James Lipton

James Lipton on Will Ferrell, Conan O'Brien, and Horny Manatees.

on Mar 17, 2008

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Once again, my thanks to those of you who have taken the time to respond to my blog.

It's great to be back on stage with Inside the Actors Studio. Last week Brooke Shields joined us with some startling revelations as we shot our first show since the end of the strike, and you'll be seeing it soon.

The subject of this new blog is acting, for an odd and interesting reason: With increasing frequency, I'm being invited to revisit the profession with which I began my career.

This unexpected development started with Conan O'Brien. My first appearance on his show was as a guest, to talk about an upcoming episode of Inside the Actors Studio. Apparently, Conan felt that we were compatible, so he invited me back -- not as a guest but as a kind of ex-officio cast member, to perform a comedy sketch with him. The call from Conan's show always begins the same way:

"Hey, we've got an idea!" On two occasions it involved reciting Kevin Federline's latest rap. On other occasions I solemnly read one of his audience's blogs; shotgunned beer during Spring Break week; wept, as one of his audience members read Romeo in the balcony scene; reprised the beer bit with a bong; and appeared as ten characters, from Einstein to Princess Leia, in his New Year's Eve countdown, to name only a few of the pleasant lunacies for which I was summoned.

On another occasion, as I was finishing the manuscript of my memoir Inside Inside, I gave his audience a preview of the book by singing Cole Porter's classic "Night and Day" -- in Latin, as it appears in the book.

There have been so many other appearances I've lost count, but two of the most successful ones began when I got a call from Conan's office saying they needed me there, in the studio, at once! I showed up to discover that four nights earlier, inventing mascots for college teams, they'd come up with the Florida State University horny manatee, which inspired Conan to ad-lib an invitation to visit HornyManatee.com.