Inside the Actors Studio (1994– )
[Lipton tries to get De Niro to say "You talkin' to me?"]
James Lipton: The film Taxi Driver. In which, you spoke those immortal words...
Robert De Niro: [uncomfortable] Well, you know... The usual.
[his infamous answer to "if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you when you reach the pearly gates?"]
Harrison Ford: You're much better-looking in person.
Student: What is the importance of listening, and lastly, do you believe in aliens?
Steven Spielberg: [laughs] Well, I was taught by my mom and dad that in Judaism, the most important prayer is Shema Israel, "Hear, O Israel! The Lord Our God, The Lord is One!", and it was taught to me - from childhood - that the most important thing I could do, as a Jew, was to listen. And that wasn't a way for a parent to say "I know more than you, I'm the boss, you shut up and I'll do all the talking". That wasn't that way at all. They meant listen to yourself. Listen to those little whispers that you tend to want to hear because they're too soft. We tend to somehow listen to the shout and not the whisper. So listening, carefully, is what I was taught all my life. I'm just saying that when people don't listen, it's not that they don't learn, they just deny themselves tremendous opportunities and glorious choices. They deny themselves this, and it's their own damn fault... I do believe in aliens.
Martin Sheen: I love being Spanish as much as I love being Irish, and I *really* love being Irish.
[interviewing the cast of "The Simpsons" as their characters]
James Lipton: Homer, what is your full name?
Dan Castellaneta: Homer J. Simpson. The J stands for Jay.
James Lipton: What do you do at the Nuclear Power Plant?
Dan Castellaneta: I am a safety inspector. I tell people to be safe. And safen up!
James Lipton: Safen up?
Dan Castellaneta: Safen up!
James Lipton: Since you're still here, and Springfield is still here, I assume you have an umblemished record.
Dan Castellaneta: Well... there's a few blemishes on it.
James Lipton: Ever come close to a meltdown?
Dan Castellaneta: Oh, a number of times! If that's what you mean by "blemishes".
[Lipton asks about the seven dirty words]
George Carlin: Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. That was all I could think of in one sitting.
James Lipton: I believe you're a man who believes in revenge.
Harry Shearer: [as Montgomery Burns] Yes! Hence the hounds.
Meryl Streep: [taking about Out of Africa] Sydney, I remember, didn't think I was sexy enough to play it.
James Lipton: What did you do about that?
Meryl Streep: They didn't have wonderbras in those days, but I wore a padded bra... a push-up bra and a low cut top... isn't that tragic?
[regarding Lipton's guest appearance on "The Simpsons," in which Ranier Wolfcastle appears on "Inside the Actor's Studio," gets into character as McBain, and shoots Lipton]
James Lipton: Would it have been too much trouble for you to go out and get a prop gun?
Harry Shearer: [as Ranier Wolfcastle] I'm not the prop man. I'm the actor!
James Lipton: We begin as always at the beginning.
James Lipton: What is your favourite word?
Meryl Streep: I... well, y'know, I don't want to lie...
James Lipton: Don't lie.
Meryl Streep: Because I knew that this was coming and so I asked my daughter what her favourite word is and she's six and ever since she said her favourite word, which she said without hesitating, I can't think of anything else...
James Lipton: Say it.
Meryl Streep: Coconut milk.
James Lipton: [Repeated question to guests that have experience in stand up comedy] can comedy be taught or is it genetic?