing her house, and driving a fancy new car.

We asked Paula if there was any TV show or movie she wishes she made, and she was ready with an answer: 2011's smash-hit comedy, Bridesmaids.

Check out Paula's new podcast, Live from the Poundstone Institute on NPR One or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Click here to listen to Paula Poundstone talk about Bridesmaids!

The Outshot: 1989 Billy Ripken Baseball Card

In the world of baseball card collecting, some of the most rare and highly coveted cards are those with printing errors. In this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about an error card to top them all: a 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken card, number 616.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on the 1989 Fleer Billy Ripken card!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ellie Kemper & Flying Lotus

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ellie Kemper
Guests: 
Flying Lotus

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Photo: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Ellie Kemper on her career as a comedic actress, wrestling with privilege, and her Emmy-nominated role in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

[r] Ellie Kemper first achieved breakout success as Erin Hannon on the NBC sitcom The Office. Her turn as the happy-go-lucky office receptionist was popular with fans and critics alike and showcased her gifts as a comedic actress. Those talents have since been leveraged on the big screen in box office hit films like Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street.

Now she plays the title character in the Netflix Original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a role for which she recently earned her second straight Emmy nomination for Best Comedy Actress. Despite the show’s dark premise -- Kimmy Schmidt was held captive by a cult leader for years in an underground bunker -- the show plays it all for laughs as she tries to rebuild her life in New York City. Her years of isolation have left her ignorant of many cultural touchstones, but she pushes through with an enthusiasm and tenacity that is both endearing and hilarious.

Ellie joined Jesse in 2016 to talk about her early experiences of living and working in New York, mining material from her time at Princeton and her self-consciousness about privilege.

Catch all the episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. The show was recently renewed for a fourth season.

Listen to Jesse's 2016 interview with Ellie Kemper.

Flying Lotus on his aunt Alice Coltrane, J Dilla, and more

Flying Lotus is a critically acclaimed music producer whose sound lies somewhere between progressive hip-hop and dance music. In 2010, Jesse spoke to him about his unique style and his remarkable musical lineage -- his aunt was the great jazz pianist Alice Coltrane. FlyLo also tells Jesse about how his mother convinced him to submit music to Cartoon Network's [adult swim], and the influence of the late hip-hop producer J Dilla on his music.

You can find out what Flying Lotus is up to next at Flying-Lotus.com. You can also watch his 2016 film Kuso on iTunes, or wherever else you rent your films.

Listen to Jesse's 2010 interview with Flying Lotus.

Photo: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

The Outshot: Remembering Phife Dawg

Jesse fondly remembers Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest as a "big brother" figure in hip-hop.

Listen to Jesse's Outshot on the late rapper Phife Dawg.

Bullseye: Alfred Molina and Louie Anderson

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Alfred Molina
Guests: 
Louie Anderson

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Photo by Jesse Thorn

British actor Alfred Molina on portraying director Robert Aldrich in Feud: Bette and Joan and playing bad guys

This week Jesse sits down with British actor Alfred Molina to talk about his starring role in the FX series Feud, which tells the story of the rivalry between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the making of the film What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? He plays legendary director Robert Aldrich, for which he's earned an Emmy nod.

Alfred Molina grew up in England, and as the son of immigrants from Spain and Italy, he didn't always feel fully at home there. He tells Jesse that he was even told to change his name when he got his start in acting.

Alfred has a particular knack for being able to capture your attention in whatever project he's in, even when he's playing unlikeable characters, including villains. He talks to Jesse about his approach to playing unsavory people, whether it's a backstabbing guide in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dr. Octopus in Spiderman 2, or a crazy drug dealer in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights.

Be sure to catch Alfred as Robert Aldrich in the FX series Feud: Bette and Joan. You can also find out what he's up to on Twitter.

Listen to Jesse's interview with Alfred Molina.

Photo by Jesse Thorn

Comedian Louie Anderson on playing Christine Baskets in the FX series Baskets, family, and standup

Also this week: a visit from comedian and actor Louie Anderson. Louie's been doing standup for close to thirty years. Outside standup, he's had a long career in film and television. He had his own cartoon on FOX in the mid-'90s, appeared in Coming to America and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and he even hosted Family Feud for a few years. Louie's also written three books, one of which is a collection of letters to his late father.

Lately, Louie's career has taken a slightly different turn. In the FX series Baskets, he plays Christine Baskets, the mother of a hapless rodeo clown named Chip Baskets, who's played by Zach Galiafianakis (Zach spoke to Bullseye about playing Chip Baskets in 2016). You could say he's performing in drag, but he plays the role completely sincere, injecting it with humor, sweetness, and vulnerability. The result is something that borders on magical.

Family looms large in Louie's comedy and work. Christine Baskets is loosely based on his late mother, Ora Anderson, whom he says was the glue that held his family together during his difficult childhood in St. Paul, Minnesota. Louie talks with Jesse about the passing of his younger brother and the effect it had on him. They also talk about Louie's perceptions of his own career, including his comedy style and on-screen appearance.

Find out the latest with Louie, including his latest projects and standup dates, at LouieAnderson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Listen to Jesse's full interview with Louie Anderson.

The Outshot: The Thomas Crown Affair

Faye Dunaway. Steve McQueen. Sex chess. These are a few of Jesse's favorite things in the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair.

Listen to Jesse's Outshot on the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ani DiFranco and Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ani DiFranco
Guests: 
Aidan Gillen

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Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Ani DiFranco on her new album Binary, meeting Prince, and more

This week Jesse hosts singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco. Ani moved out of her mom's house at 15 years old, just after she started writing her first songs. At the start of her career as a solo artist, she played house shows, dingy venues, and slept on couches. She eventually started a record label, Righteous Babe, which she releases her music through as well as artists like Andrew Bird, Arto Lindsay and Sara Lee.

Ani has a huge following of incredibly passionate fans. She's sold millions of records and has won awards and acclaim from critics. Perhaps more than any other singer, Ani DiFranco is defined by her independence.

On her latest record, Binary, she kind of sets that label aside. The record features collaborations with people like Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, Maceo Parker, Gail Ann Dorsey, and much more. At its heart, it's an album about relationships, and she says it's changed her approach to writing.

Click Here to listen to Jesse's interview with Ani DiFranco!

Photo: HBO

Aidan Gillen on playing Littlefinger in Game of Thrones

Also on the show this week is actor Aidan Gillen. You might have seen him on HBO's The Wire as Mayor Tommy Carcetti. He also starred on the original British version of Queer as Folk.

If you're one of the millions of people watching Game of Thrones right now, you'll know him as Lord Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger. Even on a show like Game of Thrones, with its dozens of complex, messy and fascinating characters, Littlefinger stands out. Since the show's debut, Gillen's character has allied himself with maybe half the cast, only to betray almost all of them. And after seven seasons on TV's most violent show, nobody's killed him yet. When Aidan plays Littlefinger, it's really fun to watch. He's cunning, opaque and devious, but he's sincere when it counts.

Aidan talks to Jesse about his various roles, and what it was like to work with the playwright David Mamet.

Click Here to listen to Jesse's interview with Aidan Gillen!

Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Image

The Outshot: Randy Newman's "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear"

Jesse tells us about an old song of Randy Newman's that reveals a jaundiced view of fame and popularity.

Click here to watch Randy Newman's performance of the song.

Click Here to listen to Jesse's outshot on Randy Newman!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Lily Tomlin and Rick Moranis

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Lily Tomlin
Guests: 
Rick Moranis

[r]

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Photo: Greg Gorman

Rick Moranis on growing up Jewish, Canadian comedy, and quitting showbusiness

This week on Bullseye, Jesse brings you some of his favorite interviews from 2013. The first of which is his conversation with Rick Moranis. You know him from Strange Brew, Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, Honey I Shrunk the Kids. He is the bespectacled man in argyle socks, who plays nerdy characters with goofy dad jokes. In the late 80's and early 90's, it seemed like he was the star of every family friendly comedy to hit the big screen. But, after his wife passed away in 1991, he quit the movie business, to raise his children. The last time he has been seen on screen was 20 years ago, in Honey We Shrunk Ourselves.

Nearly a decade after pretty much signing out of show business, Moranis returned in 2005 with a Grammy-winning album of original music, Agoraphobic Cowboy. In 2013, Moranis released his second album My Mother's Brisket and Other Love Songs, which is a collection of comedic music inspired by Moranis's Jewish upbringing in Toronto.

Jesse and Rick talk about his first job selling hockey programs in the nosebleed section, SCTV and the ironic outcome of his famous nose-thumbing at Canadian content laws, and his decision to be a stay-at-home father.

Click here to listen to Jesse's interview with Rick Moranis!

Lily Tomlin on being someone else... in her own way

Lily Tomlin is a comedic actress if there ever was one. She has incredible rang, whether she's playing a precocious six-year-old on Laugh-In or a pill-popping sixty-six year old on HBO's Eastbound & Down, Lily inhabits her roles in a way that few performers can. She was nominated for an Oscar for her 1976 performance in Nashville, as well as being awarded the Mark Twain Prize for humor back in 2003.

Back in 2013 when Jesse and Lily spoke, she had just appeared in the Tina Fey led and Paul Weitz directed movie Admission. This was 2 years before a resurgence in her career, which would earn her recognition in Grandma, her first lead in a film in 27 years, and a Golden Globe nomination for the Netflix series Grace and Frankie.

Lily talked to Jesse about shaping her role in Admission, the moment that she decided she wanted to be a professional actor...and yes, a certain YouTube-famous confrontation (link NSFW) with I Heart Huckabees director David O. Russell.

Click here to listen to Jesse's interview with Lily Tomlin!

The Outshot: Chance The Rapper's Acid Rap

Jesse tells us about Chance The Rapper's 2013 mixtape Acid Rap.

Click here to listen to Jesse's outshot about Acid Rap!

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Dolly Parton and Steve Coogan

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Dolly Parton
Guests: 
Steve Coogan

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Dolly Parton on Business and Sacrifice

[r] This week, Jesse is sharing some of his favorite Bullseye interviews, the first of which is his conversation with Dolly Parton in 2012. Parton grew up poor in the mountains of Tennessee and was one of 12 children. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a singer, and when she turned 18, she moved to Nashville to follow that dream. Since then she has achieved every milestone a musician can in their career. She's won nine Grammy Awards, has has 25 hits topping the Billboard Country charts, and has even been nominated twice for an Academy Award.

Parton joins us this week to discuss some of these sacrifices, how they have affected her life, and how she feels about them now. She also shares stories from her childhood and relates the story behind one of her most well-loved songs, "I Will Always Love You."

Dolly's latest album Pure & Simple was released last year. She also is featured on a song on Kesha's new album Rainbow which drops August 11th.

Steve Coogan: "Dumping My Dysfunction" into Alan Partridge and Seeking Humanity in Comedy

The English actor, comedian and writer Steve Coogan got his start as a brilliant impressionist. He was beloved by audiences for his pitch-perfect impressions, and put his voice talent to good use on the satirical puppet show Spitting Image. But Coogan wanted more for himself, and began developing his own characters. While working on the radio current affairs parody On The Hour with Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris, he created his most enduring character to date -- the awkward, know-nothing sports desk reporter, Alan Partridge.

Coogan has now spent two decades off and on with Alan Partridge, as he's been fleshed out and moved from radio, to television, to film. He is also known for his The Trip series, which he films alongside fellow comedian Rob Brydon. He's won several awards throughout his career, notably a BAFTA for writing the screenplay for the 2014 Academy Award-nominated film Philomena.

He and Jesse spoke back in 2014. They talked about his early days as an impressionist, the increasing emotional complexity and dynamism of his character Alan Partridge, and seeking humanity in his comedy.

The third installment of the Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon The Trip series, The Trip to Spain is out August 11th.

The Outshot: Owney The Dog

Finally, Jesse takes us to our nation's capital, inside the National Postal Museum to learn about a taxidermied dog named Owney.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani of The Big Sick and Terrace Martin

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Emily Gordon
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Terrace Martin

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

Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani on writing a romcom based on their lives

Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani co-wrote the Judd Apatow produced romantic comedy The Big Sick. It's a sweet, hilarious and truthful story about how the two of them fell in love, tossing all of the classic romantic comedy tropes out of the window. Kumail and Emily come from really different backgrounds; Kumail's from Pakistan. Emily: North Carolina. The film tells their story of finding each other after navigating Kumail's family's traditional views on marriage and an illness that almost breaks them apart.

Before Emily Gordon was writing screenplays and making films, she was a therapist, working with mentally challenged individuals. After over 5 years working as a therapist, she realized that she needed to change careers, moving on to writing full time, and contributing to online and print magazines.

Most people know Kumail Nanjiani as Dinesh on Mike Judge's HBO hit, Silicon Valley. He's also been on Broad City, Newsreaders, and voices characters on Adventure Time. He has been a stand-up comic for a long time and in 2013, got a Comedy Central stand up special called Beta Male.

Jesse, Kumail, and Emily talk about what it was like making a movie about their real life relationship, and about the changes that were made from the first draft to the one that we see in cinemas. They also talk about learning to let go of their story to other people in the creative group, and the first time they showed the movie to their parents.

You can find The Big Sick in theaters nationwide. Emily also wrote a self-help book for superheroes called Super You: Release Your Inner Super Hero. Also, don't forget to watch Kumail's Beta Male for a solid 40 minutes of laughter.

Click here to listen to Jesse's interview with Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani!


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Terrace Martin on Jazz, Hip-Hop, and working with Kendrick Lamar

Terrace Martin is a musician and producer. He is from Los Angeles' Crenshaw District and grew up in a jazz household, with both of his parents being musicians. He picked up the saxophone at a young age, his talent for the horn leading him all the way through arts high school to California Institute of the Arts. After deciding college wasn't for him, he went on tour with some big acts and began producing for people like Snoop Dogg and YG. Terrace was heavily involved in Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, producing many songs on the album including the hit "King Kunta."

Terrace and Jesse talk about his views on hip-hop and jazz, and why working with Kendrick Lamar is so important to him. They talk about the differences between releasing solo albums and working within a band. Finally, we find out why Terrace roamed from neighborhood to neighborhood as a teenager with his MPC 3000 drum machine.

Terrace's new record label Sounds of Crenshaw Records put out Terraces 6th studio album last year called Velvet Portraits and The Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 by his band The Polyseeds this month.

The Outshot: All Creatures Great and Small

What's the book that claims to be, and actually is, bursting with love? James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot about All Creatures Great and Small!

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