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.)
Bonnie Raitt is a legend. Now in her 70's she's still touring, still shredding and still writing songs. She's been recording music for over 50 years and she's won ten Grammys. Bonnie's also been in the rock and roll hall of fame for over two decades. Earlier this year she released Just Like That. Her eighteenth full length studio album. Our correspondent Ray Suarez talked with Bonnie about the new album. She gets into coming into her own as an artist, playing through the pandemic and getting back on the road. Plus, she'll talk about her longtime friend and collaborator John Prine, and what it was like performing his music after his death in 2020.
Michael R. Jackson, creator of 'A Strange Loop'
Michael R. Jackson is the creator of A Strange Loop. The groundbreaking show won the honor for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical at the most recent Tony Awards. Recently our correspondent Julie Klausner caught the show on Broadway, and she fell in love right away. Klausner and Jackson talked about writing the musical, showing it to his family, and so much more.
Billy Eichner on writing and starring in Bros
Billy Eichner was already a working comedian when he rose to fame as the host of Billy on the Street - a bonkers game show where he runs up and down the streets of Manhattan shouting questions at strangers. Now, he's written and starred in his first movie. Bros is a romantic comedy, produced by Judd Apatow, about a same-sex relationship. Bros features an entirely LGBTQ+ cast - the first of its kind from a major studio.
'This Fool' star and creator Chris Estrada
Chris Estrada is a stand-up comedian and co-creator of the new TV comedy, This Fool. Estrada also stars as the show's main character: Julio. Julio lives in South Central Los Angeles, where Chris grew up, but the show isn't autobiographical. Julio works at a local nonprofit that helps former gang members adjust to life on the outside. The show follows the misadventures of Julio and his cousin Luis who has finished up a lengthy prison sentence. The show is funny, human, unexpected and at times, surprisingly sweet. We talk with Chris about co-creating This Fool, his love of punk music and his late start as a stand-up comedian.
Bobby Moynihan first appeared on SNL in 2008, and starred on the show for nearly a decade. He did a few impressions, but his strength was portraying offbeat characters. When Bobby left SNL in 2017, he began to appear in a variety of projects; shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and movies like The Secret Life of Pets. In his free time in-between projects, Bobby began writing. He created Loafy, the series of shorts about a cartoon, drug-dealing manatee of the same name. Lightning Wolves, an adult send-up of late 20th century animated shows like Captain Planet, came next. Bobby recently transferred that same passion for writing into the book world. He just published his first children's book, Not All Sheep are Boring. It follows the adventures of sheep who actually lead rich, interesting lives and have hobbies like drinking coffee, metal detecting, and eating pasta. Bobby sat down with Bullseye to discuss his latest venture.
Loudon Wainwright III is a singer and songwriter. He began his folk career in the late 60s, and released his self-titled debut in 1970. He's occasionally referred to as a novelty singer, but his broad musical catalog has proven that to be untrue. Loudon has recorded 26 studio albums, six compilations, and four live albums. His album High Wide and Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project brought him his first Grammy in 2010 for Best Traditional Folk Album. He recently turned 75 and commemorated this milestone with his newest album called Lifetime Achievement. He stops by to chat about the album and plays some music.
America’s radio sweetheart
The number of times I’ve heard a guest say “wow an interviewer has never asked me that” or “thank you so much for noticing that” is insane. Jesse has a skill for connecting with his guests that really gets the best out of the conversation, without being prying or insensitive. He comes across as actualized person, never pretending to be an expert intellectual or sucking up to famous people, just talks to them like people and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.
Varied Artists interviewed with Emotional Intelligence
The variety of artists and scope of talent presented is unlike any other in this format. Jesse has a unique lens from which he asks his questions. His courage to ask in depth questions can yield the most touching responses. I always leave this podcast with a strong positive emotion and food for thought. The Matt Barry interview compelled me to write this. Thank you for a hilarious interview and introducing me to the work of this wonderful bloke!
I came to Bullseye after being a long-time Judge John Hodgman listener. It snuck up on me that Jesse Thorne is the second-best interviewer in the game right now. (Terry Gross is untouchable.)