James Lipton

James Lipton reflects on January's amazing roster of guests.

on Jan 30, 20090

The month of January, 2009 has been the most exciting of the past fifteen years: Five consecutive premieres! Josh Brolin (Golden Globe winner, Oscar nominee), Laura Linney (Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and everything else winner), Conan O'Brien (saying farewell to "Late Night" and hello to "The Tonight Show" on our stage), Ricky Gervais (I remember the order of the interviews with an acronym: the first letter of each of those last names comes out B.L.O.G.), and Anthony LaPaglia (February 2).

Whew!

The night with Conan was, of course, historic, so I tried to think of a way we could make it as memorable for him as it was for us. About a week before his appearance, it came to me.  As I said to him on stage, and on the air: "For twelve years, I wrote a lyric to Bob Hope's signature song at the end of each of his birthday specials.  As I prepared for tonight, I felt something stirring, and I thought, well, maybe I've got one more left in me. And so, if our students will join me here on stage, we'd like to present you with this."

Ten young women from the Actors Studio Drama School and from the Musical Theater program of Pace University gathered around me, and this is what we sang to Conan:

Thanks for the memory
Of watching bleary-eyed,
Laughing till we cried.
You didn't always kill us,
Though God knows you always tried.
We thank you so much.

Thanks for the memory
Of lofty Conan hair,
A masturbating bear,
La Bamba's hat, enchanting chat
And Max's stony stare.
We thank you so much.

We thought you'd be with us forever.
Could Conan desert us?  No, never!
But NBC's bosses are clever.
Oh, what the hell.  We wish you well.

Thanks for the memory
Of sixteen awesome years,
Triumph's raunchy sneers,
Ingenious quips, and talking lips,
And sometimes even tears.
We thank you so much.

Who knew you would love us and leave us?
Your 12:30 absence will grieve us
Till Fallon shows up to retrieve us.
We'll let it be. C'est la T.V.

So here's to new memories.
Go get 'em in L.A.
In your own Conan way.
No matter where fate takes you, you will always have your say.
May your brand new dominion last forever and a day,
So all the world can join us with a final, fond bouquet
To thank you so much.

Conan walked out on our stage at eight p.m. and delivered four hours of hilarity, interspersed with moments of deeply thoughtful introspection and sharp perception.  Listen to Conan on the subject of David Letterman, the man he'll be competing with when he takes over "The Tonight Show" in June:

"Historically, Johnny Carson is around for thirty years and he invents the talk show.  Dave comes along twenty years into Johnny's reign, and he invents the anti-talk show.  It's kind of like Johnny Carson discovered Europe, and David Letterman got in a boat and discovered North America - and the rest of us are like, 'I found a piece of Newfoundland that hasn't been claimed!'  We're carving out little territories here and there.  But what Dave found was so huge, so fundamentally giant. His sense of humor was completely his, and it was different than anything we had seen."

How's that for generous respect toward the guy you'll soon be challenging for every 11:30 viewer?

When our evening ended at midnight, we were both so wired - and, frankly, exhilarated by what had transpired - that Conan, his Executive Producer Jeff Ross, the Pace University Provost Dr. Geoff Brackett, his wife Danyelle, my wife Kedakai and I headed for New York's favorite literary watering hole, Elaine's - and just kept going 'til we closed the place at nearly three a.m.  By then, even Elaine had gone home.  To my knowledge, we're the first customers who have ever outlasted Elaine.  We're checking the Guinness Book of World Records.

For the past month we've been casting our Spring shows, and I think my next blog will contain some blockbuster announcements. Stay tuned. It's getting more exciting by the minute.

28 comments
Someone who watches all the time
Someone who watches all the time

So. What's up with not wanting Mary McDonnell on the show? Don't get me wrong - I absolutely LOVE the show - but really. What's up with that?

Toni Remich
Toni Remich

Suggestion - Many episodic shows that I love provide a bulk e-mail service to let their audience know who the upcoming guests are and/or what the topic(s) will be on the next show. (Charlie Rose, Jim Lehner/PBS News Hour, Nightline, et. al.) Is there anyway you could let us know who your guests will be? ...and on what dates? The TV guides that come with the Sunday and weekday newspapers are getting slimmer and slimmer and now only give us abreviated show titles.

Viewer
Viewer

I unfortunately missed so much of this past year's (2009) Actor's Studio...because of both work and BRAVO...they've changed the format of this station to so many lousy housewife/reality shows. Anyway, I would like to STRONGLY RECOMMEND TO/PLEAD WITH MR. LIPTON to PLEASE invite Emma Thompson on The Actor's Studio. I, as well as I am sure MILLIONS of people would TUNE IN. She's an amazing, very versatile actress who's done film, theatre, and television, AND, she's an Academy Award winning WRITER on top of actor. Please tell me you couldn't do a TWO-HOUR (YES) interview with her. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE....get her over here to sit down with you and talk for two hours. She's always a great guest on Letterman, and she'll charm the pants off you as well. I'm waiting!

Meryl Streep wouldn't be a bad guest either...but I'd LOVE to see Emma Thompson.

Elana
Elana

I love the show Mr. lipton is their another season on its way? I hope so, hope U do new coming Jeffrey,Donovan hes a fine actor with skills hope he will make apperance I'm a huge Fan of his, on the show soon. that would be real nice I love his work on "Burn Notice" & other films & t.v. work don't let this fine sexy Actor past us by he deserve applause! that would My wish.

Mere
Mere

Well James, I have to admit that I am a huge fan of Inside the Actors Studio.

The penache with which you do such fine and truly interesting interviews with your guests always has me glued to the televison screen. It's always a job well done.

I feel for you everytime an actor has a tattoo and you look so sadly at your wife with a gleam in your eye. Tell her they are not evil and will not change you one wit if she were to give in and allow you to get one. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Take care.

YariAngels
YariAngels

Hi Mr.Lipton

I love your show especially when you had comedian Dave Chappelle.That day I was laughing a lot.Any chance of having new actress,former Miss Universe 93 and Puerto Rican Dayanara Torres as a guest? Is good to have a new and fresh latin actor or actress on this entertainment business.

Thanks and Success! Greeting from Puerto Rico YariAngels

Cathy
Cathy

Chapeau Mr. Lipton,

I love your show - any chance of having James Spader as a guest?

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur

Louise
Louise

Mr. Lipton, would you ever consider interviewing the cast of Malcolm in the Middle at the same time? It would be a hoot. The family and a few of the regulars (similar to what yu did with the Simpsons cast).

joe santos
joe santos

Mr Lipton:

I hope all is well with you and yours. I just wanted to tell you personally how \ much I love your show. I wanted to know if you have ever had the actor wesley snipes on your show. I was watching a one of his films the other day and researched him a little and found that he has done a lot of interesting films and would imagine he would be a great interview. I don't know of his personality or if he would even agree to go on your show. Your show is the only one in exisitence that reveals so much of the actor. I figured out why. People always trust and are open to people who sincerely are interested in them and who will put there ego aside like you do to give them center stage. I congratulate you and wishyou contined success.

joe Santos Owner The Ultmate Kitchen&Bath LLC. 407.416.4358

BonSid
BonSid

Love the show. Also recently got into listening to Selected Shorts on NPR. My husband and I both thought that you were the host the first time we heard it. Isaih Sheffer sounds just like you Mr. Lipton.

Cristian
Cristian

Mr. Lipton, Thanks you very much for making this show for all of us. I find true inspiration in every interview you do at your show to make me feel I can chenge the world starting the next morning. The geniality shown by your guests (and your own) are a holy gift. Please don't stop sharing your capabilities and the one you take from your guests so generously with your audience. CrC

Cristian
Cristian

Mr.Lipton. Thank you very much for every single show you make. They truly inspire in me a deep conviction to change the world from now on. I hope this miracle works for lots more people than myself. The geniality one can learn form yor guests is astonishing including your own genius. Please don't stop delivering this gift to all of us. Truly yours, CrC

Viewer
Viewer

Would have been nice, Mr. Lipton, if you had commented on the other three guests in January instead of spending all the time on Conan.

Clawster
Clawster

Hi Jim, How about interviewing Mickey Roarke?

James
James

Firstly thank you, for a non sugar coated interview style that has given all of us such interesting viewing. I have come upon this website with the hopes of finding inside the actors stduio on DVD. Icons and a couple of others exist but i want to see Sydney Lumat and some of the older guests, i say release the lot.

On another note who i would like to see on coming episodes I have to agree with some previous responses Mr Geoffrey Rush, Mr Gary Oldman and Mr Bill Shatner would be the top of my list. With possibly Steaphen Frears or maybe even Robert Downey Jr. My Apolgies if any of these guests have been on before but i live in Australia and the show is not on very often.

I am also extremly aware that your schedule includes two days off a year ( i just watched the 200th) so for you too actually read this post would be some what of a surprise however in the event you do. Thanks for the enjoyment you have given us all.

Regards

James (Sydney, Australia)via London

Jake
Jake

I absolutely love this show! I have been trying to catch as much as I can online and I have watched the last few episodes! So far my favorite episode was with Robin Williams. That guy is non stop and one of a kind! There is one episode that I am dying to watch... The first appearance of Tom Hanks back in 1999! I have been looking for it everywhere but I have not been able to find it. I wish that Bravo would make season box sets as I would would definately rent or buy!

I was supsised that Denzel Washington has never come to do the show, but I suppose that they have busy schedules! And I would love to see Anthony Hopkins come back and take off where his last interview ended! Brad Pitt, Daniel Day Lewis, and Joe Pesci would be interesting interviews!

Keep up the great work! Love the show!

Leigh
Leigh

Mr. Lipton,

Your show is one of deep insight and candor. It is a shame that Bravo isn't yet hosting the series online as it's also a wealth of information and, perhaps more importantly, inspiration, for many.

Have you ever considered bringing the great William Shatner onto the show?

Ania
Ania

Mr. Lipton, Hello! I just wanted to say, that I love Your show!!!!!!!!!! I'm from Poland and we have here only the old episodes, so I watch the new(er) ones on YouTube(I can't wait for people to upload more). As far as the future guests my dream top 3 would be: Mickey Rourke, Jack Nicholson and Jim Carrey.

Thank You Ania

Kathy
Kathy

I love this show .. unfortunately I have moved to an area that does not offer it on their cable line up. Will it ever be possible to watch full episodes online? PLEASE!! I really miss it . Thanks so much.

ohsolucky
ohsolucky

I so love this show it is like inhaling my four yrs, of college and 18 months of my masters in one evening. Would that I could have had a professor as enlightening as you.

I have to have it as a season pass for fear I might miss something.

Thanks for my further education.

Nick Shea
Nick Shea

Love you, love the show, love your book.

Do you think you could ever convince Gary Oldman or Geoffrey Rush to come on? I think they are the two greatest living character actors of our age and, with the exception of Peter Sellers and a few others, maybe of all time. I would *love* to see what they could offer your students, especially since both of them come from a very different tradition than the American one.

Pat
Pat

I ,too, am reading your book and not wanting it to end - Congratulations on one of the most entertaining programs on television! You have had several singer/songwriters on the show - don't you think judy Collins would be a great addition?

Batoul D. Mootassem
Batoul D. Mootassem

Mr. Lipton, I live in Tangier, Morocco and on Saturday Feb. 21st, 2009 your show with Sir Elton John was aired on one of the satellite channels.. I am a great fan of Sir Elton and have always been amazed by his frankness and freedom to express what in my country is considered a taboo subject along with many others. I love his songs and I actually cannot say that I have one favorite. They are all favorites of mine. Sir Elton is the ultimate definition of unleashed feelings and emotions which would achieve happiness through liberation and being one's self regardless of society's views. Thank you for a wonderful program! Batoul

Batoul D. Mootassem
Batoul D. Mootassem

Mr. Lipton, I live in Tangier, Morocco and on Saturday Feb. 21st, 2009 your show with Sir Elton John was aired on one of the satellite channels.. I am a great fan of Sir Elton and have always been amazed by his frankness and freedom to express what in my country is considered a taboo subject along with many others. I love his songs and I actually cannot say that I have one favorite. They are all favorites of mine. Sir Elton is the ultimate definition of unleashed feelings and emotions which would achieve happiness through liberation and being one's self regardless of society's views. Thank you for a wonderful program! Batoul

Batoul D. Mootassem
Batoul D. Mootassem

Mr. Lipton, I live in Tangier, Morocco and on Saturday Feb. 21st, 2009 your show with Sir Elton John was aired on one of the satellite channels.. I am a great fan of Sir Elton and have always been amazed by his frankness and freedom to express what in my country is considered a taboo subject along with many others. I love his songs and I actually cannot say that I have one favorite. They are all favorites of mine. Sir Elton is the ultimate definition of unleashed feelings and emotions which would achieve happiness through liberation and being one's self regardless of society's views. Thank you for a wonderful program! Batoul

POPPACAS
POPPACAS

Greetings to you Mr. Lipton, You are extraordinarily talented. Interviewing is not an easy task and you are masterful in that role.

Thank you for many wonderfully relaxing hours.

Adieu Ami

Cathy Rehart
Cathy Rehart

Inside the Actor's Studio is one of my favorite programs. I have recently moved to Oregon City, Oregon and, although we have Bravo on our satellite TV, I have trouble finding out when this program airs. I missed all of January...finally, found one February program by coming to this website, but today I cannot find anything listed. What can I do?

I have just finished reading your book, Mr. Lipton, and was very sad to turn the final page. It was beautifully written and an absolute delight to read. Thank you.

Onaje
Onaje

Mr. Lipton!

Hello and I really enjoy your show. While I'm not excersing my passion as a writer now I study your interviews to get a better since of what actors draw from and feel about their work. My inquiry is as this;

Having completed The Curious Life of Benjamin Button with success do you think extending another invitation to Brad Pitt would yield better results this time around?

I wondered why he had yet to appear and just read about his reasoning. I think it is admirable to a degree, but laughable as well. One of my favorite movies is Legends Of The Fall. He was great in that. He is a great actor.

Brad Pitt is one of those actors, for me, that can be in a bad movie, but make the movie watchable with his talents alone. Will Smith, Jonny Depp, Sean Connery, Ed Norton, Wood Harris, Denzel, Jamie Foxx, Fishburn, Clooney etc are similar types...

I hope he decides to grace viewers with his insight on the art and his journey thus far...