As some Put This On readers may know, I’m a public radio host by trade. This week, on my show Bullseye with Jesse Thorn, I got to talk to one of my all-time heroes: Mel Brooks. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I hope you’ll take the time to give it a listen. If you enjoy the show, subscribe to it free in iTunes.
So sad to hear the news that one of the great American singers, George Jones, has passed away. I wrote this piece for my NPR show, Bullseye, a week or two ago. It’s about one of his greatest tunes, “The Grand Tour.”
On my public radio show Bullseye, we close every episode with an essay by me that recommends some piece of culture. This week, I wrote about William Carlos Williams’ spectacular poem “Danse Russe,” but also about what it’s like to be a dad and live well. This piece is short, and I think you’ll like it. The episode it came from, with George Saunders and Maria Bamford, is one that I’m very, very proud of.
If you do like it, you should subscribe to it, free, in iTunes. Or ask your local public radio station to carry it.
Jesse in San Francisco at SF Sketchfest
As many of you know, Put This On is my side gig - in my day-to-day life, I’m a public radio host and comedy podcaster. I’ll be bringing that side of my work to San Francisco next weekend for SF Sketchfest, and I hope all you Bay Area PTO readers will stop by, if only to see me dress in a bailiff outfit based on that of Bull from Night Court.
Friday night, I’ll be at the Marines Memorial Theater for Judge John Hodgman. John, who you may know from The Daily Show, Bored To Death, Community or the Mac v. PC ads will be live-judging disputants from around the Bay Area. We’ve got some great cases lined up, and it’s always a lot of fun. We’ll also be joined by our friend John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. Tickets are available here.
On Saturday afternoon, I’ll be at the Punchline, hosting a live recording of my public radio show Bullseye. I’ll be interviewing Roman Mars, the creator of the brilliant design show 99% Invisible, and Boots Riley of The Coup, who’ll also be performing a few songs. Peter Hartlaub of the Chronicle will provide some San Francisco-themed film recommendations, and Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) and Erin Foley (Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central, etc) will be doing standup. I will also be speaking on the important subject of The Luniz hit record “I Got Five On It (Bay Ballas Remix)”. Get your tickets for that show here.
This week’s episode of my public radio show, Bullseye, is a great place to start if you’ve never heard the show. Bullseye is all about culture that’s worth your time, and this episode is a doozie.
It features two great interviews.
First I talk with Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as Sherlock Holmes in the brilliant show Sherlock. He talks about how being abducted in Africa changed his life, among other things. In addition to Sherlock, Cumberbatch will be the voice of Smaug the dragon in the next Hobbit film, and the baddie in the upcoming Star Trek movie.
Then I talk with the documentarian Errol Morris, who describes why he thinks it’s OK that when all is said and done, people may forget about his amazing documentaries (like The Thin Blue Line, The Fog of War and Cheap, Fast & Out Of Control), but remember his equally amazing Miller High Life commercials.
Plus Jason Kottke recommends some of his favorite things on the internet ever, and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady tells us how The Replacements showed him what rock music could be. And I recommend the simple, loving joy of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready.”
From time to time, I like to share a little something from my public radio show, Bullseye. Above is an interview with Stephen Tobolowsky. If you don’t know his name, you might know him from Groundhog Day, or Glee, or The Mindy Project, or any of a bajillion other projects he’s acted in over the years.
He’s also a brilliant storyteller, and he has a great new book of stories from his life, and a wonderful podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, as well. I think you’ll enjoy this interview with him, which features how he used a syndicated medical drama to talk his way out of being held at gunpoint in a grocery store, and how he lost his first love. And how he wasn’t allowed to wash his clothes while he worked on Deadwood.
If you like the interview, subscribe to Bullseye for free in iTunes. You’ll get an hour of thoughtful and funny interviews with the coolest people in culture, plus recommendations for stuff that’s worth your time.