The show rolls out in three parts. First, is a one-on-one interview conducted by Lipton. Second, the host submits a questionnaire to the guest. And third, if time permits, the guest fields questions from the audience. All in all, the show provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know the guest as a human being as well as an actor.
The thing that has intrigued me the most in the time I've spent watching the show has been the questionnaire phase. This is because the questionnaire asks the same 10 questions of each guest, and as a result of holding the questions constant you get to see the differences in the guests. The questions Lipton asks are as follows:
- What is your favorite word?
- What is your least favorite word?
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
- What turns you off creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
- What sound or noise do you love?
- What sound or noise do you hate?
- What is your favorite curse word?
- What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
- What profession would you not like to do?
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
- Ask yourself these questions and record your answers. Do the same a year later to find out how you've changed.
- Use the questionnaire in one-one-one conversations. You and another person will get to know each other a little better.
- Use it to help team members get to know each other better.
When Harrison Ford was asked what he would like to hear God say when he arrived at the Pearly Gates, he said:
"You're much better looking in person."Video:
On April 29, 2008, James Lipton was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Here is a video of the tribute paid to him at the 2008 Emmy Awards.
Here's Robin Williams working through The Questionnaire.