By Brandon Voss
Originally published on Advocate.com January 28 2011 10:20 AM ET
Formerly half of here! With Josh and Sara, Josh Rosenzweig puts his enthusiastic gay spin on the talk show format when the biweekly Just Josh premieres January 28 on here! TV and here! Online. Discussing some memorable celebrity encounters, the pop culture maven explains that while you can take the host out of the studio, you can’t take the Hebrew school drama geek out of the host.
The Advocate: What sets Just Josh apart and why should we tune in?
Josh Rosenzweig: The show is really just a direct reflection of who I am. It follows my crazy interests from the ridiculous to the sublime, and hopefully it’s just fun and funny and will make people fall in love with the people, places, and things that I love.
After the success of your last show, here! With Josh and Sara, why did you decide to go solo?
Well, in all honesty, we had done over 200 shows together, and I was kind of burned out on it. But the producer, Eric Feldman, kept hocking me about doing another show. He saw something that really appealed to him, showed it to me, and I said, “OK, that looks fun. I can do that.”
So what happened to Sara Logue — is she OK?
People keep asking if I pulled some sort of Eve Harrington maneuver and got rid of her somehow, but Sara actually left to go to grad school. She’s safe and sound in Bloomington, Ind.
For Just Josh, who are some of the more interesting celebrities you’ve spoken to so far?
The show is really a mixed bag of things I love about New York City — people, restaurants, fun activities like two-stepping — but I have had the opportunity to chat with some really fun folks like Molly Shannon, Tabatha Coffey, Casey Spooner, and Joey Arias.
In talking with these people, what has surprised you most?
I was interviewing Nick Rhodes and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran and I was surprised at how willing they were to goof off and play.
Is there a secret to making celebrity guests comfortable enough to open up to you?
I think it’s just my approach. I come in with a lot of energy, respect, and a genuine interest in chatting.Do you ever get nervous or starstruck?
I am always nervous, and I can get starstruck by the delivery boy. Of course, I think I’m being totally cool, but I have a tendency to gush over people, and then I see them recoil in horror.
Who would be your dream guest?
That’s a tough one. Madonna, Cher, Meryl, Bowie ... but you know me — I’ll talk to just about anyone.
What would be your first question?
I’d probably be so uncool that I would start the interview with “Oh, my God, I totally love you!” I can see them recoiling already.
When did you first realize that you had this on-camera presence and gift for gab? Do you have a journalism background?
No, no journalism. I first realized I was a gabber when I was I kid and I was constantly sent out into the hall for always talking in class — especially Hebrew school. Oy! I put it to good use as a young thespian — read: total drama geek — but when I first came to Here! Media, I kept all that quiet. One day I was asked to do a podcast, and then the beast was unleashed.
Just Josh often takes you out into the New York streets. Why it is so important for you to leave the comforts of the studio — especially in this horrible winter weather?
I love New York City. Period. I’ve had this love affair since I was a kid, so I hope it becomes infectious. I literally ache to get back to Manhattan when I’m away for too long. In the first episode we visit a great gallery, the Christopher Henry Gallery on the Lower East Side, and then get lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Alias. Then we go to a great off-Broadway play, The Divine Sister. It’s just about sharing what I love. What, are we having bad weather?
In addition to your here! TV show, you also happen to be here! Media’s senior vice president of integrated marketing. Is Bravo host Andy Cohen, who is also that network’s executive vice president of original programming and development, an inspiration?
Well, sometimes I feel like Andy and I were separated at birth. No, seriously, Andy is amazing, and I love the Bravo clubhouse, but what that says is that you don’t have to be just one thing in this world anymore. What I love about my job is that it’s a total mash-up of all the crazy things I’ve done in my life, so I feel really lucky.
I noticed that you weren’t on Out.com’s new Most Eligible Bachelor list. Oversight or off the market?
I am on the list. Oh, wait, that’s Lady Bunny.