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Tig Notaro interviews James Van Der Beek despite having no clue who he is

Screenshot: Funny Or Die (YouTube)

Most talk show interviews come with the unspoken assumption that the host either knows a whole lot of background information about their guest or, failing that, is at least able to recognize who they are. Well, a new series from Funny Or Die featuring comedian Tig Notaro is here to make sure that’s no longer the case.

In its first episode, Under A Rock With Tig Notaro demonstrates just how wrong we’ve been to always assume that the old ways are best, as Notaro sets out a paradigm-shifting format where interviews consist of just trying to figure out why this person the host is talking to is famous.

The video, whose description promises that Notaro “cannot recognize famous people,” sees the comedian sitting down with James Van Der Beek and asking him a bunch of questions about who he is and what he does for a living.

“I don’t watch many TV shows or films so I’m really bad at recognizing famous people, Notaro says at the start. This point is made clear when she introduces Van Der Beek with a warm, “Please welcome...this person.”

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“I don’t mean to objectify you, but you’re a handsome man,” she begins before going on to flip convention and ask her guest how he knows who she is. As the interview continues, Notaro reads hints meant to help her piece together Van Der Beek’s identity. She asks how old he is; tries to figure out why, at one point in time, Van Der Beek needed police protection to appear in public; and puzzles out the significance of a picture of a Dawson-free creek..

Notaro then stares at a drawing of a van, a shovel digging a hole, and a bird’s face, attempting to decode a name she guesses is “Bus Dig Beak,” “Dig The Beak,” or “Van Dig Beak.”

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“Is your name James Van Der Beek? Okay, I’ve heard that name,” she says after cracking the code and getting his first name from a pool of three options.

The show, helped along by Notaro’s jokes and Van Der Beek’s enthusiasm, shows just how much potential talk shows have been missing out on for years. Rather than brief hosts on their guests or provide them cue cards filled with important background information, Tig Notaro shows that it’s way more entertaining to watch celebrities play an elaborate, public-facing game of charades.

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[via Vulture]

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.