Yes, that’s right: the host of “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” The series is continuing onward, with Kyra Sedgwick as its latest guest, and we had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Mr. Lipton – who, if you can believe it, is eighty years old! – about a few items on his resume, as well as one we’ve always wondered about the students in the audience of the Actor’s Studio…
Bullz-Eye: Hi, Mr. Lipton.
James Lipton: Hi.
BE: Could you speak a little bit about your experiences working on “Arrested Development”?
JL: I loved it. Why wouldn’t I? Those people are extraordinary, beginning with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard at the top, and those actors are amazing. It was a wonderful show; I wish it were still on the air. It came as a surprise. They called me, and they pleaded with me to be on the show – don’t ask me why – and I couldn’t. I said, “Look, I…” At this point, I was still the dean of the (Actors Studio Drama School). I said, “I’m a dean, which is a full-time job, I’m executive producer, writer, and host of ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio,’ which is a full-time job…I can’t expand my week! I work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, without exception, from the beginning of September ‘til the middle of June. I take two days off – Thanksgiving and Christmas – and that’s it. And I can’t come.” Finally, they got in touch with me, and they said, “Look: if you will come, we will do all your scenes in one day. Everybody else will lay off, and only the people involved in your scenes will come in and do your stuff with you, and we’ll get it all done in one day. We’ll fly you out, do it one day, and fly you back.” I agreed to do that. And then about a week before I was to arrive, they said, “Hey, we’ve written a second script for you…but we’ll do it all in the one day.” And then the night before I was to get on the plane, I got an E-mail which contained a third script, and they said, “But we’ll do it all in one day!” I did them all in one day! I did three shows in one day. And subsequently, of course, several months later, I did the final show. I came back for one show. And it was a great experience.
BE: I know that David Cross’s impression of you was not quite as good-natured as Will Ferrell’s…
JL: His was much less good-natured. I’d never seen it – I was only told – but do you want to hear a story about that?