Bullseye with Jesse Thorn

100 EpisodesProduced by NPR

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… read more

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Laurie Metcalf

April 23rd, 2019


Jesse talks with one of the greats: Laurie Metcalf. You definitely know Laurie from from Roseanne. For 9 years she played Jackie, on the hit TV show. She's now starring in The Conners, the new Spinoff. She's also an …

Was 1999 the Best Movie Year Ever?

April 19th, 2019


Brian Raftery writes for GQ, Wired and Rolling Stone, among others. He just wrote a really interesting book. He called it "Best Movie Year Ever" and …

Avantdale Bowling Club

April 16th, 2019


What follows is one of our favorite interviews we've recorded this year. Seriously. It's with an artist you probably haven't heard of. His name's Tom …

Mike Leigh

April 8th, 2019


This week, Jesse talks with the director Mike Leigh. He isn't that well known. He's never made a blockbuster. He's been nominated for seven Academy Awards and hasn't won any. He doesn't work with super famous actors, …

Apollo 11 Director Todd Douglas Miller

April 5th, 2019


Todd Douglas Miller directed Apollo 11, the new documentary. It compiles thousands of hours of footage from the moon landing into one brilliant, …


April 2nd, 2019


It's a strange thing, to be famous, right? Like, really really famous. Famous like Khalid, the singer. He's sold millions of albums. Hundreds of …

Pavement's Stephen Malkmus on the song that changed his life

March 28th, 2019


Every now and then, we bring you a special segment called The Song that Changed My Life - it's a chance for musicians we love to dish on the song that made them who they are today. This time: Stephen Malkmus, the former …

PEN15's Maya Erskine & Anna Konkle

March 26th, 2019


Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle created an star in the brilliant new show PEN15, on Hulu. It's show about middle school. Or, I guess this is more …

Norsemen creators Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen

March 22nd, 2019


A heads up, first: There's some talk about sexual assault in this conversation. Nothing graphic, just some discussion of the use of it in comedy, in …

John Turturro

March 19th, 2019


John Turturro's an acting legend. Lots of directors have actors they like to work with. Turturro's a favorite of both Spike Lee and the Coen Brothers. Starting from "Do The Right Thing," he's appeared in nine of Spike's …

Comic and Daily Show Correspondent Roy Wood Jr.

March 15th, 2019


Another favorite from the Bullseye archives this week. This time: Roy Wood Jr.! He's a comedian. You've probably seen him as a correspondent on "The …

Bill Hader on Barry, Saturday Night Live and more

March 12th, 2019


We're replying some favorites from the Bullseye archives this week! Today, we're excited to bring you Bill Hader. You know him from his time on …

Jena Friedman, comedian & host of Adult Swim's Soft Focus

March 8th, 2019


WARNING: This episode contains some discussion of difficult topics. We cover sexual assault, miscarriage, violence against women and more. If you're …

Actor Stephen Root on Barry, Office Space and more

March 5th, 2019


Has Stphen Root, the actor, had a million parts? It's not a million, right? Ok. It's 236. Still: wow! Root is is the kind of character actor that can take even the most basic, dreary TV show or movie and light it up. …

Bonus: Katie Nguyen & Roseblood Live!

March 3rd, 2019


Two very special bonus tidbits for you this week - live comedy and music from Bullseye's recent show at the Listen Up Festival in Portland Oregon. …

Simpsons writer, Fast food reviewer Bill Oakley

March 1st, 2019


Aurora Borealis! In your kitchen! May I see it? It's a very special Bullseye with Bill Oakley, the veteran TV writer. He worked on Futurama, …

Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker & Filmmaker Lance Bangs

February 26th, 2019


Bullseye is a show about the creative process. And how artists' lives affect the work they make: their loved ones, friends and family, too. But what …

Oscar nominated filmmaker Nicole Holofcener

February 22nd, 2019


Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener, one of our favorites, is up for an Academy-Award nomination. It's for the adapted screenplay. and won the Writers Guild …

Director Debra Granik of "Leave No Trace" and "Winter's Bone"

February 19th, 2019


Happy Tuesday! This time, we're listening back to our 2018 conversation with filmmaker Debra Granik. In 2010, she wrote and directed "Winter's Bone," the acclaimed drama that launched Jennifer Lawrence's career and was …

Artist Barbara Kruger

February 15th, 2019


Dream interview alert! Today: Jesse talks with Barbara Kruger. Kruger is a fascinating and profoundly influential artist. She works in big, bold …

Composer and Producer Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther, Childish Gambino)

February 14th, 2019


Every now and then we like bring you a segment we call to the Song That Changed My Life. It's a chance to find out what makes some of our favorite musicians the person they are today. Stepping up this time: Ludwig …

Adam McKay on Vice, Second City and more

February 12th, 2019


Adam McKay has had a pretty eclectic career. He started in sketch comedy first as a founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, then as a writer on Saturday Night Live. He studied at Second City, too, so throw that in …

Killer Mike on his new show Trigger Warning, Run the Jewels and more

February 8th, 2019


Ladies and germs... Killer Mike! It's been more than a decade since Killer Mike joined us on Bullseye. These days, he's busier than ever. Along with …

John David Washington of "BlacKkKlansman" and "Ballers"

February 5th, 2019


Jesse talks with John David Washington, star of the critically acclaimed film BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee. Before John David Washington was an actor, he was lacing up the pads every week for a career in …

Tituss Burgess of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

February 1st, 2019


Jesse talks with Tituss Burgess, actor from "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," "30 Rock" and more. On UKS, Tituss plays a struggling, needy and desperate …

Carol Kane from "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

January 29th, 2019


Jesse talks with legendary character actress Carol Kane about the last season of "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and her 45-year career in the biz. Carol …

Jez Butterworth

January 25th, 2019


Jez Butterworth is a veteran of both stage and screen, he's written about a dozen films along with his seven plays. You can see the wisdom that only experience can bring in action during "The Ferryman," his latest play …

Tony Shalhoub of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and more

January 22nd, 2019


If you're in Hollywood, the stereotype goes that you're either a character actor or a *star*. A character actor shows up in a couple scenes for about …

Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz

January 18th, 2019


A warning about this episode, which originally aired in 2017: the second half of this interview contains some honest and frank talk about sexual …

Elvis Costello

January 15th, 2019


We've got a favorite from the Bullseye archives to kick off the week: Elvis Costello. Costello grew up surrounded by music. His mother ran the record …

Karyn Kusama, Director of "Destroyer"

January 11th, 2019


Jesse talks to Karyn Kusama, one of the most unique voices in film right now. She just directed the new film "Destroyer," it's a dark crime drama, …

Chris and Bridey Elliott on "Clara's Ghost"

January 8th, 2019


Chris and Bridey Elliott are father and daughter. Chris is, of course, Chris Elliott. The guy who starred in Cabin Boy and Something About Mary. …

Hasan Minhaj & Sharon Horgan

December 31st, 2018


Happy near year! Two favorites from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Hasan Minhaj, from 2016. He'll talk about his work as a standup and as …

End of year stand-up comedy special 2018!

December 25th, 2018


The Bullseye team has taken on the terrible task of finding the best of the best comedy albums and bringing them to you in a nice little end of year …

Bullseye Holiday Specatcular! Monkees, McElroys and more!

December 17th, 2018


Get ready for a bonanza of holiday cheer from Bullseye this week! Micky Dolenz of The Monkees taking about the band's new album "Christmas Party." …

Jason Mitchell & Karina Longworth

December 10th, 2018


We're kicking things off with the brilliant and lively Jason Mitchell this week! Jason's an actor - a really great one. He's been in a lot of acclaimed movies and TV shows. In the acclaimed 2017 movie "Mudbound" he …

Remembering Ricky Jay

December 4th, 2018


Ricky Jay died last month. He was 72. Ricky was a writer. And an actor. And a magician. One of the greatest sleight of hand performers ever, …

Billy Eichner & Ali Wong

November 26th, 2018


This week we're pulling two favorites out of the Bullseye archives. First on the docket: Billy Eichner! He's an actor and comic and host of the hit …

Tim Blake Nelson & Mary Randolph Carter

November 19th, 2018


Tim Blake Nelson is a master of his craft: a character actor with over 80 credits to his name. Roles in films as diverse as The Incredible Hulk, …

Maura Tierney & Michael Kupperman

November 13th, 2018


First up this week: Maura Tierney! You know her from her time on the hit drama ER - she played Abby. She's currently on the Showtime series The Affair, as well. And, here's a personal favorite of ours: She also starred …

Kamasi Washington & Simon Rich

November 5th, 2018


This week, we're dedicating almost an entire episode to one of our favorite musicians: Kamasi Washington! Kamasi is a saxophonist and composer. In the studio, he's played sax and arranged for hitmakers like Kendrick …

Steven Yeun & Sawbones

October 29th, 2018


First up this week: Steven Yeun! Fans of The Walking Dead know and love Steven for his time on the show as the beloved Glenn Rhee. Lately, though, …

Eric Idle & Blood Orange's Dev Hynes

October 23rd, 2018


Two brilliant Brits on this week's Bullseye! First up this week, a conversation with comedy pioneer and Monty Python founding member Eric Idle! …

Susan Orlean & Gregory Porter

October 15th, 2018


First up this week, a guest we're always thrilled to welcome: Susan Orlean! One of the greatest writers around. You might know her from Saturday Night, Rin Tin Tin or the Orchid Thief - the book that was turned into the …

Sarah Jessica Parker & Chris Gethard

October 8th, 2018


Two favorites from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Sarah Jessica Parker, from 2016. A fascinating, probing interview that covers her time …

Tenacious D & José James

October 1st, 2018


So, y'all: Tenacious D. Tenacious D! We spend 40 minutes with Tenacious D this week. We talk with Jack Black and Kyle Glass about the band's early days in clubs and making quick cameos in films. We talk about their new …

Swamp Dogg & Joel Kim Booster

September 24th, 2018


It's a rare honor for a guest to be on Bullseye three times, but Swamp Dogg deserves it. He's a psychedelic soul singer with a career that's now …

Nicole Holofcener & Lodge 49

September 18th, 2018


This week, we're thrilled to welcome Nicole Holofcener back on the show - probably one of the most underrated filmmakers around. Her movies are …

Amy Sedaris & Paul Reiser

September 10th, 2018


We're replaying two recent favorites this week: first up, Amy Sedaris! Amy's made a career playing characters - and we say this with absolutely …

Boz Scaggs and Maeve Higgins

September 4th, 2018


This week: Boz Scaggs. The one and only! The hitmaker behind "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" and so much more talks with Jesse about his more than five decade career in music. Lately, like a lot of rockers his age, his …

Guy Branum & Emily Lordi

August 27th, 2018


A favorite from the Bullseye archives this week. First up: Comedian, writer, and podcast host Guy Branum recently wrote a book called "My Life as a …

W Kamau Bell & Mike Pesca

August 20th, 2018


This week, we've got another Emmy-nominated guest - W.Kamau Bell! He's known for his stand-up comedy. But he might be even more beloved for the television shows he's hosted. "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell," was …

Megan Mullally & Tracee Ellis Ross

August 13th, 2018


It's Emmy season! Bullseye brings you two talented, fascinating Emmy nominees this week. First up: Megan Mullally! One of the best in the game. Like, …

Jonathan Gold & Beth Ditto

August 6th, 2018


This week, we'll remember Jonathan Gold by revisiting our conversation with him. Jonathan's work in food criticism was legendary. In 2007, his work …

Randy Newman

July 30th, 2018


"Who is your dream interview?" you might ask Jesse Thorn, or another public radio host. And for Bullseye, here is your answer: Randy Newman! …

Debra Granik & Johan Miranda

July 23rd, 2018


This week, we want to introduce you to a new comic: Johan Miranda. He lives in Los Angeles, was raised in San Francisco. When he was three years …

Bo Burnham and Won't You Be My Neighbor's Morgan Neville

July 16th, 2018


This week, we've got April Wolfe holding things down in the host chair. April is a film critic and panelist on the Maximum Fun podcast Who Shot Ya. …

Heat Rocks Special! Jay Smooth, Meshell Ndegeocello, & Vernon Reid

July 9th, 2018


We're doing something a little different this week: you're about to hear three of our favorite interviews from Heat Rocks, one of our sister shows here at company Maximum Fun. Heat Rocks is a music podcast about …

Bonus! Bubble's Jordan Morris & Nick Adams

July 5th, 2018


Hey all! Just popping in to give you a special treat this Thursday. You've probably heard about it already, but Maximum Fun - the company that makes …

George Clinton & Cristela Alonzo

July 2nd, 2018


We're listening to some of our favorite interviews from Bullseyes past this week, and we've got a couple doozies. First up: the living legend, the …

Boots Riley

June 25th, 2018


So much of Bullseye is about what we think is great in culture today. And, for our money, one of the most compelling creative forces around is a guy …

Alia Shawkat & Mackenzie Crook

June 18th, 2018


Alia Shawkat came by the Bullseye studios and holy moly, what a brilliant, funny human being! You know her as Maeby Fünke from TV's Arrested …

Pamela Adlon & James Acaster

June 12th, 2018


The talents of Pamela Adlon are many. First, she's an incredible voice actress who's worked on literally dozens of shows. You probably know her best as Bobby from King of the Hill, though, where she was brilliant. Then …

Metta World Peace & Cut Chemist

June 4th, 2018


This week, we've got a real treat for you: Metta World Peace! Even for a former NBA All Star and Champion, Metta has a big personality. When he played he had a reputation for hard defense and an unmatched intensity on …

H. Jon Benjamin & Sara Driver

May 29th, 2018


Fans of Bob's Burgers, Archer, Home Movies and Dr. Katz, rejoice! Jesse's talking with the incomparable H. Jon Benjamin this week. With lead roles in …

Geena Davis & Jack Handey

May 21st, 2018


For over a decade, actress Geena Davis has been spearheading an institute that gathers the numbers on gender balance on-screen. On this week's episode, she shares her fascinating take on what they do with all their …

Robert Smigel & Gillian Jacobs

May 15th, 2018


This week, writer and director Robert Smigel breaks down what really happened when he was showrunning "The Dana Carvey" show. Plus, he'll talk about so much more including his time on SNL, and his new movie "The Week …

Neko Case & Thao Nguyen

May 7th, 2018


This week, two great musician interviews from the Bullseye archives. First up: Neko Case. It's hard to think of a singer/songwriter more beloved in …

Roy Wood Jr. & Peter Serafinowicz

May 1st, 2018


This week, we're talking with two *very* funny people. First: Roy Wood Jr. Roy's a correspondent on the Daily Show these days, but the road he took to get there is fascinating. Roy produced, wrote and hosted on a grab …

Special: The Wire!

April 24th, 2018


Don't sleep on this one. It's a celebration of one of the best shows ever: The Wire! First, you'll hear a vintage Bullseye interview (recorded live …

Edie Falco and Hunter Pence

April 16th, 2018


Emmy Award winning actress Edie Falco and San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence are our guests on this week's show. Edie Falco is a brilliant, …

Eugene Levy, Kay Cannon & Alexander Payne

April 9th, 2018


Comedy nerds, rejoice! This week Jesse talks with Eugene Levy - the SCTV vet, co-creator of great Christopher Guest movies and American Pie star. Levy just wrapped up season 4 of his terrific CBC series Schitt's Creek. …

Andrew W.K. & Bill Hader

April 2nd, 2018


This week, two Max Fun favs. First up: Andrew W.K.! He just released a new album: You're Not Alone. It's his first in almost a decade. You're Not Alone has that same classic Andrew W.K. of inspirational party rock - …

Padma Lakshmi & Laurie Kilmartin

March 26th, 2018


Two more classics from the Bullseye archives, y'all. First: pack your knives and listen up! Padma Lakshmi, host of TV's Top Chef, stops for a chat. …

Forest Whitaker & Armando Iannucci

March 19th, 2018


This week, some heavy hitters! First, Forest Whitaker. He's of course the star of *countless* great movies. He's got this knack for taking huge figures from history and portraying them complex, fascinating, sometimes …

Rachel Bloom & One Day at a Time

March 12th, 2018


This week we're bringing you two of our favorite interviews from the Bullseye vault. First, Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, …

David Oyelowo & Heather Graham

March 5th, 2018


Two great actors on this week's show! First up: David Oyelowo. He cut his teeth at the Royal Shakespeare company in London. Had smaller parts on British TV and in movies like The Help and Jack Reacher. He broke though …

The Breeders' Kim Deal & Raoul Peck

February 27th, 2018


First up, a Bullseye fav: Jesse chats with Kim Deal of The Breeders about their new album "All Nerve," which drops this week. Also discussed: the …

Laurie Metcalf, Kristen Anderson Lopez & Robert Lopez

February 20th, 2018


It's an Academy Awards spectacular! First: Jesse talks with the amazing Laurie Metcalf. She's up for the best supporting actress Oscar for her role …

David Wain & Belle and Sebastian

February 13th, 2018


First up, a favorite here around the Bullseye office: David Wain! He's a comedy legend, an actor, too. And he just directed the new Netflix film "A …

"Corporate" & Mimi Pond

February 5th, 2018


First up: Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman. They created and star in the brand new Comedy Central show "Corporate." Look. Technically, Corporate is a workplace comedy. But it's so much darker, weirder and universal …

The Big Sick, Allison Janney & Michel Gondry

January 29th, 2018


One Bullseye episode. *Four* Oscar nominees! First up: Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani. They co-wrote "The Big Sick" and you probably heard about it …

Another Period & The Egyptian Lover

January 22nd, 2018


Have you heard of Another Period? It's a series on Comedy Central with a brilliant, simple premise: it's a reality show set in the gilded age - like the Keeping up with the Kardashians meets Downton Abbey. It's really …

Rian Johnson & The Go! Team

January 16th, 2018


Buckle up, y'all, we've got a dynamite lineup! First off: Rian Johnson, writer and director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is discussed in extensive detail (don't say we didn't warn you). Besides directing a film …

Errol Morris & Tune-Yards

January 9th, 2018


Fresh New Year, fresh new Bullseye! This week, legendary director Errol Morris. He's the kind of filmmaker that gets shown in film school all the …

Terry Crews, Jessica St. Clair & Lennon Parham

January 2nd, 2018


Two Bullseye favorites from the archives this week. First: Terry Crews. A linebacker from Flint Michigan, Terry was picked by the LA Rams in the 11th …

End of Year Comedy Special!

December 26th, 2017


Look, you're an NPR listener. So we probably don't need to tell you this, but it's been an intense year. 2017 was a lot of terrible and thrilling and amazing things, but it was also a banner year for stand up comedy. …

The Bullseye Holiday Spectacular!

December 18th, 2017


Light up the menorah, trim the tree, take a walk out in the cool/cold/wet/whatever weather and take it all in: it's the Bullseye holiday spectacular! …

Judd Apatow & Romesh Ranganathan

December 12th, 2017


Judd Apatow is one of the busiest and most notable behind the scenes guys alive today. Name 10 huge critically acclaimed comedy hits off the top your head - Judd's probably worked on half of them: The Larry Sanders …

JK Simmons & Solomon Georgio

December 4th, 2017


You know JK Simmons, right? He won an Academy Award for his role in the 2015 movie Whiplash. He's that Insurance guy in those ads. He played J Jonah …

Margaret Cho & Lisa Hanawalt

November 27th, 2017


We've got a couple of our favorite recent Bullseye interviews this week, first up: Margaret Cho, from last year. She's made a career of searing and …

Greta Gerwig & Pixar's Lee Unkrich

November 21st, 2017


First up this week, the one and only Greta Gerwig! You probably know her as an actor - she starred in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha and a bunch of other indies. She's also been in Oscar contenders like Jackie and 20th …

Bonus! Heat Rocks: Anil Dash on Prince's 1999

November 18th, 2017


Hey Bullseye fans! We have a special bonus treat for y'all today. We're gonna give you a look at Heat Rocks, the brand new music podcast here at …

Amy Sedaris & Paul Reiser

November 13th, 2017


Two legends this week: first up, Amy Sedaris. Amy's made a career playing characters - and we say this with absolutely *zero* shade intended - people …

John Hodgman & Tig Notaro

November 6th, 2017


Look, you probably know who John Hodgman is already. He's been on the Daily Show, This American Life, Adventure Time, way more stuff. Here at Maximum Fun he's the judge on the Judge John Hodgman Podcast. John's also …

Stephanie Beatriz & Griffin Dunne

October 30th, 2017


For five seasons, Stephanie Beatriz has starred on the hit fox show Brooklyn Nine Nine. She plays Detective Rosa Diaz, easily the toughest cop in the precinct - she's brave, she's serious, she rides a motorcycle. Now, …

Halloween Special with Elvira, Andy Daly & more!

October 23rd, 2017


Good October to you, boys and ghouls! It's a very special Halloween Spooktacular edition of Bullseye! First we have Cassandra Peterson, the woman …

Gilbert Gottfried and Maggie Betts

October 16th, 2017


You know Gilbert Gottfried, right? That comedian with the crazy loud voice who tells gross, sometimes kind of tasteless jokes. He was the voice of the Aflac duck at one point, too. There's really two Gilbert Gottfrieds, …

Amy Ryan & Shea Serrano

October 10th, 2017


First up: Amy Ryan. You've seen her as Beadie Russel on The Wire, in The Office, Gone Baby Gone, a bunch more. She's starring in the new movie Abundant Acreage Available too. She'll talk with us about all that stuff, …

Carl Reiner & Kate and Laura Mulleavy

October 2nd, 2017


This week's Bullseye takes you inside the home of the one and only Carl Reiner. A true legend in comedy - Reiner's been in the game since World War …

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