Interview 'The Interview Show': Mark Bazer on his Talk Show

Daniel Hautzinger
The Interview Show with Mark Bazer. (Photo courtesy of Wednesday Journal Media)
(Photo courtesy of Wednesday Journal Media)

The Interview Show with Mark Bazer, filmed at Chicago's The Hideout, features a wide variety of guests from every walk of life sharing their stories, world views, and talents in a laid-back, intimate setting. Tonight at 7:30 pm, Mark sits down with artistic director of the Goodman Theatre Robert Falls and actor and novelist David Duchovny. (This episode and all of Mark's other interviews are also available to stream.)

This isn't the first time Falls has been on WTTW to chat in a casual setting: in 2002, he recommended the restaurant Le Bouchon on Check, Please!, in that show's first season. (Barack Obama later reviewed Le Bouchon when he appeared on Check, Please!)

 

Learn what guests Mark is excited to have on the show this season, why he idolizes Dick Cavett, and about his vision for the show.

 Q: How did The Interview Show get started?

A: It started as a live show way back in 2008, before most households owned television sets. Or at least that’s what I told myself. I went to the owners of The Hideout, the bar we film the show at, with an idea: Let me talk to people on your stage each month. And they bought it! From the outset, I thought of the show as taking the clichés of talk shows (the desk, the couch, etc.) and planting them down in a slightly incongruous setting. More important, my hope was to find the sweet spot between NPR’s Fresh Air and a late-night talk show.

Q: How do you choose your guests?

A: Read a lot, ask friends who they’re interested in, try to find people from different walks of life. Most of the guests, of course, live in Chicago, so just living here and paying attention to what’s going on helps me. I don’t have to agree with everything my guests say (heck, I shouldn’t agree with everything they say), but I do like to choose guests that I admire: their passion, their work, etc.

 Q: Who are some of your most memorable guests and why?

A: I loved having David Axelrod on the show. His show was the first we filmed for WTTW. So, I was excited/nervous on multiple fronts. The show went great, though my anxiety did cause a healthy amount of on-camera sweating. We’ve had a makeup person ever since. This upcoming season, among many others, I am excited for people to see the interviews with opera star Renée Fleming, Goodman Artistic Director Robert Falls, and Ebony Magazine editor Kyra Kyles. All felt like real conversations: serious at times, funny at others, good give and take.

Q: Who are your favorite interviewers or talk show hosts and why?

A: There’s only one I want to mention! Dick Cavett. He was the inspiration for the show. He could be as witty as anyone, but you never doubted the seriousness of his intent. I could watch his interviews over and over.

Q: Has an interview ever gone south?

A: Yes. Do I have to talk about it? I’ll save that for another interview.

Q: Who is your dream guest?

A: Anybody who wants to be there, who is into having a conversation not so much to promote something but to have an enjoyable conversation. Oh, specifically? Easy. Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, my boyhood idol.

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