In all honesty, we don't watch celebrity interviews to merely gain insight into the world of stars and icons. It's like spying on your best friend nervously meeting a blind date: you want it to go smoothly but if it's a disaster, it's far better.
The most memorable interviews with celebs aren't the ones that elicit sappy tears and childhood memories. What we remember are the most volatile interchanges, the swapping of clever barbs and, if we're lucky, the loss of control by one or both parties.
10 Mel Gibson – July 2010
Mel might fare better if he just stuck to speaking only when he's reading a script. At the peak of his career, he went on an anti-Semitic rant that had fans livid, vowing to never see another movie he was associated with. To make matters worse, he called a reporter a synonym for sphincter when questioned about the incident and then went off on another reporter a few days later for asking if his DUI arrest had anything to do with the lag in his film career.
9 Jesse Eisenberg – June 2013
8 Chelsea Handler – March 2014
7 Samuel L. Jackson – February 2014
There's no better way to screw up an interview than to mix up the subject with someone else. KTLA reporter Sam Rubin opened his interview with Samuel L. Jackson via satellite from Atlanta by asking about his Super Bowl commercial. Problem was Jackson didn't do the commercial, Laurence Fishburn did.
In his inimitable style, Jackson rattled off a lengthy correction to the mortified Rubin as he repeatedly apologized for his gaff. Jackson pointed out which black guys were stars of which commercials, noting, "We may all be black and famous but we don't all look alike." Rubin tried in vain to get the interview back on track but Jackson was relentless, without ever losing his cool.
6 Lou Reed – May 2003
5 Gene Roddenberry – February 1989
4 Jerry Seinfeld – November 2007
Larry King's off-hand approach to his interview subjects didn't charm Jerry Seinfeld. Almost a decade after Seinfeld's amazingly successful sitcom of the same name ended after running ahead of the pack for almost 10 years, King puzzlingly asked Seinfeld if the show had been cancelled. Seinfeld was flabbergasted, pointing out to a flummoxed King, “Is this still CNN? I was the No. 1 show on television, Larry. Do you know who I am?! Can we get a resume in here that Larry can go over?” King squirmed his way through the rest of the interview and Jerry left smiling and shaking his head.
3 Melissa Fumero – February 2014
There's nothing wrong with baiting a star to make an interview more interesting; even a little white lie is okay if the interviewer gets the desired results. J. Claude Deering, host of the Funny or Die series Things Are Going Great For Me with J. Claude Deering, incorporates a small fib about his relationship with his real-life wife into all his interviews and it worked great with Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Melissa Fumero.
Fumero had just won a Golden Globe and agreed to dinner and an interview with Deering, whom she'd known in college. Deering lies that he and his wife are taking a break from their relationship and then coyly asks if Fumero remembers them sharing a kiss during their college days. She puts him down firmly, saying it was "stupid" because she was only 18, adding, "And I thought you were gay in college."
2 Mila Kunis – March 2013
1 Reza Aslan – August 2013
Sometimes an interviewer asks an opening question that literally makes your jaw drop as you sink into a chair anxiously awaiting the guest's reaction. When renowned author and religious scholar Reza Aslan guested on Lauren Green's Spirited Debate on Fox News Web to discuss his recently published book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus Christ, Green asked right off the bat, "You're a Muslim, so why would you write a book about Jesus?" Oh no.
The interchange never recovered, and the ensuing train wreck unfolded so severely you could almost hear the steel twisting as the cars derailed one-by-one. On the upside, the book quickly climbed best seller lists, proving the adage that a terrible situation often spawns great results.
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