Seven Memorable Questionnaires From “Inside the Actors Studio”

Very rarely do we, as an audience, have the privilege of listening to movie and television stars discuss their craft of acting. We may see them talking at red carpet events or engaging in an interview promoting a new film or series, but do we really know who they are as people? Not really. Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio removes such actors from their celebrity status’s, places them on a bear stage, and host James Lipton conducts a stripped down, fascinating interview. Sometimes, the level of intrigue from the discussion goes far beyond what any film, television series, album, or comedic routine could convey. Perhaps the most entertaining and insightful portion of each episode, though, is the questionnaire. “The questionnaire that was asked by the great Bernard Pivot,” as Lipton always prefaces, is the most personal element of the interview. It’s not about their profession, or their fame, or their lifestyle. It’s about them, being regular people—something we can all relate to. And, as an audience, isn’t that what it’s about?

James Franco

Franco has this god-gifted ability to always look high. In fact, I’d argue he looks more high in real life than his character Saul does in Pineapple Express. It should become apparent from his answers in this sequence, starting at 1:00.

Matt Damon

His dialogue-infused example of his favorite curse word is spot-on. Damon also gives one the most poignant answers to the question: “If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?” The questionnaire begins at 4:35.

Kevin Spacey

Admittedly, this is not on this list because of the question and answer session, but rather how incredibly engaging Spacey is afterwards with the students. I don’t wish to become and actor, but if I did, I would start with noting the invaluable wisdom he provides in this clip. Can anyone captivate an audience like Kevin Spacey does here?

Betty White

Have you ever wanted to hear your sweet and delightful grandmother curse? White reveals her favorite swear word below, along with a heartwarming answer to every other question asked, naturally. Start at the 6:30 mark.

The Simpsons Cast

Inside the Actors Studio rarely breaks the mold of having one unaccompanied guest, but when you’re part of the longest running sitcom in American history, well, that certainly warrants an ensemble cast on stage.

Robin Williams

This is an all-time classic exchange between Lipton and Williams.

“We all come from there, and want to get back as often as possible.” Take a wild guess what his favorite swear word is.

Charles Nelson Reilly

Alright, so it’s not actually from Inside the Actors Studio, but how does one pass up a Saturday Night Live spoof on the show with Will Ferrell playing an over-the-top Lipton? SNL has done a couple of sketches poking fun at actors (Screech played by Tobey Maguire and Kate Hudson playing Drew Barrymore), but none more convincing than Alec Baldwin’s Charles Nelson Reilley, here:

In an effort to make up for not being able to embed the Hulu clip above for your viewing pleasure, how about an Inside the Actors Studio bonus clip of a weenie and unknown actor (at the time) asking Sean Penn a question?

So, what would your questionnaire answers be?


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Categories: Film, TV

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One Comment on “Seven Memorable Questionnaires From “Inside the Actors Studio””

  1. 09.28.11 at 3:04 AM #

    There are tons of good tv shows to choose from to say it’s the best. No matter what is said though, there is no doubt that this show ranks in the top 10 of all of them. Yes, there are shows that are a bit older but this one still has charm. There is comedy, sex, and a little darkness, easily moving it up to the top. They just don’t make them like this nowadays.

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