Name: Ira Glass
Occupation: Radio producer. He’ll be appearing (and singing!) onstage with Rachel Maddow Sunday, August 29, at the Friends With a Benefit event at Town Hall. Also performing will be comedians Mike Birbiglia, Michelle Collins, Rob Lathan, and Jamie Kilstein, and musicians Lucy Wainwright Roche, Barkuna, and Erin McKeown. Scott Adsit and Christina Gausas host the evening.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
It would be great promotion for my August 29 Town Hall event with Rachel Maddow if I’d say Rachel Maddow, but it’s better for me in the long run to say my wife. Also, that’s the truth.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
I don’t understand people who think this way. In general in New York, we all eat like kings. Insane quality, mind-blowing variety, at all price ranges. To try to name one of those meals the best seems futile.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I try to make things fascinatinger.
What was your first job in New York?
Temp secretary. I especially loved the overnight shift.
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
American Idiot, and I’m still sad I never saw Spring Awakening. I took my dad to Come Fly Away, which I thought was a cynical, dull, and weirdly dirty piece of crap — and I’m not even someone who thinks things are “dirty” — and I would’ve walked out except my dad liked it.
Do you give money to panhandlers?
Not as much as I did in Chicago.
What’s your drink?
Since I started drinking at 30 it’s been Jameson on the rocks, though the Jameson ad campaigns on the subway have made me think maybe I should switch, since those ads clearly convey that if you drink Jameson you’re an asshole or a corporate tool. Or perhaps I’m being dense and this was the way I was supposed to discover I’m an asshole and a corporate tool.
How often do you prepare your own meals?
If “prepare” means “cook,” almost never. If “prepare” means “combine” or simply “transfer from ice-cream container,” nearly every day.
What’s your favorite medication?
I really think it’s unfair for me to weigh in on this until I’ve tried Plavix, Seretide, Lipitor, Nexium, and Norvasc.
What’s hanging above your sofa?
The fifth floor.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I don’t know, but my barber Severin told me the other day that he thinks all the barbers in New York should have a competition for the best barber in the city because he’d like to know his ranking. I may be making this up, but I think he told me he’s tried to trash-talk other barbers, hoping that might get the ball rolling. The only reason I think I’m making that up is because now that I type these words I can’t imagine that he could’ve said that without me asking what barber trash-talk would consist of, and I know if he had told me, I’d remember it for the rest of my life.
Eleven would be smart, but I’m never smart.
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
I know it’s cooler to prefer the old, but I’m in Times Square once a week and every single time I love staring at the massive TV screens and colored lights everywhere. I like excess. And giant M&M’s.
What do you think of Donald Trump?
I barely know anything about the man, but for such a life-embracing, live-to-the-fullest kind of guy, why are all his buildings so yuck? Every one’s a bore.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
If we lived anywhere else, for the same money we’d have a nice place and a washer and dryer.
Who is your mortal enemy?
Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes. Or he would be, if he were mortal.
When’s the last time you drove a car?
Today! I’m in Georgia reporting a story. Not driving is one of the crappy things about living in New York. Not owning a car anymore, I feel like I’m barely an American. I miss it. And I barely ever get to listen to the radio in the car, which is the best place for radio.
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Supplied material for some great programs.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
Times. Please. I’m a cliché. Did I mention I work in public broadcasting?
Where do you go to be alone?
What makes someone a New Yorker?
Oh, for God’s sake. I could give a fuck.