Q&A with Bill Boggs

Posted on Mar 3, 2017

FRIARS CLUB: Bill, thanks for taking some time to chat with us. You’ve won four Emmy’s and interviewed roughly 8000 people over the span of your distinguished career, can we start with a brief summary of each of them?

BILL BOGGS: Sure!  All 8000 had something to plug on television.

FC: Of course they did. For real then, looking back, what were a few of your most memorable guests?

BB: Interviewing Mohamed Ali on the comeback trail. Rosa Parks. Jesse Owens. Yule Brynner in the last week of performing The King and I. I had a great interview with Frank Sinatra. Then, after he left the studio, I started a show on transsexuals, which was quite the juxtaposition.

FC: Putting it mildly. Any on camera surprises happened you never saw coming?

BB: I fell asleep once on the air once while interviewing someone.

FC: It must have been a truly engaging guest.

BB: I had been out all night at Studio54 and was talking in an exhausted monotone.

FC: You’re the consummate pro… You dedicated your career to investigating what makes people successful. Is there one quality they all share?

BB: When I wrote my book, I did one hundred and twenty interviews and everyone wanted an answer to that question. Whether it was Richard Bransen or Diane Von Furstenberg, Matt Lauer or Bobby Brown they were all doing something they were truly, truly passionate about. But my own personal definition of success has nothing to do with outward success. It’s not about having a yacht or a house in the Hamptons. It’s about getting the best out of yourself, one day at a time. That is my definition of success.

FC: Do you have a house in the Hamptons?

BB: Oh yes. A nice one. But I don’t have a yacht and I don’t know anyone with a yacht.

FC: I’m sure there are Friars who have one. I can ask our Executive Director, Michael Gyure, to make an introduction.

BB: Please. Or if anyone is reading this who has one, please get in touch with me because, I would really like to go on a yacht. And be able to tell people I have a friend with a yacht.

FC: I’ve always had a problem with the word yacht. It’s like, why spell it that way? Who was responsible for that? It’s probably best not to tackle it here…

BB: I’m comfortable moving on.

FC: Let’s... If you had a time machine, and rumor has it the club is building one in the basement, which historical figure would you like to sit down and chew the fat?

BB: People always drop names like Shakespeare or Voltaire, but for me, this one’s easy. I’d like to have a dinner party with Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy David jr, John F. Kennedy and Marylyn Monroe. It would be fun to watch them all drooling over Marylyn at the same time.

FC: And, you’d only have to serve Jack Daniels.

BB: It would be cheaper, right?

FC: How did you get involved with the Friars, and why did they accept someone like you as a member?

BB: I’ve always known Friars. Then, around fifteen years ago, I thought, I’m in Show Biz, why wouldn’t I want to be at this club? Look at the membership. I love the history of the club, and I love that at this stage of my life, I’ve made a small contribution to that history. It’s just great to be part of what this amazing club represents.

FC: You appeared in The Comedian with Robert De Niro, directed by Taylor Hackford, and shot at the club. Were there any comedic off camera exchanges or set visits from Wiseguys?

BB: It’s not like we were going out for sushi between takes… But it was just terrific to watch the ease with which De Niro works. And Taylor Hackford, too. He’s also a Friar.

FC: If you hadn’t gone into a career in TV, what else might you be doing?

BB: I’m really not sure. Probably Animal Husbandry.

FC: What is that exactly?

BB: I have no idea.

FC: You’d be great at it anyway. You’re also a successful author. Have you ever battled writer’s block and do you have any tips for winning that fight?

BB: The way I look at writer’s block is this… You have to be in the right mood before you sit down. I just finished a novel called The Adventure Of Spike The Wonder Dog as Told to Bill Boggs.

FC: Based n a true story? 

BB: Oh, it’s extremely politically incorrect. Like something that would come out of Seth McFarland’s shop. In the process of writing it, I always approached it in the right state of mind. I like the analogy of turning on an old faucet and seeing the rusty water come out. You have to let it keep running to get to the good stuff. I don’t like to write in public places. I need my private space.

FC: Last question. And please answer honestly. If you were a Chinese food dish, which one would you be, and why?

BB: I would be a highly overcooked egg roll. That way no one would eat me.

For more on not eating Bill, check out BillBoggs.com