This Week's Guest: Kevin Allison
Imagine this riskiest thing you could do -- and then imagine what would happen if you did it. My guest this week knows something about taking a chance -- Kevin Allison is the host of the Risk podcast, a show where people tell true stories about the times they put everything on the line. It's a concept that came to him after he'd spent too many years playing it safe, from tiptoeing around his sexuality to his mild-mannered persona on the sketch comedy show The State. It was on the advice of his fellow troupe-member Michael Ian Black that Kevin finally decided that some risks are worth taking.
This Week's Recommendation: Richard Simmons
There are all kinds of risks in life -- just the other day, I served a cucumber salad made from a recipe I'd never tried before. (Don't worry, it came out fine). But there's another form of risk that many of us don't dare attempt, and that's honesty.
For my recommendation this week, I'd like to you take a look at Richard Simmons. Really any video of his is a pleasure to watch, but in particular I recommend searching YouTube for his name plus CNN for a video called "Richard Simmons breaks down in tears and cries." For most of the interview, Richard exhibits impeccable message discipline, focusing on the products he's selling and his advice for others -- in particular to be kind to yourself in the mirror. But when the host asks him what he says to himself in the mirror, the persona slips away and you see a moment of real vulnerable honesty.
I've interviewed a lot of people, and asked a lot of really invasive personal questions. Sometimes -- most of the time, in fact, people deflect or avoid or make a joke because it's weird to open up to a stranger, especially if you know you're being recorded. Giving an honest answer to a personal question feels tremendously risky -- but it's also the one risk that anyone can take. We can't all go skydiving, or elope, or make a new cucumber salad, but opening up, telling the truth, that's one risk that universal.