Interview With Spike Feresten

Image"Talk Show With Spike Feresten" Kicks Off This Saturday And Chit Chat Gal Got The Scoop.

Spike Feresten Photo
Back for a second season, TALKSHOW WITH SPIKE FERESTEN is a fast-paced half-hour that combines elements of a talk show with a studio audience and sit-down guests and adds to those elements with irreverent comedy sketches –both inside the studio and out on the street. The second season kicks off Saturday, September 15th at 12/11c.
One of my favorite episodes of "Seinfeld" is the Soup Nazi.  Who came up with that character, and how much fun was it to write that episode?


The Soup Nazi is actually a real person and I used to go to lunch at his shop all the time when I worked for David Letterman.  What happened is I got hired to work on "Seinfeld" and I came in with a bunch of stories to pitch to them and some of them were good and some of them weren't. At some point I just started telling this story about this place I would go to lunch at in New York and The Soup Nazi who ran it with all of these rules and everyone was laughing hysterically and said that is your first episode. I told them I wasn't pitching that as an idea and they just really didn't care. 


So I wrote the episode and the thing is a lot of that episode is very documentary of my life and how it was to eat there.  A fellow writer on the show, Dave Hanson, came in one day and told me hey there is this place I know with great soup and this Soup Nazi who has all these rules you have to follow or there will be 'No Soup for You' and that we should go eat there. So just like in the episode where Jerry tells George about this place they should eat at and gets him prepared by telling him the rules. Then George gets knocked out of line for not following the rules and well that happened to me the first time I came in there. So that whole portion of the episode happened to me.


There aren't many talk shows on TV that push the limits and make me laugh till I have tears in my eyes. I can say that your show does that as well as one other, The Graham Norton show on the BBC. Have you ever seen his show and taken ideas from him?


I have watched his show and there are so many things I love about it.  I love how he has such a different kind of set and the way he brings out his guests and allows them to be a part of the entire show and I think the thing I have taken from watching it is that he really shows off his personality and who he is and it is so great to see someone be themselves and laugh on stage while it is all going on.  That is really a challenge for me to exaggerate my personality because I am this guy from Massachusetts and people there are normally a bit more reserved but I think I am doing a good job so far.


Who is your most interesting guest?

Actually I think the most interesting guest is going to be Ryan Secrest who I am actually interviewing this week.  He has every job in the world and I want to figure out how I can steal some of those jobs. [laughing] 


The cool thing about this interview is that since I work at FOX so I am getting the exclusive behind the scenes and red carpet treatment for the Emmys. I get to hang out with Ryan and see the whole process plus I get to do Live blogging of the event from The Emmy's as well which is cool.


What did you learn from doing the first season?


I learned that I need to drive the show properly. Like don't look like a deer in headlights when something doesn't go well. I also learned that booking guests is hard.  There are a lot of stars that don't like to do this sort of thing on TV or who didn't want to do our show because it was new. But now it is getting a little easier.


Any new bits you can tell us about?


We actually dressed up in full on Caveman costume and went out to promote the ABC show Cavemen without ABC's knowledge of course.  We decided to go out and crash the paparazzi who hang out at the Ivy and were eating food off the plates of patrons and what not. I actually think some of this footage made it onto Best Week Ever and another show and no one knew that these cavemen had no association with ABC.


Does FOX give you any limits on what you can or can't do?


Actually the network has been great. They are letting us be edgy and explore the show as we go and develop on-air since we are new and it will take awhile for people to find us at midnight on a Saturday night.  I think in all shows they start out edgy when they don't have as many fans watching, but as more people watch and more stars are willing to do the show you have to be a little bit nicer so it is nice to still be able to be in that edgy stage.


Last year you did some bits in your own neighborhood. Do you plan to do any of that again and are you still fighting with that particular neighbor?


No we are actually getting along. The only new problem we are having now are there are all these people who speed down my street in their sports cars and don't stop at the stop sign in front of my house and that pisses me off because there are tons of kids and nannies always out and about. So I am thinking about having us hire some old TV cops to come out and pull over cars and see what happens; like Erik Estrada from CHIPS or Andy Sipowitz from NYPD.  We are still working out the details but I think it would be funny.


You have worked on a few shows and seen how hard it is to do a talk show five days a week. Are you glad you only do your filming in one day during the week.


Actually I would do this show 7 days a week if I could. I love doing it and will get in early if an interview has to be done because I love just doing this show.


Do you prefer being on your own show or writing shows?


I actually like them all and have found ways to do both. I do my show, write it, produce it. I am helping Jerry Seinfeld out writing The Bee Movie, I am working on some pilots and I believe one was just picked up by NBC so I may be running a show soon. I like doing it all because I know what it is like to not have a job.


How did you get involved in the Bee Movie?


I worked with Jerry on Seinfeld for a few years and he called me up and asked me if I wanted to put together a writers room of guys and work on the movie. So we have been working on this for about 3 1/2 years helping him out.  It really is his movie and sometimes he calls in the middle of the night looking for help on a Bee joke and you help him a little and than go to bed. Or I would fly out to NY for a week once a month and just write for the movie, but the pressure really is on Jerry.