Jonathan Goldstein is a writer, broadcaster and humourist, probably best known to CBC Radio listeners for his show WireTap.
That show, which ran for 11 years and went off the air last summer, was a conversation — mostly on the phone — between Jonathan and a cast of characters — mostly his friends and family.
And if you've been missing Goldstein's humour and storytelling, you can get a dose Thursday night when he takes the stage at the Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre in Vancouver as part of the Chutzpah Festival for An Evening with Jonathan Goldstein.
Goldstein joined host Stephen Quinn for a conversation on On The Coast.
How did it feel to be on the butt-end of WireTap's humour most of the time, which you, presumably, created?
I'm living out everybody's vicarious masochistic fantasies. What's come out of it is all the laughter on my end. I just love it. And I think I can only take it from people who actually like me and care about me. Even hearing it now is just killing me.
What have you been doing since WireTap ended?
Mostly working on this new podcast. It's going to be more documentary-like. Whereas WireTap was half-fiction, half-non-fiction, this is going to be firmly in the area of non-fiction. It's going to take me outside the studio and into the real world.
Ostensibly I'm helping people, it's like therapy in the real world, but, you know, help them and make things probably worse for them. My wife came up with the name, Jonathan Goldstein, Medicine Woman. But I don't think that's going to be the name.
You've had a long career in radio. You were a producer and contributor for This American Life. What have you noticed about how radio and podcasts changed over the years?
When there weren't really podcasts 11 years ago or so, you were fighting for people's attention. You knew that you had to be introducing some new something every 40 seconds to keep people listening. And now, people are "appointment listening." That's the norm, where people are setting aside time to listen to something.
But compared to all the other "broadcast"-type programming on the CBC, WireTap felt so niche and small and intimate and inside your head. It seems to me that's where podcasts want to be right now.
It was meant to sound like you were eavesdropping on private phone calls to have a little bit of that transgressive feeling, that intimate feeling. I also came out of that school of radio of This American Life where radio was meant to sound conversational. Now people do the shows where they just want to hang out with the people and share that space with them.
It's like finding friends. It's like finding that environment where you fit in or people are on the same page as you or you share a sense of humour, and also it's just sort of a taste thing. I feel like the thing with WireTap was it was just sort of a space to be a little lower key, to bring it down a bit if you were in that kind of mood.
With files from On The Coast
This interview has been condensed and edited for length and clarity. To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Jonathan Goldstein of CBC Radio's WireTap talks about moving on from hit show