I was thrilled to witness Canadian broadcaster George Stroumboulopoulos in action when he brought his show to CBC Vancouver. He addressed our rather handsome Vancouver Mayor, Gregor Robertson, on city living and discussed personal growth with multi-faceted actor Lance Reddick. I also learned a few unexpected things about George along the way.
Canadian television and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos is a humble man with extremely soft hands.
Okay, while the above statement is completely true, unfortunately it does not qualify as a review.
So allow me to elaborate on my experience with the only man who puts the last name “Schwarzenegger” to shame.
I waited patiently (stalking him with my eyes) in a media room backstage at CBC Vancouver, where “Strombo” would be presenting his Toronto-based show “George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.”
He walked into the room and began greeting fans, shaking hands, making jokes, and I lurked in the shadows rehearsing my pickup line.
“Hello I’m Nicolle” is fairly anti-climactic, however this is how the story goes.
He extended his velvety soft hand and said, “Hi, I’m George.”
“No kidding,” I exclaimed.
George Strombo (I refuse to spell out his last name again) who has won six Gemini Awards.
George Strombo, who was our beloved Canadian MuchMusic VJ.
George Strombo, the vegan.
George Strombo, who has fluffly white kittens for hands.
My follow up line was slightly more spectacular, something along the lines of “rah rah it’s on my bucket list to get a picture with you.”
“Enjoy the show!”
All good things in life seem to happen so quickly.
Proceeding to the studio, all media were given prime seats for full frontal view of George and his skinny jeans.
Don’t be dirty.
The green men (if you don’t know who I’m talking about then please exit stage life) were given their own reserved section for cheering and making full bodied spandex suits almost cool.
George warmed up the audience by speaking candidly about the process of producing the show.
He explained his fear of potentially falling down the stairs during the introduction and how he likes when people laugh at his jokes loudly (for audio purposes) all while bashfully deflecting cat calls.
The show was underway.
The first guest was Vancouver Mayor, Gregor Robertson, who I’m sure said some really interesting things, all of which I would have heard if I wasn’t distracted by his manly beauty.
Okay, okay, I know he touched base on the importance of being attentive to the small details of running a city, improving public transit, a decrease in homelessness under his leadership, plans to continue making Vancouver a green city, you know, all very important stuff.
Then they played a clip of him taking his shirt off, after a long sweaty environmentally-friendly bike ride.
I suddenly like politics.
The second guest of the evening was actor, musician and professional of long drawn out silences Lance Reddick.
He has starred in TV dramas such as The Wire, Oz, Lost and Fringe.
He has also perfected the art of extended pauses for dramatic effect.
I mention this because I realized that no matter how much research and preparation is done before an interview, a host can never predict exactly what direction it will take.
George does an exceptionally good job at maintaining an air of sincerity and interest during his interviews, all while feeding off the body language of his guests.
He admitted to the audience that he has a wood plank under his chair to make it all the more uncomfortable, forcing his own forward posture.
Throughout the entire conversation with Lance Reddick (sighs, pauses, calculated laughs and all) he was able to keep the subject matter interesting enough that the audience felt the silence fitting, as they waited to hear the response to some rather personal questions.
He wasn’t asking what Lance Reddick’s favourite color was; he was asking how it felt for Lance when his ex-wife passed away.
I’d wait through silence to hear that answer too.
See, that’s the great thing about George, his ability to get to the core of an issue, in a none-intrusive way, in such a short period of time.
It appeared to me as if he had known these people forever.
Essentially strangers, who upon sitting on the little red couch, became actual human beings with a relatable story worth sharing.
Suddenly the mayor is just a beautiful man with a love for the city, like you or I.
And actor Lance Reddick is a man deep in contemplation, who has lost someone dear.
George Strombo, with all his sincerity and hand lotion, is quite simply good at making us feel like we are sitting in that red chair too, taking part in the secret of an extraordinary story.