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Ferrell appears as himself and answers questions poking fun at some of his less successful films, such as A Night at the Roxbury, in what is obviously a comedic take on Lipton's sometimes overly reverential approach to his interviewees.

In his review of the program, The Sunday Times critic A. Gill wrote: "The format is simple and idiotically inspired.

The Actors Studio is the New York drama school made famous by Stanislavsky and his method (although the series is now filmed elsewhere).

At first taped at the New School's Tishman Auditorium in Greenwich Village, New York City, blocks away from Actors Studio's home in the theater district in midtown Manhattan, it was shifted subsequently to its present location, Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University's New York City campus.

The program is presented as a seminar to students of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University.

Lipton's guest chair, actors cease being stars for a while and become artists and teachers." Though sometimes, some interviews go longer; Steven Spielberg's 1999 visit, for example, stretched to four hours, and was later shown as two episodes of one hour each.

The interviews are guided by Lipton's trademark index-card questions, which sometimes reveal his well-researched knowledge of guests' lives, often startling some.