Josh on Josh

Q. Josh, the question that's begging to be asked is, why did KQED choose -- of all people -- a monologist to host their new interview show?
A. You know, to be honest, Josh, I've wondered that myself. I mean, after all, I've spent the past 15 years or so doing solo shows--

Q. Continuously.
A. I beg your pardon?

Q. You've been talking and talking and talking, pretty much 24/7.
A. I guess that's basically--

Q. About yourself. You've directed a laser-like focus onto your own navel, and then reported at length on what you've found there.
A. Well, my monologues are autobiographical, it's true. So your point is--?

Q. My point is that an interviewer is supposed to let his or her guests do most of the talking.
A. But that's exactly why I wanted to do this show -- to listen, for a change! And when KQED gave me this opportunity, I thought about all the amazing people I've met since I moved to the Bay Area: artists, writers, musicians, scientists, teachers, students -- even lawyers!...I mean, you just have to hang out for a few hours at any little café in North Beach or the Mission or out in the Avenues and you'll hear all kinds of amazing, caffeinated stories.

Q. Speaking of: the word here at KQED is that you've insisted on being supplied with unlimited coffee.
A. That's true -- though I'm still waiting for their answer to my requests for an Olympic-sized Jacuzzi and an on-call massage therapist.

Q. I'm sure it's just a matter of them finishing the paperwork.
A. You're probably right. ...And in any case, what's really important is the guests. I want them to feel comfortable, intimate.

Q. Is that why the set of The Josh Kornbluth Show is a kitchen?
A. Yes -- even though, as anyone who knows me will attest, I can't cook (unless you count Eggos). When I was a kid, hanging out in my dad's apartment in New York, I was happiest in our brightly painted kitchen, where Dad and I would sit around the table, noshing and chatting. Visitors would be drawn to the kitchen, too -- it was friendly and funky, and people would talk and argue and sing songs (often all at the same time) while I listened intently with my childish curiosity and marveled at the inexhaustible complexities of human beings. ...

Q. You're getting a bit emotional.
A. Well, it's just that my dad is long gone now, along with many of those fascinating, argumentative friends of his. And as I look back at them, I'm realizing that -- without my knowing it -- they were preparing me to be a citizen. Because now here I am, in middle age, blessed with a beautiful wife and an amazing seven-year-old son and living in this incredible Bay Area, and what I want to do is to participate -- to try to do my own small part to recognize all the people who have made this such a culturally rich and socially welcoming place.

Q. Okay, I think I can see why you would want to host an interview show. But what I still don't get is why KQED would actually hire you to do it.
A. Frankly, I don't either. Maybe everyone else was busy.

Q. Quite possibly. ...Well, Josh, our time is up. Thank you for chatting with me.
A. Thank you, Josh. You know, I've really enjoyed our talk. Would you like to be a guest on my show sometime?

Q. Actually, Josh, I think I'll hold out for Charlie Rose.