Bullseye from NPR is your curated guide to culture. Jesse Thorn hosts in-depth interviews with brilliant creators, culture picks from our favorite critics and irreverent original comedy. Bullseye has been featured in Time, The New York Times, GQ and McSweeney's, which called it "the kind of show peo…
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Claudia O'Doherty is, as you are about to hear, an extremely funny person. She is from Sydney, Australia. Some of her work includes serving as a writer on Inside Amy Schumer and a regular part on Netflix's Love. Claudia has her own brand of comedy that I guess one could describe as "cheerfully deranged." Sort of a kindler, gentler Adult Swim bizarreness. Her latest project is called Killing It. It is a sitcom streaming on Peacock summed pretty neatly in the tag line: "Class, capitalism and one man's quest to achieve the American dream." Claudia O'Doherty joins Bullseye to talk about her work on Killing It. She also talks with us about how she got into comedy and the Australian comedy scene. Plus, she reveals to us what the Australian term for "slide" is – like the playground toy you slide down.
Michael Stipe is forever cemented in the minds of music fans as the lead singer of R.E.M., one of the biggest rock bands in history. You might also know him from his fun appearances on shows like At Home with Amy Sedaris and The Adventures of Pete and Pete. We're chatting with him this week about discovering his voice, his passion for photography, and the new music he's been writing.
Michael Stipe is forever cemented in the minds of music fans as the lead singer of R.E.M., one of the biggest rock bands in history. You might also know him from his fun appearances on shows like At Home with Amy Sedaris and The Adventures of Pete and Pete. We're chatting with him this week about discovering his voice, his passion for photography, and the new music he's been writing.
Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey will be forever linked together – thanks to one show: The Office. Angela and Jenna were strangers when the show started, but soon formed a friendship that has lasted long after the show wrapped. Together they recently released a book. The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There is both a celebration of the show and a memoir of a friendship. It dives deep into behind the scenes stories from the show. Angela and Jenna join Bullseye to talk about seeing the show through a new lens and becoming geeks for The Office while researching their rewatch podcast: Office Ladies. They'll reflect on how the show changed their lives, the first time they ever worked together on set and so much more.
In a time where there is a lot going on in the world, it is nice to have a break every once in a while. To find something silly, something weird and something that can transport you somewhere else completely. Perhaps to a place where iguanas are mail carriers, one where ATMs sprout from the ground in the city park and lawn hedges are trimmed with shaving cream and razors. Lemoncurd, Connecticut, is one such place. It is the fictional setting for the Adult Swim show Three Busy Debras, which is sublime, bizarre and a little disturbing. The show is well into its second season and it is just as weird and funny as ever. In 2020, the stars of the show joined Bullseye to talk about the new Adult Swim series and its truly eccentric and hilarious antics. They also explained what it means to be a Debra, and where they initially got the idea of the Debras. Plus, what it was like to perform at Carnegie Hall and why they still think about the venue's seating chart.
Gilbert Gottfried died last month. The standup comedian and actor was 67. To millennials of a certain age, he was an iconic voice actor: Iago in Aladdin, Kraang Subprime in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the voice of Aflac Duck commercials. We're taking a moment to remember Gilbert's life by revisiting our conversation from 2017. At the time, he joined us to talk about the documentary Gilbert, which profiled the life and work of the comic. In this conversation, Gilbert talked about what it was like to star in a documentary about his life, and why he struggled watching parts of the film. Plus, we dive into some of the Twitter jokes that got him into trouble over the years. This conversation also featured segments that were previously unaired including Gilbert's thoughts on his early career, and he expands on finding jokes from the worst possible situations.
Ron Carter is a legend in the world of jazz. His work as a bassist has appeared on thousands of recordings, and has the world records to prove it. In a career that spans over five decades, he's won three Grammys – and he's worked with folks like Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel and A Tribe Called Quest. Ron takes us back to when he first picked up an instrument, the cello; and how he eventually found the bass. We'll also talk about the time he played bass for A Tribe Called Quest on Low End Theory – and how he gave them the business about their foul language.
Alan Alda has been performing for over six decades. Hey played the iconic role of Hawkeye in M*A*S*H , was Arnold Vinnick on The West Wing and starred in several other memorable roles over the years. He has also had parts in a number of films and performed on Broadway. Alda is also an almost-journalist, a communicator and an interviewer. For almost thirty years now it has been his second career. First on television in the PBS series Scientific American Encounters and now on his podcast, Clear+Vivid . One listen to Clear+Vivid and you can tell that Alda has found his passion as a podcast host. Alan Alda joins Bullseye to talk about Clear+Vivid and dives into some of the different guests he has had on the show. He also shares what it was like when M*A*S*H, the television show that gave him his big break, came to an end. Plus, he talks about his years performing improv.
Paul Feig created TV shows like Freaks and Geeks, movies like Bridesmaids, Unaccompanied Minors and Spy. He's directed episodes of 30 Rock, The Office, Mad Men and more. He's basically a legend, and he keeps plenty busy. He helped produce the new HBO show Minx – it's a period comedy about the first women's erotic magazine. He also helped make the newest Fox sitcom Welcome to Flatch, a mockumentary-style show based on the British sitcom This Country. It's set in the town of Flatch, Ohio, and explores the lives of its residents. We'll talk with Paul about his new work and his career making all your favorite shows – plus, Paul Feig makes gin! He'll tell us all the secrets of gin making.
We welcome a true "Superstar" on the latest episode, the one and only Molly Shannon! She's one of the greatest comic actors ever. Shannon just wrote a book. It's called Hello, Molly: A Memoir. In the book, Molly Shannon shares her life story. She writes about her time on Saturday Night Live, but also her childhood. Shannon's mother, younger sister and cousin died in a car accident when Molly was four years old. Her father, who survived the crash and raised Molly, was driving under the influence. The book is harrowing and hilarious, heartbreaking and heartwarming. Shannon talks with Jesse Thorn about the new book. Plus, what it took to bring Mary Katherine Gallagher to SNL – she explains why it was anything but easy.
Courtney B. Vance started acting in college. He went to Yale drama school, where he met his future wife Angela Bassett. He starred in the debut performance of August Wilson's Fences, first at the Yale repertory theater in 1985, then later on Broadway in 1987. Since then, he has gone on to work on the big and small screen, too. He has had parts on shows like Law and Order: Criminal Intent, The People v. O.J. Simpson, and Lovecraft Country. His latest project is the AMC series 61st Street, which Vance executive produced and stars in. He joins the show to talk about his acting career on both the stage and screen. He also talks about what it was like taking on the role of a lawyer again in the new series 61st Street. Plus, he talks with us about what it was like working alongside the legendary James Earl Jones in the iconic play Fences.
Chloë Sevigny is, in a word: cool. She has an impeccable fashion sense and makes waves in that world. She's an Oscar nominated actor for her role in Boys Don't Cry. An indie darling in films like The Last Days of Disco and Broken Flowers. She's had regular roles on shows like Big Love and American Horror Story, too. We were big fans of her recurring appearances as Alexandra on Portlandia. These days, she's starring in The Girl from Plainville and Russian Doll. Chloë talks with Jesse about her latest projects and how she keeps it cool after all these years. We'll also geeks out with Chloë about her making own clothes.
Parks and Recreation's Jean-Ralphio! Star Wars' BB-8! The voice of Sonic the Hedgehog! We're joined by Ben Schwartz. Ben's big break came in 2010 with a small recurring role on Parks and Recreation. Jean-Ralphio was a character who only showed up a few times a year – but he was one of the most memorable characters on the show. We'll chat at length about his role on the show. You can hear his voice work alongside Jim Carrey and James Marsden in the Sonic The Hedgehog movies. We'll chat about his long time fandom of the video game series. Plus, we'll have him describe some truly cursed Sonic the Hedgehog online fan art. This interview originally aired in February of 2020.
John Leguizamo has been in well over 100 movies and TV shows, including the recent Academy Award-winning animated smash Encanto. That is impressive enough but John's also a writer who has created and starred in a handful of powerful, hilarious one-man shows over his career. This includes his 2019 show, Latin History for Morons. During the show's run, he joined Bullseye to talk about it. He also chatted with us about creating works of art from a sometimes painful past, fighting for Latinx representation in Hollywood, and some of the comedians who have inspired his craft. He also got very personal about a certain incident that changed his life, and we are honored that he chose to share it with us.
Chuck Klosterman writes about culture. Pop culture, more specifically. Rock bands, basketball teams, adult entertainment, Saved by the Bell... you get the idea. He was a writer who wrote volumes of hot pop culture takes before being a writer with hot pop culture takes was just, y'know, being a writer. He's positioned himself as a writer who doesn't just think about pop culture, but has a knack for unearthing common threads in disparate things – like The Chicks and Van Halen, for example. And in doing that, you, the reader, get a deeper understanding of both. In his newest book, The Nineties, Klosterman chronicles the last decade of the 20th century. He does so not as a cultural critic, but more as a historian, or a philosopher. He takes a decade that many of its readers experienced, and thinks not about the nostalgia of the events back then, but their consequences, what mattered, and what didn't.
Mary Roach is a science writer who covers very specific branches of research: sex in space, cadaver handling, that sort of thing. Her newest book is called Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law. It's a book about how humans have tried – and failed to manage nature. Bears that break into dumpsters. Moose stepping into traffic. Gulls that eat papal flower arrangements. We'll talk with her about how the book impacted how she interacts with animals in her day-to-day life.
This weekend on the show: Steven Van Zandt! Of course, you might know him better as Little Steven, a guitarist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, or as Silvio Dante, Tony Soprano's right-hand man. He's a singer, an actor, a guitar player, a famous wearer of head scarves. A man of many talents! He recounts all that in Unrequited Infatuations: A Memoir, and he tells us all about it. The months-long tours, recording sessions, international fame, the ups, the downs... and, of course, the many, many head scarves.
Amy Schumer is, of course, the creator and star of the hit sketch show Inside Amy Schumer. She also wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed romcom Trainwreck and has taped several comedy specials. She has been nominated for Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, a Tony, and even won a Peabody award for Inside Amy Schumer. Amy's newest project is a semi-autobiographical television comedy called Life & Beth. She wrote, directed, created, and stars in the show. Life & Beth is intense, probing, and a little unpredictable. Amy talks with us about the new show and what inspired her to create it. She also shares why she said yes to maybe one of the most stressful jobs in showbiz, hosting the Oscars. Plus, she talks about her work in stand-up and how her comedy has evolved over the years.
J. Kenji López-Alt is a chaf and food writer who has written for the New York Times, Cook's Illustrated, Serious Eats, and more. A lot of his recipes perfect the staples including steak, potatoes, beans, eggs, mayo, and mushroom soup. If you are a home cook, odds are you have a recipe from Kenji you swear by. In 2015, he compiled a lot of his signature recipes in his award winning book The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science . This year, López-Alt has followed up The Food Lab with a very different kind of cookbook. It is called The Wok: Recipes and Techniques. It is nearly 700 pages and includes not only recipes but a guide to acquainting, understanding, and eventually mastering one of the most versatile pans in the kitchen. J. Kenji López-Alt talks with Jesse about the new book and some of his favorite meals to make with a wok. He also shares how he used science to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Plus, he talks about how he balances inclusivity and appropriation when making recipes from other countries.
For the first chapter of his career, Nick Kroll's comedy centered around big, outsized characters – the more preposterous the better. He created the sketch comedy series Kroll Show, and he starred on the FX show The League. These days he's behind the camera a lot more. In 2017, he co-created the animated show Big Mouth on Netflix. Now he's got a new show in the same universe: Human Resources. It centers around a group of personified emotion monsters and their workplace, and the feelings they represent. Nick Kroll joins us to talk about developing Big Mouth and Human Resources. Plus, why he's taken fewer on-screen roles lately for voice acting gigs and a seat behind the scenes instead. He'll also talk about the lessons he's learned since he became a father.
On December 18, 2021, the rapper Drakeo the Ruler was murdered backstage at a festival in Los Angeles, his hometown. A group of 40 or so people ambushed him; one of them stabbed him to death. Drakeo was a young, rising rapper. Critics respected him and rap fans streamed his music millions of times. He was an LA gangsta rapper whose music didn't sound like what you'd think when you hear "LA gangsta rap" – it's subdued and anxious, less about the barbecue with your pals and more about looking over your shoulder. Jeff Weiss, the music writer, first covered Drakeo the Ruler in 2017, and they forged a friendship. Weiss also witnessed Drakeo's murder. We invited Weiss to our studio in Los Angeles to talk about Drakeo's music, what it meant to the broader hip-hop community, and his life and death. As a warning: there's going to be some discussion about violence, along with crime. If you or someone you're listening with is sensitive to that, we wanted to give you a heads up.
Greg Daniels is a screenwriter, television producer and director. Over the span of more than three decades he's worked on some of the most beloved comedy television shows. Seriously, he's worked on some of your favorite tv series: Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, The Office, King of The Hill, and so many more. These days, he still keeps busy. Greg has two sitcoms in production. On Amazon, you can watch the second season of his show Upload – a dramedy set in a cloud-backup afterlife. Netflix's Space Force, reunites Greg with Steve Carrell for the first time since The Office. The premise for the show is pretty simple: Carrell plays General Mark Naird, and he heads up the newest branch of the American armed forces. He's got a bunch of money and a sort of vague sense of purpose – what could possibly go wrong? Space Force and Upload are streaming now.
The Song That Changed My Life gives us a chance to talk with different artists about the music that has inspired them. On the latest installment, we are joined by Eric Nam. Eric is an Atlanta-born singer, songwriter, and entertainer. He has worked with Timbaland, Gallant, Craig David, and a bunch of others and has headlined festivals like KCON and the Seoul Jazz Festival. He recently released an album called There and Back Again and just wrapped up a solo tour of the US where he sold out literally every venue, including in his hometown of Atlanta. When we asked him about the song that changed his life, he took the name pretty literally. He picked John Legend's "Ordinary People." The song that propelled him to stardom.
You probably know Brian Cox from Succession. He plays patriarch Logan Roy on the show. But Brian has hundreds of credits acting with a career spanning decades: movies, TV shows, even a stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company! Cox recounts his career in a new memoir. Putting the Rabbit in the Hat covers his childhood, growing up in postwar Dundee, Scotland, his time studying and performing Shakespeare in the U.K., and his big break into TV and film.
Syl Johnson, the Chicago soul and blues singer, died last month at 85. He was probably best known for his work on Hi Records, the home of Ann Peebles and, of course, Al Green. In fact, he turned down a record deal that ended up going to Green. The songs Johnson cut for Hi in Memphis were some of the best soul records of their time. Hip-hop producers have feasted on Johnson's records, making him one of the most frequently sampled recording artists in the history of the genre. But more than that, Johnson was a career artist. He lived in Chicago, where he raised his daughter Syleena, a great soul singer in her own right. He made soul and blues records throughout his life. We spoke to Syl back in 2012. He was in his 70s then and gigging relentlessly, and his albums had just been re-released by Numero Group. Johnson was whip-smart, funny... and maybe a little cantankerous. He'll be sorely missed.
Alana Haim has been leading two very distinct careers. First, there's her music - Alana is one third of the Grammy nominated, critically acclaimed rock group Haim. And then there's her acting. Alana made her big screen Debut in the new Paul Thomas Anderson film Licorice Pizza. The role has earned her a Golden Globe nomination along with a bunch of other awards. It's also up for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director at this year's Academy Awards. Alana joins the show to talk about Licorice Pizza and how she found out she got the lead part in the film. She also chats with us about what it was like growing up in the San Fernando Valley, playing in a band with her family and more.
Betty Davis died earlier this month. She was 77. She was the very definition of a cult hero – she never cut a hit record, but her influence is still strong today. Her music was absolutely unforgettable, and her style was outrageous, like a funky Barbarella with a two-foot-wide Afro. Her band was the best of the best. Even her husband was influential. (That's Betty Davis as in Miles Davis – they say she convinced him to listen to Sly Stone and make Bitches Brew.) Davis put out three classic records in three years, and then in 1980... she stopped. She retired from music altogether and moved back to Pittsburgh, where she grew up. Stopped doing interviews, stopped playing concerts. She disappeared from public life completely. When we talked to her in 2007, she was quiet and reserved, a sharp contrast with her persona as a performer. It was her first radio interview since her retirement.
You read that right: Chrsitopher Walken! One of the greatest character actors ever. So many iconic parts: King of New York, Pulp Fiction, The Deer Hunter, Catch Me If You Can, and Hairspray. These days, you can see him on the dystopian workplace dramedy Severance. Christopher Walken talks about Severance and working alongside John Turturro. He'll also get into his days as a child actor and gives us a history lesson about the early days of television. After all, he's been working in showbiz for over 60 years! Plus, we get into one of his most memorable moments on Saturday Night Live.
The Craziest Day of My Entire Career is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite people about the weirdest workday they have experienced so far. This week, our guest is Alan Tudyk. Alan is a brilliant character actor and a performer who can do a thousand and one impressions. He has worked in movies like Rogue One, I, Robot, and several Pixar films. His latest project is the SyFy series Resident Alien. In it, Alan plays an extraterrestrial tasked to live on earth as a human, a man named Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle. When we asked Alan Tudyk about the craziest day of his career, he took us way back. Back when he was mainly a Broadway performer but got a part in the 90s dramedy Patch Adams, which would change his life forever.
Big Boi and Sleepy Brown. Two legendary recording artists! Big Boi is one half of the legendary rap duo OutKast and a prolific solo-artist. Sleepy Brown is a veteran singer-songwriter and producer. Along with his team production team Organized Noize, he helped produce well over half of OutKast's discography. He's also worked with Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, and Ludacris. Their latest joint effort is an album: "Big Sleepover." Despite collaborating and representing the ATL for decades it's their first record together. We talk about the Big Sleepover with Sleepy Brown and Big Boi, and about the pleasure they get from working together after all these years. They also get into the history of Atlanta hip-hop, parenting, and so much more.
Charlie Day is the star and co-creator of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. You probably knew that already, because Always Sunny is the longest running live-action comedy in the history of television. And it's still good! But Charlie Day, the actor, is more than Charlie from Always Sunny. He helped co-create the very funny TV show Mythic Quest. He's acted in movies like Pacific Rim, Horrible Bosses, The Lego Movie – and now, the romantic comedy I Want You Back, where he co-stars with the phenomenal Jenny Slate. We'll talk with Charlie about the movie and playing zany characters – plus, he's started rewatching Always Sunny episodes he hasn't seen in over a decade! He tells us what that's like.
Kristen Bell joins the show this week to talk about her new series The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window. It's a parody of domestic thriller movies like The Woman in The Window and The Girl on the Train. Kristen plays the character of Anna in the show, a woman who lives in an upscale suburb and is having a rough go of it lately. Anna does not do much other than drink lots of red wine and stare out her window from a comfy looking chair. That is until one day when she witnesses a horrific crime across the street, or at least she thinks she does. Interviewing Kristen this week is our friend Helen Zaltzman. Helen hosts the language and linguistics podcast The Allusionist and Veronica Mars Investigations, which recapped Kristen Bell's breakthrough show of the same name. Helen talks with Kristen Bell about the new show and what it was like not only starring in it, but also to produce it. Kristen also talks about some of the extreme things Veronica Mars fans have done in the past to get the show renewed. Plus, she shares the name she preferred to go by when she was growing up.
John Bradley was around 22 when he got the part that changed his life. On Game of Thrones he played Samwell Tarly, John Snow's close friend for nearly a decade. In the beginning, it's clear that Sam isn't cut out for the world of Game of Thrones. He isn't a natural warrior. He's a bigger guy. Kind of soft. He's smart, but not especially cunning. He's nice, maybe a little goofy. And on any other show, you can pretty much guess his character's trajectory: maybe he stays a bumbling comic sidekick or maybe he gets killed off tragically. But instead the things he was bullied for: his kindness, his empathy, his bookishness... they turn out to be assets, not liabilities. These days, John Bradley keeps busy. He has two movies out this month – sci-fi disaster movie Moonfall and the romantic comedy Marry Me. We revisit our conversation with John from 2019. He talks with us about the surreal experience of watching the finale Game of Thrones after it consumed most of his 20's. Plus, he shared the things that make him geek out, and answered some very fun questions from twitter.
Louie Anderson passed away last month at the age of 68. He was a veteran stand-up and comic actor who performed in movies and shows like Family Feud, Coming to America, and Life with Louie. When we talked with Louie Anderson in 2017, he had been starring in the FX series Baskets. We remember the life of Louie Anderson by revisiting this conversation with him on the latest episode. He talked with us about his role as Christine Baskets, who was loosely based on his mother, Ora Anderson. Louie shared his perceptions of his own career, including his comedy style and on-screen appearance. This extended interview also features material we never played when it originally aired – including one of his darkest jokes, and what it was like being the opening act for folks like Ray Charles and Dolly Parton in Las Vegas. Plus, he talked about how being able to laugh at some of the difficult moments in his life helped him heal from past struggles.
I Wish I Made That is a segment where we invite some of our favorite voices in pop culture to dive deep into a work of art they did not make but they really wish they did. This time around we are joined by John Darnielle. John is a writer and frontman of the folk rock band the Mountain Goats. He recently released his third novel which is called Devil House. It is an epic story that touches on the true crime fad of today, the Satanic panic of the 1980s and a spooky home in Milpitas, California. When we asked John to pick something he wished he had made, he sent us a list of a few different things. After narrowing down the list, he eventually settled on Speak & Spell, the debut album by new wave legends Depeche Mode.
W. Kamau Bell, a comedian and host, directed a new documentary series. It's called We Need To Talk About Cosby. It's about Bill Cosby – who he is, what he's done, and how we deal with that. It's a complicated, difficult topic. One that intersects with the fabric of the American entertainment system, with race, the justice system, the MeToo movement and so much more. In this conversation we talk with Kamau about the documentary at length. He talks about what Cosby meant to him as a kid and as a comic. He talks about Cosby's pioneering work in civil rights and in television, and about how we struggle to square all that with the person we now know Cosby to be. We Need To Talk About Cosby will be available to watch via Showtime on January 30.
The Righteous Gemstones just kicked off its second season on HBO, and that's good news. It's a comedy about the Gemstones, a family of pastors and owners of a massive megachurch with hundreds of thousands of followers. The show centers around Dr. Eli Gemstone (John Goodman), the patriarch, who's been preaching on TV for decades; he's played by John Goodman. But the show itself centers around Eli's kids: their power struggles, their scheming, their scandals, their hamfisted attempts to curry favor with their father. Among a stacked cast, Edi Patterson stands out as the daughter, Judy Gemstone, bringing a manic energy to the part. We'll talk with Edi about her own church experience, improvising – and "Misbehavin,'" the Christian country tune from season 1 she sang on and co-wrote.
Alfred Molina started his acting career almost 40 years ago. First on British TV and a couple of movies later on. Since then he's gotten over 150 roles. He's responsible for a bunch of other unforgettable scenes, in films like Boogie Nights, Chocolat and Magnolia. He played Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2 and has now reprised the role for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is out now. When we talked with him in 2017, he'd just starred in the first season of Feud, the FX series. It's set in 1962, and it tells the story of the rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford when they filmed the movie "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" Jesse sits down with Alfred Molina to talk about his portrayal of director Robert Aldrich in the FX series, plus his memorable turns in films like Boogie Nights, Spider-Man 2 and more.
Just before Christmas this past year, the writer Joan Didion died. She was 87. Didion rose to fame for her journalism – she immersed herself in stories. In the late 60s, she broke through with Slouching Towards Bethlehem. In her career she covered a bunch of different topics – counter culture, war, immigration. She also wrote a handful of novels, a couple memoirs. We never got to interview Didion – she became a pretty private person in her last years. But in 2017, a documentary about her came out. The documentary was directed by Griffin Dunne, her nephew. Griffin Dunne is also an actor – he was in My Girl, the Martin Scorsese film After Hours, and the TV show This is Us. We remember the life of Joan Didion by revisiting this conversation with Griffin on the latest episode. We talked with him about the documentary, and the legacy of his aunt.
Glynn Turman is a brilliant actor who's lived an extraordinary life. His first big role was at 12, in the original Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun alongside Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee and Louis Gossett Jr. He's played mayor Clarence Royce on The Wire and Doctor Senator on the most recent season of Fargo. Just the other week he portrayed Mose Wright, the great-uncle of Emmett Till, in the ABC miniseries Women of the Movement. Those are just some of his 150-plus credits. Oh, and did we mention he was married to Aretha Franklin? When we talked with Turman last year, he'd just finished performing in the Academy Award-nominated film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Winston Duke was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to Brooklyn when he was nine. He studied acting at Yale and went on to work mainly in TV during his early twenties. He did not break into movies until he was thirty. That first movie role was M'Baku in 2018's Black Panther. He followed that up with an appearance in Avengers Infinity War, then with a starring role in Jordan Peele's Us. Last year, he starred in a very different movie. It was the Edson Oda film Nine Days. It is a sci-fi drama where Duke stars as an otherworldly entity who interviews souls for the chance to inhabit a body on earth. We are thrilled to have Winston Duke on the show, and just as excited to have our friend and correspondent Jarrett Hill interviewing him.
Living legend John Cameron Mitchell joins us on the latest episode. He's directed the movies Shortbus and Rabbit Hole, acted on shows like Shrill and Girls. But he's probably best known for his iconic work is the cult hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It's a story about queerness, about identity, about the threads rock and punk music shares with other live performances, like drag and cabaret and Broadway. These days, John Cameron Mitchell has gotten back to writing and recording new music. He's put out an ongoing benefit called New American Dream, in which he collaborates with Ezra Furman, Xiu Xiu and Stephen Trask – co-creator of Hedwig. Jesse Thorn talks with John Cameron Mitchell about his childhood, punk rock, his songwriting process, creating Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and how his relationship with the piece has changed over the years. Plus, he takes a deep dive into the making of his film Shortbus – a conversation that was too spicy for radio.
Odds are, you know Sarah Snook for her role on Succession, the latest Zeitgeist-y TV drama on HBO. Sarah plays Siobhan Roy. But to her friends and family, it's just "Shiv." Succession follows the Roy family. They own a giant conservative media conglomerate called Waystar Royco; the family's patriarch, Shiv's father Logan Roy, is aging and can't run the company forever. Who will he name to take over? And what will the players do to get what they want? Shiv's part in the drama earned Snook a bunch of critical praise and awards nominations, including an Emmy and, more recently, a Golden Globe. Linda Holmes, the terrific host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, talked with Sarah in 2020 about what it's like to play one of the most fascinating, complex and confounding characters on television today.
Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty much one of the biggest actors around. In 2010, he got the title part on the BBC's modern day Sherlock Holmes reboot, just called Sherlock. He plays Dr. Strange in the Marvel movies, including the brand new Spider Man: No Way Home. He is also in the brand new western called The Power of the Dog, which is playing in theaters and streaming on Netflix. When we talked with Benedict in 2012, it was on the heels of Sherlock's 2nd series. He talked with us about bringing a new take to an iconic character, and what has kept Holmes relevant to both writers and audiences all these years later. He also talked about the challenge he faced when taking on the role. Plus, he spoke with us about his harrowing experience being kidnapped and robbed while on set abroad.
It's that time of year again! Our annual end of year best of stand-up comedy showcase is here! The whole team here at Maximum Fun combed through dozens and dozens of albums to bring you some of the best. In a year that was extraordinarily difficult for stand-up comedy, that meant that some comedians got creative. We have albums recorded before the pandemic, albums recorded in front of only a handful of people and even one that was recorded at a drive-in! So sit back, relax, and get ready to laugh. It has been a long year and you have earned it.
The Bullseye Holiday Spectacular is here! We are revisiting some of our favorite Holiday interviews with different guests from over the years. First, we kick things off with Ronnie Spector. She talks with us about her work with The Ronnets and her fond love for Christmas music. We are then joined by singer/songwriter Sy Smith, who shares which classic holiday tune changed her life. We close things out by revisiting our interview with the one and only Jane Lynch. In 2016, she talked with us about her holiday album A Swingin' Little Christmas and some of her holiday traditions growing up. Happy Holidays!
For over 30 years now, Yeardley Smith has voiced Lisa Simpson, one of the most iconic characters of all time. She is also an on-screen actor and a co-host on the true crime podcast Small Town Dicks. When we asked Yeardley about the craziest day of her career, she took us back to 1986, before podcasts and before the Simpsons. It was a big part in a Stephen King film that she couldn't turn down, even if it meant a giant crazy truck might run her over.
On the latest episode of Bullseye we're joined by Houston rapper Maxo Kream. Maxo's had a tough life, and he's not afraid to put that on wax. He's been in and out of jail, along with many other members of his family. When hurricane Harvey hit Houston a few years ago, many of them lost their homes. He's also lost friends and relatives to gun violence, including his brother last year. He lost his grandmother to Covid-19 in 2020, too. On his latest record Weight of the World Maxo raps about losing his brother, his grandmother and becoming a parent. Jesse Thorn talks with Maxo about his critically acclaimed album Weight of the World. They discuss what his family members think about his records and how he writes about tough times.
If you know actor Hiam Abbass from one thing, it's probably Succession. Abbass plays Marcia, Logan Roy's wife. On a show famous for its craven, manipulative, sometimes frightening characters, Marcia dominates the lineup in all three categories. Most recently, though, Hiam's performed in a new movie - it's called Gaza, Mon Amour. It's Palestine's submission to this year's Academy Awards, and it's pretty much everything Succession isn't: it's a romcom. It's slow-paced. It's sweet in parts, sad and scary in others. It's a really unique film. Hiam joins us to talk about the movie, growing up in Nazareth, how she got the role to play Marcia on Succession, and whether or not she thinks Marcia loves her husband, Logan Roy. Succession intrigue! Don't miss it!
Mike Mills is a writer and director who's worked in film, TV, and on music videos. He's made the films Beginners and 20th Century Women and his newest movie is called C'mon C'mon. It's a film about the extraordinary burdens of parenthood and the ways it changes parents. It's also about kids and how amazing and resilient they can be, even in the face of serious trauma. Mike talks with us about C'mon C'mon and how the film connects to his personal experiences with parenthood. He also shares that the film features real interviews with kids conducted by Joaquin Phoenix. Plus, he'll talk about the role music plays in his creative process and how he always leaves room in the budget for live musicians on set.
Joe Pera Talks with You is one of the quirkiest shows on television right now. Comedian Joe Pera portrays a fictionalized version of himself. He's a soft-spoken, unassuming, kind person. Each episode involves Joe, a middle school choir teacher, guiding viewers through his life in the city of Marquette, Michigan. He talks about the simple things in life. It's quickly becoming one of our favorites here at Bullseye. Joe Pera Talks With You is back for season three. We're revisiting our conversation with Joe from last year, from when he had just wrapped season two. Joe Pera talked about doing comedy at his own pace, sleeping in a twin bed well into his twenties and why he enjoys casting non-actors in real locations. Plus, why he considers falling asleep to be a totally acceptable response to his performances. This interview originally aired in January of 2020.