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6 Reasons Why James Lipton is the Coolest

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As host of Inside the Actor's Studio, James Lipton has garnered a reputation as a stuffy academic, throwing around words like "existential" and sounding out every syllable in "extraordinary." But, based on my research, he actually seems pretty cool.

1) He and Conan can bring the silly (frat boy style)

On his many appearances on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Lipton really lets his hair down to the point where he might as well just join a frat. To kick off spring break one year, he shotgunned a beer on the show (after delivering a short lecture on Rob Reiner's The Sure Thing, of course). Another time, he appeared dressed as a belly dancer. But his best appearance featured a two-fer: first, he eloquently recites a verse from Kevin Federline's new rap album, then follows it up by doing a beer bong on the stage (Caution: possibly NSFW). Nothing can quite compare to Lipton, hat appropriately cocked sideways, saying with a sly smile "This is for the haters."

2) People think he was a pimp (but he wasn't)

Living in France in his youth, Lipton found himself unemployed so, according to his biography, Inside Inside, he ended up working as a maquereau. A common misconception is that a maquereau is a pimp- it's actually quite the opposite. A maquereau works for a prostitute, setting up her encounters. According to Lipton, he had a successful run in that line, especially among tourists.

3) He's not afraid to laugh at himself

Lots of people have tried to imitate Lipton, but none have come as close as Will Ferrell, who masters Lipton's speech and often pompous line of questions. But rather than eschewing the parody or watching it with the sound off (a la Sarah Palin), Lipton embraced it. He has consistently praised Ferrell's as the best imitation of him out there. And in 2001, he even took it a step further when, at the Concert for New York, he imitated Ferrell imitating him.

Even beyond praising Ferrell, though, Lipton's not afraid of a little self-parody. On Arrested Development, he played an acting theory-obsessed jail warden, training Tobias to use real-life experience to enhance the character of Frightened Inmate 2. And on Da Ali G Show, he wrote and performed a short rap.

4) He can do commercials and still make them good

I'm not a fan of the GEICO gecko and I'm done with the cavemen. But there is one set of ads for the insurance company I like "“ the tongue-in-cheek celebrity pitchmen. And none is better than Litpon's, where he tells a customer's story in his traditional flowery language.

Of course, there's also the series of ads Lipton did this summer for Hellboy 2, where he interviewed Ron Perlman in character, talking about his inner demons and preferred method of fighting.

And as another parody of his interviewing prowess, in 2005, Lipton did a set of ads with DC Shoes where he sat down with a number of Xtreme athletes.


Watch Danny Way and James Lipton Commercial in Sports Online  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

5) He makes movie stars swear

In the last act of any of his shows, Lipton presents his illustrious guests with ten questions, based on Bernard Pivot's version of the Proust Questionnaire. Those questions usually let the guests goof off while they share their favorite sounds, their least favorite words and what they want God to say to them at the Pearly Gates. But undoubtedly the most entertaining question is the seventh "“ What is your favorite curse word? It's fun to see legends like Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman blush and then get bleeped. In this clip, see Natalie Portman spout off her favorite curse.

6) He can dance

Watch him in action here.

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science
4 Expert Tips on How to Get the Most Out of August's Total Solar Eclipse
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Richard Bouhet // Getty

As you might have heard, there’s a total solar eclipse crossing the U.S. on August 21. It’s the first total solar eclipse in the country since 1979, and the first coast-to-coast event since June 8, 1918, when eclipse coverage pushed World War I off the front page of national newspapers. Americans are just as excited today: Thousands are hitting the road to stake out prime spots for watching the last cross-country total solar eclipse until 2045. We’ve asked experts for tips on getting the most out of this celestial spectacle.

1. DON’T FRY YOUR EYES—OR BREAK THE BANK

To see the partial phases of the eclipse, you will need eclipse glasses because—surprise!—staring directly at the sun for even a minute or two will permanently damage your retinas. Make sure the glasses you buy meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standards. As eclipse frenzy nears its peak, shady retailers are selling knock-off glasses that will not adequately protect your eyes. The American Astronomical Society keeps a list of reputable vendors, but as a rule, if you can see anything other than the sun through your glasses, they might be bogus. There’s no need to splurge, however: You can order safe paper specs in bulk for as little as 90 cents each. In a pinch, you and your friends can take turns watching the partial phases through a shared pair of glasses. As eclipse chaser and author Kate Russo points out, “you only need to view occasionally—no need to sit and stare with them on the whole time.”

2. DON’T DIY YOUR EYE PROTECTION

There are plenty of urban legends about “alternative” ways to protect your eyes while watching a solar eclipse: smoked glass, CDs, several pairs of sunglasses stacked on top of each other. None works. If you’re feeling crafty, or don’t have a pair of safe eclipse glasses, you can use a pinhole projector to indirectly watch the eclipse. NASA produced a how-to video to walk you through it.

3. GET TO THE PATH OF TOTALITY

Bryan Brewer, who published a guidebook for solar eclipses, tells Mental Floss the difference between seeing a partial solar eclipse and a total solar eclipse is “like the difference between standing right outside the arena and being inside watching the game.”

During totality, observers can take off their glasses and look up at the blocked-out sun—and around at their eerily twilit surroundings. Kate Russo’s advice: Don’t just stare at the sun. “You need to make sure you look above you, and around you as well so you can notice the changes that are happening,” she says. For a brief moment, stars will appear next to the sun and animals will begin their nighttime routines. Once you’ve taken in the scenery, you can use a telescope or a pair of binoculars to get a close look at the tendrils of flame that make up the sun’s corona.

Only a 70-mile-wide band of the country stretching from Oregon to South Carolina will experience the total eclipse. Rooms in the path of totality are reportedly going for as much as $1000 a night, and news outlets across the country have raised the specter of traffic armageddon. But if you can find a ride and a room, you'll be in good shape for witnessing the spectacle.

4. PRESERVE YOUR NIGHT VISION

Your eyes need half an hour to fully adjust to darkness, but the total eclipse will last less than three minutes. If you’ve just been staring at the sun through the partial phases of the eclipse, your view of the corona during totality will be obscured by lousy night vision and annoying green afterimages. Eclipse chaser James McClean—who has trekked from Svalbard to Java to watch the moon blot out the sun—made this rookie mistake during one of his early eclipse sightings in Egypt in 2006. After watching the partial phases, with stray beams of sunlight reflecting into his eyes from the glittering sand and sea, McClean was snowblind throughout the totality.

Now he swears by a new method: blindfolding himself throughout the first phases of the eclipse to maximize his experience of the totality. He says he doesn’t mind “skipping the previews if it means getting a better view of the film.” Afterward, he pops on some eye protection to see the partial phases of the eclipse as the moon pulls away from the sun. If you do blindfold yourself, just remember to set an alarm for the time when the total eclipse begins so you don’t miss its cross-country journey. You'll have to wait 28 years for your next chance.

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Pop Culture
IKEA Publishes Instructions for Turning Rugs Into Game of Thrones Capes
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HBO

Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive TV shows ever produced, but even the crew of the hit HBO series isn’t above using an humble IKEA hack behind the scenes. According to Mashable, the fur capes won by Jon Snow and other members of the Night’s Watch on the show are actually sheepskin rugs sold by the home goods chain.

The story behind the iconic garment was first revealed by head costume designer Michele Clapton at a presentation at Los Angeles’s Getty Museum in 2016. “[It’s] a bit of a trick,” she said at Designing the Middle Ages: The Costumes of GoT. “We take anything we can.”

Not one to dissuade customers from modifying its products, IKEA recently released a cape-making guide in the style of its visual furniture assembly instructions. To start you’ll need one of their Skold rugs, which can be bought online for $79. Using a pair of scissors cut a slit in the material and make a hole where your head will go. Slip it on and you’ll look ready for your Game of Thrones debut.

The costume team makes a few more changes to the rugs used on screen, like shaving them, adding leather straps, and waxing and “frosting” the fur to give it a weather-worn effect. Modern elements are used to make a variety of the medieval props used in Game of Thrones. The swords, for example, are made from aircraft aluminum, not steel. For more production design insights, check out these behind-the-scenes secrets of Game of Thrones weapons artists.

[h/t Mashable]

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