David Javerbaum

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Aisha Tyler, Bilal Oliver, God on Sports

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Aisha Tyler
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Seth Morris
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Marah Eakin
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Nathan Rabin

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The AV Club's All-Time Favorites: Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" and Warren Zevon's "Stand in the Fire"

The AV Club's Music Editor Marah Eakin and Head Writer Nathan Rabin discuss a few of their all-time favorite albums. Marah is a fan of the layered, sampled feel of Fleetwood Mac's post-Rumors album, Tusk. Nathan Rabin suggests a listen to Warren Zevon's intimate but ferocious live album Stand in the Fire.

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Aisha Tyler: Actress, Comedian, and Former Third-Grade Maypole

Like a lot of funny people, Aisha Tyler often found herself on the outside looking in as a kid. She was the only black girl in her school and thought of herself as kind of a geek... Standing six-feet tall by third grade didn't help things, either. Ultimately, feeling out of place gave her the feeling that she could survive anything -- and the confidence to pursue performance. She's since performed stand up, hosted E!'s Talk Soup, appeared on CSI, 24, Friends...and even competed on an episode of Jeopardy.

She also has a starring role on the FX animated series Archer, where she voices Lana Kane, a beautiful and brilliant secret agent who plays the straight man to her idiot co-workers.

Aisha joins us to talk about her choice to do comedy in her own voice, the challenges of voice acting, and about living a real-life version of Fame in high school.

Archer airs on Thursdays at 10/9c on FX. The show is in its fourth season; it was just renewed for a fifth. Aisha will host The CW’s reboot of Whose Line Is It Anyway? this summer. You can also catch Aisha at a performance of Archer Live!.

This interview originally aired in January 2012.

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Comedy: An Excerpt from The Last Testament: A Memoir By God

You'd think that God would be pretty focused on the choice of a new Pope right about now. But might some of that attention be diverted to.... spring training? Has the Almighty ever swayed athletic outcomes? Does He care for sports at all? Get the straight truth from The Man Himself (as relayed to David Javerbaum). The answer may surprise you.

This excerpt is from The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, with David Javerbaum.
David Javerbaum is an Emmy-winning comedy writer and former executive producer of The Daily Show. You can see more of his work with God on Twitter @TheTweetofGod.

Our voice of God is provided by comedian Seth Morris, who is also on Twitter at @SethISMorris.

This segment originally aired in April 2012.

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Bilal and His Unique Blend of Soul, Hip-Hop, and Jazz

Here's one way a musical artist can succeed: artist records album, sends it off to the label, label rejects album, album is leaked online, fans and critics love album, artist goes independent.

That's exactly what happened to jazz and soul singer Bilal, who wanted to follow up his debut album, 1st Born Second, with something a little more experimental. That album (titled Love For Sale) was never officially released, which left a nine-year gap between his debut record and his second album, Airtight's Revenge. That album earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.

The wait between Bilal albums this time around is a little more manageable: his new album, A Love Surreal, was just released last week. It's a beautiful, headspinning collision between 1960s soul and modern hip-hop, sounding like neither the past or the present.

We spoke with Bilal back in 2010 right around when Airtight's Revenge was released. Bilal talked to us about his high school identity, growing up with jazz music, and his choice to go wild on Jay Leno.

Bilal's new album, A Love Surreal, is available now.

This interview originally aired in September 2010.

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The Outshot: The Cold Open

Looking for the perfect cold open? Jesse's found it. Newsradio. Season 2, Episode 9.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bob Newhart, Mister Rogers and Me, God on Sports

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Bob Newhart
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Christofer Wagner
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Benjamin Wagner
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Seth Morris
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Jason Kottke


Jason Kottke Shares the Best of the Web

Jason Kottke blogs at Kottke.org and every once in awhile he shows up on Bullseye to tell us about the best stuff on the web. This week Kottke points us toward some of his all-time favorites: The Wire Bible and Survival Tips for the Middle Ages.

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Bob Newhart on Swapping Accounting for Comedy, The Phone Bit and More

Bob Newhart is an actor, stand-up and legend of American comedy. A pioneer comedian in every sense, Bob began his comedy career when he and a friend improvised over-the-phone comedy routines to kill boredom at work, and subsequently sold the bits to radio stations. The "phone sketch" would be a schtick that would last throughout Newhart's career, and featured quite prominently in the release of his 1960 comedy album debut Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart. The album was an unprecedented hit as a comedy recording, outselling Elvis Presley and winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Its success eventually led Newhart to television, first with a variety sketch show in the early '60s, and then a pair of sitcoms: The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s, and Newhart in the early '80s.

Bob joins us to reflect on his comedy career, from how he honed his craft as a solo straightman -- leaving the wild responses on the other end of his phone conversations entirely in the minds of the audience -- to what keeps him going today when he's accomplished so much as a performer. Newhart still performs dozens of nights a year as a stand-up, while acting in both film and television. You can find him at BobNewhart.com. This interview originally aired April 3, 2012.

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God Gets Real on Sports

Has the Almighty ever swayed athletic outcomes? Does He even care for sports at all? Get the straight truth from The Man Himself. The answer may surprise you.

This excerpt is from The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, with David Javerbaum.

David Javerbaum is an Emmy-winning comedy writer and former executive producer of The Daily Show. You can see more of his work with God on Twitter @TheTweetofGod.

Our voice of God is provided by comedian and Funny or Die writer Seth Morris, who is also on Twitter @SethISMorris. This segment originally aired April 3, 2012.

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The Lasting Legacy of Mr. Rogers

Christofer and Benjamin Wagner are brothers and the co-directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me, about children's television personality Fred Rogers, and the effect he had on the lives of generations of kids. For Ben -- who moonlights as a documentarian between his day-job as an executive with MTV News -- it was a project that began more than ten years ago, when he discovered Mister Rogers really was his neighbor, living next door to him at a vacation home in Nantucket, MA. Rogers' heartfelt sincerity, and his ability to truly live in the moment, compelled Ben to learn more about the man and about the countless lives he'd forever changed.

The Wagner Brothers sit down with Jesse to discuss the film, the overwhelming experience of meeting Mr. Rogers in person, and the way he helped so many grow up in ways they might not even have noticed. Mister Rogers & Me is available now on DVD. This interview originally aired April 3, 2012.

(For an EXTENDED version of this interview with Benjamin and Christofer Wagner or to share with friends, click here!)


The Outshot: Taika Waititi's Boy

On The Outshot this week, Jesse looks back on the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and finds his favorite film of the fest is only now getting the theatrical release it so richly deserves. The film is Boy, from Māori writer/director/star Taika Waititi. It tells the story of a young Māori boy named, well... Boy. Boy is given the chance to reconnect with his deadbeat father (Waititi) after years apart, as Dad's been away in jail. You can see and hear our interview with Taika Waititi and James Rolleston here.

It's a story bursting with youthful optimism, while the darkness of adulthood creeps in around the edges. It's screening this summer in theaters around the country. This segment originally aired April 3, 2012.

Got a little-known film of your own you want to spread the word about? Head on over to the MaxFun forum and pick your own Outshot.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bob Newhart, Mister Rogers and Me, Video Game Picks and God On Sports

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Bob Newhart
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Benjamin Wagner
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Christofer Wagner
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Kumail Nanjiani
Guests: 
Heather Anne Campbell

A friendly remind that our annual MAX FUN DRIVE is happening right now. If you love this show, please take a moment to support it. Your donations make this show possible, and there’s a level of support to suit any budget. Thank you.


Video Game Picks with Kumail Nanjiani & Heather Anne Campbell

This week's pop culture recommendations come from the realm of video games, and sharing their expert opinions are comedian and video game journalist Heather Anne Campbell, as well as comedian and host of gaming podcast The Indoor Kids Kumail Nanjiani. Heather urges you to check out the inconceivably gorgeous hand-held adventure Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita, while Kumail endorses the side-scrolling platform throwback Rayman Origins.
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Comedian and Actor Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart is an actor, stand-up and legend of American comedy. A pioneer comedian in every sense, Bob began his comedy career when he and a friend improvised over-the-phone comedy routines to kill boredom at work, and subsequently sold the bits to radio stations. The "phone sketch" would be a schtick that would last throughout Newhart's career, and featured quite prominently in the release of his 1960 comedy album debut Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart. The album was an unprecedented hit as a comedy recording, outselling Elvis Presley and winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Its success eventually led Newhart to television, first with a variety sketch show in the early '60s, and then a pair of sitcoms: The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s, and Newhart in the early '80s.

Bob joins us to reflect on his comedy career, from how he honed his craft as a solo straightman -- leaving the wild responses on the other end of his phone conversations entirely in the minds of the audience -- to what keeps him going today when he's accomplished so much as a performer. Newhart still performs dozens of nights a year as a stand-up, while acting in both film and television. You can find him at BobNewhart.com.
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God on Sports

A January poll found that 43% of people believe God was willing Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to improbable victories, while many more were flabbergasted by the implication that God might be deciding sports games. Has the Almighty ever swayed athletic outcomes? Does He even care for sports at all? Get the straight truth from The Man Himself. The answer may surprise you.

This excerpt is from The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, with David Javerbaum.

David Javerbaum is an Emmy-winning comedy writer and former executive producer of The Daily Show. You can see more of his work with God on Twitter @TheTweetofGod.

Our voice of God is provided by comedian and Funny or Die writer Seth Morris, who is also on Twitter @SethISMorris.
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Directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me

Christofer and Benjamin Wagner are brothers and the co-directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me, about children's television personality Fred Rogers, and the effect he had on the lives of generations of kids. For Ben -- who moonlights as a documentarian between his day-job as an executive with MTV News -- it was a project that began more than ten years ago, when he discovered Mister Rogers really was his neighbor, living next door to him at a vacation home in Nantucket, MA. Rogers' heartfelt sincerity, and his ability to truly live in the moment, compelled Ben to learn more about the man and about the countless lives he'd forever changed.

The Wagner Brothers sit down with Jesse to discuss the film, the overwhelming experience of meeting Mr. Rogers in person, and the way he helped so many grow up in ways they might not even have noticed. Mister Rogers & Me is currently available on DVD, and is airing on PBS stations across the country.
(For an EXTENDED version of this interview with Benjamin and Christofer Wagner or to share with friends, click here!)


The Outshot: Boy

On The Outshot this week, Jesse looks back on the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and finds his favorite film of the fest is only now getting the theatrical release it so richly deserves. The film is Boy, from Māori writer/director/star Taika Waititi. It tells the story of a young Māori boy named, well... Boy. Boy is given the chance to reconnect with his deadbeat father (Waititi) after years apart, as Dad's been away in jail. You can see and hear our interview with Taika Waititi and James Rolleston here.

It's a story bursting with youthful optimism, while the darkness of adulthood creeps in around the edges. It's in theaters now.
Got a little-known film of your own you want to spread the word about? Head on over to the MaxFun forum and pick your own Outshot.
(Embed or share this Outshot on "Boy")

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, Andrew Noz and God on Noah

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David Javerbaum


Noz on Rap

Blogger Andrew Noz from Cocaine Blunts kicks off this week's show by recommending some recent favorites from the world of rap -- Stupid H** from Nicki Minaj, and Walking Lick by Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame.

For more from Noz, check out CocaineBlunts.com or his cover story in this month's issue of The Fader.
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Character Actor Jeffrey Tambor

Jeffrey Tambor began his screen-acting career at the age of 35, though he'd been acting onstage since he was eight years old. A native of San Francisco, he started in television in the 1970s, and his career has followed a simple track since: he plays important authority figures (doctors, lawyers, judges) and self-important pseudo-authority figures; those have included the beloved characters Hank Kingsley on The Larry Sanders Show, and George Bluth, Sr. on Arrested Development.

Jeffrey sat down with Jesse back in 2009 to talk about how he got involved with both Arrested Development and Larry Sanders (or as his mother called it, The Hank Kingsley Show), the art of finding the serious side to comedic characters, and his teaching career. He brings his acting workshop to South by Southwest later this month. His new sitcom Bent premieres March 21st on NBC.
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From A Memoir By God: God Speaks about Noah

What really went down when God asked Noah to build the ark? Emmy award-winning comedy writer David Javerbaum (formerly the Executive Producer of The Daily Show) is the unlikely co-writer of The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. Comedian Seth Morris acts as God’s loudspeaker to bring us this excerpt.
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Photo credit Albert L. Ortega
The Man Behind the Mask: Actor and Mime Doug Jones

Doug Jones is a film actor who got his first dramatic training as a mime. He's since gone on to star in a number of blockbuster films over the years, though you may not recognize his face. He is the man underneath the make-up in many of Guillermo Del Toro's films, playing numerous characters in the Hellboy series, and the title character in Pan's Labyrinth (as well as the horrific Pale Man). He's often recognized for his unique physique, including long spindly fingers. You might also know him as the Silver Surfer in the second Fantastic Four film.

Doug talks his unlikely career as a monster movie star, his dedication to the physicality of a role, as well as his new book that hearkens back to his original performances days as a mime, called Mime Very Own Book.
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The Outshot: “You Send Me” by Sam Cooke

For this week's Outshot, Jesse recommends the simplistic soul sound of Sam Cooke's "You Send Me," from the R&B singer's self-titled 1957 album.
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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Rap Recommendations, Tim & Eric, Cartoonist Roz Chast, and God's Favorite Things

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tim Heidecker
Guests: 
Eric Wareheim
Guests: 
Roz Chast
Guests: 
Andrew Noz
Guests: 
Seth Morris
Guests: 
David Javerbaum

This week!
Rap Recommendations: Andrew Noz schools us on some rap you may have missed, with vampire imitator and Bay Area rapper Cousin Fik’s track I Am a Vampire” and tangential Odd Future member Pyramid Vritra’s Blu Diamonds. (Embed or share this segment)

Comedy Duo Tim & Eric: Masters of the surreal, uncomfortable and gross Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, talk to us about moving past the curated internet weirdness, working with both hugely unique but unknown performers -- like puppeteer David Liebe Hart -- and established actors like John C. Reilly. They also give us behind the scenes insight on the promotion of their newest project, Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie and their unofficial support of another great cinema classic, Shrek 3. Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie is available now On Demand, and will be released in theaters on March 2nd.

Click through to listen to the NSFPR (Not Safe for Public Radio) extended cut of the interview. (Embed or share this segment)

God’s Effusions (on His Favorite Things): Did you ever stop to consider God’s favorite things? Wonder no more. Emmy award winning comedy writer David Javerbaum is the unlikely co-writer of The Last Testament: A Memoir by God. Comedian Seth Morris acts as God’s loudspeaker to bring us this excerpt. (Embed or share this segment)

Cartoonist Roz Chast: If you’ve ever read the New Yorker, you’ve likely come across one of Roz Chast’s uniquely anxious cartoons. Now, she shares with us some of her anxieties and how she puts them down with a bullet-point in her book What I Hate: From A to Z. If you’ve ever felt imperiled by sitting on the ground or a balloon’s frustratingly imminent pop -- Roz can commiserate. (Embed or share this segment)

The Outshot: Jesse helps us see the genuine emotion and delicacy Randy Newman exhibits in his songwriting beyond the film soundtracks he’s known for, in the album Sail Away. (Embed or share this segment)

You can subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or the RSS feed -- stay tuned for next week's Bullseye!

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