My interview with Shira Lazar


With the exceptions of Dr. Browns Black Cherry Soda and sugar filled jelly rings, Shira Lazar is the sweetest kosher treat on Earth (No mom and dad, I did not ask. I will at some point). 

I had the pleasure recently of interviewing entertainment reporter Shira Lazar. In an industry often thought of as ruthless and cutthroat, her sincerity was matched only by her pleasantness. To learn more about her, check out her sites.

Like most of my interviews, I resisted the urge to doctor the interview to meet the expectations of those that believe the surreal. Below was a fictional conversation between Shira Lazar and myself.

Eric: Would you like me to tell the audience the story of you, me, and the jacuzzi filled with lemon-lime jello?

Shira: I am not sure whether to end this interview or call the police. Perhaps both.

Eric: Can I at least tell people about your crush on me?

Shira: We have never met, and that reminds me, I need to buy a taser.

Eric: Would it help matters if I completely backtracked, and replaced sophomoric behavior with intelligent questions?

Shira: Excellent idea. I would like nothing better.

I now offer you the doctored version of that fake interview.

Eric: Would you like me to tell the audience the story of you, me, and the jacuzzi filled with lemon-lime jello?

Shira: Excellent idea. I would like nothing better.

To avoid having Ms. Lazar be grounded by her parents for a “guilt by association” situation, I now present you the actual interview with her.



1)    What entertainment people or celebrities inspired you the most to be in the entertainment industry?

Broadcasters like Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey. Instead of watching 90210 as a teen, I would sit with my mom and watch Walters on 20/20. If I ever had a class project, I would always make a video pretending I was interviewing someone related to the subject. I’m not into hard news, but those are broadcasters that have entertained, covered the gossip, but are also informative and want to tell stories that make a difference. They are also strategic with their careers as a brand both in front of and behind the camera.


    2) Many Hollywood celebrities, and Hollywood in general, are seen in an overwhelmingly negative light. Again, is this negative reputation deserved, overblown, or somewhere inbetween?

I think it’s somewhere in between. Many of these stories are sought after and aren’t just sitting there waiting to be told. A perfect example right now though is Lindsay Lohan. Her negative attention is in many ways deserved. Her erratic behavior isn’t behind closed doors. Many people in the industry have partied with her and know about the drinking and drugs. No one is surprised and a lot of times what is going on is somewhat true. When you’re a celeb like she is and you go on a crazy chase endangering other people, you deserve whatever negative publicity you get. Whether you’re a normal person or a celebrity, that behavior should not be condoned or brushed aside.


3)    You have met that half a dollar fellow, or as the kids call him, Rapper 50 Cent. In general what is your feeling on the controversy surrounding rappers such as him, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, etc.?  Is the brouhah/kerfuffle/hullabaloo/other multisyllabic word with regards to lyrics that call women bad words a serious matter in need of attention or much ado about nothing?

I think it’s fine when the word is needed to tell the story within a song. Kanye West and Pharrell are great examples of songwriters/rappers that are true artists with their musical craft. I definitely feel that there are rappers out there that use words and extreme sayings in a gratuitous fashion just to spike controversy. Do we really need to hear songs where the only words are ho, slut, f*ck this, f*ck that? There’s a thing called a thesaurus that’s there for  a reason.


4)   Do you find most of the celebrities you interviewed or encountered to be more likable, less likable, or inbetween compared to the general public? Do you have a decent amount in common with most of them, or not at all?

That’s always an interesting thing. I was working with a “virgin” producer recently on a red carpet and he was surprised at how much celeb snubbing goes on. These days, I never go into situations expecting people to be super nice because you’re usually disappointed. If I go in with the mentality that I’m just meeting someone whose work I respect but don’t have any personal expectations of, you typically get more out of the moment with them. Sometimes chemistry does come from similarities or past experiences with an actor (i.e. knowing similar people in the industry, having interviewed them before, or back in the day). A perfect example of this was when I interviewed Ryan Gosling for his recent film, “Fracture.” My boss had mentioned how hard of an interview he was. In the interview, I immediately mentioned that I was Canadian, and that opened up a great rapport from the beginning because he is as well. It doesn’t take brain surgery to realize that in any human conversation, if you establish a sort of connection, there’s a trust there. While celebs might be harder to connect with in this way than “normal” folk, I try to use those same basic communicative instincts.


5)     Are you political at all? If so, which issues are you passionate about?

To be honest, I’m not a hugely political person. If you spoke to my friends I don’t think they think of me, then think of politics. I didn’t grow up in the states, and I can’t even vote right now. I’m discovering more of an interest in politics as it converges with entertainment. We see it all over YouTube with politicians invading the viral world and with Al Gore’s being the political poster child of Hollywood. Personally, as I get older I also have stronger and more knowledgeable opinions and a desire to know about what’s going on in the world.


6)    A few years back radio host Laura Ingraham wrote a book advising Hollywood celebrities to “Shut up and sing.” What are your thoughts on that, in terms of celebrities being political?

We can’t ignore that celebrities influence the American public and that they do have a certain public responsibility. However, sometimes I think you need to let actors be actors and politicians be politicians. Look at Rosie O’Donnell. She tried to voice her opinion recently and look what happened. The problem is that people love to nitpick celebs in any way they can, and when you bring that into the political world, it can cause more unneeded rather than productive attention. If they did nothing about their beliefs, however, people would criticize them for not making a difference. As long as a celeb means well and wants to help others on a grand scale, it’s important to take advantage of the followers they have and do something.


7)   Celebrities are seen as not leading emotionally or physically healthy lives, aka drugs, divorces, etc. Do you find them to be more dysfunctional than the rest of America, less dysfunctional, or the same? 

It’s hard not to be dysfunctional when your world is pretty far from normal. It takes a lot to be grounded when you’re 17, making millions of dollars, and performing for hundreds or thousands of people. So to answer your question, Yes, I don’t think celebs problems are on the same level as the rest of America. Are people more messed up living in the middle of nowhere, in abused families, on ADD drugs, struggling to pay bills? Perhaps. I think you can find many similarities with circumstances (i.e. divorce, drugs, etc) of celebs and the average person, but it’s amplified for celebs because it’s constantly in the public eye and under the microscope.


8.) If it is dysfunctional, did you get sucked into the dysfunctional life of Hollywood? If no, how did you avoid it? If yes, how did you climb out of it?

 HAHA. I don’t think I’m dysfunctional. I have the typical neurotic Jewish paranoia in me, but I think I got that from my mom.  To be honest, I try to stay balanced. I don’t do drugs and I’m not up until the wee hours of the morning partying. A lot of people get sucked into the scene here going out all the time thinking they’ll meet people or make connections. They think they need to be on the scene to make things happen. Going to industry events is different of course, and I think you need to pop in here and there and stay on people’s radar. Sorry to blow people’s bubble, but that high-profile person you’re schmoozing with who’s on X amount of drugs is probably not even going to remember you the next day. The people making real decisions and writing the checks aren’t at “Hyde” at 2am on a Tuesday. I surround myself by good, honest people, some of whom aren’t in the business. I love what I do, work hard and am always trying to get better at my craft. That’s what keeps me grounded and focused. But In the end, Hollywood is still a business, and if people don’t think they can rely on you and you can’t deliver, then you have nothing to offer other than good company.


9) Do you have any outside projects you are working on such as book deals, and what have you had to sacrifice, if anything, to keep your life “balanced?”

 I think I answered some of this previously. There’s always outside projects. Every day there’s something new that’s “in the air.” That’s become my favorite phrase: “it’s in the air.”  What keeps me professionally balanced is constantly challenging myself and working on my craft. I try to go to my vocal coach, Arthur Joseph, weekly, where I get to exercise my most important muscle: my vocal chords! He also brings a spiritual component to my work that helps me stay focused and grounded. I get a bit crazy when I’m always working on the same thing. I enjoy evolving and working with new people. It could be a small project, but I love what I do, so it gets me excited. I also try to keep writing. A lot of on-air people do only that, but writing for my blog or publications like “The Hollywood Reporter,” is such a nice change of pace for me. I also do some stints on the radio, which I love because it doesn’t have that same structure as TV. Right now, if my heart tells me to do something, then I make time for it.


10) Do you feel “infotainment” should be banned from the nightly news, that the news should be hard news such as the War on Terror, and that celebrity news relegated to shows such as “Access Hollywood,” and the like? Is there a legitimate reason for Hollywood to be considered “news?”

I don’t think it should be banned. For some people the nightly news is the only thing they’re watching to get caught up, and there’s no point of ignoring some of those stories (not gossip) that are really in the headlines. Of course, the whole “we need a light story to balance the horrible stuff going on in the world,” is always a good excuse too. The problem is that the word “news” has been made into a general saying in terms of defining what’s the latest in whatever topic is being covered. It’s used for technology, life and culture, and yes, entertainment. The “infotainment” hole has been dug and I don’t think there’s any turning back, because the audience and ratings are there. TMZ, has definitely redefined entertainment news, priding themselves in breaking entertainment stories like a newsroom. With celebs having battles with the law and in the courtroom, TMZ and the news industry as a whole have found ways to make Hollywood into real news.


11) Do you think having Katie Couric doing the nightly news is positive, negative, or neutral? Do you think her having Will Ferrell’s “Anchorman” character Ron Burgundy on one segment of the nightly news is a disgrace, or should people lighten up?

 Lighten up! Brian Williams was on SNL. Is anyone saying that he can’t be taken seriously now? No. Unfortunately, whatever Couric does at this point is probed and analyzed, because people are looking for reasons to critique her and figure out why she has such bad ratings. If she had good ratings it would be a positive thing, but I think people loved her a certain way and rather see her as “Today Show Katie” rather than “Nightly News Katie.” I feel bad for her because she is stuck in this place of wanting to be herself, and yet wanting to please others. It’s an uncomfortable state to be in and you see it on-camera.


12) Are most of your friends entertainment industry people, or do you prefer socializing outside your industry, or a combination of both?

L.A. is the entertainment industry, so it just so happens that most people you bump into here are in the biz in some shape or form. I do have some friends that aren’t in the business though, and it’s nice. I’ll mention something about meeting this person or that person and they won’t know who I’m talking about or they just don’t care. It’s refreshing.


13) What matters most to you in this world?

In the end it’s about family and friends. Those are going to be the people really taking care of you on your deathbed (sorry for being morbid). It’s also important for me to be loyal, hard working, as well as an honest and sincere person to anyone I cross paths with.


14) What do you want out of life for yourself?

To be happy and fulfilled in all areas in my life. I want to accomplish my goals and constantly be learning and challenging myself.


15) Do you belong to any religious faith, and if so, does it play any role in your personal life or your career path?

I’m Jewish but don’t consider myself religious.


16) Joe Dimaggio zealously guarded Marilyn Monroe’s honor even after they broke up. Today we have Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger at each other’s throats with their kid in between. What has gone so wrong, or is the past just romanticized?

Like all divorced couples in the real world, some get along after the fact and some don’t.  Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger are a perfect example of a dysfunctional relationship in Hollywood, using their daughter as bait. There are many high profile couples, though, that remain amicable and/or great friends: Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, etc. It’s also not that surprising to watch some of the recently divorced couples lash out publicly, when the individuals themselves aren’t that normal either.


17) How do you balance getting yourself more exposure, especially in the early going, while not lowering your standards or the quality of the “Shira Lazar brand?”

Staying grounded and true to myself. Realizing that in the end it’s not only about connecting to the celebrity world but to the average person. I refuse to do Maxim, FHM or any of those magazines. A lot of women will do those types of publications at the beginning of their careers. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, but sometimes that type of stuff comes back to haunt you and your credibility.


18) What are your favorite books, movies and television shows? Do you think they are of a better, worse, or neutral quality compared to decades past?

I’m really bad at these questions, because I tend to not have a favorite of anything. There aren’t many books or movies that I could read or watch over and over and over again. If I was going to list off some of my recent favorites they would be:

TV shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Flight of the Concords, Entourage, Sex and the City

Films: Reality Bites, Empire Records, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Amelie, Cry Baby, High Fidelity.

Books (I enjoy non-fiction): The 48 Laws of Power, What Should I Do With My Life?, The Alchemist.

19) Do you know that you are 10% cooler than (name redacted)?

10% cooler than her? Yay! I win, I win!

20) If you could communicate one message about yourself to the world, what would you want people to know about you as a person? What would you want to convey about the entertainment industry in general?

I don’t care how cliché some of these might sound, they’re still powerful and relevant:



I would like to thank Shira Lazar for her time, class, and insightfulness. To keep her wits about her in an industry that often turns people upside down is not an easy thing to do. I wish her much success and happiness.


3 Responses to “My interview with Shira Lazar”

  1. Carole says:

    Interesting technique for meeting beautiful eligible brunettes…the interview technique. Clever, g…clever.

  2. micky2 says:

    Is it gonna be Mary K or Shira ?
    I,ve only been reading your blog for a couple months now ,but I have feeling I know what you want for your birthday.
    I saw Mary K on fox yesterday and immediatly thought of you. And then I come here today and, BOOM ! Theres this photo of another foxy brunette. Have you givin up on Mary K ?

    { by the way , Carole, I hope you saw my apology for that remark on the gay issue}

  3. Eric, i wish you luck in your Quixotic quest for Ms. Lazar’s attention and affection. Zeigazint!


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