Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Amy Sedaris & Paul Reiser

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Amy Sedaris
Guests: 
Paul Reiser

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Photo: TruTV

Amy Sedaris on her new show: At Home with Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris made a career playing characters - and we say this with absolutely *zero* shade intended - people who are kind of grotesque and weird. The weirder the better. There's Jerri Blank from Strangers with Candy - a middle aged high school student with an overbite, weird highlights and a penchant for mom jeans. Or Mimi Kanasis, the crazed, kinda plastic-y socialite on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, too. But on her new show, At Home with Amy Sedaris, Amy pretty much plays herself. She talks with Jesse about how that's a transition out of her normal comfort zone.

Also discussed: rabbits (she has one), monkfish (they smell bad when their dead), and Girl Scout badges (she has them all!)

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Paul Reiser on dramatizing the Tonight Show's golden days.

Paul Reiser is, of course, a longtime standup. Alongside Helen Hunt, he starred in the hit sitcom Mad About You. And he's been acting a lot lately, too - he's great in Amazon's Red Oaks, Stranger Things, he was in Whiplash too. He's also the creator of a brand new TV series, it's called There's Johnny and it's premiering this week on Hulu.

It's set in the early 70s, behind the scene of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Reiser knew Carson about as well as anybody could and dishes on what it was like appearing on his show almost a dozen times, how the show came together and what it was like following up a hit show like Mad About You.

The Outshot: Who Needs Donuts?

Finally, for this week's Outshot: Who needs "Who Needs Donuts?" You need "Who Needs Donuts?"

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ellie Kemper & Flying Lotus

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ellie Kemper
Guests: 
Flying Lotus

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: 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 With Jesse Thorn: Carol Kane and Chris Fairbanks

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Carol Kane
Guests: 
Chris Fairbanks

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Carol Kane on her childhood, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and auditioning

Carol Kane is a veteran actress. She began her career in 1971 and landed some pretty heavy roles - one of her first films was in the Mike Nichols drama Carnal Knowledge. Later on, she'd work on other classics like Annie Hall and Dog Day Afternoon. She was even nominated for a best actress Oscar for her part in the 1975 film Hester Street.

She eventually found her home doing comedy, something she never expected she would do growing up. She appeared on Taxi as Simpka, the wife of Andy Kaufman's character on the show. She was in the Muppet Movie, The Princess Bride, Scrooged, and so many others. Her current project is Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where she plays Lilian, Kimmy's landlord.

She and Jesse talk about her childhood, and the special school she went to that allowed actors time to audition. They also talk about many of her projects over her expansive career- The Princess Bride, Taxi, and of course Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Plus, she tells Jesse that after all of these years, she still gets nervous auditioning.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3 in it's entirety is on Netflix now!

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Chris Fairbanks live at MaxFunCon

Chris Fairbanks is a standup comedian, he's appeared on Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central. Alongside April Richardson, he also hosts the tv show Almost Genius on TruTV. His standup is really unique. It is kind of improvised, really surreal, and contains lots of quick two line jokes.
Last year, we were lucky enough to host Chris at MaxFunCon, which is an annual gathering in the woods organized by Maximum Fun, and we've got a bit of his set from that show for you this week!

Check out Chris' album Fairbanks! which was released in 2010 and is an absolute classic. You can also still get tickets to MaxFunCon East which is happening this September in Pennsylvania.

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The Outshot: The Larry Sanders Show

Jesse tells us about the HBO metasitcom from the late 90's, The Larry Sanders Show.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Ellie Kemper & Glen Weldon

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Ellie Kemper
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.


Photo: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Ellie Kemper was introduced to the popular consciousness through her role as Erin Hannon on the NBC sitcom, The Office. Her portrayal of the office receptionist was popular with both fans and critics and showcased her talent and skills as a comedic actress. These talents have also been showcased on the big screen in films including Bridesmaids and 21 Jump Street.

Now, she plays the title character in the Netflix Original series, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Despite the show’s dark premise which involves her character being abducted by a cult leader and sequestered in a bunker, the show plays it all for laughs as her character tries to rebuild her life in New York City. Her years of isolation leave her ignorant of many social touchstones, but she pushes through with an enthusiasm and tenacity that is both endearing and hilarious.

Ellie Kemper joined Jesse 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.

The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available this Friday on Netflix.


Photo: Faustino Nunez

Glen Weldon on the Lasting Popularity of Batman in Pop and Geek Culture

For almost 80 years, Batman has changed and evolved to mean something to different generations of fans. Whether his characterization was that of the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader or the campy character of sixties television, Batman has become a lasting icon of popular culture.

In his new book, The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, author Glen Weldon moves beyond the chronological history of the character. He explores how fans of the various iterations of the character on radio, film, television and the comics have made the character a reflection of their own self-identity, be they straight or gay, cool or geek.

Glen sits down with Jesse to talk about why Batman fans both hate and love the 60s television series, why the character of Robin is so important to Batman’s mythology and how the character also serves as a symbol of gay culture.

Glen Weldon’s book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture is available in bookstores everywhere.


Photo: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

The Outshot: Remembering A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg

Jesse fondly remembers Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Keegan-Michael Key & Tituss Burgess

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Keegan-Michael Key
Guests: 
Tituss Burgess

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Photo credit: Jesse Thorn

Keegan-Michael Key on Race and Comedy and Why 'Key & Peele' Is Coming to an End

Keegan-Michael Key’s comedy is inexorably tied with his experiences straddling cultural and racial lines as a young man in the Midwest, and he became a keen observer of his surroundings as a child.

His work with his partner Jordan Peele on the Comedy Central show Key & Peele has earned Key Emmy nominations in five categories including Outstanding Variety sketch series, Writing for a Variety Series, Writing for a Variety Special, Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program, and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Key & Peele's final season is airing now.

Key sits down with Jesse to talk about the differences of approaching comedy from stand up or improv backgrounds, why it’s so easy to immerse himself in distinctive characters like the substitute teacher Mr. Garvey, and why Key & Peele's fifth season will be its last.

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Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images


Tituss Burgess on Being 'Titus Andromedon' on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Following Your Instincts

Tituss Burgess is an actor who has pursued the truth within himself and his performances. Whether it's been in a church choir or on the Broadway stage, Burgess is ready to give it his all.

His successful audition for a small recurring role on 30 Rock put him on Tina Fey's radar, and he's since been cast as Titus Andromedon on the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Burgess's performance on the show has earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available for streaming on Netflix.

Burgess joins us to discuss his early days growing up in Georgia, inhabiting the character of Titus Andromedon on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and how he contended with a broken microphone while performing live at the Tony Awards.

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The Outshot: Fletch

Jesse explores the top-notch bluffing going on in this week's recommendation, the 1985 Chevy Chase movie Fletch.

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