January 2, 2004
Curb your enthusiasm—please

Lipton.jpgSpeaking of cable season premieres, Bravo, that other bastion of upper-middle-brow entertainments, brings back the unctuous James Lipton for another season of Inside the Actors Studio.

If ever there was a show to love to hate, it's this one, with its alternately gushy and self-serious host and some of the most banal, unedited conversations with celebrities found outside the pages of Interview Magazine. If Lipton didn't exist, Ali G, Mr. Show, and Will Ferrell would have had to invent him just so they could each take turns skewering him.

Time will only tell if the corporate overlords at NBC (which gobbled up Bravo last year like a basic cable canapé) will find some synergistic use for Lipton, the New School Dean and professional starfucker. Already we've seen Will Ferrell do James Lipton with James Lipton, but it could be a lot worse.

Think of what the writers for Friends would do with the guy. ("Our guest tonight... in the Actors Studio... is a man known to millions of admirers, myself included, as Dr. Jake Ramoré... His real name is Joey Tribiani, and he is de-light-ful!") I almost (almost) wanna see him interview Tina Fey with his strange sing-sony cadence: "Every Saturday night at 12:10 or 12:15... depending on how the host drags... a fetching young woman in glasses comes into our home and makes us laugh at the world and ourselves. Unless you lack what Jung called anima, you know that that fetching woman's name is Tina Fey and she is brilllliant. She is our guest tonight in the Actor's Studio." (Frankly, Lipton probably calls Jeff Zucker twice a week to inquire about these synergistic opportunities but the shows' producers fend him off.)

This Sunday at 8PM EST, Lipton goes head-to-head with Russell Crowe. Here's a prediction of how the signature closing interview might go:

Lipton: What is your favorite word?
Crowe: Oi!
Lipton: What is your least favorite word?
Crowe: Meg.
Lipton: What turns you on?
Crowe: Mirrors.
Lipton: What sound do you love?
Crowe: The rock and roll stylings of 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.
Lipton: What sound do you hate?
Crowe: Voices—journalists' voices.
Lipton: If there is a heaven and a god, what would you like him to say to you when you get there?
Crowe: Oi, mate. Can I have your autograph?

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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