Pop cul­ture on the rocks

Crouse re­turns to his bar­tend­ing roots for show

StarMetro Edmonton - - Entertainment - Dean Lisk

There aren’t too many dif­fer­ences be­tween an in­ter­viewer and a bar­tender, says Richard Crouse. To be good at their jobs, both need to pos­sess a cou­ple im­por­tant skills.

“Know­ing when to talk, and know­ing when to just be quiet and lis­ten,” says Metro’s movie critic. “Where I re­ally learned how to in­ter­view peo­ple was talk­ing to peo­ple in bars. You talk to peo­ple who are some­times ‘over re­freshed’ and you have to learn to deal with that, so you have to learn to deal with wher­ever the con­ver­sa­tion goes.”

Crouse re­turns to his bar­tend­ing roots this Satur­day night with the premiere of Pop Life, a bar-set in­ter­view se­ries air­ing on CTV News Chan­nel. The show will fea­ture celebrity in­ter­views along with panel dis­cus­sions on popular cul­ture.

“I did it from the time I was too young to bar­tend — be­cause I looked like this and sounded like this when I was 17,” says Crouse. “I had never been in a real bar be­fore. I talked my way in, and I got trained, and I worked for years, and then bopped around from bar to bar,” Crouse says. “I loved it, I love talk­ing to peo­ple. There is some­thing about peo­ple com­ing in to re­lax, and there is some­thing about that I could fa­cil­i­tate as a bar­tender.

“More than 20 years later I am happy it’s some­thing I can bring back to TV.”

Among the guests ap­pear­ing Pop Life are rocker Meat­loaf, jazz mu­si­cian Diana Krall, co­me­dian and CNN host W. Ka­mau Bell, ac­tor and best-selling au­thor Chris Colfer, and celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower. Each episode also fea­tures a panel dis­cus­sion — fea­tur­ing mem­bers of the me­dia, au­thors, ac­tors and mu­si­cians — on a topic from popular cul­ture.

Crouse says the idea be­hind the show was “to bring back real con­ver­sa­tion to tele­vi­sion. So of­ten now, every­thing is a sound bite or it has got to be less — less is more.”

“What I want to do is have a show that feels like you are in a bar talk­ing to some­body,” says Crouse, who adds real wine is be­ing sipped on the show (the set is a bar). “Ev­ery­one has a story, you just have to ask them for it and let them tell it. Don’t con­stantly in­ter­rupt. Be there for them, move the story for­ward with ques­tions, but lis­ten. Lis­ten to what peo­ple have to say.”

Ev­ery­one has a story you just have to ask them for it.

Richard Crouse


Richard Crouse will speak to mu­si­cians, ac­tors and writ­ers in a show called Pop Life, air­ing on CTV News Chan­nel.

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