I have no particular recollection of noticing many comments or articles here about this show. Hence, I’m interested in your experience of it. I recall buying season one on DVD and pretty much rushing home to watch it thinking that I was in for a treat and a feast. I expected insightful interviews with an interesting array of people.
It certainly is an interesting array of people and season two, which is available now on YouTube, continues in that vein. However, to my surprise, Elvis is a terrible host and a bad interviewer. He reminds me a little of James Lipton who had the job of hosting Inside the Actors’ Studio. Great guests, but Lipton could make you squirm as he leaned into his guests attempting to oil his way into their affections.
Costello seems not to know how to actually ask a question. This is a problem that I see in the vast majority of interviewers, even professional ones, so I’m not that surprised to see it in an amateur. Costello is not a professional journalist and it shows. Instead, he’s egotistical, determined to show that he is the star here and everybody else is a guest. This seems somehow self evident but it’s not the best way of running a good show. It’s the best way of ruining a good show. It’s a habit that bedevilled Michael Parkinson for the last 10 years of his run as his stuttered and stammered his way through every interview making sure that he interrupted everybody and often himself as well.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Costello doesn’t understand humility. He seems to think that humility is about offering the most ludicrous display of brown nosing hoping that he will receive the same in return which he often does. Interestingly, the most compelling displays are usually from the most humble of the performers, with Jesse Winchester being the standout.
The double episode in season two with Bruce Springsteen is in someway is the low point. Desperate to show that he and Bruce are now mates, they completely mangle Pretty Woman.
Elvis attempts to tell anecdotes that are not able to be followed by anybody including Springsteen and so he is forced to laugh and say “yeah yeah” a lot.
The real horror of the whole thing is when Costello reflects on Patti Scialfa and offers that she is a great singer-songwriter. Of course she is, and what is Springsteen to say about it precisely? How about you ask a question?
Live performances are sometimes good but sometimes pretty surprisingly shoddy. Again, Elvis is often the culprit as he oversings with any real feeling now seemingly beyond him.
How many others have seen this particular spectacle? I’m sure that there are plenty who feel quite differently about the show but I would be very interested to know your responses. Of course the show has been discontinued and all of this is some years ago now but nonetheless it exists out there so I thought let’s have a chat about it.