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Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: The Influence of Bob & Ray with David Pollock

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Pollock
Guests: 
Tony Hale
Guests: 
Andrew Noz

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The Comic Chemistry Of Bob & Ray with Writer David Pollock

Your favorite improvising comedians, whether they realize it or not, are descendants of Bob Elliott & Ray Goulding. Their signature satirical sketches, performed equally for their own entertainment as for that of their audience, continually broke new ground in the world of comedy. What started as a simple dream to be radio announcers culminated in a career spanning five decades, performances at Carnegie Hall, and a legacy as two of the funniest radio and television personalities since those job titles came into existence.

David Pollock has written for some of the most important sitcoms of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, including Full House, Frasier, Growing Pains, Cheers, M*A*S*H, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. His new book, Bob and Ray: Keener Than Most Persons, is a detailed history of Bob and Ray, and provides some serious new insight about the comedic duo.

Pollock tells us about Bob and Ray's most hilarious on-air moments, how they invented the concept of comedy in advertising, and the magical chemistry that kept Bob and Ray improvising for over 40 years.

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Andrew Noz Recommends Classic Three 6 Mafia and De La Soul

Our go-to rap critic Andrew Noz shares some of his all-time favorite hip-hop tracks.

First he recommends the menacing Memphis track Victim Of A Driveby (Mask And The Glock) by Triple Six Mafia feat. SOG & Lil Glock, off their 1994 "Smoked Out Loced Out" tape from Prophet Entertainment.

Noz also recommends De La Soul's Ego Trippin Pt. 2, the allusion-filled second single off their 1993 album "Buhloone Mindstate" from Tommy Boy.

Andrew Noz is the columnist for Pitchfork's Hall of Game, and also blogs and Tumblr-s regularly at Cocaine Blunts and Tumblin 'Erb.

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The Frightened Roles of Tony Hale

No character epitomizes Arrested Development's eponymous theme like Buster Bluth. Giving his mom back rubs, dating her best friend, and sucking cigarette smoke from her mouth while she's under house arrest--Buster is an eerie Oedipal manchild to the nth degree.

Similarly in the HBO show Veep, one person in Washington truly enables Vice President Selina Meyer, feeding the ego of an otherwise vestigial political player--her body man, Gary Walsh.

Both characters are played by Emmy-nominee Tony Hale, whose comedic facility with the role of obsequious mama's boy is unmatched.

Tony sat down with Jesse last year to discuss the humor of the behind-the-scenes world of politics, Buster Bluth's comedic inspiration, and the role his faith plays in his acting career. The third season of Veep will air on HBO in the spring of 2014.

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The Outshot: The Throne Of The Third Heaven of the Nations' Millenium General Assembly

In this week's Outshot, Jesse tells the story of a man who secretly spent the last fifteen years of his life building something amazing in a rented garage.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kumail Nanjiani, Lake Bell and Sergio Dias

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Lake Bell
Guests: 
Sergio Dias
Guests: 
Andrew Noz

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.

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Photo credit: Jesse Thorn

Kumail Nanjiani on Identity, Comedy, and Shaking Hands with Girls

When Kumail Nanjiani was a boy growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, he absorbed a fair amount of American culture. He loved Ghostbusters and Gremlins. He read MAD Magazine. And he knew that someday, he'd move to the U.S. What he never imagined is that he'd become a comedian.

His first exposure to stand up comedy was a Jerry Seinfeld HBO special, and a few short years later, Kumail was on stage himself. He's performed with The Second City, at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, and on numerous late night shows. He also co-hosts a stand up showcase, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, and now often appears on TV, with appearances on Franklin and Bash, Portlandia, Veep and Newsreaders.

Kumail talks to us about growing up Pakistani, choosing a distinctly American way of life, and creating comedy about things you love, rather than things you hate.

Kumail's new Comedy Central stand up special, Beta Male, is available on CD+DVD and by direct download.

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BONUS AUDIO:
Kumail Studies The Cheesecake Factory for "Portlandia"
Kumail on Mike Judge and the Butthead Voice

Rap Recommendations from Andrew Noz: Earl Sweatshirt's "Hive" and Chief Keef's "Go to Jail"

Hip hop contributor Andrew Noz stops by to share some of his favorite new tracks, incidentally both by rappers still in their teens.

He recommends "Hive", the first single off the new album by the youngest member of the Odd Future crew, Earl Sweatshirt. It's dense, well-written, and long-awaited. Earl Sweatshirt's album Doris is out August 20th.

On the other end of the spectrum, slowed way down, is Chicago-based Chief Keef's autotuned, warbly track "Go to Jail", off his upcoming mixtape Almighty So. You can find that song on Chief Keef's Soundcloud.

Andrew Noz is the columnist for Pitchfork's Hall of Game, and also blogs and Tumblr-s regularly at Cocaine Blunts and Tumblin 'Erb.

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Photo credit Denise Truscello

Sérgio Dias on The Song That Changed My Life: Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock"

Os Mutantes founder and guitarist Sérgio Dias describes the song that opened his mind to the world of rock 'n' roll when he was just a kid living in Brazil. That song was Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock".

The psych rock band that would become Os Mutantes formed in Brazil in the mid-1960s. They experimented with psychedelic guitars, bossa nova and tropicalia to create a distinct sound. The band broke up in 1978, but their music continued to garner fans, from Kurt Cobain to Beck to David Byrne.

Os Mutantes released an album of eccentric and beautiful new tracks earlier this year, titled Fool Metal Jack. The band will embark on a U.S. tour in November.

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Lake Bell on Voiceover Cliques, Racing Cars, and Making the Transition from Actor to Director

Voiceover is everywhere. On commercials, describing the tight curves in a sports car; in movie theaters, reminding you to turn off your cell phone and end your conversation. Those voices are booming and confident. But they're not often female.

Lake Bell found these disembodied voices intriguing. She wrote, directed and stars in the new comedy In a World... The movie is about an an aspiring female voice over artist, her power struggles in the industry and within her own family, and the pursuit of change.

Lake talks to us about her favorite accents, her work on the ensemble comedy Childrens Hospital, and handling the transition from actor to director.

In a World... is in theaters now. You can also see Lake as part of the ensemble of [adult swim]'s Childrens Hospital, which airs Thursdays at midnight on the Cartoon Network.

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The Outshot: The Big Con by David Maurer

Jesse recommends The Big Con, by David Maurer, for a fascinating look at the profession of the confidence man.

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Plus, this week's credits... movie trailer style.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Rick Moranis and Booker T. Jones

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Rick Moranis
Guests: 
Booker T. Jones
Guests: 
Carolyn Kellogg

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.

Rick Moranis on Growing Up Jewish, Canadian Comedy, and Quitting Show Business

Rick Moranis's big glasses and nerdy goofball humor appeared in some of the biggest Hollywood comedies of the 80s and 90s. In just a few years, he starred in Ghostbusters, Spaceballs, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Those movies filled theaters, sold tons of merchandise, and made Moranis a star. And then, at the peak of this fame, Moranis decided to retire. His wife passed away in 1991, and Moranis decided to become a full-time stay-at-home dad.

Nearly a decade after pretty much signing out of show business, Moranis returned in 2005 with a Grammy-winning album of original music, "Agoraphobic Cowboy." And now Moranis has released his second album, My Mother's Brisket and Other Love Songs, a collection of comedic music inspired by Moranis's Jewish upbringing in Toronto.

Moranis talks to Jesse about his first job selling hockey programs in the nosebleed section, SCTV and the ironic outcome of his famous nose-thumbing at Canadian content laws, and his decision to be a stay-at-home father.

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Related interviews:
Mel Brooks
Catherine O'Hara
Joe Flaherty

Carolyn Kellogg Recommends "The Unknowns" and "Hothouse"

Carolyn Kellogg, book critic and staff writer for the LA Times, joins us to recommend two new books to put on the top of your summer reading list.

First, she recommends The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth. This debut novel set in 2002 follows a Silicon Valley millionaire whose brain betrays him whenever he tries to do the right thing. Parties, ecstasy, sex -- and that's just the first few pages.

Kellogg's next pick is Boris Kachka's Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America's Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Kachka, a veteran New York Magazine journalist, delves into the juicy history of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, the publishing house of Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Philip Roth, and Jonathan Franzen. The book focuses on the personal lives of founder Roger Straus and editor Robert Giroux and provides an insider's look at the secret, ferocious world of publishing.

Read more of Carolyn's writing on books, authors, and publishing at the LA Times' blog Jacket Copy.

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Comedy: Doug Benson on Taken 2 and a Missed Opportunity

What if the folks behind the second "Taken" movie had just given a little more thought to tying the series together? Comedian Doug Benson considers the Taken series, with Liam Neeson, in this clip from his new album, Gateway Doug.

Doug Benson hosts a weekly podcast, Doug Loves Movies, and hosts the ongoing live series, Doug Benson's Movie Interruptions.

Booker T. Jones: Master Of Memphis Soul

Whether he was touring with Otis Redding, backing countless soul stars in the Stax studio, or composing his own instrumental hits like "Green Onions," Booker T. Jones, along with his band The MG's, defined the sound of southern sixties' soul.

Born in Memphis in 1944, Jones was gigging around town before he had entered high school. By college, he was a seasoned session musician and multi-instrumentalist with a hit single to his name. And by 1968, when Stax Records came under new ownership, he had played on over 600 Stax records, including "Try A Little Tenderness" and "These Arms Of Mine".

Perhaps even more impressively, Jones hasn't stopped. He continues to team up with some of the biggest names in jazz, soul, rock, and classical music and, at nearly 70 years old, he has no plans of letting up anytime soon.

Jones tells us stories about the first time Otis Redding sat down next to him at a piano, producing "Ain't No Sunshine" with the (as-yet-unknown) singer-songwriter Bill Withers, and Jones' plans to continue making all kinds of music.

Jones' new album, Sound The Alarm, is out now.

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Related interview:
Bill Withers

The Outshot: "Paranoia" by Chance the Rapper

The Outshot: Paranoia by Chance The Rapper

Jesse recommends "Paranoia," a track off Chance The Rapper's free mixtape Acid Rap. It's a song about an entire part of our country that feels ignored. It's Chance's appeal for human connection.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The AV Club, Dan Deacon, Downton Abbey and Chris Lilley

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Hugh Bonneville
Guests: 
Dan Stevens
Guests: 
Joanne Froggatt
Guests: 
Chris Lilley
Guests: 
Dan Deacon
Guests: 
Tasha Robinson
Guests: 
Josh Modell

This week! The AV Club: Tasha Robinson and Josh Modell of The AV Club join us to recommend the thriller Contagion, out on DVD, and Daniel Handler's new novel Why We Broke Up. (Embed or share)

Dan Deacon with "The Song That Changed My Life": Baltimore-based musician Dan Deacon talks about why a player piano composition by Conlon Nancarrow changed his life and the way he made music. (Embed or share)

Downton Abbey: Hugh Bonneville, Dan Stevens and Joanne Froggatt from the totally unstuffy costume drama Downton Abbey talk about the peerage system, upstairs and downstairs love affairs that make us swoon, and the show's bridge between the old customs and modernity. The second season of the show begins airing January 8th on PBS's Masterpiece. (Embed or share)

Chris Lilley, Creator of Angry Boys: Chris Lilley, the very funny Australian comedian and showrunner, talks about his new series Angry Boys. The show pushes boundaries with his faux-documentary of characters in different stages of life and scenes of adolescent torment. Lilley plays six characters, both male and female and occasionally side by side, in sort of a natural continuation of his work in the acclaimed show Summer Heights High. You can catch Angry Boys on HBO on Sunday nights. (Embed or share)

The Outshot: And we close with The Outshot -- Jesse's pick for this week, the anthem "F--- 'Em" from Bay Area rapper E-40. (Embed or share)

You can subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or the RSS feed -- stay tuned for next week's Bullseye!

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