Interviewing Celebrities with Kara Mayer Robinson

Interviewing celebrities on a regular basis is both a skill and commitment that only a few talented individuals can master. Kara Mayer Robinson is a celebrity interviewer, TV talk show host, and host and producer of the TV and film talent-interview show Really Famous. Kara recounts her experiences interviewing famous celebrities and what content she talks about with them. She shares her secret on how to invite famous people to talk to her, what draws her to put potential guests on her list, and her criteria on accepting guests.

TTL 592 | Interviewing Celebrities

 

We have Kara Mayer Robinson here. She’s a celebrity interviewer, talk show host, producer of TV and film talent interview. She is so fascinating because she has interviewed an unbelievable amount of A-listers in Hollywood. We’re going to talk about a lot of them and see what she does behind the scenes and it’s going to be great.

Listen to the podcast here:

Interviewing Celebrities with Kara Mayer Robinson

I am here with Kara Mayer Robinson. She is a celebrity interviewer, TV talk show host and producer of TV and film talent interview show, Really Famous. It’s so nice to have you here, Kara.

Thank you. I’m so happy to be here. I think we’re going to have a fun talk.

We have a lot to talk about. We do somewhat similar things in the fact that we get to interview cool people and I love doing that. It sounds like you love it as well. I’ve seen that you are also an esteemed journalist, New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, Wall Street Journal. You’ve done a lot. You’re a Columbia University-trained psychotherapist. You’ve got an interesting background. I was wondering if you might tell people how you got to this point where you even do this famous show that you do.

It hasn’t been a direct route at all, but it’s interesting because now that I see where I am, in hindsight, it’s very easy to see how all of the little roads that I took led to this destination. It is interesting. To tell you the truth, way back when I was in high school, I always knew that I loved television and I wanted to go into TV and film production in college. For whatever reason, I ended up switching paths a little bit. I decided to major in Accounting. I got myself an Accounting degree at one of the top accounting schools in the country. It was one of the top ten accounting schools. It wasn’t so easy for me to get through that program, but I knew all along it wasn’t for me. After I graduated, I ended up getting a job at a bank real quick. It wasn’t that exciting. I looked for another job that was in the television industry but doing business work since I had that business degree. I worked at Comedy Central very briefly and while I was there, I realized what I wanted to do was be Bob Newhart on the Bob Newhart Show. He’s so funny.

I’m watching him on TV Land reruns and I’m thinking to myself, “I could sit down and have people tell me their problems all day. I would love it.” I went to grad school, I went to Columbia, got a Master’s in Psychology and opened up my own practice after that. That was going fine. In the meantime, I saw all these self-help books flying off the shelves at Barnes & Noble. I said to myself, “I could write one of these easily. I’ve always liked writing and I’m a therapist so I should do that.” I went through the process of writing a book proposal. I did my research, figured out how to do it, sent it out to a bunch of literary agents and got the same feedback from all of them pretty much, or at least the ones who replied to me because there are some that ignored me, to be totally honest. That’s how it goes. They all said the same thing, “You’ve never been published, so we will not publish you. You have to get published to be published. You have no platform. If you did, great.” I went and I started to get published in magazines. I liked it so much that I kept going with that. The private practice faded out a bit. It was when I turned my journalism into the podcast when I stopped doing the practice.

The reason I got into the podcast was because in the later years of my journalism, I’m acting as if I was in it for 30 years. I wasn’t, but I started to understand that my favorite thing to do was to profile people. I loved these long, deep interviews and doing pieces about one specific person. It did tend to go in the direction of celebrities, actors, TV and film people. When I decided to do a podcast, because the media industry was changing so much, I knew that the future wasn’t what it was so I had to adapt. I started the podcast and that’s my passion. Now that I have this podcast, I do these deep dives for an hour with each celebrity who I interview and we get into many interesting things. There is so much of my psychology background that I use, but I’m running my own business. There is the Accounting degree that I use and there’s my passion for television and film, which I use as well. It has all come together and here I am in this cool career at this point.

There’s so much in that and we have a lot in common. As you were speaking, I was thinking because I have a business degree and I have this psych because I wrote a dissertation on emotional intelligence. A lot of the things that I’m interested in are combining what I’ve learned in that realm and with the interviewing that I do now. I’d love to talk to all these people. Bob Newhart is the best. If you ever get him on your show, I would love to listen to that. He kills me.

He’s so funny. I heard him on a podcast. It was an old one. Conan O’Brien has a podcast and I was listening to him interview Bob Newhart. I was a little disappointed, he wasn’t the greatest guest, but he has his own podcast.

I’ve seen him live when I was a pharmaceutical rep. They used to bring in all the big names and he was great in person. He was so funny. I always was a fan of The Bob Newhart Show too. You interview some very big names. I know you list people like Spike Lee and Tippi Hedren was an interesting one I thought. I was looking on your site, you had Kristin Chenoweth. I’d love to have her sing on the show. Sharon Stone, Kevin Hart, Christina Aguilera, I’d like to have her sing, Danny Aiello. You had great, interesting, different celebrities, in addition to a lot of names that are popular in this realm. I’m curious because everybody always asks me this. I’ve had famous business people in the show like Steve Forbes or Ken Fisher, billionaires, people I’ve talked to on different formats. They’re unusual people. How are you getting these people? Because I know it’s very challenging. I’ve had some in the Hollywood realm. Dion Graham who did the audio version of my book, he’s the voice behind The First 48 and he’s been on the show. He’s such a great guy and I don’t get a lot of Hollywood-related things so much as you would, but how are you getting them? Are you going through IMDB to get their connections or do you have to subscribe to that? How do you get through to these people?

It’s the most popular question that I’m asked. Everybody seems to want to know, “How on earth do you get these famous people?” It’s not a very easy answer, but the bottom line is to remember I was a journalist first. For a few years before I started the podcast, I was already writing profiles for places like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter. I have built up relationships with people over the years. They knew right away if I would write a piece about them, I’m not the journalist who is a Gotcha journalist. I’m not looking for gossip. I’m not going to turn and twist your words around at all. From the beginning, the celebrities who I’ve interviewed have been super surprised at how enjoyable the interviews are. They’re never like their typical interviews where a lot of celebrities are tired of press. They’re asked the same questions over and over again. They’re concerned about how they’re going to be perceived because especially of how the outlet is going to handle the interview. It does happen that sometimes things are twisted around.

What they’ve all realized after working with me is that’s not who I am. It’s all about trust over time. I have publicists who I work with, managers, celebrities. I’ve had celebrities who say, “You should interview my friends so and so. He is the real deal.” For example, I was chatting with somebody who I’d interviewed on the show about a friend of his who I would love to have on the show. He’s like, “Why don’t you send me an email and I’ll forward it to him and we’ll see what happens.” It’s all of that. There is some cold calling for sure. I get so many rejections like you have no idea. I know if you look at all the needs, it’s like, “What is the magic ingredient?” For every person that I’ve had on the show, there are many more who I haven’t had on the show who I would love to have on the show.

I get a lot of the same thing. If you have somebody you get along with, you get that chemistry with people. I feel that with you. There are certain people you can talk to and you go, “We get along great.” After the show you go, “How can I help you?” You can talk, “You have to have this person or that person.” That’s how it works with this as well. A lot of people ask me that same question I asked you. I’m sure you’ve got a hopeful list of who you would like to have on the show as do I, but I’m curious, can you give me your top five?

I made a video about it because people do ask me that too. Not only do they ask me, but I am constantly thinking of people who I would love to talk to. At one point, I started writing them down on my phone. I open up my little notes app and I add whoever it is. I released a video on social media. It’s also on my YouTube channel, it’s called Really Famous. You go to YouTube.com/reallyfamous and it’s Let’s Play Guess my Dream Guest. What I asked my audience to do, is hit pause and guess in the comment section to make some guesses. Let me see who you think.

He would be on top of my list if I was doing Hollywood people. Chris Hemsworth would be right up at the top.

He’s a good one. He didn’t make it to my list though. That’s a good guess though.

Especially if it’s in person.

They’re all in person. I do them in person only. They’re going to meet me and they’re going to get to know me and I’m going to get to know them. He would be a good one for sure. The one person who I’ve mentioned time and time again and I had a funny little interaction with him or I was star struck because I don’t get star struck usually, but I did with him, is Ray Liotta.

Ray Liotta would be great to interview. He seemed like he would be receptive to it too.

I think so too. Here’s what happened. It was so foolish. I was at the Tribeca Film Festival. I was covering the festival. I was at this award show at the end and he was one of the presenters. I was leaving afterwards. I think I was uploading something on to Instagram. I’m about to walk out and who do I see walking out? Ray Liotta and he’s walking out by himself alone. Usually, celebrities, even if it’s not a whole entourage, there is at least one or two people that are trying to block. There’s not even a wife or anything, it’s just him. I look at him and I see somebody stops him and asks if they can take a selfie with him and he does a selfie. I’m so nervous that I see him and I say, “Mr. Liotta, can I take a picture?” He said, “Sure.” I took a picture of him, not even with me. I could see him looking at me like, “This is a little weird.” He walked away. I walked the other. It was only at that moment when I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I invite him on my show?” I didn’t even think about it at the moment. That was lost opportunity.

I was thinking he was on was it Modern Family? He was on something where he made a guest appearance on a show. He would be fun, Ray Liotta. I’m thinking about the star-struck thing. When I was a kid, I got to meet Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton when they were married. I was so young, but I can remember thinking even at a young age, they blew me away of how impressively glamorous they were. It’s funny, I sat next to Tom Selleck once on an airplane, I’ve talked to him for five hours and he was interesting to meet too. Some of the people you meet, do you ever get to look behind the curtain and they’re not at all what you expect?

TTL 592 | Interviewing Celebrities
Interviewing Celebrities: Interviews are really all about trust.

 

I tend to go in with no expectations to be honest. I’m not sure. It’s how I used to approach my therapy practice. When somebody would come in new, I would feel like I have no idea who this person is. I don’t come in with big expectations, but I do remember once that I did go into an interview with Michael Rappaport. He’s all over the place. He’s a comedian and he’s in Atypical on Netflix. When I met him, he came out of the elevator and I could tell immediately that he was low-energy and I thought this is not at all what I expected. We sat down and we had a great talk. The podcast had already aired. People love his episode, but I felt like something wasn’t quite right. I ended up writing a piece for The New York Times on him after that. We met again a few weeks later. I wasn’t sure if he even wants to do it, but he did want to do it. We met again and he was so high-energy and what you would expect him to be. The second I saw him, he said, “I need to apologize for last time because it was so cold and I was getting over this big throat thing. I was worried that I was going to get sick again. I was sick for months and my voice was going for months.” It made perfect sense. I knew something was off, but that wasn’t about his personality so much. He’s human. People have moods and they feel certain ways. That was it. Other than that, I haven’t been that surprised. I’ve had opinions but not so much surprise.

We got Ray Liotta. Let’s go with the next one. You’re tough to pick. I would have never picked Ray Liotta because there are so many people to choose from.

I’m so wide-ranging in my interests. I love the old Hollywood icons like Ed Asner. I would love Tippi Hedren. I met Christopher Knight, who’s Peter Brady. It was awesome to meet him. At the same time, I like people who are very much of now. One of my favorite interviews is with Michael Imperioli and he even came back on the show. He’s from The Sopranos. He played Christopher. He came back so he’s like a return guest. This is part of the same thing. Remember I said that I did a video. I posted a video, I posted a little clip on Instagram and it was just the beginning of it like “Can you guess my dream guests?” I listed who was on it and I have a few of the names.

One of them was Louie Anderson. I told my dad about it and he was like, “Louie Anderson? I wouldn’t expect that he would be a dream guest.” I was like, “He’s a dream guest because he plays this woman in a show called Baskets.” It’s Zach Galifianakis’ show. It’s on FX and not that many people watch it. He plays Zach Galifianakis’ mother, Christine. It is so moving and it is such an intense and real person that he’s playing. He moves me to pieces. I would love to interview him. I’m at the beach after I post this video and I’m driving home. I get a beep and I look later and it was Louie Anderson commenting on my posting. He would love to be a guest and he started following me on Instagram. I was super excited. I have yet to schedule it with him, but that was super exciting. I have a wide range of interests. Who else would be on that list that would surprise you?

I would like to talk to William Shatner. I think he’d be interesting.

That’s interesting. He would be interesting.

There are many people in Hollywood. I was at the Forbes Women’s Summit and got to see Jennifer Garner speak. She was adorable in person. Her personality was charming. She would be fun to interview.

I tend to be drawn towards people who when I see them, I feel a deep person inside. When it’s me who’s reaching out, sometimes people pitch me as a guest and other times I pitch them. I went on looking at a potential guest myself. A lot of it comes from almost a gut feeling to me that there’s a very rich person inside of that. That’s usually who I’m drawn to.

Some of the people I’d be interested in interviewing, people might find them a little controversial. I’d love to interview Howard Stern and Woody Allen. I’d love to interview those kinds of people. My favorite would have been George Carlin if he was still alive. I would have found him fascinating.

Howard Stern has been on a lot of shows because he published a book. He did a round of press and he is interesting. He’s an interesting person to listen to. I never listened to his show, but when I hear him being interviewed, I am intrigued because there is that realness about him.

The whole thing about a show is that it reveals what you would never guess about somebody who you see out there. Click To Tweet

There are layers to these people that fascinate me. Give me a couple more names. Did we go through your list completely?

We did not go through my list, but I’m trying to think of it. I always blank out. I did this video and I think I had my list in front of me, but I didn’t want to keep looking down while I was doing the video. Afterwards, I forgot so many. The audience, the fans had reached out and said, “You forgot Lisa Kudrow.”

Any of that would be interesting. She seems super bright and I would like to listen to that one too. It’s split, women and men. You get quite a variety. What was Kevin Hart like?

I want to get the variety. I think that’s important too. It’s not that intentional, but diversity is so much as I am interested in many different people.

You have quite an interesting list. I don’t know how long ago you interviewed Kevin Hart, but I find him very fascinating too. What was that interview like?

Now that you mention it, he was somebody who surprised me because he was very serious.

Comedians often are. Steve Martin or something, you would think they’d probably be pretty serious.

Steve Martin, I read his book, the old one, Born Standing Up. A lot of people had recommended it to me and I finished that book. I do think he’s so funny. He’s one of the funniest people that I can see on a movie or whatever. Father of the Bride, one of my favorites. I know it’s not the classic Steve Martin, but that’s what I grew up with. At the same time, I know that he would probably not be the interview that I would want because I do like people to talk and to open up and be real. Kevin Hart, exactly, just like so many comedians and Michael Ian Black was the same way. He’s a comedian. He’s very serious to talk to and very normal. Not at all the Kevin Hart that you see on stage or in the car with Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars. That was a funny episode.

It’s interesting how the comedians can do that. They can have two sides to them so completely tap into what makes somebody laugh. I listened to Will Ferrell once, I think it was on Howard Stern’s show. He hardly answered. It was like yes and no answers. I wonder if he doesn’t like Howard.

I don’t think so. I think that’s how he is. He’s also on Jerry Seinfeld’s show, the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It was the same thing with him. I’ve heard that from a lot of people that he’s not very bubbly or funny. I think that’s common. I’ll tell you who I did interview who was very funny. I was cracking up the whole time. It’s Jim Gaffigan. Some people are funny, other comedians and some are not.

TTL 592 | Interviewing Celebrities
Interviewing Celebrities: Choosing a potential guest can come from a gut feeling.

 

There are some people that a lot of people are drawn to where I’m like, “I’m not so much.” Women love George Clooney, for example, but he’s not somebody that would stand out to me. I’m curious, is he somebody on your list?

He’s not on my list because he’s so big. I’m one with everybody in that case. I would love to sit down with George Clooney. However, what I wouldn’t love is that I know that he’s so big. He’s been interviewed so many times that I would feel like it would take a long time to break through and get that honest and vulnerable side of him because I’m looking for that too. I like the vulnerability that comes out with a lot of my guests. I’m not trying to make them vulnerable or say something that they wouldn’t necessarily, but it’s almost like a date. Not just your first date, but you go deeper and deeper and you want to know that person. I feel as though there might be a wall that would be too polished and lovely and great to be around, but I like to break through the wall even if it’s a delicious wall.

I have to turn down a lot of people because you get so many people who want to be on. If you did that, no one would ever make it on the air. It would take six months to even get in or whatever. Is it hard to decide who you pick and who you can’t have on the show?

Usually, no because I do work very much from an intuitive position where if I’m interested, I’m interested. If I’m intrigued by somebody, I’m intrigued and I do want to have them on the show. Usually, if people come to me, a lot of times it does have to do with either they’re not famous enough honestly. I know they are rising star or they’ve been around for a long time on a lot of things, but it’s called Really Famous. The whole thing about the show is that it reveals what you would never guess about somebody who you see out there. You have this image in your head or you think that you see them for who they are and then suddenly you’re like, “That’s not at all the person that I assumed,” or who knew the complexities beneath this person that’s an image on the screen. If it’s somebody who’s not that famous, it’s not the same thing as revealing or surprising or whatever it is. A lot of it is easy to filter out that way. I’d be like, “They’re just not famous.” To call it Really Famous and then have them on and they’re not. I will admit this, if it is somebody who they’re on a show that I love, for example, that I’m so into, I will be more likely to say yes.

I hear you on that one. I’ve had some people from some different movies. Molly from Molly’s Game was on my show. She was interesting to talk to off the air too. The movie Breached, the guy that Ryan Phillippe played in that movie. He was on my show. I’ve had celebrity-based people, books have been made about their lives and things like that. It’s interesting to me to have people who have compelling stories that you don’t know anything more than what you’ve read on the outside. I was thinking of Tippi Hedren. I’m curious if she gave you insight into Alfred Hitchcock or what it was like to do The Birds or the different things. Do you get to that level in your interviews?

For sure. I also thought of somebody else before you mentioned Tippi. Cesar Millan is another person like that. He is The Dog Whisperer. He’s been on TV for years and he’s like the dog guru. I was shocked to hear his story. We sat down in his hotel suite for almost three hours. I was there and he went into such detail about his story growing up in rural Mexico poor and dreaming of getting over the border and becoming a celebrity in America. I was so wrapped by the whole story. I couldn’t even believe it. It was so much so that I knew it was super long. It couldn’t put all that in one show. I ended up splitting it into two parts, but I didn’t want anybody to miss it. There was so much that I know I want to ask him about specific things with the show and with dogs, etc. This story of how he went from nothing to everything was so inspiring and so interesting and surprising. I love stories like that too. A lot of the TV personalities who aren’t actors, I was riveted by their stories. They all have these stories too.

Daymond John is another one from Shark Tank. It’s incredible what he made happen on his own. These people are, this didn’t happen by accident. They became these big TV stars and these big successes. Not just TV stars. Daymond John is so much more than that. They’re amazing. Tippi Hedren, getting back to her. We did talk about Alfred Hitchcock and I was shocked by what she said. He was a stalker. He stalked her. He set his eyes on her and wouldn’t let her even talk to other people on set. He would drive by her house at night. She would see him driving by her house like he was a total creep. She did get into more details about what happened after she couldn’t take it anymore. We talked a little bit about what it was like to be directed by him and discovered by him, but more about what he did and how she stood up to him, which was so impressive for somebody in that era, especially a woman

That movie, The Birds, was freaky when I was a kid. It pecks her in the head on the boat. I remember that scene well in my mind. I haven’t watched it in how many decades. It would probably seem so mild compared to what we’re used to. It’s still scary. It makes you look at crows a lot differently. You’re talking about some of these movies and Daymond John, I spoke at an event where Daymond John spoke too. He’s a great name and I see him and he’s very successful. I want to go into movies, but as I was thinking of some of these people, I found it fascinating to watch the documentary thing they did on Jim Carey. He turned out to be so different than I’d ever thought. Would he be somebody on your list? I’m trying to guess names because I had another famous podcaster and Jim Carey was number one on his list.

He’s not on my list, but he would be. I would say yes. He would be amazing. I would be very interested in him. I feel like there’s some complexity in there and I would like to get to know that. I didn’t see the documentary you’re talking about, but I think he would be fascinating for sure.

He stayed in character the whole time doing Man on the Moon, the story about the comedian.

It’s fun interviewing a very successful person who does things everyone least expects. Click To Tweet

About Andy Kaufman?

Do you remember the dark character Kaufman would play where he would act like the old man in all the mask and all this stuff? He stayed in that character. It was a weird thing to watch. You might want to watch that. It makes you look at Jim Carrey in a whole new light. I’ve always liked Jim. I always thought he was a fascinating and funny guy. I could watch Dumb and Dumber a million times. I could watch his movies. What’s your movie recommendations? What do you look for when you’re looking at movies? Are you an action fan? Are you a romantic movie fan? Is there a particular kind you like?

I like an artsy movie. I like complexity. I like a little bit of grit. I’m not a glossy rom-com type of person. I did see the movie, Late Night with Mindy Kaling. It’s a little too funny. It was good. I saw it with my daughter and she loved it and I was glad. It has a lot of good things to it, but I like things to be a little gritty to be honest. I’m looking forward to this Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Did you see it?

No, it looks like it’s going to be good though. It’s that whole Sharon Tate, Helter Skelter timeframe. I’m wondering how he’s pulling in Manson into all that. It’s very interesting to me.

I love Pulp Fiction. It’s one of my favorite films ever. I love all of the gangster films, the classics like The Godfather and part two and Goodfellas, all those obvious ones. I tend to like artsy films. I don’t know if you saw Richard Linklater’s film. Did you see Boyhood? Everybody seems to have seen that.

Was that the one that was over years and years they went and followed his life? Yes, I did see that.

I love that. He has this trilogy that he made with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy who’s a French actress. It is so stunning. It’s a little slice of reality on these two people, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. They meet up randomly in Europe and then they have these conversations that are so simple but so real that I just loved those films. They made a new one every nine years. I’m not an action film person. I don’t go to superhero movies.

I love all that. I could watch Tom Cruise, Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis movies over and over. I don’t know where that comes from, but all three of them are on my list of people.

You hit one of mine on there. Tom Cruise is on my list.

He would be, but he won’t answer the questions you want to ask him probably?

TTL 592 | Interviewing Celebrities
Interviewing Celebrities: People with compelling stories are ideal guests.

 

Here’s the beauty of it. Here’s why he should sit down with me instead of anyone else. I know he doesn’t do press, but here’s why he should do it with me because I’m not here to get him. I’m here to get to know him. I will engage in a conversation with him and then everybody will have an idea of what he’s like because I think none of us know.

I would never ask him about his religious and things that people want to know either because I know he doesn’t want to talk about that. You know what I love about Tom Cruise is to watch him run in his movies. Have you ever watched him run? This guy can run. In every movie, my husband thinks it’s so funny because I go, “Watch this. He’s about to run.” He moves fast. I would have to tease him a little bit about that. I love those kinds of movies. Though I like the movies you mentioned. Late Night, it was not my favorite movie, but I do love Emma Thompson. Dead Again was a great movie that she made years ago with her ex-husband. Even Robin Williams is in that. It’s a fascinating movie for me. I would have Emma Thompson on my list, I think. She is funny and interesting and different. You mentioned Pulp Fiction. How about Travolta? Is he on your list?

He is on my list. I feel like him and Tom Cruise are the obvious ones. I felt a little funny putting them on the list because they’re obvious, but for sure, John Travolta is another person who I feel like, “Who really is he?” However, this was so weird. I took my dog for a walk and I’m coming back. It’s a Saturday morning and I come home and my son who is ten is watching YouTube on TV. This is what kids do now. They watch YouTube videos, but they’re doing it on regular TV. He’s watching this YouTuber who I don’t know what his whole show is to be honest. I don’t even remember his name, but he’s super popular and famous in the YouTube world. I’m looking at him and the YouTuber is doing some hide and seek game in somebody’s house. I listened to the voice. I’m like, “That sounds like John Travolta.” He’s like, “I think that is who it is.” I’m like, “What?” I’m watching this show and this YouTuber and his buddy or two are in John Travolta’s house playing hide and seek with John Travolta and his family. It was so weird.

When I was a kid, I used to sleep in a John Travolta t-shirt. I remember because he was big on Welcome Back, Kotter. My favorite when I was a kid, I was in love with a guy that was on the Wild Wild West, Robert Conrad. He was my thing when I was a young girl. He was so adorable at the time and I think he’s not been doing a lot of movies lately, but he was in one with Schwarzenegger, a Christmas movie, at one point, which was interesting to me. Do you know who was also on my show who was very interesting? He was JP Sears who does all those YouTube videos about making fun of veganism and all that, the redhead dude. Do you know JP?

I don’t know him.

You should follow his stuff. He’s funny. You could see it on my YouTube station, my interview with him. I also got to interview Crusoe, the Celebrity Dachshund.

I don’t know who that is either. Who is that?

Crusoe is a dachshund and his owner, Ryan. I interviewed the two of them together. They have millions of followers. What he does with this dog is so fascinating to me. He’s got New York Times bestselling books. He’s got a big website. It was fun to interview him, because what’s funnier than a dachshund to begin with. He has him playing tennis and doing all these crazy things. The tennis video is my favorite of his videos because he has a form like if you play tennis knowing certain things. He does this thing with the two dogs. I think it’s fun to interview somebody like that who’s been very successful doing things you wouldn’t have expected. Who was the most unexpectedly interesting person you interviewed and they didn’t do what you thought, but it turned out to be such a fascinating discussion?

This is what I try to get to in the heart of every conversation I have. I know there’s something fascinating there and I have to find it because I don’t know what it is or where it’s going to come up. I had an interesting conversation with Jeremy Sisto. He is an actor on the show FBI. It’s one of those Dick Wolf shows. His is a personal story. It wasn’t so much about the success like you’re talking about with the dog. It was interesting that I wasn’t expecting it to go in the direction it did. He almost had a therapy moment within the interview. He’s not the first person to say it or do that. A lot of times people feel like they’re in a therapy session. It’s a little interesting, but it does happen because I’m a therapist, so we tend to go places. He had a therapy breakthrough almost. That was interesting. Jason Ritter, I had on. Did you know him?

I knew his father.

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This is something that’s similar to what you were saying before. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable asking about his father. I grew up watching his father, John Ritter, as well on Three’s Company and whatnot. It was like I was interested, but at the same time I didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable. It was interesting to me that he started talking about growing up with John Ritter and the pressure of growing up in the public eye and having this desire to feel like a good person, doing the right thing all the time because everybody was watching. He’s John Ritter’s son and he’s the oldest of three and we have that firstborn issue too. That was very interesting to me. He kept talking about that. Later he even opened up about when his father died and what had happened and something that happened the next day. It was surprising to me, his experiences. In a lot of these conversations, I am surprised at what I’m hearing. I figured you never know. You see these celebrities and you have no idea, but they’re all big complex human beings underneath, which is interesting.

I’m thinking of the interviews I’ve seen live. I go to a lot of events, especially the Forbes Women’s Summit and things like that. I’ve seen Eva Longoria, Kim Kardashian and Judge Judy and a lot of people, Kerry Washington from Scandal. A lot of these people who upfront I’m thinking, “That’s interesting.” Judge Judy came across as fascinating. She would be somebody I would like to interview.

She seems interesting.

She was tiny. I was surprised by how tiny a lot of these people were.

They look so much bigger on TV. They’re bigger than life when you see them. She’s on this bench on the big TV. Kerry Washington would be great too. I interviewed Tony Goldwyn who was on Scandal with her. His episode ran on Really Famous. He was also another person with a surprising story of how he made it to where he is. He’s part of the Goldwyn family, Samuel Goldwyn, who was one of the original Hollywood producers. His roundabout way of becoming who he was. He’s so humble and it isn’t what you would expect coming from this family of royalty in Hollywood. Other people too, I think a lot of like what you’re talking about when you see people at these conferences, a lot of those almost reality TV, but not in the way that you think of like the Housewives reality, but people like Cesar Millan, Daymond John, Tim Gunn, Jeremy Wade who does River Monsters. Their stories are incredible about how they took this interest and worked hard to make it. It didn’t always look like it was going to work out for them and they could have quit, but if they did, they never would have made it to where they are. They’re spectacular and inspirational. I know a lot of people love inspiring stories like that. A lot of these people have their show. It’s pretty impressive.

I have a lot of people I’ve interviewed in person. Ken Fisher was amazing to interview from Fisher Investments. It’s fun. I’ve interviewed a lot of billionaires and he was the first of those I interviewed. When you’re in person with people, it’s different. Are you in Hollywood? Is that where you’re located?

No, I’m based in New York.

Do they come to your studio? Do you fly to them? I’m curious, because I know I’ve gone to people or they’ve come to me to do certain videos, but what’s your arrangement? How do you do it?

I mostly do it in New York. In New York, there are so many people who live here in the first place or who are working here. Even if they’re not and they’re in LA, they come here for one reason or another. It works out nicely that I can get so many people right here. Usually, either they come to me. I have a few recording spaces. I have sponsorships from hotels in the area in Manhattan. I use their hotel and they get a little promotion for me and it’s nice. I thank them on the podcast and I mention them in my social media posts. Either the celebrity will come to me at one of the hotels or I will go to their apartment or their home if that’s what they want to do. I’m good with that too. It’s so interesting. Sometimes I like to do that even more because you feel relaxed like you’re hanging out with them. A few times a year, I will fly to Los Angeles and I’ll stay for about a week. I will do a lot of recordings and then line them up for the next few months when I’m back in New York. I do get to LA, but it’s surprising how much I can do here in New York.

Do you bring your own camera crew with you or do you have something you set up in the corner thing? I’m curious how you do it.

TTL 592 | Interviewing Celebrities
Interviewing Celebrities: Celebrities are also big, complex human beings underneath.

 

You have found my trouble spot. My trouble spot is I need more help with the equipment and the technical side of things, but I do about all of it myself. My recording equipment for the podcast is pretty compact and it’s very easy to use and it’s portable. I take it with me to whatever interview I’m doing. It’s only when I started adding the videos because a lot of fans were like, “I want to see the interview.” Now at least I do small like five-minute Q&As with each guest. Sometimes I’ll record like with Michael Imperioli. We sat down and recorded the whole thing. Jay Mohr, when I met him, he’s like, “Let’s just have the camera running the whole time.” I was like, “Sure.” We did that. I set up a tripod and I have a regular DSLR camera and I set that up to do the video. It is all me. I do have a few insurances and I need to get somebody on that case I think starting in September, that’s the goal.

I met a good videographer through a friend who’s in New York, and so you never know where you get some good ones. I have a couple I work within San Diego and one in Arizona. Sometimes it’s nice to have people in different cities who can help you. I was thinking, as we’re going through who you had mentioned, I thought of one more who might be on your list, who I think would be fun. He seems like he is what he is, but maybe he’s different than he is, but I was thinking Ryan Reynolds.

He would be fun. I never thought of him either, but it’s interesting. I’m noticing you gravitate towards movie stars.

I’ve watched a lot of TV stuff though.

What do you like?

I like Breaking Bad and Lost and all the things that were like binge-watching things. I watched every one of them. I love that kind of thing. I loved watching the Theranos documentaries and things. I’m trying to think of who has been on the show. The author of the Enron story. I go to like more business things sometimes, but I probably don’t watch a lot of the reality stuff. I haven’t seen The Dog Whisperer, for example. I haven’t seen some of that stuff because it’s just you have such limited time sometimes because of all the jobs and things I do. I haven’t probably seen a lot of the things that you’ve seen. I did go to an after Oscar’s party and saw a lot of people who I’m sure I should have recognized, but I didn’t. What am I missing? What should I be watching?

I would imagine that if it’s an after Oscar’s party, you probably would’ve seen movie stars. If that’s what you’re into, that would be very cool. You mentioned Breaking Bad. Have you seen Better Call Saul?

I love it. He would be on my list. He would be not the most interesting interview, but he is the most wonderful character ever.

Are you talking about Bob Odenkirk?

Bob Odenkirk, he seems so normal like he would be so normal. I was watching him in Seth Rogen’s movie as the goofy president. He was great.

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I’ve had three Better Call Saul actors on my show. If you watch it, then you’ll know them. For the first one I had on was Michael McKean who plays Chuck.

That’s a great character too that he gets to play. He’s a great actor.

What a character. He’s so good. What an actor. He’s so smart and so funny. I liked my conversation with him. I had Rhea Seehorn who plays Kim Wexler.

She would be interesting.

She was interesting, bubbly, talkative and funny. We talked about her being engaged but not seeming to be able to plan a wedding. I had Patrick Fabian. He plays Howard Hamlin.

He’s the boss. I like him. He’s on everything. He’s in so many things.

I’ve had him on and then we have become friends since then, which is nice. He’s such a nice guy. He’s in his show also on Netflix. It’s called Special. It’s a short little series. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s different and it’s about this twenty-something who has cerebral palsy and he’s trying to break free from the little cozy relationship he has with his mother. That’s an interesting little thing on Netflix. I have many shows I could recommend to you.

I like a lot of different things, but with him, didn’t he wear a knit tie all the time?

There’s somebody else who wears a knit tie. It’s Daymond John who wears knit tie all the time.

Daymond John was at a lot of the events where I’ve been. It seems like every event I go to, Daymond John’s part of it. A lot of the Shark people are huge in these events. How about Oprah? Would she’d be someone you’d want to interview? I would imagine.

TTL 592 | Interviewing Celebrities
Interviewing Celebrities: Compact recording equipment for podcasts are ideal for interviews in various settings.

 

I would love to interview Oprah. It’s the same thing where it didn’t just happen that she became Oprah. She became Oprah because she was persistent and didn’t give up and had a thick skin and whatever else. I would want to sit down with Oprah for a week, like every day and have coffee and breakfast and take walks and talk. She’d be amazing for sure.

She seems a lot different than she used to seem. I’d like to know if she sees herself a little different. She seemed all bright-eyed and excited by things and now she’s calmer and looking back and reflective. Do you see a difference in how she used to be and how she is now?

I don’t see her that much, but she made that big speech. I feel like it was a #MeToo type speech at some event or something. Was it the Golden Globes? I don’t remember. Yes, I think so, but that probably is coming with age and experience and we all evolve. I’m sure that’s true. If you sense it, it’s probably true. I was never a huge Oprah fan like a lot of people were. I don’t feel like I was that. I haven’t been following her that closely, but I see what you’re saying where she might have more of that vibe.

Compared to what she seemed when I used to watch her. Ellen DeGeneres would be another one I would find fascinating. Any of those people, even Phil Donahue and the people that do all that stuff. Larry King, all of them would be fascinating.

Phil Donahue? He would be great.

I’d love to talk to him. All of these people are fascinating and you have quite a great job. I am sure a lot of people would love to do what you do, but it takes a lot of hard work. People think, “I’ll just go interview people.” I appreciate you sharing the foundation of all the great stuff that you did to get to this point. A lot of people don’t know. You can’t just walk into this and people talk to you. You have to be famous in some right of what you’ve done and have that work that you did. You’ve done some amazing things and I thought it would be fun to chat with you. I was glad you wanted to be here and that I was able reach out to you to get to know you.

I’m happy to. Thank you. It’s great and I appreciate your interest. I think that you’re right. We didn’t even talk about it, but you hit it on the head, which is there is so much more to it than meets the eye and there’s so much work that gets put into it and everything. It’s not as easier and as glossy as it looks.

There’s a lot to it. I know a lot of people will want to know. You have a lot of different things that you’ve mentioned, different YouTube stations and things. What are the best ways to reach you or follow you?

The home base is ReallyFamousPodcast.com. I have links to everything there. The old and current episodes. It’s the podcast. You can get to the YouTube channel and my social media. You can also email me directly. Everything is on there. The two main places to catch the show are number one, the podcast. It’s called Really Famous and you can get it on pretty much any podcast app. That includes Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, any of the podcast apps. The other side of it is the video interviews that I have. I have a lot of fun behind the scenes clips. That’s on YouTube. That’s at YouTube.com/reallyfamous or you can open up your YouTube app and look for Really Famous. I will hopefully pop up right away.

If anybody wants to follow me on social media, that would be great. I like to post my pictures and I do some goofy clips sometimes. I’ll walk into the movie theater, I saw the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. There’s this big display. Brad Pitt was life-sized right next to me. I was like, “I’ve got to do a video with Brad Pitt.” My son takes out the camera and he starts filming me doing a little bit with Brad Pitt. I post things like that. On Instagram I’m @ReallyFamousPodcast. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook and all that, but Instagram is my favorite. I like to talk to people. I welcome email and everything. I welcome it. I love it. I love to know the people who are out there. It’s great.

Thank you, Kara. This has been so much fun and I’m going to have to catch up on a few of them. I’ve seen a few and they’re great. I hope everybody follows you and thank you so much.

Thank you. It was a pleasure. Thanks, Diane.

You’re welcome.

I’d like to thank Kara for being my guest. We get so many great guests. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com or if you’re looking for information on the Curiosity Code Index, go to CuriosityCode.com. Thank you for joining us for this episode and I hope you enjoy the next episode.

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About Kara Mayer Robinson

TTL 592 | Interviewing CelebritiesKara Mayer Robinson is a celebrity interviewer, TV talk show host, and host and producer of the TV and film talent-interview show Really Famous. Kara interviews A-listers like Spike Lee, Joe Mantegna, Michael Rapaport, Tippi Hedren and Tim Gunn for television, podcasts, digital media, print and live events. Her interviews are like no other: intimate, surprising, fun, authentic and revealing.

Celebrities adore her. Listeners can’t get enough. Really Famous is available across a multitude of platforms, including podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio, and on the new Really Famous YouTube channel. Kara is also an esteemed journalist (The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, The Wall Street Journal, Emmy, Travel + Leisure, etc.) and Columbia University-trained psychotherapist.

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