Hangin' The The Baze! with Eric and Andy!
If you know anything about Eric and Andy, then you know that we love The Vampire Diaries on television! Through a generous donation from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we were recently invited to tour the set and meet some of these L.A. stars! Well, while we were there, who did we run into? None other than the host of Chicago's "The Interview Show", and former popular Red Eye columnist, the great Mark Bazer!
Hey Mark! Thank you for joining us here on the set of The Vampire Diaries!
It's amazing to be here.
We're so excited too! There's a replica of a dead vampire here that is so realistic!
I just hope it doesn't scare you as you ask questions.
Ok, let's cut through all this BS, Mark. Here's what we need to know. Why did you stop writing that first opinion column for the Red Eye?
I like making mistakes.
We have this theory about Red Eye. We think it is like 24 hour old Twitter in paper form. How did you like working there and why did you even get that job in the first place?
I think Red Eye predates Twitter, no? Anyhow, I liked it! The people were great, and I could write what I wanted. What could be better? Other than not writing and staring at walls. I got the gig when the editor in chief discovered me sitting at a malt shop in a small town in Iowa.
NOTHING predates Twitter! Anyway, you had that job, and now what are you up to? Do you have a regular job like...
Do you want to end the sentence or should I end it for you?
...waiting tables or selling Arbonne?
I do have a regular job. I work at Leo Burnett, on the new-business team. And then I do The Interview Show at The Hideout once a month. And I also handle the lineup for my son's t-ball team. Not making the lineup, mind you, just making sure the kids know when it's their turn to hit.
So, but your first love is writing? Please tell us that is true.
OK. Writing is my first love.
So, now you do The Interview Show. What is that?
It's an interview show. The idea, for real, was to do a talk show that fell somewhere between Conan and Charlie Rose.
Which one do you like better? We love Charlie Rose because it's like he's interviewing people in limbo. A dark void of questions.
Funny. I was just thinking this feels like a bright expanse of questions.
We have always wanted to do an interview show that was sort of a mix of Arsenio and Maury. What sort of guests do you like to go for? Who is interesting to you in Chicago and what issues do you run into with scheduling bigger guests?
Well, for the first three years, Oprah wanted to be on the show every month. But then she moved, and we had to get creative. Um, I like having chefs on a lot. They are very talkative, by and large, they are both passionate about what they do and, usually, showmen. Scheduling. Yeah, that's the tough part. We do the show the first Friday of the month, so we rely on people without social lives.
What do you mean showmen?
Tap dancing, mainly.
We would love to see some soft-shoe on your show. Now, what do you think of The Hideout? Isn't it in the middle of a warehouse district? We always feel like there's either a shiv or a hug around every corner.
Don't forget the city's supply of garbage trucks across the street! The Hideout is the best. I'm a lucky man.
Do you ever reach out to the Theatre Community? What type of theatre do you go see?
Yeah. We've had a bunch. Just had Brian Dennehy. Before that we had Marc Grapey. Two of my favorite guests were TJ & Dave. The one problem with having theater people - and this is a testament to them - is that often actors don't want to feel like they're hogging the spotlight in an ensemble cast. But once they agree to the show, it's always great. Loved having Letts on the show. And John Mahoney and Rob Belushi were a great pair on together. I could go on. But I will not!
What do you look for in a guest? I mean... when you are searching for next month's guests, what makes them stand out to you?
The main thing is they're into it. There is some publicity that comes out of it for them, but it's certainly not on the level of being in the Trib or on TV. So, just wanting to do it. And then being up for a conversation on a stage. Also, I like to have at least one guest each month who has some real name recognition to help get people out to the show.
So, where does the future lie for the Bazer family? Do you plan on expanding the show into other mediums like radio or the internets?
We'll probably develop several apps. We are online! I need to do a better job at that. A new site is going up soon. And a podcast. What else should I do? Any ideas?
Maybe you should do it on the bus! So, let me ask you something. We know why we do interviews, but what do you get out of it? Is it an actual interest thing? Do you miss that sweet Red Eye spotlight?
I do it merely to share all of the great talent in Chicago with the community. I see myself as a messenger of creativity, a force for ... yeah, ego's probably a part of it. I don't know. The honest answer is that I really like the give and take on stage - it sounds cliche and corny, but it's a very alive feeling on the stage. A very focused feeling. I don't know if that makes sense. I also like the prep for the show.
See, now that sounds great! That makes you sound like a neo-Merv Griffin. We love putting neo- in front of things! So, Mark...when is the next show and do you have any guests booked yet that you can tease for us? Come on, give us a little tease!
August 3. Mick Napier from the Annoyance. 25 years for them, which is awesome. And Jennifer Estlin, president of the Annoyance, with him. Then John Monopoly who helped Kanye early in his career, manages King Louie, a rising rapper here. Just a big force in Chicago rap. And then the guys from Shame That Tune, Brian and Abraham. And Oprah will probably stop by as well.
Mark, we like to end every interview with a secret from our guest. Here on this set of The Vampire Diaries, and us just in our underpants...is there anything exclusive that you can tell us?
Hmm. That's a tough one. I guess my biggest secret is that I still sleep on Red Eye sheets.
Well, ain't no one sleepin' on you, Mark Bazer host of The Interview Show!
Now get the hell out of here.
Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer
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