Actress Sarah Paulson is best known for playing numerous characters on American Horror Story and Marcia Clark on The People v. O.J., but her acting career started long before either of those roles. She began working as an actor right out of high school and eventually landed roles in movies and TV shows like Law and Order, Serenity, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Sarah sits down with Jesse to talk about working on The People v. O.J., her first big acting job, and dealing with the ups and downs that come with being a working actor.
Although it was not popular at the time of its release, Shuggie Otis’ album Inspiration Information influenced countless musicians and has been sampled by artists like Digable Planets and J Dilla. Shuggie tells us what went behind the making of his rock/soul classic.
Jesse explains why Paul and Gary O’Donovan’s craic interview is one of the best things to come out of Rio Olympics
Lynda Barry is a self-identified "freak", a cartoonist, a writer, and for the last couple of years, she's also been a college professor teaching interdisciplinary creativity at the University of Wisconsin.
What does that mean? Well, she encourages students to abandon their fears of creating and embrace their work and process.
Lynda talks with us about using monsters as a tool, why we're sometimes afraid to draw, and working with Matt Groening in high school.
Lynda Barry’s book The Greatest of Marlys is now available in hardback
Our friends Linda Holmes and Stephen Thompson from Pop Culture Happy Hour give us some pop culture recommendations during a live show in Washington, DC.
Jesse heartily disagrees with A.O. Scott's review of the film version of MacGruber. In short: MacGruber exists, and the world is better for it.
Nikki Glaser is a comedian and host of the Comedy Central series Not Safe with Nikki Glaser. She find humor in talking honestly about sex. On her show, she’s hooked up her friends to a lie detector and asks them about their sex lives, stayed inside of a strip club for 24 hours, attended a foot fetish party, and so much more.
Nikki sits down with Jesse to talk about developing her Comedy Central show with her boyfriend, even when they were in the middle of a breakup. They also chat about working for MTV, going to Trump rallies, and why she just can’t have as much fun at pools any more.
Nikki Glaser’s show is called Not Safe with Nikki Glaser.
Dave Holmes is a comedian, writer at large for Esquire Magazine, and host of Maximum Fun’s very own podcast International Waters.
Jesse is joined by Dave to talk about growing up gay in the 80s with no real role models to look up to. They also discuss working for MTV, self-acceptance and his new book, Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs.
Dave’s new book Party of One is out now.
Jesse tells us why the Olympics is such a beautiful sports event, even for people that don’t like sports.
Chuck Klosterman has written countless articles for GQ, ESPN, The Washington Post, Esquire, The Guardian and more. His new book, But What if We’re Wrong, examines how the present will be perceived it as the past. What exactly will be thought of as important events to people that are hundreds of years removed from it all? Is it even possible to get every fact correct when writing about the past?
Klosterman sits down with Jesse to talk about how we consume culture, how historians frequently reinterpret historical events, and how writing online and writing for print are fundamentally different undertakings.
Chuck Klosterman’s book But What if We’re Wrong? is available now.
Socio-political comedian W. Kamau Bell shares with us the best piece of advice he’s ever received.
Jesse talks about Tony! Toni! Toné! and how they successfully merged soul music and hip-hop to create a new type of R&B.
Keegan-Michael Key’s comedy is inexorably tied with his experiences straddling cultural and racial lines as a young man in the Midwest, and he became a keen observer of his surroundings as a child.
His work with his partner Jordan Peele on the Comedy Central show Key & Peele has earned Key Emmy nominations in five categories including Outstanding Variety sketch series, Writing for a Variety Series, Writing for a Variety Special, Short-Format Live-Action Entertainment Program, and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Key sits down with Jesse to talk about the differences of approaching comedy from stand up or improv backgrounds, why it’s so easy to immerse himself in distinctive characters like the substitute teacher Mr. Garvey, and why Key & Peele's fifth season will be its last.
Key and Peele’s movie Keanu is now availible on digital HD
Tituss Burgess is an actor who has pursued the truth within himself and his performances. Whether it's been in a church choir or on the Broadway stage, Burgess is ready to give it his all.
His successful audition for a small recurring role on 30 Rock put him on Tina Fey's radar, and he's since been cast as Titus Andromedon on the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Burgess's performance on the show has earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
Burgess joins us to discuss his early days growing up in Georgia, inhabiting the character of Titus Andromedon on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and how he contended with a broken microphone while performing live at the Tony Awards.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is available for streaming on Netflix.
Jesse explores the top-notch bluffing going on in this week's recommendation, the 1985 Chevy Chase movie Fletch.
Danny McBride is comedic writer and actor who started his career starring in the cult classic comedy, The Foot Fist Way. Although the film went to Sundance and was a modest success, McBride went back to North Virginia to work as a substitute teacher. Danny and frequent collaborator Jody Hill began creating the series Eastbound & Down, which would jumpstart McBride’s career and make him a film and television star.
He has appeared in numerous comedy films, such as Tropic Thunder, 30 Minutes or Less, and Observe and Report. McBride is perhaps best known for writing and starring in the HBO series Eastbound & Down, where he plays disgraced MLB player, Kenny Powers.
McBride sat down with Jesse to talk about about working with Jody Hill, writing for Eastbound and Down, and dealing with people who idolize Kenny Powers just a little too much.
Danny McBride’s new show is called Vice Principals.
Jazz bassist Miroslav Vitouš explains how working with Weather Report on the composition Morning Lake is an experience he will never forget.
Miroslav Vitouš’s new album is called
Jesse talks about the film Hunt for the Wilderpeople and why calling it “twee” is actually a compliment.
Though most people find it difficult to find anything funny about depression and anxiety, comedian Aparna Nancherla. has used her own struggles with mood disorders to inspire her comedy. A rising star in the comedy world, Nancherla bravely reveals her struggles with depression in a way that makes the experience both relatable and hilarious.
Named by Variety as one of the Top 10 Comics to Watch in 2016, Nancherla has appeared as a performer on Conan and Inside Amy Schumer. She's also written for Late Night with Seth Meyers and Totally Biased with Kamau Bell.
Nancherla sat down with Jesse to talk about about her experiences living with anxiety and depression, the ups and downs of writing comedy for television and how she deals with hecklers on Twitter.
As with any established musical genre, there is a quality of sameness that can pervade artists. It’s no less so in the world of hip-hop. But Clams Casino (born Michael Volpe) provides a unique and surprising voice in that world. As an electronic musician and music producer, he has created a distinctive body of work of his own as well through his collaborations with artists including ScHoolboy Q, FKA Twigs and Vince Staples.
Clams Casino joined Jesse to talk about the influences that lead to his unique sound, and some of the ways he paid his dues coming up in the world of hip-hop production. They also discuss his new album, 32 Levels, and how he developed his relationship with rapper Lil’ B. The two of them have long been collaborators, including on the new album, but didn’t really get to know each other until making of the new record.
Clams Casino’s new album is called 32 Levels.
Jesse checks in on the classic movie you should see before going swimming this summer.
Though she didn’t earn a degree in the sciences, author Mary Roach has a knack for writing about them with insight and wit. Whether she’s describing what happens to the body after death or the many aspects of human sexuality, Roach makes her topics accessible and fun.
Roach has authored half a dozen books including: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, as well as articles for magazines including Vogue, GQ, and National Geographic.
Mary Roach sat down with Jesse about whether shark repellant actually exists, life on submarines and how leaches inspired her to write a book on military science.
Mary Roach’s new book is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War
William Bell is a soul singer and songwriter whose distinctive sound is forever associated with the legendary Stax Records. Along with with performers like Otis Redding, Sam and Duke, Isaac Hayes and the Staple Singers, Bell helped create music that continues to entertain and inspire.
He is famous for his hit songs including You Don’t Miss Your Water, Private Number, A Tribute to the King and Everybody Loves a Winner. He also co-wrote the classic song, Born Under a Bad Sign which was originally performed by Albert King and later covered by Jimi Hendrix, Etta James, Cream and even Homer Simpson.
William Bell joined Jesse to talk about what it was like beginning his musical career while still a teenager, how he returned to his career after being drafted and what he thinks about his own voice, now that he is in his seventies.
William Bell’s new album is This is Where I Live.
Jesse shares why Tanya Tucker’s voice and classic song, What’s Your Mama’s Name manages to move him every time he hears it.
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
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.
Jesse talk about the mystique and the power of baseball’s knuckleball.
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 already 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 and Suck 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.
Singer, songwriter, bassist and cellist Esperanza Spalding explains how Petrouchka by Igor Stravinsky introduced her to a world of sound that she hadn’t known existed.
The Grammy Award winning artist’s latest album is Emily’s D+Evolution.
Find Esperanza Spalding online at EsperanzaSpalding.com.
Jesse explains why he loves a movie that aspires to be nothing more than silly, goofy and funny.
Popstar is in theaters now.