Bullseye with Jesse Thorn-logo

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn


Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture. 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."


Santa Cruz, CA




Bullseye is a celebration of the best of arts and culture in public radio form. Host Jesse Thorn sifts the wheat from the chaff to bring you in-depth interviews with the most revered and revolutionary minds in our culture. 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."




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Nile Rodgers

Nile Rodgers has been in the game for over fifty years. He's a founding member of the band Chic, and he's produced songs for some of the biggest names in music like Madonna, David Bowie and Daft Punk. On Bullseye, we're looking back at our interview with Rodgers in 2011. He joined us to talk about his book, Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny. Plus, his religious experience watching the band Roxy Music live for the first time.


Devendra Banhart on the song that changed his life

Singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart tells us about a beautiful, cinematic, heartbreaking song performed by the legendary Venezuelan singer Simón Díaz. He talks about the songs impact on him as a writer, performer, and a Venezuelan-American.


Comedian George Wallace

George Wallace has been doing stand-up for almost 50 years. He came up in New York – his roommate was Jerry Seinfeld. Wallace's humor, like Seinfeld's, is observational. The stakes are usually pretty low, the punchlines and wordplay pretty frequent. Which is to say, a George Wallace joke from the '80s can still kill today. The man is a legend and he joins us to talk about his decades long career as a stand-up comedian.


Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

Jillian and Mariko Tamaki are talented graphic novelists. And if you didn't already know, the two are also cousins. They've collaborated on three projects so far that cover themes like sexual expression and queerness. Their latest is Roaming. On Bullseye, they chat about the project and the art of under-explaining in comics. Plus, they reflect on what it was like to be thrust into a heated national censorship debate with the launch of their indie graphic novel, This One Summer.


Daniel Clowes

Daniel Clowes is an award-winning writer and comics artist. He penned the Eight-Ball series and Ghost World, among others. This year, he released a graphic novel inspired by his attempts to learn about the life of his late, largely absent mother. It's called Monica. On Bullseye, he chats about the novel and the time he spent researching his family history. Plus, the things he learned about his mom that he can't unlearn.


Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, on the song that changed his life

His name is Will Oldham. You might know him better, though, as Bonnie "Prince" Billy or Palace or as half of the folk rock group Superwolves. His work has spanned three decades now and earlier this year he released his twenty-first Bonnie "Prince" Billy album. It's called Keeping Secrets Will Destroy You. When we asked Oldham about the song that changed his life, he picked a spare, interior, haunting song. One that, we'll admit, we hadn't heard before - "Horses" by Sally Timms.


Jack Handey

Yes, Jack Handey is his real name. He's one of the best to ever write for Saturday Night Live: Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, Giant Businessman, Toonces the Driving Cat, Deep Thoughts. In his post SNL career, Handey's written more for the page. There's his countless columns in the New Yorker and now, his latest novel: Escape from Hawaii: A Tropical Sequel. He talks about all that, plus we ask him (very nicely) about why he initially declined to come back on the show.


Fashion Designer Carla Fernández

Carla Fernández is a Mexico City based fashion designer who creates new clothes inspired by traditional, indigenous garments of Latin America. Her work is a revolutionary approach to fashion and is absolutely breathtaking. Carla joins us on Bullseye to talk about her "Manifesto de moda Mexicana," thrift shopping and so much more.


Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a stock car racing legend. He's won more than two dozen races and has been inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He's since (mostly) retired from racing and recently gotten into writing. His latest release is a children's book called Buster Gets Back on Track. Dale Jr. joins the show to talk his racing career, about writing, and about why he collects wrecked cars from races.


Soul singer Bettye LaVette

Bettye LaVette is a singer with over 60 years in the game. She's recorded dozens of albums. And earned multiple Grammy nominations for her work in the blues and R&B genre. Her latest album LaVette! was released earlier this year. Bettye stops by the show to chat about the album. She let us in on how she chooses the songs she wants to record. Plus, she gets into her childhood and her long, tumultuous path to music.


Ira Glass

This American Life has been on public radio airwaves for almost three decades. This year, the show passed eight hundred episodes. And probably the most amazing thing is that This American Life is still really great. Ira Glass created the show way back when it first started, and he's still steering the ship at 64. We talk with the public radio legend himself to celebrate This American Life hitting eight hundred episodes. Plus, we learn just how many anagrams one can make with Ira Glass' name.


Blues legend Bobby Rush 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 blues great – Bobby Rush. When he got his start, he played with other greats like Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy and Howlin' Wolf. The song that changed his life was recorded by another close friend of his – Little Walter. The song? My Babe. Bobby's latest record All My Love For You is out now.


Bob Odenkirk on his new children's book, 'Zilot & Other Important Rhymes'

Bob Odenkirk is an alt-comedy legend. He wrote for Saturday Night Live in the 90s. Then he got the part in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul as Saul Goodman. And he went from the funny-guy behind the scenes to the main screen. He's also a writer. On Bullseye, he stops by to talk about how he turned his worn notebook into a book of poetry with the help of his children. Plus, he gets into how he's embraced his transition from funny guy to serious actor.


Joe Maddon, World Series winning baseball manager

Major League Baseball is in its Postseason. This week we're joined by a great – former Cubs, Rays and Angels manager Joe Maddon. The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck at Baseball and Life. was written by Maddon and Tom VerducciIt. The book is part memoir, part inspirational text, part practical guide on how to build better baseball teams.


Maria Bamford on her new memoir "Sure, I'll Join Your Cult"

Maria Bamford is a brilliant stand-up comic. She's also now an author. She recently wrote her first book. It's a memoir called Sure, I'll Join Your Cult. In it, she writes about her experience with mental illness and efforts to overcome it. She joins the show to talk about the new book and the lessons she learned from writing it. She'll also read a bit of the new memoir to us.


All-Star Pitcher Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle played a decade in the major leagues. He was a beloved weirdo and all-star with the Oakland A's. Then, a World Series champion with the Washington Nationals. Last month, Doolittle announced his retirement from baseball. We're celebrating his extraordinary, thrilling career by throwing it back to our conversation with Doolittle in 2017.


Sam Richardson

Sam Richardson's breakthrough role came in HBO's Veep. Sam is also a writer. With the help of SNL alum Tim Robinson, they co-created and starred in Detroiters. These days, you can catch Sam in The Afterparty on Apple TV+. Sam joins Jesse to talk about his career in film and TV, and what it was like growing up between the United States and Ghana. A version of this interview originally aired in August of 2021.


Benny the Butcher

We're concluding Rap Month with Buffalo MC Benny the Butcher. Alongside Conway the Machine and Westside Gunn, he's a member of the hip-hop collective Griselda. He's an incredibly prolific rapper. Benny's not even forty yet and he's got dozens of LPs, mixtapes and other releases to his name. He joins Bullseye to talk about his upbringings in Buffalo, New York and how he got into rapping. Plus he breaks down his track "10 More Commandments" – a response to a classic Biggie Smalls song.


Master P

In the story of Master P, there's plenty of success. He's launched careers and sold millions of dollars in records. His label, No Limit Records, was home to a phalanx of stars like Silkk the Shocker and even Snoop Dogg. Master P gets candid about the many triumphs and challenges in his life: millions of records sold, careers launched, a failed professional basketball career, multiple close family deaths. Plus: his newfound passion for breakfast cereal.


Bun B

Bun B and his partner Pimp C put Port Arthur, Texas on the map when they founded one of the most influential Southern rap groups of all time. UGK crafted a genre on their own terms. Whether you call it country rap or chopped and screwed music, their influence is undeniable. Bun B talks about his friendship and collaboration with Pimp C. He shares the story behind his verse on UGK's iconic track "Murder." Plus, he gets real about what he wants his grandchildren to remember about him.