Problematic with Moshe Kasher

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Joel Kim Booster

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Joel Kim Booster

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Photo: Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for New York Magazine

Joel Kim Booster on comedy and acting

Joel Kim Booster is an actor, comedian and writer who has risen in the comedy scene in the last decade. His humor is satirical with a bold confidence that knows when vulnerability is preferred. Joel draws a lot of that vulnerability from his own upbringing. He's Korean-American. He was adopted and raised by a white family in suburban Illinois. His upbringing was conservative and very, very religious.

Growing up home-schooled until the age of 16, Booster would say he lead a pretty sheltered life until young adulthood. It helped, at times, to shield him from some of the more insidious forms of bigotry that could befall a Korean-American gay kid living in a predominately white and abundantly evangelical Christian Midwestern town.

Joel's written for Billy on the Street, Problematic with Moshe Kasher and Netflix's Big Mouth. And as a standup, he's appeared on Conan, Comedy Central's @Midnight and more. These days he's starring alongside Kal Penn in the brand new upcoming NBC sitcom Sunnyside.

Joel talks to Bullseye about his experience growing up in an evangelical household, life lessons through the lens of The Backstreet Boys and how doing stand-up allowed him to find his own lane in comedy. And then challenge it! Plus, he talks about how a changing comedy scene is making room at the table for Asian comics like new Saturday Night Live cast member Bowen Yang.

Put the kids to bed and pick up Joel's album Model Minority here. It's really good.

You can catch him on Sunnyside later this month on NBC.

This interview originally aired in September of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Swamp Dogg and Joel Kim Booster

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Swamp Dogg
Guests: 
Joel Kim Booster

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: David McMurry/Courtesy of Swamp Dogg

Swamp Dogg: On His Musical Upbringing, New Album, and Six Decade Career

Singer/songwriter and three-time Bullseye guest Jerry Williams is best known by his recording name Swamp Dogg. He started in show business as a kid. He put out his first song at the age of twelve with his mom playing drums. Then, in the 60s, he was a record company man. He worked A&R, produced bands, and wrote a few R&B hits.

He adopted the name Swamp Dogg in the early 70s and put out a bunch of classics: "Total Destruction To Your Mind," "Rat On!," "Cuffed, Collared & Tagged."

His music is straightforward soul with a hilarious psychedelic lens.

These days, more and more people are getting hip to Swamp's music. His old LPs have been reissued and he's still making music! He's closing in on two dozen albums now, and just put out a new one called "Love, Loss and Auto-Tune."

Swamp Dogg tells Jesse about what's it's like to for him to still be performing today and, a time he was mistaken for being a white musician.

Click here to listen to Swamp Dogg's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Joel Kim Booster: On His Stage Persona, Defying Stereotypes, and Growing Up in A Conservative Christian Home

A quick warning: This next segment features some frank talk about sex. If that isn't the kind of thing you want to hear, just a heads up.

Joel Kim Booster is a writer and comedian. He's written for "Billy on the Street," "Problematic with Moshe Kasher," and Netflix's "Big Mouth." As a standup, he's appeared on Conan, Comedy Central, @Midnight and more.

He's Korean American and was adopted and raised by a white family in suburban Illinois. His upbringing was conservative and very, very religious - he was homeschooled until he hits his teens, and came out to his parents about being gay in his late teens.

In this interview, he talks to Jesse about his "hot" and "dumb" stage persona, his hopes for the afterlife, and the feedback he gets from other Asian American entertainers and his Asian American followers.

Joel's comedy album is called "Model Minority." You can find out the latest about Joel on his website: I hate Joel Kim.

Click here to listen to Joel Kim Booster's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Outshot: Simon Rodia's Watts Towers

In this week's Outshot, Jesse talks about the masterwork of a four-foot-ten-inch tall, 42-year-old, barely literate, Italian immigrant who wanted to make something big.

Click here to listen to The Outshot on YouTube.

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