While Graham Norton always appears to be having a wonderful time on his BBC talk show, sometimes his guests aren’t always on the same page.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, he revealed that some of his worst guests would be the ones that you’d least expect.
A recent outing with the stars of the movie Ocean’s 8, for example, saw him trying to corral Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter all at the same time.
“I felt like the guy driving the bus on a hen party,” he said.
“For 45 minutes people were talking over each other and laughing. They were having a great time but the audience was nonplussed.”
On the opposite end of the scale, Robert De Niro wasn’t quite the career highlight he’d hoped either.
“He’s not a storyteller, or very verbal,” Norton went on. “He’s a benign presence. Last time he started telling a story – he went on and on.
“We were all leaning in, willing it to be amazing… then he finally went, ‘why am I telling this?’ Nobody had an answer. We cut it.”
Norton has hosted The Graham Norton Show since 2007, becoming the leading chat show in the UK over that time.
He’s now in his 24th series, and is among the BBC’s highest earners.
Of the balance needed to create a successful format, he added: “You want the big Hollywood stars on the sofa, and you plan the rest around them.
“If they’re a particularly precious star, then you won’t put on a very rude comic with them or some sort of drug-addled rock star…
“We save those for Christmas.”
This weekend’s show finds him welcoming Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Dornan, Rosamind Pike, Harry Connick Jr and K-Pop sensation BTS.