party lines

Theater on the Radio


Bogosian, Schreiber, and Naomi Watts at the Talk Radio opening-night party.Photo: Patrick McMullan

Eric Bogosian’s Talk Radio is about a controversial and caustic radio host who’s forced to confront the hatred he’s engendered just as he’s about to get picked up for national syndication. A Broadway revival starring Liev Schreiber opened Sunday night, and the after-party seemed a good place to conduct an informal survey of actors’ listening habits. We learned that Chris Noth won’t listen to radio anymore, Stephanie March wants to be a customer-service avenger, and Bogosian only listens to classical. There’s a lot more, all after the jump.

Have you ever done radio? No, but it looks like a helluva lot of fun, especially with a bottle of Jack Daniels on you. What are your listening habits? None. It sucks. There’s no art in radio these days. Most of talk radio is right wing. It’s part of the cultural boneyard, along with everything else. It’s a lot of chatter that is meaningless. When’s the last time you mouthed off? I never really got in trouble on the radio. But I did an interview on an FM station in Australia, and they told me I could play any song I wanted, but then they said “We can’t play that!” What song? A Jethro Tull song. It’s because they have a playlist on FM now, and if a song’s not on it, they can’t play it. That’s how fucked up things are.

Want to do radio? I would love to. You show up in a ponytail and sweatpants and do your thing. I’d probably do a show about how crappy customer service is right now. I think I could fill hours and hours — people could call in, and we’d be Customer Service Police, and we’d go right the wrongs against our nation’s consumers. What’s the worst customer service you’ve ever experienced? I’ve had some throwdowns with the phone company. I’m a pretty calm person. Easygoing, not on any crazy meds, raised by a nice family. I have heard myself screaming, “This is not a long-distance call, are you stupid?!” They should all die.

So what do you listen to? I’m such a boring person in real life it’s not even worth discussing. I listen to classical music.

Ever done radio? Yes, in 1978 and 1979. “Richard Belzer in the Morning.” The top twenty, and phone calls. It was at NBC, and we’d go down to the Today show and hijack the guests. I love radio because you don’t have to wear makeup.

When’s the last time you mouthed off? I mouth off all the time. My long-suffering wife has to listen to it, mostly. I don’t care what the opinions are, as long as they’re informed. So many opinions are completely uninformed, stupid, and rattled off from somebody else — canned and chopped up and fed to these people. If you’re going to have an opinion, you’d better by Christ do some research and some thinking, run it through your own experiences. So what do you listen to? My favorite talk show is “Mike and the Mad Dog.” I care about sports; these guys are funny, opinionated, and very bright. I’m sick and tired of would-be experts on politics. I want to get away from all that BS. —Justin Ravitz

Theater on the Radio