John Wilson

29th January 2021

We’re joined by filmmaker and documentarian John Wilson, creator of the series, “How To with John Wilson.” Each episode, masquerading as a tutorial on how to do things such as improve your memory, or make the perfect risotto, centers around the New York City native as he documents the complexity of city life. It’s raw, quirky and absolutely hilarious. John joins Bullseye to chat about finishing a season of television during a pandemic, the nuance he found in his personal life from the edit process and making real life seem “less fake.” Plus, we’ll find out just how much of his life is dedicated to shooting the footage for his show.

Episode notes

Photo Credit: HBO

John Wilson on his HBO series How To with John Wilson

John Wilson is the host and creator of the very funny new HBO series How To with John Wilson

It’s a show for those of us who, pre-pandemic, counted people-watching as one of our most sacred pastimes. 

Each episode of How To focuses technically on teaching you something: How to put up scaffolding, or improve your memory, or to make the perfect risotto.

He takes the audience on a tour through his apartment—giving tutorials about life as he goes. You follow him down the block to his favorite bar or someplace else seemingly mundane around his New York City neighborhood. Sometimes, he and his crew venture even further out. Most of the time, he’s behind the camera. 

Born in Queens, he grew up in an unassuming, hard-working Long Island neighborhood filled with the kind of people who get up every morning, head over to their local grocery to get a chopped cheese before clocking into a job that may or may not fulfill their wildest ambitions. 

He watched as relics of his youth changed with the times. From a grittier childhood version of the city to a more sanitized, capitalistic aesthetic. The evolution intrigued him.

He brings that curiosity to his show, a concept he collaborated on with executive producer Nathan Fielder. In the program you’ll sometimes find “ordinary” people doing extraordinary peculiar things.

It’s awkward and very funny but is a perfect encapsulation of what it feels like to live in NYC. He sees the tragedy but underlying overwhelming beauty of city life, specifically the time capsule that is any week in New York City. Moments of unique quirkiness like actor Kyle MacLachlan struggling with his Metrocard in the subway platform or a smiling security robot at a grocery store to the Hard Rock Hotel collapsing during an episode.

John joins Jesse for a discussion on finishing a season of television during a pandemic, the nuance he found in his personal life from the edit process and making real life seem “less fake.” Plus, we’ll find out just how much of his life is dedicated to shooting the footage for his show.

 

How To with John Wilson was just picked up for a second season. You can watch season one on HBO

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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.

If you would like to pitch a guest for Bullseye, please CLICK HERE. You can also follow Bullseye on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. For more about Bullseye and to see a list of stations that carry it, please click here.

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