Kevin Pollak spoke with Zap2it recently about his guest-starring turn on “Mom,” which he loved doing and will return to later this spring. But we also asked him about his on-going web chat show, which celebrates its five-year anniversary in March. Pollak says he never intended to be some kind of podcast pioneer.
“I wasn’t planning on being a podcast pioneer when I started. … I’ve always been fascinated by reading autobiographies, I’ve always been fascinated by people’s journeys. How did you get from there to here? That is what interests me,” says Pollak. “When you see people on talk shows, they’re promoting a book or a movie, a TV show, but you don’t really find out anything about them … there’s no real sense of what they feel and believe about life and where life has led them, from their youth to this day. … I just want to know these people better.”
He takes us through his process, telling us that he books all of his guests himself, then does a tremendous amount of research before the interview is taped.
“I book the show myself and I ran through my own Rolodex, because
that was once a thing, in about 30 guests,” says Pollak with a laugh. “We’ve done 192, I think. So
it really at some point depends on the kindness of strangers or
connections, this person know that person and reaches out. Or in the
case of Dick Van Dyke, Twitter. I’ve booked maybe 30, at least, guests through
“A fan will call out, ‘Hey, @DickVanDyke, why aren’t you on
@KevinPollak’s chat show’ and if that celebrity responds with, ‘Oh, I’d
like to,’ then I’ll go after them and say please, let’s do this,” Pollak continues. “What an amazing community [Twitter] has ended up being for the show.”
“[Then] I have a research producer that provides me with a 30-60 page dossier on each guests, as I like to call it. I put together 6-10 pages of questions and the hope is to take them off the beaten path.”
Below are a few recent interviews.
Of Larry David’s interview: “It’s the longest on-camera interview Larry David’s ever given. 12 minutes in, he said in a very Larry David way, ‘You know, you’re pretty good at this.'”
On Tom Hanks’ nearly three-hour interview: “He’s a talker.”
On Dick Van Dyke’s interview: “In the case of Dick Van Dyke, you’ve got a life-long hero of mine
sitting across from me, as hilarious and lucid as anyone has ever been,
telling stories of his life and it’s just extraordinary.”
Pollak also tells us that he’s started a new podcast available, where “it’s [me as] Christopher Walken basically having a conversation with a friend. … it’s about the most absurd thing I’ve ever done, it’s called ‘Talkin Walkin’ and it’s on iTunes.”
Upcoming guests on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show include director Adam McKay on Feb. 2, Taran Killam on Feb. 16 and Anna Faris on March 2. For more interviews, check out his YouTube channel. As Pollak says, “There’s 192 to choose from, you’re bound to find one you’re interested in.”