stand-up

Ep 31: Go Fact Yourself with Greg Fitzsimmons & Shawn Pelofsky

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John Melendez, Shawn Pelofsky, J. Keith van Straaten, Greg Fitzsimmons, Helen Hong, Leslie Kendall
Guests: 
Greg Fitzsimmons & Shawn Pelofsky
Guests: 
Leslie Kendall & John Melendez

Fans of comedy, cars and Howard Stern rejoice: This episode of Go Fact Yourself is sure to delight!

Shawn Pelofsky is a comedian whose special "Stretch It Out" is available now. She’s ready to be quizzed about her favorite things; But she’s also excited to share a personal experience with one of her greatest loves: Bette Midler.

Shawn goes up against comedian Greg Fitzsimmons, who you can hear hosting two podcasts: "Ftizdog Radio" and "Childish." He tells us about why his brief time as an athletic swimmer helped his future career in the entertainment industry.

The show touches on everything from cool janitors to chemistry to presidential prank calls.

What’s the difference: Silent "E"

What’s the difference between silicon and silicone?

What’s the difference between whisky and whiskey?

Areas of Expertise

Greg Ftizsimmons: Classic Mustangs, President John F. Kennedy and antidepressants.

Shawn Pelofsky: Howard Stern, the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" and gay culture.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Greg Fitzsimmons
Shawn Pelofsky

With guest experts:

Leslie Kendall, chief historian of the Petersen Automotive Museum.

John Melendez comedian and author of the book "Easy For You To Say".

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.

Ep 30: Go Fact Yourself with Sasheer Zamata and Samm Levine

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Jay Kogen, J. Keith van Straaten, Samm Levine, Helen Hong, Sasheer Zamata
Guests: 
Sasheer Zamata & Samm Levine
Guests: 
Cat Thomas & Jay Kogen

"The Simpsons," Quentin Tarantino and comedy come together on Go Fact Yourself!

Sasheer Zamata is best known for her roles on "Saturday Night Live" and as the host of the variety showcase Sasheer Zamata Party Time. She’ll tell us about why a very... confusing invasion of her privacy has her so protective of her personal possessions.

Sasheer will go up against actor Samm Levine, who you may know from the Quentin Tarentino film Inglorious Basterds. He’s also in the beloved, but short-lived, TV series "Freaks and Geeks." He’s heard from a lot of fans who say they wish that show hadn’t ended so abruptly. But good news: he’ll share his solution to keeping "Freaks and Geeks" going for just a little longer.

What’s the difference: Space

What’s the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?

What’s the difference between a nook and a cranny?

Areas of Expertise

Sasheer Zamata: Beyonce, the films Kill Bill: Vol. I and Kill Bill: Vol. II and show choir.

Samm Levine: The first three Die Hard movies, poker and "The Simpsons" seasons 3-9.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Sasheer Zamata
Samm Levine

With guest experts:

Cat Thomas, award-winning costume designer for film and television.

Jay Kogen writer for "The Simpsons"

This episode is sponsored by The Big Quiz Thing and the Maximum Fun Jumbotron program.

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 29: Go Fact Yourself with Scott Thompson and Jenny Yang

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Dylan Sittig, J. Keith van Straaten, Scott Thompson, Helen Hong, Jenny Yang
Guests: 
Scott Thompson & Jenny Yang
Guests: 
Dylan Sittig & Peter Winkler

It's a collision of comedians on this episode of Go Fact Yourself!

Scott Thompson is known for being part of the famed comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. How did he become a part of such a well-regarded group of funny people? Let's just say that it all started with a table full of donuts. He'll explain the rest.

Scott faces off against comedian Jenny Yang. Growing up, she thought that she was destined for a career in political activism. But through a long road that included lobbying and poetry readings, she became a comedian and TV personality on the E! Network show "Busy Tonight".

In this episode, we'll learn about timeless movie stars, city planning and the expansive network of UCLA alumni.

What’s the difference: On the Water and Under the Ground

What’s the difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner?

What’s the difference between a casket and a coffin?

Areas of Expertise

Jenny Yang: LA city planning, social justice leaders and Taiwanese food.

Scott Thompson: James Dean, the show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and condiments.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Jenny Yang
Scott Thompson

With guest experts:

Dylan Sittig, community-focused urban and environmental planner for the city of Los Angeles .

Peter Winkler, author of the book The Real James Dean: Intimate Memories from Those Who Knew Him Best.

This episode is sponsored by Scott Langteau's new children's book Sofa Boy and the Maximum Fun Jumbotron program.

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.

Art of Process Episode 1 - Wyatt Cenac

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Guests: 
Wyatt Cenac

For their first episode, Aimee and Ted are joined by Emmy-award winning writer / actor / comedian Wyatt Cenac. The trio cover a lot of ground, including: defying commercial expectations in your creative work, the nature of live performance, and the inspiration for Wyatt's show Problem Areas, which is coming back for a second season on HBO later this year.

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: End of Year 2018 Comedy Special

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Show: 
Bullseye

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.

It's that time of year again! The Bullseye team listened to hours of comedy from the past year and picked the absolute best for you to enjoy in one convenient episode. There was a lot of great stuff this year. This was no easy task -- please let us know who else should have made the cut @Bullseye or on Facebook!

Like what you hear? Click through to learn more information on these comedians. For your convenience links to buy their albums have also been provided below:

Gina Yashere - Ticking Boxes
Laura House - Mouth Punch
Adam Cayton-Holland - Adam Cayton-Holland Performs His Signature Bits
Sara Hennessey - They Know Too Much
Louie Anderson - Big Underwear
Kimberly Clark - Live at Max Fun Con 2018
Emily Heller - Pasta
Nore Davis - Too Woke
Jo Firestone - The Hits
Dino Archie - Live at Max Fun Con 2018
Jen Kirkman - Just Keep Livin'?
Nato Green - The Whiteness Album

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Academy Award nominated director Debra Granik and stand-up comedian Johan Miranda

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Debra Granik
Guests: 
Johan Miranda

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.

How Johan Miranda opens up about his immigration status through stand-up comedy

Currently, there are about 700,000 people enrolled in the US Government's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Participants in the program are people who were brought into the US as kids without proper documentation. DACA allows them to stay, and offers them certain protections. Johan Miranda is one of the thousands of people that signed up when DACA was first introduced in 2012 under the Obama Administration.

He came to the US when he was three from Peru. His parents traveled to the US on a Tourist Visa. When the Visa expired he and his parents stayed. His family started a new life in San Francisco. When he first started out in comedy a lot of his material was kinda observational - funny, but nothing with a super distinct voice or perspective. Which isn't unusual for a lot of new comics.

But that changed in November of 2016, after the election. With a new administration, the residency status of the folks covered by DACA became uncertain. The new US elected president promised to implement some of the strictest immigration policies in history, and to repeal the DACA policy he was protected under.

As you might expect it was at this point that Johan says he wasn't feeling to hot about the government having his fingerprints and information. But in a way, it's what gave him the courage to find his voice and be talk honestly during his stand-up routine. And it's really funny, of course!

He'll talk about what it was like to finally get his driver's license after he was approved for DACA, and going to barber school only to find out he needed a social security number at the end of the program. We'll also learn about the material he was working on before the election – some unused material about the movie "Titanic" – get a preview of the bit, which he says might be working back into his set after this interview.

If you're in LA this weekend you can check out his new one man show, "Why Johan Miranda Should Be Deported," this Friday, July 27 at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre & Cafe.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!


Photo: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Debra Granik on her new film 'Leave No Trace'

Debra Granik, wrote and directed the acclaimed 2010 film "Winter's Bone." After 8 years, she's just released her follow up - it's called "Leave No Trace."

"Winter's Bone" was sort of a modern film noir, except instead of LA or New York, it was set in the Ozarks. And instead of a fedora wearing gumshoe, it followed a 17 year old girl as she pieced together the story behind her father's disappearance. Ree Dolly walked through burned out meth labs, negotiated with crime families, bail bondsmen and cops. And, of course: Ree Dolly was played by Jennifer Lawrence. It was her first ever starring role.

Like Winter's Bone, her new film "Leave No Trace" puts a compelling but compassionate focus on marginalized groups - one of the main threads is a combat veteran's struggle with trauma and homelessness.

It tells the story of a father and daughter who live entirely off the grid in a nature reserve not far from Portland, Oregon. The film detail regular life for Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie, another new actor). They forage and cook mushrooms. Will teaches Tom to play chess. They build fires for warmth. The way they live is peaceful, but not exactly legal. They are discovered in the woods by the police and social workers get involved, offering housing, work, school. But as you might imagine, it's a tough transition – especially for Will.

Debra Granik talks about the process of making her new film at length. Debra is also working on a film based on the book "Nickeled and Dimed," which is a thoroughly investigated, brilliant work of nonfiction about the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on the working poor in the US. She'll tell us how she plans to turn that into a narrative film. Plus, she explain what she learned about film making from being wedding videographer long before she was a film director.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!


Photo: Adult Swim

The Outshot: Adult Swim's 'Joe Pera Talks with You'

This week, Jesse tells us why the Adult Swim show "Joe Pera Talks With You," is a brilliant and funny guide to the world. The show's not for everyone. For one thing, it's not what you call laugh-out-loud hilarious – but despite the awkward, kinda strange tone, Pera makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Check out this segment on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bo Burnham and Won't You Be My Neighbor's Morgan Neville

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bo Burnham
Guests: 
Morgan Neville

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: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Bo Burnham: From Youtube Celebrity to Writing and Directing His First Movie

Guest host April Wolfe sits in for Jesse this week. April's a film critic and panelist on the Maximum Fun podcast "Who Shot Ya." She also hosts her own show here at MaxFun - it's called "Switchblade Sisters" where she talks with female filmmakers about movies.

First up: April sits down with Bo Burnham.

You may have come to know Bo Burnham through his latest standup act "Make Happy," which debuted on Netflix in 2016. Maybe you've seen even him act in "The Big Sick," "Parks and Recreation" or "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous"- his show on MTV. Or maybe you knew Bo way back when, over ten years ago as one of the original YouTube hitmakers. Before Justin Bieber, before Rebecca Black, before Leave Britney Alone, Bo became internet famous back in 2006, when he set up a camera in his bedroom and started belting out songs like "My Whole Family Thinks I'm Gay" and "Welcome to YouTube."

Today, the comedian and musician can now add filmmaker to his credit. He wrote and directed the new film "Eighth Grade." It's a movie that, in a lot of ways, rejects the medium that got him famous.

The movie follows Kayla, a thirteen-year-old wrapping up her last week of middle school. She's quiet, like a lot of 13-year-olds. She's a little awkward, like a lot of 13-year-olds, too. And like pretty much every 13-year-old today, she's extremely online. She snaps, she texts, she runs a Youtube channel nobody watches.

And through Kayla, "Eighth Grade" tells us a story that's both uniquely 2018 but also totally universal - a movie about identity, school, and the human condition.

Bo talks with April about the message he hopes the movie will carry and why he thinks "Eighth Grade" is the only project he's worked on that he can enjoy watching.

Click here to listen to Bo Burnham's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Samsung

Director Morgan Neville on the Timeless Lessons of the Late Fred Rogers of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood"

Morgan Neville is a documentary filmmaker. His latest is "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" - a documentary about the late Fred Rogers - Mister Rogers.

Maybe you already heard about it - it's the documentary out now that made your mom cry. And if you go see it, you'll probably cry, too. "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" is an honest portrait of one of the kindest, most sincere people to have ever lived.

For the first decade in his career, almost all of the movies Morgan made focused on musicians - people like Iggy Pop, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash. His breakthrough came in 2013 - with "20 Feet from Stardom." It's a touching, really human portrait of the lives of backup singers.

Since then, he's branched out. He covered William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal's televised debates in 2015's "Best of Enemies." He worked on the Netflix food series "Ugly Delicious," too.

Morgan tells Jesse about how Fred Rogers' lessons can make us better people today and also, you'll hear how Mr. Rogers made even Jesse cry!

Click here to listen to Morgan Neville's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Courtesy of Foundation for Filmmakers

The Outshot: "Wanda" by Barbara Loden

In this week's Outshot, April talks about how frustrating it is to see a movie so good, so fully realized and to find that the director only made one in their lifetime. "Wanda," written and directed by the late Barbara Loden and released in 1971, is such a film.

"Wanda" tells the story of a simple Pennsylvania woman who drifts through life, not good at much, so she's just stopped trying. We meet her when she bums some bus fare from a friend to get to court. Her husband asked for a divorce, and Wanda... well, she can't really argue with his assessment that she's a bad wife and mother.

Click here to listen to The Outshot on YouTube.

Bullseye: Lisa Hanawalt & Wyatt Cenac

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Lisa Hanawalt
Guests: 
Wyatt Cenac

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

Lisa Hanawalt on BoJack Horseman, Food Obsessions and Martha Stewart’s Horse

Lisa Hanawalt enjoys exploring the strange ins and outs of her world using words and illustrations. Her penchant for drawing anthropomorphized animals to represent characters, including herself, reveals a childlike playfulness, even while exploring adult themes.

Her illustrations and writing have appeared in numerous print and online publications including McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. In 2010, she earned the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic for her work on her first comic series, I Want You.

Her work can also be seen on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman, where Hanawalt serves as production designer and producer. She can also be heard on the Maximum Fun podcast, Baby Geniuses, which she co-hosts with Emily Heller.

Lisa Hanawalt sat down with Jesse to talk about her work on BoJack Horseman, her latest book of stories and illustrations and her fascination with Martha Stewart’s horse.

Lisa Hanawalt’s latest book is Hot Dog Taste Test


Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Wyatt Cenac on Stand-Up Comedy and Creating Space for Diverse Voices

Wyatt Cenac is a stand-up comedian and writer who is best known as a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. On the program, Cenac’s segments often explored issues of politics and society from a black perspective and with a sharp satirical bite.

Cenac served as a writer and voice actor on King of the Hill as well as making appearances on other television shows including Inside Amy Schumer, BoJack Horseman and Maron.

Wyatt Cenac joined Jesse to talk about his new stand-up show, Night Train and the importance of providing a space for alternative voices in comedy.

Night Train is available now on Seeso.com.


Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

The Outshot: The Knuckleball

Jesse talk about the mystique and the power of baseball’s knuckleball.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Margaret Cho & Whit Stillman

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Margaret Cho
Guests: 
Whit Stillman

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

Margaret Cho on Growing Up Korean American, Breaking Through in Comedy and Gay Men She Loved and Lost

Margaret Cho has always found a way to make her life inform her art. With her work as a stand-up comedian, an actor and a singer-songwriter, she has used the events of her life, both good and bad, to inspire her. Whether it’s growing up as a Korean-American girl in San Francisco or breaking through the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy in the early nineties, Cho has always found a way use all of life’s experiences to create entertainment.

Cho famously co-created and starred in the first sitcom that focused on an Asian American family. All-American Girl was cancelled in its first season, but it became a part of American television history and helped lay the groundwork for sitcoms like Fresh Off the Boat. Since then, Cho has continued her standup career, and appeared in numerous film and television shows including Dr. Ken, Family Guy, Sex in the City and on 30 Rock, where in separate episodes, she played North Korean dictators: Kim Jong Il and later his son Kim Jong-un.

Margaret Cho sat down with Jesse to talk about beginning her career during the 90s comedy boom in San Francisco, growing up in a Korean immigrant family, and how the community around her family’s gay bookstore continues to touch and inspire her life.

Margaret Cho’s new album American Myth is now available on iTunes and on her website, MargaretCho.com. She's also out on tour this May and June.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Whit Stillman on Jane Austen, the Importance of Language and Being Inspired by 'Elf'

Whit Stillman is a writer-director who makes comedies of manners. With his films Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco, the director often explores the world of young upper-class adults who are struggling to find their way in the world both at home and abroad. The films were each made on modest budgets and received praise from critics; his very first film, Metropolitan, garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.

His latest film Love and Friendship is adapted from Lady Susan, an unfinished novella by Jane Austen. The movie explores the familiar comedic tropes of Austen’s work including class, sexuality, deceit and manipulation.

Whit Stillman joined Jesse to talk about his love for Jane Austen, the importance of language in his films and how the comedy of Will Ferrell infiltrated his new period piece.

Whit Stillman’s new film Love and Friendship is in theaters this week.

A Criterion collection of his first three films (Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco) are now available in special box set edition.


Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Outshot: Draymond Green

Jesse sings the praises of a basketball scrapper who may not get all the fame, but is no less deserving of the glory.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Sergio Mendes and The Pogues’ James Fearnley

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Sergio Mendes
Guests: 
James Fearnley
Guests: 
Brent Weinbach


Courtesy of Sergio Mendes

Sergio Mendes on the, "very sensual, very romantic," Sounds of Bossa Nova

For a time, Sergio Mendes was the most famous Brazilian musician in the world. He grew up learning classical piano, heard Dave Brubeck's "Take 5" and took a turn towards a jazzier sound. His band Brasil '66 was at the forefront of a bossa nova explosion that introduced the genre to listeners across the world.

Throughout his career, Mendes has collaborated with many artists, including saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley and Janelle Monae. But he also once collaborated with Harrison Ford… in an unexpected way. He'll explain.

Mendes will talk about how his music has evolved over the years, why his encounters with other musicians have been so important, and why the sensual, romantic sound of bossa nova has such universal appeal.

Sergio Mendes' new album is called Magic. To find out where he's going next on his tour, check out his website.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Karl Walter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Comedy: Brent Weinbach at MaxFunCon 2014

Abstract. Experimental. Weird. Funny. Those are all good words to describe Brent Weinbach. But none of them come close to summing up how special he is. Or the faces he made during this set. You'll just to have to imagine those.

He performed for us at the most recent MaxFunCon -- as part of a comedy showcase in the woods. We present part of his set here to you.

Tickets for MaxFunCon 2015 go on sale November 28th. You can find more of Brent Weinbach's upcoming shows on his website.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.


Mike Cappola/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

James Fearnley: Heavy Drinking in a Minivan and Navigating Irish-English Relations

James Fearnley plays accordion for the English folk/punk band The Pogues. The band formed in the early 1980s, and made a name for themselves with a Celtic-inspired sound.

Fearnley will talk about his time with the Pogues, how they finally decided that frontman Shane MacGowan had gone off the rails, and whether as an Englishman, Fearnley feels secure in the band's Irish heritage.

Fearnley's memoir is called Here Comes Everybody: The Story of The Pogues.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

Outshot: Black Jesus

Courtesy of Facebook: Adult Swim

What Jesus lived in America, in 2014? Jesse will tell you why Black Jesus, a new show from Adult Swim, is so affecting.

If you liked this, share it! Click here for a streaming, embeddable version of this interview.

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