Ziwe on Interviewing 'Iconic Guest' Chet Hanks and Season 2 of Her Showtime Talk Show (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
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Ziwe is back with her hilarious and provocative self-titled, late-night talk show, which previously saw her interview the likes of Fran Lebowitz, Eboni K. Williams and Phoebe Bridgers as they dug into topics surrounding cultural appropriation, politics and racial makeup of The Real Housewives franchise.
“Every theme is around what I really wanted to talk about,” Ziwe tells ET’s Denny Directo about season 2’s upcoming episodes, explaining that she’s “obsessed” with topics like “the fanfare of critical race theory and banning books” and thinks that “climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our lifetime.”
So, when it comes to digging into those topics, especially the latter, “why not talk to Ilana Glazer and then strip to raise money against climate change,” she says, referring to a segment involving her and Slim, a dancer and climate activist who taught the host how to pole dance.
In the premiere, which is now streaming on the Showtime app before making its on-air debut Sunday, May 1 at 11 p.m ET/PT, Ziwe and Charlamagne discuss CRT, an expression that “I’m not entirely sure people know what it means,” she says.
While the conversation starts on that topic, Ziwe also calls out the radio host and TV personality about his past beef with the likes of Lil’ Mama, Mo'Nique and other women in the way that she does when she’s holding people accountable for what they’ve said or done.
“What I love about that one is that Charlamagne has been in the public eye for decades,” she says. “And so, to find new quotes from him -- he’s written two books and he’s really established -- and so I had questions for him that he’s never been asked before.”
“It’s electric,” she adds of the interview, hoping audiences will feel the same way.
Of course, he’s not the only one to be on the receiving end of Ziwe’s playful needling. This season, “we bring out a child and we make [Ilana] apologize to a child about [climate change] and it is comedy gold,” she says, adding that she also talks to Buress about his comments about being a landlord, Byer about “her 19,000 shows” and Deux Moi about how many Black friends they have. “That is priceless.”
At the end of the day, “it’s a good time,” the host says, explaining that “it’s a really fun loose interview that isn’t about anything malicious. It’s just about having interesting conversations and being vulnerable and honest and real.”
One guest that almost seems too perfect for the series is Hanks, the actor/musician and son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson who is there to promote his new private training app. During their unexpectedly wild conversation, Ziwe asks the performer-turned-fitness guru about everything, from his use of Jamaican and other ethnic accents, which he recently reprised on Atlanta season 3, to his privileged lifestyle, all while he flirts with her.
Hanks was originally supposed to appear on the Instagram Live series Baited With Ziwe, but the host was finally able to get him to appear on the talk show after another guest dropped out. “He randomly texted me, like, congratulating me on my work and then I asked him, like, ‘Oh hey, do you wanna do the show?’” she recalls, explaining that once he was on set, he quickly won over the crew. “The crew sort of turns against me. There’s nothing on video that could capture the way in which they sort of walked away from me and into the arms of Chet Hanks.”
While the host may have lost control of her team -- and Hanks at times -- the interview will go down as one of the most memorable conversations seen on the talk show. “I was so delighted. He had been someone who I thought would be an iconic guest for years and I think that interview was an iconic interview,” she says, adding that what happened with Hanks is “a testament to the interview process.”
“Even with Fran last season, you kinda loosen up. It’s as fun as you’re having watching it, the discomfort and, like, the laugh-out-loud moments. That’s how we feel in person, it’s really silly,” Ziwe says.
Season 2 of Ziwe debuts every Friday on demand and on the Showtime app before appearing on-air Sunday nights.