Disappointing talk show interviews

I watched an episode of “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” where Letterman interviewed rapper-businessman Jay Z. It wasn’t a terrible interview, but it definitely felt more than a little awkward. Letterman freely admitted he previously knew next to nothing about hip hop music or culture, and it felt like much of the interview consisted of Jay Z and Letterman lurching towards trying to find some kind – any kind- of common ground with meagre results. Jay Z revealed a few interesting things that might not be general knowledge (e.g. his mother is gay) but otherwise spoke largely in platitudes and I think at some point Letterman could see the interview wasn’t going to go far beyond that level and just let things run their course and mailed in the latter half of the interview.

David Letterman is one of the best and most experienced talk show interviewers around. It may simply be that Jay Z is not a great interviewee but I can’t help wondering, though, had he been interviewed by someone sharing more cultural overlap if it might have been a more engaging interview. I’m wondering if other Dopers saw that interview and got a similar impression?

More generally, can you think of any other interviews on any tv talk show where you thought there was a guest who should have had something potentially interesting or important to say but instead came off like flat ginger ale?

Peter Dinklage rarely lives up to my expectations when he is interviewed. He seems very uncomfortable and gives mostly short unenlightening answers. I think he is just shy.

I watched the Jay Z interview with Letterman last weekend, and frankly I was more interested in the recording studio segments with Rick Rubin than I was with Jay Z.

I see what you did there

Really? I don’t.

ETA: Oh, you saw a little people joke that wasn’t there. :dubious:

I really didn’t. Substitute “brief” for “short” if you wish.

Johnny Carson on ‘60 Minutes’. Carson was notoriously private, and about the only thing that came out of the interview was he liked to play drums, and he was a mean drunk.

I thought Terry Gross would give a great interview, because of her experience and thoughtful nature. I was extremely disappointed- she was terrible when on the other side of the table, awkward, superficial, and flat out refusing to answer some questions.

I always thought Harrison Ford would give good interviews since he’s been such iconic characters (Han Solo, Indian Jones, Blade Runner). But I don’t ever bother watching him anymore in interviews since he comes off a total bore. Short nothing answers that are a labor to pull out of him.

Robert De Niro has the reputation of being bad on TV talk shows and he rarely does them. I saw him once and he was boring so the reputation is deserved.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, KISS was on Tom Snyder’s “Tomorrow” and, IIRC, it was three of the biggest idiots to ever appear on TV. And Gene Simmons, who was trying awfully hard to actually talk with Snyder.

David Letterman, on his previous show in years past, seems to have had the most ‘car crashes’ - Madonna, Crispin Glover, Andy Kaufman, Richard Simmons, Joaquin Phoenix - though some of those I think were rehearsed ‘schtick’. But I think for dull and disappointing interviews, he mentioned Harrison Ford and someone old-school who gave one-word answers, maybe Robert Mitchum. Oprah interviewed Elizabeth Taylor in the 90’s and that was a real disappointment due to ‘no questions about marriages’ and Liz being grouchy because of ‘back pain’.

Yes. Ford is the worst interviewee ever. I have no expectations of him, and he always delivers.

He’s a bit better on Graham Norton, where all the guests are on at the same time. That seems to relax him a bit, but even then he’s hardly hogging the limelight.

I’ve seen it suggested that Ford is usually high on pot when he appears on interviews. I have no idea if this is true or not, but it could explain a lot.

Same applies to Harrison Ford. A little looser with Norton, but still a wet blanket.

Warren Beatty has given some pretty forgettable interviews over the years

Meryl Streep does very few talk shows. I saw her on one where she was trying to plug her latest film, and she was so stiff and uncomfortable it was almost painful to watch her. Her attempt to deliver a charming and humorous anecdote was so obviously scripted they should have put a countdown clock on the screen: “Meryl’s funny story in :30…20…15…10…”

I remember Peter O’Toole giving one of the worst interviews ever. I think it was with Leno. He barely spoke. A week or so later he was charming and hilarious ok Letterman. I’m pretty sure his bad performance on Leno was due to his level of intoxication but I’m not sure if it was too high or too low.

Or it could’ve been he liked Letterman a lot more than Leno and saved his best stuff for him.