30 Rock

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Edie Falco and Hunter Pence

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Edie Falco
Guests: 
Hunter Pence

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Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Edie Falco on her new movie "Outside In"

Edie Falco was over a decade into her acting career before she got her breakout role as Carmela Soprano in the classic HBO mob drama "The Sopranos." She then went on to play the title role in the Showtime dark comedy "Nurse Jackie" for which she won an Emmy in 2010 for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.

Edie's newest film is called "Outside In." She plays Carol, a married high school English teacher who became pen pals with a former student named Chris while he was in jail serving a 20- year sentence. After Chris gets out of prison, things get complicated between them.

Edie talks to Jesse about landing her first acting gig, which she started the day after she graduated from SUNY Purchase's acting school, why she thinks comedy isn't for her, and James Gandolfini, the late actor who she worked with for nearly a decade on "The Sopranos."

Click here to listen to Edie Falco's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hunter Pence on his unique approach to playing baseball

Baseball player Hunter Pence was drafted in 2004 by the Houston Astros. He debuted in the majors in 2007 and by 2009 was named an All-Star. Now he plays right field for the San Francisco Giants and was instrumental in bringing the team to victory in two world series.

Hunter has also been subject to some of the weirdest heckles in baseball - handheld signs that say stuff like "Hunter Pence Can't Parallel Park," "Hunter Pence eats Pizza with a Fork," and "Hunter Pence Thinks Game of Thrones is Just Ok." He talks with Jesse about what he thinks about these strange and inaccurate callouts, why he wears such high socks, and his Houston coffee shop and gaming cafe called Coral Sword.

Click here to listen to Hunter Pence's interview on YouTube.


Photo: www.netflix.com

The Outshot: Netflix's "Toast of London"

In the British TV comedy "Toast of London," Matt Berry plays honey-voiced British actor Steven Toast. Toast lives in modern London but acts more like a British stage actor from 1976. After a terrible career decision, he's forced to take on horrible job after horrible job while trying to navigate life as a newly divorced man.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on "Toast of London" on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Alexander Payne, Kay Cannon, and Eugene Levy

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Alexander Payne
Guests: 
Kay Cannon
Guests: 
Eugene Levy

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: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for BF

Filmmaker Alexander Payne on his film 'Downsizing'

Alexander Payne is an accomplished writer and director. He's won two Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay for the films "Sideways" and "The Descendants." His other films have been nominated for tons of awards, too -- "About Schmidt," "Nebraska," and "Election." His films are known for their satirical nature, dark humor and usually include some sort of existential crisis. His latest film "Downsizing" is no exception.

The movie centers on Paul and Audrey, an average couple from Omaha, played by Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig. In an effort to combat overpopulation and global warming, people can be shrunk down to about five inches. But things don't go exactly as planned for the couple.

Jesse sat down with Alexander Payne to talk about his love of silent films, what it was like to achieve success for his thesis film shortly after graduating college, and how he bonds with his six-month-old through film. Plus, he'll tell us about his favorite sequence in "Downsizing," and why he loved directing the challenging eight minute scene.


Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW

The Craziest Day Of My Entire Career: Kay Cannon

Kay Cannon is a brilliant and hilarious writer. You know her work -- she wrote all three of the Pitch Perfect movies. Before that, she spent five years on "30 Rock," first as a writer and then as a supervising producer. Kay then went on to work on Fox's "New Girl" and she also created the Netflix original series "Girlboss."

Her directorial debut, "Blockers" is in theaters now. In the film, three teen girls make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. Their parents, played by Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena, will do everything they can to stop them.

Kay Cannon tells us about the craziest day of her entire career, which starts on the Golden Gate Bridge, takes a scary private plane flight in a private jet and ends in an awkward meeting with John Cena.


Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Eugene Levy on working with his son on 'Schitt's Creek'

Eugene Levy is probably best known for his role as Noah Levenstein in the "American Pie" franchise. Noah is the nerdy, oftentimes clueless dad of Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs). Noah's efforts to help Jim navigate puberty often result in embarrassing and awkward situations for Jim. The film series spans eight films, and Eugene is the only actor to appear in all of them.

He first got his start in improv comedy. He was a founding member of SCTV - the pioneering sketch comedy show that helped launch the careers of Rick Moranis, John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, and many, many more.

Recently, he's been reunited with Catherine O'Hara in the sitcom "Schitt's Creek." The show was created by Eugene and his son, Dan Levy. Eugene plays Johnny Rose, the patriarch of a socialite family that lost their fortune. Johnny and his wife Moira, played by Catherine, head to the last place they can call their own: the backwoods Canadian town Johnny bought as a gag gift the year before. Together the family pieces their life back together.

Eugene sits down with Jesse and talks about what it was like to work with his son on "Schitt's Creek," and why he almost turned down his iconic role from "American Pie."


Photo: SFMOMA

The Outshot: Rigo 23’s “found lost bird” posters

And finally, Jesse tells us about a recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. He describes the lost bird posters collected by Rigo 23 in the 1990's from the Mission District in San Francisco. The posters reflect the lives of the people who posted them, but also serves as a reminder of a community that no longer exists.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Judd Apatow & Romesh Ranganathan

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Judd Apatow
Guests: 
Romesh Ranganathan

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.

Judd Apatow on returning to stand-up comedy after more than 20 years

Judd Apatow is responsible for some of the funniest films and television shows of the past two decades. He got his start in Hollywood mostly by working behind the scenes - he was a writer on “The Larry Sanders Show,” a showrunner on “The Ben Stiller Show” and served as an executive producer on the short-lived NBC cult classic “Freaks and Geeks.”

Apatow has also produced movies like “Bridesmaids” and “Superbad,” and has written and directed plenty of features too, including, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Funny People,” “This Is 40,” and “Knocked Up.”

One of Judd’s true passions is stand-up comedy. When he was a teenager he worked at the East Side Comedy Club in Long Island. Back then he brushed shoulders with comics like Eddie Murphy and Rosie O’Donnell. In 1992, he was featured on HBO’s “Young Comedians Special.” In it, he shares the stage with Ray Romano and Andy Kindler.

Judd Apatow’s new Netflix stand-up special is appropriately called “Judd Apatow: The Return,” it marks his return to stand-up after more than 20 years. His material is sincere and relatable just like many of his films. In the special, he reads terrible poetry he wrote as a teenage to get the crowd going, he jokes about the disastrous time he threw the first pitch for the New York Mets, and he imagines what would happened if he ever decided to smoke pot with his kids. Need we say more!

Jesse talks with Judd about the new comedy special, and why it’s important to him to consciously choose to make his projects more inclusive and diverse.

Click here to listen to Judd Apatow's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Rory James/Flickr

Romesh Ranganathan on how his family's immigrant history informed his comedy

You might not know Romesh Ranganathan yet, but in the UK he’s a big celebrity best known for his stand-up comedy. He’s been a regular on spin offs of “The Great British Bake Off” and “The Apprentice.”

Romesh also hosts a travel show on the BBC called “Asian Provocateur.” In it, he travels around the world reconnecting with his parents’ home country of Sri Lanka. In the second season, Romesh travels to various locations in North America to meet more of his relatives, and his mother, Shanthi, tags along for his adventure.

The highlights of the show often feature Shanthi. She will stop at nothing to chide Romesh whenever she gets a chance. It’s really funny -- dare we say his mom is funnier than him. And Romesh knows this -- his relationship with his hilarious mother often drives much of his stand-up routine.

With hopes of making it big in the states; Romesh just moved to America with his wife, kids, and of course, his mother. He has an upcoming performance at the Greek Theater on Thursday December, 21, and tickets are still available. Romesh’s new comedy special, “Irrational,” was recorded at London's Hammersmith Apollo, and is available now. He hosts a podcast called "Hip Hop Saved My Life."

Jesse talks with Romesh about his love of hip-hop, and what it's like going from crying once a month in a corporate bathroom stall to selling out concert halls in London.

Click here to listen to Romesh Ranganathan's interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: 30 Rock’s Dr. Spaceman

Finally, for this week's Outshot: Dr. Spaceman. 30 Rock was a show with a thousand nearly perfect jokes. But there was only one most perfect joke among all those nearly perfect jokes. Jesse talks about what makes Chris Parnell’s portrayal Dr. Spaceman a very good bad doctor.

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

International Waters: Episode 55 Duck Butter and Snozzberries

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Ingrid, Dave, Amanda, James and Keith
Guests: 
Ingrid Oliver
Guests: 
Amanda Meadows
Guests: 
James Bachman
Guests: 
Keith Powell

Amanda Meadows, Keith Powell, Ingrid Oliver and James Bachman join host, Dave Holmes for tea drinking, hipster food trends and weird beauty treatments.

Plugs and recommendations:

Amanda Meadows wants to plug her latest Devastator Press publication The Presidential Dickerbook recommends Danger 5 which is available on Netflix.

Keith Powell wants to plug his upcoming web series Keith Broke His Leg and is currently binge-watching BoJack Horseman on Netflix.

Ingrid Oliver wants to plug her own Twitter @IngridOliver100 and recommends Friday Night Lights.

James Bachman wants to plug his UCB 401 Class Show on Saturday 15th August at around 4.30pm. James recommends Scandal and Babybird’s album Fatherhood 2.

And finally, Dave Holmes is on Twitter @DaveHolmes and hosts his live quiz show, The Friday Forty at LA’s Meltdown Theatre on the second Friday of every month. Dave would like to recommend Martin Scorsese’s After Hours.

Written by Sarah Morgan and Asterios Kokkinos, recorded at MaxFunHQ in LA and produced by Colin Anderson.

Jordan, Jesse, Go! Episode 199: Good In Everything with Keith Powell

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30 Rock's Keith Powell joins Jordan and Jesse to serenade a birthday girl, give good advice to America's troubled teens and if there's enough time, sprinkle some gay dust.

Judah Friedlander: World Champion, 30 Rock Star, Author of How To Beat Up Anybody: Interview on The Sound of Young America Live at WNYC

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Judah Friedlander


Photo credit WNYC and Casey De Pont.

Judah Friedlander is a regular on NBC's 30 Rock and the author of How To Beat Up Anybody. He is the World Champion.

Judah joined us on our live show at WNYC to discuss the differences between a Yeti, a Sasquatch and a Bigfoot (and how to beat up all three). He also delineated his strategies for fighting groups of people and even groups of strippers.

When Friedlander's not beating people up, he plays writer Frank Rossitano on 30 Rock. He's had a long and successful career on stage as a standup comic, and his film roles include an acclaimed turn as the Original Nerd, Toby in "American Splendor."

Tracy Morgan on Tina Fey

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Above is a clip of Oprah Winfrey interviewing Tracy Morgan. Morgan says something here that I found exceptionally powerful.

Oprah asks him what Tina Fey has meant to his career. She tries to lead into "she writes for my voice." Which is true - the staff of 30 Rock do write for Morgan's voice in a way that the staff of, say, The Tracy Morgan Show didn't especially well. They are, after all, the best in the business. They also write for Jack McBrayer's voice and Scott Adsit's voice and Jane Krakowski's voice. That's their job, and they're great at it.

So Oprah's headed towards some well worn territory with her question. Morgan's response, though, is so incisive. What he says is that Fey recognized he was making choices.

What he's saying is that despite his incredible success and remarkable talent, what was special about Tina Fey was that she recognized, simply, that Morgan had agency.

In a way, that's the opposite of what Oprah was driving at (and what people often seem to say about Morgan). People want to attribute Morgan's comic talent to writers. It robs Morgan of not just the credit for being as hilarious as he is (and he is hilarious), but of credit for creating at all.

Oprah's a great interviewer, and she catches herself and refocuses, recontextualizes her question. This isn't anti-Oprah.

What it's really about is something that it seems Morgan gets completely. When you suggest that a person doing creative work has no agency, that they are not making choices, you don't just hurt their reputation. It's closer in my mind to taking away their humanity. A person's actions can be judged for good or ill; a puppet is benign but it can never be human.

There are sharper race critics than I, but there's no doubt in my mind that race is part of this. My gut tells me that this kind of other-ization through a weird kind of infantilization that borders on taking someone's humanity is something that wouldn't happen to a white performer. I haven't sorted out all the implications in my mind, but I wanted to take a second to give Morgan credit for this insight. I know as an interviewer that I'm lucky if my subject thinks so sharply about themselves and their own experience.

(Video via The Vulture)

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