An Interview With Richard Osman

I recently had the opportunity to interview ‘man of the moment’ Richard Osman in the kitchen of his flat-share in Harrow

jamiepbarker: Richard, I can’t seem to turn on the TV without being faced with your… with your, you know? Face.

Richard Osman: It’s nice to meet you too,

jpb: Oh sorry, got ahead of myself there. Yeah, nice to meet you. I was saying, your face is everywhere at the moment. Pointless, House of Games. Probably other things too. Safe to say things are going well?

RO: Yeah, no complaints.

jpb: Where on earth do you find the time? You’re on TV multiple times a day, every day. Don’t you sleep or something?

RO: Well, there’s a lot of juggling and, yeah, it’s full-on but I’m not complaining. The thing about showbiz is you have to maximize everything when you’re hot, and, what can I say, right now it seems like I’m de rigueur.

jpb: Strike while the iron is hot. Why is your iron hot, do you think? Can you think of an explanation?

RO: Excuse me?

jpb: Look, I like you. I’ve always liked you. But, and don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re just, like, normal. You know? A normal cool guy. Apart from your hair.

RO: Well, I actually do take that as a massive complim-

jpb: Your face, for example, the one that’s everywhere. It’s very… oh, how can I put this? It’s very normal, where we’re used to seeing good ones on telly.

RO: Yeah.

jpb: You’ve got normal person’s teeth.

RO: Yeah.

jpb: Look at mine.

RO: …

jpb: Just normal. Most people on TV have stupid veneers. You don’t, because you’re normal.

RO: …

jpb: You know what else I like about you?

RO: I’m not su-

jpb: You don’t pretend to be a super genius. Not like somebody we could mention *cough* Xander. You get stumped on the questions on your telly show like the rest of us do. I like that.

RO: Xander is actually very intelligent. He’s got a degree fro-

jpb: Yeah, right! You know when you read out the right answers on Pointless and he says it a fraction of a second after you do, to make it seem like he knew it. Or he’ll go ‘yes’ when you read it out. That’s not what a super genius would do.

RO: Ha! It probably looks that way on TV with the way it’s edited, but honestly Xander is one of the most int-

jpb: I bet you Xander is one of those people who say, ‘Oh, look at me, I don’t watch much TV I prefer to read a book while sipping wine.’ He probably says things like ‘de rigueuer.’ That’s what you expect from him, didn’t sound so cool coming from you. Maybe you hang out with him a bit too much?

RO: He’s got a 65inch Samsung so, you know, I know that’s not true about the TV.

jpb: But I bet he says he never watches it. Bet it’s not in the middle of his living room. It’s probably off to the side. And he’s got vases on stands.

RO: I haven’t seen it it situ.

jpb: Situ?

RO: That’s not French, that’s a normal word.

jpb: Maybe. Hey, the other day I was watching Pointless and I thought I’d become a genius. Ha! Genuinely had a Homer-gets-crayon-removed-from-brain moment. I was getting them all right.

RO: Actually I know what you mean. Sometimes the questions just fall right and you find that-

jpb: It was a repeat.

RO: What?

jpb: It was a repeat of Pointless. That’s how I knew the answers. I knew something was up because I knew the answers to things that I knew I definitely didn’t know. Then I realized it was a repeat. And from not that long ago. I’d just remembered the answers. That Huevo Rancheros was a Mexican breakfast. I didn’t know that but I’d remembered it. Didn’t think they’d repeat prime-time stuff on BBC so quickly. What am I paying my license fee for?

RO: We do film over two hundred episodes per year so hopefully repeats won’t be too much of an issue.

jpb: I prefer House of Games.

RO: Yeah, thanks very much, I have a lot of fun making that.

jpb: Although that late night one was the very worst thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. And I’m including the scans of my dog’s tumour in that.

RO: Oh.

jpb: But I love the regular episodes.

RO: Yup.

jpb: That late night one. Watch people guess what strangers do. What were you thinking? Awful.

RO: I thought it was… It was-

jpb: It wasn’t. Believe me. Sometimes you get a smug contestant on House of Games. You should get Xander on House of Games. Then we’d see if he’s really smart. Does that make the week hard? Smug contestants? Like that guy from Balamoray?

RO: He was… We usually have a nice mix. Some are more competitive. It’s interesting, because often they won’t be the people you expect. Or sometimes you’ll expect somebody to be more reserved and they actually turn out to be great fun. That’s what keeps it interesting. We usually have a nice blend,

jpb: I like it when you say ‘stand-ups normally do well’ even though they don’t normally do well, but you have to say something about them because nobody’s ever heard of them!

RO: That’s not why I say that. We film in Edinburgh where’s there’s a large-

jpb: Talking of large, you are. How tall are you?

RO: I’m over six feet tall.

jpb: Are you taller than Dom Joly?

RO: We’re about the same height, I believe. Why?

jpb: He’s a knob. You know I saw him on 9/11. The 9/11 and on the 20th anniversary I reminded him on Twitter and he blocked me.

RO: He maybe… just didn’t want to me reminded of such a bad day.

jpb: Yeah, maybe, hey look.

RO: Look at that. That’s something.

jpb: Isn’t it? Just blocked me. Years ago I tweeted to Dara O’Briaian that I thought the tall one from Pointless was cool and he said he’s never heard of you.

RO: Yeah. Hey, what magazine did you say you’re from?

jpb: I didn’t.

RO: Right. And are you?

jpb: Am I what?

RO: From a… a publication.

jpb: No.

RO: Right. Okay.

jpb: I know it is.

RO: It’s just. I’ve just got to go and film something now, unfortunately, so we’re going to have to wrap this up.

jpb: What are you filming?

RO: It’s a, you know. A voice over for erm… for Christmas.

jpb: Can I come?

RO: Ooof! God, no, unfortunately there’s… you know? To get onto the set.

jpb: That’s fine. I’ve got enough here. You go.

RO: Sure? Well hey, that was a lot of fun and erm.

jpb: Can you give me a lift to John Lewis? Is that on the way?

RO: No. I’m cycling there.

jpb: In this weather.

RO: Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhh.

jpb: You not putting a coat on?

RO: Nope.

jpb: Well, hope it goes well in the recording thing and I’ll tweet the link for this interview to you?

RO: Amazing. Brilliant. Yeah, and… and… and good luck to you.

I watched Richard Osman get his bike out of the shed. It was trapped behind a stepladder so it took him a while. Then, after he looked up and down the street a few times, he set off cycling while I waved. A really lovely guy.