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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: H. Jon Benjamin

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
H. Jon Benjamin

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Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

H. Jon Benjamin on writing a book about failure and the beauty of fatherhood.

The magic of H. Jon Benjamin is kind of a 1-2 punch. First, there's his voice: a deep baritone that's unmistakable when you hear it. Then, his timing: stilted and deadpan, usually - it catches you off guard and it makes him one of the funniest voice actors alive today.

He can play lovable slackers like Ben from Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist or Bob from Bob's Burgers. Jon can also play macho windbags who are imbued with the kind of flawed humanity that also makes you root for them. His Coach McGuirk on Home Movies was a beloved Adult Swim character right up there with the likes of Space Ghost, Master Shake, and Dr. Rockso.

Perhaps Jon's most iconic voice role is that of Sterling Archer, from the TV show Archer. Sterling's a spy, but he's also a narcissist with a pretty terrible drinking problem. A guy who has gone from being extremely self-serving to slightly less selfish over ten seasons. It is to Jon's credit as a voice actor that the audience can see past this deeply flawed man's exterior and laugh along with him and at him.

With lead roles in some of the most popular comedies of all time, it's hard to call H. Jon Benjamin a failure. But he doesn't really mind the label. In 2018, Jon wrote a book called Failure is an Option: An Attempted Memoir.

In it, he recounts his shortcomings in excruciating detail and how, wouldn't you know it, a lot of those failures opened the door to success: failures in family, in work, in serving fajitas. It's a very self-deprecating, self-aware memoir. And since it's written by H. Jon Benjamin, it's also really, really funny.

Season ten of Archer is out now.

This interview originally aired in May of 2018

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Aya Cash and Roger Angell

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Aya Cash
Guests: 
Roger Angell

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Aya Cash of "You're the Worst" on Identity, Rejection and Her Fallback Plan

Aya Cash got her first starring role on television shortly before she was ready to move on to her fallback plan. She was cast as one half of a pair of narcissistic jerks on FXX's dark romantic comedy, You're the Worst. Her character Gretchen meets her match in Jimmy, who behaves as badly as she does, and they fall in love. The lovers are cynical about monogamy but are committed to making it work as they deal with real-life issues, including clinical depression.

Aya sat down with Jesse to talk about of the tremendous effort she made to be unique in high school, how she handles the unpredictable nature of auditions and how she almost gave up acting and opened an antique store.

You're the Worst was recently renewed for a third season on FXX. Season 2 of the show is now available on Hulu.

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Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

Roger Angell on Aging, Writing and the Humanity of Baseball.

The writer and editor Roger Angell has been a contributor to the New Yorker since 1944. His writings on baseball don't dwell on scores and statistics. Instead, he's deftly explored the humanity of both fans and players. He has also served as the chief fiction editor for the magazine for many years.

This Old Man is his most recent collection of essays. Last year, the title piece went viral for its honest and frank discussion of aging and loss.

Roger Angell joined Jesse to talk about the physical prowess of modern ball players, accepting his fate as a baseball fan who would never play professionally, and finding love and companionship in his nineties.

This Old Man: All in Pieces is available in bookstores now.

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Photo: MGM-Barry Wetcher

The Outshot: 'Creed'

Jesse explains how the tribute to the everyman in Rocky endures in the latest sequel, Creed, and tells us how it goes one step further.

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