Unforseen Pleasures

Host James Lipton tells you what's coming up on 'Inside.'

This blog is humbly and sincerely dedicated to all of you who have taken the time and trouble to respond to my previous ones. Before I began blogging several years ago, I had no idea what a pleasure it would be to find myself face-to-face, so to speak, with some of the viewers in the 89,000,000 homes we’re privileged to enter on Bravo in America, and in 125 countries around the world. When Mona Aho speaks to me from Helsinki, Finland, I listen – as I listen to all of you who voice your opinions on this site.

Honestly, encountering you via this blog is one of the unforeseen pleasures of the last fifteen years of Inside the Actors Studio.

And now we’re entering our Sixteenth Season, an honor of which all of us who create the show are keenly aware. Occupying an hour of the time of millions of people who have watched the show over the years isn’t just a privilege: it’s a responsibility. Our responsibility. To you.

To be precise: it’s a responsibility to bring to you the artists you’d like to sit down with in your living rooms, and to ask them the questions you would ask. That’s my mission during the two weeks of preparation for each guest: to intuit to the best of my ability not only what the artists know and think and care about, but what you know and think and, most important, care about. When, through good fortune, those two paths merge, I’ve done my job – and so has Inside the Actors Studio.

I hope that’s the case in the upcoming episodes, I hinted at the guests in my last blog. Now I can reveal them. You – and we – can look forward to four consecutive Mondays of laughter (a lot of it), tears (it seems to come with this franchise), and revelations (guaranteed) – beginning with Mickey Rourke on August 31.

This is one of the tears and revelations episodes. In fact, it’s the only episode I can recall in which at moments you can hear the audience gasp. Mickey, who is famously private, found himself facing a theater filled with fellow members of the Actors Studio, led, in the first row, by the co-artistic directors of Actors Studio West, Academy Award winner Martin Landau, and director of “On Golden Pond,” “The Rose,” etc. Mark Rydell. I’ll confine myself to telling you that what you’ll witness is a homecoming the likes of which you’ve never seen, in which Mickey opens himself to the theater audience – and you – as he has never done before.

On September 7, you’ll be hosting in your living room, as I host him on the stage, one of the fastest rising stars in the Hollywood firmament, Jason Bateman, fresh from his run on the historic “Arrested Development” and his critically hailed performance in the Oscar-nominated “Juno.”

On September 14, I recommend seatbelts in your armchairs as the creator and cast of “Family Guy” assemble on our stage for a hilarious, irreverent look at themselves, each other, their characters and their spectacularly successful show. This is, quite simply, unlike any Inside the Actors Studio you’ve ever seen.

On September 21, this cavalcade of talent reaches a hilarious and touching climax as Amy Poehler, the star of “Saturday Night Live” and her own sparkling new series “Parks and Recreation,” delivers (among many other things) a definitive discourse on the art and singular joys of improvisation, of which she’s an acknowledged master (mistress?).

I hope you enjoy all these episodes, each unique, each our way of saying to you, “Thanks for stopping by.”

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