Skip

"That's it. You'll never be famous."
March 20, 2014 9:26 AM   Subscribe


 
wat
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:32 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That's fascinating. Was that a kind of inside joke behind the casting of Louis C.K. in that role, I wonder?

It's notable, mind you, that the question Bradley Cooper asks is not a "how do I get to be a big star like you" but a pretty interesting one about process and technique.
posted by yoink at 9:33 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Cute.
posted by grubi at 9:34 AM on March 20


nice
posted by From Bklyn at 9:34 AM on March 20


The exception proves the rule. Both halves were funny.
posted by cribcage at 9:36 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That was weird. Louis CK always has the most obvious "The host is a providing a set up for your stand-up bit" conversations on these shows but that was the most egregious ones I've ever seen. And then that weirdly specific film clip exists? It's all just weirdly..convenient.
posted by bleep at 9:36 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


This really hits the right notes. It's like a combination of different genre elements that are designed to make you feel good: unexpected and positive coincidence; "who were they back in the day" biopics; slapstick commedy; light hearted schadenfreude; and just being plain happy for someone that found some success against the odds.

Something about the fact that a real story is being told here that connects a random audience member recording and a big movie production that has some real life connections also makes this something unique. It's like a story that breaks the fourth wall by mashing a bunch of interesting coincidences together.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:37 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


I enjoyed that entire brief romp. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn at 9:41 AM on March 20


Today I learned that Bradley Cooper was on at least 4 episodes of Inside the Actor's Studio as "audience member/uncredited."
posted by phunniemee at 9:41 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


OK, I can see how someone in the audience at an Actor's Studio screening could go on to become a famous actor, because they're already an actor in training, but nobody who is, like, pulled onstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert would then go on to become a famous actor. Never happen.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 9:45 AM on March 20 [42 favorites]


This isn't the first one that comes to mind! I swear there was recently an ensemble cast episode of Inside the Actors Studio where I'm pretty sure it included Deniro, and they showed a clip of one of the stars on stage asking Deniro a similar "what advice do you have for young actors" from like 15 years earlier. I can't remember what movie it was, but I'm pretty sure it was a huge actor that is older like Deniro involved. This would have been in the last year or two of the show.
posted by mathowie at 9:47 AM on March 20


It might have been Bradley Cooper, and it might have been the cast of Silver Linings Playbook though.
posted by mathowie at 9:48 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Something really touching about when they had Bradley Cooper on Inside the Actors Studio by himself - he was so overcome with "I can't believe I got here" emotion that it took about five minutes for him to calm down enough to even answer questions.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


The Louis CK / Bradley Cooper bits in American Hustle were great. Easily the best part of the movie.
posted by mullacc at 9:52 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Bearded dude at the end is lucky he didn't get popped in the head or worse.
posted by edgeways at 9:52 AM on March 20


I always forget that megastars don't just pop out if the woodwork. We are re-watching "alias" from 2001 on Netflix and had no idea Cooper was in it (and he's great).

I'd love to see some sort of list of which stars are " trained actors " (Cooper, Hugh Jackman) vs learned as they went along (will smith, Jason Statham?).
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:52 AM on March 20


That's pretty funny.
Bradley Cooper's leaning-forward, head-in-hands, I'm really listening to your answer pose after he asks the question is just a little pretentious, though; but hey, ACTING.
posted by chococat at 9:52 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Bradley Cooper's leaning-forward, head-in-hands, I'm really listening to your answer pose after he asks the question is just a little pretentious

He's also wearing a bright blue shirt while everyone else is in black and white. And it seems like he's just a tad too close to the stage. It looks really weird, like he's doing it in front of a green screen and not a live audience.
posted by mullacc at 9:56 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Though of course knowing my luck Jason Statham is probably a Shakespearean classically trained actor who did a one man show of "under the lintel" on the West End before he started driving fast cars and punching people on the big screen. Sorry Jason.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 9:57 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


This has nothing to do with most of this but I'm so sick of Louis CK's self-deprecation about how unattractive he is. He's cute as hell and if he were gay he'd have bear chasers lining up to get naked with him.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:57 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


We are re-watching "alias" from 2001 on Netflix and had no idea Cooper was in it

How exactly did you watch it? I still say, "Oh look, it's Will Tippin" whenever he appears on TV.
posted by yerfatma at 10:01 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


The exception proves the rule.

Indeed. Apparently Cooper is the first and so far only person to have attended the Actor's Studio as a student who has been a guest on the show.
posted by yoink at 10:03 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Haha, that's priceless! Yes indeed, little Bradley fits the EXACT mold for young actors. God, he is a carbon copy of the drama students from my school back in the day. But he had a very basic and thoughtful question that would be interesting to hear an actor speak about. That question could apply exactly the same way to music. Recently I performed a big percussion solo that I had played over ten years earlier while I was still in school. It's fun to revisit things you studied deeply a while back and see how time (and hopefully maturity) affects your performance/interpretation, for better and/or for worse!

I'm sure both Cooper and Louis C.K. get a huge kick out of this!
posted by ReeMonster at 10:03 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


BlerpityBloop: "Though of course knowing my luck Jason Statham is probably a Shakespearean classically trained actor who did a one man show of "under the lintel" on the West End before he started driving fast cars and punching people on the big screen. Sorry Jason."

Nope. He was a model, a street seller, and a member of Britain's national diving team before Guy Ritchie scouted him.
posted by specialagentwebb at 10:04 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


My understanding (based mostly on a few poorly-remembered interviews though corroborated by wikipaedia) is that Stratham was basically a street hustler who was discovered by Guy Ritchie for Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. His character as a street heavy drew on his real experience.
posted by bonehead at 10:06 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


Heckling a comic as good as Louis C.K. is never a good idea - even if he's in on the joke.

He was a model, a street seller, and a member of Britain's national diving team before Guy Ritchie scouted him.

For his obvious acting talent.
posted by three blind mice at 10:06 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


"Nope. He was a model, a street seller, and a member of Britain's national diving team before Guy Ritchie scouted him"

So he's one that just learned as he went, and if you've seen the movie "London" he's learned quite a bit. Fwiw I prefer watching Louis CK and Statham over Cooper and "serious actors" like Dustin Hoffman and Daniel Day Lewis. I feel like I'm watching a human rather than a performance.

Again with the list, I'd be curious to see how many of Bradley's classmates went on to be successful.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 10:12 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


but nobody who is, like, pulled onstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert would then go on to become a famous actor

was there someone other than Courteney Cox this happened to? because she was already an actress, and was cast in that role by the video director.

I may be missing the joke.
posted by Hoopo at 10:13 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


because she was already an actress, and was cast in that role by the video director.

Brian De Palma! (who was already super famous)
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:15 AM on March 20


I spent my freshman year of college as a theatre major at a pretty well respected acting school (*cough* Emerson *cough*). After that first year, I took a long hard look at myself, the potential that I would ever become an actor, and the sheer amount of money my parents were spending on this endeavor, and decided to transfer to a cheap public school and major in something normal.

Fast forward a couple years. I'm home sick in my dorm room at my new non-showbiz-ish college, watching daytime talk shows on my shitty 13-inch tube TV with bunny ears. I don't remember which talk show. Montel? Ricki Lake? Something kind of sleazy but not straight up fake AFAIK. Montel/Ricki passes the mic to someone in the audience, for a question...

And it's one of my best friends from back at theatre school. In the audience of this lame daytime talk show. She asks some throwaway totally predictable question of the Doctor Oz/Doctor Phil/Whoever knockoff guest, and the show moves on, and it's not even particularly theatrical or interesting or anything.

To this day, I wonder if everyone in the audience of daytime talk shows comes from Central Casting? Or if everyone who asks a question has to be in SAG? Or if it's a complete coincidence that not only did I recognize someone asking a question on a talk show, but it's also a coincidence that this person is an actor?

Despite the fact that, a decade later, I work in TV, know how things work, have actually seen studio audiences being wrangled, etc. I still wonder about this.

As far as I'm aware, that girl did not grow up to win an Oscar, however.
posted by Sara C. at 10:15 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Funny, the first time I saw that episode of Inside the Actor's Studio with Sean Penn it was a couple of years after it had first aired and I was like - hey look it's the guy from Wet Hot American Summer asking a question!
posted by any major dude at 10:15 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


This video is a hoot. The fact that it plays so well with the American Hustle footage really seals the deal.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:16 AM on March 20


just being plain happy for someone that found some success against the odds.

The audience for Inside The Actor's Studio is composed of students at The Actor's Studio, which is a real (and quite prestigious) acting school in New York. So the odds are somewhat in favor of anyone sitting in that audience.

That said, the odds are also against pretty much 99% of actors, period. So.
posted by Sara C. at 10:18 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


The exception proves the rule.

I believe that this goes for pretty much all genuine fame in any public arena* -- that the chance of actually making it to household name status (even if you are talented) is so remote as to be statistically non-existent. And yet, the dream remains enormously contagious.

* except if you kill somebody famous. This seems to guarantee household name status. Hell, they even get your middle name right.
posted by philip-random at 10:26 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Now Upright Citizens Brigade, you see a ton of people who eventually make it in that audience.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:26 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Heckling a comic as good as Louis C.K. is never a good idea - even if he's in on the joke.

This is probably true, but I've been trying to figure out how it is relevant to the FPP and I'm stumped.
posted by yoink at 10:30 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


"That said, the odds are also against pretty much 99% of actors, period"

Are they though? a-list celeb status, sure. And likely a bright eyed girl who shows up in Hollywood with nothing but a suitcase and some head shots has a tough road......But is your average trained actor going to eventually make a living acting in plays, commercials, "law and order" and whatnot if they keep at it? It's a big industry, I imagine.

Why did Bradley get to ask a question? Did his professor tap him because he had something extra or was it random? How many of his classmates can pay rent now and are working "actors"? Does NYU even publish that data like law schools do?

*edit* I'm asking out of curiosity, not contesting Sara C's point.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 10:30 AM on March 20


ultraviolet catastrophe: OK, I can see how someone in the audience at an Actor's Studio screening could go on to become a famous actor, because they're already an actor in training, but nobody who is, like, pulled onstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert would then go on to become a famous actor. Never happen.

I am not sure about being pulled onstage, but the Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Fall, and The Smiths all formed after seeing the Sex Pistols for the first time with an audience of 40 people.
posted by gucci mane at 10:34 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Did his professor tap him because he had something extra

That's a pretty serious accusation there, BB.
posted by yoink at 10:34 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


But is your average trained actor going to eventually make a living acting in plays, commercials, "law and order" and whatnot if they keep at it?

Yes and no.

I know a fair number of working actors who are not Oscar winners or even celebrities at all. They do theatre, maybe voice over work, occasionally book a commercial, day-play on TV shows, or get tiny speaking roles in films. My downstairs neighbor manages to make a living as an actor in Alaska, of all places, though he hasn't had a ton of luck in LA.

But, like, that's really "making it" as an actor. My downstairs neighbor is hugely lucky, and for every version of him I know (the audiobook voice-work guy, the regional theatre woman, etc), there are like 20 people taking expensive workshops and going on a million auditions and waiting tables.
posted by Sara C. at 10:36 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


"That's a pretty serious accusation there, BB"

Let me rephrase it. Did the student Bradley get selected to ask a question and appear on camera because the person in charge of those decisions thought he somehow stood out as either a great student or looked good on camera?

*edit* or was it a random pass the mic thing? (Don't understand the edit rules, apologies).
posted by BlerpityBloop at 10:37 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Here's a video (from Bradley Cooper's own appearance on ItAS) that compiles all three of his appearances in the studio audience, one where he's just silent and one where he asks De Niro a question.
posted by yoink at 10:47 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I have no idea what just happened here, because I don't really know who any of these people are and I couldn't follow what was going on in the video, but I LOVE LIVING IN THE FUTURE. Some random person had an idea, used their ordinary everyday computer to make this video, posted it on an ordinary everyday video-sharing site, and here we all are watching it. And it didn't have to be anything general or earth-shaking, it's just some idea someone had that isn't for me, but the technology and infrastructure exist for that person to share their idea with everyone on the planet who might similarly care about it, and THAT IS AWESOME.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:48 AM on March 20 [19 favorites]


Did the student Bradley get selected to ask a question and appear on camera because the person in charge of those decisions thought he somehow stood out as either a great student or looked good on camera?

That's a question that has been bugging me about that show, but in addition to the probable pre-selection of questioners by the department, you have to add on the decisions of the editor and the producers into the mix as well.

Even if the questioners are not chosen in advance, the decision to put them into the final edit of the show is in the hands of the show itself and can select the questions that elicit the best responses and edit out the ones that are less productive. So even if you have an student with great potential and a great question, if the guest does not have an interesting response it will be cut out in favor of more interview time or better questions/answers.
posted by chambers at 10:50 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Why did Bradley get to ask a question? Did his professor tap him because he had something extra or was it random? How many of his classmates can pay rent now and are working "actors"? Does NYU even publish that data like law schools do?

Bradley Cooper didn't go to NYU/Tisch. However, I did, and I've also been to law school. I would say that Tisch grads wind up being about as fulfilled as law school grads, maybe a little more so. That's not a fair comparison, however. People can get more creative (and realistic) with a BFA, as opposed to a JD.

The vast majority of people are not famous, obviously but they do find work. I can think of a small number of friends and classmates who are actually semi-famous actors, in film, movies, commercials, and so on. They're obviously the minority, however. I can think of friends and classmates who work on actual famous projects, just not in huge roles. That's obviously much more common. I can also think of friends and classmates who work elsewhere in the creative universe, such as for comics.

However, the vast majority of people will never be famous. And that's fine.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:52 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That Stephen Merchant is part of this makes it all the more grand
posted by angrycat at 10:53 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I have no idea what just happened here, because I don't really know who any of these people are

Bradley Cooper, who is, today, a certified Hollywood Star (nominated for the Best Actor Oscar last year for Silver Linings Playbook and this year for American Hustle) was a student at the Actor's Studio back in the late 90s. At that time he asked Sean Penn a question from the audience. Later, Louis C.K. did a bit where he riffed on how no one who ever asked a question from the audience of Inside the Actor's Studio about how they could become as famous as the guest would ever, in fact, become a famous person. The clip ends with a scene from American Hustle in which Bradley Cooper's character is humiliating a character played by Louis C.K.
posted by yoink at 10:53 AM on March 20 [10 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the editors of the show are concerned mostly with the questions that elicited the most interesting/useful/cohesive answers, and not with any particular questioner's level of clout with their acting school.

Then again, they do have input on how much screentime a given questioner gets, whether to cut back to them, and the like. And they might, through no particularly conscious effort, give more screentime to questioners who are good looking, or seem interesting, or whatever. But even that is probably a highly subjective and not entirely conscious thing.

I doubt there is someone saying, "YES! HIM! HE'S GOT STAR QUALITY! WE'VE GOT TO INCLUDE HIS QUESTION IN THIS EPISODE AND STAY ON HIM AS LONG AS POSSIBLE!"

I am now much more curious about the production of Inside The Actor's Studio than I have ever been.
posted by Sara C. at 10:56 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


"That's a pretty serious accusation there, BB"

Let me rephrase it. Did the student Bradley get selected to ask a question and appear on camera because the person in charge of those decisions thought he somehow stood out as either a great student or looked good on camera?

*edit* or was it a random pass the mic thing? (Don't understand the edit rules, apologies).


I would be shocked if a professor had "fixed" it like that. You could not have known at the time that Bradley Cooper would have become huge. When there are guest classes, lots of people ask questions. Bradley Cooper is a handsome, telegenic man, and his questions were good, so he made it on-camera.

Sidenote: in 2003, we had a guest class with John Landis. Our professor told the class, "if anybody asks a question about Twilight Zone: The Movie, I will find a way to have you expelled." The next week, when we had the guest class, somebody asked Landis what he had thought of Kill Bill Vol. 1, which IIRC had come out the week prior. Landis said something like, "I couldn't get over the scene where the Bride kills a mother in front of her child. Tarantino is of course a genius, but I think he's seen too many movies. I don't think he understands the gravity of what he puts on screen. It wasn't funny or cute." Cue lots of uncomfortable shifting in our seats. Later, I asked the man what it was like to direct David Cronenberg in The Stupids.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:01 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


I love that it was not just any Inside the Actor's Studio interview, but one with Sean Penn, the same exact actor Louis C.K. used for his riff.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:06 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Came for the silly YouTube clip, stayed for the amazing discussion.

My law school (Brooklyn) publishes "success rates" of people graduating with a JD who are employed in law. It's part of their admissions braggadocio. It's mostly bullshit to make you feel better about the loans/debt you take on, but it's still a statistic, however shady.

Was genuinely curious if Tisch/NYU published such a thing, or are the stats so dismal they sell a dream. I thought ITAS was an NYU program, apologies for the confusion.

And yes, like Sara C I am super interested in the editing of the show now, as I've been watching it for years and thought it was all organic.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 11:09 AM on March 20


Not to be That Guy, but does this really count as Irony? Louis C.K., a comedian, makes a silly joke about people who specifically ask about becoming famous. There happens to be video of Bradley Cooper asking a question on ItAS that isn't about becoming famous. Later, C.K. and Cooper are in a movie together where Cooper teabags Louis.

It's a pretty neat coincidence, sure. But it's no more ironic than, I dunno, rain on your wedding day or something.
posted by bondcliff at 11:10 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Not to be That Guy, but does this really count as Irony

Yes, it does. Coincidences can be ironic. This coincidence is an ironic one (it is a species of dramatic irony.) There is nothing more tedious than ill-informed irony policing. Most of the items in Alanis Morissette's much be-mocked song (including rain on your wedding day) are also perfectly valid examples of irony--given the right circumstances. (E.g. "last year was the driest summer ever recorded in this city. There was only one rainy day which, ironically, was the day of our wedding.") Wherever the random seems somehow designed or intentional there is situational irony.
posted by yoink at 11:17 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


There is nothing more tedious than ill-informed irony policing.

You've obviously never had a twelve year-old describe to you 200 Foxtrot cartoons in a row, but thanks for enlightening me.
posted by bondcliff at 11:19 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


Was genuinely curious if Tisch/NYU published such a thing, or are the stats so dismal they sell a dream. I thought ITAS was an NYU program, apologies for the confusion.

When you apply to acting school, there are usually lists of successful alumni in the promotional materials.

However, it's notable that it comes in the form of a list of names, not statistics.

Also, in my experience, it's not mentioned whether the person in question actually graduated (for instance Emerson claims Jay Leno), and I'm not sure they're strictly ethical about only claiming students who were actually in the acting program (for instance I'd bet Dartmouth's theatre department plasters Mindy Kaling all over their materials, even if she was an English major or something).

Alums who make a living at their craft but don't have name recognition usually are not included. Alums who are famous, but for something other than acting, might be included but it probably depends on what they're famous for and how famous, exactly.
posted by Sara C. at 11:20 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Was genuinely curious if Tisch/NYU published such a thing, or are the stats so dismal they sell a dream. I thought ITAS was an NYU program, apologies for the confusion.

Gotcha. Nah, I don't think they produce stats like that. Tisch sells dreams. On the other hand, numerous professors do announce pretty early on that less than one percent of the class will ever have a job directing anything ever, so you had better figure out how to run your life otherwise. On the whole, I'd say that the actual education at Tisch actually was a bit more practical than you'd get at law school, in the sense that a sound editing class would almost certainly teach you how to edit sound, whereas law school only really gave you that experience with clinics and a few of the better writing classes.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:21 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That Stephen Merchant is part of this makes it all the more grand

Yeah, is that interview from a podcast or something? I remember Merchant was on Gervais' podcast way back when, but does he have his own now? Because I would listen the shit out of that.
posted by mathowie at 11:22 AM on March 20


So does David O. Russell go through all these old episodes to find people for Bradley to hit? Both people Cooper asked questions of became targets in Russell films: De Niro, Louis CK
posted by JJtheJetPlane at 11:24 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Tisch sells dreams. On the other hand, numerous professors do announce pretty early on that less than one percent of the class will ever have a job directing anything ever, so you had better figure out how to run your life otherwise.

On the other hand, the success rate at Tisch is basically guaranteed if you look at Any Entertainment Industry Job rather than "professional film director".

If your resume has Tisch or USC Film School on it, you are pretty much guaranteed at least a chance as a PA, at any production company or agency, or in any of the entry-level technical fields.
posted by Sara C. at 11:25 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Yeah, is that interview from a podcast or something? I remember Merchant was on Gervais' podcast way back when, but does he have his own now? Because I would listen the shit out of that.

I believe this is the particular episode of The Steve Show with Louis CK on youtube.
posted by any major dude at 11:44 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I was really looking forward to watching American Hustle but now I'm a little afraid of seeing Louis C.K. beaten and bleeding. Because, I guess, I'm creepily in love with him.
posted by angrycat at 11:51 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


"Most of the items in Alanis Morissette's much be-mocked song (including rain on your wedding day) are also perfectly valid examples of irony".

This! (Deserves its own thread.)
posted by Chitownfats at 12:02 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


i know, situational irony, right?
posted by angrycat at 12:04 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I was really looking forward to watching American Hustle but now I'm a little afraid of seeing Louis C.K. beaten and bleeding. Because, I guess, I'm creepily in love with him.

No, it's OK. His character is a loveable lump and his scenes with Bradley Cooper, as previously mentioned, are the best thing about the (overrated) movie.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:19 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the editors of the show are concerned mostly with the questions that elicited the most interesting/useful/cohesive answers, and not with any particular questioner's level of clout with their acting school.

I've watched a LOT of ITAS, and this is my impression as a viewer. The questioners are not all as good looking or even as articulate as Bradley Cooper (though they are good looking and well spoken enough in the sense that they are well groomed because they know they may be on TV, and well, they're striving to be Actors so they have experience in publicly speaking). Bradley Cooper has always seemed almost too earnest to me (his role in American Hustle made good use of that quality). And it's interesting that that kind of comes out in this clip from years ago as well.
posted by bluefly at 12:49 PM on March 20


Men's shirts used to be HUGE.
posted by notyou at 12:53 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I feel like we're all giving this a pass, when the example used doesn't map to the criteria Louis C.K. laid out in the first place. It wasn't just "nobody who asks a question on ItAS will get famous."
posted by uberchet at 12:59 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


except if you kill somebody famous. This seems to guarantee household name status. Hell, they even get your middle name right.

Well, your middle name in that case is usually Wayne. It's not that hard.
posted by Naberius at 1:07 PM on March 20 [5 favorites]


"Tisch sells dreams"

That's unfortunate. Reading the shows wiki it seems like much more of a tv show loosely connected with Pace/New School, which in my limited experience are both kind of...ummm...not real learning institutions.

So again I'm wondering if Cooper was actually a "student" or just a charismatic member of the audience. Not that it matters, I suppose, but my esteem for the show has (likely unfairly) dropped since.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 1:13 PM on March 20


So again I'm wondering if Cooper was actually a "student"

On Bradley Cooper's wikipedia page it says "Later in 2000, he received an MFA in acting from Actors Studio Drama School at The New School in New York City."
posted by yoink at 1:28 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Just to be super duper clear:

The Actor's Studio is a branch of the New School, which ABSOLUTELY is a real and legit university. The Actor's Studio is a prestigious acting school and considered a totally normal place to study.

NYU's Tisch School Of The Arts (and its affiliated acting schools) is a completely separate thing.

My guess is that the fact that the show is only tangentially related to the school is probably a good thing, since, you know, actors do stuff in the course of their training besides sitting in the audience of a talk show.

There's no real way that an acting school could do anything other than "sell dreams", since acting isn't a licensed profession that requires a specific credential to pursue.

Acting schools like Actor's Studio (or Meisner, Circle In The Square, Julliard, Yale Drama School, etc) are worthwhile for actors who want to do specific types of things. If you want to be a stage actor, that kind of training is pretty invaluable.

The really valuable thing about getting an MFA from somewhere like The Actor's Studio is that it's a Master's Degree. Which means you can teach. It also plugs you into the whole infrastructure of professional theatre in the US, which leads to various kinds of work (acting and otherwise).

Is it worth the money? Personally as an undergrad doing this calculus, I decided it wasn't worth it for me. Someone who envisions a career in the theatre might choose differently. Certainly paying for a theatre MFA from one of a few prestigious programs is a lot more of a sure bet (in terms of future work in general, not in terms of becoming the next Bradley Cooper) than a theatre BFA from the same types of programs.
posted by Sara C. at 1:51 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I feel like we're all giving this a pass, when the example used doesn't map to the criteria Louis C.K. laid out in the first place.

Also, the original bit is a pretty typical Louis C.K. style thing. He's really talking more about entitlement, hard work, people being weird jackasses, fate, and inevitable failure. He's not really acting in his capacity as just a regular person bullshitting about the Actor's Studio. He's doing a bit.
posted by Sara C. at 1:54 PM on March 20


"Tisch sells dreams"

That's unfortunate.


To an extent, but it's not nearly as bad as it could be. As Sara C. points out upthread, people from Tisch/USC/etc. have ample opportunities to do Real Work in the entertainment industry. It's just that the super duper glamorous jobs are barely any more in your reach than they would be to anyone else.

I like Tisch a lot better than I did ten years ago; that said, my direct experience was with the film school, not the acting program. I think that these kinds of schools would be much improved if career counseling was more aggressive and involved, with mandatory internships and/or "clinics". As long as you don't labor under the misimpression that you'll be the next Jim Jarmusch (or whoever), or even under the misimpression that good grades = success, you'll be fine. If you pound out a lot of work on various projects, internships, and other low-rung jobs, you will eventually be fine. Even if you don't figure this out right away, you can catch up. And of the people who don't work in the entertainment industry at all, they still had an interesting education.

Contrast with law school, where IMHO there are many more arbitrary hurdles for anyone to clear. You get one big fat exam at the end of each semester in order to prove your mettle. You have to ace your first year, otherwise you'll have problems getting into a good co-curricular. And if you don't get a good co-curricular, then it will be harder for you to get a good internship later. And if your co-curricular sucks up your time and takes away from your studies and your actual work experience, then that's too bad. And even when you do graduate, you still know basically nothing. And so on and so on and so on.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:56 PM on March 20


To this day, I wonder if everyone in the audience of daytime talk shows comes from Central Casting? Or if everyone who asks a question has to be in SAG?

I've been in the audience of daytime talk shows, and at least when I went, most of the people were college and university students who had been bussed in for the event as basically a field trip. I went with a bus full of people from my dorm.

Also, this is quite a famous moment in daytime talk show history, and the woman in red is a friend of mine, and she is not actress.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:57 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Sure, sure.

I guess I'm just wary of an acting program affiliated with a university who's home page bolds keywords like "Al Pacino" and "legendary".

It seems like a fringe department that suckers tuition out of hopeful dreamers, rather than a serious drama department. Anyway, I'm not going to make a federal case out of it. I honestly entered this thread thinking ITAS was a "serious thing" in the acting world, rather it seems like a bonus tv show you get to attend if you sign up for an acting course.

No big deal. Bradley Cooper makes great movies and I'm sure his classmates are awesome too. Money well spent I guess.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 2:08 PM on March 20


I think that these kinds of schools would be much improved if career counseling was more aggressive and involved

FWIW a big part of the reason I left acting school was that we were told at every turn that we were basically going to fail, and if we could imagine ourselves doing any other job, we should quit. And we were told this practically daily. There was definitely no "everybody gets a trophy" mentality there -- I knew after the first week exactly where I belonged in the pecking order, and nobody was interested in protecting me from that knowledge.

We were also held to the kinds of standards by our professors that real actors are held to. It was extremely rigid. The following semester (after I had already decided to leave) I got a kidney infection but was still expected to show up to my acting classes, even if I was too ill to participate.

Another student in my program had started as a dance student, had an injury that forced her to leave that program, and it was only after heated deliberation within the two departments that she was allowed to switch majors to the theatre program as a sophomore.

On the one hand, this harsh preparation for the realities of being a performer is kind of a douchey way to practice "career counseling". On the other hand, better to learn this stuff from day one, right?
posted by Sara C. at 2:08 PM on March 20


I guess I'm just wary of an acting program affiliated with a university who's home page bolds keywords like "Al Pacino" and "legendary".

If it makes you feel any better, NYU used to claim Woody Allen, until he publicly reminded them that he had been expelled.

On the one hand, this harsh preparation for the realities of being a performer is kind of a douchey way to practice "career counseling". On the other hand, better to learn this stuff from day one, right?

That's a tough problem. I guess I'm approaching this more from the film school angle, where it's much easier to break filmmaking into its component trades.

Shows of force at acting schools are interesting. Many of my friends went to the Atlantic Studio. Many, many, many reminders about how "if you were going to be big and famous, then you wouldn't be here." Also, the 15-minute rule: you were to show up 15 minutes before your class's start time. During those 15 minutes, you were to wait patiently, either sitting at attention or working on something, not reading a book or talking or otherwise dawdling.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:15 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I like Tisch a lot better than I did ten years ago; that said, my direct experience was with the film school, not the acting program. I think that these kinds of schools would be much improved if career counseling was more aggressive and involved, with mandatory internships and/or "clinics". As long as you don't labor under the misimpression that you'll be the next Jim Jarmusch (or whoever), or even under the misimpression that good grades = success, you'll be fine. If you pound out a lot of work on various projects, internships, and other low-rung jobs, you will eventually be fine. Even if you don't figure this out right away, you can catch up. And of the people who don't work in the entertainment industry at all, they still had an interesting education.

* walks in *

Hi, I went to NYU/Tisch as a drama student, undergrad. Looks like I have info that could be helpful.

HOW THE ACTUAL ACTING TRAINING WORKED:

NYU itself didn't give all of us the nuts-and-bolts acting instruction. Instead, it had deals with a handful of acting studios across the city which all the acting students got farmed out to; when I was there (20 years ago), they were working with Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Circle In The Square, and Playwrights Horizons; there also was an in-house "Experimental" studio. Since my tenure, they also added a Musical Theater-oriented studio, a film-acting studio, and an in-house "tech track" for people who knew they wanted to be more stagecraft/backstage oriented. Students who had a preference for studio at the time they auditioned could have a say; but I remember at my audition the school deciding for me where I should go.

Students had to stay with the one studio for freshman and sophomore years, then they could either switch to another studio or stay put. Lots of people switched to the more specialized studios like the film track or the musical theater track at this point; I stayed put. The instructors we had were the same instructors who you'd have if you paid to go to the studio outright - my third year, Anna Strasberg herself was one of my teachers.

The studio time took up 3 days a week, pretty solidly. The REST of the courseload, though, may address your "was career counseling involved" concerns.

WHAT NYU ITSELF DID WHEN IT CAME TO CLASSWORK:

All freshmen were required to take an "intro to theater" sort of theater business seminar our first year. We also had a year-long theater history course, and a mandatory "theater tech" seminar in which we learned the basic nuts and bolts of each of the technical elements. We were also required to sign up for a workshop session in one department for one of the mainstage shows - we could sign up for light crew, sound crew, set building, or costume shop.

Also, NYU required us to take 22 credits in "electives", only 11 of which could be related to theater. Among the theater electives NYU offered were things like "Character development", "accents and dialects", "stage combat", and something which I can't remember what it was except that that's where I learned what a dramaturg was.

Students were also encouraged to do a lot of producing of their own shit - I auditioned for a few things when I was there, but none of it was NYU mainstage stuff, it was all random student-funded things. I also once sat in on an adjudication committee for an NYU drama student organization that was deciding on which one of a handful of different student-generated show proposals it was going to fund.

In the "theater business 101" course freshman year, one of the lecturers said that ultimately what they wanted was for us to have enough of a familiarity with how a whole theater company ran, nuts to bolts, that we could create our own companies and make our own work after graduation.

WHAT MY EDUCATION AT NYU DID FOR ME IN TERMS OF MY THEATER CAREER:

I've joked that "three years of acting training taught me that not only can I not act, but I also didn't want to after all." But the other thing it did was expose me to "what a stage manager does" and "what a dramaturg does", neither of which were things that I picked up in high school drama club. Also, the very very first thing I ever stage managed was a student show that I got roped into because the producers were desperate and someone asked their roommate who asked me. The following year the director of that show got a gig as company manager for an off-off-Broadway gig and they asked if she knew another student who could be a stage manager, and she said, "actually....." and so I got a paid SM gig before even graduating. It's something I would never in my life had considered when I was a kid, and being exposed to it at NYU - both by design and by chance - sent my career off on a much more fruitful direction than it would ever have been if I stuck to trying to act.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:19 PM on March 20 [20 favorites]


"To an extent, but it's not nearly as bad as it could be. As Sara C. points out upthread, people from Tisch/USC/etc. have ample opportunities to do Real Work in the entertainment industry. It's just that the super duper glamorous jobs are barely any more in your reach than they would be to anyone else. "

Awesome. I was asking exactly that. Can you make a living on an "actors degree". Sara C and you answered it perfectly. Glamour aside, it's possible, but no more difficult than any other industry. I was genuinely curious if the 99% failure rate was accurate.

I, too, have a JD that an early employer sponsored. It's been entirely useless as my career has grown, and I often think about my classmates and what they are doing. Perhaps some became actors.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 2:24 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I honestly entered this thread thinking ITAS was a "serious thing" in the acting world, rather it seems like a bonus tv show you get to attend if you sign up for an acting course.

I think you are mixing up "ITAS" and "TAS." That is The Actor's Studio is a serious thing in the acting world (a well-regarded drama program). "Inside the Actor's Studio" is a TV show which is also a nice perk for the students who get to see some highly regarded actors talk about their craft and their career. I don't think we were ever supposed to imagine that "Inside the Actor's Studio" was like sneaking into a regular class at the school.
posted by yoink at 2:31 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Wet Hot American Summer, director David Wain joked in a recent interview that the biggest obstacle to making a sequel would be trying to pay the salaries of Bradley Cooper and Amy Poehler, both of whom were relative Hollywood unknowns when they appeared in the 2001 film.

Their scenes together, by the way, are hilarious.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:59 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


"Speaking of Wet Hot American Summer"....... Let's never forget H Jon Benjamin's (Archer/Bobs Burgers) role as a Vietnam vet stuck in a can of vegetables
posted by BlerpityBloop at 4:04 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


Vietnam vet stuck in a can of vegetables

Cabbage
posted by Sys Rq at 4:52 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


FWIW a big part of the reason I left acting school was that we were told at every turn that we were basically going to fail, and if we could imagine ourselves doing any other job, we should quit. And we were told this practically daily.

I wish all graduate schools did this. These days they would be doing everyone a favor.
posted by winna at 5:36 PM on March 20


Wow. I never thought I would be so glad to see Bradley Cooper razzing the hell out of Louis CK. That clip at the end is just so perfect.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:46 PM on March 20


Just to repeat, Bradley Cooper wasn't razzing anybody.

The Louis C.K. thing is a joke. It's not a provable statement of fact.

It's funny that someone was able to find footage of a future celebrity asking Sean Penn a question in an episode of the show, and it's even funnier that the person in question recently starred in a movie that Louis C.K. also appeared in.

But nothing actually happened here. Louis C.K. told a joke. An editor found a couple of clips that juxtaposed in a funny way with that joke. That is all.
posted by Sara C. at 5:58 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


nobody who is, like, pulled onstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert would then go on to become a famous actor. Never happen.

I hope that one day if Courteney Cox decides to retire, she will do so by coming out onstage at a Springsteen concert, and he'll take her by the hand and help her down into the audience.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:46 PM on March 20 [11 favorites]


American Hustle was an awful movie but Cooper on the couch did a spot-on Louis C.K. and I admit I lolled at it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:49 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


But nothing actually happened here. Louis C.K. told a joke. An editor found a couple of clips that juxtaposed in a funny way with that joke. That is all.

Oh sure, it's pretty obvious that it's not a tightly knit narrative or anything. What is so great about this is not that anything was deliberately contrived and Cooper got Louis C.K. in the end, but that you can piece together a number of coincidental happenings to be oh so close to something that seems at face value to be an actual story, and it does a pretty good job of coming together in such an amusing way. It's a type of storytelling whose variables themselves have a rare opportunity for composition, even if you think they don't fit perfectly. Regardless of the holes, I also think it would be rare that you could repeatedly contrive something that looks like it works so well with other real life artifacts. The editorial work and eye for "almost" continuity is pretty sharp here.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:51 PM on March 20


"Wherever the random seems somehow designed or intentional there is situational irony."

Kinda, but not quite. Situational irony is when there's a pointed contrast between expectation and outcome, e.g. "We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
posted by klangklangston at 10:27 PM on March 20


OK, now we really need to find the clip of young Juliette Lewis asking Woody Harrelson for career advice on Actor's Studio. Then someone needs to make a sequel to Natural Born Killers where they both chase C.K. through a muddy field and make him suck a bag of dicks.
posted by dgaicun at 1:45 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Situational irony is when there's a pointed contrast between expectation and outcome, e.g. "We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."

No, that's just one kind of situational irony among many. Situational irony is simply any case where the irony arises from the situation rather than from some specific comment upon the situation (i.e. verbal or rhetorical irony).
posted by yoink at 9:29 AM on March 21


My example was one kind of situational irony, but what makes it irony is the contrast. Otherwise, you stretch "irony" so far as to be meaningless. Any coincidence can be regarded as somehow designed or intentional, but not all coincidences are ironic.
posted by klangklangston at 9:36 AM on March 21


not all coincidences are ironic

And nobody said they were. Here, allow me to requote the part of my comment that you were responding to:
"Wherever the random seems somehow designed or intentional there is situational irony."
Coincidence that does not strike us as anything other than coincidence is not ironic ("hey, in this photo of a crowd of students on a contemporary university campus, there are two people who are both wearing jeans!"). Coincidence that does strike as somehow implying design or dramatic purpose is an example of situational irony. ("The one time I remember to bring some money to contribute to the Friday office pool, the pool is canceled; how ironic!").
posted by yoink at 9:43 AM on March 21


Exactly. This would turn out not to be ironic at all if someone watched years worth of ITAS episodes and found several instances of now-famous actors asking questions. I mean, Bradley Cooper is probably the most prestigious actor out of the Actor's Studio in the past few years, but he's not the only successful/known actor to have studied there.
posted by Sara C. at 9:53 AM on March 21


"And nobody said they were. Here, allow me to requote the part of my comment that you were responding to:"

Allow me to requote what you were responding to: Any coincidence can be regarded as somehow designed or intentional, but not all coincidences are ironic.

For example, if we are both asked to say three numbers and a color and we both say "One, five, seven, orange," that could be regarded as designed or intentional (though it's worth noting that the vagueness of whom is designing or intending also works against your definition), but is not ironic outside of perhaps a claim that the expectation would be that we'd give different answers.

"Coincidence that does strike as somehow implying design or dramatic purpose is an example of situational irony. ("The one time I remember to bring some money to contribute to the Friday office pool, the pool is canceled; how ironic!")."

That phrasing doesn't make it seem designed or intentional at all. However, it is an example of a contrast between expectation and outcome (and even then, it's only weakly ironic).
posted by klangklangston at 10:09 AM on March 21


American Hustle was an awful movie but Cooper on the couch did a spot-on Louis C.K. and I admit I lolled at it.

The fact that he does it twice makes Richie such a spectacular dick. I'm lukewarm on the movie, but Cooper really was very good in it.
posted by EmGeeJay at 12:00 PM on March 21


It wasn't as good as it could have been, American Hustle, but it was not as bad as it could have been and frankly, Jennifer Lawrence redeemed it. For me. I mean, she's what I think about when I think of that movie, then Bale's hair and then the Mayor of Newark.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:51 PM on March 21 [2 favorites]


But nothing actually happened here. Louis C.K. told a joke. An editor found a couple of clips that juxtaposed in a funny way with that joke. That is all.

Well, yeah. Obviously. I knew it was actually a clip from American Hustle, and did not originally have anything to do with the Sean Penn thing.

What SpacemanStix said.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:00 AM on March 22


What kind of irony is rain on your wedding day or a free ride when you already paid?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:16 AM on March 22


Cosmic.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 AM on March 22


situational. at least that's my understanding of situational irony (w/r/t the wedding day). I don't even know what a free ride when you already paid really means. What, so you pay the cabbie and then he gives you a free ride but keeps your money? That's just weird.
posted by angrycat at 9:51 AM on March 22


Probably some Canadian thing
posted by angrycat at 9:51 AM on March 22


I just assumed it was a public transport thing, like a train with ticket inspectors who never actually inspect your ticket. Or maybe a theme park thing, where you buy a ticket but then get waved through without it being checked.

Not particularly ironic, but ticket-centric, is what I'm saying.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:23 AM on March 22


Yeah, I always assumed it was like a bus ticket or something?

It is probably the weakest of the "Ironic" chorus lyrics.
posted by Sara C. at 12:20 PM on March 22


a free ride when you already paid?

Happened to me on the Green Line in Boston all the time. You buy your tokens at the little self-serve token machine, and then the train comes and all the doors open because there is free service on Earth Day or some such.

It's not like the tokens you bought expire or anything, so it's not a huge tragedy, but still a little aggravating.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:41 AM on March 23




aw my dear, deceased friend was always adverse to calling those shirts wifebeaters for the same reasoning
posted by angrycat at 3:14 PM on March 30


That might be the best SNL monologue ever. Certainly the best in the last 15 or so years.
posted by Sara C. at 11:34 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


« Older The Pity-Charity Complex   |   Where Bad Records Go When They Die Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post