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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn


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 people listen to in a more perfect world." (Formerly known as The Sound of Young America.)

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 people listen to in a more perfect world." (Formerly known as The Sound of Young America.)


Santa Cruz, CA




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 people listen to in a more perfect world." (Formerly known as The Sound of Young America.)




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Comedian Tom Papa

Comedian Tom Papa wants you to focus on the small victories. The little triumphs in everyday life that add up to winning the war against cynicism. His new Netflix special, You're Doing Great! sums up his philosophy perfectly. So you're not killing it like everyone else on Instagram. That's fine! They're not really killing it either. You finally made it out of the house to run that errand you've been putting off all week? Now THAT'S killing it! That approach to comedy seems increasingly rare...


Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-creator Dan Goor

Maybe you're stuck at home, like the rest us. Maybe you're looking for something to binge, like the rest of us. May we suggest Brooklyn Nine-Nine? You've seen the premise of the police procedural on network television countless times. The cops are good at their jobs. They're quick and witty when it comes to solving crime. Brooklyn Nine-Nine has some of that – but subverts the genre through comedy. It's a deeply warm, deeply funny office sitcom. The police at the precinct care about their...


Boots Riley: The Coup, Sorry to Bother You, and more

We revisit our conversation with the writer-director and rapper Boots Riley. He's a founding member of the legendary hip hop group The Coup. The band's sound is politically-charged with a laid-back funk and has that classic Bay area cadence. His rhymes tell a story of his own life and deal with elements of social justice, poverty, racism. He's more than an artist. He's a long-time activist who uses his talents as a story-teller to move the needle forward in the world. In 2018 he made his...


David Simon

TV writer and producer David Simon is our guest this week. Simon is the force behind some of television's most compelling and critically acclaimed series such as The Wire, Treme and The Deuce. He joins us to talk about his new HBO series, The Plot Against America.


Jason Segel

Jason Segel has had a lot of interesting roles over the years. He got his start on screen in his late teens on the short-lived cult tv show Freaks and Geeks. From there he starred in a bunch of other comedic roles including: How I Met Your Mother, Knocked Up, and Bad Teacher. His writing debut was Forgetting Sarah Marshall. In 2011, he revived The Muppets for a new generation. His latest show is kind of a departure from all that. AMC's Dispatches from Elsewhere follows the lives of a group...


Annette Bening

We're joined by the talented and captivating Annette Bening! She stars alongside Bill Nighy in the new film "Hope Gap." In it, she plays a woman dealing with the wreckage after being blindsided by the sudden end of her thirty year marriage. She'll talk to us about her approach to playing English characters, how she tapped into her "Hope Gap" character to work on her own issues with confrontation avoidance and how motherhood offered a welcome respite to the sometimes alienating life of show...


Will Forte

At long last: Will Forte! The actor, writer, comedian joins us to talk about his new film, Extra Ordinary. In it, Will plays Christian Winter, a washed up American one-hit-wonder living in Ireland who makes a deal with the literal devil for another shot at fame. Rose, played by the hilarious Maeve Higgins, is a driving instructor and a reluctant medium who just might be the only one who can keep their small Irish town safe. Will also chats about what it's like to be both star and showrunner...


Jazz vocalist Gregory Porter

We revisit our conversation with Gregory Porter. He's a Grammy winning jazz singer, the pride of Bakersfield California and, until his junior year of college, he was an aspiring football player. When he joined us in 2018, he had recently recorded an album of standards made popular by Nat "King" Cole. He'll tell Jesse about his deeply personal connection to one of America's most iconic voices. Plus, what it was like to grow up in Bakersfield, California and how that's influenced his lyrics....


Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

We revisit our magical conversation with Academy Award winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. They're the husband and wife writing team behind 2013's modern classic "Let it Go" from the animated film Frozen and "Remember Me" from 2017's Coco. The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony-award winning duo joined Bullseye to share the story of how they first met as well as chat about how they draw inspiration for their song lyrics. Plus, they tell us what date night at the Oscars...


Cartoonist Lynda Barry, MacArthur 'Genius' Fellow

Lynda Barry is a legend of alternative comics. She's also one of the latest recipients of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. She's written over a dozen books. These days, she's been busy teaching. She's an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. We'll welcome her back on Bullseye to talk about her latest book: Making Comics. The book is sort of an illustrated guide on how to create comics. Some of it's pulled straight from the classroom – things she's been teaching...


Maria Bamford

Comedian Maria Bamford is back! We are thrilled as always to welcome her for another conversation with Bullseye. The stand-up, writer and actor joins us to talk about her two newest projects: the hour-long comedy special, Weakness Is The Brand and talk show, What's Your Ailment?! where she talks with fellow comedians and entertainers like Tig Notaro, Baron Vaughn and Rachel Bloom about how mental health has affected their lives. Maria also chats with us about finding human connection in...


Zach Woods, from 'Silicon Valley,' 'The Office,' 'Avenue 5' and more

It's Zach Woods! You may know him best from NBC's The Office where he played the truly dreadful Gabe for three seasons. You've also seen his work as Jared Dunn on the HBO series Silicon Valley. He currently stars alongside Hugh Laurie on the TV show Avenue 5. It's airing now on HBO. Zach talks to Bullseye about what initially drew him to acting, his secret comedy life as a teen taking the train from Pennsylvania to New York and how his anxious personality helped him tap into his latest...


Ben Schwartz on playing Sonic the Hedgehog, Jean-Ralphio, and more

Parks and Recreation's Jean-Ralphio! Star Wars' BB-8! And, now 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 Sonic The Hedgehog, the new blockbuster...


Huey Lewis on the song that changed his life

The Song That Changed My Life is a segment that gives us the chance to talk with some of our favorite artists about the music that made them who they are today. This time around, we're joined by a true legend – Huey Lewis. In an era dominated by new wave, glam rock and hair metal Huey Lewis stood out with his bluesy pub-rock. He helped define pop music in the 80's. Huey Lewis and the News had a run of hit singles during the 80's and early 90's. Their most successful album, Sports, was...


Steve Buscemi

Steve Buscemi! The best ever. Steve joins us to talk about the latest season of his hit TBS show Miracle Workers, now in its second season. The anthology series steps back into the Dark Ages for season 2 with Steve playing a peasant with a name we can't say on NPR. Let's just say he's a guy named after his occupation and he makes his living shoveling the kind of stuff that usually rolls down hill. The show is created by Simon Rich and co stars Daniel Radcliffe with guests appearances by...


Remembering Jim Lehrer

We're replaying Jesse's 2010 interview with Jim Lehrer, who died last month at 85. He was a giant in the world of journalism – particularly in the world of public broadcasting. Jim hosted PBS' NewsHour. He was an anchor in public broadcasting for well over 35 years. He moderated a dozen presidential debates. When we spoke to Jim in 2010, he shared stories about juggling his job at a bus depot while being a college student and at Victoria College. Plus, the challenges of being the editor of...


Randy Newman: legendary songwriter, Oscar nominee, more

We're revisiting our conversation with the great Randy Newman. He's just been nominated for two Academy Awards, one for the score he composed for Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, and another for the original song he composed for Toy Story 4. It's called "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away." Randy's songbook is a part of the fabric of modern pop culture. He writes pop songs, catchy tunes that can perfectly encapsulate a touching film moment. But he also writes songs that come from a place of...


Joe Pera of "Joe Pera Talks With You"

Joe is the creator and star of Adult Swim's Joe Pera Talks with You, one of our favorite new shows TV. In it, Joe plays a version of himself living in small-town Michigan as a middle-school choir teacher. The show is like nothing else you've seen on television before: brilliant, weird and heart warming. Cross our hearts, hope to die.


Director Greta Gerwig on 'Little Women'

The brilliant Greta Gerwig joins us for the third time! We'll welcome back Greta to talk about her latest film. It's an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. It's up for six Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. Greta talks about her casting choices in Little Women including her surprising choice of Bob Odenkrik as father March. Plus, what the book meant to her growing up, and why she's shocked that her...


Bonus: Remembering Monty Python's Terry Jones

This past week, we lost a talented comic genius: Terry Jones. He was one of the founding members of the legendary British sketch comedy group Monty Python. He co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and directed both Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. Terry was also a well respected medieval historian – in fact, he wrote two books on poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Later in his career, he became a prolific children's book author. His books were always a bit...