david letterman

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Comedian Matt Braunger on the Craziest Day of his Entire Career

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Matt Braunger

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Photo: Jesse Grant / Getty Images

Craziest Day of My Entire Career: Matt Braunger

The Craziest F**king Day of my Entire Career is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite people about some truly unbelievable stories. This time around, we're joined by the comedian Matt Braunger.

Matt's been working the road as a stand-up for more than a decade. He's got a handful of very funny specials and albums to his name. He has also appeared on shows like Superstore, Take My Wife and Agent Carter.

One of his biggest breaks came in 2008. He got the call to be on David Letterman's Late Show. He'll tell us about the surreal experience of meeting Letterman, and performing on the same stage as legends.

This story has it all: a cameo from Tracy Morgan, a joke about a man named Eggly Bagelface, a special tune by The Pixies, an elevator conversation with Paul Shaffer and it gets even crazier!

You can stream Matt's latest comedy special Finally Live in Portland on Amazon Prime now. He's also on tour this fall with dates all over the country. Check out his website for more information, and follow the latest from him on twitter @Braunger.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Jay Leno

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jay Leno

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

Jay Leno on the late night wars, and spending decades on The Tonight Show, and Jay Leno's Garage

We're joined by one of the biggest TV hosts in the history of TV hosts: Jay Leno! He'll chat about his career that spans almost 45 years.

He's been spending his time in what could be his retirement working on his TV show for CNBC called Jay Leno's Garage. The show is in its fifth season. It's a lot of fun, especially if you're really into weird , old-school cars. He's still a disarming interview, still charming and still quick on his feet.

By his own admission, Jay says he never got much love from critics. He got cast, more or less, as the villain in the late night battles with Letterman and Conan. He'll open up about those late night wars in this in-depth interview.

Jay also reflects on his childhood and how that's influenced his comedy. From sleeping in alleys on the streets of New York, to hosting The Tonight Show for decades. It's truly a remarkable story, and we hope you'll join us.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chris and Bridey Elliott on the new horror comedy 'Clara's Ghost'

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chris Elliott
Guests: 
Bridey Elliott

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

Chris and Bridey Elliott on 'Clara's Ghost'

Chris Elliott got his start in showbiz as a production assistant on "Late Night with David Letterman," before becoming an iconic writer and performer on that show. One of our favorite bits from him on Letterman included a parody of Marlon Brando – in the skit he'd dump bananas out of a sack and slowly dance around them to the tune "The Alley Cat."

After his stint with Letterman, he went on to star in the cult sitcom "Get A Life" and the equally bizarre film "Cabin Boy." Both works have cemented him as an absurdist comedy legend. While those projects are not for everyone; they're a real treat if you can sit though some really cringe worthy moments.

You've definitely seen him in "There's Something About Mary," "Groundhog Day," and "Scary Movie" and in many TV shows, including "The King of Queens," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Everybody Loves Raymond." Most recently, he can be seen as Roland Schitt, the mayor of the small town on Pop Tv's "Schitt's Creek."

Bridey Elliott, his daughter, wrote and directed a new movie called "Clara's Ghost." It's a family collaboration: Bridey also stars in the movie, along with Chris, her sister Abby, and her mother Paula.

The movie takes place over one night. It tells the story of the Reynolds family, who live in a secluded mansion in New England. Chris' character Ted is the patriarch, a comedian past his prime. His daughters work in showbiz, too, but like their dad, haven't gotten a callback in a long time. Then there's Clara, played by Paula Elliott. Clara's discovered a ghost that only she can see.

We'll chat with Chris Elliott about his time on Letterman, and what it was like to work on the strange film "Cabin Boy." Plus, he'll tell us why he doesn't use social media. Bridey will explain how she tried to make horror film that had significant elements of comedy, and how "Cabin Boy" was kind of a horror film when she saw it as a kid. Plus, what it's like when people find out who her dad is, which often garners one of two very different reactions.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kathryn Hahn and David Letterman biographer Jason Zinoman

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kathryn Hahn
Guests: 
Jason Zinoman

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: Matt Winkelmeyer / Stringer

Kathryn Hahn on her new Amazon series, I Love Dick

Kathryn Hahn is an actor and has been in comedy films like Step Brothers, the Anchorman movies, and a bunch more. She's also starred in the NBC series Crossing Jordan and was also on Parks and Recreation, playing Jennifer Barkley, the political consultant.

Lately, she's been working a lot with the writer and director Jill Soloway. She was in her 2013 film Afternoon Delight, she plays Raquel the rabbi on Amazon's Transparent, and now she's starring in another Amazon series called I Love Dick, based on the Chris Klaus book by the same name.

Hahn and Jesse talk about the inherently feminist space that I Love Dick inhabits, and the deeply complex character that Kathryn plays on the show. She talks about working with Jill Soloway on many of her most recent projects, and the special and deeply creative environment that Soloway creates on her sets.

You can catch Hahn in I Love Dick on Amazon now.

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Jason Zinoman on "The Last Giant of Late Night", David Letterman

Jason Zinoman is a writer and a critic covering comedy over at the New York Times. He also writes for Slate and Vanity Fair. He's got a new book out - it's called Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night. More than a biography of David Letterman, it is about one of the funniest TV hosts of all time and why so many people are fascinated with him.

Jason and Jesse talk about the span of David Letterman's career, from parodying regional radio on his college radio station, to his time working as the weekend television weatherman, to his late night show segments that appealed to really basic comedic instincts in the audience (i.e. "Dropping Stuff off a 5 Story Tower" and "Stupid Pet Tricks" and "How many Guys in Spider-Man Suits Can Fit Into a Jamba Juice").

Jason's book Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night is out now.

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The Outshot: Concrete the Superhero

Jesse tells us about Concrete, one of the saddest and most honest superhero comics he's ever read.

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Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Paul Shaffer, Javaka Steptoe, and Louis Theroux

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Paul Shaffer
Guests: 
Javaka Steptoe
Guests: 
Louis Theroux

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: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Paul Shaffer on Leaving The Late Show and his new album

Paul Shaffer is best known for his work as the band leader and music director on David Letterman’s late night TV shows, from the late 80’s until 2015. Though he was in charge of choosing and playing the music that would appear on the show, Shaffer was kind of a sidekick to Letterman, pulling things out of hats and setting up joke punchlines for him. Before Shaffer was on The Late Show, he was a band member on Saturday Night Live. He would appear in sketches with Bill Murray and would play piano during the Blues Brothers sketches. Letterman took notice and decided he wanted that rapport to be a part of his show.

Shaffer is not just known for working with Letterman. He has written a couple of really great disco tunes, including the 1983 jam It's Raining Men, and plays with The Late Show's The World's Most Dangerous Band.

He and Jesse talk about his expansive career, what it was like working on a show everyday for half of his life then not, and his impressive eyewear.

You can catch Paul Shaffer & The World's Most Dangerous Band on tour this Spring. Their new album is on sale now.


Photo: Gregg Richards

Javaka Steptoe on his Caldecott Award Winning book Radiant Child

Javaka Steptoe is a children's book author and illustrator who has made a career of biographizing his heroes and creating books that reflect the diversity of his neighborhood. He makes an effort to illustrate books that have people of all races, all kinds of families, from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds present.

Growing up in New York and being the son of children's book author/illustrator John Steptoe, Javaka knew he was going to be an artist from the time he was a child. His first book In Daddy's Arms I am Tall, received the Coretta Scott King award for Illustrators in 1997, and many of his subsequent books recieved awards and recognition. His newest book, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has won the 2017 Caldecott award, which is basically the Pulitzer Prize for children's books.

Javaka joins Jesse to talk about what it was like to grow up with a well known father, where his passion and interest in Jean-Michel Basquiat came from, and why he finds it important to create diversity in the books that children read.

Javaka's book Radiant Child:The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is out now.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

The Craziest Day Of My Career: Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux is a British documentarian whose career has found himself interacting with some of the most depraved and despised people in our society. He reported on the family who runs the Westboro Baptist Church and spent time with the the leader of the White Aryan Resistance and his family. Louis, whose main interest is finding out why members of niche political parties and subcultures do what they do, also spends time with less harmful people, such as UFO hunters and Swingers on his BBC program Weird Weekends. As a part of this series, he reported on the pro-wrestling community in the United States, and took on the challenge of training with the new recruits. Louis recalls that experience for us as the craziest day of his career. Lets just say, things did not end well.

Louis has a new documentary out now called My Scientology Movie.

The Outshot: John Wick 2

What makes a perfect action film? No dialogue.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Weird Al, Geoff Nunberg, Andrew Noz

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Weird Al Yankovic
Guests: 
Geoff Nunberg
Guests: 
Andrew Noz


Hip Hop with Andrew Noz: DJ Quik's Pacific Coast Remix and Rammellzee's Beat Bop

Hip hop blogger and Pitchfork columnist Andrew Noz joins us with a couple of his all-time favorite hip hop tracks. His first recommendation is Pacific Coast Remix by DJ Quik (featuring Ludacris), a track devoted to sunny Los Angeles's dark side. He also suggests checking out the 1983 track Beat Bop by Rammellzee and K-Rob. It's a song from an era where the uptown and downtown communities mingled in a way that the rap world would rarely see again.


Weird Al Yankovic: King of Parody

Weird Al Yankovic is the undisputed king of parody music. Inspired by the novelty songs he heard on broadcasts of The Dr. Demento Show, Yankovic began writing his own comedy songs for the accordion -- starting with a love song to his parents' car, entitled Belvedere Cruisin'.

He sat down with us in 2011, before his album Alpocalypse was released. He talks about his food parodies (think "Eat It"), his special talent for rapping, and having an unusually long and successful career for a parodist (or musician of any kind).

Weird Al just kicked off a nationwide summer tour. He's also just released a new children's book, My New Teacher and Me. You can find more information .


Linguist Geoff Nunberg on The First Sixty Years of Assholism

Geoff Nunberg is a professor at UC Berkeley, the resident linguist of Fresh Air, and the author of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years. He talks to us about his studies into the word "asshole," which began life as a bit of slang used by WWII servicemen and has come to envelop the concept of modern incivility.

We spoke in 2012. The book is now out in paperback.

(More of our conversation with Geoff Nunberg that didn't make the radio edit! Click to listen and share.)

The Outshot: The Late Show with David Letterman

Jesse explains what makes David Letterman such an especially gifted late night host in a world of very good late night hosts.

Got a cultural gem of your own? Pick your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forum.>

(Embed or share this Outshot on David Letterman)

St. Vincent: Cruel

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A sweet yet haunting late-night listen. St. Vincent was on Letterman last week singing "Cruel" from her new album, "Strange Mercy", which is set for release on Sept. 13th. If you want to hear more, you can stream the album now on NPR.org.

Joe Wong on Letterman

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It's stand-up Saturday morning again!

Here's Joe Wong's recent appearance on Letterman. Remember, kids: No means no. Except when it means nitric oxide.

Video: Zach Galifianakis' Debut Performance on Network Televison

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Yesterday, Steve Agee posted this clip of Zach's network television debut. It's an appearance on Letterman's show, but Janeane Garofalo was guest hosting because Dave was having heart surgery.

Terrific inaugural performance and the subtitles only heighten the fun.

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