2004_09_benlyons.jpgSubway or Taxi?

Subway. Iron horse all the way baby. Subways in other cities are so fugazi. The 'T' in Boston can kiss my ass. NYC has the greatest subway system in the world, why not ride it? Cabs are just waaaay too expensive these days, I give Bloomberg the L on that one.

Puma or Adidas?
Adidas. I feel like Puma has them beat on those track suits, but as far as sneakers go, the Adidas shell toes are classic. I'm a sneaker head, I need to slow down a bit with how many shoes I have.

Mets or Yankees?
Mets. The Yankees have come to embody all that is wrong and disgusting with New York. Too many out of towners, posturing like they represent the city (Matsui, A-Rod, even Jeter is a hick from the Midwest). They have ruined the game with how much money they spend.

Ben, tell the fine audience of Gothamist how we met?
You used to baby-sit me back in the day. Our parents met through mutual friends. Our moms are so much alike they are practically twins. It’s scary. As you know your sister Alex and I are also tight. She did hairstyling for some of the shoots I’ve worked on.

You are currently the co-host of a new MTV show with SuChin Pak. What is the show called and what is the premise?
The show is called “Your Movie Show”. It is basically a movie review show for MTV viewers at home to decide if a movie is worth seeing or not. We meet crewmembers, give our feedback on the movie, go behind the scenes and interview celebrities. It’s cool. So far I have had the opportunity to interview Jack Black, Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, ‘Pussy’ from the Sopranos, etc.

Your dad is New York NBC movie critic Jeffrey Lyons. Do people ever give you crap for getting where you are today because of your connections?
My friends give me crap all the time but not for that. They tease me by calling me ‘Dan Cortez’ - all wack people from the past with lame MTV shows. People are cool about my dad because he’s an old school guy who has been in journalism for forty years. I mean if Kurt Loder was my dad perhaps it would be a different story.

What was the last movie your father and you saw? Did you agree on the review?
We saw Sky Captain. We agreed to agree.

I watched the premiere episode of your MTV show and it appeared Angelina Jolie was flirting with you. Was she? More importantly are her lips that gigantic in person as they appear on TV?
Let’s just put it this way - Angelina Jolie wants to have lots and lots of my babies. Yeah... you know. Her publicist calls me everyday begging me to fly back to LA and drive with Angelina to the Napa Valley for a few days of bike riding and wine tasting. Hold on.... (phone rings)... I think that's her right now.

I was also amused by your interview with Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy from The Sopranos) where you are behind the wheel of a car interviewing him during a car wash. I happen to know you don’t have your driver’s license. Was ‘Big Pussy’ aware of this?
He had no idea I didn’t have a driver’s license. He was loving every second of it. He used to own nightclubs in New Rochelle until Matt and Kevin Dillon convinced him to become an actor. He was in Goodfellas, Made, Carlito's Way, he's going to be in a new Guy Ritchie movie. He is a true professional, and loves promoting anything he is involved with. He was talking about his TV show "Repo Man" where he and some wise guys go reposses peoples cars, as if the show was the second coming of "New York Undercover". Don't laugh, that was a great show, Malik Yoba gets syndication checks out his ass.

This is your first on-camera hosting gig. Were there any bloopers worth mentioning?
The only blooper from my first gig on TV was my haircut. They gave me the "Ted Koppel", totally wack. They ended up not using one of the segments where my hair looked REALLY bad which I was extremely thankful for.

Have you gotten paid yet for your first MTV gig? If so how did you spend your first paycheck?
I haven’t! When they sent me out to do my interviews in LA though I did get a fat per diem. With that I bought myself a pair of Huarache sneakers. I wore them on the premier episode.

You have a lot of connections for someone your age. Is it true that Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter once called your house collect?
Yes! We were kids. Ivanka and I used to play spin the bottle together. I went to a school on the west side called Collegiate, so I was in that whole private school scene in the city. She went to Chapin, I still run into her sometimes, we have a lot of mutual friends. She is incredibly sweet and sincere. I think she could be bigger than her father someday if she wanted to.

Your new MTV gig must get you in to a lot of cool parties. What is the last New York party you checked out?
I recently checked out the album release party for The Alchemist. He has produced for Jadakiss, Nas, Fat Joe, Snoop, etc. He actually lives in my building! Literally, a floor below me. In my elevator I’ve seen everyone from Prodigy to Nore, etc.

After a night of partying, where would we find you eating a hangover breakfast in New York?
Stage Deli at 33rd and 8th Avenue. They have free newspapers, hot Spanish hostesses, and they make Turkey and Eggs like they do at Nate & Al's in LA. Mad good.

Name one New York band we should all keep on eye/ear out for? Where do they usually play? Do they have a web site?
Team Face Lift. I describe them as the Beastie Boys before Tibet. Three members: The Fat Jew, Gingerale and Machine. These guys are nuts and their shows are crazy. They ride horses naked or wearing women’s fur coats or their little sister’s blouse and men’s underwear.

Do you ever see yourself living anywhere else other than New York? If so where and why?
Yes! In five years I see myself living in Bondi Beach, Australia. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel around Australia by myself a few years ago and just explore the country, meet the people, etc. It was amazing how it affected my life. The people are extremely genuine and engaging. There is good energy there.

Top five web sites you visit on a regular basis?
CNN.com, SOHH, NYKnicks.com, ruffsketch.tv, and Pokerroom.com.

I play poker with my friends for real money, and poker online for fake to practice and kill time.

Every time I see you are on your cell phone or it’s ringing nonstop. What number are you most proud of to have in your cell phone?
I know it’s bad. I'm on my cell phone way too much, I am 100% positive I am developing a small tumor in my brain. The number I am most proud to have in my cell phone is that of producer Robert Evans, who produced The Godfather, Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, etc...The film The Kid Stays in the Picture is based on his life.

Who is an industry idol of yours?
I’d have to say Russell Simmons. Before my MTV gig I was producing a syndicated Hip Hop show called “Hip Hop Nation”. We once did a day in the life of Russell Simmons. Russell wore a phone earpiece the entire time and throughout the interview he’d be nodding and listening when suddenly he’d bust out while staring directly at me, ‘Christie Turlington - what's up? How you doin?’ It was totally freaky.

After the interview I had the crazy opportunity of introducing Russell Simmons to my dad. Russell actually got on his knees to thank my dad for his review of Russell’s play ‘Def Poetry Jam’ on Broadway that had opened that day. Most surreal moment of my life.

Interview by Kristen Duncan Williams