Series: Inside The Actors Studio

Inside the Actors Studio (1994-) is a long running American TV program featuring a series of hour-long (edited down from 4 hours of raw footage per guest) one-on-one interviews between James Lipton, Dean Emeritus of the prestigious Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, and various famous actors, directors, writers. Presented as a acting/directing/writing masterclass (the studio audience is made up of Masters of Fine Arts students from the Actors Studio). At it's core, the show is basically a chat show—albeit a very high-brow chat show, with the educational setup allowing Lipton to probe deeper and the guests to discuss some of the more mundane and and technical topics in acting and discuss them in much greater depth. The show is famous for it's intentionally slow pacing, Lipton's comprehensive research on his guests (to the point of unnerving a few of them with his knowledge), and an atmosphere of almost fawning adoration towards the guests. Every interview ends with a audience Q&A and Lipton administering the Pivot Questionnaire, a shorter version of the Proust Questionnaire.

Inside the Actors Studio provides examples of:

  • All Star Guests: From Alan Alda to Renee Zellweger to everyone in between, you've probably heard of 90% of the gusts who appeared on the show (they include 74 Academy Award Winners).
  • Continuity Nod: Lipton guest-starred briefly on The Simpsons, interviewing Rainier Wolfcastle, who (upon getting into character for his action hero parody McBain) shoots Lipton several times in the chest. When the cast of the Simpsons themselves appeared on Inside The Actor's Studio and Lipton began asking them in-character interviews, he had to bring this up.
    Lipton: Why couldn't you use a prop gun?
    Harry Shearer: (As Wolfcastle) I'm not the prop guy. I'm the actor.
  • Precision F-Strike: "What is your favorite curse word?"
  • Perspective Flip: For the 200th show, Lipton was interviewed by Dave Chappelle.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Lipton's interview style, which is composed of equal measures of shameless flattery and ludicrously softball questions (AA Gill once described the questions on the show as being "coated liberally in baby oil before being reverentially offered as congratulatory suppositories to the prone thespians"). Although it must be said that Lipton can make even of most misanthropic actor open up.
    • In The Simpsons parody of the show, guest Rainier Wolfcastle ends up shooting Lipton in exasperation only from him to say, "It has been both an honor and a privilege to eat your lead, sir."
  • Young Future Famous People: A young Bradley Cooper was in the audience during Sean Penn's interview and asked a question during the Audience Q&A. Cooper would later appear as guest 15 years later. Considering how prestigious Actors Studio is, we can only expect to see more of this sort of thing.