Pendulous Dingleberries is these days best known for his ability to interview celebrities without falling asleep. Or even admitting that he has heard their various over-rehearsed spontaneous asides and witty anecdotes far too many times before. These days the publicity circuit for celebrities to flog their latest – or latest repackaging of their older – wares has become so overcrowded. Nowadays, it is hard for any of them to be original about anything, especially as many of them are actors. So they are more often than not lost without a script or an aide to remind them they are supposed to be playing the role of themselves this time.
Of course, much like everything else in this media-saturated world, the celebrity interview has become over-managed and pre-packaged. The interviewee is slotted into programme for the contracted minutes. The guest is there to go through an over-practised ‘spontaneous’ routine under the pre-arranged questioning of the show’s host. Quite often, the host is there just to read the questions provided by the interviewee’s staff, and in the order they appear on the question sheet.
Nothing spoils a spontaneous, friendly chat between show host and guest than them being on different pages of the script, especially in front of a live audience. Mainly because this will confuse the floor manager and assistants, as they will not know which audience response to orchestrate. Be that laughter, applause or respectful silence during the emotional my troubled journey part of the interview, for example.
This is where Dingleberries is such a success. He rehearses his script and off the cuff remarks until he is word perfect. He also expects the guests on his programme to be just as professional. This is especially important when they are playing a character role in the interview. A role that makes them appear as though they have turned up drunk, drugged or in a violent mood, for example. These roles are of course; usually reserved for older character actors where even a typical TV studio audience has been hearing the same old anecdotes for decades now and is in need of something fresh.
As Dingleberries himself says, ‘there is nothing that looks as fresh and unscripted as a famous old character actor, you thought was already dead, falling out of his chair drunk, or attempting to grope a leading militant feminist with a new book to flog.
Of course, all the film actors, pop stars, writers, celebrity chefs, dubious politicians and cheeky jack-the-lad villains who appear on these shows only because they have a product to sell, even if that product is only themselves.
Consequently, it is in their own interest to put on some kind of performance that will linger in the mind of the TV audience at home. This is important for those times when that audience member is out at the shops or browsing online shopping websites. So the more memorable the performance on the chat show, say by getting your knob out and waving it in front of the first ordained lesbian bishop in the Church of England, the better. It not only gets you headlines in the next day’s paper but massive click-throughs on websites. It could also get you that vital trending social media hashtag that so often leads through to greater impetus in the sales ranking charts and a much stronger chance of contract renewal at a later stage.
All of which shows why it is vital that the chat show host know the art of the celebrity interview, especially if they too want to shift some product this Christmas and get their own contract renewed.