The 'Actors Studio' legend gets political in an op-ed for New York Magazine.

May 14, 2012 - The Dish

James Lipton and Mitt Romney

James Lipton knows a thing or two about acting. He's an actor-writer himself, the dean ameritus of the Actors Studio Drama School at New York's Pace University, and as the host of Inside the Actors Studio, he's interviewed and observed the very best in the world when it comes to "the craft."

So, with all of that expertise to lend, James figured he'd share his knowledge in an op-ed he wrote for New York Magazine, and his pupil is Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Why would Mitt need James' help in honing his acting chops? After the two appeared together in a New York Times cartoon, James figured he'd keep the ball rolling with his article titled "How to Act Human."

What's Lipton got to do with politics, you might ask? He explains: "In this media-saturated era, the line between politics and performance has virtually vanished, and the public is having a hard time believing Mr. Romney's persona (as in dramatis personae) – a potentially fatal flaw for any actor, but especially for a presidential candidate. Why doesn't Mr. Romney's audience believe him?"

Lipton starts by dissecting Romney's laugh, which he says is "a device he employs at odd moments and in a most peculiar way," and in more or less words, he calls it phony. "There's no pleasure there, no amusement.  Genuine laughter is triggered only by, and is completely dependent on, shared perception."

Another tip for Mitt? Lipton says he's too stiff, and could learn a thing or two from another prominent Republican.

"I recommend the political Pavlova, Sarah Palin, who, on the speakers' podium, with a script in hand and no obligation to answer troublesome questions, is so relaxed in what Stanislavski called 'the given circumstance' that her arms, moving gracefully and freely, are a constant pleasure to watch."

There's other tips for Romney -- his wardrobe, his attempts to downplay his wealth -- which you can read in James' piece over at the NY Mag site. And in case you need a little more Lipton in your life today, do enjoy his chat with Jon Hamm about softcore porn below: