On needing a drink during a talk show interview segment

You’re up there for at most 10 minutes, and you need a mug of unspecified liquid to make it through the thing? A few ways to justify this (suddenly to me) strange phenomenon*:

  • It’s marketing. The mugs always have the show’s title card plastered on it, so in case you forgot what you’re watching somehow, you’ll be reminded because the mugs are just so totally there in nearly every shot.
  • It’s social conditioning. In case the fiction of….well, fiction wasn’t enough to remind you that all meaningful social interaction must include beverages, here’s the manufactured reality of a talk show to reinforce how if you don’t have coffee or liquor or tea, like, what are you even doing? Words can’t form from either of your mouths unless there’s liquid to transmute your thoughts into language.
  • Let’s stick with that last one because coffee is a straight up drug that’s somehow socially acceptable. (Listen, I enjoy coffee, so I’m not knocking it. I’m just saying we’re all suckers. Which…no shit. Coffee’s just one symptom of that lifelong disease.) How often do you just sit down with someone and talk, no food or drink anchoring you two to the room and to the illusion of your separate selves that inevitably comes with you having your cappuccino and your friend having their vodka?**
  • On that note, it’s just liquor in the mug and the celebrity can only get through an interview if they’re buzzed/on their way. If half of my job included “being interesting” in 10 minute segments, I’d have to be plastered all the time too. I get it. You’re paid to be an object, so getting drunk is simply surrender to that sad truth. We’re never seeing an actual human being in an interview, we’re seeing a thing that’s getting us to go see this other thing which then gets us to go see this other thing which then…ad infinitum.
  • On that note, who gives a shit that there are mugs on set? It’s a set, dummy! What do you want to be there? Were you surprised when there was furniture in the Tanner house? What are you expecting exactly? IT’S A COMMERCIAL!
  • I see…so the mug is there to round out an artificial mood being created to make it so I don’t question what’s happening and just flow with it because it’s just so completely what I want my life to be that why would I bother wondering…what’s going on here?

Seriously though, what is going on here?***

*Clips from The Pete Holmes Show are finally back on YouTube through Pete Holmes’ channel, so disciple that I am, I started watching a few of them again. His interview with Ron Funches was the first I clicked (via Twitter) and I was struck by how often he needed to take a drink. Granted, you’re being watched by a live studio audience and getting aired to (in the case of your standard late night show) millions of people more, so I understand how you can get parched. And yet…(cue awful and awfully dated Seinfeld impersonation) I mean, what’s the deal?

**Stop judging your friend. You’re a sucker too.

***I don’t really know what “here” signifies anymore. So I’m gonna go have a cup of coffee and pretend to interview myself.

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