6 Reasons Why James Lipton is the Coolest

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

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.

Quick True/False: World Capitals
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.


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