Diana Ross

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tracee Ellis Ross and Megan Mullally

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tracee Ellis Ross
Guests: 
Megan Mullally

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Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Megan Mullally: On her Childhood, The Return of Will & Grace, and Performing with Donald Trump

Megan Mullally is one of those actors who just kind of radiates confidence and poise. In the nearly 100 roles she's had on film & TV, that's made her stand out. She's kind of a character actress - a lot of the time she plays people with huge personalities.

If you're a fan of Parks and Recreation, you'll remember she played Tammy, the ex-wife of Ron Swanson- a kind of menacing, toxic seductress. Ron is played by Nick Offerman, by the way - Megan's real-life husband.

She also has some unforgettable credits on shows like Bob's Burgers, Childrens Hospital, even a few episodes on 30 Rock.

But she's probably best known for her role in the groundbreaking sitcom "Will & Grace" where she plays Karen Walker- a kind of deranged, sociopathic, judgmental socialite who works for Grace on the show.

During its original run, between 1998 and 2006, the show earned 16 Emmy awards and over 80 nominations. Last year, the show returned for a 9th season. Megan, who's already won two Emmys for her role as Karen, is now up for her third award in the supporting actress category.

Megan tells Jess about why she feels she was born - yes, literally born - to be in showbiz. Plus, she talks about the time she sang the theme song from "Green Acres" on stage at the Emmys with Donald Trump.

If you haven't seen the new season of Will and Grace, you gotta! It's free to stream on NBC's website right now.

Click here to listen to Megan Mullally's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Tracee Ellis Ross: On Directing and Growing Up with Diana Ross

Director and actress Tracee Ellis Ross was born in Los Angeles to music executive Bob Ellis and singer Diana Ross. Yes, THE Diana Ross!

For a while she worked in indie films and made for TV movies, then in 2000 she broke through on the sitcom "Girlfriends" - she starred as Joan Clayton. The show ran for eight smash hit seasons on UPN and the CW.

In 2014, she took on a role in a new series: ABC's "Black-ish." Starring alongside Anthony Anderson, Tracee plays Dr. Rainbow Johnson, an anesthesiologist who's married to Andre, Anderson's character. The show focuses on Dre and Bow, as they're called. They've settled down in the suburbs and started a family. As the kids grow up and the family settles in, Dre and Bow realize the life their kids are leading is very different from their own. The show touches on race, class, and politics.

The role has earned Tracee a Golden Globe award for Best Actress, and now she's up for the same honor at this year's Emmys.

Tracee talked with Karen Tongson, professor of English and Gender studies at USC, and co-host of Pop Rocket, Bullseye's sister show over here at Maximum Fun.

In their conversation, Tracee and Karen go deep into her acting and work directing Black-ish, and she talks about what it was like to grow up in a New York apartment when your mom is Diana Ross.

You can stream or buy all four seasons of Black-ish on a bunch of different platforms right now. Like we said before, she's up for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards this year. Wanna see if she'll win it? Tune in September 17.

Click here to listen to Tracee Ellis Ross's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Courtesy of Entertainment One

The Outshot: "The Eye Has to Travel"

In this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about Diana Vreeland, the subject of the 2011 documentary "The Eye Has to Travel." It's about the life of Diana Vreeland. You could say she was a fashion editor, but that certainly undersells her. She is the fashion editor's fashion editor - a transformational figure who carried women's style from the Edwardian to the modern. She convinced the world to wear blue jeans and bikinis. She ran Harper's Bazaar, then Vogue, and changed them both forever. Above all else, she spoke with the perfect combination of audacity and charm.

Click here to listen to The Outshot on YouTube.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Nile Rodgers, Mark Frauenfelder

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Nile Rodgers
Guests: 
Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder Recommends: The Hunter by Richard Stark and Every Noise At Once

BoingBoing founder and editor Mark Frauenfelder joins us to share a few of his all-time favorite pop culture picks. His first recommendation is The Hunter, a dark 1962 novel reminiscent of antihero-driven television shows like Breaking Bad. Next, you'll need something to soothe your senses – how about some new music? Check out Every Noise At Once, a website that introduces listeners to obscure genres from Arab soul to zouk.

Disco Pioneer Nile Rodgers on Producing Hits, The Legacy of Disco, and the "Deep Hidden Meaning"

You might not recognize Nile Rodgers, who began his music career as part of the purposely faceless band Chic -- but you'd definitely know his music if you heard it. He founded Chic with bassist Bernard Edwards, launched a string of hits including "Le Freak" and "Good Times", and went on to become a songwriting and producing superstar with a tried-and-true formula.

The anthem "We are Family"? That's one of his, too. He was behind Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out", David Bowie's "Let's Dance", and Madonna's "Like a Virgin". He continues to make and perform music, both with Chic and as a producer. This month, you can hear him on Daft Punk's new album Random Access Memories, contributing a signature guitar sound to the single "Get Lucky".

Back in 2011, Rodgers spoke with us about a beatnik childhood, decades of writing hits (including the gay anthem "I'm Coming Out" for Diana Ross), and the legacy of disco.

His memoir is Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny.

(This interview originally aired in November 2011.)

Nichols and May Examine Doctors

Who are Mike Nichols and Elaine May? You might know them both for their film and theater work (among many other things, Nichols directed The Graduate and May helmed The Heartbreak Kid). But first, they performed as a improvisational comedy duo in the early 1960s on TV and on bestselling comedy albums, often fixed on skewering relationships. Case in point: a classic comedy sketch from 1962's Nichols and May Examine Doctors, in which a workplace fling becomes a matter of life or death.

Nichols and May Examine Doctors was recently reissued as a CD and digital download.

The Outshot: Bill Cunningham New York

Jesse examines the often superficial fashion world and finds a stunningly sincere and emotional portrait of a man. The man is New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, and the portrait is Richard Press's biographical documentary Bill Cunningham New York.

(This segment originally aired in April 2012.)

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