Bob Newhart, Mister Rogers and Me, Video Game Picks, and God on Sports

Episode 14

3rd April 2012

Jesse talks to Benjamin and Christopher Wagner about America’s most beloved broadcaster –Mister Fred Rogers — and they all hold back tears. Plus, we sit down with another beloved, cardigan-wearing American: Bob Newhart! And did you know God calls into sports talk radio programs? Bullseye features another chapter of God’s memoir, as written by comedy scribe David Javerbaum.

Episode notes

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Video Game Picks with Kumail Nanjiani & Heather Anne Campbell

This week’s pop culture recommendations come from the realm of video games, and sharing their expert opinions are comedian and video game journalist Heather Anne Campbell, as well as comedian and host of gaming podcast The Indoor Kids Kumail Nanjiani. Heather urges you to check out the inconceivably gorgeous hand-held adventure Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita, while Kumail endorses the side-scrolling platform throwback Rayman Origins.
(Embed or share Kumail & Heather’s video game recommendations this week!)


Comedian and Actor Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart is an actor, stand-up and legend of American comedy. A pioneer comedian in every sense, Bob began his comedy career when he and a friend improvised over-the-phone comedy routines to kill boredom at work, and subsequently sold the bits to radio stations. The “phone sketch” would be a schtick that would last throughout Newhart’s career, and featured quite prominently in the release of his 1960 comedy album debut Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart. The album was an unprecedented hit as a comedy recording, outselling Elvis Presley and winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Its success eventually led Newhart to television, first with a variety sketch show in the early ’60s, and then a pair of sitcoms: The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s, and Newhart in the early ’80s.

Bob joins us to reflect on his comedy career, from how he honed his craft as a solo straightman — leaving the wild responses on the other end of his phone conversations entirely in the minds of the audience — to what keeps him going today when he’s accomplished so much as a performer. Newhart still performs dozens of nights a year as a stand-up, while acting in both film and television. You can find him at BobNewhart.com.
(Embed or share this interview with Bob Newhart)


God on Sports

A January poll found that 43% of people believe God was willing Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos to improbable victories, while many more were flabbergasted by the implication that God might be deciding sports games. Has the Almighty ever swayed athletic outcomes? Does He even care for sports at all? Get the straight truth from The Man Himself. The answer may surprise you.

This excerpt is from The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, with David Javerbaum.

David Javerbaum is an Emmy-winning comedy writer and former executive producer of The Daily Show. You can see more of his work with God on Twitter @TheTweetofGod.

Our voice of God is provided by comedian and Funny or Die writer Seth Morris, who is also on Twitter @SethISMorris.
(Embed or share God on Sports)


Directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me

Christofer and Benjamin Wagner are brothers and the co-directors of the documentary Mister Rogers & Me, about children’s television personality Fred Rogers, and the effect he had on the lives of generations of kids. For Ben — who moonlights as a documentarian between his day-job as an executive with MTV News — it was a project that began more than ten years ago, when he discovered Mister Rogers really was his neighbor, living next door to him at a vacation home in Nantucket, MA. Rogers’ heartfelt sincerity, and his ability to truly live in the moment, compelled Ben to learn more about the man and about the countless lives he’d forever changed.

The Wagner Brothers sit down with Jesse to discuss the film, the overwhelming experience of meeting Mr. Rogers in person, and the way he helped so many grow up in ways they might not even have noticed. Mister Rogers & Me is currently available on DVD, and is airing on PBS stations across the country.
(For an EXTENDED version of this interview with Benjamin and Christofer Wagner or to share with friends, click here!)


The Outshot: Boy

On The Outshot this week, Jesse looks back on the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and finds his favorite film of the fest is only now getting the theatrical release it so richly deserves. The film is Boy, from Māori writer/director/star Taika Waititi. It tells the story of a young Māori boy named, well… Boy. Boy is given the chance to reconnect with his deadbeat father (Waititi) after years apart, as Dad’s been away in jail. You can see and hear our interview with Taika Waititi and James Rolleston here.

It’s a story bursting with youthful optimism, while the darkness of adulthood creeps in around the edges. It’s in theaters now.
Got a little-known film of your own you want to spread the word about? Head on over to the MaxFun forum and pick your own Outshot.
(Embed or share this Outshot on “Boy”)

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In this episode...

Producer
Associate Producer
Maximum Fun Production Fellow

Guests

  • Bob Newhart
  • Benjamin Wagner
  • Christofer Wagner
  • Kumail Nanjiani
  • Heather Anne Campbell

About the show

Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture.

Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney’s, which called it “the kind of show people listen to in a more perfect world.” Since April 2013, the show has been distributed by NPR.

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People

Producer

Associate Producer

Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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