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AOL Park Bench

park benchSteve Buscemi is reinventing the talk show as something that "barely resembles a talk show," reports John Jurgensen in The Wall Street Journal (6/10/14). Steve starts by trading the traditional talk-show couch for a park bench, which he situates in a variety of places — from an actual public park to a museum, or cafe. His guests include "a wide swath of well-known New Yorkers, including GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Blondie’s Deborah Harry."

Steve "interviews Roseanne Cash in front of an audience in a public park (accompanied by an all-female accordion band)" and then "discovers his other guest, Michael Shannon, in a drunken heap nearby." He riffs with Fred Armisen "on air drumming," and asks Mayor de Blasio about how things are going back at the office. "There’s a lot going on," the Mayor says. His "burly sidekick," Geo, "serves as an intermediary between the celebrities and everyday New Yorkers who they encounter."

Steve "toggles between performing as an actor, a straightforward interviewer" or, as he puts it, "an exaggerated version of myself … I was really interested in playing with that idea of is this real, is it not, and combining both … We didn’t have any hard and fast rules," he says. Park Bench, as the program is called, is carried by AOL and based on the "Vampire Weekend concert videos" that Steve "directed for American Express." (video) So far, Park Bench has attracted some one million views.