Pop Culture Happy Hour

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.

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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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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jenny Slate

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jenny Slate
Guests: 
Linda Holmes
Guests: 
Glen Weldon

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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Jenny Slate on Marcel the Shell, Besties, SNL and 'Obvious Child'

Jenny Slate has probably already turned up in one of your favorite shows -- she spent a season on Saturday Night Live, and she's had recurring roles on Parks and Recreation, Kroll Show, and Bored to Death. But if you don't recognize her face, maybe you know this voice. The voice of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.

Slate co-wrote two animated shorts about Marcel, the anthropormophic shell with one googly eye, and gave him his signature voice. The shorts have racked up over thirty million views on the web.

Now, Slate is moving into leading lady territory. She's the star of the upcoming independent film, Obvious Child, about a stand up comic who gets dumped, fired, and then finds out she's pregnant from a one-night stand.

Slate joins us to talk about the comic one-upmanship she practices with her best friend, her infamous f-bomb on SNL, handling abortion as part of a storyline, and what it was like to expand her acting horizons.

If you somehow missed the Marcel the Shell with Shoes On craze, you can find the shorts on YouTube. Slate's movie, Obvious Child, will be theatres June 6, 2014.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Why 'Fargo' Is Worth Watching, a Memoir about Diner Life

Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to recommend a few of their favorite new things to read and watch.

Linda recommends catching up with the movie-to-television adaptation Fargo. It stars Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton and Alison Tolman and is finishing up its first season on FX.

Glen highly suggests checking out Mimi Pond's Over Easy, a graphic novel memoir about her experiences working in an Oakland diner in the 1970s.

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

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Song Exploder no. 8: Loren Bouchard on 'Bob's Burgers

Bob’s Burgers is an animated show that just finished up its fourth season on FOX. It follows the travails of Bob, his family, and their hamburger shop. The voices on the show include the very funny H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman and Kristen Schaal. The creator of the show, Loren Bouchard, Also created its opening music.

Loren Bouchard talked to Hrishi Hirway for an episode of his podcast Song Exploder. It's a show where Hrishi asks musicians to deconstruct their songs, track by track. Since Bouchard pulls double duty as composer and creator, he wrote music that’s deeply connected to the themes of the show.

You can listen to other episodes of Song Exploder here at MaximumFun, in iTunes or wherever you download podcasts.

The Outshot: Bring In Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk

This week Jesse will tell you about the one time he actually believed that live theater was better than just going to the movies.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Pointer Sisters

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Show: 
Bullseye

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.

The Pointer Sisters Get Excited (About Music, Clothes, and More)

The Pointer Sisters have always been musical chameleons. They had huge dance-pop hits in the 1980s, like "I'm So Excited" and "Jump (For My Love)", but at that point they had already found success in genres from jazz to R&B to disco, and even won a Grammy for their country hit, "Fairytale". The sisters grew up in Oakland, California and were taught by their reverend father that rock and roll was 'the devil's work'. However, when their parents weren't around, they snuck in listening sessions to Elvis, The Supremes, and James Brown.

Sisters Bonnie and June Pointer formed the earliest incarnation of the group in 1969, joined within several years by Ruth and Anita. They recorded their debut self-titled album in 1973, and the single "Yes We Can Can" became their first hit. They went on to record more hits over the next few decades, including "How Long (Betcha' Got a Chick on the Side)", a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire", and "He's So Shy".

Ruth and Anita Pointer join us for a wild and entertaining interview about their signature vintage style, forging their own musical path, and mixing family with business.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour Talks About Letters to Boys and Anthropomorphic Ants

Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to recommend a couple of their current favorite new books.

What if instead of pretending your teenage love letters never existed... you published them, and let the world take a look? Linda recommends the new memoir Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public, by Pamela Ribon. Ribon spent much of her free time in high school penning over-the-top notes to her crushes, and provides original drafts, with asides from her adult self.

Glen recommends the new graphic novel Ant Colony by Michael DeForge -- a debut novel that's psychedelic, surreal, darkly funny, and definitely not for kids.

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

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Bobby Lopez on The Song That Changed My Life: "Pure Imagination"

Think of a song you know by heart. A song that's been in your life for such a long time, you don't even remember when you first heard it. Maybe it was in your favorite movie as a kid.

Bobby Lopez writes those kind of songs. He's a composer for musicals and movies, and co-created the hit Broadway shows The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q. Most recently, he's teamed up with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez to write for Disney's Frozen. The pair's songs have inspired movie singalongs and a score of YouTube covers, and their breakout hit Let It Go, is nominated for an Oscar.

This week, Bobby shares the song that changed his life: the inspiring and magical Pure Imagination, from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

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The Outshot: The Muppet Movie

Why do folks get into showbiz? If you think it's all to get attention, fame, or money, let The Muppet Movie show you why you're wrong.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bubba Sparxxx and Ian MacKaye

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bubba Sparxxx
Guests: 
Ian MacKaye
Guests: 
Linda Holmes
Guests: 
Glen Weldon
Guests: 
Megan Mullally
Guests: 
Stephanie Hunt

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.

Bubba Sparxxx on Schoolyard Rap Battles, Overcoming Addiction and Country-Hip Hop Fusion

Bubba Sparxxx defines his life as a cycle of "falling down and getting back up." He’s a white rapper from the South who you may know for his hit with the Ying Yang Twins, "Ms. New Booty," -- or perhaps you remember his debut single from 2001, "Ugly".

Sparxxx grew up in a rural area near LaGrange, Georgia, where he was no stranger to the occasional schoolyard rap battle. After high school, he made the move to Athens, Georgia with hip hop ambitions and, eventually, released the album Dark Days Bright Nights with the help of record producers Timbaland and Organized Noize. His next two albums, Deliverance and The Charm, established his commercial success and Sparxxx became known as a rapper who could effectively blend country and hip-hop.

However, after The Charm’s release in 2006, Sparxxx stayed relatively silent for the next seven years. He appeared on a couple Girls Gone Wild DVDs, rumors surfaced of his troubles with the IRS and he struggled with drug addiction. With the release of Pain Management in 2013, he came back on the hip hop scene with a fresh perspective. On the album, Sparxxx returns to his small town roots with songs like the celebratory "Country Folks" and the nostalgic "LaGrange," proving that, after a long fall down, he can always get back up.

His newest album, Pain Management is out now.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour on Deadpan Satire and Early John Cusack

Glen Weldon and Linda Holmes of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to share some of their all-time favorite comedies.

Glen recommends the 1992 film Careful, directed by Guy Maddin, which is partly a parody of the German mountaineering films of the ‘20’s and ‘30’s. It’s set in the fictional town of Tolzbad, where the townspeople, petrified of starting a devastating avalanche, supress their emotions to live as quietly as possible.

Linda’s pick is The Sure Thing, a 1985 comedy directed by Rob Reiner. It stars a pre-Say Anything John Cusack who hits the road in an effort to reach a "sure thing".

You can hear Glen and Linda weekly on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, and find Linda’s writing on NPR’s Monkey See blog.

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I Wish I’d Made That: "Singin’ in the Rain" and "The Music Box" with Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt

Have you ever listened to a song or watched a movie so exceptionally perfect that you thought "I wish I’d made that!"? We’ve been there too. In this segment, we talk to creative people about the works that inspired them, and maybe inspired a little envy too.

This week, we caught up with Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Stephanie Hunt to talk about the things they wish they’d made: a Laurel and Hardy short called The Music Box and a classic scene from Singin’ in the Rain.

We caught up with Megan and Stephanie at Tenacious D’s Festival Supreme where they performed in their band Nancy and Beth.

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Ian MacKaye of Minor Threat & Fugazi: Love for Ted Nugent, His First Show, and Punk Ethics

As a member of Fugazi and Minor Threat, Ian MacKaye made history in the punk rock world. Fugazi’s DIY ethics made a lasting impression on the music industry and Minor Threat’s song "Straight Edge" managed to start a movement, even though it was never MacKaye’s intention.

He grew up in Washington D.C. in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Back then, it wasn’t a city known for its rock scene. That didn’t stop him from teaming up with drummer Jeff Nelson to form the band Minor Threat, which would go on to have a profound and lasting impact on hardcore punk. Although the band was short-lived (1980-83), it was enough to start a movement. MacKaye coined the term "straight edge," which referred to a punk rocker who abstains from drugs and alcohol. Eventually, a subculture formed around the concept and individuals who wanted to listen to their music with a clear head began calling themselves "straight edge".

Later in his career, he formed Fugazi, a band which would go on to make six studio albums and had a pretty unique approach to touring practices. The group would travel cross-country, rarely charging more than five or ten dollars for a show as a reaction to the uncontrollable greed of the music industry.

This week, Jesse revisits his 2009 interview, conducted live on stage with MacKaye. They’ll talk about the MacKaye's roots in D.C., his lasting legacy, and why he loves to work.

MacKaye is a co-founder and owner of Dischord Records and currently sings and plays baritone guitar in The Evens.

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The Outshot: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Every now and then, a movie comes along that’s so quotable and unexpectedly funny that it begs for a sequel...but it doesn’t get one. After nine long years, it looked like Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s Anchorman wouldn't return with its own brand of special weirdness.

This week, Jesse This week, Jesse explains why you should make your way out to the multiplex.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Nick Offerman, The Birthday Boys, Brandon Bird

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Nick Offerman
Guests: 
The Birthday Boys
Guests: 
Brandon Bird
Guests: 
Linda Holmes
Guests: 
Glen Weldon

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.

Nick Offerman Talks Mustaches, Woodworking, and Luck

Nick Offerman is a man accustomed to being recognized. As Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, he sports one of the most revered moustaches in recent television history.

It would be easy to conflate Offerman with Swanson. They’re both masculine, moustachioed men with a penchant for carpentry, but Offerman is quick to distinguish himself from his civil servant counterpart. He credits the writers of the show for giving Swanson possession of larger-than-life quirks, such as the ability to ingest mountains of bacon or guzzle moonshine by the jug. Offerman, however, has a much more relatable story to tell.

He grew up in small town Illinois and studied theatre in college before performing in several Chicago-based theatre and improv companies. He joins us to talk about his rural roots, why woodworking has remained an important part of his life (and not an affectation), and the public perception of Ron Swanson as the personification of manliness.

Nick Offerman's new book of essays is Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living. You can also catch him on the sixth season of Parks and Recreation, airing now.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour Talks Movies and Comics

Linda Holmes and Glen Weldon of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour stop by to recommend a couple of their current favorite things.

Linda recommends 12 Years a Slave, a film about the true story of a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery. The film, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and directed by Steve McQueen, tells the story of a man thrust into a life of injustice he doesn’t deserve. And as Linda explains, it's more than just an "important" movie.

The movie is in theaters on October 18.

Glen recommends the new comic Sex Criminals, written by Matt Fraction with art by Chip Zdasky. It may have a racy title but, at its heart, it’s the classic coming of age story about a girl who discovers that by doing the deed, she can stop time.

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

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Brandon Bird's "Lazy Sunday Afternoon"

Brandon Bird on Painting, Mr. T and Learning How to Make Art

Brandon Bird is a painter, but the purpose of his work isn't to capture the light dancing across a lake. Or to make a broad point about society. The point of his art is to make people laugh.

Brandon tells us about the day he became an artist, and how he went from making fan art to creating something really special.

His new activity book, Brandon Bird's Astonishing World of Art, includes Law and Order SVU valentines, a page where you can draw Nicolas Cage a new hairstyle, and a painting of Peter Dinklage as Wolverine (among many other things).

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Comedy Sketch Group The Birthday Boys Asks: "What if Seven Morons Were Doing That Thing?"

The Birthday Boys' work is silly. Really silly. They're a group of seven comedians, and their sketch comedy is warm, almost never obscene or profane, sort of uniquely American. Not too long ago, they caught the eye of comedy superstar and Mr. Show co-creator Bob Odenkirk. He's now the executive producer, cast member and an addition to the writer's room on their new television show for IFC.

Group members Jeff Dutton, Tim Kalpakis and Chris VanArtsdalen join us to talk about why they commit to the silliness, what makes a good sketch and how one of their idols became creatively involved in their first TV series.

The Birthday Boys premieres on October 18 on IFC.

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The Outshot: Michael Palin

You probably know him from hamming it up for Monty Python in the ‘70s, but since then Michael Palin has released a steady stream of travel documentaries. Jesse talks about Michael Palin and why he’s everything good about British colonialism.

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