Standup Comedy

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: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

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: Margaret Cho & Lisa Hanawalt

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Margaret Cho
Guests: 
Lisa Hanawalt

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

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Margaret Cho on Growing Up Korean American, Breaking Through in Comedy and Gay Men She Loved and Lost

[R] Whether it’s growing up as a Korean-American girl in San Francisco or breaking through the male-dominated world of stand-up comedy in the early nineties, Margaret Cho has always found a way use all of life’s experiences to create entertainment.

Cho famously co-created and starred in the first sitcom that focused on an Asian American family. "All-American Girl" was cancelled in its first season, but it became a part of American television history and helped lay the groundwork for sitcoms like "Fresh Off the Boat." Since then, Cho has continued her standup career, and appeared in numerous film and television shows including "Dr. Ken," "Family Guy," "Sex in the City" and on "30 Rock," where in separate episodes, she played North Korean dictators: Kim Jong Il and later his son Kim Jong-un.

Today, we're revisiting our conversation with Margaret Cho from last year. She sat down with Jesse to talk about beginning her career during the 90's comedy boom in San Francisco, growing up in a Korean immigrant family, and how the community around her family’s gay bookstore continues to touch and inspire her life.

Margaret Cho’s new album American Myth is now available on iTunes and on her website, MargaretCho.com. She also just launched a huge international tour of standup, called "Fresh off the Bloat." It kicked off just last week in Scotland.

Click here to listen to Margaret Cho's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Jesse Thorn

Lisa Hanawalt on BoJack Horseman, Food Obsessions and Martha Stewart’s Horse

Lisa Hanawalt enjoys exploring the strange ins and outs of her world using words and illustrations. She has a fondness for drawing anthropomorphized animals which often represent characters, including herself. Her work reveals a childlike wonder, even while exploring adult themes.

Her illustrations and writing have appeared in numerous print and online publications including McSweeney’s, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. In 2010, she earned the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic for her work on her first comic series, "I Want You."

Her work can be seen on Netflix’s "Bojack Horseman," where Hanawalt serves as production designer and producer. She can also be heard on the Maximum Fun podcast, Baby Geniuses, which she co-hosts with Emily Heller.

We spoke in 2016. In the interview, she sat down with Jesse to talk about her work on "BoJack Horseman," her latest book "Hot Dog Taste Test" and her fascination with Martha Stewart’s horse.

Click here to listen to Lisa Hanawalt's interview on YouTube!

Photo: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images.

The Outshot: Draymond Green

Finally, for this week's Outshot: Jesse praises a basketball player who may not get all the fame, but is no less deserving of the glory.

Click here to listen to Jesse's Outshot on YouTube!

Mike Schmidt's East Coast Tour

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Our friend Mike Schmidt from The 40-Year-Old Boy is planning an east coast tour of his compelling/terrifying/hilarious one man show. He's trying to raise six grand to cover the touring costs, and using Kickstarter to do it. If you're a fan of Mike's, get behind it!

Brent Weinbach on Conan

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BOOMTIME!

One of our favorite standups in the world hit the stage on Conan last night... and destroyed. As you'd expect. The man's a genius.

Bill Burr on Letterman

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Bill Burr doesn't approve of facelifts.

"Would you rather be 45, and look 45, or be 45 and look like a 28-year-old lizard?"

The BBC's "Life: An Idiot's Guide"

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Here's a little promo for the BBC Radio 4 Comedy program "Life: An Idiot's Guide," which was taped at Edinburgh this year. Note the presence of MaxFunPals W. Kamau Bell and Josie Long, and right at the top, a brief snippet of the voice of YOURS TRULY.

Why is my voice in there? Because the producer of the show, one Colin Anderson, knows my STRONG POSITION on recording theater instructions. My policy: if you need someone to record the "turn off your cell phones" message at the beginning of a show, I AM YOUR MAN.

Now, hundreds of arts patrons around the world know about my commitment to the ANNOUNCING ARTS.

Chris Tucker Returns to the Stage, Launches Stand-Up Tour

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The folks who attended this year's Wild 94.9 Comedy Jam on August 13th are some of the luckiest comedy fans ever.

Not only did they get to witness Chris Tucker's return to stand-up, but also a performance by the brilliant and long-absent Dave Chappelle.

I am seriously jealous.

Thankfully, if you are a devoted Chris Tucker fan, you will have another opportunity to see him. This week, Tucker launched an eighteen-city stand-up tour that will run until mid-November. You can find the full schedule and ticket info here. He is appearing in Phoenix tonight.

And while you are waiting for Tucker to arrive in your town, check out this interview he did with The New York Times about his career path and his decision to return to the stage.

Video: Zach Galifianakis' Debut Performance on Network Televison

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Yesterday, Steve Agee posted this clip of Zach's network television debut. It's an appearance on Letterman's show, but Janeane Garofalo was guest hosting because Dave was having heart surgery.

Terrific inaugural performance and the subtitles only heighten the fun.

This Week Live

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Here is a quick list of cities and venues where you can catch some face time with your favorite MaxFun performers during the coming week. Click on the name of the venue for ticket info.

From time to time, of course, there are shows which are likely to be so popular that I wouldn't recommend waiting until the week of the performance to buy tickets. I'll list one or two of those separately each week. Buy now:

Video: Louis C.K.'s first appearance on Letterman

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Louis Did you catch the sweet two-episode set of "Louie" last night? One of the shows featured flashbacks to Louie's early days in standup and his relationship with a comic who started out with him. In the final flashback, Louie reveals that he has been asked to appear on Letterman. From there, we know that Louie goes on to success and acclaim, but his friend does not. It's a classic and moving story of how even close friends can evolve and slowly grow apart.

Apparently our good friend Adam Lisagor (of "Put This On") was so intrigued by the episode that he searched through the interwebs to find video of the referenced Letterman appearance and posted it on his Tumblr, Lonely Sandwich.

Here it is:



Adam also had a great observation about the set:

"Louie CK’s first appearance on Letterman, 1995.

Referenced on last night’s Louie (with a young Louie portrayed confusingly by a kid who looks less like Louie in ‘95 (anybody else see some Fincher in there?) and more like Ham from The Sandlot.

Louie, from this point in his career, shows every bit of the brilliance he does now. And still, it’s refreshing to see him tell one of the worst hacky 90s jokes ever written, at the very end of his set. Still figuring shit out. Just like the rest of us."
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