Saturday Night Live

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Joel Kim Booster

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Show: 
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: Eugene Levy

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Eugene Levy

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Photo:Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Eugene Levy on improv comedy and "Schitt's Creek."

Eugene Levy is hands down one of the funniest people in history.

The Canadian-born actor and funnyman has been a part of so many of our favorite moments from television and film. You know him from SCTV where he usually played the incredulous straight man who somehow still made you giggle with glee to some of the cast's sillier characters. The Canadian-born Levy got his start in the world of comedy when he joined The Second City. There, he perfected his craft in improvisation, opting to work within an ensemble than alone on stage as a stand-up.

His film credits include such classics as Splash, A Mighty Wind and Waiting for Guffman. He's collaborated numerous times with fellow improv mockumentarian Christopher Guest. Most notably in the hilarious comedy Best in Show And who could forget his work in 1999's American Pie?

Levy joins us to talk about his amazing life in television and film. We'll hear about the very funny SCTV sketch that inspired Saturday Night Live's Norm McDonald and he'll talk about working on all eight of the American Pie movies. You read that right. Eight! Plus, he'll talk to us about what it's like working with his son Dan on their hit show Schitt's Creek, now in its fifth season.

He was recently nominated for an Emmy for lead comedy actor. This is his first Emmy nomination in 36 years! We'e sure his son couldn't be prouder.

This interview originally aired in April of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Comic and actor J.B. Smoove

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
J.B. Smoove

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

J.B. Smoove on Curb Your Enthusiasm, writing on Saturday Night Live and more

J.B. Smoove is without a doubt one of the funniest people we've ever had on Bullseye.

He got his start in television as one of the stars of Def Comedy Jam in the mid-90's. In the early aughts he became a writer on Saturday Night Live. J.B. wrote sketches like a commercial for "Tylenol Extreme," and a hypothetical remake of Norman Lear's "Good Times." He's probably best known for his role as Leon on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Currently, you can check him out in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In the film, J.B. plays Peter Parker's teacher, Julius Dell. He has some really funny moments as Parker's chaperone.

J.B. joins us to talk about his time on SNL. He'll explain how an audition to be a featured cast member actually landed him a job as a writer instead. We'll hear about a few of his favorite sketches that never made it to air.

He'll also talk about his work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and why he always goes to an audition in character. Plus, he'll tell us about the time he told Howard Stern, and we quote: "You can't eat spaghetti on an open patio." Join us to learn exactly what he means!

When he's not working on screen he keeps busy on the road. He tries to test out as much new material as possible. You can see him on tour all over the country this summer and fall. Check out his website for latest dates.

A heads up to listeners, this episode contains many censored expletives throughout the interview.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Paula Pell

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Paula Pell

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Paula Pell on 'Wine Country' and working at 'SNL' for almost two decades

So many of the sketches Paula Pell has written for Saturday Night Live are stone-cold classics. There's the Culps, Ana Gasteyer and Will Ferrell's bizarre pop music duo. The Spartan Cheerleaders. The Tony Bennett Show. Remember when Justin Timberlake brought us on down to Omeletteville? We have Paula Pell to thank for a lot of wonderful and hilarious work on SNL.

Pell spent 18 years behind the scenes as a writer on the show. She's truly an SNL MVP. After her time on SNL she wrote for 30 Rock, the Oscars, and the Golden Globes. She's had roles on Parks and Recreation, Big Mouth, and, most recently, the NBC show AP Bio. She plays Helen, the goofy high school administrator who eats tomato sauce and hair.

Pell joins us to talk about her latest project: Wine Country. She co-stars alongside SNL alums Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Rachel Dratch. It’s a story about a group of women reconnecting over a birthday weekend in Napa. The group became life-long friends during their stint working at a Chicago pizzeria. People moved. Got married. Grew apart. This movie deals with preserving those friendships despite life getting in the way. It's based in part from a real wine trip the stars took for Dratch's 50th birthday.

Pell also pulls back the curtain and discusses some of her more controversial work on SNL. Plus: why, when she was a writer on SNL, she was so much more comfortable as a writer than a performer.

Sincerely, one of the funniest people we've ever had on the show. Don't sleep on this one!

A quick warning about this interview you're about to hear: there's some talk about sex in it. Nothing super graphic or descriptive, but we wanted to give you a heads up.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bill Hader

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Bill Hader

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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Season 2 of Barry premiers March 31

You know Bill Hader from his time on Saturday Night Live. He was kind of an impressions guy - he did a mean Vincent Price. His most famous character was Stefon, from the Weekend Update sketches. He left the show in 2013 and went on to perform in movies like Trainwreck, Inside Out and the smash hit Sausage Party. Along with Fred Armisen, he also starred in the IFC show, Documentary Now!.

His latest project is an HBO TV show called Barry, which enters its second season later this month. Hader stars as the show's title character, Barry Berkman. Barry's an ex-marine, turned low rent hitman in Ohio, turned aspiring actor in Los Angeles. Bill tells Jesse about working as a production assistant when he first came out to Los Angeles, the influence his parents had on his taste in film, and the struggle he had to project his voice.

This interview originally aired in April of 2018.

Ep 30: Go Fact Yourself with Sasheer Zamata and Samm Levine

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Jay Kogen, J. Keith van Straaten, Samm Levine, Helen Hong, Sasheer Zamata
Guests: 
Sasheer Zamata & Samm Levine
Guests: 
Cat Thomas & Jay Kogen

"The Simpsons," Quentin Tarantino and comedy come together on Go Fact Yourself!

Sasheer Zamata is best known for her roles on "Saturday Night Live" and as the host of the variety showcase Sasheer Zamata Party Time. She’ll tell us about why a very... confusing invasion of her privacy has her so protective of her personal possessions.

Sasheer will go up against actor Samm Levine, who you may know from the Quentin Tarentino film Inglorious Basterds. He’s also in the beloved, but short-lived, TV series "Freaks and Geeks." He’s heard from a lot of fans who say they wish that show hadn’t ended so abruptly. But good news: he’ll share his solution to keeping "Freaks and Geeks" going for just a little longer.

What’s the difference: Space

What’s the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?

What’s the difference between a nook and a cranny?

Areas of Expertise

Sasheer Zamata: Beyonce, the films Kill Bill: Vol. I and Kill Bill: Vol. II and show choir.

Samm Levine: The first three Die Hard movies, poker and "The Simpsons" seasons 3-9.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Sasheer Zamata
Samm Levine

With guest experts:

Cat Thomas, award-winning costume designer for film and television.

Jay Kogen writer for "The Simpsons"

This episode is sponsored by The Big Quiz Thing and the Maximum Fun Jumbotron program.

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun. The show was recorded at The Angel City Brewery in Los Angeles.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher.
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

Ep 17: Go Fact Yourself with Louis Virtel and Laraine Newman

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Jerome Vered, Helen Hong, Laraine Newman, J. Keith Van Straaten, Donnie Dunagan
Guests: 
Louis Virtel & Laraine Newman
Guests: 
J. Keith Van Straaten
Guests: 
Helen Hong
Guests: 
Jerome Vered
Guests: 
Donnie Dunagan

Louis Virtel is a comedian and a co-host of the podcast Keep It. He’s also the winner of Jeopardy, whose Double Jeopardy celebration went viral shortly after it aired on TV.

Laraine Newman returns to Go Fact Yourself, this time as a contestant. Newman is best known as an original cast member of the Not Ready for Primetime Players on Saturday Night Live, and she was a founding member of the legendary Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles. If she sounds familiar to you, you may recognize her as the voice of Crab Lady on SpongeBob SquarePants, Nana from Trollhunters: Tale of Arcadia and lots of other shows.

In this episode, we’ll learn how Louis’s love of publicly answering trivia questions stems from a 3rd-grade spelling bee that he came up short in and why the winners of Jeopardy love keeping in touch with each other after their victories. Laraine will explain why she never tires of hearing people announce her name in the fashion of SNL’s Don Pardo, and how she decides what the voice of each of her characters sound like.

What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between a “thumbs up” sign and the “okay” sign in SCUBA diving?

What’s the difference between a “Dead-End” and a “No-Outlet” on the road?

Areas of Expertise
Louis Virtel: Jeopardy, world capitals, and Aimee Mann.
Laraine Newman: Electronic Dance Music, cooking, Universal horror movies from the 1930’s and 40’s.

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Louis Virtel
Laraine Newman

With guest experts:
Jerome Vered, writer and all-time winner of Jeopardy.

Donnie Dunagan, U.S. Marine Corp Drill instructor and the voice of the titular character in the Disney movie Bambi.

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun. The show is recorded at the Angel City Brewery in downtown Los Angeles.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green.
David McKeever is the Live Sound Engineer.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher.
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Geena Davis and Jack Handey

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Geena Davis
Guests: 
Jack Handey

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

Geena Davis on Gender Diversity, Archery and Quieting the Inner Critic

Geena Davis has made a lasting impression as an actress both on film and television in her roles in "Beetlejuice," "Thelma and Louise," "A League of Their Own," "The Accidental Tourist" and "Commander in Chief." Her performances have resulted in acclaim and a lengthy career both in front and behind the camera. It's also garnered her a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

Davis is just as committed to her work for gender awareness and diversity in film and television. She founded the research-based Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, to educate, and influence, the entertainment industry with regard to gender representation on screen. Davis also founded the Bentonville Film Festival, which showcases films featuring minorities and women in both cast and crew and which guarantees distribution to the festival's winners.

Geena Davis joined Jesse on Bullseye in 2016 and spoke about gaining confidence in voicing her opinions on set, how she feels about being recognized in public and how quieting her inner-critic helped her to almost qualify as an archer for the Summer Olympic games.

Today, her work at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is still going strong and they're doing a lot of really insightful, fascinating work. You can also see Geena Davis on the new season of "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC.

Click here to listen to Geena Davis's interview on YouTube.


Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Humorist Jack Handey confirms that yes, he is a real person

Make a few clicks on the internet and you'll run across ten fake "Deep Thoughts," and if you're lucky, a few real ones. Our guest Jack Handey created the seminal "Saturday Night Live" interstitial segment and authored several book collections of the material. He also wrote numerous other classic Saturday Night Live sketches, from "Happy Fun Ball" to "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer." He's been writing in The New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs section, and these writings, plus work for Outside Magazine and other publications, have been collected in the hilarious "What I'd Say To The Martians: and Other Veiled Threats."

We spoke to Jack in 2008. What's he up to lately? Jack is still writing for The New Yorker, still putting out books, too. His latest book is "Please Stop The Deep Thoughts," which just came out last year.

Click here to listen to Jack Handey's interview on YouTube.

The Outshot: Zombo.com

Jesse on the lingering amusement provided by the absurd and simple website, Zombo.com.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on Zombo.com on YouTube.

Ep 12: Go Fact Yourself with Drew Droege & Chelsey Crisp

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(l - r) J. Keith Van Straaten, Helen Hong, Laraine Newman, Drew Droege, Chelsey Crisp, Michael Jay
Guests: 
Drew Droege & Chelsey Crisp
Guests: 
Drew Droege
Guests: 
Chelsey Crisp
Guests: 
Laraine Newman

In this episode, actor and comedian Drew Droege faces off against Chelsey Crisp of “Fresh Off the Boat”.

We learn lots of interesting facts about Drew and Chelsey in this episode. Chelsey, now a vegan, recalls what it was like eating leeches on Fear Factor. Before Drew began starring in the Charles Busch play Die, Mommie Die!, he was most recognized for his Chloe Sevigny videos. Ever wonder what it’s like to achieve a certain level of fame doing impressions of someone even more famous...and then run into that person at a party? Droege does.

On Go Fact Yourself, it’s not uncommon for the guest experts to be as accomplished as our guests, and Chelsey and Drew were thrilled to meet their respective experts. In fact, one of our experts shares some news about a certain French Canadian chanteuse that’s never been revealed in public before.

Do YOU Know the Difference?
What is the difference between a AMIABLE and AMICABLE?
What is the difference between REFUTE and REBUT?

Areas of Expertise
Chelsey’s Crisp: Celine Dion music, Vegan Food, and Self-tanning tips
Drew Droege: 1970s Movies, Serial Killers, “Saturday Night Live”

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong
Chelsey Crisp,
Drew Droege,

With guest experts:
Laraine Newman
Songwriter Michael Jay

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun. The show is recorded at the Angel City Brewery in downtown Los Angeles.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green
David McKeever is the Live Sound Engineer.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher
The show is edited by Julian Burrell

Inside Pop Ep. 115- Atlanta Season 2, Avengers: Infinity War trailer, Saturday Night Live, Wolverine Podcast

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Show: 
Inside Pop

This episode is the ultimate pop culture to do list for the week!

DO listen to our review of the second season of Donald Glover's series, Atlanta. We discuss whether the show overcomes the dreaded sophomore season slump.

DO hear our reaction to the latest trailer for Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War. Who will live and who will die? We share our guesses and also estimate how much screen time Doctor Strange will get since he is sharing the screen with 8,000 other heroes.

DO NOT feel any jealousy as Sean tells you what it was like to attend a taping of Saturday Night Live.

DO wonder whether Amita will enjoy Sean's Big Sell from last week - the new podcast, Wolverine: The Long Night. And also find out which heroes they think should be next to have their own podcast. The inspiration for Sean's answer can be found in this amazing comic written by Greg Pak.

Visit our official site: www.insidepoppodcast.com

Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @PopInsiders

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