Starved for conversation and eager for entertaining, edifying company while you’re stuck inside during the bitterly cold winter? The Interview Show with Mark Bazer has got you covered. In the all-new third season, everyone from a Nobel Prize-winning economist to an up-and-coming poet and screenwriter – all with Chicago connections – sits down with Mark at the Hideout to chat, tell stories, and laugh together. Here’s a preview of this season’s guests who will appear on episodes in January. Check back for February guests next month.
Sarah Grueneberg (episode premieres January 5 – stream it here)
Chef and owner of Chicago’s Monteverde, winner of Best Chef: Great Lakes at the James Beard Awards last year, Top Chef and Iron Chef Gauntlet veteran, host of Dishalicious (a new WTTW show featuring Chicago’s top chefs): need we say more?
Richard Thaler (episode premieres January 5 – stream it here)
Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago, won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science a few months ago for his work as a father of behavioral economics, which posits that humans do not act rationally when making economic decisions but instead are predictably irrational. His work has even influenced how governments try to affect people’s behavior, by “nudging” them to a desirable effect.
John Green (episode premieres January 12)
He’s a nerdy idol to scads of young people, with his sophisticated young adult novels The Fault in Our Stars (made into a 2014 film) and Looking for Alaska, among others, beloved by teens and adults both. Together with his brother Hank, John creates immensely popular YouTube videos as the Vlogbrothers, while his wife hosts a PBS Digital Studios series called The Art Assignment. Watch him revisit Chicago haunts (with Mark Bazer!) in this clip from My Chicago.
Steve James (episode premieres January 12)
James is a documentary filmmaker best-known for his in-depth portraits of Chicago lives in Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters. His latest project, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which was broadcast by Frontline in September, brought him to New York to investigate the only U.S. bank prosecuted for the 2008 financial crisis: a small Chinatown community bank. He talked to Playlist about the film, and also joined his producer to discuss it on Chicago Tonight.
Tracy Letts (episode premieres January 26)
Letts is the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of August Osage County, which was made into a 2013 film. He himself has an impressive film career, appearing in just the last year in Spielberg’s The Post, the acclaimed Lady Bird, and The Lovers. He spoke to Chicago Tonight last spring about his most recent play, Linda Vista, which opened at Steppenwolf Theatre.
Fatimah Asghar (episode premieres January 26)
Before creating the show Brown Girls with her friend Sam Bailey, Asghar’s primary occupation was poetry. But Brown Girls, which focuses on the friendship between two women of color in Chicago, secured a development deal with HBO quickly after its debut in 2017, and Asghar will now continue to write the show as well as serve as executive producer. See her discuss its success on Chicago Tonight.