Recommend me unexpectedly compelling interviews
May 23, 2013 3:58 AM   Subscribe

Serious and fascinating interviews with people (celebrities, musicians, whomever) who are not usually considered serious or fascinating? By the metric I'm using, Lady Gaga or George Clooney are probably a tad too highbrow; Tom Clancy or Katy Perry are fair game. It doesn't matter who the people are, what they do, or what they're known for, only that they are generally not taken especially seriously or considered to be all that interesting.
posted by Rory Marinich to Society & Culture (24 answers total) 91 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I haven't seen it myself, but I've heard that Nardwaur's long interview with Katy Perry showed her to be surprisingly sharp.

Part 1; Part 2.

(Who the hell is Nardwuar?)
posted by maudlin at 4:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

This may or may not be the interview I remember that first turned me on to Craig Ferguson, but his interview with Desmond Tutu (part 1) is certainly compelling and unexpected given the interviewer.
posted by michswiss at 4:05 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Marc Maron interviewing Steven Tobolowski pretty much defines this for me (unfortunately, no longer free).
posted by Mchelly at 4:19 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Enough Rope - Jim Carrey (transcript, couldn't find a decent video)
posted by h00py at 4:32 AM on May 23, 2013

This long interview with Nile Rodgers blew me away when it was posted here a couple of months ago. I had stereotyped him as some kind of idiot disco savant, I guess, back in the 80's, and I was unaware how intelligent and reflective and talented he is.
posted by thelonius at 4:32 AM on May 23, 2013

The AV Club often has great interviews with talented, artistic people. Sometimes they have ones like this.
posted by drugstorefrog at 4:32 AM on May 23, 2013

Best answer: This one isn't serious, but it is unexpected: Chris Stark (BBC) interviews Mila Kunis.
posted by snorkmaiden at 4:33 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]

I don't know how you're measuring "not considered to be all that interesting", but I found Five Minutes With Paloma Faith to be surprisingly compelling.
posted by fearnothing at 4:38 AM on May 23, 2013

This one isn't serious, but it is unexpected: Chris Stark (BBC) interviews Mila Kunis.

Related: Mila Kunis giving snappy answers to stupid questions, in Russian.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:42 AM on May 23, 2013 [9 favorites]

Kevin Pollak's Chat Show has numerous 1 1/2 hour+ rambling talks with a number of showbiz (and a few non-showbiz) types from across the fame spectrum.
posted by PenDevil at 4:50 AM on May 23, 2013

While I'm quick to recommend all of the old IFC show Dinner for Five (which is all available on YouTube) one episode has always stuck in my head - Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Charles Durning, and Charles Nelson Reilly - in Season 3. I think most of the men involved are known for their comedic chops, but there were some simply breathtaking discussions about their careers (CNR's surviving the Hartford Circus Fire for one) and you could quickly see that they're all good friends. Well worth the time, imo.
posted by librarianamy at 5:10 AM on May 23, 2013

The Nerdist celebrity interviews are often really surprising.
posted by COD at 5:27 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you are interested in written transcripts, Talk, a book of interviews by Susan Stamberg, would fill the bill wonderfully.

From Publishers Weekly:
"Of particular interest are the interviews with John Ehrlichman, jazz great Dave Brubeck, Rosa Parks, and Stamberg's own favorite interview--her lengthy 1977 conversation with writer Joan Didion about her work."
posted by Dolley at 5:54 AM on May 23, 2013

Best answer: Not an interview; but Russell Brand writing about Amy Winehouse made me decide to pay a little more attention to him rather than just write him off as a noisey prat.
posted by adamvasco at 6:15 AM on May 23, 2013 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I'm a known and permanently marked fan of Insane Clown Posse, overwhelmingly sick of the endless onslaught of ironic pseudo-journalism surrounding the LOLJUGGALOS phenomenon (yes, yes, I know, this means MetaFilter is not the place for me), and Nathan Rabin's interview with Violent J was totally respectful, interesting, thorough, and pretty much all-around wonderful.
Joe Bruce is certainly not the most eloquent or book-learned dude in the world, but he's a lot more thoughtful and funny than anyone will ever give him credit for, and I think Rabin's interview is one of the only things I've ever read that does a good job of bringing that out. QFT, as a fellow member of the uneducated masses:
...anybody that can stand there, looking at a rainforest or something and not think that’s a miracle—I mean, that’s their loss. Anybody that can sit there and look at shooting stars or a fucking full moon when it’s red and hanging over the city and not sit there and think, “That looks awesome, and that’s a miracle that we get to see that and have that on this earth and all this shit,” you know, that’s their loss. Instead, everybody just makes fun of us because we said it. It’s like, that’s fucked up. We will say it, and we’ll continue to say it, and think that.
posted by divined by radio at 7:16 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Marc Maron does a bunch of interviews with people who I'd never paid much attention to including Pauly Shore (a lot of interesting family stories including his wacky mom and the beginning of stand-up comedy clubs), Norm Macdonald (who is actually a very weird person) Andy Dick (who has a lot to say) Russell Brand (talking about growing up being a weird fat kid, pre Katy Perry breakup though) and Chris Elliot (who I have always had a hard time dealing with seriously). He seems to be able to bring out the interesting in almost everyone with a few exceptions (I didn't find his Jim Gaffigan or Joel McHale interviews that great, though I like both guys). Worth subscribing to listen to the older stuff, I'm sure there are more that I am forgetting.
posted by jessamyn at 8:56 AM on May 23, 2013

Some highlights from Terry Gross on Fresh Air:
Maurice Sendak. It's the day after his partner has died, and he's emotional and thinking about being near the end of his life. He is incredibly honest and graceful in expressing his thoughts and feelings. Actually, Stephen Colbert's interview with him is also great: Part 1 & Part 2.

Tracy Morgan. This interview was all over the place. Tracy ends up crying at some points, and I found it hard to tell whether he was playing with Terry or just really overwrought. I think the latter, but I can't be entirely sure.

Gene Simmons. He was over-the-top obnoxious. He kept saying "This is NPR" in a poncy voice, and tells Gross how nerdy NPR is and she is. She flat-out calls him obnoxious.

This site has some other favorites, many of which I haven't heard.
posted by pompelmo at 9:10 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Back in September 1978, Playboy magazine published an interview with Sylvester Stallone that was fascinating. He's remarkably bright, candid, funny and self-aware. It's worth tracking down if you can find it. Here's a terrible scanned copy with missing pages, but it's enough to give you an idea; the guy is not a dumb meathead, although he's often been presented that way by the media.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 10:43 AM on May 23, 2013

Bill O'Reilly's interview with Marilyn Manson is shocklingly free of yelling and insults, and I was surprised how thoughtful and articulate Marilyn Manson is.
posted by averageamateur at 10:58 AM on May 23, 2013

This might not be surprising to people who are older than me and have more of a context for her, but I thought the Nerdist interview with Joan Rivers last year was just fascinating. She was really a pioner for female comedians. And she is really hilarious and and also thoughtful.
posted by radioamy at 6:18 PM on May 23, 2013

Maybe older people were hip to this, but I had no idea how cool Tony Bennett was until I read an interview in Interview magazine (which title makes it impossible to Google, alas). He was heavily involved in the civil rights movement, and is really articulate and funny. He's done zillions of interviews over the years, and I think most of the long-form ones are good.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 8:57 AM on May 24, 2013

You might really enjoy Inside the Actors Studio. Yes, lots of the guests are highbrow, but not all, and every. single. one of them. is interesting and has something new and fun to say.

With the possible exception of Melanie Griffith, years ago, who was just useless.
posted by kostia at 2:07 PM on May 29, 2013

Best answer: Jay-Z and Warren Buffet. You can find it on YouTube.
posted by Norman Persky at 4:48 PM on May 29, 2013

I recall the "Inside the Actor's Studio" with Will Smith was very inspirational (if you're looking for that sort of thing).
posted by joe maloney at 4:51 PM on May 29, 2013

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