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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Paul Feig, Ophira Eisenberg, Emily Nussbaum

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Paul Feig
Guests: 
Ophira Eisenberg
Guests: 
Emily Nussbaum

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Director Paul Feig: Breaking Out of Movie Jail with Bridesmaids and The Heat

A few years ago, Paul Feig was enjoying a relatively successful career as a TV director. His ode to adolescence, Freaks and Geeks, had a short run but was critically acclaimed. He went on to direct pivotal episodes of The Office, take a turn on Mad Men, and make the rounds on 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Arrested Development, too.

But Feig's work in film was a little rockier. His first two studio films struggled to find audiences, and he was serving time in "movie jail", the unofficial lockdown for directors who helm flops. But he got a third chance, directing a talented cast of women in Bridesmaids. And that time, it hit.

His new film, The Heat, pairs Melissa McCarthy with Sandra Bullock in the traditional buddy cop genre.

Feig talks to us about how his childhood magic hobby led to a career in comedy, why he prefers directing women to men, and the undue box office pressure on films starring women.

The Heat is in theaters nationwide on June 28.

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TV Recommendations with Emily Nussbaum: "Orange is the New Black" and "Inside Amy Schumer"

The New Yorker’s television critic, Emily Nussbaum, joins us to talk about TV you should be watching. She recommends the upcoming Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black, from Jenji Kohan, creator of the hit Showtime dramedy Weeds. Kohan's new show follows the life of a middle-class woman sent to prison when her drug smuggling past catches up to her. Nussbaum also recommends the Comedy Central sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, hosted by Schumer and filled with exaggerated takes on some of her favorite topics: sex, porn, relationships, and how to take a compliment.

Orange Is The New Black's 13 episode season premieres on Netflix on July 11.

Inside Amy Schumer airs Tuesdays at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central. The show was just picked up for a second season.

Want to suggest these TV picks to a friend? Click here to listen, embed and share these recommendations from Emily Nussbaum.


Writer and Comedian Ophira Eisenberg on "Sleeping My Way to Monogamy"

Comedian Ophira Eisenberg is happily married and she's got a pretty steady day job, for a comic (she's the host of NPR’s quiz show Ask Me Another). But her life wasn't always so settled. Eisenberg’s new memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, tells us how she got there -- by accident. She made a choice early on that dating was supposed to be fun, not a desperate and frenzied search to find "the one".

She describes the best way to make the transition to living in New York City (just don't tell anyone back home!), what to say when your date asks you if you want to see "something special", and her newly optimistic philosophy on marriage.

Screw Everyone is available now.

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The Outshot: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Do you need to be a chef to be able to cook for yourself? The answer is no, and the proof is in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

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Wham Bam Pow Ep. 13 - Equilibrium and Studying up on Superman

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Show: 
Wham Bam Pow

This week, Rhea drops some little known Superman facts on us to help us prepare for Man of Steel, we take a look at the richly premised, gun kata extravaganza Equilibrium, and we miss Ricky (he'll be back next week!).

Articles discussed this week:
Via io9.com - Stunning Behind-the-Scenes Photos Show Iconic Movies in a New Light
Via io9.com - Super-Weird Facts That You Probably Didn't Know About Superman

Follow us on Twitter! Cameron is @cameronesposito, Rhea is @rheabutcher and Ricky is @rickycarmona. Discuss the show using the hashtag #WhamBamPow!

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Wham Bam Pow Ep. 12 - On Spoiler Alerts and Star Trek Into Darkness

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Wham Bam Pow

We're back this week with a look at one of the most anticipated flicks of the year, Star Trek Into Darkness. Plus, Ricky leads a discussion about spoilers, and we decide how we feel about them.

Follow us on Twitter! Cameron is @cameronesposito, Rhea is @rheabutcher and Ricky is @rickycarmona. Discuss the show using the hashtag #WhamBamPow!

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Weird Al, Geoff Nunberg, Andrew Noz

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Weird Al Yankovic
Guests: 
Geoff Nunberg
Guests: 
Andrew Noz


Hip Hop with Andrew Noz: DJ Quik's Pacific Coast Remix and Rammellzee's Beat Bop

Hip hop blogger and Pitchfork columnist Andrew Noz joins us with a couple of his all-time favorite hip hop tracks. His first recommendation is Pacific Coast Remix by DJ Quik (featuring Ludacris), a track devoted to sunny Los Angeles's dark side. He also suggests checking out the 1983 track Beat Bop by Rammellzee and K-Rob. It's a song from an era where the uptown and downtown communities mingled in a way that the rap world would rarely see again.


Weird Al Yankovic: King of Parody

Weird Al Yankovic is the undisputed king of parody music. Inspired by the novelty songs he heard on broadcasts of The Dr. Demento Show, Yankovic began writing his own comedy songs for the accordion -- starting with a love song to his parents' car, entitled Belvedere Cruisin'.

He sat down with us in 2011, before his album Alpocalypse was released. He talks about his food parodies (think "Eat It"), his special talent for rapping, and having an unusually long and successful career for a parodist (or musician of any kind).

Weird Al just kicked off a nationwide summer tour. He's also just released a new children's book, My New Teacher and Me. You can find more information .


Linguist Geoff Nunberg on The First Sixty Years of Assholism

Geoff Nunberg is a professor at UC Berkeley, the resident linguist of Fresh Air, and the author of Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years. He talks to us about his studies into the word "asshole," which began life as a bit of slang used by WWII servicemen and has come to envelop the concept of modern incivility.

We spoke in 2012. The book is now out in paperback.

(More of our conversation with Geoff Nunberg that didn't make the radio edit! Click to listen and share.)

The Outshot: The Late Show with David Letterman

Jesse explains what makes David Letterman such an especially gifted late night host in a world of very good late night hosts.

Got a cultural gem of your own? Pick your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forum.>

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Wham Bam Pow Ep. 11 - From the Vaults: Highlander and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

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Wham Bam Pow

You wanted to hear our thoughts on Highlander and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, so we dug into some early recordings to deliver. Who wants to live forever?!

Follow us on Twitter! Cameron is @cameronesposito, Rhea is @rheabutcher and Ricky is @rickycarmona. Discuss the show using the hashtag #WhamBamPow!

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Christopher Guest & Dan Kennedy

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Christopher Guest
Guests: 
Dan Kennedy
Guests: 
Marah Eakin
Guests: 
Andrea Battleground

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Christopher Guest on Making "Family Tree" and Pitch-Perfect Parodies

Christopher Guest is best known for his faux-documentary comedies: films like This Is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. His very earliest work was in the theater -- he co-wrote National Lampoon's Lemmings -- and then in the mid-80s, he made a quick foray into television on Saturday Night Live.

Now he's returned to TV with a comedy created for HBO, Family Tree. The show follows wayward thirty-something Tom Chadwick (played by Chris O'Dowd), who digs deep into his family's history after being dumped by his longtime girlfriend. Though Guest's films usually follow a specific subculture (that of dog shows, community musical theater, or the world of heavy metal), Family Tree focuses on Tom, his family, and the many people he meets while trying to dig up genealogical dirt.

Guest joins us to talk about what makes bad music parodies so awful, how to keep from being swayed by film critics' reviews, and the most bizarre reaction to a Hollywood pitch that he's ever received.

Family Tree airs Sunday nights at 10:30pm on HBO.

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Summer Rock Recommendations from The AV Club: Mikal Cronin's MCII and Vampire Weekend's "Modern Vampires of the City"

Summer's almost here – so why not celebrate with some new music? The AV Club's Music Editor Marah Eakin and Lead Copy Editor Andrea Battleground have a couple albums in mind. Andrea suggests checking out Mikal Cronin's latest album, MCII, a garage-rock record that brings a poppy, melodic twist to the genre. Marah's pick is Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City, the latest record from the New York-based indie rock band that she says is just as much fun coming from your speakers as it is live.

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Nick Krill of The Spinto Band on "The Song That Changed My Life": "Pueblo Nuevo" by The Buena Vista Social Club

Nick Krill was stuck in a musical rut. He'd been listening to the same records for years, and was happy doing it. But while he was on tour, he heard something that nudged him to branch out again. That song was "Pueblo Nuevo" by The Buena Vista Social Club – a song that got him thinking about rhythm and composition in totally new ways.

The Spinto Band's latest record, Cool Cocoon, was released earlier this year.

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Dan Kennedy on Making His Most Personal Moments Public

Here's something terrifying about the internet: once something's out there, it's out there. Sure, your Facebook and Twitter posts have a handy delete button next to them, but clicking on them is no guarantee that they'll go away forever.

That's something Dan Kennedy's painfully aware of. As a writer, host of The Moth storytelling podcast, and an acerbically brilliant Twitter user, he gets more mileage than most of us do from taking his most personal moments and making them public. But Kennedy's found that this kind of sharing can have its downsides – hence his first novel, American Spirit, which just came out today. The book has a few anecdotes inspired by Kennedy's real life. American Spirit follows Matthew, a fired media executive whose life is falling apart; in fact, things are so bad, he finds himself divorced and living in his car. But in spite of the plot's direness, American Spirit is strangely hilarious and life affirming.

Dan Kennedy sits down with us to discuss how he inadvertently started working on the book long before he sat down to knock out a first draft, the responsibilities that writing non-fiction brings, and why living each day as if it was your last is actually a really terrible idea.

American Spirit was just released today. You can hear Kennedy as the host of The Moth Podcast.

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The Outshot: "Coney Island"

Ever feel nostalgia for a time or place that you never even experienced firsthand? That's what Jesse felt after watching Ric Burns' documentary Coney Island, a beautiful portrait of America caught somewhere between its past and its future.

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Wham Bam Pow Ep. 10 - Bad Boys and The Dread Pirate Roberts

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Wham Bam Pow

This week, Rhea and Ricky face off in a competitive Pitch It, and only one walks away with a wheelbarrow full of imaginary money! Plus, Cameron shares the movie that made her, and we take a look at the 1995 buddy cop flick Bad Boys. Whatcha gonna do?

Follow us on Twitter! Cameron is @cameronesposito, Rhea is @rheabutcher and Ricky is @rickycarmona. Discuss the show using the hashtag #WhamBamPow!

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Mel Brooks and Directors of "The Source Family"

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Mel Brooks
Guests: 
Maria Demopoulos
Guests: 
Jodi Wille
Guests: 
Andrew Noz

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Hip Hop Recommendations from Andrew Noz: Juice by Chance The Rapper and Picacho by Young Thug (feat. Maceo)

Andrew Noz joins us to provide some recommendations from the world of hip hop. First, he talks to us about Chance the Rapper's self-proclaimed lyrical challenge, as evidenced in Juice, a track off his latest mixtape, Acid Rap. And what if Lil Wayne stayed off the beaten pop music path? It might sound like Young Thug's weirded-out track, Picacho.

Andrew Noz is the columnist for Pitchfork's Hall of Game, and also blogs and Tumblr-s regularly at Cocaine Blunts and Tumblin 'Erb.

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Mel Brooks catching up on the present in between takes of History Of The World: Part I. (Photo by Pamela Barkentin Blackburn.)

Mel Brooks Takes Down Hitler (and Makes a Few Wonderfully Bad Jokes Along the Way)

It's hard to imagine what American comedy would look like without Mel Brooks. With a sharp eye for parody, a seemingly infinite supply of gags, and enough destruction of the fourth wall to make a postmodern novelist blush, his work has set the tone for countless comedy TV shows and films. It's hard to imagine SNL's relentless TV parodies without Your Show Of Shows (which Brooks wrote for alongside Sid Caesar back in the 50s), The Simpsons without his filmography full of sly pop-culture references, or the careers of Airplane! creators Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker without Brooks' shameless love of (self-admittedly) awful jokes.

A new PBS American Masters documentary, Mel Brooks: Make A Noise, explores the life and career of the EGOT winner and man behind The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and so much more. Brooks talks to us about fighting in World War II (where he managed to even make a few Germans laugh), the genius of Gene Wilder, and that time Sid Caesar dangled Brooks out the window of a Chicago hotel room.

PBS's American Masters documentary Mel Brooks: Make A Noise premieres Monday, May 20. Check with your public television station for local listings. A box set from Shout! Factory with over ten hours of rare and exclusive footage was also released late last year.

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Directors Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille on The Source Family, LA's Most Famous Hippie Cult

The Source Family fit the conventional image of a typical hippie cult in a lot of ways – assuming, of course, that there is such a thing as a typical hippie cult. You could point to the commune, the long hair, the Jesus-y robes...not to mention occasional hits of what they called "sacred herb". Dig deeper, though, and it becomes clear that there was plenty that separated the Source Family from stereotypes.

The group was just as unique as their leader, a man who called himself Father Yod. He was a former Marine, stuntman, jujitsu expert who founded the Source Family alongside a highly successful vegetarian restaurant. Out of the back of that restaurant, the family sold recordings of their regular jam sessions, which became the stuff of psychedelic rock legend. Perhaps most unlike your average cult leader, Father Yod was not particularly attached to any particular ideology – not even his own. In direct violation of his own commandments, Yod married thirteen wives, a move which both alienated a number of family members and caught the LAPD's attention. This caused the Source Family to flee to Hawaii, which ultimately resulted in the group's demise.

We're delving further into LA's most famous hippie cult with the help of Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille, the directors of a new documentary called The Source Family. They discuss the group's run-ins with celebrities (and law enforcement), why Father Yod once told his followers to cut their hair and get jobs, and whether or not they would have joined the group, if given the chance.

The Source Family is in limited nationwide theatrical release. For information about screenings at a theater near you, check out the film's website.

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The Outshot: Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson

This week, find out why Jesse's been spending a lot of time with Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson, a home-tome that gracefully runs the housekeeping gamut from sections titled "Administering Insurance Policies" to "Privacy, Sex, and the Constitution".

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Simon Amstell and Brian K. Vaughan

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Simon Amstell
Guests: 
Brian K. Vaughan
Guests: 
Jordan Morris
Guests: 
Erik Adams
Guests: 
Claire Zulkey

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All-Time TV Favorites: Spaced and Twin Peaks

We're joined by AV Club Assistant TV Editor Erik Adams and contributor Claire Zulkey for some all-time favorite TV picks. Claire recommends checking out Spaced, a lightning-fast, pop-culture-tastic British sitcom from the brains behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Erik's pick is the mysterious, funny, and very surreal Twin Peaks, David Lynch and Mark Frost's series about a small town with big secrets.

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Simon Amstell on provoking Jermaine Jackson, his shamanic quest to find peace, and television fame

This interview originally aired December 2012.

Years before he became famous in Britain for skewering celebrities on Popworld and Nevermind the Buzzcocks, Simon Amstell's childhood ambition was to be on TV. And unlike most kids with dreams of TV stardom, he made it a reality -- but found it less fulfilling than he had hoped. Comedian, writer and TV host Amstell joins us this week to share his experiences in the entertainment industry, including navigating the delicate line between crafting clever comedy and bullying his celebrity guests as a TV host, writing and starring in Grandma's House, a sitcom with parallels to his own life, and seeking enlightenment on a Shamanic quest in South America.

Simon Amstell returns to the US in early May to perform his stand-up special, Numb, along the west coast. You can find tour dates and more info about Simon at his website.

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Jordan Morris ranks America's stuff

This segment originally aired December 2012.

In this era of constant hustle and bustle, who can keep up with what's HOT and what's NOT in these United States? Fortunately, expert stuff-ranker Jordan Morris joins us this week to fill us in and set us straight.

Jordan Morris co-hosts the podcast Jordan, Jesse, Go!. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jordan_Morris.
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Brian K. Vaughan on creation, from babies to universes

This segment originally aired December 2012.

Brian K. Vaughan has the kind of strange and epic vision that's made for science fiction and fantasy. He's written award-winning comic book series like Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man, and helped craft otherworldly storylines for several seasons of Lost.

His works are notable for their intimacy and beautiful, meticulously crafted characters, despite grandly epic settings. His most recent comic book series, Saga, is a prime example: Vaughan presents a fundamentally domestic story of parents trying to give their child a good life, backed by a colossal, galactic war. He joins us this week to share why he enjoys storytelling on a grand scale. Vaughan also explains why writing stories about lesser-known comic characters -- like Marvel's weird wildman Ka-Zar -- can be preferable to writing about the big names like Spiderman, and he tracks how fatherhood has affected his writing.

Volume One of Saga is available in bookstores and digitally at Comixology. Volume Two is available for pre-order; it will be released on July 9.

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The Outshot: The Dirtbombs' "Ultraglide in Black"

This segment originally aired October 2012.

Rage, garage punk, and R&B. The Dirtbombs' music has it all, and Jesse suggests you check out their album Ultraglide in Black.

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Wham Bam Pow Ep. 6 - Godzilla and Film Writer Max Borenstein

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Show: 
Wham Bam Pow
Guests: 
Max Borenstein

It's a Rhea/Ricky Pitch It face-off! Plus screenwriter Max Borenstein joins us in studio to talk about getting started in film & reveals his 2014 project & hey! Speaking of that we reviewed the best Taco Bell commercial of all time: GODZILLA.

Follow us on Twitter! Cameron is @cameronesposito, Rhea is @rheabutcher, and Ricky is @rickycarmona.

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