When James L. Brooks Interviewed Louis Armstrong

Actor Kevin Pollak recently sat down with writer-director James L. Brooks for Episode #128 of his fantabulous online Chat Show. It was, he noted, the sixth time the program has welcomed an Academy Award winner.

Right off the bat, Pollak wondered if those stories of Brooks having interviewed Louis Armstrong for the Weehawken High School newspaper were Internet hooey. Brooks was happy to confirm a semi-wonderful New Jersey journalism world:

“It was a high school of 300 students. I was fairly resented for it [interviewing famous people for the paper]. I was beaten for it, because my picture was on the front page of the newspaper every single issue.”

“But Louis Armstrong is the great meet of my life… I think I asked him a good question, ‘How do you take care of your lips?’ The answer was 15-16 minutes long. It was great, it was great.”

Brooks also talked about his unusual collegiate logic. “In my brief time in college, I had majored in public relations, not knowing what PR was. And I think my reasoning was that if nobody knew what it was, I’d have a chance to get into the field, because no one else would be taking this as a major.”

@hollywoodspin rhorgan@gmail.com Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.