comedian

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Comic and actor J.B. Smoove

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
J.B. Smoove

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: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

J.B. Smoove on Curb Your Enthusiasm, writing on Saturday Night Live and more

J.B. Smoove is without a doubt one of the funniest people we've ever had on Bullseye.

He got his start in television as one of the stars of Def Comedy Jam in the mid-90's. In the early aughts he became a writer on Saturday Night Live. J.B. wrote sketches like a commercial for "Tylenol Extreme," and a hypothetical remake of Norman Lear's "Good Times." He's probably best known for his role as Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Currently, you can check him out in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In the film, J.B. plays Peter Parker's teacher, Julius Dell. He has some really funny moments as Parker's chaperone.

J.B. joins us to talk about his time on SNL. He'll explain how an audition to be a featured cast member actually landed him a job as a writer instead. We'll hear about a few of his favorite sketches that never made it to air.

He'll also talk about his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and why he always goes to an audition in character. Plus, he'll tell us about the time he told Howard Stern, and we quote: "You can't eat spaghetti on an open patio." Join us to learn exactly what he means!

When he's not working on screen he keeps busy on the road. He tries to test out as much new material as possible. You can see him on tour all over the country this summer and fall. Check out his website for latest dates.

A heads up to listeners, this episode contains many censored expletives throughout the interview.

Ep. 38: Go Fact Yourself with Mindy Sterling & Dylan Brody

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Dylan Brody, J. Keith van Straaten, Mindy Sterling, Helen Hong, Kentaro Kameyama
Guests: 
Mindy Sterling & Dylan Brody
Guests: 
Kentaro Kameyama & Chris Claremont

Are you a true fashionista? Are you surrounded by the lore of classic comics? Do you just want to laugh and learn some great trivia? Whether you check one or all of those boxes, this episode of Go Fact Yourself is for you!

Mindy Sterling is an actor who’s perhaps best known for her role in the Austin Powers films. She’s also had several TV roles, earning her two Emmy nominations! The only problem was that those two nominations happened in the same year… and in the same category. You can find Mindy on Twitter and on Instagram.

Mindy will face off against author and humorist Dylan Brody! Dylan has made a career out of being funny. But he’ll explain why that’s changed in that profession as he got older. These days, he’s also interested in helping other people overcome their creative barriers to make what they’ve always wanted. To learn more, go to his website.

Our guests will discuss their passions, kitchenware and the finer points of telling jokes as a grown-up.

What’s the Difference: Home on the Range

What’s the difference between an oven and a range?

What’s the difference between a deer and an antelope?

Areas of Expertise

Mindy Sterling: How to put on makeup, decorating your apartment and "Project Runway."

Dylan Brody: Nikola Tesla, Korean Martial Arts and the John Byrne/Chris Claremont era "X-Men" comics.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong


Dylan Brody and Mindy Sterling

Mindy Sterling
Dylan Brody

With guest experts:


Mindy Sterling and Kentaro Kameyama

Kentaro Kameyama, fashion designer who won season 16 of "Project Runway."

Chris Claremont, New York Times bestselling author and writer of the bestselling comic book issue of all time.

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun. The show was recorded at The Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher.
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

Ep. 33: Go Fact Yourself with Sara Schaefer & Kurt Braunohler

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Larry Niven, Kurt Braunohler, J. Keith van Straaten, Sara Schaefer, Helen Hong, Dr. Muriel C. McClendon
Guests: 
Sara Schaefer & Kurt Braunohler
Guests: 
Dr. Muriel C. McClendon & Larry Niven

Grab your favorite science-fiction novel and settle into your 1400's English outfit for this episode of Go Fact Yourself!

Sara Schaefer is an accomplished comedian and writer. She won an Emmy for her time as a blogger on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." And yes, you can win an Emmy for blogging! But that was not her first Emmy nomination, that came during her time as a writer for a show that might help her out today: "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" Sara's new comedy album "LIVE LAUGH LOVE" is available now.

Sara's opponent is Kurt Braunohler! He's the host of the Los Angeles comedy show "Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen". These days, he's got a pretty great professional life, but that wasn't always the case. He'll recount some of the roughest parts of his career, including when he performed an hour of stand-up to an audience of three people. You can see Kurt in the Showtime series "Black Monday"

As our guest's trivia prowess is pushed the limit, we'll learn more about the postal service, barnyard animals and the two Coreys.

What’s the difference: Mail/Male

What’s the difference between certified mail and registered mail?

What’s the difference between a bull and an ox?


Kurt Braunohler and Sara Schaefer

Areas of Expertise

Sara Schaefer: Joni Mitchell, crafting and Tudor England

Guy Branum: Science-Fiction literature, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and movies that feature both Coreys Haim and Feldman.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Sara Schaefer
Kurt Braunohler

With guest experts:

Dr. Muriel C. McClendon, UCLA professor whose area of research is Tudor England.

Larry Niven, author of numerous science-fiction books, including the Ringworld series.

This episode is sponsored by CA Trusts.

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun. The show was recorded at The Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher.
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

The JV Club Ep. 316: Danielle Radford

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Show: 
The JV Club
Guests: 
Danielle Radford

The nearly nonstop Max Fun Crossovers continue! Try out your best Mid-Atlantic accent for this chat with Danielle Radford (who you may have heard on the Max Fun podcast Tights and Fights or on Screen Junkies), who shows us the nefarious side of choir with surreptitious cigarettes and how a certain Little Woman can clarify your dreams...

Hosted by Janet Varney.

Edited by Julian Burrell for Maximum Fun.

This show is directly funded by our Maximum Fun Members. As part of the annual #MaxFunDrive, you can sign up for as little as $5 a month at maximumfun.org/donate to help support this and other Max Fun shows you listen to AND earn great gifts in the process!

The JV Club Ep. 304: Carly Jibson

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Show: 
The JV Club
Guests: 
Carly Jibson
Guests: 
Janet Varney

The very funny, very candid and very present Carly Jibson talks Broadway grinds, Tinder surprises and something wonderful called “Poopy Chicken,” all the while reminding us it’s possible to be vulnerable at the same time you’re being a complete badass.

Hosted by Janet Varney.

Edited by Julian Burrell for Maximum Fun.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Zach Galifianakis and Michael K. Williams

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Zach Galifianakis
Guests: 
Michael K. Williams

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

Zach Galifianakis on Unlikeable Characters, Sudden Fame and Facing “Heartbreaking” Criticism on Public Radio

[r] Zach Galifianakis is an actor, writer and stand-up comedian whose humor isn’t for everyone. His comedic observations and characterizations in television and film have made him a unique voice that some people love and others love to hate.

Galifianakis is probably best known for his roles in The Hangover films and in the Between Two Ferns web series. But he's also been in a lot more, from Up in the Air, to Birdman to Bored to Death. He's now the star and co-creator of the FX series, Baskets, currently in its second season. In the show, he plays a clown who can't keep up with the tuition or his classmates at his French clowning school, and returns to his hometown of Bakersfield, California to work in a rodeo.

Galifianakis sat down with Jesse to talk about creating a show that revolves around a mean and unlikeable character, how he contended with the sudden fame that came with The Hangover and what it’s like be dissed on public radio.

Baskets airs on Thursday nights at 10 pm on FX.


Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Michael K. Williams on His Club Kid Days, Breaking Ground with The Wire and Why a Pop Song Touches Him So Deeply

Michael K. Williams is an actor and dancer who broke out in the role of Omar Little on HBO’s The Wire. His characterization of a criminal “with a code” made the show a favorite among critics and viewers, one of whom was President Obama.

He was a club kid turned professional dancer, and later turned to acting. His resume includes everything from Boardwalk Empire to Twelve Years a Slave to Inherent Vice. He currently co-stars in the new Sundance TV series, Hap and Leonard, which begins its second season in March.

Williams sat down with us to talk about his memories of being a New York club kid, the difference that playing Omar made in his life and others and the opportunity that led him to realize that being a performer could be a career, rather than just a job.

The second season of Hap and Leonard begins airing on March 15.

The Outshot: Gravediggaz’s Poetic

Jesse remembers the poignancy of the late rapper Poetic, who detailed his harrowing fight with cancer in one of his final songs.

Episode 1 - Formosa written by Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant

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Guests: 
Paul F. Tompkins
Guests: 
Ben Schwartz
Guests: 
Craig Cackowski
Guests: 
Alessandra Torresani
Guests: 
Ana Ortiz
Guests: 
Cedric Yarbrough
Guests: 
Carlos Alazraqui
Guests: 
Janet Varney
Guests: 
Kyle Bornheimer

In this pilot episode of Dead Pilots Society, Ben Blacker interviews Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911, The State, The Night At The Museum Films) regarding their dead pilot, Formosa. You'll also listen to a never-before-heard live table read of Formosa performed by some of today's funniest comedic actors like:

Paul F. Tompkins as Frank
Ben Schwartz as Frenchy
Craig Cackowski as Lou, Bellhop
Alessandra Torresani as Margaret O'Sullivan
Ana Ortiz as Carlita
Cedric Yarbrough as Machete Man, Hotel Detective
Carlos Alazraqui as El Coyote, Mickey, Chance
Janet Varney as Middle Aged Woman
Kyle Bornheimer as Archer

For more Dead Pilot Society episodes, please subscribe to the podcast! Make sure to like us on www.facebook.com/deadpilotssociety, follow us on Instagram @DeadPilotsSociety, on twitter at www.twitter.com/deadpilotspod, and visit our website at www.deadpilotssociety.com. Thanks for listening!

Episode Zero "Pilot Episode" - Laurel and Holly written by Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen

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Guests: 
Molly Shannon
Guests: 
Sarah Chalke
Guests: 
Hayes MacArthur
Guests: 
Tony Cavalero
Guests: 
Kyle Bornheimer
Guests: 
Anna Camp
Guests: 
Valerie Azlynn
Guests: 
Jamie Denbo

In this pilot episode of Dead Pilots Society, Ben Blacker interviews Andrew Reich (Friends, Rules of Engagement, creator of Dead Pilots Society) regarding his dead pilot, Laurel and Holly. You'll also listen to a never-before-heard live table read of Laurel and Holly, performed by some of today's funniest comedic actors like:

Molly Shannon as Holly
Sarah Chalke as Laurel
Hayes MacArthur as Steve
Tony Cavalero as Tony, Xander
Kyle Bornheimer as Shane
Anna Camp as Rita
Valerie Azlynn as Tanya, Danny
Jamie Denbo as Steph

For more Dead Pilot Society episodes, please subscribe to the podcast! Make sure to like us at www.facebook.com/deadpilotssociety, follow us on Instagram @DeadPilotsSociety, on twitter www.twitter.com/deadpilotspod, and visit our website at www.deadpilotssociety.com. Thanks for listening!

Tights and Fights Episode 1: Should we really add MORE belts to the WWE?

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Guests: 
Mike Eagle
Guests: 
Hal Lublin
Guests: 
Danielle Radford

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Tights and Fights, the podcast from The Maximum Fun Network that discusses wrestling with the sincerity and hilarity that it deserves.

This week, hosts Hal Lublin, Danielle Radford and Mike Eagle discuss who they hope is the next superstar to make a big return to RAW or Smackdown and their thoughts on the latest angles on WWE TV this week.

Plus, they’ll break down the benefits of downfalls of adding MORE championships to Smackdown and share some recommendations from the world of wrestling that you should check out.

Hosts: Hal Lublin, Danielle Radford and Mike Eagle

Producer: Julian Burrell

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Maria Bamford & Wanda Sykes

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Maria Bamford
Guests: 
Wanda Sykes

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

Maria Bamford on Finding the Comedy in Mental Illness

Maria Bamford is a stand-up whose comedy is equal parts confessional and surreal. Using events from her own life, including her struggles with mental illness, she finds comedy in the painful and absurd, infusing both with an infectious joy that has endeared her to fans around the world.

You might know Maria from her roles on shows like Arrested Development, Comedy Bang Bang, Maron and Louie. She found wider national fame during the 2009-2010 holiday shopping season when she appeared as a super-enthusiastic shopper in a series of Target commercials.

Maria sat down with Jesse to talk about her own experiences as a patient of various Los Angeles mental health facilities, finding love and how wanting to work less proved to be a good career move.

Her new show, Lady Dynamite will be available for streaming on Netflix from May 20th. You can find out more about her upcoming tour dates at MariaBamford.com.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Wanda Sykes on Life After the NSA and The Freedom to Be Herself on Stage

Wanda Sykes is a comedian and an actor with an incredible force of personality. Her distinctive voice both as a writer and a performer has earned her success on stage, television and film. She’s been nominated for seven Prime-Time Emmy Award including a win for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special for her work on The Chris Rock Show.

The Curb Your Enthusiasm star joined Jesse to talk about transitioning from a career with the NSA to stand-up comedy, coming out “accidentally” during a rally against California’s Proposition 8 and why she believes that Bob Hope may have been a super spy.

Jesse was especially excited to talk with Wanda about one of his favorite characters in film, Biggie Shorty from the Louis C.K. directed, Chris Rock produced blaxploitation parody, Pootie Tang (or as we had to refer to it on NPR, “shmooty shmang”).

Wanda Sykes is beginning her tour this month which includes recording dates for her next comedy special.

Sykes is performing two shows at the Theater at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles this Saturday, May 21st. The shows will be filmed for her Epix special out later this year. It's called What Happened…Ms. Sykes? Find out more at WandaSykes.com.

The Outshot: Black Moth Super Rainbow

Jesse talks about his affinity for the music of Black Moth Super Rainbow - an experimental band that declined a request to appear on Bullseye to promote their 2009 album, Eating Us.

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