This week Jesse talks with standup comic Pete Holmes. He's the creator and star of Crashing, a brand new show on HBO that's based in part on his life.
Compared with many of his standup peers, Pete had somewhat of an atypical upbringing. He was raised as an evangelical Christian and attended a Christian college, where he studied to be a youth pastor. He began performing standup in his early 20s, getting his start in New York City's club scene before playing to crowds around the country.
At the age of 28, Pete's marriage fell apart, which forced him to reevaluate his life and beliefs. Pete talks to Jesse about how setbacks such as his divorce and the cancellation of his late night show on TBS, The Pete Holmes Show, ended up paving the way for his current success. His divorce also supplied autobiographical material for his new HBO series Crashing. In the show, he plays a young comedian who finds himself dazed and newly single after his wife leaves him for a boxer.
Crashing premieres on HBO on February 19th.
Jesse also talks with Mike Mills, director of 20th Century Women, which is up for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Before his career in feature films, Mills made his name directing short films and music videos, working with bands like Air, Blonde Redhead, and Pulp.
In 2010, Mills directed Beginners, a comedy/drama that told the story of a fictionalized version of his father, who came out of the closet in his late 70s. Christopher Plummer, who played his dad, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Mills' latest film, 20th Century Women, is about his mom. It tells the story of Dorothea (Annette Benning), a single mom living in a big house in Santa Barbara with two boarders and her teenage son, Jamie. The movie is also an exploration of the 1970s cultural landscape, including 2nd wave feminism and punk rock.
Mike talks with Jesse about his relationship with his parents, who grew up in the Depression era, as well as his philosophy on character development. He also tell Jesse about one of his first loves: skateboarding.
Learn more about 20th Century Women and where you can watch it.
You might laugh if you hear about a movie with CGI-rendered talking animals, but that just means you haven't seen Babe: Pig in the City. In this week's Outshot, Jesse explains why a movie about a brave little pig wandering through a bustling metropolis makes him cry every time he watches it.
Cristela Alonzo is a veteran standup comedian, actress, writer, and producer. She's also something of a pioneer. You might remember her from the ABC sitcom Cristela, where she was the first Latina to create, write, produce, and star in her own show.
In this week's episode, she talks to Jesse about her formative years growing up in South Texas with an undocumented parent. Hiding from police and immigration raids were daily realities in her small border town. Her family was also desperately poor--she recalls squatting in an abandoned diner.
Down the road, Cristela discovered she had a talent for weaving those tough experiences into comedy gold. That gift is on full display in her new Netflix standup special, Lower Classy, as she takes on difficult topics including racial stereotypes, immigration, poverty, and parenting, all with her trademark smile and laugh. Cristela recalls the long journey that led to the special, and how being a comedian is, for her, about more than simply making people laugh.
Cristela Alonzo's new standup special, Lower Classy, is available to stream on Netflix now.
Stretch Armstrong is a renowned DJ, record collector, and writer. It's impossible to tell the story of New York rap in the 1990s--what some people consider the Golden Era of Hip-Hop--without at least mentioning The Stretch and Bobbito Show, the influential college radio program that he and Robert "Bobbito" Garcia co-hosted from 1990 to 1998.
In their time, Stretch and Bobbito were among the only FM radio outlets for a generation of New York rappers. MCs like Jay-Z, Wu-Tang Clan, Notorious BIG, and Nas. The behind-the-scenes stories from those days are the stuff of hip-hop folklore, and the subject of documentary that came out a little over a year ago, called Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives. It's available to stream on Netflix now.
Stretch, whose real name is Adrian Bartos, also recently co-authored a book. He and Evan Auerbach teamed up to make a visual history of New York City's club scene, called No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988-1999.
In this week's Outshot, Jesse shares a Saturday Night Live sketch that spoke to him in a particularly magical way. Behold, Wells for Boys:
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.
New York based rapper SAINt JHN spent his youth travelling between Guyana and New York. He realized early on, following his older brother’s lead, that he wanted to be a rapper. He began his career as a songwriter, with credits that include Usher’s 2016 hit Crash. He's now writing songs for himself and creating work for GØDD COMPLEXx, his music and art collective.
He knows the record that got him started - it's a 1999 album: Jay Z's Vol 3. He even remember the song that changed his life: Jay's classic Dopeman.
You might think that growing up the son of one of history’s most beloved R&B and Soul singers would be the greatest gift. But Todd Mayfield and his siblings didn’t always see it that way. Curtis Mayfield, who defined a whole generation of politically conscious music, left behind an incredible legacy of stories, music, and touched lives. Todd, despite his propensity to separate himself from his father in his younger years, felt it necessary to biographize his father’s life through anecdotes, interviews with friends and family.
This week, Todd and Jesse talk about what it was like growing up with Curtis Mayfield as a father, his musical transition from the 1960s to the more politically involved records of the 1970s, and the incredible music that he was able to create when he was paralyzed from the neck down during the late 80s to his final days in 1999.
Todd’s biography of his father, Traveling Soul: The Life of Curtis Mayfield is out now.
This week, Jesse talks about LA rapper YG’s particular sound and philosophy.
Comedian and writer Laurie Kilmartin is probably best known as one of the finalists on the 7th season of Last Comic Standing. She has also written 2 books and has been nominated for a Primetime Emmy award. Last year, Laurie's 83 year old father was diagnosed with cancer. She had to take time off from her dream job as a staff writer on Conan O’Brian’s late night show and flew up to visit her father in Northern California as much as she could. During the months of her father's declining health, she took to Twitter writing jokes about her experience of losing a parent to cancer.
She talks to Jesse about her new SeeSo comedy special called 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad. She gets candid about what it’s like to lose a parent and how instrumental Twitter was in coming to grips during the process.
You can find more information about how to stream her special here.
Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi are comedians, writers, actors, and podcast hosts. They met in 2010 as writers for Current TV, a news channel that was created by Al Gore and Al Jazeera. Erin covered feminist issues while Bryan covered the LGBTQ beat. In 2011, when Current TV closed its doors, Erin and Bryan knew that they still had more to say so they decided to start the Throwing Shade podcast hosted by Maximum Fun.
In studio with Jesse, they discuss their origin story, the differences between making podcasts and TV, and how to have a sincere and funny opinion without being offensive.
You can watch Throwing Shade on TV Land every Tuesday evening at 10:30/9:30c.
This week, Jesse tells us what an almost 20 year old episode of The Simpsons has to do with Silicon Valley, and why we should care.
Andy Richter probably best known for being Conan's O'Brien's sidekick, buth he's been a comedian for almost 30 years. You've probably seen him in Madagascar, Arrested Development, or maybe you watched his Emmy nominated TV series: Andy Richter Controls the Universe.
Now, he sits down with Jesse to talk about his new SeeSo comedy special Andy Richter's Home for the Holidays
Journalist and novelist Margaret Wappler and digital strategist Wynter Mitchell are hosts on Bullseye’s sister show, Pop Rocket.
This week, they sit down with Jesse to talk about their favorite Christmas films. Some of them will surprise you.
You can find every episode of Pop Rocket and more information about the show here.
The brothers from the Maximum Fun produced advice show and podcast, My Brother, My Brother and Me field some questions from listeners, and give some holiday advice.
Emmy and Golden Globe award winner Jane Lynch is best known for her hilarious portrayal of Sue Sylvester on ABC’s Glee, and if you've seen a Christopher Guest movie, odds are her's was the funniest character - no small feat. Recently, she's teamed up with Kate Flannery and Tim Davis on A Swingin' Little Christmas, a big-bad era inspired Christmas album.
This week, she sits down with Jesse to talk about that album, her arms-length relationship with Christmas, and what it was like for her to come out as gay after comedians like Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O'Donnell paved the way.
Pedro Almodóvar has been making art for almost 4 decades. Whether that be music, writing, or directing, he has a distinct, bold, and critically acclaimed vision to his art. Originally from a small rural town in Spain, Pedro moved to Madrid in his late teens to study film. His artistic endeavors flourished during the Spanish cultural revolution that followed Francos death in 1975. His first film of distinction was called Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, for which he was nominated for the 1988 Best Foreign Film Academy Award. Since then, he has won two Golden Globe and two Academy awards, among many others.
This week, Jesse sits down with Pedro to talk about his new dramatic endeavor Julieta, his new wave band, and his unseen ailment.
You can find more information about Julieta here.
Alexis Krauss, one half of the pop-metal band Sleigh Bells has been a musician her entire life. Both of her parents are musicians, and some of her earliest concerts were with her dad performing on the Jersey Shore.
This week, Alexis tells us what song changed her life in a way that only this mid-90’s female pop-rock recording artist could for a young budding musician. You probably oughta know.
Finally, Jesse tells it to you straight: he's fallen hard for 18th and 19th century paintings of cows, and you should too.
Sarah Jessica Parker began her career on Broadway, quickly moving on to acting in classic films throughout the 80’s and 90’s such as Footloose and LA Story. She is probably best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw on HBO’s Sex And The City, ending in 2004. Now she’s back on HBO in a new comedic drama called Divorce.
She sits down with Jesse this week to discuss her role on that show, the hardest part about acting in Sex And The City, and how she finds distance between herself and the characters she plays on screen. They also talk about the glory of Thomas Haden Church's mustache.
You can watch Divorce Sundays on HBO.
For this week’s Outshot, Jesse tells us why he listens to Curtis Mayfield when he’s feeling down.
Comedian Colin Quinn is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live, but would probably describe himself first and foremost as a stand-up comic. You might've seen him in Amy Schumer’s TrainwreckThe Cop Show. He loves New York, and has written and starred in five one-man shows that talk about his lifetime spent in the Big Apple.
This week, he sits down to talk to Jesse about his newest one-man show New York Story, that he produced alongside Jerry Seinfeld available on Netflix. They also discuss his time on Saturday Night Live and the right way to joke about race in 2016.
Padma Lakshmi has gone through many career changes during her time in the public eye. She began her career as a model turned actress, then became a writer, and now hosts TV’s Top Chef on Bravo. She has written two cookbooks, a memoir, and now The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices.
Padma and Jesse talk about cultural differences she had to reckon with growing up between India and the United States, her role on Top Chef, and her new book The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices.
Sara Schaefer is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and podcast host. She has recorded one comedy album and has appeared on many late night shows. This week, we've included some of her set from last year’s MaxFunCon, a yearly bi-coastal conference that gathers creative and funny people to learn, teach, and most of all have fun. Tickets to MaxFunCon 2017 go on sale this Friday.
This week, Jesse tells us what is so pleasant about the non-pretentious Amazon series Red Oaks.
Jemaine Clement’s upbringing in a small community in New Zealand could have led him to career making cookies or cheese. Instead he found a way to transform his sense of humor into a career making other stuff -- things like music and comedy.
Along with his partner, Bret McKenzie, he is a member of musical comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords which aired as a television show for two seasons on HBO. Clement has also written and produced with McKenzie and other longtime collaborators on movies like What We Do in the Shadows.
Clement join us to talk about working in the comic drama People Places Things, his early comedic influences back in New Zealand, the challenges he faced producing a television show, and how the word “grommet” resulted in his last physical altercation.
Jonathan Ames is a writer who has earned a reputation for ruthless honesty when writing about his own life and those of his fictional characters. Whether the topic is alcoholism, sexuality or depression, Ames’ books and television projects delve deeply into what it means to be human, with wit and care.
Ames created the beloved HBO show Bored to Death. Now, he's the creator and showrunner of the new Starz show Blunt Talk, featuring Patrick Stewart as cable news host Walter Blunt.
Blunt Talk is in its second season and airs Sunday nights at 8:30 est on the Starz network.
Ames sat down with Jesse to talk about how he came to create his new show, why he's obsessed with the "valet", and why his characters are constantly "questing" with greater purpose.
Our takeaway? ALWAYS BE PREPARED.
Growing up in the Calvinist church, Paul Schrader didn't see a movie until his late teens. Since then, he has more than made up for it, writing, producing, and directing influential films such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Affliction.
Willem Dafoe, having worked on 7 films in the past with Schrader, trusts his film-making style and sensibility. Dafoe's Hollywood breakout role was in the 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A., and has starred in many other beloved films such as Platoon and the Last Temptation of Christ.
This week, Schader and Dafoe sit down with Jesse to discuss their new film, Dog Eat Dog. They discuss Schrader’s childhood, his earlier screenplay and directorial premieres and Dafoe school’s Jessie on acting and how he gets into character when portraying psychotic characters.
Thirty years ago, David Crosby was one of the biggest rock stars in the world, being a part of two game changing and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted bands Crosby, Stills & Nash and The Byrds. Decades after his depart from playing with bands, he continues to play music on his own.
In conversation with Jesse, David discusses his transition into music, his addiction and recovery from drugs, and his latest album Lighthouse.
This week, Jesse recommends Ray Barretto’s inaugural album Acid as an album that had much ambition and achieved so much at a time when the music on it was still new to the American aural palette.