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.
[r] Sleater-Kinney is one of the most-loved indie bands of the past two decades. The band formed in the latter days of the riot grrrl movement in Olympia, Washington, and found an intense following. They were fierce, and they let their ideas "fill the room".
After recording eight albums and tons of touring, they went on hiatus. The band's members pursued other musical and creative projects, but there was a nagging question -- what would it be like if Sleater-Kinney returned?
In January of 2015, the band released a new record called No Cities to Love. It had been nearly a decade since their last LP.
Corin Tucker, the group's co-founder, joins us to talk about soaking up the punk and riot grrrl scenes of the early 1990s, finding her voice, and why Sleater-Kinney returned.
Tom Arnold is a real show business survivor. His first big job in Hollywood was as a writer on Roseanne. He ended up married to her. He became a regular on the show and their relationship was tabloid fodder for five years. By the time they broke up in 1994, you couldn't make it through a late night monologue without a Tom Arnold joke.
But Arnold never stopped working, as a character actor, as a sports talk show host, as a stand up comic, and now in his 50s he's a dad for the first time and he's now been a star in Hollywood for thirty years and continues to make headlines. Arnold also continues to perform stand up across the country.
Tom talks with us about growing up in Iowa and fighting bullies, the difficulties of working in Las Vegas, his enduring respect for Roseanne, and the way he's found satisfaction with his work.
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.
This week Bullseye with Jesse Thorn breaks format to bring you something from another great show on the Maximum Fun Network.
If you know John Hodgman , it's probably as The Deranged Millionaire on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, his appearances on Red Oaks or maybe from his books of world knowledge. Or, maybe, as the PC from the Mac vs. PC ads. What you might not know is that he's also a fake judge on the internet.
On Judge John Hodgman, he hears disputes from real people all over the world via Skype and tells them who's right and who's wrong. Jesse Thorn is the bailiff. The two cases you’ll be hearing are slightly truncated versions. If you want to hear the full versions, click below.
Mike brings the case against his mom, Maribeth. He says Maribeth knowingly took her daughter-in-law's recipes for a family cookbook and passed them off as her own. Maribeth says that the attribution was implied and there was no wrongdoing.
Naomi files suit against her husband, Spencer. She’s embarrassed by his loud and incessant heckling at baseball games. She’s frustrated that Spencer continues heckling at baseball games despite his promises that he’ll stop.
If you liked what you heard today, there are over 250 episodes of Judge John Hodgman ready and waiting for you, and a new one added each week! Click here to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, or look for it in your favorite podcatcher.
Jesse Thorn sits down with legendary musician Bill Withers to talk about growing up in West Virginia, working in the music industry and why he wouldn’t dance onstage. Plus comedian and writer Joe Randazzo joins Jesse to discuss his book Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy.
The Bullseye team has taken on the terrible task of finding the best of the best comedy albums and bringing them to you in a nice little end of year package. 2016 has been a rough year, so listen to some incredible comedians to celebrate making it through!
Links have been provided below for all of the comedians you’ve heard on this episode.
Kyle Kinane - Loose In Chicago
Matt Besser - Matt Besser Breaks The Record
Colin Quinn - Unconstitutional
Maria Bamford - 20%
Chris Garcia - Laughing and Crying at the Same Time
Hari Kondabolu - Mainstream American Comic
Kamau Bell - Semi-Prominant Negro
Cameron Esposito - Marriage Material
Rhea Butcher - Butcher
Aparna Nancherla - Just PUtting It Out There
Josh Gondleman - Physical Whisper
Baron Vaughn - Blaxistential Crisis
Emily Maya Mills - By A Thread
Brandie Posey - Opinion Cave
Tig Notaro - Boyish Girl Interrupted
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.