Jesse Thorn

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Stephen Malkmus on the song that changed his life

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Stephen Malkmus

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The Song That Changed my Life: Stephen Malkmus

Stephen Malkmus is the singer and co-founder of Pavement - one of the most beloved and influential modern rock bands of the 90s or ever, for that matter. They recorded so many songs that capture the decade perfectly: Cut Your Hair, Range Life and Stereo just to name a few.

The band broke up in 1999, but Malkmus has kept on, as prolific as ever, dropping 8 records since 2001. His latest just dropped, it's called Groove Denied and includes a different sound including drum machines, vintage synths and a lot of voice reverb. It's a departure for him. A little less like The Fall, a little more like Suicide or Kraftwerk.

What is the song that changed his life? Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain & Tenille.

Yeah. You read that right.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: PEN15’s Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Maya Erskine
Guests: 
Anna Konkle

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle on their new Hulu show 'Pen15'

Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle join us to discuss their new coming of age show Pen15. It’s a show about middle school. Or, more accurately: it's about a version of middle school you might have actually experienced.The show is set in the year 2000 with plenty of cuts from N*SYNC and Lit and Mandy Moore. The characters wear Bebe tanks, Ruff Ryders shirts and UFO pants. It's a show about kids that definitely isn't for kids - sex and menstruation come up a bit, for example. The show digs deeper into what it means to be 12 or 13. A time in your life when a lot of kids are very, very insecure.

On Pen15, Maya and Anna play middle school aged versions of themselves. They’re best friends. Maya has a bowl cut. Anna has braces. They're starting 7th grade at the beginning of the show and while 6th grade wasn't great, they have a pretty good feeling that this year is gonna be different.

Maya and Anna tell us how they mined stories from their own lives to make the show. And why they cast Richard Karn - yes, Al from Home Improvement - as Maya's dad.

Pen15 is now streaming on Hulu

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Netflix's 'Norsemen' co-creators Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Jon Iver Helgaker
Guests: 
Jonas Torgersen

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Photo: Netflix

Netflix's Norsemen co-creators Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen

WARNING: There's some talk about sexual assault in this conversation. Nothing graphic, just some discussion of the use of it in comedy, in the abstract. If you're sensitive to these kinds of topics, we figured we'd give you a heads up.

Jon Iver Helgaker and Jonas Torgersen join us to discuss their hit Norwegian show Norsemen. It's a sitcom about vikings. It has a particularly Norwegian sense of comedy. Deadpan but brutal. It's set around the year 790 AD. Throughout the series we see the villagers and vikings deal with daily life. The vikings pillage. The vikings fight amongst themselves. They sacrifice slaves.

The jokes are great. Sometimes it's straight-faced like The Office, sometimes they play it big and absurd like Monty Python. Except, the violence is real, and their actions have real consequences to the storyline. And at the heart of the show, modernity is closing in on them. New inventions. New norms. Pillaging towns doesn't pay like it used to.

Jon and Jonas will give us a behind the scenes look at the show. Plus,
they'll explain Taco Friday: the latest food craze in Norway. The first two seasons of Norsemen are available to stream on Netflix now.

Ep 31.5: Go Fact Yourself opens for Judge John Hodgman

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J. Keith van Straaten, John Hodgman, Jesse Thorn, Helen Hong
Guests: 
Jesse Thorn

Our regularly scheduled episode has been moved to next week for the #MaxFunDrive. This mini-episode of Go Fact Yourself was recorded as part of a live open for Judge John Hodgman.

First, Bailiff Jesse Thorn gives a warm welcome to the audience.

Then J. Keith and Helen will share some laughs and get to know members of the crowd.

After that, the games begin: Two rounds of “What’s the Difference?” featuring the following topics:

What is the difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner?

What is the difference between a casket and a coffin?

Finally, we’ll finish with a round of Fast Facts!

Appearing in this episode:

J. Keith van Straaten
Helen Hong

Go Fact Yourself was devised by Jim Newman and J. Keith van Straaten, and produced in collaboration with Maximum Fun.

Theme Song by Jonathan Green.
Maximum Fun's Senior Producer is Laura Swisher.
The show is edited by Julian Burrell.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Bill Hader

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Bullseye
Guests: 
Bill Hader

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Season 2 of Barry premiers March 31

You know Bill Hader from his time on Saturday Night Live. He was kind of an impressions guy - he did a mean Vincent Price. His most famous character was Stefon, from the Weekend Update sketches. He left the show in 2013 and went on to perform in movies like Trainwreck, Inside Out and the smash hit Sausage Party. Along with Fred Armisen, he also starred in the IFC show, Documentary Now!.

His latest project is an HBO TV show called Barry, which enters its second season later this month. Hader stars as the show's title character, Barry Berkman. Barry's an ex-marine, turned low rent hitman in Ohio, turned aspiring actor in Los Angeles. Bill tells Jesse about working as a production assistant when he first came out to Los Angeles, the influence his parents had on his taste in film, and the struggle he had to project his voice.

This interview originally aired in April of 2018.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Stephen Root

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Stephen Root

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Stephen Root on HBO's 'Barry,' 'King of the Hill,' 'Newsradio' and more

Character actor Stephen Root joins us to discuss some of his most memorable roles. He's been in over 200 films since he got his start in the late '80s.

Stephen works in a lot of acclaimed films and TV shows. There's "Office Space," where he played the meek, mumbling, stapler-obsessed Milton. Then there's "Newsradio," where he played billionaire Jimmy James, a role he'll talk about at length in this interview. His most recent work can be seen on HBO's "Barry." On the series he plays Fuches, a hitman's screwball boss.

Odds are you've seen his work in "Get Out," "O Brother Where Art Thou," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," or "King of The Hill." Stephen voiced a bunch of parts on "King of the Hill," and it's some of our favorite work of his. He's probably most famously for voicing Bill, Hank Hill's kinda sad neighbor. He'll tell us why this voiceover role was one of his favorite gigs. Plus, he'll tell us how he got the part in HBO's "Barry," and how he helped flesh out his character's role.

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Nicole Holofcener

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Bullseye
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Nicole Holofcener

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Writer and director Nicole Holofcener on her new film: 'The Land of Steady Habits'

Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener recently received an Academy-Award nomination for best adapted screenplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the film "Can You Ever Forgive Me?." We'll revisit our conversation with Nicole – when she stopped by we talked about another one of her recent projects, "The Land of Steady Habits."

Nicole is probably best known for her films "Friends with Money" and "Enough Said." She's also worked on TV shows like "Parks and Recreation," "Orange is the New Black" and "Sex and the City."

Nicole's projects are intimate and always feature strong female leads. For the first time, her movie centers on a man. "The Land of Steady Habits" is about a middle-aged, retired finance guy, named Andres played by Ben Mendelsohn. Anders is going through kind of a late midlife crisis. He just left his wife, Helene, played by Edie Falco. And his relationship with his adult son is drifting away – Anders is losing him to drug use. It's safe to say that Anders has trouble figuring out where he fits in these days.

Nicole will tell us how she adapted the novel by Ted Thompson into this very poignant film, and why she felt this was an important story to tell. Plus, she'll reflect on her childhood – when she moved to Los Angeles as a early teenager she couldn't believe that the guys on the Metro bus would be exactly like the jerks on the New York subway.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Academy Award nominated director Debra Granik

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Debra Granik


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Debra Granik on her new film 'Leave No Trace'

Debra Granik, wrote and directed the acclaimed 2010 film "Winter's Bone." The film was sort of a modern film noir, except instead of LA or New York, it was set in the Ozarks. It followed a 17-year-old girl as she pieced together the story behind her father's disappearance. Ree Dolly walked through burned out meth labs, negotiated with crime families, bail bondsmen and cops. And, of course: Ree Dolly was played by Jennifer Lawrence. It was her first ever starring role.

After 8 years, Granik just released her follow up - it's called "Leave No Trace," which is available to stream on Amazon now. Like "Winter's Bone," her new film "Leave No Trace" puts a compelling but compassionate focus on marginalized groups - one of the main threads is a combat veteran's struggle with trauma and homelessness.

It tells the story of a father and daughter who live entirely off the grid in a nature reserve not far from Portland, Oregon. The film details regular life for Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie). They forage and cook mushrooms. Will teaches Tom to play chess. They build fires for warmth. The way they live is peaceful, but not exactly legal. They are discovered in the woods by the police and social workers get involved, offering housing, work, school. But as you might imagine, it's a tough transition – especially for Will.

Debra Granik talks about the process of making her new film at length. Debra is also working on a film based on the book "Nickeled and Dimed," which is a thoroughly investigated, brilliant work of nonfiction about the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on the working poor in the US. She'll tell us how she plans to turn that into a narrative film. Plus, she explain what she learned about film making from being wedding videographer long before she was a film director.

This interview originally aired in July of 2018

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Killer Mike on his new Netflix show 'Trigger Warning'

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Killer Mike

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Killer Mike on his new Netflix show 'Trigger Warning'

The last time we spoke to Killer Mike, he was just coming off the release of his solo album, "I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind" back in 2007. Twelve years later, he's is still on that grind and busier than ever.

Nowadays he's one-half of Grammy nominated duo Run the Jewels with partner El-P. Together they've put out three great albums – with a fourth on the way later this year. Now, he's in his very own Netflix series, "Trigger Warning with Killer Mike."

In the show, Killer Mike tackles some of the most complicated racial and societal issues in America through social experiments. In the series, he tries to unpack subjects like religion, the black economy, education, and gangs.

In one experiment Killer Mike examines the hypocrisy behind celebrating violence and criminal activity. He rationalizes that if a biker gang like Hells Angels can sell merchandise on Amazon and capitalize on America’s fascination with the “bad guys," perhaps a gang like the Crips could do the same. He spends the episode trying to bring a product called "Crip-A-Cola" market. The result is quite funny, and very brilliant, too.

Killer Mike joins us to talk about his new Netflix series. He'll chat about the genesis of Run The Jewels and what it's like to collaborate with El-P. Plus, how he became friends with legendary comedian and activist Dick Gregory, and what it was like hitting the road campaigning with Bernie Sanders.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John David Washington

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Bullseye
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John David Washington

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John David Washington on his role in Spike Lee's 'BlacKkKlansman'

Before John David Washington was an actor, he was lacing up the pads every week for a career in professional football. He spanned the globe from Sacramento to Dusseldorf, Germany trying to make it work. It seems fitting that when he decided to pick up a career in acting that his breakthrough role was the portrayal of an NFL player on HBO's "Ballers." He definitely had the experience. In fact, he was injured from his hard work on the field when he auditioned for the role. He's been part of the main cast of "Ballers" for four seasons, and it's safe to say you'll be seeing a lot more of him soon.

This week, he chats about his portrayal of Ron Stallworth in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman." It's a fantastic performance – his role in the film earned him a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year. It's a compelling and complex look at the life of the first African-American police officer and detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department. The film is based on Stallworth's 2014 memoir, which details his experience investigating the local chapter of the KKK with the help of a white undercover officer.

John David Washington tells us about the insane amount of times he had to audition for his role on "Ballers," and what it was like to chase a career in the NFL when your dad is superstar Denzel Washington. Plus, the challenges of portraying Ron Stallworth, and what it was like to getting stunning offer to play Stallworth via a text message from Spike Lee.

Listen to this interview on YouTube!

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