Bullseye

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Rachel Bloom, and the co-creators of Netflix's 'One Day at a Time'

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Rachel Bloom
Guests: 
Gloria Calderon Kellett
Guests: 
Mike Royce

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: Mark Davis/Getty Images

Rachel Bloom on her love of musical theater and gaining confidence in Hollywood.

Rachel Bloom is a comedian whose humor often involves her bursting into song. She embraces the classic tropes of the Hollywood musical comedy adding her own contemporary twist on her CW show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The show has earned her a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award.

A veteran of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Bloom has also worked on television shows Allen Gregory and Robot Chicken. But it was her absurdist and hilarious musical videos that first brought her to the industry's attention. The video for her song, Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury went viral and earned Bloom a Hugo Award nomination. She has released two albums including Please Love Me andSuck It, Christmas!!! (A Chanukah Album).

Rachel Bloom sat down with Jesse to talk about her love for musical theater, gaining self-confidence in Hollywood and the logistics involved in being lifted in the air in a giant pretzel.

Episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend can seen on Hulu and at CWTV.com.

This interview originally aired in June of 2016.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce on their new show One Day At A Time

Gloria Calderon Kellett has been in show business as a writer, producer, and actor for almost two decades. She began her career writing on Andy Richter’s show Quintuplets. She also worked on How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement. When Norman Lear, the legendary TV producer approached her about doing a reboot of One Day at a Time - his 1970s hit sitcom - she jumped at the chance.

She was joined by Mike Royce, a veteran TV producer of shows like Everybody Love Raymond and Men of a Certain Age, and Gloria. The two tell Jesse about how they began to conceptualize the new show, how Gloria avoided being being labeled as the "latina writer" during her career, and how they approached writing about marginalized communities in a sitcom format.

You can watch the reboot of the Norman Lear classic One Day At A Time by streaming it on Netflix.

This interview originally aired in January of 2017.

The Outshot: Popstar

Jesse explains why he loves a movie that aspires to be nothing more than silly, goofy and funny.

This segment originally aired in June of 2016.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: David Oyelowo and Heather Graham

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Oyelowo
Guests: 
Heather Graham

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: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

David Oyelowo on his history as a Shakespearean actor, film star, and his decision to move to the US

David Oyelowo's breakout performance was playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 2014's "Selma." He got a Golden Globe nomination for that role and since then, he's become one of Hollywood's most sought-after celebrities. He stars in the new goofy, action comedy "Gringo," alongside Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton. It's out in theatres this week.

In "Gringo," Oyelowo plays a middle manager at a pharmaceutical company that wants to get into the medical marijuana business. He's sent to Mexico to work on developing the drugs and that's where he gets sucked into the underground drug trade. Then more and more chaos ensues.

Oyelowo was born in Britain and is of Nigerian heritage - Nigerian royalty in fact. He and his family spent some time in Lagos when he was a kid. He says that having lived in two very different worlds at such a young age shaped his ability to code switch, which in turn improved his ability as an actor. He began his career as a classically trained stage theater actor who cut his teeth at the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. Some of his most notable films include "Queen of Katwe," "A United Kingdom," and Disney's latest "A Wrinkle in Time."

He talks to Jesse about his decision to move from the UK to the United States, why he knows more about American history than Nigerian history, and why some roles that require him to stay in character even after the camera stops rolling means he can't go home and be around his kids. He also shares some of his thoughts about one of the most outrageous characters he ever played on the short-lived HBO show "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency."

Click here to listen to David Oyelowo's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Heather Graham on her debut as writer and director in her latest film "Half Magic"

We all know Heather Graham as an actress whose career has spanned over 30 years and starred in smash hits like "Swingers," "Drugstore Cowboy," "Boogie Nights" and "Twin Peaks." In her new movie "Half Magic," Graham is expanding her skills as a writer and director. She also stars in the film as Honey - an aspiring show business development executive that starts out as the assistant to an action film star.

"Half Magic" is a comedy, but it's also one that speaks to the current #MeToo moment. It highlights the struggle for female artists to make movies about women. It's filled with plenty of outrageous sexist lines that Graham drew from personal experience.

Graham also talks to Jesse about how not popular she was in high school. She described herself as awkward and geeky - never the one to be asked out on a date. She gained confidence auditioning and landing parts in school plays. She also shares the mistakes she made in her first go at writing and directing and talks about what she will do differently in those roles going forward.

Click here to listen to Heather Graham's interview on YouTube.

The Outshot: "Handsome"

Standup comic and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" actor Jeff Garlin wrote, directed and stars in the Netflix movie "Handsome." It's a detective story that's sort of like Columbo. It's funny, but also has a good amount of interactions that are thrillingly and modestly human.

Click here to hear Jesse's Outshot on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Breeders' Kim Deal and Raoul Peck

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kim Deal
Guests: 
Raoul Peck

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Trixie Textor/Getty Images

The Breeder's Kim Deal on their new album "All Nerve"

Kim Deal got her start as a professional musician after responding to a classified ad in the back of a local newspaper in Boston. Out of that exchange, she and three new friends formed The Pixies. The group became indie rock tastemakers, but they never produced a real chart topping hit. But during what ended up being a 10+ year hiatus for the band, Deal formed The Breeders. And Kim had a hit: "Cannoball" was a song she wrote for their 1993 album "Last Splash," which made it to the US Billboard Hot 100 and got constant play on MTV.

Kim still lives in Dayton, Ohio, her hometown. There she honed her skills singing and playing acoustic guitar with her sister. She tells Jesse about the music scene in Dayton, how unintended her success was, and what it felt like the first moment she realized that she had written a song that people wanted to dance to. Kim also talks about bringing The Breeders back together for their latest album to be released this week. "All Nerve" will be their first release in nearly ten years.

Click here to listen to Kim Deal's interview on YouTube.

Photo: Magnus Norden/Flickr Creative Commons

Raoul Peck on his latest movie "The Young Karl Marx"

Raoul Peck is a seriously successful serious filmmaker. The Haitian born director was nominated for an Academy Award last year for best documentary for his film "I Am Not Your Negro" about writer James Baldwin. In his latest scripted film "The Young Karl Marx," Peck was faced with a unique challenge: how to write a compelling story about the origin of a theory. Seven hours of screenplay, and ten years later, Peck tells Jesse about what went into bringing to life the personal tale of one of the most important thinkers in modern history - a figure who Pecks says wrote more about money while spending so much time living without it.

Peck himself lived a lot of his life struggling financially. He says he made the choice to never compromise his art in order to just to earn a living. This unwavering focus, he says, had a lot to do with growing up under a dictatorship in Haiti where there was no opportunity to think of accumulating wealth, buying a big house, or owning a car because all that could be so easily taken away.

Click here to listen to Raoul Peck's interview on YouTube.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Outshot: Curtis Mayfield

And finally, on the Outshot, soul musician and "Superfly" singer/songwriter Curtis Mayfield blended gospel, and black power on "Curtis," one of his most underrated records.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Laurie Metcalf, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Laurie Metcalf
Guests: 
Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Guests: 
Robert Lopez

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

First time Academy Award nominee Laurie Metcalf on her long career in theatre and television

You probably know Laurie Metcalf from her role as Roseanne's sister, Jackie, in the TV Sitcom Roseanne. Over the course of nine seasons, Laurie's portrayal of Jackie was warm and kind-hearted but a tad bit neurotic and always on edge. Laurie won two Emmys for that role on Roseanne. Before her career in television Laurie got her start in theater as a founding member of the legendary Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. At the Steppenwolf she worked with the likes of John Malkovich, Terry Kinney and Gary Sinise.

This year, she's up for the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Lady Bird. It's her first ever nomination for an Oscar. In Lady Bird she plays Marion McPherson, the mother of Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson. The McPhersons live in Sacramento and the whole movie is set in 2002. It's almost like a period piece from the Bush years. As "Lady Bird" approaches the end of her high school career their relationship is tested. The film examines their mother-daughter dynamic in a very realistic way -- it's messy, it's complicated, but there's also a lot of motherly love involved even if Marion doesn't exactly show it.

Jesse talks with Laurie about her long career and the parallels between her life and the mother she plays in Lady Bird. Plus, Laurie talks about what it was like to be reunited with the cast of Roseanne for the new television reboot after more than 20 years.

You can see Laurie Metcalf in upcoming redition of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women this spring on Broadway. And Lady Bird is still playing in select theaters.

Click here to listen to this interview on the Bullseye YouTube page!

Photo: Disney/ABC Television Group

Songwriting power couple Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez on writing Oscar nominated songs

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez have written dozens of songs for movie and TV. Together the married couple have won award after award for their co-written songs. You've certainly heard the song they co-wrote called "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen. The song was huge success. The theatrical version of the song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2014 and a Grammy in 2015 for Best Song Written for Visual Media.

Robert's also written music for The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, Scrubs and more. He's actually one of only 12 people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award. Kristen and Robert are up for another Oscar this year -- this time for the co-written song "Remember Me" from Disney's Coco.

They talk to Jesse about the process behind writing that song, how they managed to sneak in adult jokes in children's songs, and how they find time in their busy schedules to be good parents, too. Plus, Jesse asked them about the first song they co-wrote together called "The Wide, Wide World," which is a song from Bear in the Big Blue House a television show from the early 2000's that aired on Playhouse Disney.

You don't want to miss it, the song is sung by a gang of puppet animals including a bear, a green lemur, and two purple otters. They had to rewrite the song about five times because they couldn't quite get the otter jokes right!

Click here to listen to this interview on the Bullseye YouTube page!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: David Wain and Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
David Wain
Guests: 
Stuart Murdoch

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

David Wain on his new Netflix film "A Futile and Stupid Gesture"

David Wain got his first big break very early on in his life as a co-founder of the MTV sketch comedy show "The State." He then went on to direct "Role Models" and the cult classic "Wet Hot American Summer," but the transition from hit network television show to popular movie director was neither clear nor direct. For a long time after "The State," Wain was down on his luck - he didn't have another job and was not being asked to work on anything else. Wain tells Jesse about his time in therapy and how that helped him plan his next move toward filmmaking, which ultimately, led him to where he is today.

His latest Netflix movie "A Futile and Stupid Gesture," is about the successful, yet tragic life of Wain's own comedic hero Doug Kenney. Kenney founded The National Lampoon magazine and made the movies "Animal House" and "Caddyshack" - two movies that had huge impacts on fans of comedy everywhere, including Wain.

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Photo: Kmeron via Flickr Creative Commons

Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian on his latest EPs "How to Solve Our Human Problems"

The last installment of indie pop band Belle and Sebastian's EP trilogy "How to Solve Our Human Problems" is out this week. Stuart Murdoch is the band's founder and lead vocalist. Belle and Sebastian's records are on hundreds of top 10 lists and their second album "If You're Feeling Sinister" is considered by many critics to be one of the best albums of the '90's.

Murdoch admits that when he was young becoming a musician was never part of his life plan. His path to founding Belle and Sebastian actually began with an illness. In the 1980's, Murdoch first discovered his continued struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. He dropped out of college, spent a lot of time in the hospital, and moved back in with his parents. It was there in the quiet moments that he began to write tunes on his piano. On the suggestion of his doctor, he joined a class for unemployed musicians where he met Stuart David, Belle and Sebastian's co-founder.

Murdoch also talks with Jesse about his passion for baseball, why many of the songs in the latest EPs are ones your uncle would want to dance to at a wedding, and how his interest in Buddhism and meditation play a part in the overall concept of "How to Solve Our Human Problems."

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Bob Levey / Stringer / Getty Images

The Outshot: Scarface

And finally, on the Outshot, Houston rapper Scarface has shaped his career by directly facing the trauma and consequences of gang violence, not just the desire for power and fear that fuel it.

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman of 'Corporate' and Graphic Novelist Mimi Pond

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Matt Ingebretson
Guests: 
Jake Weisman
Guests: 
Mimi Pond

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson on their new Comedy Central show 'Corporate'

Technically, the new Comedy Central show Corporate is a workplace comedy. But it's so much darker, weirder and universal than that. The show follows the lives of Jake and Matt, two junior executives in training at Hampton Deville. Every character on the show is a little depressed and angry about working for a soul-sucking giant multinational corporation. Matt and Jake have just enough power and money to keep working there, but not enough to make any real impact in the company. Corporate goes beyond your standard office comedy and dives into deeper themes like the capitalism, art, suicide, and even the meaninglessness of life. Corporate has a great supporting cast including Lance Reddick, Anne Dudek, Aparna Nancherla, and Baron Vaughn. Deadpan humor and satire is tough, but Corporate really nails it.

Jesse sat down with co-creators and stars of Corporate Jake Weisman and Matt Ingebretson to talk about getting the shows tone right, what it was like pitching the show to a corporation, and why they cast Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels on The Wire to play the CEO of Hampton Deville. Plus, they talk about how magic mushrooms helped them write some of the episodes -- you don't wanna miss that!

Click here to listen to this interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jagrap via Flickr Creative Commons

The Craziest Day Of My Entire Career: Mimi Pond

Mimi Pond is a cartoonist whose work has appeared in the National Lampoon, the LA Times, and the New York Times. For almost a decade she had a regular full page comic in Seventeen Magazine. She's also a television writer. Mimi wrote one of the most iconic episodes of the Simpsons ever made: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire." In that episode, Homer doesn't get a Christmas bonus from Mr.Burns and Homer gets a job at the mall as Santa to pay for holiday expenses. The episode introduced us to the Simpson's family dog, Santa's Little Helper. That episode also introduced the world to the Simpsons -- it was the first episode of The Simpsons to air on television. Mimi's also written for Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Designing Women.

Before all that, Mimi worked at a handful of diners in the 70's as a waitress. She's written two graphic novels loosely based on her time as a server. The first was "Over Easy" in 2014 and the most recent is "The Customer is Always Wrong." We asked her to tell us about the craziest day of her career, and she had a lot to say about one particular dinner shift when the head cook disappeared.

Mimi Pond's book "The Customer is Always Wrong" is out now.

Click here to listen to this segment on YouTube!

The Outshot: 'Understanding Comics'

Finally, for this week's Outshot: "Understanding Comics" by Scott McCloud. It's a graphic novel about understanding comic books that assumes you know nothing about comics. If you've never picked up a comic book before this is a good place to start.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani of The Big Sick & Allison Janney

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Emily Gordon
Guests: 
Allison Janney

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

Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani on writing a romcom based on their lives

[R]Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani co-wrote the Judd Apatow produced romantic comedy The Big Sick. It's a sweet, hilarious and truthful story about how the two of them fell in love, tossing all of the classic romantic comedy tropes out of the window. Kumail and Emily come from really different backgrounds; Kumail's from Pakistan. Emily: North Carolina. The film tells their story of finding each other after navigating Kumail's family's traditional views on marriage and an illness that almost breaks them apart.

Before Emily Gordon was writing screenplays and making films, she was a therapist, working with mentally challenged individuals. After over 5 years working as a therapist, she realized that she needed to change careers, moving on to writing full time, and contributing to online and print magazines.

Most people know Kumail Nanjiani as Dinesh on Mike Judge's HBO hit, Silicon Valley. He's also been on Broad City, Newsreaders, and voices characters on Adventure Time. He has been a stand-up comic for a long time and in 2013, got a Comedy Central stand up special called Beta Male.

Jesse, Kumail, and Emily talk about what it was like making a movie about their real life relationship, and about the changes that were made from the first draft to the one that we see in cinemas. They also talk about learning to let go of their story to other people in the creative group, and the first time they showed the movie to their parents.

Emily also wrote a self-help book for superheroes called Super You: Release Your Inner Super Hero. Also, don't forget to watch Kumail's Beta Male for a solid 40 minutes of laughter.

Click here to listen to Jesse's interview with Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani!

This segment originally aired in July of 2017

Loic Venance /AFP/Getty Images

The Song That Changed my Life: Director Michel Gondry

There's a certain kind of feeling to the director Michel Gondry's films. A little bit of happiness mixed with sadness. Nostalgia for something that you experienced, or maybe something you wish you had experienced. You may have felt it watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, or Mood Indigo.

For "The Song That Changed My Life", Gondry describes the feeling of saudade and how he felt watching Nico Ferrer perform the song "Le Sud" on a Saturday night.

Michel's currently working on a big new project - it's a TV series called Kidding and it's set to star Catherine Keener, Jim Carrey, Frank Langella and more. It'll be on Showtime later this year.

Click here to listen to this segment on YouTube!

This segment originally aired in 2014

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Allison Janney on her career from Loose Cannon Sitcom 'Mom' to Intimate Drama in 'Masters of Sex'

If you've seen Allison Janney on television lately, it's been in one of two very different roles. On the Showtime series Masters of Sex, Janney played as a somewhat naive, vulnerable 1950s housewife who experiences a breakthrough after many years in a sexless (but not loveless) marriage. Her story is both heartbreaking and hopeful. In the CBS sitcom Mom, she plays Bonnie, a recovering alcoholic who's outrageous, biting, and very funny. Bonnie's been down, but she's making peace with her estranged daughter and getting her life back together. Janney's characterizations are versatile; they allow her to be warm, steely, confident, and thin-skinned by turns. Janney has won Emmys for both roles. She's just been nominated for her first Academy Award ever for her role in I, Tonya, the Tonya Harding biopic.

She spoke to us in 2014 about her early acting days (including auditioning for an intimidatingly handsome Paul Newman), getting comfortable with the inevitable nude scenes for Masters of Sex, and the ways that her mom's background and brother's struggle with addiction gave her insight and empathy for her current roles.

Click here to listen to Allison Janney's interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: Orson Welles and 'Touch of Evil'

Jesse explains why the last Hollywood picture Orson Welles directed, Touch of Evil, tells us so much about Welles as an artist.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube!

This segment originally aired in 2014

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome of 'Another Period' & The Egyptian Lover

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Natasha Leggero
Guests: 
Riki Lindhome
Guests: 
Greg Broussard aka Egyptian Lover

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo Courtesy of Comedy Central

Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome on their Comedy Central television show 'Another Period'

"Another Period" returns to Comedy Central this week. The show is set in Newport, Rhode Island and follows the lives of the Bellacourt sisters at the turn of the 20th century. The format of the show follows the familiar and popular structure of reality tv. It's sort of like "Keeping up with the Kardashians" meets "Downton Abbey." They do what a lot of aristocrats did back then, which is nothing, basically.

The show was co-created by Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome, they play Lillian and Beatrice Bellacourt respectively. The sisters have a particular obsession with fame and go to great lengths to stir drama and obtain as much stardom as one could in the gilded age. "Real-life" characters often get tangled in the Bellacourts lives like Sigmund Freud and Mark Twain. In one episode, they enlist the help of Harriet Tubman for a lesson on marketing their image. Another episode, sees the sisters get in a literal fist fight with Helen Keller. The show is over the top, subversive, weird and chock full of absinthe references!

Jesse sat down with Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome to talk about embedding history into the show, the guilty pleasures of reality tv, and the time they were guests on the Today Show with a very drunk Celine Dion.

Click here to listen to Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jesse Thorn

The Egyptian Lover on the early days of LA hip hop and electro

Greg Broussard better known as Egyptian Lover got his start as a DJ for Uncle Jamm's Army, a hip-hop crew based in Los Angeles. In 1984, Uncle Jamm's Army released a 12 inch single via Freak Beat Records. On Side A of that single was: "Dial A Freak." and Side B was : "Yes Yes Yes." Both tracks were produced by Egyptian Lover. The tracks received a lot of local play at huge parties thrown by Uncle Jamm's Army. At one point the venues they were filling up included the Hollywood Palladium and the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

As a solo artist Egyptian Lover has released nine albums, mixing Kraftwerk, Prince, a little bit of G-Funk every now and then, too. His latest, "1984" was released in 2015 on his label Egyptian Empire Records "1984." The official music video for the track "Killin' It" is insane. It reminds us of that Treehouse of Horror episode where Homer gets sucked into the 3rd dimension, and he says everything looks like the movie Tron. But instead Egyptian Lover transports us to his version the 80s -- a total throwback to the aesthetic of the decade, with glossy computer graphics, rectangular prisms, polished sports cars and all!

Jesse talks with the Egyptian Lover about the most iconic instrument in hip-hop: the Roland TR 808, and how the group Kraftwerk helped him meet his wife.

For Egyptian Lover's Spring tour dates click here.

Click here to listen to Egyptian Lover's interview on YouTube!


The Outshot: Detectorists

Finally, for this week's Outshot: television show "Detectorists." It's about a pair of guys with metal detectors, wandering through the English countryside looking for gold. While they don't exactly find the treasures they're looking for they do find out something more meaningful about themselves in the process.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: The Last Jedi's Rian Johnson & The Go! Team

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Rian Johnson
Guests: 
Ian Parton
Guests: 
Nkechi Ka Egenamba aka Ninja

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Director Rian Johnson on 'The Last Jedi' and working with Carrie Fisher on her last film

The force is strong with this week's guest! Writer and director of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," Rian Johnson joins us in the studio to talk about making the blockbuster and putting himself in the head of characters like Luke Skywalker to write a compelling story.

Rian Johnson first broke through as a writer and director with 2005's "Brick." It's kind of a Coen brothers inspired film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film is set in an Orange County suburb, and it's sort of a neo-noir where most of the main characters are high school students. The tone of the film is eerie and dark, the dialogue is quick and snappy, and most important of all -- it's a great detective story.

Before "Brick," he was an editor for the creepy cult film "May," released in 2002. Other writing and directing credits include the sci-fi thriller "Looper," and the heist film comedy "The Brothers Bloom." He also directed a few of the most memorable Breaking Bad episodes.

When Rian sat down with Jesse they spoke extensively about "The Last Jedi." Including what it was like working with Carrie Fisher on her last film, how he received the offer to direct "The Last Jedi," and why he thought it was important that "Star Wars" be funny.

This segment will include some spoilers to the film, but honestly, if you haven't seen "The Last Jedi" by now you are practically asking for spoilers. You have been warned!

Click here to listen to Rian Johnson's interview on YouTube!

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons:
Kmeron

Ian Parton & Ninja of The Go! Team on their new album 'Semicircle'

Jesse talks with Ian Parton and Ninja of The Go! Team. They're the band that made the Bullseye theme song -- "Huddle Formation."

Formed in the year 2000 in Brighton, England, the band's basically the brainchild of Ian Parton. He recorded a lot of the band's first record in his parent's kitchen and released it as "Thunder, Lightning, Strike." A classic Go! Team track has a lot of influences: hip hop, marching band music, noise rock, 70s soul. A lot of the songs are sample based but they still sound live and fresh. One of Ian's longest running collaborators is the MC Ninja, born Nkechi Ka Egenamba. She's sung and rapped on every Go! Team record.

Ian tells Jesse about his creative process, and what it was like writing the smash hit "Roudou Sanka" by Japanese pop group Momoiro Clover Z. Ninja discusses what it was like when she first heard The Go! Team, and how she brings the music to life on stage.

The Go! Team will be touring this Spring, and their new album "Semicircle" will be released on January 19. For more information visit their website.


The Outshot: Sylvester

Finally, for this week's Outshot: singer-songwriter Sylvester. Jesse tells us about the life of a disco, rhythm and blues, and soul singer with a fabulous stage presence. "Mighty Real" was Sylvester's signature hit. The song was about authenticity. It's hard to imagine him bringing anything but realness.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Errol Morris & Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Errol Morris
Guests: 
Merrill Garbus

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Errol Morris on his new Netflix "hybrid" documentary series 'Wormwood'

Errol Morris is a legendary filmmaker with dozens of tv and film credits. In 2004, his film "The Fog of War" won an Oscar for best documentary film. Perhaps Morris is best known for his unique interview style, and his invention of the interrotron, which allows his subjects to see him while they are being filmed straight on. And of course, he is known for yelling questions off screen to his subjects.

Morris has a way of painting portraits of people in his films that's incredibly vulnerable. A perfect example of this is his first documentary "Gates of Heaven" released in 1978. It’s a film about pet cemeteries, and the connection people feel to their deceased pets. The documentary told through interviews of pet owners, and it's unnarrated. Some of his films, like "The Thin Blue Line" try to find objective truth. That film ultimately helped secure a innocent man's freedom from prison.

His films are nuanced, they're funny, they're tragic, and always fascinating. His latest project is a six-part miniseries for Netflix called "Wormwood." The series explores the CIA LSD experiments in the late 1950's, and the effects on a man named Frank Olson, a CIA employee and biochemist, who inexplicably jumped out a window to his death from a New York Hotel room in 1953. The story is mostly told through interviews of Frank’s son, Eric, who's worked for years to uncover the truth. The series is kind of a departure for Errol's signature style -- it blends dramatic reenactments and real life interviews.

Errol sits down with Jesse and they discuss the nature of truth, camera angles, and his new documentary, "Wormwood."

Listen to Errol's interview on YouTube!

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons:
Jason Perss

Song That Changed My Life: Merrill Garbus of the band Tune-Yards

Merrill Garbus of the band Tune-Yards on the song that changed her life -- "Moliva" by Johnny Clegg. Tune-Yards will be touring this Spring, and their new album "I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life" will be released on January 19. For more information visit their website.

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The Outshot: The Commitments

Finally, for this week's Outshot: "The Commitments." Jesse tells us about a film his father and stepmother loved. Jesse never saw the film as a teenager. Few weeks ago, Jesse bought the VHS tape at a thrift store, and it turns out his dad and my stepmother had every right to love the 1991 film "The Commitments."

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