Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John David Washington

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
John David Washington

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

John David Washington on his role in Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman'

Before John David Washington was an actor, he was lacing up the pads every week for a career in professional football. He spanned the globe from Sacramento to Dusseldorf, Germany trying to make it work. It seems fitting that when he decided to pick up a career in acting that his breakthrough role was the portrayal of an NFL player on HBO's "Ballers." He definitely had the experience. In fact, he was injured from his hard work on the field when he auditioned for the role. He's been part of the main cast of "Ballers" for four seasons, and it's safe to say you'll be seeing a lot more of him soon.

This week, he chats about his portrayal of Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman." It's a fantastic performance – his role in the film earned him a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year. It's a compelling and complex look at the life of the first African-American police officer and detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. The film is based on Stallworth's 2014 memoir, which details his experience investigating the local chapter of the KKK with the help of a white undercover officer.

John David Washington tells us about the insane amount of times he had to audition for his role on "Ballers," and what it was like to chase a career in the NFL when your dad is superstar Denzel Washington. Plus, the challenges of portraying Ron Stallworth, and what it was like to getting stunning offer to play Stallworth via a text message from Spike Lee.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Tony Shalhoub

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Tony Shalhoub

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Tony Shalhoub on the legacy of 'Monk' and the latest season of 'Mrs. Maisel'

Tony Shalhoub is a veteran of both the big and small screens. He's had unforgettable parts in movies like "Barton Fink," "Men in Black" and "Quick Change." He's starred in movies like "Big Night," and TV shows like "Wings."

Tony is probably best known for his work on the hit detective series "Monk." For eight seasons, he played Adrian Monk. In the show, his character had an extreme case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a bunch of phobias, including rodeos, snakes, crowds, heights, glaciers and milk. Despite the challenges he often faced, it only made him better a better detective consultant for the San Francisco Police Department.

These days he's a regular on the Amazon series "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." In the series, Tony plays Abe Weissman, a mathematics professor at Columbia, and Midge Maisel's father. He's the kind of guy that's not very stern, but kinda serious. He's also kind of a traditional guy, and he likes sticking to routines.

Tony joins us to talk about the latest season of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." Plus, we take a deep dive into his time on "Monk," and he'll tell us about the film that inspired him to pursue a career in acting.

Check out this interview on Youtube

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Karyn Kusama on directing genre films and her new film 'Destroyer'

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Karyn Kusama

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Karyn Kusama on directing genre films and her new film 'Destroyer'

Karyn Kusama is a director. Her debut was the critically acclaimed drama "Girlfight," a movie about a female boxer that Kusama based on her own time in the ring. Since then, she's established herself as autere of genre films: in 2005 she directed the science fiction film "Aeon Flux," and has worked on horror movies like "Jennifer's Body" and "The Invitation."

She just directed the new film "Destroyer." It's a dark and complex crime drama, told in mostly flashbacks. It stars Nicole Kidman, who plays Erin Bell, an LAPD detective. As a young cop, Bell was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert. Things didn't end well, and the case she was on was never put to rest. When the leader of that gang re-emerges over a decade later, Bell goes rogue reopens the case on her own terms. Kidman's character is haunted by her memory of the past. And it's put a strain on her relationship with her daughter, Shelby.

Karyn discusses why it's important to portray complex female characters in film and media. She'll tell us about the look book she drew inspiration from when she directed 2009's "Jennifer's Body," and why she thinks the film struggled to find an audience when it was first released. Plus, how she finds pleasure in horror movies. And , sure, a lot of people find pleasure in horror films, but Karyn's response will truly surprise you.

If you'd like to hear even more from Karyn Kusama, she did a great interview on the Max Fun podcast Switchblade Sisters with the film critic April Wolfe. You can listen to that interview here.

Listen to this Bullseye interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Chris and Bridey Elliott on the new horror comedy 'Clara's Ghost'

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Chris Elliott
Guests: 
Bridey Elliott

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Chris and Bridey Elliott on 'Clara's Ghost'

Chris Elliott got his start in showbiz as a production assistant on "Late Night with David Letterman," before becoming an iconic writer and performer on that show. One of our favorite bits from him on Letterman included a parody of Marlon Brando – in the skit he'd dump bananas out of a sack and slowly dance around them to the tune "The Alley Cat."

After his stint with Letterman, he went on to star in the cult sitcom "Get A Life" and the equally bizarre film "Cabin Boy." Both works have cemented him as an absurdist comedy legend. While those projects are not for everyone; they're a real treat if you can sit though some really cringe worthy moments.

You've definitely seen him in "There's Something About Mary," "Groundhog Day," and "Scary Movie" and in many TV shows, including "The King of Queens," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Everybody Loves Raymond." Most recently, he can be seen as Roland Schitt, the mayor of the small town on Pop Tv's "Schitt's Creek."

Bridey Elliott, his daughter, wrote and directed a new movie called "Clara's Ghost." It's a family collaboration: Bridey also stars in the movie, along with Chris, her sister Abby, and her mother Paula.

The movie takes place over one night. It tells the story of the Reynolds family, who live in a secluded mansion in New England. Chris' character Ted is the patriarch, a comedian past his prime. His daughters work in showbiz, too, but like their dad, haven't gotten a callback in a long time. Then there's Clara, played by Paula Elliott. Clara's discovered a ghost that only she can see.

We'll chat with Chris Elliott about his time on Letterman, and what it was like to work on the strange film "Cabin Boy." Plus, he'll tell us why he doesn't use social media. Bridey will explain how she tried to make horror film that had significant elements of comedy, and how "Cabin Boy" was kind of a horror film when she saw it as a kid. Plus, what it's like when people find out who her dad is, which often garners one of two very different reactions.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Billy Eichner and Ali Wong

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Billy Eichner
Guests: 
Ali Wong

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Billy Eichner and the Pop Culture Maniac That is Billy on the Street

[R] This week, we'll revisit our conversation with comedian Billy Eichner. He's probably best known for roaming the streets of New York with a camera crew, roping unsuspecting pedestrians into playing his game show, "Billy on the Street." While Cash Cab paved the way for street-ambush game shows, Eichner's approach has a unique twist.

The correct answers are often subjective (as in the game "Dead or Boring") and his game show persona is hyper-energetic and over-the-top. He's ready to swoon with a contestant who shares his love of Meryl Streep, or yell and stalk angrily away from a contestant who doesn't.

Eichner tells us about his screaming encounters with Madonna, the influence of Pee-wee Herman on his on-screen persona, and the role that game show laws played in the development of his show. (It turns out that "game show compliance lawyer" is a real job.)

New episodes of "Billy on the Street" are available online on Funny or Die. You can also see him on "American Horror Story," "Difficult People," and so much more.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Ali Wong talks marriage and money and what it’s like performing through her pregnancy

There are many comedians who use their family life as inspiration for their comedy, but Ali Wong took it a step further when she recorded the 2016 comedy special "Baby Cobra" while seven and a half months pregnant.

Wong’s comedy is rooted in her willingness to be incredibly frank and honest about her personal life including her relationships, her Asian heritage and the challenges of pregnancy while working as a writer on the hit television show, "Fresh Off the Boat."

When Ali Wong joined Jesse a couple years ago she talked about being a breadwinner, performing while pregnant and how it feels to talk about painful and personal things like miscarriage in front of a comedy audience.

Ali Wong has another new comedy special: "Hard Knock Wife." She did the entire special pregnant, again. It's available to stream now on Netflix.

The Outshot: João Gilberto

On the Outshot, Jesse features João Gilberto, a musician who stripped away the heat and intensity of samba to create a cool, minimalist genre: bossa nova.

Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone Ep 20: The Boss Man Cometh

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Guests: 
Jesse Thorn
Guests: 
Star Tomlinson
Guests: 
Vincent Camuglia

Paula and Adam try to look busy when Maximum Fun’s CEO Jesse Thorn comes over for dinner. And by “dinner” we mean “Doritos and “Double Stuf Oreos.” Jesse helps us understand what makes a successful podcast, and then we demonstrate how much we’ve learned by talking about Paula’s clogged pipes. Yes, Star Tomlinson, owner and CEO of The Drain Co. helps us determine what Paula shouldn’t have flushed. Also, we unveil our new T-shirts, which are available now at the Maximum Fun Store!

House band
Vincent Camuglia, clarinet

Guests

Jesse Thorn
Owner, Maximum Fun
Twitter: @JesseThorn

Star Tomlinson
Owner & CEO of The Drain Co.
Website: TheDrainCo.com
Facebook: @TheDrainCo
Instagram: @TheDrainCo
Yelp: The Drain Co

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Susan Orlean and Jazz singer Gregory Porter

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Susan Orlean
Guests: 
Gregory Porter

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Author Susan Orlean on her new book 'The Library Book'

Susan Orlean is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her work has also appeared in Vogue, Esquire and on This American Life. She's the author of eight books, covering topics like New England and Rin Tin Tin. Her first book, "Saturday Night," used narrative journalism to paint a portrait of how Saturday night in America is lived. She's probably best known for "The Orchid Thief." That book ended up being the basis of the Academy Award nominated film "Adaptation," starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep.

She now lives here in Los Angeles. Being an author and a reader, she's visited the beautiful, historic central library in downtown Los Angeles dozens of times. Her latest book "The Library Book" is about that library and its history.

It wasn't until she took a tour of the library that she was inspired to write this book. The tour guide opened a book and said some of them still smelled like smoke. A bit perplexed she probed and asked more about the smell. This is how she learned of devastating fire that almost demolished the building in 1986. She always hoped someone would tell this story, and unknowingly years later she would be the one to tell it. The book is also also kind of a paean to libraries everywhere – what they mean to her, and why every library is a vital institution.

We're big fans of Susan Orlean at Maximum Fun. A few years ago she gave a talk at Max Fun Con called: "Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary." You can check out that talk here.

Photo: Valery Hache / AFP / Getty Images

Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter on his new album 'Nat King Cole and Me'

Gregory Porter is a Grammy Award winning jazz vocalist. The route he took to get there is really unique. He was a offensive lineman at San Diego State. Then, during his junior year, an injury ended his football career. During that time he could sing, but he wasn't a singer. That changed when his mom, literally from her deathbed, told him to start singing.

In 2010, he moved to New York with his brother and recorded his debut record "Water." Whereas most young jazz singers start their careers recording standards, Porter recorded an album of mostly originals.

Now, almost a decade later, he's laid down an new album with jazz standards. "Nat King Cole and Me" pays tribute to one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. It's music he grew up on. Porter spent a lot of time researching the music of Nat King Cole - his records, books, and documentaries. He'll tell us what made Cole one of the most unique singers of the civil rights era of the 1950's. He'll also tell us what it was like to grow up in Bakersfield, California and how that's influenced his lyrics.

The covers are great, but if you want to hear some more of his original work, check out his 2016 album: "Take Me to the Alley" – the album was inspired by his mother's teachings as a street minister and it's one of our favorites.

The Outshot: Hot Dog Timmy

Jesse explains why great things can come of simple premises and simple situations. Like in this sketch from "The Whitest Kids You Know."

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Director Nicole Holofcener and the creators of 'Lodge 49'

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Nicole Holofcener
Guests: 
Jim Gavin
Guests: 
Peter Ocko

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Charley Gallay / Getty Images

Writer and director Nicole Holofcener on her new film: 'The Land of Steady Habits'

Nicole Holofcener is a writer and director probably best known for her films "Friends with Money" and "Enough Said." She's also worked on TV shows like "Parks and Recreation," "Orange is the New Black" and "Sex and the City." Her latest project is a film called "The Land of Steady Habits" – it's out now on Netflix.

Nicole's projects are intimate and always feature strong female leads. For the first time, her movie centers on a man. "The Land of Steady Habits" is about a middle-aged, retired finance guy, named Andres played by Ben Mendelsohn. Anders is going through kind of a late midlife crisis. He just left his wife, Helene, played by Edie Falco. And his relationship with his adult son is drifting away – Anders is losing him to drug use. It's safe to say that Anders has trouble figuring out where he fits in these days.

Nicole will tell us how she adapted the novel by Ted Thompson into this very poignant film, and why she felt this was an important story to tell. Plus, she'll reflect on her childhood – when she moved to Los Angeles as a early teenager she couldn't believe that the guys on the Metro bus would be exactly like the jerks on the New York subway.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Jim Gavin & Peter Ocko on the new Television show 'Lodge 49'

AMC has produced some of the most stunning dramatic television programs in recent memory. "Mad Men," "Better Call Saul," and "Breaking Bad" come to mind – but they're television shows that are grounded in gritty realities. "Lodge 49" is one of the newest shows on AMC, and it's a drama like you'd expect from the network. But it's on a different wavelength, and it's very funny.

The show's about Sean "Dud" Dudley. He's a 30 something burnout who lives in Long Beach, California. One day he's metal detecting on a beach and he finds a ring. He asks around, and it turns out it belongs to a lodge for this secret society - the Order of the Lynx. Sort of like the Freemasons or the Elks. The ring brings him into the lodge, and before long, he becomes a member. He's fascinated by the robes and rituals, charmed and befriended by the members. He gets swept up by the mythology and mystery.

We spoke to Jim Gavin, the show's creator; and Peter Ocko, a TV veteran, showrunner and Executive Producer for "Lodge 49." They'll give us the scoop on all the quirks of the show, and their fascination with fraternal organizations. Jim Gavin grew up in Long Beach, naturally, we asked him some extremely specific Long Beach questions.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!


Photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The Outshot: The genius of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson sang some of the greatest pop hits of all time, but who was the real genius behind those tracks? Michael Jackson, of course!

The Last Dregs of Summer (Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo, Gender & Sexuality Terminology, Omarosa, and Fire Island)

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Show: 
Minority Korner

Coming hot from a jam packed weekend in Fire Island James has notes on... the Hunger Game movies? The duo talk about these movies, also some how Omarosa manages to squeeze herself back into the fray with their conversation as well. Nnekay takes us back with the story of the Dominican Republic's baseball team Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo- created by 1937 dictator Rafael Trujillo. A team while created in a time of fascism still managed to treat black baseball players better than the United States. James investigates the difference between various terms that we might have misused in past episodes: Pansexual, Bisexual, and Sexually Fluid. We're here to grow just like everyone else!

Links:

https://www.avclub.com/in-1937-a-dictator-assembled-a-baseball-team-for-...

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Boz Scaggs and Comedian Maeve Higgins

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Boz Scaggs
Guests: 
Maeve Higgins

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Raffi Kirdi / Getty Images

Boz Scaggs on his latest record 'Out of the Blues'

Boz Scaggs is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He just recorded his nineteenth studio album: "Out of the Blues." With a career that now spans five decades - he's recorded psych rock, folk, soul. He's probably best known for yacht rock smash hits like Grammy award-winning "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle." Both tracks were singles on 1976's critically acclaimed album "Silk Degrees" – the record went platinum five times.

Recently, his work has steered more towards the basics: some blues, some covers here and there, lots of stripped down instrumentation. But behind all that has been a commitment to atmosphere and production - music with an aesthetic that's dark and unsettling in one moment, then in another tender and loving.

We'll listen to a few tunes from his new album, which features a collection of blues songs like "Rock and Stick" and "On The Beach" – a somewhat obscure Neil Young composition. We'll also listen to "Got You On My Mind" from his debut solo album from 1965. His debut solo album was a collection of covers and traditional tunes. This song was originally composed by Howard Biggs & Joe "Cornbread" Thomas. At the time, he still performed under his birth name – William R Scaggs. Boz says it had been decades since he last heard that song.

He'll explain why he pleasantly surprised we were able to dig up the song and play it for him. He'll also tell Jesse why he thinks his singing voice is better now than it ever was before, and describes the first time he felt like a musician.

Boz Scaggs just kicked off a huge nationwide tour with shows in dozens of cities. Check out tour dates here.

Check out this interview on YouTube!


Photo: Brad Barket / Getty Images

Comedian Maeve Higgins on her new book 'Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl Somewhere Else'

Maeve Higgins is a comic and memoirist, very well known back home in Ireland. She moved to the New York City about five years ago. Naturally, she worked her observations about America and the Big Apple into her set.

The new routine really made her question her new reality as an immigrant to the US. She considered what lead her to make the move. What it says about her. What it's like being in this strange, amazing city thousands of miles away from home. She wrote a new book about her experience. It's called "Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else." It's a collection of personal essays that show a touching, funny and really human side to the consequences of immigrating to the US.

She'll talk about her move to the US, how it impacted her personal life, and why she appreciates the openness of strangers she's met here. Maeve also co-hosts the podcast Mothers of Invention, a climate justice podcast alongside former Irish President Mary Robinson. She'll discuss what it's like to host a podcast with one of her childhood idols.

Check out this interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: Detroiters

Jesse explains the charming friendship in the Comedy Central show, "Detroiters," which, ultimately, is about two dumb dummies acting dumb.

Check out this segment on YouTube!

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