top of page


Sometimes he cracks joke after joke. Then he grows more serious and makes on-point statements with his wit and intelligence. However, his charm and ability to entertain and provoke never waver. We talked with Okan Bayülgen about his TV career, the entertainment world, and his latest project, Richard.

Fular: Dior

Trençkot: Hatice Gökçe

You’ve been on the screen for 25 years and you still are passionate about late-night shows. Why is that? I love late-night fun because it’s when TV personalities all around act the smartest. For instance, prime-time shows are way below the IQ level of Turkish people. So, I think late-night is very precious. I’m usually comfortable doing late-night talk shows because I know the guests, after so many years. A lot of them were guests on a talk show with me for the first time. I find it easy to build a dialogue with them; I just set off to make a nice night of it. In fact, I’m not hosting them. We come together to please the audience while showing our guests’ works, artistic personalities, and new works to them. In other words, we’re re-introducing them to the audience. And we do this by having fun. Gece Kuşu, Televizyon Çocuğu, Herkes Bunu Konuşuyor, Televizyon Makinası, and now Uykusuzlar Kulübü... Which of these programmes have you enjoyed the most? It was my job to do these shows. I didn’t enjoy any of it. People usually ask TV programmers stupid questions like “Who would you like to have as a guest? We see you’re having great fun out there. Is it the case?” But this is a job. Let’s say you work in human relations at a company - would you skip and hop on your way to work? Or if you work at a bank or as a lawyer? Would you be delighted to go to a hearing? We all go to our jobs saying, “God damn it, what the hell am I doing here?” But we still keep doing it.

Palto: Dior

Did you plan to build a career in entertainment, or was it spontaneous? It was not planned. To be honest, my mind is not fit for this kind of work. Besides, when we talk about “show business,” I mean when we bring show and business together, it looks like there’s money involved and we’re always partying. But this is show business, which means, in essence, it is a business of some sort. I could’ve been a professional killer, or something else. But this is what I do and I see it as work. Naturally, along the way, you undertake certain tasks and responsibilities such as emphatising with the audience and checking whether they are having fun. Especially in live broadcasts where you cannot see your audience, hear their voice, or keep their pulse, so to say, unlike when you’re on stage, you have to foresee and estimate this based on years of experience. That’s what I do. This is why my shows are a great deal of fun.

You’ve mentioned you wish to spend more time with photography and cinema. If you had unlimited time and budget, what would you like to do in these disciplines? I’d like to engage in photography the most. I always have trouble with cinema because it’s made over a long period of time, which bores me. I want to work in a more individual setting, especially in photography. Theatre is also a collective effort. I’ve been in many plays in recent years. Our current project, Richard III, is a philosophical and fun play which will please audiences, and it allows us to draw inspiration from Shakespeare, have fun with it, seriously criticise him, and also respect him. I’ve recently been busy with theatre but, in the coming years, I can also get more involved in cinema, as an actor or a director. But photography has always been a part of my life. I’ve always wanted to be a photographer, since my adolescent years. Just as I was about to make some progress on that, we had this digital thing, the transformation. With the onset of digital transformation, it seemed like I positioned myself on the more conservative side of things. But I’m not. Today, the world is experiencing a rise in analogue again - especially among professional photographers. In short, they’re all coming to where I stand. In the same way painters are using centuries-old tools, photographers will also find the best kind of engineering for themselves. So, I’ll be moving forward with hybrid solutions that combine analogue and digital. I’ve bought digital cameras and I’m trying my best to love them. Back then, I would sleep with massive, technical cameras. I actually brought them to bed with me. For now, I’m only flirting with digital cameras.

Fular: Dior

Trençkot: Hatice Gökçe

Pantolon: Hatice Gökçe

Following your spectacular performance in Amadeus, you’re back on stage with a very different role, portraying King Richard. Why did you prefer to re-interpret this play? What should the audience expect? When I was starting to work on Amadeus, people questioned if I could pull this off. After a few performances, I became a “spectacular actor.” In truth, they called Selçuk Yöntem a “spectacular actor,” but they also started describing me as such because I was performing alongside him. I’m not a spectacular actor but I can be an interesting type on stage. I can deliver a good performance. Richard III is an unbearable play in some ways. If it was performed the way Shakespeare wrote it, it would take around four hours and might feel a bit suffocating. However, because it’s been staged and re-interpreted by both actors and directors so many times that the world expects something of this play - and then we enter the scene, with this modern adaptation. The play follows the events after the bones of Richard III is found in Leicester, U.K. in 2012. It’s both informative and philosophical. Why? Because we present the audience with bits of all adaptations from Alain Badiou to Baudrillard, Nietzsche to Plato and Aristotle, and Sigmund Freud to Matei Visniec. The audience will be informed as well as experiencing a catharsis. We offer many philosophical discussions in the play. What we do can inspire young people who don’t wish to live in Turkey anymore and want to pursue a future in another country, as well as people who migrate all around the world. This Richard in London is similar to Richard III but he’s someone else. He’s not British and has torn his passport up. As he runs away from the police and takes shelter in a theatre, he causes a chain of events there, which shows parallelisms with the original text by Shakespeare. At first, the audience will see it as a mystery that needs to be solved. In the end, they will leave the theatre having had their fill of philosophy, fun, music, and dance.

How does it feel to be a playwright, director, and actor all at the same time on the stage? What are the challenges of directing yourself as an actor? It’s pure idiocy! One should not be doing all this together. It’s not because of my arrogance or overflowing self-confidence. It’s how we decided to do it with our friends involved in this project. That’s why we’re doing it this way. The worst thing about it is that you have a director in the back of your head and an actor in the front. As the director, you expect something of yourself. As the actor, if you cannot deliver this, you cannot go back and fool the director. So you start blaming the actor. This causes you to continuously criticise and demoralise yourself, diminishing your self-confidence.

Full Look: Dior

Genel Yayın Yönetmeni: İrem Bakic & Selim Can Çelik

Dijital İçerikler Direktörü: Gökhan Oğuz Ünal

İçerik Editörü: Göze Arslan

Sosyal Medya Editörü: Sinem Durmaz

Fotoğraf: Zeynep Özkanca

Fotoğraf Asistanı: Semih Sunmaz - Digioneplus

Styling: Melisa Cömert

Styling Asistanları: Zeynep Meral & Zehra Gülce

Saç&Makyaj: Onur Bayram

Prodüksiyon: Müge Sarıoğlu


bottom of page