Bullseye : About

Airs Saturdays at 1PM on AM 820 and Sundays at 9PM on 93.9FM and NJPR

Jesse Thorn cuts through the weeds of pop culture, with irreverent comedy, in-depth interviews and a keen eye for what’s worth knowing about.

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Latest Stories from Bullseye

Last updated: Sunday, August 30 2015 10:52 PM

Jemaine Clement & Jonathan Ames

Tuesday, August 25 2015 10:30 AM

Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords joins Jesse Thorn to talk about his new movie People Places Things and why he’s still trying to make it on TV in his home country, New Zealand. Plus writer Jonathan Ames stops by to discuss his new TV show, Blunt Talk, starring Sir Patrick Stewart.

'Playing House' Creators & Hari Kondabolu

Tuesday, August 18 2015 10:30 AM

[r] Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, creators of the TV show Playing House, talk about  their real-life friendship and the marathon improv sessions that produce the show's jokes. Plus comedian Hari Kondablou on how he fits into the "alternative" comedy scene and on graciously accepting his audience's suggestions for jokes.

Wet Hot American Summer's David Wain & Michael Showalter

Tuesday, August 04 2015 10:30 AM

Comedians David Wain and Michael Showalter join Jesse to talk about their new series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp. Plus 30 Rock’s Toofer, Keith Powell on the 1976 satire Network and Jesse recommends the new season of Andy Daly’s comedy show, Review.

What Happened, Miss Simone? & Oliver Wang

Tuesday, July 28 2015 10:30 AM

Director Liz Garbus joins Jesse to talk about her new Nina Simone documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? Later Oliver Wang talks to Jesse about his new book: Legions Of Boom: Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Shamir & Pete Rock

Tuesday, July 21 2015 10:30 AM

Jesse talks to singer-songwriter Shamir about high school, musical genres and his new album Ratchet, plus hip-hop producer Pete Rock discusses his best loved collaborations and how he breathes new life into classic records by sampling.

Judy Greer & Ishmael Butler

Tuesday, July 14 2015 10:30 AM

[r] Actress Judy Greer joins Jesse Thorn to talk about her roles in Archer and Arrested Development. Her book I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star charts life as a talented and prolific performer who’s figured out you get to be funnier playing the best friend than the lead. Greer co-stars in the FX series Married, which returns for its second season this week. Later Jesse sits down with musician Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces and Digable Planets, plus he’ll explain the genius of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil.

Alan Rickman & Sacha Jenkins

Tuesday, June 30 2015 10:30 AM

Alan Rickman joins Jesse to talk about his new movie A Little Chaos… and also about Die Hard, Galaxy Quest and Harry Potter. Jesse also talks with Sacha Jenkins about his new documentary all about hip hop fashion, Fresh Dressed.

Baron Davis & Paul Dano

Tuesday, June 09 2015 10:30 AM

Jesse Thorn talks to superstar basketball player-turned-filmmaker Baron Davis about his documentary The Drew: No Excuse Just Produce. He also sits down with the star of the new Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy, actor Paul Dano.

Corin Tucker & Kyle Kinane

Tuesday, June 02 2015 10:30 AM

Jesse Thorn talks to Corin Tucker, lead singer and guitarist for Sleater-Kinney, and comedian Kyle Kinane.

Paul Feig & Combat Jack

Tuesday, April 21 2015 10:30 AM

Jesse Thorn sits down with writer and director Paul Feig. Feig discusses his new TV show Other Space and explains why he was drawn to reboot Ghostbusters with an all-female squad. Jesse also talks to Reggie Osse, AKA Combat Jack. For years, Osse worked as a music industry lawyer, he now hosts the Combat Jack Show - one of the biggest podcasts in the Hip Hop world. Plus Jesse describes the menace and irresistible abandon of Rick James in his OutShot.

George Clinton & Christian Acker

Tuesday, March 31 2015 10:30 AM

[r] Jesse Thorn talks to George Clinton, the 73-year-old mastermind of P-Funk. Clinton paid his dues in the mainstream - singing doo wop and writing for Motown. Then, with Parliament Funkadelic he developed a look and a sound that was like nothing else before it. Later Jesse hears from Christian Acker about the tags you see on walls, park benches and trash cans everywhere. Acker says tagging is one of the last forms of highly practiced penmanship. So that’s what he focuses on in his book, Flip the Script. Plus we’ll go into the woods with comedian Chris Fairbanks. And Jesse will play a song that’ll remind you what it feels like to be a teenager.

Lynda Barry & Tom Arnold

Tuesday, March 24 2015 10:30 AM

Jesse Thorn sits down with writer and cartoonist, Lynda Barry. She’s currently working as Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’ll also talk to to the veteran comic and actor Tom Arnold. Arnold will tell Thorn about working with Roseanne Barr, and how he's coped with the ups and downs of his career.

RuPaul & Terry Crews

Tuesday, March 10 2015 10:30 AM

Jesse Thorn talks to the most famous drag queen in the world, RuPaul. They’ll talk about the time before RuPaul was RUPAUL and how growing up an outcast in San Diego, television was his main companion - and main inspiration. Later Terry Crews tells how he went from a stint in the NFL to a part on Brooklyn 99. Plus, MBMBaM's McElroy Brothers advise on arcade etiquette andLA Times book critic Carolyn Kellogg shares the memoir of a TV repairman who explored the notion of immortality. Oh, and Jesse names the greatest hip-hop album ever recorded. A bold claim? Yes. A true claim? Yes.


Friday, February 27 2015 03:22 AM

Here's the latest episode of our new sister podcast, Pop Rocket. A pop culture discussion show hosted by comedian Guy Branum with digital strategist Wynter Mitchell, academic and DJ Oliver Wang and journalist Margaret Wappler. This week, the spectacle, the magnificence, the sh*t show that was the 2015 Academy Awards. Why did Neil Patrick Harris miss the mark as host? What was with all those political speeches? And John Travolta… Plus everyone’s first gigs and music recommendations. Pop Rocket comes out every Wednesday, subscribe now in your favorite podcast catcher. Produced by Colin Anderson for

‘Boyhood’ & the career of Richard Pryor

Tuesday, January 13 2015 10:30 AM

Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane talk to Jesse about the unique process of filming Boyhood over the course of 12 years. The movie just won Best Director and Best Motion Picture - Drama at the 2015 Golden Globes. Then, Joe and David Henry will talk about the career of Richard Pryor. They were working on a screenplay about the late comedy legend. The movie hasn’t happened but they used their research to pen an impressionistic biography called Furious Cool. Plus, the folks from Pop Culture Happy Hour share some all-time favorite movie picks and Jesse tried to find what (if any) redeeming qualities belong to the main characters on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Ed Helms, Tig Notaro and Nick Frost

Tuesday, September 30 2014 10:30 AM

Ed Helms talks about the advice he received from Stephen Colbert when he first started on The Daily Show. He also talks about why he’s behind a new bluegrass festival in Los Angeles. Now, he’s behind a Los Angeles bluegrass festival. But first, Tig Notaro will talk about how her career has changed since she revealed her cancer diagnosis on stage in 2012. Plus, Nick Frost talks about a role that helped people view him as more than Simon Pegg’s best friend. Lastly Jesse tells you about one of the most meaningful songs ever recorded about being black and female.

George Takei and Damian Abraham

Tuesday, August 26 2014 10:30 AM

George Takei will talk about how he went from a prisoner at a Japanese-American internment camp, to the guy playing Sulu on Star Trek, to a leading marriage equality activist. Then Jesse will talk to Damian Abraham. He’s in the band F***ed Up. He’ll talk about how he found punk music and what it’s like to still be doing it now that he has a wife and kids. Plus, book picks from the LA Times’ Carolyn Kellogg, and Jesse will tell you about another book, one that makes a pig who spells and does math seem totally ordinary. The number to call to let us know why you love Bullseye is: 206-333-9919

Ishmael Butler, Allison Janney, Michel Gondry

Tuesday, August 12 2014 12:30 PM

Ishmael Butler talks to Jesse about the birth and death of Digable Planets and the new record from Shabazz Palaces. Then Allison Janney talks about her Emmy-nominated work on Masters of Sex and Mom. Plus, Michel Gondry talks about the song that changed his life, we hear a couple new rock n roll songs you should listen to immediately and Jesse will tell you about the last Hollywood picture Orson Welles ever directed.

Hari Kondabolu & Jake Kasdan

Tuesday, July 22 2014 12:30 PM

Hari Kondabolu talks about the distinct advantages and disadvantages of being a stand up comedian who's also a former social activist and organizer. Director Jake Kasdan talks about the strategy involved in making a movie called Sex Tape. Carolyn Kellogg recommends some of her favorite westerns. Jesse tells you about Harvey Pekar, a man who made the mundane and everyday feel special.

Jason Schwartzman & Russell Simmons

Tuesday, April 08 2014 03:00 PM

It's been awhile since 'Rushmore', but Jason Schwartzman will always remember the advice that Bill Murray gave him on-set. Jesse and Jason will talk about the first time he met Wes Anderson, what it was like to help write 'The Darjeeling Limited' and the experience of working with Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis on 'Bored to Death'. Then later Jesse talks to Russell Simmons. He co-founded Def Jam Recordings and helped build hip-hop. Now, he's written a book about the importance of meditation. Plus, actor Michael Peña will talk about the part that changed everything for him. The AV CLub's Todd VanDerWerff will tell you to check out HBO's 'Silicon Valley'. And everyone knows that rock music came from the blues, right? Well yeah. But there's actually a lot more to it than that. Jesse will explain.

Mel Brooks & Aimee Mann

Tuesday, December 24 2013 10:30 AM

[r] It’s hard to imagine what American comedy would look like without Mel Brooks. Jesse talks to Brooks about about fighting in World War II (where he managed to even make a few Germans laugh), working with Gene Wilder, and that time Sid Caesar dangled Brooks out the window of a Chicago hotel room. Then later, singer-songwriter Aimee Mann talks to Jesse about why she didn’t choose the path of a typical pop star. Gospel singer Shirley Caesar talks about the song that changed her life. Carolyn Kellogg from the LA Times shares a couple of her all time favorite reads. Lastly, Jesse talks about arecord written by a brilliant man, isolated from the word.

Henry Bushkin Talks Johnny Carson

Tuesday, December 03 2013 10:30 AM

Who WAS Johnny Carson? Guest host Mike Pesca will talk to Henry Bushkin about just that. He was Carson’s longtime lawyer and fixer. Carson even once called Bushkin his best friend. And Johnny didn’t make friends easily. Then later, we revisit Jesse Thorn’s conversation with a woman who was part of an entirely different television phenomenon - Friends. Lisa Kudrow will talk about playing the “dumb” one on Friends, but also her real life career in brain science. Plus, Jim DeRogatis talks about how the arty punk band Wire proved that you don’t need mega-talent, just some really good ideas. And our friends at the film site The Dissolve will tell you which of the dozens of movies out now are actually worth watching. Lastly, Mike talks about why he’s cheering Keith Olbermann’s return to sports.

Big Boi and Catherine O'Hara

Tuesday, November 26 2013 10:30 AM

[r] Actress Catherine O’Hara talks about her start with the Second City’s SCTV, blockbuster success with Beetlejuice and Home Alone, and her perfect encapsulation of comic absurdity in Christopher Guest films like Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind. But first, Jesse talks to Big Boi -- one half of OutKast. The hip hop duo swung back and forth across the spectrum of popular music -- zigging with cult favorites like “ATliens” and zagging with top 40 hits like “The Way You Move”. Plus, the hosts of My Brother , My Brother and Me offer some advice for your pressing pop culture problems, and Jesse talks about the magical thing that a man built inside his rented garage. [The segments in this episode aired earlier this year.]

Brett Gurewitz and Jimmy Pardo

Tuesday, November 19 2013 10:30 AM

Guest host Jordan Morris is back to talk with Brett Gurewitz. Not only is he a founding member of Bad Religion, he also owns the juggernaut independent punk label Epitaph Records. Jordan asks Brett about his career with Bad Religion and the effect fame and money can have on punk music. Then later, Jesse Thorn talks to stand-up comedian Jimmy Pardo about how he’s been able to craft a perfect sense of artful carelessness in his act. Plus, Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum talk about the roots of their Prince cover band and Jordan talks about the comic book that finally turned him on to Superman.

Bill Withers

Tuesday, October 22 2013 10:30 AM

[r] Tune in for a rare interview with the soul legend Bill Withers. He retired from the music industry in the mid 1980s and, with a few exceptions, has stayed out of the public eye for more than 20 years. He and Jesse will talk about why he enlisted in the Navy, the challenge of making his first record in his thirties, and why he ultimately retired from the music industry. Plus, Pitchfork and Grantland writer Ian Cohen will bring in a couple of his all-time favorite heavy records; Brad Tolinski will share the album that kicked off a new era of rock in the 70s, then Davy Rothbart from FOUND magazine offers up a couple of his best finds. And lastly, Jesse will tell you about the NewsRadio scene that makes him laugh every single time he watches it. Spoiler alert: it's all Phil Hartman's fault.

Prodigy of Mobb Deep

Tuesday, August 27 2013 12:30 PM

[r] First, an interview with the rapper and author Prodigy, one-half of the seminal hardcore hip hop duo Mobb Deep. He'll talk about why his naturally shy demeanor was taken for weakness, selling crack cocaine when he was barely in middle school, and the jail time that turned his life around. Plus, Carolyn Kellogg from the Los Angeles Times shares some of her all-time favorite books and Jesse explains why you've been underappreciating Randy Newman all these years.

Lewis Black & Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer

Tuesday, August 20 2013 10:30 AM

Hear Jesse’s interview with one of comedy’s greatest grumps: Lewis Black. He didn’t become a stand-up until his mid-thirties. Find out why he left the theater for comedy and why he actually considers himself a family comic. The answer will surprise you. Then later, Jesse talks with Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer. They just started their second season hosting a talk show for MTV. They’ve both worked a lot of comedy clubs and comedy theaters for audiences of slightly drunk twenty- and thirty-somethings, so performing for a younger, MTV demographic is a new experience. Plus, Davy Rothbart of Found Magazine shares some of his newest discoveries, and Jesse reveals the TV food show that he actually really likes.

Kumail Nanjiani & Lake Bell

Tuesday, August 13 2013 10:30 AM

First up on the show is an interview with Kumail Nanjiani. He has come a long way since we had him do stand up on our show a few years ago. He just put out his first comedy special, Beta Male. He just got a role in Mike Judge’s new HBO show. He’s co-hosting a new show on Comedy Central next year and he soaks up his free time with a hit video game podcast called The Indoor Kids. Then, Jesse Talks to Lake Bell. She’s the writer, director and the star of a funny new movie called In A World. It’s about a woman trying to make it in the voiceover business. We’ll talk about her new movie, and about some her favorite accents and vocal exercises, and how she handled the transition from being an actress to a director. Plus, Andrew Noz recommends some new rap music for you to check out, Sergio Dias from the Brazilian psych rock group Os Mutantes talks about how Elvis changed his life, and Jesse opens a window into the crazy world of the Confidence Man.

Fred Willard & David Gordon Green

Tuesday, August 06 2013 10:30 AM

If a director is looking for the perfect guy to play an oblivious, cocky buffoon then Fred Willard is their man. Jesse talks to Fred about his entire career, and finds out why he turned down the lead in the movie Airplane! Then later Jesse talks to David Gordon Green. He’s directed everything from pensive, dramatic movies like All The Real Girls to huge stoner-action comedies like Pineapple Express. His new movie, Prince Avalanche exists somewhere in between. Plus, Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen recommends a couple of great new heavy rock records, we share an episode from Nate DiMeo’s The Memory Palace, and Jesse talks about his favorite Robin Thicke record. Yes. He has a favorite Robin Thicke record. It’s great, too.

Nathan Rabin and Benjamin Nugent, author of American Nerd

Tuesday, July 09 2013 10:30 AM

You'd be hard pressed to find two music groups with more divergent sounds than the jam band Phish and the horrorcore rap duo Insane Clown Posse. But they've got something in common. Each of them has a deeply passionate following, and each of them has deeply, deeply passionate haters. When Nathan Rabin tried to write a critic's look at these bands' worlds, he found himself sucked in. Then later Jesse talks to Benjamin Nugent about another group of American sub-culture. D&D players, historical reenactors, ham radio enthusiasts. You know, nerds. Ben is the author of American Nerd: The Story of My People. His 2007 book looks at what the word actually means.

The Directors of "Doin' It In The Park" and Mary Roach

Tuesday, July 02 2013 10:30 AM

Delve into the culture of pickup basketball this week, and find out why each of the hundreds of courts in New York City is a unique experience. Jesse will talk with Bobbito Garcia and his co-director Kevin Couliau about their new documentary ‘Doin’ It In The Park’. Then writer Mary Roach, author of the new book ‘Gulp’, takes us on a rollicking tour of the human digestive system. [The podcast version of this interview is featured UNCUT and UNCENSORED] Plus Sean O’Neal and Alex Dowd from the A.V. Club suggest a couple of new releases worth checking out, Jesse talks about the album where Prince really became Prince, and gospel singer Shirley Caesar shares the song that changed her life.

Lemmy and Jackson Publick

Tuesday, June 25 2013 10:30 AM

[r] Who is Lemmy? Well he’s the singer for Motörhead and he’s revered by metal fans around the globe. Jesse talked to Lemmy in person a couple of years ago at SxSW and you’ll hear that amazing conversation later in the show. But first we revisit Jesse’s conversation with Jackson Publick, the co-creator of The Venture Bros. The show has just returned for a fifth season after a long hiatus. Plus, a couple of Jason Kottke’s all time picks for the best stuff on the web, and the hosts of My Brother My Brother and Me offer up answers to listeners’ pop culture quandaries.

Paul Feig and Ophira Eisenberg

Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:30 AM

Director Paul Feig talks about being a child magician, an actor and stand-up, and what finally drove him behind the camera to direct film and television. Plus, he’ll talk about his new movie The Heat, his last movie Bridesmaids, and why he likes watching women be funny. Then Ophira Eisenberg talks about why she used to date so much and so often. She’s the host of NPR’s Ask Me Another, and her memoir is called Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy. Plus, the New Yorker’s TV critic Emily Nussbaum talks about a couple of her favorite new shows, and why you ought to check them out.

Charlie Wilson from The Gap Band

Tuesday, June 11 2013 10:30 AM

Charlie Wilson made hits in the 80s as the frontman of the Gap Band. In the 90s he was homeless on the streets of LA. Then, he turned it all around. Jesse talks with Charlie Wilson about his astonishing career with The Gap Band and his later collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Tupac and more. Plus hear stand-up comedy from The Daily Show’s Al Madrigal, culture picks from Mark Frauenfelder, and which Mountain Goats song you should listen to immediately.

“Weird Al” Yankovic and Geoffrey Nunberg

Tuesday, June 04 2013 10:30 AM

[r] “Weird Al” Yankovic is a master of parody music and one of the all-time bestselling accordionists. He and Jesse talk about Yankovic’s multi-decade career. Plus, Bullseye’s rap contributor Andrew Noz talks about some his all-time favorite tracks. Then Geoffrey Nunberg discusses the origins of the word A-hole, and how its cultural significance has changed over time. Lastly, Jesse reveals who, for his money, is the all-time king of late night talk shows.

Christopher Guest & Dan Kennedy

Tuesday, May 28 2013 10:30 AM

Christopher Guest talks about the origins of his signature style of parodic filmmaking. He’ll also talk about why music pops up in his movies so much. Guest explored folk music in A Mighty Wind and community musical theater in Waiting For Guffman. His new TV show on HBO is called Family Tree. After that, Dan Kennedy will talk about his new novel American Spirit. Plus, the AV Club tells us about the new Mikal Cronin and Vampire Weekend records, and Nick Krill from the Spinto Band reveals the song that changed his life.

Mel Brooks and The Source Family

Tuesday, May 14 2013 10:30 AM

Jesse talks to Mel Brooks about his unparalleled career -- from writing for Sid Caesar on television in the 1950s to working with Gene Wilder on The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein in the 60s and 70s. Then later, Jesse talks to the directors of a documentary that follows the transformation of a man from WWII flying ace into Father Yod - the leader of a 1970s commune in the Hollywood Hills. Plus hear some of the psychedelic music that Father Yod made with his followers: the Source Family.

Huey Lewis and Phone Phreaking with Phil Lapsley

Tuesday, May 07 2013 10:30 AM

Jesse talks to Huey Lewis about his pub rock beginnings, his multi-platinum success with the album Sports, and how he wrote songs for movies like Back to the Future and Pineapple Express. He also talks about the time he snuck onto an airplane bound for London. Then, from free flights to free phone calls. Find out how “phreakers” were able to use computerized tones to unlock an entire phone network. Heck, one guy did it just by whistling the right way. Phil Lapsley will talk about his book “Exploding The Phone: The Untold Story of The Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell”.

Simon Amstell and Brian K. Vaughan

Tuesday, April 30 2013 10:30 AM

We revisit Jesse’s interview with the delightful stand-up comic Simon Amstell. On TV, he prods at the powers that be and has even caused a few walk-offs. But despite the escapades, Amstell spends much of his time on stage and off looking inward, at himself. The self-doubt got so deep that he went on a shamanic quest to South America for answers. Then Brian K Vaughn talks about his comic book series SAGA. It's a space fantasy about parenting with a deep, engaging mythology. Plus, AV Club contributors Erik Adams and Claire Zulkey talk about some all-time TV favorites: the serial drama Twin Peaks and the British sitcom Spaced. [Portions of this episode previously aired in December 2012.]

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Armando Iannucci and Billy Bragg

Tuesday, April 23 2013 10:30 AM

We’re talking Veep this week with the HBO comedy’s showrunner, Armando Iannucci, and its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Iannucci talks about geeking out on American and British politics and recreating them on-screen. Then, Louis-Dreyfus talks about her days on Seinfeld and her favorite dirty phrase from Veep. Plus, British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg talks about the song that changed his life.

Shane Carruth (Upstream Color) and Rodney Ascher (Room 237)

Tuesday, April 16 2013 10:30 AM

Jesse talks to the director Shane Carruth. His new movie Upstream Color has almost no dialogue, involves a kind of abstract science fiction premise, but keeps you fully engaged. Then Jesse talks to Rodney Ascher, who directed Room 237. It’s a documentary about The Shining. But it doesn’t go behind the scenes. It features interviews with people who have radical theories about the movie. One guy even says that the film contains signs of a faked moon landing. Rodney and Jesse talk about how plausible all this stuff is, and whether the authorial intent even matters. Plus, comedian Kyle Kinane offers tips on keeping down your cab fare.

Big Boi from OutKast and Catherine O'Hara

Tuesday, April 09 2013 10:30 AM

Actress Catherine O’Hara talks about her start with the Second City’s SCTV, blockbuster success with Beetlejuice and Home Alone, and her perfect encapsulation of comic absurdity in Christopher Guest films like Waiting for Guffman and A Mighty Wind. But first, Jesse talks to Big Boi -- one half of OutKast. The hip hop duo swung back and forth across the spectrum of popular music -- zigging with cult favorites like “ATliens”, and zagging with top 40 hits like “The Way You Move”. Plus, pop culture advice from the hosts of My Brother, My Brother and Me.

Lily Tomlin, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Davy Rothbart

Tuesday, April 02 2013 10:30 AM

There’s no mistaking actress Lily Tomlin. Even when the part is small, she’s never lost in the background. In fact she almost steals the show in the new Tina Fey movie. It’s called Admission. Jesse talks to Tomlin about her storied career. Then astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson chases the unexplored secrets of the universe and then tells Jesse why he shouldn’t be scared of space. Plus, FOUND Magazine’s Davy Rothbart is constantly discovering the amazing notes and photos that other people have left behind. He returns to the program to share a few of his latest favorites.

NBC’s Must See TV with Warren Littlefield, former NBC executive

Tuesday, March 26 2013 10:30 AM

Dive into the empire that Cheers built. Whether it was The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Frasier, or Friends, Warren Littlefield oversaw all of it. NBC was a Thursday night powerhouse in the 80s and 90s. But now? That's all pretty much crumbled. Hear an extended interview with a real-life television executive. His book is called Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV. Plus, Oliver Wang explains how a forgotten Al Green record helped create a new kind of soul music.

Simon Rich and Bill Burr

Tuesday, March 19 2013 10:30 AM

Simon Rich is an absolutely hilarious writer. He sits down with Jesse, and says that he doesn't write about the way love happens, he writes about the way love feels. Rich has a new book out -- Last Girlfriend on Earth. Plus, we revisit an interview with comedian Bill Burr. The first time you hear Burr, you might think he’s just a macho, in-your-face type of comic. But most of the time you’ll find him pointing that aggression at himself. Plus, Eugene Mirman finds an old notebook in his parents basement and hear how soul singer Solomon Burke absolutely, positively tears the house down.

Moshe Kasher and Lateef the Truthspeaker

Tuesday, March 12 2013 10:30 AM

Alex Zalben and Brian Heater offer up some of their all-time comics favorites. The comedian Moshe Kasher talks about his amazing memoir, rapper Lateef the Truthspeaker reveals how jazz scat changed his life, and Jesse talks to the directors of Undefeated -- it's a sports documentary, it won an Oscar, and NPR's Mike Pesca says it's better than Hoop Dreams! (This episode originally aired March 27, 2012.)

Aisha Tyler and Bilal

Tuesday, March 05 2013 10:30 AM

Nathan Rabin and Marah Eakin from the AV Club talk about a couple of their all-time favorite albums from Warren Zevon and Fleetwood Mac, respectively. Aisha Tyler -- who stars as Lana on Archer, the animated spy show on FX -- talks about living a real-life version of Fame in high school and funneling her experiences as an outsider into performance and comedy. Plus, the jazz singer Bilal talks about his school days, too. He was voted the weirdest kid in his class. Bilal's new album is called A Love Surreal. And Jesse reveals the best cold open from a sitcom, ever. [Segments from this show aired on previous episodes of Bullseye and The Sound of Young America]

Andrew Rannells, Jim Lehrer, Thao Nguyen

Tuesday, February 26 2013 10:30 AM

The actor Andrew Rannells talks about growing up gay in Nebraska, his role in The Book of Mormon, and how to avoid uncomfortable moments when filming nude scenes. Public broadcasting legend Jim Lehrer discusses the benefits of working on a tight budget and his early years spent working in a bus depot. Plus, Thao Nguyen (of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down) shares the song that changed her life.

Boots Riley, Roman Mars and Steve Agee – Recorded at SF Sketchfest!

Tuesday, February 19 2013 10:30 AM

The Coup's Boots Riley talks about using lyrics to battle capitalism coporatism, police brutality and injustice. Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible, traces his journey from wunderkind PhD student to public radio producer to crowd-funded podcaster. Comedian Steve Agee reveals why God invented the Internet Movie Database. Jesse recommends a song that never fails to make him think of the Bay Area. This week's show was recorded live on stage at the Punchline in San Francisco.

Maria Bamford and George Saunders

Tuesday, February 12 2013 10:30 AM

The writer George Saunders talks about his early creative challenges, the slight constant pressure of capitalism, and Tenth of December, his new book of short stories. Maria Bamford explains why she filmed her new comedy special in front of an audience of two (her parents), and why it's important to talk about scary stuff on stage. Plus, Jesse shares one of his favorite poems by William Carlos Williams.

W. Kamau Bell, Mike Birbiglia and Eleni Mandell

Tuesday, February 05 2013 10:30 AM

W. Kamau Bell, host of Totally Biased, calculates the gentrification sweet spot. Singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell's life is changed by a Tom Waits song, even though it wasn't the one she meant to hear. Plus comedian Mike Birbigilia makes a movie. He says it's the hardest thing he's EVER DONE -- but he's down to do it all again. [This episode originally aired in September of 2012]

Nick Kroll and Billy Eichner

Tuesday, January 29 2013 10:30 AM

Jesse talks to Billy Eichner, who quizzes bewildered New York pedestrians on the topics that are nearest and dearest to his heart: Britney Spears, Meryl Streep and Madonna. But first, Nick Kroll talks about his new sketch series Kroll Show, and why all of his characters tend to exaggerate how important they actually are. Plus, writer Brad Tolinski explores the album that kicked off a new era of heavy rock n roll: Led Zeppelin III.

Jeff Bridges, Bernie Glassman and H. Jon Benjamin

Tuesday, January 22 2013 10:30 AM

It may not be the movie that won Jeff Bridges an Oscar, but The Big Lebowski is still one of the actor's favorites. Bridges joins Zen master Bernie Glassman to talk with Jesse about the Dude in all of us. Then, H. Jon Benjamin talks about voicing the super spy Archer and his days recording Dr. Katz in a kitchen pantry. Plus, Jesse pays tribute to a California great: Huell Howser.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Errol Morris and Craig Finn

Tuesday, January 15 2013 10:30 AM

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady talks about the unpredictable and emotional music of the punk band The Replacements, and how one their songs changed his life. Documentarian Errol Morris reveals why he doesn't play "GOTCHA" with his interview subjects. Plus, an interview with the actor Benedict Cumberbatch. He's playing villains in two big upcoming blockbusters. We'll talk about putting his spin on one of pop culture's most ubiquitous heroes, Sherlock Holmes.

Aimee Mann & Seth Godin

Tuesday, January 08 2013 10:30 AM

Aimee Mann explains her transition from an 80s pop star to a solo performer who writes mostly for her own tastes. Then, a conversation with Seth Godin. He's kind of a creative marketing guy, but not in the sleazy way. He's actually kind of brilliant. Plus, Jordan ranks what's best in America and Jesse suggests you check out Orson Welles' final masterwork - F for Fake.

The 2012 Comedy Special

Tuesday, January 01 2013 10:30 AM

Bullseye features the best stuff from comedy specials and comedy albums released in 2012. Hear from Demetri Martin, John Mulaney, Maria Bamford, Jim Gaffigan, Aziz Ansari, Hannibal Burress, Kyle Kinane, Paul F Tompkins, James Adomian, Doug Benson, Lewis Black, the ladies of Garfunkel & Oates, and Tig Notaro.

Bonus Episode! Dick Cavett and Dave Hill at MaxFunCon East

Monday, December 24 2012 10:30 AM

As a holiday gift, Bullseye features a conversation between two incomparable wits: Dick Cavett and Dave Hill. This event was taped live at MaxFunCon East in October of 2012.

Holiday Special with Jonathan Coulton, John Roderick & The Polyphonic Spree

Tuesday, December 18 2012 10:30 AM

It's the Bullseye 2012 Holiday Special! But don't worry, there will be no Rudolph, and no Jingle Bells ... not if Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick have written an album full of all original Christmas songs. Then the guys from My Brother, My Brother and Me will offer their advice on some holiday-season quandaries. Plus, Tim DeLaughter The Polyphonic Spree talks about theChristmas extravaganza they took on the road.

Dolly Parton & Judd Apatow

Tuesday, December 11 2012 10:30 AM

Jesse interviews Dolly Parton about the sacrifices she made for her astounding career and how she feels about them now. Plus, Judd Apatow talks about his new comedy This Is 40. It explores the struggle many married couples face as they juggle all life throws their way, while still nurturing a strong relationship.Then, Jason Reece from the rock band ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead reveals the Fugazi song that changed everything for him.

Simon Amstell, Brian K Vaughn & Jordan Ranks America

Monday, December 03 2012 10:44 PM

An interview with the delightful stand-up comic Simon Amstell. On TV, he prods at the powers-that-be and has even caused a few walk-offs. But despite the escapades, Amstell spends much of his time on stage and off looking inward, at himself. The self-doubt got so deep, he went on a shamanic quest to South America to find answers. Plus, Brian K Vaughn on his new comic book series SAGA. It's a new space fantasy with a deep mythology.

RJ Smith profiles James Brown, comedy from Cameron Esposito

Wednesday, November 21 2012 02:02 AM

James Brown wasn't just the Minister of the New New Heavy Super Funk and the Godfather of Soul. He was the hardest working man in show business, and a complex character to boot. RJ Smith profiles the legend of popular music in an extensive biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. Plus, comedian Cameron Esposito muses on her childhood appearance.

Writer Fran Lebowitz

Monday, November 12 2012 06:24 PM

A conversation with the New York cultural authority Fran Lebowitz. Find out why she was expelled from high school, why she waltzed into a publishing office barefoot to submit her first manuscript, and why she's had writers block for more than thirty years. Plus, hip hop drummer and producer Karriem Riggins on the James Brown song that changed his life.

Actor Stephen Tobolowsky

Monday, November 05 2012 08:00 PM

Stephen Tobolowsky is a veteran character actor. Now he's an author, too, but his book isn't about Hollywood stuff. It's about normal stuff from his life like getting held up at the grocery store, or spending Christmas tripping on acid. Plus, Kasper Hauser delivers all the news that's fit to ... make up. And Jesse talks about Frank Ocean's new album – the best R&B record he's heard in years.

Ice-T, Greta Gerwig and Aaron Freeman

Tuesday, October 30 2012 10:30 AM

Ice-T talks to us about interviewing Snoop, Rakim, and a bunch of other famous rappers for his documentary on rap. Plus, did Ice REALLY write rhymes for Mr. T? Jesse also talks to Greta Gerwig, star of the movie Lola Versus, and Aaron Freeman (formerly of the rock band Ween) about the song that changed his life.