Maximum Fun

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: J.K. Simmons & Solomon Georgio

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
J.K. Simmons
Guests: 
Solomon Georgio

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.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

J.K. Simmons on his career, musical theater and what it’s like to be made into an action figure

J.K. Simmons never imagined he would work in film or television. In 1978, he graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in music. Many years later he put that degree to use for the Broadway musical revival of “Guys and Dolls” with his portrayal of Benny Southstreet.

His mainstream breakthrough performance didn’t occur until 1997. For six seasons, he played a neo-nazi named Vernon Schillinger on the HBO prison drama “Oz.” The groundbreaking program was the first hour-long drama produced by HBO. It was also one of the most graphic and violent shows on television at the time. In 2015, J.K. Simmons starred alongside Miles Teller in the movie “Whiplash,” directed by Damien Chazelle. His performance earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of a ruthless, sadistic jazz instructor.

He's also known for his portrayal of John Jonah Jameson, the editor of the Daily Bugle in the Spiderman. Simmons’ portrayal is bombastic, unrelentless, and one of the best sources of comic relief in that series. It’s a performance that’s not many degrees away from the rage he channeled in “Oz,” but is done with a sort of charm that only J.K. could pull off.

J.K. Simmons stars in the new drama The Bachelors. In it, Simmons plays a math teacher named Bill Palet. Bill just lost his wife, and he's trying to move past it. One day Bill wakes up, and decides it’s time for a big change. Bill and his son, Wes, move out to California where Bill takes a job at a private school. Jesse talks with J.K. Simmons about the new film, musical theater, and of course, the John Jonah Jameson action figure (with Desk Pounding Action™).

Click here to listen J.K. Simmons' interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Solomon Georgio on his debut comedy album: Homonegro Superior

Solomon Georgio made his television debut on CONAN in 2015. Since then he has appeared on The Meltdown with Jonah & Kumail, Viceland's Flophouse and Last Call with Carson Daly. His writing credits include contributions to “Adam Ruins Everything” on TruTV and “Spongebob Squarepants” on Nickelodeon.

He’s from Seattle, via Fresno, via St. Louis, Via Sudan and then Ethiopia, where his parents are from. These days he lives in Los Angeles. Sometimes his stand-up is vulnerable and sincere, talking about childhood trauma. But then he'll strike a pose and make an outrageous joke about his perfect thigh gap and like magic - you believe him. It’s that kind of charisma that gives him a unique presence on stage.

Earlier this year he got his own half-hour Comedy Central special. On the same day he released his debut record - Homonegro Superior, one of our favorites this year. Jesse talks with Solomon about his new comedy album, what it was like to come out to his parents as gay and what it was like to come out as a stand-up comedian.

Click here to listen Solomon Georgio's interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: ”Child of the Ghetto” by G. Dep

Finally, for this week's Outshot: Jesse talks about “Child of the Ghetto” by Ghetto Dependent. The record came out in 2001 via Bad Boy Records. One highlight is the track “Everyday,” which relays some of the most realistic portrayals of being broke.

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

Who Shot Ya? Episode 13: WWII Movies and Darkest Hour with John Roderick

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Show: 
Who Shot Ya?
Guests: 
Ricky Carmona
Guests: 
April Wolfe
Guests: 
Alonso Duralde
Guests: 
John Roderick

Hit the deck! Because the crew is talking about Darkest Hour. John Roderick joins the gang to discuss some of his favorite war movies and his upcoming MaxFun war movie podcast, Friendly Fire. Ricky accidentally creates an offshoot Maximum Fun network called Maximum Cuddle. April pours one out for the demise of LA Weekly. And Alonso is once again put to the test in Stump Alonso.

In news, Rashida Jones speaks out about Pixar, fans of Zack Snyder petition, Tiffany Haddish and Barbra Streisand are friends, and Armie Hammer gets digitally "retouched".

Weekly Movie Recommendations:

April - The Disaster Artist
Alonso - Miss Stevens
Ricky - Gimme Danger

With Alonso Duralde, April Wolfe, and Ricky Carmona.

You can let us know what you think of Who Shot Ya? at @WhoShotYaPod on Twitter. Or email us at whoshotya@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 4: Pan's Labyrinth with Issa López

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Guests: 
April Wolfe
Guests: 
Issa López

This week is a fantastical episode of Switchblade Sisters where April sits down with director Issa Lopez to discuss the influential Guillermo Del Toro film, Pan's Labyrinth. Issa opens up about her lonesome adolescence, the death of her mother, and how these events influenced her work. She tells April about the emotional process of working with children on her most recent film, the fantasy-horror Tigers Are Not Afraid. And she also discusses the culture of witchcraft and magic in Mexico and how that pervades many Mexican artist's work.

Keep an eye out for Issa López's most recent film Tigers Are Not Afraid.

And if you haven't seen it yet, go watch Pan's Labyrinth.

With April Wolfe and Issa Lopez

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters at @SwitchbladePod on Twitter. Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Pop Rocket Episode 151: Who's in Your Coven?

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Louis Virtel
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Dave White

It's Louis Virtel's last week guest hosting Pop Rocket and so we let him choose today's topic. Louis decided to have the panelists create their own covens and fill it with 5 of the raddest living women. Which of the panelists feels Chrissy Teigen is their spirit animal? Who believes Jane Curtin really represents their soul? Tune in and find out! Plus, Dave wants to dive into sad Christmas, Karen gets into true crime, Wynter's gotta have it, and Louis can't help but love Call Me By Your Name.

With Louis Virtel, Wynter Mitchell, Karen Tongson and Dave White.

That’s My Jam:

Dave White - The Partridge Family - I Can Feel Your Heartbeat
Karen Tongson - Mel C - Suddenly Monday
Wynter Mitchell - Teen Titans Go! Cast - Work on an Episode
Louis Virtel - Boy Krazy - That's What Love Can Do

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas for MaximumFun.org.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Margaret Cho & Lisa Hanawalt

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Margaret Cho
Guests: 
Lisa Hanawalt

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.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Margaret Cho on Growing Up Korean American, Breaking Through in Comedy and Gay Men She Loved and Lost

[R] Whether it’s growing up as a Korean-American girl in San Francisco or breaking through the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy in the early nineties, Margaret Cho has always found a way use all of life’s experiences to create entertainment.

Cho famously co-created and starred in the first sitcom that focused on an Asian American family. "All-American Girl" was cancelled in its first season, but it became a part of American television history and helped lay the groundwork for sitcoms like "Fresh Off the Boat." Since then, Cho has continued her standup career, and appeared in numerous film and television shows including "Dr. Ken," "Family Guy," "Sex in the City" and on "30 Rock," where in separate episodes, she played North Korean dictators: Kim Jong Il and later his son Kim Jong-un.

Today, we're revisiting our conversation with Margaret Cho from last year. She sat down with Jesse to talk about beginning her career during the 90's comedy boom in San Francisco, growing up in a Korean immigrant family, and how the community around her family’s gay bookstore continues to touch and inspire her life.

Margaret Cho’s new album American Myth is now available on iTunes and on her website, MargaretCho.com. She also just launched a huge international tour of standup, called "Fresh off the Bloat." It kicked off just last week in Scotland.

Click here to listen to Margaret Cho's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Lisa Hanawalt on BoJack Horseman, Food Obsessions and Martha Stewart’s Horse

Lisa Hanawalt enjoys exploring the strange ins and outs of her world using words and illustrations. She has a fondness for drawing anthropomorphized animals which often represent characters, including herself. Her work reveals a childlike wonder, even while exploring adult themes.

Her illustrations and writing have appeared in numerous print and online publications including McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. In 2010, she earned the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic for her work on her first comic series, "I Want You."

Her work can be seen on Netflix’s "Bojack Horseman," where Hanawalt serves as production designer and producer. She can also be heard on the Maximum Fun podcast, Baby Geniuses, which she co-hosts with Emily Heller.

We spoke in 2016. In the interview, she sat down with Jesse to talk about her work on "BoJack Horseman," her latest book "Hot Dog Taste Test" and her fascination with Martha Stewart’s horse.

Click here to listen to Lisa Hanawalt's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images.

The Outshot: Draymond Green

Finally, for this week's Outshot: Jesse praises a basketball player who may not get all the fame, but is no less deserving of the glory.

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

Who Shot Ya? Episode 12: Thanksgiving!

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Show: 
Who Shot Ya?
Guests: 
Ricky Carmona
Guests: 
April Wolfe
Guests: 
Alonso Duralde
Guests: 
Drea Clark

It's turkey time, people. This week the gang is joined by film programmer and producer Drea Clark to talk about all things Thanksgiving. Ricky and the crew go over some of their favorite Thanksgiving moments in film, as well as what movies to see during the holiday weekend. Ricky calls out Thanksgiving movies for being way too white. Alonso delivers a passionate plea for cranberry sauce. April shares an embarrassing Thanksgiving memory featuring a crotchety aunt. And Drea gives us a peak into her "John Hughes" like adolescence. Plus, as always, everyone tries their best to Stump Alonso.

Weekly Movie Recommendations:

April - Mudbound
Alonso - Call Me By Your Name
Ricky - The Breakfast Club
Drea - Fruitvale Station

With Alonso Duralde, April Wolfe, Drea Clark, and Ricky Carmona.

You can let us know what you think of Who Shot Ya? at @WhoShotYaPod on Twitter. Or email us at whoshotya@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 3: The Invitation with Heather Matarazzo

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Guests: 
April Wolfe
Guests: 
Heather Matarazzo

This week, April sits down with actress, producer, and director Heather Matarazzo (Welcome to the Dollhouse, Saved, The Princess Diaries). They talk about a movie directed by last week's guest Karyn Kusama, the 2015 film The Invitation. April and Heather discuss the effectiveness of the setting as well as the powerful performance of Tammy Blanchard. Heather also talks about what it's like navigating a corrupt Hollywood system as a woman, having her role recast two weeks before a production, and what interests her about violence committed by women in cinema.

If you haven't seen it yet, you must go watch The Invitation on Netflix now.

With April Wolfe and Heather Matarazzo

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters at @SwitchbladePod on Twitter. Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Greta Gerwig & Pixar's Lee Unkrich

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Greta Gerwig
Guests: 
Lee Unkrich

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.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain, Getty Images.

Greta Gerwig on her new film: Lady Bird

You probably know Greta Gerwig as an actress - she starred in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and a bunch of other mumblcore indies. She's also been in Oscar contenders like Jackie and 20th Century Women. Now, she's written and directed a film of her own: Lady Bird. It’s a piece of work that is grounded in reality - the reality of growing up. And no exaggeration - it's one of our favorite movies from this year.

The protagonist is named Christine McPherson, but she'd rather you call her Lady Bird. She's played by Saoirse Ronan, she lives in Sacramento and the whole movie is set in 2002. It's almost like a period piece from the Bush years. You can bet anyone with a cell phone is rocking a flip phone. Greta talks with Jesse about growing up in Sacramento and the importance of writing the phrase "hella tight" in the script of a major motion picture.

Click here to listen to Greta Gerwig's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Pixar’s Lee Unkrich on directing Coco.

For over 20 years, Lee Unkrich has been one of the leading creative voices at Pixar. He worked on Toy Story, Finding Nemo, A Bug's Life, and a bunch more. He directed Toy Story 3, probably the darkest and most affecting of the movies in that series.

Now, he's directed Coco, the newest Disney Pixar movie. Set in Mexico, Coco is a story wrapped up in the Mexican day of the dead - Dia De Muertos. Lee Unkrich talk with Jesse about the making of Coco and lots more, especially his time working on 1993 USA classic police procedural Silk Stalkings back when Pixar was a side gig for him. What could be sexier than solving sex-related crimes on cable television in the 90's?

Click here to listen to Lee Unkrich's interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: E.B. White’s Death of a Pig

Finally, for this week's Outshot: E.B. White’s most eloquent words about a pig were not about Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. Jesse talks about White's Death of a Pig, which was first published in The Atlantic in 1948.

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

Who Shot Ya? Episode 11: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri w/ Inkoo Kang

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Show: 
Who Shot Ya?
Guests: 
Ricky Carmona
Guests: 
April Wolfe
Guests: 
Alonso Duralde
Guests: 
Inkoo Kang

On this week's episode the gang is joined by friend-of-the-show, film critic Inkoo Kang, to discuss Martin McDonagh's new film Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Heads up: This episode features a provocative and heated debate about the film that pits April and Inkoo against Alonso and Ricky. Inkoo fills everyone in on the new Stephen Soderbergh "Choose Your Own Adventure" film, Mosaic. April challenges the Directors Guild of America to advocate for its female members. And of course, the holiday tradition continues with another installment of Stump Alonso.

In news, Gal Gadot confirms that Brett Ratner is not involved with Wonder Woman 2, Stephen Soderberg has a new series for your phone, the DGA announces a spike in the number of women and ethnic minorities hired as first time directors, and people are watching Netflix in the bathroom.

Weekly Movie Recommendations:

April - They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Alonso - I'll Be Seeing You
Inkoo - Happy Valley
Ricky - Darkman

With Alonso Duralde, April Wolfe, Inkoo Kang and Ricky Carmona.

You can let us know what you think of Who Shot Ya? at @WhoShotYaPod on Twitter. Or email us at whoshotya@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

Switchblade Sisters Episode 2: Near Dark with Karyn Kusama

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Guests: 
April Wolfe
Guests: 
Karyn Kusama

This week, April sits down with director Karyn Kusama (Girl Fight, Jennifer's Body, The Invitation) to discuss the Kathryn Bigelow vampire classic, Near Dark. The two marvel at Bigelow's mastery in crafting a vampire western, the amazing performance of Bill Paxton as the villainous Severen, and the elegant cinematography throughout the film. Plus, Karyn talks about her journey as a director from discovering Michelle Rodriguez for Girl Fight, to subverting genre expectations for Jennifer's Body.

You can watch Karyn's most recent film The Invitation on Netflix.

And if you haven't seen it yet, go watch Near Dark.

You can let us know what you think of Switchblade Sisters at @SwitchbladePod on Twitter. Or email us at switchbladesisters@maximumfun.org
Produced by Casey O'Brien and Laura Swisher for MaximumFun.org.

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