James Lipton

James Lipton bares his soul in his very first blog.

on Oct 9, 20070

lipton_02_320x240.jpg As you may know, near the end of each episode of Inside the Actors Studio, I ask my guest, "If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?"

This moment feels a bit like that, as I arrive for the first time at the portals of cyberspace, staring apprehensively into the void, with no deity waiting to take up the conversational slack. In De Niro's -- and Scorsese's -- famous words: "There's nobody here but me." And nothing but this ominous silence that, I'm told, I'm supposed to fill.

With what? The question is: how to fill a vacuum without being vacuous?

Where's Will Ferrell when you need him, ready to take over and be the garrulous me that seems to have an answer to everything?

At this moment, I feel as if I have the answer to nothing! Where to start? A friend said I should think of the blog as a diary, but I've never kept one, and, anyway, who gives a rat's ass what's on my mind? No blue cards here, no two weeks of preparation. Just me and...you, I guess, whoever you are.

Someone else told me, "Think stream of consciousness." Which once again assumes that there's someone out there who cares what I'm thinking, consciously, or unconsciously. I find that scary.

Since the day Inside the Actors Studio went on the air thirteen years ago, I've remained steadfastly in the shadows, determined to let the spotlight remain on each of our more than 200 guests. In the edit room, I cut myself out of the show with a machete. Inside the Actors Studio is meant to be a self-portrait -- of the guest, not me. Will Ferrell to the contrary notwithstanding, I suspect that I have less screen-time than any other television host. That's just as well: most of them are much quicker and wittier than I, with more to say. My job is to ask the question and get out of the way, as quickly as possible.

But blogs, I'm told, are about answering questions. In my book Inside Inside, which is being published October 18th, I've challenged myself to answer the same kind of questions I ask my guests, with the same kind of candor. That's why it took two years to write the book. And that's why I confessed (one of many confessions in the book) to this recurring dream:

In my twenties, I had a frequently recurring dream in which I lay in bed in my childhood bedroom on Hague Avenue. The room was exact and unmistakable. The dream always began as I woke in it, opened my eyes and didn't move. All around the bed, on straight-backed chairs, everyone I would see that day (that was a given) sat stiffly, silently, staring fixedly ahead in what appeared to be a choreographed ritual. At the foot of the bed stood one more person, who ceremoniously handed me the mask I would wear that day. Once the mask was between me and the eyes of the figure at the foot of the bed, who was manifestly the other "I," offering today's disguise, I reached up and surreptitiously slipped off the mask I was already wearing -- the one that prevented even me from ever seeing me -- and slid the day's mask into place.

A curiously hermetic nature for someone who would ultimately make a career of trying to draw others out, to the point where the French magazine Telerama described "la methode de l'omniscient doyen" as "mi-confession, mianalyse (half-confession, half-analysis)." My only defense is the one offered by the character in Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel who, when accused of not following his own advice, sniffs, "I am like the signpost that points the way to Paris without ever going there itself." So, there you have it: my first blog, my first confession. Anybody there? Anybody care? I guess we'll see, won't we. Your turn. And please be gentle: this is my first affair.

10 comments
KazCareBear29
KazCareBear29

Dear Mr. Lipton,

I have been a fan & admirer of you and the show since its very 1st episode.  I agree with the viewer below who said "The only intellectual show you can watch these days."  Thank you so very much for all the years of informative, funny, humourous, intelligent, and very real conversation on the craft.  I even own a few episodes on DVD of some of my favourites. Thank you also for writing your book and someday I hope to have your autograph in it.  For years here in Toronto, Canada "Inside.." aired on the station Bravo Sundays at 5pm.  Sadly, two years ago that changed and the show is not seen on Bravo Canada anymore, which really sucks.  Do you happen to know if you air on any station in the Toronto market?  I also have been able to view your episodes on-line either.  Its been so frustrating.  I digress I'm sorry sir.  I just wanted you to know that I'm still a fan & admirer and look forward to catching up on what I've missed. I'm not giving up as long as you are out there. I'm known as a "die-hard" Inside fan! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do & will continue to do.  I love the discussion, the laughter & most of the the craft & your show!!!  Most Sincerely, K.

watch Rio online
watch Rio online

Greetings, Thanks for sharing the link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at video.bravotv.com have a mirror or another source?

Cheers, Daniel

aribeamamp
aribeamamp

Very Interesting Post! Thank You For Thi Post!

play solitaire online
play solitaire online

Thanks for sharing the link, but unfortunately it seems to be down... Does anybody have a mirror or another source? Please answer to my post if you do!

I would appreciate if a staff member here at video.bravotv.com could post it.

Thanks, Alex

Beka Shakur
Beka Shakur

I really LUV'd your interview you did with Dave Chappelle, especially when he call'd out your evil laugh, that was 2 funny. That was the first 'Inside' I ever saw, I kan't wait 2 read your book. Luv, Beka

Viewer
Viewer

Thank you so very much! I love your program and always look forward to it! Incredibly interesting! You have an ability to make everybody sound so interesting when you interview them. Thank you, for being a “Little sun shine in a cold water”. The only intellectual show you can watch these days. Thank you very much indeed!!! I only wish we could have a possibility to watch it more often.

Viewer
Viewer

when its Mr. jack Nicholson going to the show???