Hey, I'm Josh.

I've acted in a bunch of stuff, including a TV show a lot of people know. I have written and directed two movies, and am currently starring on Broadway alongside Gretchen Mol, Karen Pittman, and Hari Dhillon in the Pulitzer-prize winning play DISGRACED, by Ayad Akhtar (who is joining me for this AMA today). You can read more about the production here as well as get tickets (the show runs through March 1st, for those of you who are inclined to go).

A little bit about me (Ayad): Hi, I'm Ayad. I wrote DISGRACED and some other things. I'm a big fan of Josh.

(Josh says) Ayad also wrote a beautiful novel called AMERICAN DERVISH which is how I discovered his writing. If anyone's looking for a great novel to read, I highly recommend it. And he had 2 other plays in New York this past season - THE WHO AND THE WHAT and THE INVISIBLE HAND, both of which are fantastic.

(Ayad says) It's a dream come true for Josh to be playing Isaac in DISGRACED. I'm a big fan of all he does, and all he will be doing.

We're just going to be complimenting each other for the next hour and a half.

Victoria's helping out Josh in New York. Ayad is in Wyoming.

Go ahead and AUA!


Update: I don't say this enough, but it really means a lot to me to hear from people who are inspired and affected by HIMYM and the movies I've directed. Hope to keep making stuff. And hope you'll keep watching it. And if you can't see DISGRACED, read any of Ayad's plays and again- his novel AMERICAN DERVISH is really special and wonderful.

Comments: 383 • Responses: 49  • Date: 

thesoundandthefury205 karma

Hey, I was wondering what you think of your college acquaintance John Green?


Your College Acquaintance John Green

p.s. Love your films; very excited to see you back doing theater.

JoshRadnorHere115 karma




I love your books. I think about my college acquaintance, John Green, often.

And I've been watching some crash courses.

JoshRadnorHere72 karma

But of course - we know each other better now than we did back then.

IShouldWinABar103 karma

Hey Josh. I'm the guy that won the actual bar from HIMYM and it's being delivered on Saturday. Care to stop by for a drink next time you're in Kentucky?

JoshRadnorHere79 karma


That's amazing! Congratulations.

And sure.

punerisaiyan99 karma

Do you know karaoke is Japanese for empty orchestra? Isn't it haunting beautiful?

JoshRadnorHere70 karma

Yes, I am aware of that.

punerisaiyan69 karma

Haaavveeeee you met your doppelganger Guillermo Ochoa the Mexican goalkeeper?

JoshRadnorHere69 karma

I have not.

But I have received thousands of tweets from people alerting me to the resemblance.

Jaredmendez63 karma

Josh, how similar to Ted Mosby are you in real life? And thanks for HIMYM. That show helped me laugh through some tough times. Seriously :)

JoshRadnorHere183 karma

My acting teacher at NYU used to say that "a character was a 50% meeting of you, and the character." So 50% is you, 50% is not you. I certainly lent a lot of myself to the character. And I probably felt, at the beginning, more like him? Like I was looking for similarities between me and him? But as the show went on, I started to feel more and more different than him, since I was growing in different ways than he was, and had different concerns... that said, obviously we look alike and talk alike. But I'm a couple years older than he was, so I sometimes felt - I described him to someone once as "my annoying younger brother" in that he sometimes drove me crazy, but I couldn't help but love him since he was family.

Larsson6935 karma

What's your opinion on the ending of HIMYM?

JoshRadnorHere61 karma

Please listen to the final episode of the podcast.

I had a great conversation with Alek Lev about all of this, and rather than try to summarize it here, just posting the link to the conversation seems more helpful.

jakamalak34 karma

Hi Josh,

Since HIMYM finished before this was announced, I'd really love to know.. how did you feel about LeBron returning to Cleveland?

Love your work!!

JoshRadnorHere62 karma

Please see this.

ezrubie728 karma

Josh- did you keep anything from the set of HIMYM?

JoshRadnorHere137 karma

I kept a horn that was french and blue.

thirstyZ25 karma

How is your hair always perfect?

JoshRadnorHere36 karma


I think it's whatever I do to it, it just stays there.

jeakzor22 karma

Hey Josh, SUIT UP!! :) loved you on HIMYM :) will you ever be on another TV show?

JoshRadnorHere27 karma

If the right one came along - sure!

asdfjkl717 karma

First of all, thank you for playing Ted Mosby with equal parts delightful silliness and heart-wrenching sincerity. Your comedic timing is impecable, and I will be forever grateful for the laughs and life lessons in HIMYM.

Now for the question portion: One of my favorite Scenes in Liberal Arts is the argument over the value of Twilight. I agree with both sides: While I’m all for reading for pleasure, I hated that book in particular. Did you actually read it, and if so, does Jesse’s assessment of it reflect your own?

JoshRadnorHere28 karma


Um...well, first, thanks for the words about the show and the character.

And you know, I wrote that scene without having read the book? And i just thought Jesse as a character, it would be the kind of book that he would hate and feel like was contributing to the downfall of civilization. And then I felt like I should pick it up, and read it, and I read about 100 pages of the first one, and - I'll just say, I didn't change the scene as a result, after having read it.

But here's the thing: I don't think of that scene as being a broadside against those books (and again, I just refer to it as a "Vampire book"). I really just wanted to have 2 characters have an argument about reading, and the value of reading, and why we read - and when people say "Oh, you must really hate that book" I always remind them that I wrote a really strong defense of that book, in the movie. And my personal feeling is where you start as a reader - in terms of what gets you interested, or hooked on reading - isn't necessarily where you're going to end up as a reader.

So I feel like anything that gets young people excited about reading words on a page is valuable.

kygei16 karma

Ah such a huge fan Mr. Radnor,

HIMYM is among my favorite TV shows to ever be watched by human eyes, it got me through so many tough times. If I am ever feeling stressed, overwhelmed, saddened, I know I can go straight to netflix and pop HIMYM on and it will immediately comfort me. It's actually quite amazing what an impact a TV show can have on someone, but it can and it does.

I don't really have any great question for you but I am also from Ohio (Greater Cincinnati area) so I figured I'd ask what some of your favorite things to do in Ohio were while growing up?

JoshRadnorHere12 karma

Yeah, my mom would take us to the library a lot when we were kids, which is great, because i became a big reader, but I'm not sure if became a true reader until i got to college. I was a competitive swimmer, so I was always swimming growing up, and then in high school, I started doing plays, and found a kind of second home at a place called the Columbus Junior Theater (which is now the Columbus Children's Theater) but that's where I really fell in love with acting. That place was a big influence on me.

mheil215 karma

Huge fan of HIMYM. Completely unrelated: What is your favorite sandwich?

JoshRadnorHere93 karma


Do you mean actual sandwich, or HIMYM sandwich?

davec7915 karma


JoshRadnorHere38 karma

eyes widen


Well, the best way is that I feel like I'm free to just live a creative life. That I get to, you know, tell stories and collaborate with amazing people, and right before I got the pilot of HIMYM I was worried about getting my health insurance renewed - I was living with a lot more uncertainty, so it's given me just more of a foundation from which to go and be creative. And I also like the feeling that the world has gotten smaller in some ways - that I did this, my friend was running this project where I went to an art gallery on the Lower East Side, and I stepped into a gold box, and there was a link to a few people in Tehran, Iran, and they told me that every young person in Iran knows the show.

And it was this amazing feeling, that this show had made the world so much smaller for me. And it was a very sweet feeling.

Sometimes it's unnerving when you're not prepared to be recognized, but often it's just people wanting to reach out and say "Thanks for making what you've made."

KUPO9214 karma

Josh, What is your favorite piece of Ted Mosby Advice to all the hopeless romantics out there?

JoshRadnorHere40 karma

There's a speech that a lot of people love from the 9th season, where Ted describes what love is, and he goes on and on about how it's someone you can't let go of (it was to Abby Elliot's character on the bridge) and I forget the exact words, but a lot of people thought oh, that's really right-on but even when we were working on it I thought this sounds more like obsession or addiction to a person and I'm not sure - I think in that moment, he was gripped by a kind of fervor or something, but what was amazing about the character in the show was watching him redefine what love was, and what he needed, or thought he needed, and it was a lot about a character revising himself as he went along.

ThatSwedishViking14 karma

Hi Josh! Thank you for doing this AMA.

I recently finished HIMYM and all I have to say is WOW! Such a great show!

My question is, what's your most memorable moment from shooting HIMYM?

JoshRadnorHere33 karma

I always think about us - it was the episode with the hurricane, and it's the morning after, and we all went out and danced in the rain, and there was SO much rain, and I think Jason was sliding? We were just drenched, and it felt like - we were so uncomfortable, but it was so much fun. And anytime we shot on the New York street, on the FOX lot, I felt like we'd really made it in show business. It felt like "old Hollywood" with big floodlights, and cameras everywhere, it was exciting. And of course, ninth season stuff, saying goodbye stuff, was wonderful and complicated and sad. Maybe also the scene of Ted & Tracy meeting on the train platform.

EstherVullings10 karma

Josh, is there something that you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting out as an actor?

JoshRadnorHere18 karma

Um... yeah. I wish someone had just told me that I was going to be pretty successful, so I could have lessened my anxiety as I went through it. But part of, I guess, the journey of it is that you don't know that, and you just have to have some faith and walk forward, one step at a time. But it would've been nice to go through it with a touch less anxiety.

MrThemafia10 karma

Hi Ayad and Josh!! What life advice can you give to college student confused about life?

JoshRadnorHere21 karma

Oh man. Well... if this isn't too obnoxious, watch LIBERAL ARTS and specifically, the scene where Jesse talks to Dean in the hospital (towards the end). That's the best advice I could think to give you.

oodan9 karma

So whats the favourite ice cream between the two of you?

JoshRadnorHere13 karma

Me and Ayad?

Ayad, have we had ice cream together?

Ayad: No, but we did go to the US Open together.

So we can report that.

Ayad I'm pretty boring, probably chocolate peanut butter or something like that.

I'll tell you what BRAND of ice cream I like. Jeni's Ice Cream, which was founded in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and it is the best ice cream on the planet. But it is!

Grambo929 karma

Afternoon gentlemen,

First off Josh, thank you for your time with HIMYM. It's a show I hope to share with my kids someday. Since there are so many HIMYM questions ill steer away. My question for you is simple. Your "song of the day" choices on twitter deeply impact how long I lurk on your twitter page. How do you come across these great artists & songs?

Ayad - I just received a copy of American Dervish and I plan on starting it this weekend! My question for you is: Who are some of your key influences when writing?

JoshRadnorHere11 karma


I share music with a lot of friends. I read different music blogs and check in with places like PASTE magazine, just places whose taste I trust and feel like my tastes are aligned with theirs. And just being curious musically. And even my twitter followers will send me stuff! One of the things I loved the most about the song of the day thing I do on Twitter is that a follower asked me to post some non-English songs, so I took a lot of suggestions and heard from people all over the world - I usually hashtag #SongoftheDay and would hashtag it in the language of where the song was from. And I discovered a TON of great new music from that, and even ended up meeting the guys from a band based in Barcelona called Manel. And they're a great band, and great guys, so that whole thing was so much fun for me. I would definitely do it again.

kvblinov9 karma

Hey, Josh. I found both of your movies extremely enjoyable, subtly heartwarming and smart. Do you plan on doing more of this stuff or sticking with your theater work? Thanks and keep being awesome

JoshRadnorHere11 karma

Haha! Well, thanks for your words about the movies. I feel like I'm really excited about making more movies. I loved every aspect of making those two movies, and it's so wonderful to hear that they've affected people, and I have no plans to stop making movies, I'm going to keep doing that, but now that I have more of my year free, it's fun to get back onstage and exercise those muscles. So I'm going to try to keep doing it all.

punerisaiyan8 karma

Do you still keep in touch with your fellow cast members of himym, HappyThankYouMorePlease, liberal arts?

JoshRadnorHere15 karma


mbursztyn8 karma

Ayad and Josh, do you find yourself defending your identity, religion and overall cultural beliefs differently now, after doing DISGRACED?

JoshRadnorHere13 karma

No... Nothing about the play makes me want to dig in and defend anything, it just makes me want to listen a little bit more to people.

punerisaiyan8 karma

Josh if there was a song tape forever stuck in the player of your car which song would that most preferably be?

JoshRadnorHere20 karma


Is that a leading question? Do you want me to say a Proclaimers song?

schmoesby7 karma

For Josh, is there one play that would be your dream to star in?

JoshRadnorHere19 karma


SHE LOVES ME, which I'm doing next season, for The Roundabout.

tijapa6 karma

Thanks for the AMA! Have you, or have you in the very least considered being a DJ? I'm a big fan of your Song of the Day series. And, if you could be an extremely successful musician, what genre would you pick, and why?

JoshRadnorHere12 karma

Oh man.

I actually had a little radio show - it was in my first couple seasons of the show - it was on a satellite radio-thing - but I forget even the specifics of it - but I only did 8-10 shows, and then my schedule just got too busy. But if I had the time, I feel like, you know, just playing a lot of music for people would be a really great gig?

I think more about instruments? I think if I could pick 2 not-really-but-kind-of superpowers, I would want to be a musical genius who could pick up any instrument and play it, and the second would be I would want to be able to speak every language.

punerisaiyan6 karma

Hey Josh what's one thing about yourself that people don't know about you that you wish they did?

JoshRadnorHere31 karma

eyes widen

That's hard to answer. And I think it's because sometimes the kind of truest parts of ourselves are the parts that we're a little more protective over?

So I try to put a lot of myself into my writing, and into my movies. And I feel like if you respond to the content of those movies, you can learn a lot about me, but even if I'm playing a character, that's only part of what it is.

I just think I always get a little weird around questions that ask for "one word" or "describe yourself in 3 words" because I feel that everyone is endlessly complicated. And when someone says "You're a funny guy" and I think not always or "you're a serious guy* and I think not always - I'm lots of things, depending on the situation, but maybe - I suppose - I have an inability to answer a question simply.

I'm verbose?

lucaslslopes6 karma

For Josh: what was like working with the cast and producers on HIMYM? Also, what are the different acting challenges of working on TV vs. movies vs. Broadway?

For Ayad: What is the character that you've written that you like the most? Do you prefer writting novels or plays?

JoshRadnorHere11 karma

We were just very fortunate, because everywhere you turned was another talented person at the top of their game. The difference in theater is that you do it straight through from start to finish, and film & TV you shoot out of order, so the responsibility for putting the performance together for film & TV lies with the director and the editor, whereas onstage, every night, you're in charge of the thing from start to finish (your performance, I mean). So it's just a different headspace. Plus the audience being there tends to affect things, plus the play is different from night to night, based on a number of factors.

lucaslslopes3 karma

Yeah, I don't think such a great cast is easily gathered in a single tv show. Also, you can sing! Any chances we'll see your musical side come alive in a album or something like that? What about record something with NPH? I'd buy that for me and everyone I know.

JoshRadnorHere10 karma

eyes widen

I do get a lot of requests for a full version of Neil and me singing "For the Longest Time" in six-part harmony. Sadly, we only recorded as much as you guys got to hear on the show.

But come to New York next spring and you can see me being very musical!

Mtgoswim6 karma

Josh, as you seem to be such an inspiration actor and overall person, what are some of your favorite inspirational books/movies of all time?

JoshRadnorHere16 karma


eyes widen

THE GIFT by Hafiz. I'm getting very inspired by TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I also really love quotes, you know - I kind've collect them as I go, when I hear something great, that contains a lot of wisdom, I try to hold those pretty close. I'm reading a book right now that I'm really enjoying called THE SPIRITUALITY OF IMPERFECTION. It's really great.

And JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO. Which is a deceptively deep and wonderful movie.

EstherVullings6 karma

Do you have any good life advice?

JoshRadnorHere23 karma

I always think back on something my dad said to me, years ago. He said "Character doesn't count in the short term, it counts in the long term." And I also always think about the writer Aldous Huxley. When he was quite old, and near death, he was asked "Through all your years of spiritual seeking, and learning, if you could distill it down to one thing, what would you say?"

And his answer was "Try to be a little kinder."

EstherVullings5 karma

Josh, what do you prefer, acting for film or theatre?

JoshRadnorHere9 karma

Well... you're in charge of more, as a theater actor, because you do the whole thing, straight through, and everything's done in a wide shot, so they're being everything. And that's really where I came from - I was a theater actor for many years before I did TV and film. I'm still learning how to be an actor in every form, because every part and situation is different, but I do feel - I would say I feel more at home onstage, but I also love the challenges and possibilities of acting on film and of course, directing on film. So I don't know. Luckily no one is making me choose one or another, so I can continue to do both.

punerisaiyan4 karma

Josh where do you see yourself in 10 years? Doing Broadway shows,movies or anything else?

JoshRadnorHere10 karma

Whenever I get asked this question, I always think about 10 years ago - if you'd asked me this question - I think I would have envisioned something for myself a lot less interesting and exciting than what actually has gone on. So I always dance around this question, because I think whatever I might envision for myself would be less interesting and exciting than what would happen. So I am just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and we'll see where I am. Hopefully alive, and making things.

Gohnny_Jaudreau4 karma

You had Richard Jenkins in both your movies. How does something like that come to fruition during the process of casting or writing a film?

JoshRadnorHere7 karma

Well, we had the same agent at the time, and he's always been one of my favorite actors. He has such gravitas, and humanity, but he's also ironic, and funny - he's just got it all as an actor. And he classes up any movie he's in. The first one he did was a cameo, as a favor to my agent. And the second one, the part of Peter (the Professor), I wrote for him and happily he agreed to do it.

AlexCourt3893 karma

Who is your favorite actor and why?

JoshRadnorHere23 karma


Again, that's hard for me to answer. My favorite film performance is probably Dustin Hoffman in TOOTSIE and I had tweeted about this, but I thought Ralph Fiennes in GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL gave one of the best comic performances possibly ever in a film. And it's always a shame that the Academy doesn't seem to value comic performances as much as the other ones.

lofdok3 karma

Hi Josh, thanks so much for all your work in that show you made, you know that famous one...can't recall it's name right now.

Is there a country you've never visited which you've always wanted to, and why?

JoshRadnorHere8 karma


Turkey, Egypt, Portugal, Denmark, Argentina, and I was in Tanzania / Rwanda a couple summers ago but I would love to see more of Africa. I'd also like to go back to India.

EstherVullings2 karma

Josh, have you ever listened to Dutch music? Doesn't have to be in Dutch, but like..some Dutch bands maybe? If not, I'd love to recommend some to you.

JoshRadnorHere3 karma

Fire away!

krollAY2 karma

What are you two doing for Valentine's day?

JoshRadnorHere7 karma

I'm doing two shows of DISGRACED on Broadway.

ryogachan2 karma

Josh, if you hadn't pursued acting, what do you think you would have been doing instead?

JoshRadnorHere4 karma

Writing books. You know, definitely something creative. I imagine I might've found my way to writing and directing films. I really liked painting in high school, and if I hadn't found acting, I bet i would've stayed with that. But I've always felt called to be creative, and stay creative.

goldfishdontbounce2 karma

Hi Josh, thanks for doing an AMA. You said Disgraced is running through March but do you have any plans after that ends?

JoshRadnorHere8 karma

Well, I'll be back on Broadway doing SHE LOVES ME in 2016! And until then, I want to get out of the cold, get back to California, see some friends, and there's a couple other things that are going on that I can't quite talk about (partly because i can't, and partly because of superstition).

punerisaiyan1 karma

Hey Josh great to see you doing an AMA Is there a story of yours(like the pineapple incident) that you don't remember yourself and some of your friends filled you in?

JoshRadnorHere2 karma

Most of my selective memory stories are from my misspent youth, and there is no point in saying them here.

BroadBandBeatnik1 karma

Hey Josh, you traveled to my home country of Peru not too long ago. What did you enjoy most about your visit?

JoshRadnorHere3 karma


I loved Cuzco. I loved the Sacred Valley. I like that whole part of the world - I've been to Peru 3 times, and I can't wait to go back.

Shipikas1 karma

Have you been on Chile, my country?

JoshRadnorHere3 karma

I have not, but we can add it to the list of countries I'd love to go to!

TimmyGUNZ1 karma

Josh - you have a kick ass taste in music - I actually spoke with you on Twitter about Shout Out Louds. What are some other bands you love?

JoshRadnorHere6 karma

eyes look happy

Oh man! Well... I will travel very far to go to a Cloud Cult show. It's hard for me to - I like so much music, and I can only talk about what I'm listening to at the moment... I'm getting very into this album by Lucius, called "Wildewoman." My friend Ryan Dilmore just sent me a new track of his, and he's a terrific singer/songwriter. I have been listening to - who's this Italian guy I've been listening to? Wait, where is it? Oh man, what's his name, hold on, oh recently played - Fabrizio de Andre, and this album is called "La Canzone di Marinella." Oh, and the new Guster is excellent! I find myself going back to Keith Jarrett's The Koln Concert quite often - oh and I've been listening to Chilly Gonzale's Solo Piano quite a bit when I write. The Keith and Chilly are just great to write to. I'm always looking for great instrumental music to write to, because lyrics can be distracting while you're writing, but when it comes to music, there's just too much - I'm literally looking at recently played - OH! there's an Icelandic singer called Ásgeir! And he has an album that is so popular in Iceland that 1 out of every 8 people there own this album! And they just released it in the States, in Icelandic - I own the English one, but the Icelandic is just so beautiful. Fans of Bon Iver would like that if they are looking for something. Oh, and also I did a talk with the CBC on my all-Canadian playlist. And here is something I wrote about music.

angrykoalawife1 karma

What is your primary focus this year, writing or acting?

JoshRadnorHere3 karma

Well, I'm finishing up DISGRACED on March 1st, which of course is acting. And then I'm back on Broadway in 2016, doing SHE LOVES ME. So let's just say... for the rest of the year, I'm going to turn my attention (hopefully) to writing and directing.

KUPO921 karma

Josh and Ayad, has there been any discussion of turning Disgraced into a movie?

JoshRadnorHere3 karma

I don't know if there have been any formal discussions? obviously I wouldn't be involved with those. But it was interesting listening to Ayad discuss in rehearsal - there are these characters that you never see, who are often talked about and quite vividly drawn in the play, and i remember at one point, Ayad saying "Well, in the movie, of course, we'd have this scene in the office where..."

But part of what makes the play a play is that it takes place in this one apartment, and it's not quite claustrophobic, but these characters are here and they can't leave until they solve some things.

Whereas if you were doing it as a movie, you'd open it up, and have several different locations. But that would be something that Ayad would be working on and I'm sure he would do it brilliantly.

ThatJakeKid911 karma

Thank you guys for doing this AMA. As writers what Screenplay and Stageplay's helped the two of you through the journey of writing the most?

JoshRadnorHere4 karma


ANGELS IN AMERICA, by Tony Kushner. THIS IS OUR YOUTH, by Kenny Lonergan. AWAKE AND SING, by Clifford Odets. UNCLE VANYA, by Anton Chekhov.

I've always been a big Richard Linklater fan. I love a German film, called THE LIVES OF OTHERS, and a Taiwanese film called YI YI.