My 20 Best Philly Mag Interviews of 2022

A TV star (right before she was). Two mayoral candidates (before they were). A beloved radio personality. A true Philly drag diva. A Jeopardy! champ. A guy named Yannick. The list goes on.

gloria allred, quinta brunson, ryan long, brittany lynn, patty jackson, and yannick nezet seguin were among my favorite Philly Mag interviews of 2022

My favorite Philly Mag interviews of 2022 include: Gloria Allred (photograph by Austin Hargrave), Quinta Brunson (photograph by Rozette Rago), Ryan Long (photograph by Stevie Chris), Ian Morrison, a.k.a. Brittany Lynn (photograph by Alexander John Photography), Patty Jackson (photograph by Linette & Kyle Kielinski), and Yannick Nézet-Séguin (photograph by George Etheredge).

I do a lot of interviews for Philly Mag. In fact, I do two each month in the print issue — one that opens the magazine, and one that closes it. Plus there are the interviews I do online. It was really hard to pick my favorite Philly Mag interviews from the past year. But pick them I did.

Quinta Brunson

Quinta Brunson / Photograph by Rozette Rago

Okay, so my interview with Quinta Brunson landed in the March issue of Philly Mag. That means I interviewed her at the end of January 2022 (print deadlines and such). Talk about perfect timing! I spoke with Brunson just a couple of weeks after the Chicago Tribune compared Abbott Elementary to The Office. The Office!!! And by the time the interview appeared in Philly Mag, Abbott Elementary was absolutely skyrocketing in popularity. Since then? Emmys. Golden Globe nods. Quinta on the cover of Cosmo, Variety, People and Essence. Ten-to-one she’s not taking my calls these days.
• Read my full interview with Quinta Brunson here.

Gloria Allred

Gloria Allred / Photograph by Austin Hargrave / August

The Southwest Philly-born-and-raised lawyer bad men love to hate gives great interview. Not surprising, since she’s spent much of her life doing press conferences on behalf of accusers. I love much of what she said. But one of my favorite points she made was that even she couldn’t score a last-minute reservation at Parc when she wanted to take her grandson (a law student at Penn) and his friends out to dinner. (They wound up at La Famiglia. Not too shabby.) Also, she laughingly said “I feel sorry for you” when I told her I had read her 2007 autobiography. In truth, it wasn’t very good.
• Read my full interview with Gloria Allred here.

Marc Lamont Hill

Marc Lamont Hill

Marc Lamont Hill at Uncle Bobbie’s, his bookshop in Germantown / Photograph by Linette & Kyle Kielinski

The Black scholar, author, activist, and owner of Best of Philly-winning Uncle Bobbie’s Bookshop in Germantown wound up doing the first part of our interview, in which we discussed matters like the murder of George Floyd and the concepts of defunding and abolishing police, from the back of an Uber “that was Blue Lives Matter-­and-MAGA-adorned,” as he put it. He later added, “I can’t imagine what the driver was thinking, hearing­ what I was saying.”
• Read my full interview with Marc Lamont Hill here.

Allan Domb

Allan Domb in his Rittenhouse Square office / Photograph by Colin Lenton

Back when he was still a member of City Council instead of a candidate for mayor, Domb offered to give my son some advice on buying a car. He told me he bought his first real estate when he was just 12. And he even managed to quote Winston Churchill.
• Read my full interview with Allan Domb here.

Lisa Scottoline

lisa scottoline at her chester county horse farm, photographed for the philly mag interview

Lisa Scottoline at her Chester County horse farm / Photograph by Linette and Kyle Kielinski

The prolific — and I do mean prolific — local novelist had some great stories to tell about growing up in South Philly. She also revealed that she hates the sound of her own voice on her audiobooks. And, most interestingly, she explained why she gave up a career in law to do what she does today. I think she made the right choice.
• Read my full interview with Lisa Scottoline here.

Patty Jackson

Patty Jackson / Photograph by Linette & Kyle Kielinski

If you don’t love WDAS-FM DJ Patty Jackson, you’re not to be trusted. Before I interviewed her, I didn’t know that “Jackson” wasn’t her real last name and that she changed it at the insistence of her boss at a radio station that primarily played the music of Black artists. He felt that “Patty Jackson” was a more appropriate name than “Patricia Nolan.” Michael Jackson was the biggest thing at the time.
• Read my full interview with Patty Jackson here.

Jeremiah Zagar

Jeremiah Zagar / Photograph by Linette & Kyle Kielinski

You’ve gotta love the fact that the director of the Adam Sandler movie Hustle, who’s the son of noted South Philadelphia artist Jeremiah Zagar of Magic Gardens fame, did the interview with me while his baby girl was lying on his stomach. Say it with me now: Awwwwwww.
• Read my full interview with Jeremiah Zagar here.

Buzz Bissinger

Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and, now, The Mosquito Bowl at the Kelly Writers House at Penn / Photograph by Linette and Kyle Kielinski

My biggest takeaway from my interview with the legendary Philadelphia journalist and author, who has a penchant for leather and also dressing in women’s clothing, was that he refuses to teach the novel that made him rich — Friday Night Lights — in the creative-writing class he teaches at Penn.
• Read my full interview with Buzz Bissinger here.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Academy of Music / Photograph by George Etheredge

The beloved conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, who divides his time between Philadelphia and Montreal, tried his best to defend the Canadian food known as poutine. In my opinion, he failed. But hey, still a lovable guy!
• Read my full interview with Yannick Nézet-Séguin here.

Jessica Knoll

Jessica Knoll photographed for Philadelphia magazine at her home in Los Angeles in October 2022 / Photograph by James Elliot Bailey

My most recent interview for the print magazine was with the Shipley grad who wrote the best-selling novel Luckiest Girl Alive, which Netflix just turned into a movie. It’s a pretty intense interview — her own rape at the hands of Shipley students is a big part of it — but well worth a read, and an important story to tell.
• Read my full interview with Jessica Knoll here.

Bruce Davison

Ozark actor Bruce Davison / Photograph by Paul Redmond/Getty Images

It’s always interesting for me to see which interviews get the most online readers. Chances are you don’t know the name Bruce Davison. But you certainly know his face, especially if you watched the last season of Ozark. Our readers in Delco didn’t take too kindly to him describing his childhood there as “white suburban ignorance.” They may not have liked it. But they certainly read it and shared it and sent us hate mail about it. Hey, it’s traffic. I’ll take it!
• Read my full interview with Bruce Davison here.

Ryan Long

Ryan Long, Jeopardy! champion (and Best of Philly 2022 winner) / Photograph by Stevie Chris

How can you not adore the big Jeopardy! winner? I mean, c’mon. This guy is a frigging gem.
• Read my full interview with Ryan Long here.

Ian Morrison, a.k.a. Brittany Lynn

ian morrison aka brittany lynn

Ian Morrison a.k.a. Brittany Lynn, both in and out of costume / Photograph by Stevie Chris

When you interview some people, they’re a little reluctant to let things go negative or diss those in their community. (I’m sure if I’d asked Allan Domb what he thought about Helen Gym as a potential mayor, he would have been super-diplomatic about it.) But not drag queen Brittany Lynn, whose legal name is Ian Morrison. When I asked Morrison to describe the Philly drag scene, he said that it’s “toxic and messy. I find it surprising that at 50, I still find myself arguing on a weekly basis with men who wear women’s clothing. And these new queens think they deserve what I’ve worked 27 years to get the first time they put on a shake-and-go wig they got at Party City.” Spoken like a true diva. And a true Philadelphian.
• Read my full interview with Ian Morrison, a.k.a. Brittany Lynn, here.

Hop Sing Laundromat’s Lê

Lê of Hop Sing Laundromat

Lê, the owner of Philadelphia cocktail bar Hop Sing Laundromat / Photograph by Justin James Muir

I have no idea what his legal name is. Been trying to figure that out for years, to no avail and for no particular reason. I’m just a curious guy. After knowing the owner of Hop Sing Laundromat for 10 years, I finally learned that his name is pronounced “Leh,” not “Lee.” (Who knew?!) I also enjoyed that he said he would let Jack Nicholson in without ID (the rules at Hop Sing are very strict, and everybody needs photo ID), but not George Clooney.
• Read my full interview with Hop Sing Laundromat’s Lê here.

Helen Gym

Helen Gym / Photograph by Linette and Kyle Kielinski

I try to loosen up interview subjects. Some are easier than others. Before she was a mayoral candidate, I interviewed Helen Gym, and it’s fair to say I had a hard time loosening her up. But I was glad, in the end, to at least get her review of Abbott Elementary, especially since one of her biggest platforms is and always has been our broken education system.
• Read my full interview with Helen Gym here.

Jawn Morgan

lawyer john morgan dressed as santa claus on one of his many jawn morgan billboards near Philadelphia

Lawyer John Morgan dressed as Santa Claus on one of his many Jawn Morgan billboards near Philadelphia, this one in Upper Darby / Photograph by Victor Fiorillo

His real name is John Morgan, but you probably know him as Jawn Morgan thanks to those annoying billboards the Florida-based personal-injury lawyer has up all over Philadelphia. Billboards that earned him a Worst of Philly award from yours truly. But I have to say — and some of my friends and colleagues agree with me on this — he somehow redeemed himself in our interview. He almost came off like a, dare I say it, guy from Philly?
• Read my full interview with Jawn Morgan here.

Steven Grasse

Steven Grasse / Photograph by Stevie Chris

The guy who came up with Hendricks gin, one of my all-time gin favorites, is the only one of my interviewees (ever) to insist on flipping the bird for the photo accompanying our interview. Gotta give him credit for that.
• Read my full interview with Steven Grasse here.

James Ijames

james ijames, who just won the pulitzer prize for drama for his play fat ham, an adaptation of hamlet

James Ijames, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Fat Ham, an adaptation of Hamlet / Photograph courtesy James Ijames

It’s not every day you get to interview a Pulitzer Prize-winner from South Philly — the day after he won the award, no less. This guy is amazing. True pride of South Philly.
• Read my full interview with James Ijames here.

Eliza Hardy Jones

Philadelphia vocal coach Eliza Hardy Jones works with members of the Philadelphia Eagles for the Philadelphia Eagles Christmas album, A Very Philly Christmas (image courtesy A Very Philly Christmas)

Philadelphia vocal coach Eliza Hardy Jones works with members of the Philadelphia Eagles for the Philadelphia Eagles Christmas album, A Philly Special Christmas / Photograph courtesy of A Philly Special Christmas

Everybody has been talking about the Philadelphia Eagles Christmas album. And once I found out that West Philly musician Eliza Hardy Jones was the vocal coach for the Philadelphia Eagles singers, I didn’t even bother to ask Jason Kelce or the other Eagles players involved for an interview. Not so much because I didn’t think I could get one. It was more just because I was fascinated with the person hired to make them sound great.
• Read my full interview with Eliza Hardy Jones here.

The Chicken Man

The Chicken Man / Photograph courtesy of Alexander Tominsky

Okay, so this is supposed to be about the favorite interviews I personally have done. But I have to give it up to Philly Mag food editor Hannah Albertine for her interview with Alexander Tominsky, a.k.a. the Chicken Man, who ate 40 rotisserie chickens in 40 days. You’ve never read so much about rotisserie chicken, but in a good way.
• Read Hannah Albertine’s full interview with the Chicken Man here.