Jian Ghomeshi is known for his interviewing skills on CBC Radio's Q, but have you ever had a question you wished you could ask the host yourself? Now's your chance!
From now until Thursday, Jan. 31, send us your questions for Ghomeshi. Ask him about the show, the guests he's interviewed over the years, his career, his favourite new albums — anything you want to know.
We'll send Ghomeshi the questions, and he'll answer one each weekday. Check the CBC Hamilton website for the answers. If he answers your question you'll win a pair of tickets to see Q Live in Hamilton on the 31st at the McIntyre Performing Arts Centre at Mohawk College.
Our most recent winner in Val Gravelle. She tweeted her question to us, asking "How does Jian's experiences as a musician influence his approach to interviewing?"
Here's what Jian has to say: "I feel not just being a musician, but a performer, and touring for many years has allowed me to have an empathy for artists that come in, and to understand what it's like to be an interviewee. In fact, a lot of my do's and don't's as an interviewer come from what I didn't like or thought was effective when I was being interviewed.
Also, I did a lot of improv in theatre and in Moxy Früvous. Being prepared in a live situation to spontaneously react and interact has been real helpful during this gig. I love live. Both in terms of understanding my interviewees and the performance aspect of hosting the show, I've benefitted from my years as an artist."
Our fourth winner was Brent vanStaalduinen, who also sent his question via Twitter. Brent asked: "How do you balance making guests comfortable and/or excited to be on Q, with having to dig into at times uncomfortable subject matter?"
Jian responded: "Without gushing or acting in fan-like behaviour, I feel it's important to telegraph to a guest early on that the interview is going to be serious, in depth, and respectful. I also try to joke early on so the guest knows that's allowed. This ain't warheads in North Korea. This is just a couple people chatting.
But then, I truly think — for most interviewees — they ultimately appreciate the more difficult, probing questions. It's suggesting to them they're worthy of this kind of question line and are going to be able to handle it. A lot of interviewees are sick of being on their own message and speaking in soundbites, and end up revelling in the opportunity to have to answer more challenging queries."
Our third day winner was Russ Boychuk. Russ sent his question to us via Twitter, asking: "How do we know it's not Shaun Majumder answering the questions dressed as Jian again?"
Jian took this question quite seriously:
"You don't. This is Shaun Majumder. The only problem is I'm sitting at Jian's computer and it's hard for me to reach the keyboard because I'm so short. I'm at least 4 feet shorter than Jian. I'm really more like a child. And my little fingers have trouble with these big keys. I don't know how Jian does it, but I'm trying my best. Please watch "Majumder Manor". Signed, 'Jian.'"
Our second winner was Peter Jakubiak. He asked: "Is Jian able to turn off his interviewer's mind when not on air? Is he always interviewing people even in his personal life?"
Jian's response was: "Ha. Thoughtful question, Peter. It can be a liability. I have been in more than one social situation with another person where I have unwittingly slipped into interviewer mode. It is, as you might imagine, not the best way to foster intimacy. Although, to spin it in a more positive light, it does show interest and curiosity! I try my best to "turn off" the interviewer mode in my personal life, but I am generally interested in people. And given that the roots of a successful interview also come from an intuitive sense and a desire to discover, I cannot shut those qualities off like a tap. In short, if you dare to hang out with me you might be in for a line of questioning. But in a friendly-but-critical probing manner, of course."
Our first day winner was Kathie Stonehouse. She asked, "Have you ever interviewed a celebrity you thought you knew a lot about but been surprised by some of their answers? If so, who was it and what did they say that surprised or intrigued you?"
"Thanks for this question, Kathie. It's always a difficult line to walk in terms of managing expectations of guests that may come in for a feature interview. I want to be fair, balanced, and unaffected by someone's reputation or my own hopes. This gets more complicated when it is a person that I have admired or idolized.
I generally try to subdue any fandom when I'm doing feature interviews (I never ask for autographs or gush. I try to maintain an even disposition in order to shoot for journalistic objectivity), but it is impossible to divorce myself from pre-conceived ideas about famous folks that I may have seen on screen or in the limelight since I was a kid.
To wit, it can be daunting knowing that my dreams may be crushed if the person does not live up to hopes. This has happened on a few occasions. I remember a particularly horrible interview with a disinterested Harrison Ford that changed my opinion of him forever. No longer was Han Solo my favourite old Star Wars character after that. Similarly, it was so dispiriting to have one of my comic heroes, Chris Rock, be a less than compelling interview subject.
On the other hand, one can be surprised when mistakenly bringing low expectations to a subject as well. Jennifer Love Hewitt had been sold to me as a "lightweight" with little to say and ended up being very gratifyingly real and self-aware.
Of course, the best case scenario is when someone meets all of one's hopes, desires and expectations. Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Bjork, Gord Downie and Toni Morrison (to name a few) would fall into this category. Love them."
At the Hamilton Q show, Ghomeshi will be joined by many special guests, including Hamilton's own Arkells, who will perform.
The show runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., but please note, as this is a live taping, ticketholders must arrive by 6:45 p.m. latest to guarantee entry. The doors will open at 5:45 p.m.