Episode #13

Kristen Wiig

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Monday, April 09, 2012


Kristen was in college when an Acting 101 class prompted a move to L.A. She had little experience, but a tremendous gift for improv, and she soon found herself in a room auditioning for SNL. Hundreds of personas later, Wiig is regarded by SNL creator Lorne Michaels as one of the three or four greatest SNL talents ever. Kristen’s expertise translated well to film, and she eventually won an Oscar nomination for her Bridesmaids screenplay. She joins Alec to talk about the arc of her career and the steps she hopes to take next.

READ | Interview Transcript


Hosted by:

Alec Baldwin

Produced by:

Emily Botein and Kathie Russo

Comments [39]

Oliver from Washington DC

Alec and Kristen,

thank u so much for the interview

Jun. 15 2014 07:38 AM
jeff thompson from prescott, az

I am in love with gal. wow gorgeous marry me. I'm a plumber. Every family needs a plumber, lawyer, and a dentist.

Jan. 06 2014 12:08 AM
sharon from toronto

Interview Stern

Nov. 24 2013 04:09 PM

JUST found out about your show, and have listened to three so far. Kristen Wiig, Chris Rock, and David Letterman. All excellent. Very easy to listen to, and stimulating also. Keep up the good work!

Jun. 29 2012 10:02 AM
Frederick John LaVergne from NJ Congressional District Three

There is a story you should consider breaking...look into Docket # 12-1171 in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Article the First of the "Articles of Amendment" - colloquially known as "The Bill of Rights", was, in fact, 1792! If you look at the press release from the National Archives from December 7th of 2010, the implications of the discovery of Connecticut's and Kentucky's ratification votes (a quirk of Constitutional Law-making is that an amendment is law at "ratification", not at "notification".) are staggering, and, under the Constitution, the Apportionment of the House following the 2010 Decennial Census would call for over 6000 representatives to be seated after the November Election. To know more, give me shout....Frederick John LaVergne, Democratic-Republican for Congress, NJ Third Congressional District.

Jun. 21 2012 04:47 PM
Anna Olvera from Kauai, HI

Great show, great format, great interviews! I've already subscribed via iTunes so I can continue listening!

May. 27 2012 12:36 AM
Downtown Donnie Brown from El Dorado Hills, California

Keep up the great work Alec!!! You have easily been one of my favorite actors over the past many years and are fast becoming my favorite podcast ... Only wish the frequency were more than every two weeks. The variety of guests is wonderful! Thanks again for making my commute lots more enjoyable.

May. 23 2012 06:30 PM
LilyNYC from New York, of course

I love these podcasts. Alec moved the interview along at a nice clip--Kristen Wiig was meandering a bit and I think Alec was helping to keep it moving forward. My favorite show by far was Erica Jong and her daughter. ooh, the tension! Would love to hear alec interview Cokie Roberts and Robert Caro.

May. 08 2012 07:31 AM
matthew from Brooklyn, NY

Alec - you're the man. Happy to finally be listening to your podcast with Kristen Wiig. But you're cutting her off too much. Listen more, let the guest be there front forward, and let the flow go where it goes before cutting in, just a bit. It's obviously great to hear you're unique perspective reacting to her responses, but wait a bit before jumping in. It won't mean you're losing any dynamic, or being the talk radio host you caricatured on SNL, it'll just make for better radio. Looking forward to hearing more... -M

May. 07 2012 10:22 AM
Jack from Washington, D.C.

Really enjoy the shows. Keep em coming.

May. 04 2012 12:13 PM
Ginger Diaz from San Antonio

Love the show, have listened to all of them! Please add Ira Glass & Tina Fey to your list of future guests!

Apr. 26 2012 06:45 PM
SpokaneMan from Spokane, WA

This is the first episode I've listened to and I'm hooked! Need to voice my major frustration, though (which others have already weighed in on). Case in point...

Alec: What will you miss most about SNL?

Kristen: (Brief, thoughtful pause, maybe 3 seconds)

Alec: The people! (not a question, but a statement)

Interrupting is bad, finishing sentences is worse, and providing the answers knocks it out of the ball park. This became so distracting I almost couldn't listen anymore, but Kristen is so damn fascinating I had to.

However, the next interview I listened to (actually only about :15 in) is Robert Osborne, and there is none of the interrupting and sentence finishing evident (so far). I'm wondering if this is because Robert's stories are so compelling and told with such force (I mean that in the best possible way) that Alec doesn't feel the need to. Reflecting on the interview with Kristen Wiig it almost seemed like he was trying to rescue her throughout the interview, only she didn't need rescuing...just a moment to form a thoughtful answer.

I know, it's ironic that I started out saying I'm "hooked" then launch into my criticism. Take every good thing anyone has previously commented on and I completely agree. I am fairly new to podcast listening, and I am sold! I truly do appreciate this series.

Apr. 26 2012 11:16 AM
Jory Farr from columbus ohio

A great show. I listened to Cavett and Wig. You knew just when to hold back and when to have fun. I would like to hear you interview Ira Glass of This American Life. He is the master radio interviewer of our time, and a visionary genius for radio.

Apr. 26 2012 12:39 AM
Tim from Cologne, Germany (at the moment)

Been living and traveling abroad for a year and stumbled upon the podcast for this show this morning. Listened to about 4 episodes. Love it! Alec, you're one cool cat. And Kristen, if you want to meet up this summer, I'm going to be writing a book in a little villa in a hill town in Italy about an hour and a half east of Rome. Was also thinking about painting. You're welcome to come on by :-)

Apr. 24 2012 06:40 AM
Jay from Chicago

Mr. Baldwin, you are a natural at interviewing. Amazingly good from the first show, you seem like you've been doing this for years. This is coming from someone who watches little TV [not enough to put you on a pedestal :) ], and listens to a lot of Terry Gross--a master of the interview.

A couple bits of (what I hope is) constructive criticism:
1. You often will ask a question and then you try to anticipate the answer before the guest finishes their thought, or you try to illustrate their point before they are finished. Your interviews would be even better if you paused more often (though definitely use those illustrations, because you're often right on the mark).
2. I'm not sure how much it costs to produce this show, but if it's not too expensive, I'd love to see you have non-profit sponsors--maybe for organizations that both you & your guest feel strongly about (for example, the charity of the man you interviewed about the child sex slavery). Perhaps I'm being Pollyanna--perhaps the sponsors more than cover the production and go to supporting WNYC's other efforts (also very worthy).
I can't wait to hear your next interview!

Apr. 22 2012 02:23 PM
TripleB from Palo Alto CA

I am really enjoying the podcasts! What a nice surprise to find intelligent people having interesting conversations on the internet. More please.

Apr. 21 2012 11:24 PM
Josh Weber from Minnesota

Alec excellent show! love the wonderful relaxed atmosphere almost like sitting down yourself with whoever it may be on the show.

Apr. 18 2012 10:58 PM
DebbieT from Cleveland OH

Thanks for inspiring the crap outta me, Kristin Wiig. I'm serious!
I'm looking to take an improv class, something I've wanted to do & put off for too long. Always thinking about how it's "too late for me", "I'm 36, I've got three young kids" but it's been in me since I was kid sneaking out of my room to watch SNL. It's scary, people will judge me, and I just don't care anymore. You rock. Love what ya do.

Future improv student,

Apr. 18 2012 05:57 PM
CMD from Louisville, KY

I think "a la carte" radio/pod-casts are starting to become more popular than television. I've enjoyed listening to "Here's the Thing".

Ideas for future interviews:

Richard Donner
Eli Wallach
Alan Arkin
James Earl Jones
Mel Brooks
Harry Dean Stanton
Anthony Hopkins
Harvey Keitel
Sidney Poitier
Ringo Starr
Kris Kristofferson
Michael J. Fox
Albert Brooks
Stanley Tucci
Carl Weathers
Tom Selleck
Ernest Borgnine
Rob and/or Carl Reiner
John Malkovich
Buck Henry
Wilford Brimley
Spike Lee
Ed Asner
Brian Dennehy
Sam Elliott
Chuck Berry
Kurt Russell
Abe Vigoda
Steve Martin
Joe Pantoliano
Danny Glover
Richard Dreyfuss
Dustin Hoffman
Gene Hackman
Harrison Ford
Paul Simon
Martin Sheen
Jack Klugman
James Taylor
Billy Crystal
Jamie Foxx
Ron Howard
Jeff Bridges
Michael Caine
Ned Beatty
Andy Williams
Hal Holbrook

Sigourney Weaver
Rita Moreno
Joni Mitchell
Karen Allen
Teri Garr
Natalie Cole
Maureen O'Hara
Faye Dunaway
Lauren Bacall
Cicely Tyson
Geraldine Chaplin
Nichelle Nichols
Carol Burnett
Aretha Franklin
Ruta Lee
Jennifer Grant (her 2011 book – Good Stuff: a Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant)
Joan Collins
Adrienne Barbeau

Apr. 16 2012 03:28 PM
Vanessa from Northern CA

I love this podcast! I love Alec's natural curiosity and interest in his guests. The conversations become animated and elevated, and capture my interest. I am not so bothered by interruptions that others have commented on. I see it as a natural flow of animated conversation that happens sometimes with the best of long as the volley of converation picks up and keeps going, and I think it does with Alec. Alec,I hope you continue to enjoy doing this (it's so evident you do!) as much as I and many others enjoy listening to your fabulous "Here's the Thing Podcast"! and that you'll continue to put out this great podcast!

Apr. 13 2012 04:34 PM
Ashley Milne-Tyte from NYC

I've been enjoying Here's The Thing quite a bit - I haven't heard every episode, but almost all. Particularly enjoyed the one with Erica Jong and her daughter Molly. But I have to agree with a couple of other people here by saying this interview jumped out at me for the wrong reasons. I was very keen to hear what Kristen Wiig had to say but Alec wouldn't let her finish a lot of her sentences. I'm radio journalist myself and you're taught it's a cardinal sin to tread on your guest and to interrupt them, but that's what kept happening here. I became increasingly frustrated - I wanted to hear the rest of what she had to say but Alec kept cutting her off. On the whole, great podcast, but please let your guests have their say.

Apr. 13 2012 09:15 AM
Cindy from Santa Barbara, CA

My new favorite podcast! I love Alec's unbridled enthusiasm, velvety voice & authenticity. Great show!

Apr. 13 2012 02:25 AM
Scott Anderson from Toronto

I would listen to Alec Baldwin read the phone book. He's the best host ever of SNL. And of course I'm a fan of Kristin. So I think that I am really going to enjoy this show. Thank you.

Apr. 12 2012 11:32 PM
clive betters

in a mumble-core prevalent society,i so do welcome, "over annunciation". if you've got it,flaunt it.

Apr. 12 2012 05:15 PM
R. Daneel Olivaw


Your interviews would be better, in my opinion, if you'd stop finishing your guests' sentences for them, and stop interrupting them when they're trying to answer your questions. Ask a question and let them speak!

Apr. 12 2012 04:08 PM

I love this interview..there is not much more I can say. Just regular people living their dream..<3

Apr. 12 2012 02:20 PM
clive betters

i'm 180 degrees removed from what ed from nyc thinks.

Apr. 11 2012 08:00 PM
Ed from nyc

I listened to this and couldn't stand Alec Baldwin and his over-annunciation of words during intro. The snippets during intro were just bad. His interviewing technique is awful, he talks too much and really, really seems to think he is funny and that some intimate conversations between the him and
Wiig aren't just like conversations that we all have. I get the feeling that Baldwin thinks that if he experiences it or he hears it, then and only then is it important.

He's not likeable beyond his professional friends. There are much better podcasts with much better hosts who are more interested in their guests than themselves.

Apr. 11 2012 05:18 PM
Bonnie from Westland, Mi.

Can't Imagine SNL WITHOUT Kristen Wig,VERY FUNNY LADY!

Apr. 11 2012 12:08 AM
Chia-Li Sung from New York, USA

I didn't sense ANY horniness(or any kind of inappropriateness) from Alec Baldwim's part through out the interview. In some other NPR shows that he hosted, I thought some times he talked a bit too much during the interview and forgot that he was supposed to let the guest talk. But for this particular episode, Alec Baldwin did a pretty good job engaging the guest and asking very interesting questions throughout the show. It made me wonder what kind of culture you came from that you would take Mr. Baldwin upbeat, caring and engaging attitude as being "horny"??

Apr. 10 2012 11:50 PM
YarnGuy from Guadalajara

Alec, man, next time you find yourself talking to a relatively attractive young lady, dial down the horniness.

Apr. 10 2012 09:15 PM
Fred Herrman from Burbank, CA

Great interview with a lot of insight into the career and mind of Ms. Wiig.

Apr. 10 2012 08:11 PM

Thank you! THANK YOU! We are witnessing the 'Renaissance' that is Alec Baldwin. Kristen Wiig is a treasure... she's fearless!

Apr. 10 2012 02:45 PM
Kayrom1 from Colorado

Kudos on this podcast! As one commenter mentioned above, many interviews are conducted by starstruck hosts who try too hard or insert their personal -- and often irrelevant -- experiences and agendas into the discussion. (See Bob Edwards)

Alec Baldwin has achieved a fine balance of skillful interviewing along with the rare art of really listening to his guests, and that has made a top-notch podcast. Sure, he's interjected some personal experiences, but they're relevant to the topic being discussed, as he's in the same field as most of his guests.

I look forward to seeing the guest list expand outside the entertainment industry solely to see Baldwin's interviewing skills blossom.

Apr. 10 2012 12:43 PM
David K from Brooklyn, NY

Alec Baldwin, you are a true Renaissance man. That phrase is overused and often gratuitously, but for you it is apt. You're a terrific listener and that, combined with your instinctive inquisitiveness, make you a natural interviewer. What's great as well is that none of this precludes your storytelling talent, as you are successfully able to simultaneously inhabit the roles of evocative host and raconteur: a rare gift. I recently completed a master's thesis on the performing arts BFA as the square peg in the round hole of academia, and whether a college conservatory program actually does more harm than good for an aspiring performer. I mention this because it seems apropos of your recent Kristen Wiig interview; her career trajectory seems to back up my theory that it is better to do than it is to study--or, if you are going to study, do it outside of the academy in a more practical, less sequestered venue (i.e. The Groundlings). Conservatory programs within colleges tend to lack integration with liberal arts, and whether they should be integrated with all of that anyway is debatable. Aren't all of those general ed core requirements a distraction from the concentrated training a performer needs to succeed in his or her chosen discipline? And isn't the BFA ultimately a safety net that David Mamet, among others, advise performers against because of its inevitable ability to sap the urgency from the artist's pursuit of success in his or her craft. I realize you are incredibly busy, but I'm wondering whether you might want to read my paper. It isn't long (25 pages) and you are cited in it. I'd be happy to send as an email attachment or hard copy and would be grateful for your thoughts. Kudos on the podcast; I wish you every success.

Apr. 10 2012 12:14 PM

Celebrity interviews have always been conducted by broadcasters, who are either awed and starstruck, or who try to trap their guests with prepared questions and covert agendas. This program (all the episodes so far) is a rare and wonderful exception: a conversation between contemporaries, spontaneous, funny, topical and poignant, and much, much more. As good as The Moth and This American Life! More, please!!

Apr. 09 2012 10:27 PM
John Hails from Canada

Been listening to "Here's The Thing" since it first appeared. Truly love the show. Great interviews. Terrific format. Great guests. I could listen to most of your guests for hours if the program went that long.
Definitely my favourite podcast!
Nice work Mr. Baldwin!
Cheers from Canada
John Hails

Apr. 09 2012 05:25 PM

Thank you for the talk show and excellent guest choices! I love Alec Baldwin and Kirsten Wiig, both are very inspirational and together they click perfectly. Thanks to you I have a perfect Easter holiday day, cooking and listening to your show:). I wish everyone a great Easter and good luck with everything. PS: Congratulation to Mr. Baldwin with his recent engagement! Hana

Apr. 09 2012 06:14 AM
Jose Ramon Marquez from Aguascalientes, Ags. Mexico

I'm a big fan of Kristen Wiig (you don't believe me? here's a proof!: :)) I'm a big fan of Kristen, I love her on SNL, on Bridesmaids, and I'm listening right now to Alec Baldwin interviewing her on "Here's the Thing" and I think this is a very funny and interesting interview! Congratulations to Alec & WNYC for this podcast! :) greetings from Aguascalientes, Mexico! :)

Apr. 09 2012 02:41 AM

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