As a reporter who also has been a comedian, I know all too well how delicate the line is between clever, stupid and just plain wrong when the reporter interviews a comedian and tries too hard to prove the reporter is funny, too.
This morning, Ben Bailey, whom many know and love as the host of Cash Cab, went on WPIX Ch. 11's morning show here in New York City to promote his weekend stint at Carolines. The TV newsman interviewing Bailey forced him to sit behind a fake taxi for the entire interview, and also confessed much too much about his wife's love of the show. Did I mention this was live TV? Roll it.
Not this morning, but taped earlier and shown on WFAA in Dallas, a guy who gets to sit down at movie junkets sat down for the junket for It's Kind of a Funny Story with Zach Galifianakis, and then thought he'd give Galifianakis a bit of his own Between Two Ferns medicine. Whether Galifianakis wanted it or not. Roll it.
Comedians often do press they don't particularly want to do — whether it's TV or morning radio, or junkets — precisely for reasons like these two guys.
I've had great and not-so great experiences on live radio and TV appearances myself. I usually try to be in the moment and roll with whatever happens, although in my younger days, I can recall more than one time on early-morning TV when the anchor asked me something that wasn't even close to the topic we were discussing, and me wondering how many viewers may have changed the channel before I answered. Of course, it could have just felt more awkward to me because I was there. And I should say that in my case, the inattentive anchor was a woman. So it's not always the newsman who is the problem.
What's your method for dealing with TV and radio people when you know it's going to be hostile? How do you cope with this kind of hostility when you're not expecting it?