Celebrities—they are just like us. They put their designer gold lamé pants on one leg at a time. Sure, they’re typically famous and rich, but they’re usually also delightfully neurotic. (Neurotically delightful?)
In honor of my 25th year of interviewing famous people (yes, I started in high school junior high), I went back through my endless stacks of VHS tapes to pour over all my celeb interviews. Here’s a fairly comprehensive list—including a whopping seven Academy-award winners:
Samuel L. Jackson. Bobcat Goldthwait. Sally Field. Kate Hudson. James Marsden. Tommy Lee Jones. Freddie Prinze, Jr. Curt Angle. Jennifer Aniston. Anna Nicole Smith. George Lopez. Jennifer Lopez.
John Ritter. Henry Winkler. Katey Sagal. Norman Reedus. Lena Headey. Matthew Perry. Joshua Jackson. Sarah McLachlan. The Texas Tenors. Jane Fonda. Andrew “Dice” Clay. Chris Cooper. Meg Ryan. Barbara Eden. Geena Davis. Denise Richards. Matthew Perry. Ben Stiller. Wynonna. Joan Rivers. Nathan Lane. Joe Manganiello. Jennifer Garner. Jerry Springer. Charlie Murphy. Margaret Cho. Jason Beghe. Kermit the Frog. Swoosie Kurtz, Marlo Thomas. Shawn Michaels. Jimmy Fallon. Tom Arnold. Shakira.
Frenchie Davis. Chris Kattan. Curtis Stone. Tim Meadows. Chely Wright. Jim Gaffigan. Gordon Ramsay. Harrison Ford. Cathy Rigby. George Hamilton. Carson Kressley. Iliza Schlesinger. Tosin Morohunfola. Bernadette Peters. Ted Allen. Marc Price. Marion Ross. Al Roker. Laurie Dhue. Jo Anne Worley. Dawn Wells. Paul Stanley. Cheyenne Jackson. Cameron Monahan. Ariel Winter. Meatloaf. Kristen Chenoweth.
Fred Schneider. Janelle Monáe. Michael Feinstein. Bobby Berk. Nia Vardalos. Bret Michaels. John Cusack. Ari Graynor. Mike O’Malley. Bianca Del Rio. Tan France. Lisa Vanderpump. Ali Wong. Tech N9ne. Bill Curtis. Brian Dunkleman. Dustin Diamond. Rob Riggle. Sherri Shephard. Andy Dick. Aaliyah. Julia Stiles. Billy Crudup. Jennifer Connelly. Michelle Visage. Jay Manuel. Tori Spelling.
Marlee Matlin. Kameron Michaels. Jai Rodriquez. Kim Wayans. Lindsay Wagner. Ashley Judd. John Corbett. Jane Kaczmarek. Cindy Wilson. Steve Wilkos. Dee Snider. Ellie Kemper. Todd Bridges. Sheryl Underwood. Robin Roberts. Steve O. Daryl Sabara. Steve Cojocaru. Debora Iyall. John Wesley Shipp. Megan Hilty. Johnny Weir. Mo Rocca. Chadwick Boseman. Sophia Bush. Jennifer Holliday. Beth Horn. Julie Brown. Jillian Michaels.
David Eigenberg. Sara Rue. Jimmy Walker. Lauren Miller. Marsha Warfield. Drew Carey. Tom Bergeron. Laverne Cox. Bryan Batt. Alicia Witt. Tommy Davidson. Damian McGinty. Cindy Williams. Dave Coulier. Dee Wallace. Bob Harper. Bonnie Hunt. Gene Simmons. Michael Douglas. Tia Carrere. Jon Rudnitsky. Steve Grand. Sam Harris. Mac Lethal. Tamara Day. David Harbour. Kevin McDonald. Constance Marie. Tom Colicchio. Adam Scott. Giada De Laurentis. Vinny Guadagnino. Ben Affleck. Sir Ian McKellen.
John Travolta. Frankie Muniz. Ed Begley, Jr. Susan Lucci. Sam Elliott. John Leguizamo. Josh Harnett. Alex Vega. Ashton Kutcher. Selma Blair. Gillian Anderson. Tracey Gold. John Krasinkski. Padma Lakshmi. Gary Sinise. Giorgio Moroder. Cameron Diaz. Melissa Etheridge.
The best, you ask? Hands down—Lindsay Wagner. My childhood idol. My childhood crush. My childhood everything. After the interview, The Bionic Woman asked me out for breakfast. “Is this real life?” I thought. She could not have been more kind.
The worst? A tie between Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones and D-list hack comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay. Jones said a total of nine words during our interview. Ten if you count “uh-huh” as two. Bless. In his defense, I was his first of thirty interviews of the day—bright and early at 8 a.m. Hopefully, his coffee kicked in soon after. Clay, meanwhile, balked at my very first question which was, “Are you eager to get back on the road?” His response? “Don’t come at me with that shit,” he said. And that was less than 20 second into the interview. Needless to say, it went downhill from there. (He also wins the award for Most Gratuitous Use of Profanity For No Reason.)
The one who made me a nervous fan-girl? Sarah McLachlan. I was 150% obsessed with her back in the 90s. I stammered and stuttered so much I thought she was going to call security. Looking back, she probably should have.
The highest (um, allegedly)? Ashton Kutcher. I’m not sure what he was amped up on, but I’ll have what he’s having. When I told him I was from Iowa, he leapt out of his director chair and yelled, “WE’RE CORN BOYS!” He high-fived me so hard my chair nearly toppled over.
Coolest? Without a doubt, John Ritter. He had charisma that was palpable. At the very end of his very long day of countless interviews, I bumped in to him leaving craft services. He said, “Good job today, Michael. I enjoyed it.” Y’all—after chatting up 50+ other reporters, he remembered my name! I’m sure my mouth hit the floor and then went through to the sub-basement. (PS. Note the pic. He somehow managed to spill coffee down the front of him during our interview. He didn’t even miss a beat. Now that’s a pro.)
How many of the aforementioned interviews do I distinctly remember? Probably 8 percent—which is about 7.5 percent more than all the celebs who remember me. (Save for Sarah McLachlan—who wisely took out a restraining order.)