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Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Carol Kane and Chris Fairbanks

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Carol Kane
Guests: 
Chris Fairbanks

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Carol Kane on her childhood, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and auditioning

Carol Kane is a veteran actress. She began her career in 1971 and landed some pretty heavy roles - one of her first films was in the Mike Nichols drama Carnal Knowledge. Later on, she'd work on other classics like Annie Hall and Dog Day Afternoon. She was even nominated for a best actress Oscar for her part in the 1975 film Hester Street.

She eventually found her home doing comedy, something she never expected she would do growing up. She appeared on Taxi as Simpka, the wife of Andy Kaufman's character on the show. She was in the Muppet Movie, The Princess Bride, Scrooged, and so many others. Her current project is Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where she plays Lilian, Kimmy's landlord.

She and Jesse talk about her childhood, and the special school she went to that allowed actors time to audition. They also talk about many of her projects over her expansive career- The Princess Bride, Taxi, and of course Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Plus, she tells Jesse that after all of these years, she still gets nervous auditioning.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3 in it's entirety is on Netflix now!

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Chris Fairbanks live at MaxFunCon

Chris Fairbanks is a standup comedian, he's appeared on Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Comedy Central. Alongside April Richardson, he also hosts the tv show Almost Genius on TruTV. His standup is really unique. It is kind of improvised, really surreal, and contains lots of quick two line jokes.
Last year, we were lucky enough to host Chris at MaxFunCon, which is an annual gathering in the woods organized by Maximum Fun, and we've got a bit of his set from that show for you this week!

Check out Chris' album Fairbanks! which was released in 2010 and is an absolute classic. You can also still get tickets to MaxFunCon East which is happening this September in Pennsylvania.

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The Outshot: The Larry Sanders Show

Jesse tells us about the HBO metasitcom from the late 90's, The Larry Sanders Show.

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Pop Rocket Episode 120: The End of Girls with Las Culturistas

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Matt Rogers
Guests: 
Bowen Yang

This week, the Pop Rocket panel has some extra help to talk about the 5 years and 6 seasons of Girls that ended this past Sunday from the New York based comedy duo Las Culturistas. As you can imagine, the gang has a lot to say during this post mortem. They talk about whether we got closure from the final episode, and whether Lena should have just stopped at the penultimate episode. Did the producers of Girls do enough to deal with the lack of racial diversity on the show over the 5 years? What role did nudity and sex play on show, and why was it so refreshing? Was Elijah used as a trophy or seen as a peer by Hannah? And did we think that this was a genuinely funny show? All of these questions will be answered, plus Bowen and Wynter are all about new video games, and Matt can't stop listening to the new Gaga. In lieu of jams this week, we get a master class in the signature segment on the Las Culturistas podcast, "I Don't Think So Honey"-- things get rowdy.

We also want to thank everyone who donated during the MaxFun Drive this year, and give a particular shoutout to those who donated on our shows behalf. Tweet at us if you made a donation to us and didn't receive your voicemail from Karen Tongson.

If you will be in the Los Angeles area this Friday, April 21st, make sure to check out Matt and Bowen's improv group Pop Roulette at UCB Sunset at 10:30 p.m.

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Bowen Yang, and Matt Rogers

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Armando Iannucci and Billy Bragg

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Guests: 
Armando Iannucci
Guests: 
Billy Bragg

[r] New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Linda Nylind

Veep Creator Armando Iannucci on Poking Fun at Politics

What does the career trajectory of a lifelong political junkie look like? There are the obvious choices, like a major in Political Science, law school...maybe even a career in politics. But Armando Iannucci took a different path – one that led him to Oxford, an incomplete PhD, and work writing and producing comedy, like his acclaimed political satire The Thick of It and the feature film In the Loop.

Iannucci created a new take on American politics in the HBO comedy Veep. Now in its second season, the show follows a fictional Vice President (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) with lofty ambitions but little actual power. Veep showcases the comedy inherent in the struggle for the political upper hand, the constant panic and exhaustion. Seemingly small gaffes quickly escalate into ridiculous catastrophes. The show's dialogue is marked by careful attention to absurd politi-speak and some especially creative cursing.

Iannucci joins us to talk about the difference between UK and US politics, why he sympathizes with our elected officials, and conducting swearing research in Washington, D.C.

Ianucci's new film The Death of Stalin comes out later this year.


Photo:

The Song That Changed My Life, with Billy Bragg: Bob Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin

Billy Bragg performs politically-minded folk music with a punk rock edge, songs with a tone and attitude somewhere between Woody Guthrie and the Sex Pistols. But what led to him developing his voice as an artist?

As Bragg explains, one of the most pivotal moments in his life happened during his lunch break at a record store. He put on a record that changed his life: Bob Dylan's folk anthem "The Times They Are A-Changin'".

Julia Louis-Dreyfus on Tapping Into Frustration for Seinfeld and Veep

Most of us first knew Julia Louis-Dreyfus from her Emmy-winning role as Elaine on Seinfeld. Elaine flailed, fought, and danced her way into our hearts as the friend to "losers" Jerry, George and Kramer. But Louis-Dreyfus first arrived in entertainment fresh off her college comedy sketch group, as a repertory player in the Dick Ebersol-helmed cast of Saturday Night Live.

After Seinfeld, she went on to anchor several sitcoms, including The New Adventures of Old Christine, with delightful guest appearances on shows like Arrested Development and 30 Rock. Her career has now taken her to a different cast of skewed characters on HBO's Veep.

On Veep, Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States. Though the vice-presidency is a prestigious position, Meyer's day-to-day work is less than impressive. Her staff members claw at each other for power and prestige. She suffers awkward encounters with the media and consistent snubs from the President (a running gag on the show is Selina's off-hand question, "Did the President call?" The answer is usually no).

Julia Louis-Dreyfus joins us to talk about the similarities she's discovered between show business and politics, the boys' club that was SNL in the 80s, and a certain terrible dance that still haunts her to this day.

Veep airs on HBO on Sundays at 10:30/9:30 PM central.

The Outshot: Jay-Z's "Threat"

Rap isn't poetry – it's its own thing. But, like poets, many of the best rappers imbue their lyrics with layers and layers of meaning. Need proof? Jesse suggests a close listen to Jay-Z's "Threat."

Pop Rocket: Episode 111 Legal Dramas

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Branum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell

This week Guy has returned from New York and the gang is back together to talk about legal dramas! They talk about the new CBS All-Access series The Good Fight, their favorite legal dramas of all time, and they get real about which TV or movie lawyer they would want to represent them in court. Wynter talks about her love for true crime, Margaret tells us what The Accused got right, and Karen talks about a Barbara Streisand classic. Plus we learn why Guy is currently obsessed with Calypso music and which documentaries you should be seeing this weekend. As with every week, we find out what the panel is all about and why jams they cannot stop listening to.

Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Margaret Wappler

Jams:

Margaret Wappler - Room 29 - Jarvis Cocker and Chilly Gonzalez
Wynter Mitchell - I Feel It Comin' - The Weeknd
Karen Tongson - It Ain't Me - Kygo, Selena Gomez
Guy Branum - No Wuk For Carnival - Lord Kitchener

Each week we'll add everyone's jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
James Baldwin on the Dick Cavett Show
James Spader on Boston Legal

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Pete Holmes and Mike Mills

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Pete Holmes
Guests: 
Mike Mills

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Frederick M Brown/Getty Images

Pete Holmes, creator and star of HBO's Crashing

This week Jesse talks with standup comic Pete Holmes. He's the creator and star of Crashing, a brand new show on HBO that's based in part on his life.

Compared with many of his standup peers, Pete had somewhat of an atypical upbringing. He was raised as an evangelical Christian and attended a Christian college, where he studied to be a youth pastor. He began performing standup in his early 20s, getting his start in New York City's club scene before playing to crowds around the country.

At the age of 28, Pete's marriage fell apart, which forced him to reevaluate his life and beliefs. Pete talks to Jesse about how setbacks such as his divorce and the cancellation of his late night show on TBS, The Pete Holmes Show, ended up paving the way for his current success. His divorce also supplied autobiographical material for his new HBO series Crashing. In the show, he plays a young comedian who finds himself dazed and newly single after his wife leaves him for a boxer.

Crashing premieres on HBO on February 19th.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Mike Mills, director of 20th Century Women

Jesse also talks with Mike Mills, director of 20th Century Women, which is up for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Before his career in feature films, Mills made his name directing short films and music videos, working with bands like Air, Blonde Redhead, and Pulp.

In 2010, Mills directed Beginners, a comedy/drama that told the story of a fictionalized version of his father, who came out of the closet in his late 70s. Christopher Plummer, who played his dad, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Mills' latest film, 20th Century Women, is about his mom. It tells the story of Dorothea (Annette Benning), a single mom living in a big house in Santa Barbara with two boarders and her teenage son, Jamie. The movie is also an exploration of the 1970s cultural landscape, including 2nd wave feminism and punk rock.

Mike talks with Jesse about his relationship with his parents, who grew up in the Depression era, as well as his philosophy on character development. He also tell Jesse about one of his first loves: skateboarding.

Learn more about 20th Century Women and where you can watch it.

Photo: YouTube

The Outshot: Babe: Pig in the City

You might laugh if you hear about a movie with CGI-rendered talking animals, but that just means you haven't seen Babe: Pig in the City. In this week's Outshot, Jesse explains why a movie about a brave little pig wandering through a bustling metropolis makes him cry every time he watches it.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Sarah Jessica Parker and Dwayne Kennedy

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Sarah Jessica Parker
Guests: 
Dwayne Kennedy

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images

Sarah Jessica Parker on her HBO show Divorce, the hardest part of being on Sex and the City, and finding distance between herself and the characters she plays

Sarah Jessica Parker began her career on Broadway, quickly moving on to acting in classic films throughout the 80’s and 90’s such as Footloose and LA Story. She is probably best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw on HBO’s Sex And The City, ending in 2004. Now she’s back on HBO in a new comedic drama called Divorce.
She sits down with Jesse this week to discuss her role on that show, the hardest part about acting in Sex And The City, and how she finds distance between herself and the characters she plays on screen. They also talk about the glory of Thomas Haden Church's mustache.
You can watch Divorce Sundays on HBO.

Dwayne Kennedy

Dwayne Kennedy has been in the stand-up game for about thirty years now, performing everywhere, from Showtime at the Apollo to The Late Show with David Letterman, but he’s still a bit of a comic’s comic.
Listen here for some of his performance at Bullseye with Jesse Thorn live at the Chicago Podcast Festival.

The Outshot: Curtis Mayfield

For this week’s Outshot, Jesse tells us why he listens to Curtis Mayfield when he’s feeling down.

Bullseye: Spike Lee & The Creators of 'High Maintenance' [r]

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Spike Lee
Guests: 
Katja Blichfeld
Guests: 
Ben Sinclaire

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Brad Barket /Getty Images

Spike Lee on 'Da Sweet Blood of Jesus', the Knicks, and Gentrification

Jesse sits down with acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee. Spike tells us about how addiction is made explicit in his movie, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, how he really feels about Larry Bird and about his own very serious addiction.... to Air Jordans.

Spike Lee’s latest film, Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to off the Wall is available on VOD.


Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

High Maintenance: Co-Creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair Talk About Marijuana, Their Webseries, and Asking for Money

Jesse sits down with Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair. Katja Blichfeld is a casting director who previously won an Emmy for her work on 30 Rock; Ben Sinclair is an actor. The two are a married couple, and created the webseries High Maintenance. The show follows a New York City marijuana delivery guy as he visits his various clients.

The series has been picked up by HBO and will be making its debut on the network this month.

The Outshot: Wonder Showzen

MTV2's Wonder Showzen looked like a kids' show. But it wasn't. It really, really, wasn't. Jesse tells us why Wonder Showzen is his favorite TV satire of the past decade.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Mike Judge & Sharon Horgan

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Mike Judge
Guests: 
Sharon Horgan

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.


Photo: Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Mike Judge on Silicon Valley, Beavis & Butt-Head and Office Space & the Challenges of Being a Showrunner

Mike Judge entered the world of animation with little more than a 16mm Bolex film camera, an audio recorder and a stopwatch. In the early nineties, his animated shorts were extremely popular as part of touring animation shows including Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Animation Festival. These shorts served as the birthplace for some of his most memorable characters, including the iconic Beavis and Butt-Head.

Beavis and Butt-Head were awkward and naive teenage boys, whose vocabulary seemed limited to a series of snickers and grunts. However, the show became a cultural touchstone as well as a lightning rod of criticism for conservative social critics.

The show led to more opportunities for Judge both in film and television. They included the hit animated series, King of the Hill and forays into films with the cult classics Office Space and Idiocracy. His latest show, Silicon Valley is in its third season on HBO.

Mike Judge joined Jesse to talk about the parallels between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, his early years in animation and how the character of Homer Simpson helped him maintain the integrity of his own animated patriarch, Hank Hill.

Silicon Valley airs Sunday nights at 10pm on HBO.


Photo: Jesse Thorn

Catastrophe's Sharon Horgan on Creating Flawed Characters and Writing Your Own Sex Scenes

Sharon Horgan has a knack for the creating shows that reveal her characters as determined, funny, sexy, complex and at times, very flustered. Her comedy is more than a series of jokes (though there are plenty of them), and includes insightful observations into what it means to be a professional woman trying to negotiate her other roles of lover, wife and mother. In other words, a real person. You can see that in full display on her latest show, Catastrophe which streams on Amazon Prime.

Though she may be relatively new to American audiences, she has proven herself a talented actress, writer and producer and enjoyed success with her previous show, Pulling which she co-wrote and starred in. Though it ran only for two seasons on British television, it was nominated for several television and comedy awards and established her as a modern comedic voice.

Sharon Horgan sat down with Jesse to talk about getting past the awkwardness of writing (and then having to film) sex scenes with her co-star, the challenge of showing the evolution of a relationship before and after having kids and why she likes playing a character who can sometimes come off as a jerk.

Catastrophe is in its second season and can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


Photo: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

The Outshot: Prince

Jesse remembers how the musician Prince inspired people to dare to be themselves.

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kumail Nanjiani & Willie Colon

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS WEEK'S EPISODE


Photo by Jesse Thorn

Kumail Nanjiani on Identity, Comedy, and Working with Mike Judge

When Kumail Nanjiani was a boy growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, he absorbed a lot of American culture. He loved Ghostbusters and Gremlins. He read MAD Magazine. And he knew that someday, he'd move to the U.S. What he never imagined is that he'd become a comedian.

His first exposure to stand up comedy was a Jerry Seinfeld HBO special, and a few short years later, Kumail was on stage himself. He's performed with The Second City, at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, and on numerous late night shows.

He also co-hosts a stand up showcase, The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, and stars in HBO's Silicon Valley.

Kumail talks to us about growing up Pakistani, choosing a distinctly American way of life, and creating comedy about things you love, rather than things you hate.

Kumail's Comedy Central stand up special, Beta Male, is available on CD+DVD and by direct download.

This cut of our interview includes the following segments:
Kumail Studies The Cheesecake Factory for "Portlandia"
Kumail on Mike Judge and the Butthead Voice

This interview originally aired in August 2013.

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Willie Colón: From Jam Sessions in the Bronx to International Salsa Superstar

When Willie Colón was a kid in the South Bronx, he and some his friends from the neighborhood would take their instruments and jam outside in the summers. His neighbors weren't too pleased, but they probably didn't know they had a budding talent in their midst. Willie went on to secure a record deal in his teens and then become a hugely influential musician and bandleader. His music is salsa: a blend of the Caribbean, Africa, South America and his native New York City.

His discography has now sold over thirty million records, and he's collaborated with legendary figures like Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades.

Willie joins us to talk about his early success, how he envisions salsa, and his work with Hector Lavoe and Celia Cruz.

Willie is out on tour frequently; catch up with him on Twitter to find out where he'll be next.

This interview originally aired in April 2014.

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The Outshot: Michael Palin

Jesse explains why Michael Palin is everything good about British colonialism.

This segment originally aired in October 2013.

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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: John Oliver & Arsenio Hall

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
John Oliver
Guests: 
Arsenio Hall
Guests: 
Tim Simons
Guests: 
Rhea Butcher
Guests: 
Ricky Carmona

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

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John Oliver on 'Last Week Tonight', American Positivity and a Love Story That Began at the RNC

Though John Oliver is English, he's probably best known now for being part of an American cultural institution -- The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He served as the show's "Senior British Correspondent" for seven years before he was tapped to guest host last summer. Stewart went off to shoot a documentary, and Oliver filled in as host for eight weeks, to great critical acclaim.

It was an audition of sorts, and Oliver got the part. He was offered his own weekly show on HBO, which began airing just a few weeks ago. Last Week Tonight provides Oliver his own platform to talk and joke about everything from the death penalty to climate change to the Indian general election.

He joins us to talk about his love for American positivity, his tone and approach for Last Week Tonight, the unique challenges of doing news satire and the signature field pieces of The Daily Show, and the romantic story of how he met his wife at the Republican National Convention.

Oliver's show Last Week Tonight airs on HBO Sunday nights at 11pm. He also co-hosts The Bugle podcast with Andy Zaltzman.

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Wham Bam Pow Recommends: Cloud Atlas and Back to the Future Part II

Ricky Camona and Rhea Butcher of the movie podcast Wham! Bam! Pow! join us to talk about two of their all-time favorite movies, both about how individual people, their actions, and the universe are all tied up together.

Ricky recommends the ambitious 2012 adaptation of Cloud Atlas. Rhea recommends a movie that didn't need to reinvent the wheel to be successful -- the sequel Back to the Future Part II.

For more recommendations from Wham! Bam! Pow!, subscribe to their podcast and never watch a boring movie again!

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The Part: Tim Simons on 'Veep'

If you’re an actor, you know this: Getting cast in your first role is a huge challenge. But even then, it’s sometimes YEARS before an actor lands a role that really gets their career moving in the direction they’d like. That’s The Part.

When Tim Simons moved to LA to pursue acting, he auditioned a lot. He went in for movies, TV shows, commercials. He read his scripts and character descriptions very carefully -- and maybe stuck to the script just a little too much. But around that same time he also had a gig behind the scenes at a commercial casting company. While on the job, he saw a lot of other people audition and realized that the successful people were comfortable being themselves. They didn't always need to shoehorn themselves into the words on the page.

Simons talks to us about making acting choices and the creative freedom he's experienced as a result.

His character Jonah has a new job and story arc on this season of Veep. It airs Sunday nights on HBO.

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Arsenio Hall on Carving Out a Late Night Niche

When it came to late night television, Arsenio Hall changed the game. In 1989, he took over a talk show contract originally given to Joan Rivers, and brought new life and new faces to the late night scene.

The Arsenio Hall Show had a spontaneous, fun-filled, party atmosphere, interview guests from Tupac to Madonna, and a signature audience chant. But in 1994, Hall ended the show, and he was mostly out of the spotlight for almost twenty years.

Hall returned with a new incarnation of the show last fall, and it's just been picked up for a second season.

Hall talks about how he decides to ask "that question" of interview guests, how a dinner party appeal from Diddy helped inspire his comeback, and finding a new place for himself in the late night arena.

You can find out when The Arsenio Hall Show airs in your area on the show's official website.

Looking for that Vine of Jesse attacking Arsenio? Click here!

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The Outshot: PWRFL Power's "Baby Tiger"

This week Jesse shares a beautiful, charming song that you probably haven't heard before. It's tough to find on CD; but, that’s ok because we’re going to play the whole thing for you.

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