He may look like the stuffy academic type, but James Lipton, host of Bravo channel's "Inside the Actors Studio," knows how to play nice with the politicos.
After a cartoon in The New York Times suggested that presidential candidate Mitt Romney should take acting lessons from Lipton to "learn how to appear more relatable," Lipton played along by submitting a blog post of suggestions to New York Magazine.
In his blog op-ed "How to Act Human," Lipton suggests, among other things, that Romney should ditch the phony laugh and stop trying to pretend he has anything at all in common with the common man. "Don't try to go with what you haven't got," he added.
With a few well-placed phone calls and some subtle, only slightly illegal, coercion, Pamville News was able to convince Lipton to follow up his blog post with an interview of Romney and President Barack Obama asking them the 10 questions he traditionally asks of "Actors Studio" guests:
Lipton: Let's get started then. What is your favorite word?
Romney: Capital, like the money, but when I just say it, capital, it sounds like capitol, like the White House, so that's esceedingly funny to choose that word, correct? Haw, haw, haw, heh-heh-heh.
Lipton: Thank you, Mr. Romney, but please remember what I said about laughing. That's right — to not to.
Obama: Luau. Do you know how badly I need a vacation?
Lipton: What is your least favorite word?
Romney: Etch a Sketch.
Lipton: What turns you on?
Romney: Buying low, selling high.
Obama: Michelle. Ha ha ha.
Lipton: See, Mr. Romney, that's the laughter of a man making a connection. What turns you off?
Lipton: Hmm, remember also what I said about being genuine.
Romney: No really, poverty — poor people smell bad, and it's not just the homeless who refuse to bathe every day. It's also the 99 percent of people who simply do not smell like success.
Obama: My turn off? People being cheap. Frugal is good, but cheap is just mean and it really makes you look bad — that's the real reason I fired those Secret Service agents. It just gives America's international image a hit to be seen as cheap.
Lipton: What sound or noise do you love?
Romney: Those old-timey cash registers that make that big ka-ching! noise when you're racking up the bucks.
Obama: Ass kissing. It's a dream of mine to hear that one day.
Lipton: What sound or noise do you hate?
Romney: Those no-job losers at PETA raising a ruckus at my front door about something that happened a lifetime ago with my dog tied to the roof of my car.
Obama: I'm no hater. I didn't even hate Osama bin Laden before I had him shot. Several times.
Lipton: What is your favorite curse word?
Romney: Liberal arts major.
Lipton: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Romney: Sultan. It's socially accepted to have multiple wives and lavishly drape yourself in gold.
Obama: Gymnast. They're so flexible and have talent for coming out of a tumble so gracefully.
Romney: Oh, hey, I like that answer. I have some talent at flipping, you know.
Lipton: What profession would you not like to do?
Romney: One of those fixer-upper people who maintains all of my stuff. They're not illegals, but still ... .
Obama: One of those fixer-upper people who maintains all Romney's stuff. Even if I were "an illegal."
Lipton: If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Romney: "Certainly you may enter, Mr. Romney, sir. But I heard Hell can be bought for 20 cents on the dollar. You could fix it up, burn off some of the sinners, refresh the wall paint and resell it for a tidy profit." Ha ha ha.
Obama: "We don't care where you were born."
(What if God said, "Greetings, Pam. Welcome to the Mothership." Wouldn't that be awesome at http://viewnorth40.wordpress.com.)