The JV Club Ep. 336: Scott Thompson

The JV Club
Scott Thompson

CONTENT WARNING: This episode contains a discussion of Scott Thompson's experience surviving a school shooting from 23:22 to 37:38

The sketch comedy legend that is Scott Thompson joins JV this week as a spectacularly fascinating and funny Boy of Summer, including a JV-jaw-dropping-moment after a disclosure by Scott that left her temporarily speechless.

Hosted by Janet Varney.

Edited by Julian Burrell for Maximum Fun.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Lesley Manville from 'Mum,' 'Another Year,' and more

Lesley Manville

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Lesley Manville on working with Mike Leigh, the latest season of Mum and more

British actor Lesley Manville is truly a master of her craft. You might know her work with the brilliant director Mike Leigh. She starred in some of his best movies like Secrets & Lies, All or Nothing and Another Year.

She got her start acting on TV back in the '70s. Back then she was a teenager living in England. Then came her career in theater. She's been in plenty of plays with the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.

She's had a long and successful career overseas – and she's finally breaking through in the states. Later this year, she'll be in the follow up to Disney's Maleficent.

In 2017, she portrayed Cyril in Phantom Thread. The film is set in the '50s post-war London where Cyril and her brother Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) are renowned dressmakers. The Woodcocks are at the center of British fashion. They dress movie stars, socialites and royalty with a distinct style. The stunning performance earned her an Oscar nomination.

Her latest starring role is on the BBC show Mum. In it, she plays Cathy, a widow in her 50's living out in the suburbs with her adult son Jason. We see her grow and learn a lot about herself over the course of the series. The show circles around a budding relationship with her long-time best friend Michael. Mum is very grounded, a bit serious – but also really funny.

Lesley joins us to talk about starring in the BBC sitcom Mum, and how she almost had a career as an opera singer. Plus, what it's like working with director Mike Leigh, and how she gets in character employing his unique improvisational style.

It's an incredible challenge to deliver an emotionally honest portraits of ordinary people, but she nails it every time.

The third and final series of episodes of Mum are out now on the BBC streaming service BritBox.

Ep 20: Go Fact Yourself with Matt Besser and Lyric Lewis

Jody Duncan, J. Keith Van Straaten, Lyric Lewis, Helen Hong, Matt Besser
Lyric Lewis and Matt Besser
Jody Duncan and Debby Schriver
J. Keith Van Straaten
Helen Hong

Matt Besser is a comedian, actor, writer, director and founding member of The Upright Citizens Brigade. He also hosts the weekly podcast improv4humans. He tells J. Keith about the two word prompts he’s banned at shows (hint: one’s a type of fruit and the other is a type of animal), and how it came about that he’s featured on his very own Topps baseball card.

Lyric Lewis is an actress and Groundlings Theater performer who’s perhaps best known for her role as Stef on NBC’s A.P. Bio. You may also recognize Lyric from Comedy Central’s Drunk History, and she tells us about an upcoming episode she did about “Cleopatra’s punk ass little sister”.

In this episode, we’ll learn about how Matt adapted the visual format of improv to an audio-only medium, how Lyric used astrology to sort out potential dating prospects, and why Matt claims his memory is spotty, even though Lyric has a hard time believing him.

What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between “damping” and a “dampening”?

What’s the difference between “club soda” and “seltzer?”

Areas of Expertise

Matt Besser: Arkansas cults, Arkansas Razorback football post-1978 and the film Repo Man

Lyric Lewis: The film Jurassic Park, Greek mythology and astrology.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Matt Besser
Lyric Lewis

With guest experts:

Debby Schriver, an author whose book Whispering in the Daylight: The Children of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries and their Journey to Freedom is about to become a documentary.

Jody Duncan, the author of numerous books about the making of movies.

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

Theme Song by Jonathan Green
David McKeever is the Live Sound Engineer.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

One Bad Mother Episode 221: Curiosity: Well, That’s Exhausting! LIVE with Kay Cannon!

One Bad Mother
Biz Ellis
Theresa Thorn
Kay Cannon

One Bad Mother is live from the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles this week and Biz and Theresa try to answer the hardest question of all: "Why do we have to answer all these questions?” Special guest, screen writer Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect, Girlboss) joins to discuss whether curiosity is a good thing or deadly…to cats…cats who are human parents and tired of questions! Plus, live Genius and Fails!

Follow Kay on twitter @KayKayCannon! Check out Kay's latest project Girlboss on Netflix now and keep an eye out for Pitch Perfect 3, in theaters December 22nd!

Brooklyn: Tickets for One Bad Mother Live at The Bell House on Saturday October 14th are on sale now!

Check out our book! You're Doing A Great Job!: 100 Ways You're Winning at Parenting!

Thank you to all our listeners who support the show as monthly members of Our sponsors this week are Bark Box and Blue Apron. To get a free extra month of BarkBox when you sign up for a 6 or 12-month plan, visit when you subscribe! And go to to get your first 3 meals free with free shipping.

Share your genius and fail moments! Call 206-350-9485
Be sure to tell us at the top of your message whether you're leaving a genius moment, a fail, or a rant! Thanks!!

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Show Music
Opening theme: Summon the Rawk, Kevin MacLeod (
Ones and Zeros, Awesome, Beehive Sessions (, also avail on iTunes)
Mom Song, Adira Amram, Hot Jams For Teens (, avail on iTunes)
Telephone, Awesome, Beehive Sessions (, also avail on iTunes)
Closing music: Mama Blues, Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans

Minority Korner 62: 2017 #NoDrama W/Special Guest Shantira Jackson!! (Ali Wong, Resolutions, Shemar Moore)

Minority Korner
Shantira Jackson

Happy New Year! We made it to 2017! What are your New Year's Resolutions? Nnekay and James share their goals for 2017, or how to not end up being bedraggled by the end of the year. We also cover what's hot to watch on Netflix. In the first Quizlet Korner of the new year it's a clean slate, as Nnekay starts off a winner to find out where is the truth behind Shemar Moore's sexuality, Lee Daniels potentially having a few more missteps with his latest series Star, a new law for hair dresser/stylists, or a local politician getting new laws in FAVOR to support trans gendered youth. And another gem from Chicago, we have our unreleased full interview with brilliant, talented, hilarious Shantira Jackson of Second City, as well as an activist, comedian extraordinaire is she is going to drop some motivating truth bombs on us. Looks like this new year is off to a GREAT start!

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: John Cale, TJ Jagodowski, Dave Pasquesi and Split Single

John Cale
TJ Jagodowski
Dave Pasquesi
Split Single

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

John Cale on The Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, and his favorite hip-hop artist

Welsh musician and composer John Cale moved to New York during the mid 1960’s. Instantly becoming part of the experimental music scene, along with Lou Reed, he was one of the founding members of seminal band Velvet Underground. He left the band in 1968 and since then has released dozens of albums. One of his most successful albums Fragments of a Rainy Season, originally recorded live during his 1992 tour, has just been reissued.
This week, John tells Jesse about his time in Velvet Undergound, working as a producer for The Stooges and Patti Smith, and who his favorite hip-hop artist is.
You can find more information about the reissue of Fragments of a Rainy Season here.

TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi on longform improv methods, their road to improv, and the

TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are two of the most successful improv artists to ever exist. Both veterans of Chicago’s prestigious improv school Second City, they met in 2002 and had an instant connection that is very rare to find in an improv partner.
This week, Jesse sits down with the pair at the first ever Chicago Podcast Festival to discuss their improv methods, their road to longform improv, and why they never left Chicago, and why stand-up would be easier than improv


New Music from Split Single

Solo Project of musician Jason Narducy who has played with everyone from Superchunk to Bob Mould. Here is his set from Bullseye live at the Chicago Podcast Festival.
Find more information and music here.

Judge John Hodgman Episode 280: Improvable Cause


Madeline files suit against her friend, Jason. They formed an improv group together and Madeline would love to perform a type of improv that is a little out of the box and not normally done in their hometown of Chicago. Jason insists that this form is silly and he is strongly opposed.

Thank you again to everyone who submitted their cases for the Live Justice Tour, and to everyone who came to see the show! If you have a case to submit to the podcast, please visit!

Thank you to Angela Christine Fraser for suggesting this week's title! To suggest a title for a future episode, like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook. We regularly put a call for submissions.



Magic Lessons Ep. 203: "Know the Taste of Failure" featuring Michael Ian Black

Michael Ian Black

This week on Magic Lessons, Elizabeth Gilbert enlists the comedian Michael Ian Black to help coach Keith, an improv comedy performer in Baltimore. A few years ago Keith fell hard for improv. He took every improv class in Baltimore and but there wasn't a regular space to perform. So he formed a troupe and found a venue, building a vibrant improv community called the Charm City Comedy Project. But, somewhere along the way, he neglected his own dreams of creating a one-man show.

Special Guest: Michael Ian Black is an actor, comedian, and host of the podcast "How To Be Amazing." On TV you can find him on The Jim Gaffigan Show and Another Period. He's also the author of the memoir Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine, (But Also My Mom's Which I Know Sounds Weird.) Find out more about him at

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone & The Sklar Brothers

Melissa McCarthy
Ben Falcone
Linda Holmes
Glen Weldon
Davy Rothbart
Randy Sklar
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.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Michael Buckner / Getty Images / Getty Images Entertainment

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'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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Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images / Getty Images Entertainment

"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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Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images / Getty Images Sports

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: Fred Willard & David Gordon Green

Fred Willard
David Gordon Green
Ian Cohen
Nate DiMeo

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.

Playing The Buffoon: Fred Willard On Improv, Christopher Guest, and Missed Opportunities

For over fifty years, Fred Willard has played ignorant, self-absorbed buffoons that are impossible not to laugh at. He's a master improviser and comedian who started with his comedy duo, Greco and Willard, and moved on to work with the Second City and improv groups The Committee and the Ace Trucking Company. Today, he's probably best known and loved as one of Christopher Guest's troupe in films like Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show. Willard can be seen in Jeff Garlin's new film Dealin' With Idiots.

Willard tells us about drag-performances in his military school, the real life inspiration for his improvised comedy, and being the exact opposite of the happy-go-lucky optimists he plays on screen.

You may also like these interviews:
Catherine O'Hara
Christopher Guest
Jeff Garlin

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Heavy Rock with Ian Cohen: Forest Swords and Crash Of Rhinos

Ian Cohen, contributing editor at Pitchfork, stops by to recommend some new heavy rock releases, both out in the U.S. this month.

His first recommendation is Engravings, the new record from UK producer Matthew Barnes, aka Forest Swords. The album is out August 26.

Ian also recommends the UK emo/hardcore band Crash of Rhinos' new album Knots, out on August 27.

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The Memory Palace: Origin Stories

We share a segment from Nate DiMeo's more-than-just-a-history-podcast, The Memory Palace. Nate takes us on a tour of his own family's history, including his grandfather's nightclub act.

Nate DiMeo is a public radio producer and a finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

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David Gordon Green, right, with actors Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd

David Gordon Green on Prince Avalanche, Camping Alone, and Clint Eastwood

It's not easy to sum up the booming career of writer and director David Gordon Green. While he's best known for his slacker-comedies such as Pineapple Express and the HBO series Eastbound and Down, he also makes films that are sentimental, cerebral, and poignant, like George Washington and All The Real Girls. His new film, Prince Avalanche, starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, is somewhere in between.

David talks to Jesse about his love for camping alone in the woods, his affinity for characters like Kenny Powers (who are likeable in spite of everything they say and do), and how it felt to direct a cinema legend like Clint Eastwood.

Prince Avalanche is in select theaters and On Demand August 9th.

You may also like this interview:
Lily Tomlin

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The Outshot: Robin Thicke's A Beautiful World

Love it or hate it, Robin Thicke's number-1 with a bullet single "Blurred Lines," and its accompanying NSFW music video, have been impossible to avoid these past few months. But Jesse is here to tell you that there is more to Robin Thicke than cowbell laden beats and dancing half-nudes--and it starts way back in 2002 with his neo-soul debut album Cherry Blue Skies (re-released in 2003 as A Beautiful World).

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