TRANSCRIPT Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Uzo Aduba

Uzo Aduba first rose to fame playing a character known as Crazy Eyes. It was on Orange Is the New Black, a part of the first class of original TV shows on Netflix. Crazy Eyes, whose real name is Suzanne, was one of the many prisoners in the women’s correctional facility the show focused on. Aduba won two Emmys for her portrayal of Suzanne, one for comedy and the other for drama. Since Orange is the New Black, Aduba has gone on to even bigger and better things. She played Shirley Chisolm in the Hulu miniseries Mrs. America. She’s performed on Broadway. And, recently, she’s starred in the HBO series In Treatment. So we’re thrilled to have Uzo Aduba on the show, and just as excited to have our good friend Tre’vell Anderson interviewing her.

Guests: Uzo Aduba

Transcript

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Speaker: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of MaximumFun.org and is distributed by NPR. [Music fades out.]

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jesse thorn

It’s Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. Uzo Aduba first rose to fame playing a character known as Crazy Eyes. It was on Orange is the New Black, part of the first class of original TV shows on Netflix. Crazy Eyes, whose real name was Suzanne, had crazy eyes. She was one of the many prisoners in the women’s correctional facility on which the show focused. In the beginning, Crazy Eyes didn’t talk a lot. You might not have known whether she was comic relief or a real threat to the other characters’ safety. But as the show went on, her character rounded out. We learned why she was in prison. We learned about her parents, her struggles with mental illness. Uzo Aduba won two Emmys for her portrayal of Suzanne—one for comedy and the other for drama. It's an honor shared by only one other person. Since Orange is the New Black, Aduba has gone on to even bigger and better things. She played Shirley Chisolm in the Hulu miniseries Mrs. America. She has performed on Broadway. And recently, she starred in the HBO series In Treatment. It’s a reboot of an early HBO series with the same name and it follows the same simple, brilliant premise. Uzo plays Dr. Brooke Taylor, a therapist. Each episode centers around an appointment with a different client or—sometimes—around a meeting with Dr. Taylor’s AA sponsor. As the show goes on, you learn more about Dr. Taylor—her patients, what motivates them, what stands between them and happiness. It’s a compelling show. Aduba has earned another Emmy nomination for her role in it. We’re thrilled to have Uzo Aduba on the show and even more excited to have our good friend, Tre’vell Anderson, interviewing her. Tre’vell is a veteran entertainment journalist, cohost of the MaxFun podcast FANTI. Anyway. Before we get into the interview, let’s hear a bit from In Treatment. In this clip, she’s talking with a patient named Eladio. He’s played by Anthony Ramos of Hamilton and In the Heights. Eladio has insomnia and he’s looking for a prescription to treat it. But before he can get a prescription, he needs to talk with Dr. Taylor.

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Dr. Brooke Taylor (In Treatment): Well, you may need medication, but after only two sessions, I don’t feel I have an adequate picture. Eladio: [Beat.] Meaning? Dr. Taylor: In order to refer you to a psychiatrist, I need to know more. There’s something at the heart of your sleeplessness. Eladio: Lyrical. I like that. Say more. Dr. Taylor: You want lyrical? Okay. Yung said, “There is no coming into consciousness without pain.” Eladio: Oh, [censored]. Dr. Taylor: I like to think of that quote in relation to insomnia. Maybe it’s not about the difficulty of falling asleep. Maybe we stay awake to avoid the moment we have to come to in our lives. Where the dream world falls away… and reality sets in.

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tre’vell anderson

My guest this week is Emmy winning actor Uzo Aduba, star of the recently rebooted HBO series In Treatment, which you just heard a clip from and for which she’s earned another Emmy nomination this year. Welcome to Bullseye, Uzo.

uzo aduba

Thank you very much.

tre’vell

So, for the folks who haven’t been able to see your brilliance on In Treatment yet, tell us a little bit about the series and the character you play, Dr. Brooke Taylor.

uzo

Yeah! So, the show is about a therapist—myself playing Brooke Taylor—who has just come out of the loss of her father, and she is managing her personal struggles in life alongside dealing with her professional role, which is that of therapist. And we get to see her encounter her day-to-day sessions with three of her patients: Eladio, Collin, and Laila. And she is trying to help them reach a closer authentic truth for themselves while also sort of trying to realize and confront her own personal truths. She’s really great at holding up mirrors, but we’re not meeting her at a moment in her life where she’s prepared to look into her own.

tre’vell

Yes, yes. There—I feel like the show, it—there’s just so much in it that I love, and I feel like, for you as an actor—right?—it gives you a lot to chew on. It gives you a lot to go through. What attracted you to this show and this character in the first place?

uzo

Well, what attracted me to the show and the character was a few things, actually. I was watching—excuse me, when I was reading the scripts, I knew and could understand the pain that she was going through. I could connect with how hard it can be to navigate one’s private and public self. And I knew what that kind of loss felt like, looked like. And that I was also drawn to this idea—I mean, the real question was, you know—for me, also like, “Well, why do people go to therapy?” And it was interesting to me to look at the script and see that we were looking at three characters after they’ve made that decision. You know? The choice has already been made, because they’re in the chair. But we’re tracking this woman before she’s gone out to seek help or the treatment that she needs. And I was curious to know what that—what is the point that people get to when they finally say—what is it that makes someone say finally, “I need help.” And I had never seen that sort of story examined under the lens of someone who—in that profession, who looks like me.

tre’vell

Yeah. Yeah. I mean—and it’s the—we should say that the show is a reboot of sorts of a prior show, same name, that aired in 2008, I think, is when the first season dropped. And it’s been—you know, a few years since the third season. [Uzo chuckles.] Were you at all familiar with the earlier seasons of the show before signing on?

uzo

You know, I hadn’t watched the show previous, Tre’vell, to doing this show. Of course, I had heard of it and knew of it and obviously knew of the great—you know—Gabriel Byrne and Dianne Wiest. I knew them and was huge fans of theirs, along with other people on the show as well. You know? From Blair Underwood all the way down. Glenn Thurman, etc. But I hadn’t, myself, watched it. And then when the opportunity came to be on the show, I was like, “Okaaay. Am I playing Gabriel Byrne’s character?” [Tre’vell laughs.] Like, am I Paul Weston? [Laughs.] You know what I mean? [Inaudible]. No, it’s a different—you know, ‘cause then I was like, “Well, then I need to watch it.” You know? And then they were like, “No, it’s a different show.” And I said, “Oh, okay. It’s a different character.” I said, “Oh, okay, you know what? I’m going—” Oh, actually, no! I’m sorry. I had started to watch the first episode, because also when I was reading it—‘cause they were like two people sitting down and talking. And I was like, “On TV?” [They chuckle.] And then I said, “How is that possible?!” Like that’s a play. [Laughing.] Like, that’s—! And so, then I was reading the script and I was like, “There are two people on this, talking.” I was like, “There must be something that I’m missing in this. So, let me just watch this to have a better grasp of the format.” And then I turned it on. I was like, “Oh! There really are just two people on screen—you know, just talking.” And so, I saw that glimpse into it. But then I decided to pause it and not watch, because I knew that—going in, I knew that the world where our show was set was in a pandemic world—which is a vastly different world, as we know, from beforetimes. [Tre’vell agrees.] Right? So, the information was not going to be the same, in terms of experience. And I also knew that the gaze from which this woman has lived her life, innately, will be different from the gaze from which a Paul Weston will be looking through the world. And so, the information that I could find from a first iteration would not be there for me.

tre’vell

Yeah. How does one prepare to play a therapist? Like, what was your preparation process like?

uzo

Um, my preparation process—obviously, like doing some reading. But I happen to know a few people who are licensed psychotherapists or psychiatrists—licensed psychiatrists as well. And talking with them about the practice, what it’s like to be in that room, how one encourages or inspires their clients, patients, to disclose information and get closer to their authentic, true selves. And those conversations were incredibly valuable to me. And it was powerful to hear repeated—one of my friends said it so well. It’s the empathy gene that is required to have that job. And I—and I have to believe that’s true, because my primary takeaway when I was working on it was, “What a hard job. This is a hard job.” [Tre’vell agrees.] You know? When you think about a person choosing to go into a space with their own obstacles and challenges that they might be carrying and are choosing to then take on other people’s obstacles and challenges while still carrying their own—it’s just—what a hard job.

tre’vell

Yeah. You mentioned that the show is kind of—it’s set in our current world. Right? The pandemic is loosely happening, you know, in the peripheral. Your character is doing these sessions at her own home. How was it—you know—for you, going back to set in the middle of a pandemic but also having that be part of the story as well?

uzo

How was it going back home while having this as the story?

tre’vell

Going back to set. You know, in the midst of the pandemic while also having the pandemic—you know—play little bits of roles in the actual story.

uzo

It was—I mean, it was challenging for me in a variety of ways, but focusing mostly on the pandemic of it all, it was—I could understand. You know? We—it’s funny because it’s like we had all been isolated or certainly seen some type of reduction in our everyday life in some way. And it was this excitement, I’m not gonna lie, to be able to get to work. Because I hadn’t. [Tre’vell affirms.] And to have a safe gathering of people, even though significantly smaller—you know, like a very skeleton crew onset. But it was also bittersweet, because you know everything that people are talking about in these sessions, feeling, and even in a workspace you know that all of that was born out of this really painful, traumatic time. You know? Even if they are not directly COVID related, that it took this sit-down of time for these conversations—whether it’s the conversation of the civil unrest, whether it’s a conversation of depression, whether it’s a conversation of privilege or identity, these were things that we can extrapolate out from what was, is, this pandemic season. Being—you know, those feelings being heightened in a way and uncovered. And I—and it was—it was hard, because we’re all—because it’s real. It’s not like we made up a pandemic for In Treatment when we were all out here in beforetimes living our life. This is a real thing that occurred and we’re inserting it into the show. But I also think, having said that, there was some exorcising—you know, a catharsis as well. A healing that could be found on the other end of it.

tre’vell

Definitely. Definitely. And the—in the clip that we heard at the top of the show, the other voice we hear is Anthony Ramos, who plays Eladio. Folks might remember him as the lead of In the Heights, which is currently out right now. But his character, Eladio, is a virtual client. So, you’re talking to him through your computer. I wanted to know a little bit about just like the filming of those scenes. Are you—are you actually acting opposite him on the computer? Or—how did that all go down for you? And how does it impact how you show up in a scene?

uzo

Oh yeah. We were definitely acting in a—like, as you and I are talking now over Zoom. That is how we were talking when we were filming, with all of—you know, never in my life did I think like back in March of 2020, that like I was preparing for a performance! [They chuckle.] With Anthony in November of 2020. You know what I mean? Like, I didn’t know that’s what was happening, but that was happening. Because aaall this stuff that we have all experienced was part of our shooting experience, as well. From like the talking and then suddenly—uh! Somebody freezes! [They laugh.] Or like the call drops or like—and so we were used to those sort of things. But then even—we have all sort of figured out how to connect, digitally. And I didn’t know that that way of connection and understanding connection was something that, you know, time of the whatever number of months before we started shooting, would help shape for our understanding and shorthand between each other, performance-wise. Because I think it would have been a real curious thing if the first time I’ve ever spoken to somebody [laughing] was—like over a screen—was on the show. But I’m like, “I’m actually familiar with this format!” More so than I was. But I’ve never acted into a screen like that before! But I’m glad I’m at least familiar with Zoom in some capacity. But it was wonderful, and it was wonderful because Anthony was just like so generous with his heart. He’s just so open, that man just gives you all of himself in his performance. And it made an interesting discovery. It made for a really interesting discovery to learn like, “Oh, there is connection that can be found here.” You know? A different breathing mechanism, a different way of breathing, and nothing ever will replace like being fully in the room, because that was very satisfying and exciting—when this character and I, mine, do meet. But it was also really great to know that connection can be found there.

jesse

Even more with Uzo Aduba still on the docket. Stay with us! It’s Bullseye, from MaximumFun.org and NPR.

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jesse

Welcome back to Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. Our guest, Uzo Aduba, starred on Orange is the New Black. She’s up for an Emmy this year for her lead role in the acclaimed show, In Treatment, which you can watch on HBO. Our interviewer is our correspondent, Tre’vell Anderson—co-host of the Maximum Fun podcast, FANTI. Let’s get back into it.

tre’vell

I feel like, over the last—you know—few years in particular, the public conversation around like the importance of therapy has exploded. Even the last year, in particular. I feel like more and more people are talking about the utility of like what therapy can do. And then particularly in communities of color—Black and brown communities. And I know like historically for Black folks—right?—I can speak to my own experience. We weren’t talking about therapy when I was coming up. You either prayed about it, took a nap, or got some Robitussin. Now, I don’t know what the Robitussin was gonna do for you, but [laughs] you know. That’s what my granny and my mother—you know, that’s how they—you know, treated their things. Right? I was wondering, is that a similar experience for you and your upbringing? Like in what ways was therapy—if it was at all—something that was talked about as you were coming up?

uzo

You know, it wasn’t not talked about, I will say. I think it was something that was open to—I was gonna—I was gonna say it wasn’t necessarily something I went to as a kid or anything like this. But I know it was something that was an option on the table, mostly because my mother is a licensed social worker. [Tre’vell affirms.] So, she’s from—she was from that world, exposed to that world, familiar with clinical psychology and licensed psychotherapy. So, it was something that was an option on the table if we were wanting it. I—myself—go to therapy and have never thought anything different about it, but I am also aware that—like you already said, in our community, that is not something that was—something that was really on the table. And also, as a Nigerian—my family is Nigerian—as well, that wasn’t something that was really on the table for a lot of folks. And I think that’s unfortunate—for me and my perspective. I think that’s unfortunate. I think it’s a resource that I have found valuable. I think it’s a resource that is an addition, not a subtraction, of other options. I think it’s an added resource to all of the other resources, including the Robitussin, maybe. [They laugh.] To—to try. You know? I think the aim is really to find your better wellness, through any avenue that will help bring you into a space of truth and safety and health. So, that was something that was told to me. I also came from—because probably my mother’s background—a home where communication and discussion was something that was very important to her, as well.

tre’vell

Mm-hm. And I do want to—I like to, you know, offer resources for folks who are interested in getting into therapy. So, Therapy for Black Girls is a great resource. If you want like culturally competent therapists for Black folks, there’s also another organization called BEAM. B-E-A-M. It stands for Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective. They do great work. And then obviously you have like virtually and like app-based therapy options as well. Like a Talkspace or a Better Health. So, for those out there who are interested and need that type of a tool, right, that therapy can be, those are some resources to check out. But obviously, we are here in part because you’re nominated for an Emmy this year for playing Dr. Brooke. I would love to know what you were doing when you found out. Were you at work? Were you up at the crack of dawn watching the nominations come out? What—how did you find out that you were nominated this year? And how does it feel?

uzo

I found out—I was in Boston. I was actually in a meeting with my siblings, with my phone—our phones off—and so, I didn’t find out until some time later, when I turned on the phone and there was like a long list of texts and missed calls. You know, like whatever. [Tre’vell chuckles.] And I was like, “Woah!” You know, [chuckling] like—yay! You know, it was like—that’s crazy! And I told my siblings, and they were like, “Yeeeah!” You know, like it was like a roar of, “Yeeeah!” and excitement. And it was exciting! You know? How do I feel? I feel… happy and grateful to the community. I feel just so grateful. You know? This has been—for me, but for everyone globally—honestly, Tre’vell—like such a—for a lot of people. I can speak for myself that it's been a challenging time. [Tre’vell agrees.] And it’s nice to get a little like sunspot. You know? In the day, through what has been such a—you know—tumultuous ride. And for a job like this, I’m super appreciative because—you know, this project, it gave me so much that I don’t think anybody will ever fully understand, in terms of healing and just—I was just really, really thankful.

tre’vell

Definitely. And I should note that this won’t be your first time around the award show rodeo. You’ve won three Emmys before, I believe. You got one last year for playing Shirley Chisolm in Mrs. America, which was amazing. And then you got two for your role as Suzanne—aka Crazy Eyes—on Orange is the New Black. Which I wanna play a clip from really quickly. When the show begins, for those who didn’t watch Orange is the New Black, it centers around a character named Piper Chapman who’s beginning a stint in prison. But the show expands as the seasons go on. And along the way, she makes friends with your character that you played, Uzo—Suzanne Warren is her name, but she’s known in the space as Crazy Eyes. In this clip, she approaches Piper while they’re exercising on the yard to share a poem that she wrote for her. [Uzo laughs.]

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Suzanne (Orange is the New Black): [Out of breath.] Look at you, getting your sweat on! You look all shiny! I bet you don’t even smell funky. Oh. I knew you wouldn’t. You a real woman, Chapman. A real, grown woman. Not like all these other girls around here. I can’t waste my time with these silly [censored]. I need a real woman. [Shouting in the background.] Piper: I’m sure that you’ll find one. Suzanne: I wrote a poem. You wanna hear it? Piper: You know, that’s fine— Suzanne: Before I met you, the sun was like a yellow grape. But now? It look like fire in the sky. Why?! Because you light a fire insiiide me. [Beat.] I wrote it for you.

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uzo

[Tre’vell giggles.] Ooh my gosh. [Cackles.] I don’t know how long it’s been since I heard that.

tre’vell

I imagine you have a soft place in your heart for this role, especially because I think—you know— [Uzo confirms.] It’s the role that I came to knowing you in and I think a lot of people see it as like kind of your breakout TV role. Is it a character that has a soft space for you, in your heart?

uzo

Oh, absolutely! Absolutely. I mean, for all the reasons you just mentioned. I mean, but I also felt like so protective of her and how she was seen and treated and viewed. You know? She was being her truest, honest, and most open self and that wasn’t always received in the [chuckles]—the easiest of ways. But yeah, I loved her so much. It’s also not lost on me that I’ve gone from playing that role to Brooke Taylor. [Laughs.] Like, on the separate sides of that conversation. You know? Of mental health. But yeah, I absolutely loved, loved, loved playing her and am forever grateful for that opportunity from Jenji and Netflix and everything in between.

tre’vell

Yeah, I—well, the reason why I brought this up is to the point you just made. You know, I wanted to know if playing Suzanne—who is, you know, on her own mental health journey—if that in some way influenced, you know, tangibly or otherwise how you approach the character of Dr. Brooke, who is a—you know, mental health professional on the other side of things.

uzo

For sure! Well, going back to your initial question about the research and speaking with friends and the consistency with which they talked about the empathy, which is what fuels the car of nonjudgment, I was thinking of Suzanne, Crazy Eyes. You know, that—there’s a scene in the first season somewhere. She asks, you know, why does everybody call me Crazy Eyes? And realizing that there is a way that she is being looked at and treated that is different than how she sees and views herself. And I really wanted to make sure that everybody who came through that door, for Brooke, never got looked at or treated that way. [Tre’vell hums in agreement.] You know? That whatever it is, that inkling or that feeling of whatever would ask somebody—cause somebody to ask that question—that that feeling never came into the room. And I really want—and again, also talking about even my mom, who was an incredible listener—wanting to make sure that both patient and actor playing out these pretty heavy scenes felt heard and listened to. It felt consistent through some materials, but also just from the script itself, that the intention of session is to feel heard. That your story has an account, from your seat, your vantage. And so, I really wanted to make sure that space was given for that, that the weight of what everybody was coming in having to talk about as actors, it was like, “I am listening. I am right here with you.” But also, from Brooke to Eladio. Brooke to Collin. Brooke to Laila. That they feel heard. That their point of view has been heard.

tre’vell

Mm-hm. Yeah, and I—and also, in this moment I’m just thinking about the ways in which I feel like I’ve sometimes seen therapists portrayed onscreen. And sometimes it doesn’t necessarily paint therapy as a welcoming, supportive, you know, space. I feel like sometimes there can be an antagonistic relationship between the therapist and the client. And I think what you all have done so well with In Treatment is present therapy as this, you know, safe space that it is for a lot of folks, to—you know, yes, work through things that you might be dealing with. Whether it’s trauma or other things. And also, just to be heard. ‘Cause sometimes we just don’t have other spaces to be heard. And so, I wanted to—as somebody who recently got into therapy, particularly over the last year—I just wanted to note that. Because I think sometimes, in the broader kind of cultural conversation as it relates to therapy, sometimes—you know, the patient is painted as, you know, someone who has like a legitimate diagnosable mental condition. And not every who seeks out therapy goes to it for that particular reason. Was that a conscious decision that you or the—or the creators and writers thought about as you were all putting things together?

uzo

That was definitely in the showrunners—Josh and Jen’s—lane, more so than my own or my fellow actors. They definitely were conscious of the fact—of therapy, like you—to your point, it has a range of experiences. And that they really were interested in dialing into—I don’t know, this might not be the right way of saying it, but like the everyman, for lack of a better term, experience. That we’re not actually going out so far to the clear diagnosable, you know, extremes, as it were. You know? It’s really more centering it on the conversation of just a general wellness. You know? A center—middle of the scale, what most people are coming in here to discuss. Under the lens of a pandemic. And wanting to have a range of those everyday experiences by having the makeup of each of those clients be different. [Tre’vell hums thoughtfully.] You know? That’s, I think, what the intention was there. And I think it was great, because I think—for me, reading it, anyway—I felt like there were a lot of people who might be able to find themselves connecting with a Collin, a Laila, an Eladio. And that—those conversations that were happening maybe more readily than some versions of what we see dramatized, as it relates to psychotherapy.

jesse

We’ll finish up with Uzo Aduba after the break. Still to come, we get to hear her sing. And she is really good at it! You don’t wanna miss it. It’s Bullseye, from MaximumFun.org and NPR.

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jesse

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jesse

This is Bullseye. I’m Jesse Thorn. Our guest is Uzo Aduba, star of the HBO show, In Treatment. She’s being interviewed by Tre’vell Anderson. Let’s get back into it.

tre’vell

So, before I let you go, I’m taking a hard left turn. I like to reserve the last few questions for, you know, questions that only I and maybe five other people in the world will care about. Okay? [Uzo laughs.] And so—

uzo

We’re here for the five other people. I’m here for them. [They laugh.]

tre’vell

And so, I wanna just ask a question or two about my favorite role that you have done. Back in 2015 you starred in NBC’s live production of the Broadway musical The Wiz.

uzo

Oh, wow! Yeah!

tre’vell

[Giggles.] Which is very specific—it’s a very specific choice. I know. Which is why I told you this is only for me. [Uzo laughs.] [Chuckling.] You played Glinda the Good Witch and I’m gonna play a clip of your incredible performance of the song “Believe in Yourself”.

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“Believe in Yourself” from The Wiz, as performed by Uzo Aduba. When you'll say it's yours Believe that you can go home Believe you can float on air Yes, click your heels three times If you believe Then you'll be… [Volume decreases and continues under the dialogue then fades out.]

tre’vell

I have the recording—like the CD of The Wiz Live. I have it virtually—like digitally as well. I loved it. I loved everything about it. And, in particular as it relates to you, I think a lot of people maybe don’t know that you studied voice in school, and you have this amazing voice. I just wanted to hear you talk a little bit about the experience of doing that live show. Obviously, you have the theatre background, so you’re used to doing—you know—a one-take situation. But, you know, in theatre you at least have tomorrow to try again. [Uzo cackles.] You know, if something doesn’t go right—

uzo

Until closing night! [Laughs.]

tre’vell

[Laughing.] Right. Right! So, just talk to me about that experience—what you remember from that time.

uzo

Oh, I thought it was so—oh my goodness. I thought it was so much fun. So exciting. I remember distinctly being so, so excited to be asked to play Glinda the Good Witch. And knowing that my little niece at the time—and little girls like her—might get to see someone like me be the good witch made me so excited. Because when I thought of The Wiz and other good witches, you know, before me. When I was little, I was like, “Wow.” I’d never seen it before and that was a driving force—I mean, that was truly the reason why I said yes. If I’m being honest, that’s actually why I said yes, for that image to exist. And I remember just being so, so excited and flying in was so much fun and I remember working with so many of my peers who I hadn’t gotten to see for so long, because I had been away from the theatre who were in that production as well, which was so great. And just having a blast. You know? With Kenny and Craig, our producers—you know, just everybody was just so—Neil, our producers, like so great. It was just awesome. And it was The Wiz! I mean, come on! Mary J, Queen Latifah, Common, Ne-Yo, David—like just great people who were all just like—Amber, you know, like an amazing tribe who are all just like phenomenal talents and showed you why they are.

tre’vell

I love it. I love it. Do you have a favorite musical, Uzo?

uzo

I dooo! I have so many favorite musicals. [Tre’vell giggles.] I don’t know if I [laughs]—if I have one! I mean, I love—I love Company. I love The Color Purple. I love Passing Strange. I love Hamilton. I love… uh, the music. I love… I love… I love Into the Woods. I love, oh, I love Sunday in the Park. I love Sondheim. I’m a huge—I LOVE R.E.N.T, which changed my life. I don’t even know how I forgot that. I love Company, R.E.N.T, Color Purple, Passing Strange. That is my list. That’s like my like—My Fair Lady. That’s like if I have top five it. Those are my—

tre’vell

I love it. And this was—this was all a big ruse for me to be able to say: if Uzo Aduba wants to do more musicals, I would greatly appreciate it. Just putting that out into the atmosphere for, you know, the universe to hear and answer my prayers. [Uzo laughs.] But thank you, Uzo, for giving us some of your time today. I greatly appreciate it.

uzo

Thank you very much. Thank you very much. This was incredible. I appreciate it.

music

Upbeat synth music.

jesse

Uzo Aduba. At the Emmys this year, she is up for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her part in HBO’s In Treatment. You can tune into the Emmys September 19th to find out if she wins. Our thanks to Tre’vell Anderson for interviewing Uzo. Tre’vell, as I said before, is the host of the Maximum Fun podcast FANTI. On that show, they and their co-host, Jarrett Hill, look at the grey areas in popular culture with a nuanced, smart, and very funny lens. Go listen to that wherever you get podcasts. It’s a great show. FANTI. F-A-N-T-I. [Music fades out.]

music

Cheerful, thumpy music.

jesse

That’s the end of another episode of Bullseye. Bullseye is created from the homes of me and the staff of Maximum Fun, in and around greater Los Angeles, California. We’re working in the office a little bit, overlooking beautiful MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, where our producer—Jesus Ambrosio—attended his first free Levitt Pavilion concert, this summer. They’re back. He saw the local ska group The Paranoias, because Jesus loves ska. The show is produced by speaking into microphones. Our senior producer is Kevin Ferguson. Our producer is ska enthusiast, Jesus Ambrosio. Production fellows at Maximum Fun are Richard Robey and Valerie Moffat. No word on whether they enjoy ska. We get help from Casey O’Brien. I don’t think he’s into ska, but he does like The Twins. Our interstitial music is by Dan Wally, also known as DJW. He’s more of a soul and hip-hop guy. Our theme song is by The Go! Team. Thanks to them and to their label, Memphis Industries, for sharing it. They’ve got a new record; you should go check it out. You can also keep up with Bullseye on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. We post all our interviews there. And I think that’s it. Just remember: all great radio hosts have a signature signoff.

promo

Speaker: Bullseye with Jesse Thorn is a production of MaximumFun.org and is distributed by NPR. [Music fades out.]

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.

People

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Maximum Fun Production Fellow

Maximum Fun Production Fellow

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