Recently I was telling someone about some odd-yet-wonderful talk show formats, one of which is very new. So I thought I’d create a short list of 3 formats I very much enjoy.
Now, I’m not talking about fictional talk shows like Troy & Abed in the Morning or Between Two Ferns. These are real. I’m 100% sure I’m forgetting some really obvious ones (and some from other countries I’m not aware of), so help me out in the comments.
Comedian Tig Notaro kind of knows pop culture, but she doesn’t watch many TV shows or movies. So the entire premise of the show is that she tries to figure out who the guest is.
Think about that for a second. The host of the talk show doesn’t know who the guest is. What proceeds is actually somewhat familiar: Tig asks questions about the guest to try to learn who they are, and the guest shares information about themselves (without revealing their name or the name of content they’re in).
The end of each interview features Tig making a guess as to who the guest is. There have been three episodes so far, and she’s 2 out of 3. Here’s the first episode with James Van Der Beek:
With over 6 million YouTube subscribers, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard of this show. The host typically interviews one person at a time, and the two of them eat an escalating series of hot wings.
Aside from the questions being really great, it’s fascinating to see how vulnerable people get when they’re (a) getting a little messy and (b) getting increasingly uncomfortable due to the Scoville levels of the hot sauce. For example, how often do you see a guest on a talk show pour milk through their nose during the interview as Aubrey Plaza does in this episode?
This is cheating a little bit because it’s no longer on the air and because it’s not super unique. But I think Craig Ferguson is noteworthy because–if my research is correct–he didn’t use cue cards during interviews. Rather, he just had conversations with guests. And not even always good conversations–sometimes they’re a bit forced. But it was a bold move, and when it worked, it felt so much more authentic than other modern talk shows (which I also enjoy, but for different reasons).
Can you think of another unique talk show interview format, whether it’s on TV, on YouTube, or elsewhere? Is there a format you’d like to see?