23 Oct 2014

10 things about that Richard Ayoade interview

You never really know what is going to go viral but Richard Ayoade on Richard Ayoade certainly has.  Millions of people have now watched and discussed and read about it (and if you haven’t – here it is).

Here are a few brief thoughts of my own:

1. It wasn’t ever going to be an interview about Richard. Richard’s book is a joke, not an autobiography.

2. I knew Richard wouldn’t answer real questions about himself so decided to make the interview about the promotional interview. That’s why I said what I would normally do in an interview like this.

3. I chose to pick on diversity as the “serious” topic, but it could have been anything. It was merely a vehicle.

4. Norwegians are arguably as important a minority as Nigerians. But that isn’t really why I asked that question.

5. I had hoped Richard might then be tempted into saying something real about diversity. But he didn’t. On the other hand, I did.

6. Interviewing famous people about their latest project is a bit like commuting for me too. Nobody enjoys it. It is just a mostly inescapable part of getting an interview with an artist or celebrity.

7. Richard had said in advance that if he came onto Channel 4 News he’d like to be interviewed by me. We suspected this was because he wanted to talk about my encounter with Tarantino. He highlighted the thing I’ve always thought most interesting about that too : the fury of a man who only wants his side of the Faustian pact.

8. The “essential lie of the interview situation” was a profound conclusion. I wish we’d had another four minutes to explore it. Normally we pre-record interviews like this. But this time it was live – and had an extra energy and sense of jeopardy because of that.

9. A surprising number of people, especially journalists, seem to have misunderstood that this was not awkward, or “Ayoade v Guru-Murthy”. It wasn’t him taking me on, or turning the tables, or being rude. We were having a laugh.

10. I thought it was the perfect joke interview, in which the guest, the interviewer and the viewers were all in on a joke that actually had something serious to say too.

Richard Ayoade interview

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29 reader comments

  1. Rod says:

    Nah mate he mugged you off

  2. ryan cooper says:

    I thought it was a brilliant interview and many of an interviewer would have buckled but you done really well to hold onto it. I love Richards work and have also followed your career since cbbc newsround. Keep up the good work sir

  3. Andrew says:

    In one sense it’s a pity you felt you had to spell that out. You both did a fabulous job, and I still can’t figure out whether it’s either the most honest, or the most meta thing I’ve ever seen. It probably doesn’t matter. I enjoyed it, and it made me think.

  4. geep says:

    This was one of the best interviews I have ever seen. It gets funnier each time I watch it. I didn’t know it was live – that must be what creates that incredible knife edge tension. Brilliant!

  5. Atif says:

    Great interview, what makes it even funnier is that Richard doesn’t seem to hardly laugh or even smile at times as he had us in the office in stitches! Encore!

  6. Dysonology says:

    Very much enjoyed the interview and as to your point 9, YES!

    So boring when people title otherwise quite anodyne interviews with “Watch so-and-so destroy unfortunate interviewer…what happens next will BLOW YOUR MIND” or act like its some sort of a clash when in fact a (good) interview is very different.

  7. Philip Edwards says:


    A “viral” storm ina tea cup, nothing more.

    I thought it was dead funny seeing you struggle for words at times. Very unusual for a Scouser.

    Ayoade?…..I liked him. I don’t think he takes himself too seriously. And it did you no cathartic harm whatever to have the piss taken out of you.

    Chill out, bro. It jest don’t matter.

    PS That Tarantino interview remains a brilliant example of how to expose that charlatan.

  8. Richard says:

    You sound a bit defensive Krishnan. It was a really funny interview.

  9. Antony says:

    Very much understood – it was a funny interview with good humour. But like people who ring up to complain of the “sauciness” levels on tv, don’t think any misinterpretation is a widespread thought, it was a positive viral thing :)

  10. Gemma says:

    I saw the funny side. You were a great satirical comedy side kick. This could be an alternative career for you if the news dries up!

  11. ema says:

    it does come across that you were both on an even playing field but i don’t think it was right to talk about a “serious” issue. the fact that you refer to is as such trivialises it, as does the fact that the most intelligent thing about the interview was its spoofy nature and you said nothing new or interesting about immigration.

  12. Richard C says:

    I thought it was a great interview about interviews and really funny. I saw the Tarantino one when first aired- that was awkward but a great watch, he must have done so many that he has stopped playing the game and is just honest about what he wants for his time.
    The Richard Ayoade was a masterclass in live interviewing by both parties.

  13. lin says:

    I’m glad you wrote this out. I would like to see what Richard would say about the interview. I found the interview hilarious without really knowing why. I didn’t quite know what Richard’s agenda was, but I guessed that he didn’t want to do an interview in which he is asked about topics other than the book? Or perhaps it’s a sign to his publicists that he doesn’t like to do interviews. I saw a few other interviews with richard and they are also awkward and strange.

  14. Esther says:

    I’m not sure why Richard agreed to an interview that is more or less an attack on the interviewer and his purpose. Ultimately he’ll sell a lot more books and associating yourself with Tarantino is always a good ploy.

  15. Esther says:

    Seeing the intro to this interview effects it’s context enormously. Knowing there was an understanding between the interviewer and interviewee softens the whole thing compared to the clip I originally saw with no intro.

  16. John says:

    I was waiting for you to come straight out and ask him for a date.

  17. Richard Vaughan says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed it in a sort of schadenfreudeish type way. It all seemed to be happening in slow motion.

  18. Mark says:

    We thought that this was a brilliant interview. Clearly both parties were having fun and that is part of it – and it is really sad you feel you have to justify yourself. There is nothing to explain. His comments on Tarantino of course were his way of saying that it was a pity he couldn’t talk about the book, but fair enough, nothing nasty was said. It was one of the best interviews we have ever seen and part of that was because both of you were having such fun.

  19. Martin says:

    You could have asked him about a third minority: people who succeed due to being privately educated.
    I got the feeling that using Lenny Henry and David Harewood as examples may have left Richard feeling less entitled to comment as they actually did succeed despite their backgrounds.
    Hence the Norwegian comment was a great way of dodging the issue.

  20. Malinche says:

    So pleased Vivienne brought this to my attention. Where have I been!
    I’d be hard pressed to say who came out on top, but it unfolded better than either of you could have planned it. What an entertaining alternative to the self-serving, self-important luvvie interview.

  21. Murrayzz1 says:

    Someone writing a book or releasing a film is not news. It’s commerce. Interviewing people who have something to plug has no place on a news programme. It’s free advertising. Who cares how it ended up? It shouldn’t have happened in the first place. It’s not a chat show.

  22. Nick Graham says:

    Brilliant interview with Richard. It was clear that both of you were in on the joke. He is never the most comfortable interviewee, but he accomplished his “goal”: getting his book out to the public. (Also, I loved that he visibly cracked you up.)

  23. Vic says:

    What a fantastically entertaining interview. Great television. I’m sure they were rolling about in the gallery. What a shame you didn’t have longer.

  24. Moriarty says:

    Guru Murphy: the Nixon interview

    RN: I’m thinking of jacking it all in. Things are hotting up a bit here!

    GM: Well let’s just conduct the interview as an “interview embedded as an interview type thing that doesn’t make me look like a twat”.

    RN: Has that ship sailed?

    Guru Murphy in exclusive interview with Isaac Newton!!

    GM: Obviously, and I realise I am defending the role of the interviewer here….if you were to want to plug your book how would you do it?

    IN: I’d lift it six feet above your head and drop it.

    GM: Is that the “elephant in the room”?

    IN: If only

  25. Mark says:

    I watched it live, and it confirmed for me why I prefer Channel 4 News over all evening competition. I’ve always admired the C4 team, and knew nothing about Ayoade, but he impressed me too with his witty ripostes. Hopefully the BRAND style of interview is going to give us all a lot of entertainment and food for thought in future!

  26. Ased Ali says:

    Kirshnan, both you and Richard were absolutely great. Anyone criticising you really has missed the joke. It was like a real-life Bremner, Bird and Fortune parody-type sketch.
    Well done for interviewing ‘a comedian’ in such a humorous way!

  27. HashD says:

    he let you taste your own medicine eh?more like 10 reasons to cry

  28. Patrick says:

    I should probably stop reading the comments here in a British accent.

  29. Stephanie H says:

    So, Krisnan, after making three hollywood stars feels uncomfortable during your interviews and even walking out from you. And Richard explaining in national television how disturbing those and his interviews were,

    how you gonna continue to interview famous people, if you in point 6 this blog says that noone enjoys interviewing famous people? and also insult your guests work?

    “Interviewing famous people about their latest project is a bit like commuting for me too. Nobody enjoys it. It is just a mostly inescapable part of getting an interview with an artist or celebrity.”

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