Stand-Up Comedy

Everything's Coming Up Simpsons Ep. 164: It's Garry Shandling's Show w/ Al Jean

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Guests: 
Al Jean

With the holidays right around the corner we've got a special treat to show how thankful we are for all of you. This week, we're bringing back Al Jean! The longtime Simpsons showrunner returns to the Max Fun studios – this time around he joins us to discuss his contributions to "It's Garry Shandling's Show." We'll get the scoop on this cult hit, which shares a lot of DNA with the Simpsons. And just like last time he'll sprinkle in some Simpsons trivia throughout our conversation.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: George Clinton and Cristela Alonzo

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
George Clinton
Guests: 
Cristela Alonzo

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Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

P-Funk's George Clinton: From Doo Wop to Funk, and Saving His Musical Career

This week, we'll revisit a couple of our favorite interviews from Bullseye past. First up, the legendary George Clinton. He's the musician, producer and mastermind of Parliament-Funkadelic. He started his career singing doo wop, later found himself writing songs for Motown, and finally wound up creating a wholly unique sound and visual experience with Parliament-Funkadelic. They made hits like "One Nation Under A Groove" and "Flashlight" and their performances were as funky as their tunes.

In recent years, Clinton has found himself entangled in a series of legal battles over the copyrights of his songs. While fighting in the courts, George found himself fighting for his health as well. The doctor of the Funk gave himself his own prognosis: if he was going to continue a musical career and regain agency in his business affairs, he had to clean up his act, and he has.

The pioneer of funk joins us this week to talk about the evolution of his sound, getting wild onstage, and putting forward momentum back into his working and personal life.

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic are still touring and recording. You can track him down on his official website.

Check out this interview on YouTube!

This interview originally aired in March of 2014


Photo: Tommaso Boddi / Stringer

Cristela Alonzo has a new stand-up special on Netflix, Lower Classy

Cristela Alonzo is a veteran stand-up 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.

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 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 stand-up special, Lower Classy, is available to stream on Netflix now. You can also hear her on Maximum Fun's new scripted podcast "Bubble," in which she plays an evil corporate executive.

Check out this interview on YouTube!

This interview originally aired in February of 2017

The Outshot: "Wells for Boys"

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:

This segment originally aired in February of 2017

Check out this segment on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Judd Apatow & Romesh Ranganathan

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Judd Apatow
Guests: 
Romesh Ranganathan

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.

Judd Apatow on returning to stand-up comedy after more than 20 years

Judd Apatow is responsible for some of the funniest films and television shows of the past two decades. He got his start in Hollywood mostly by working behind the scenes - he was a writer on “The Larry Sanders Show,” a showrunner on “The Ben Stiller Show” and served as an executive producer on the short-lived NBC cult classic “Freaks and Geeks.”

Apatow has also produced movies like “Bridesmaids” and “Superbad,” and has written and directed plenty of features too, including, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Funny People,” “This Is 40,” and “Knocked Up.”

One of Judd’s true passions is stand-up comedy. When he was a teenager he worked at the East Side Comedy Club in Long Island. Back then he brushed shoulders with comics like Eddie Murphy and Rosie O’Donnell. In 1992, he was featured on HBO’s “Young Comedians Special.” In it, he shares the stage with Ray Romano and Andy Kindler.

Judd Apatow’s new Netflix stand-up special is appropriately called “Judd Apatow: The Return,” it marks his return to stand-up after more than 20 years. His material is sincere and relatable just like many of his films. In the special, he reads terrible poetry he wrote as a teenage to get the crowd going, he jokes about the disastrous time he threw the first pitch for the New York Mets, and he imagines what would happened if he ever decided to smoke pot with his kids. Need we say more!

Jesse talks with Judd about the new comedy special, and why it’s important to him to consciously choose to make his projects more inclusive and diverse.

Click here to listen to Judd Apatow's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Rory James/Flickr

Romesh Ranganathan on how his family's immigrant history informed his comedy

You might not know Romesh Ranganathan yet, but in the UK he’s a big celebrity best known for his stand-up comedy. He’s been a regular on spin offs of “The Great British Bake Off” and “The Apprentice.”

Romesh also hosts a travel show on the BBC called “Asian Provocateur.” In it, he travels around the world reconnecting with his parents’ home country of Sri Lanka. In the second season, Romesh travels to various locations in North America to meet more of his relatives, and his mother, Shanthi, tags along for his adventure.

The highlights of the show often feature Shanthi. She will stop at nothing to chide Romesh whenever she gets a chance. It’s really funny -- dare we say his mom is funnier than him. And Romesh knows this -- his relationship with his hilarious mother often drives much of his stand-up routine.

With hopes of making it big in the states; Romesh just moved to America with his wife, kids, and of course, his mother. He has an upcoming performance at the Greek Theater on Thursday December, 21, and tickets are still available. Romesh’s new comedy special, “Irrational,” was recorded at London's Hammersmith Apollo, and is available now. He hosts a podcast called "Hip Hop Saved My Life."

Jesse talks with Romesh about his love of hip-hop, and what it's like going from crying once a month in a corporate bathroom stall to selling out concert halls in London.

Click here to listen to Romesh Ranganathan's interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: 30 Rock’s Dr. Spaceman

Finally, for this week's Outshot: Dr. Spaceman. 30 Rock was a show with a thousand nearly perfect jokes. But there was only one most perfect joke among all those nearly perfect jokes. Jesse talks about what makes Chris Parnell’s portrayal Dr. Spaceman a very good bad doctor.

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

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