“Down-to-earth” has become one of the more contrived terms to describe celebrities, but still one that seems to perfectly encompass Ohio Wesleyan’s evening with actor, writer, director and advocate for kindness, Josh Radnor.
Best know for his role as Ted Mosby on Fox’s sitcom, “How I Met Your Mother,” Radnor’s appearance drew a large crowd in Chappelear Drama Center last Wednesday.
Audience members weren’t quite sure what to expect from Radnor, and as it turned out, Radnor didn’t quite know what to expect from himself. According to Radnor, in the past he had given a speech at a university and realized that the part he enjoyed the most was administering a question and answer session with the students.
Because his favorite portion of the evening is talking to students, Radnor explained that, “that is what these talks have evolved into, basically this is me saying that I don’t have anything planned, I don’t know what we’re going to talk about…something generally comes up.”
Freshman Caroline Paul said she didn’t come to the show with many expectations, and was told to attend by an avid How I Met Your Mother fan.
“I’m just excited to see what he has to say,” Paul said.
Another audience member, freshman Kristen Canda said, “My brother watched the show a ton so I’m kind of here to just say that I saw Radnor, I’m going to send him pictures to make him jealous.”
Canda also pointed out the lack information about the lecture’s subject matter.
“I have no idea what he is going to talk about, I mean I assume its going to be like his life story type of thing, like a biography, but I really don’t know what to expect at all,” she said.
Before delving into his discussion of transitioning from a small Ohio town to becoming an actor with seemingly endless opportunities, Radnor provided the audience with snacks that he had been given but evidently didn’t want.
“Are there any potassium-deficient people in the audience?” Radnor asked jokingly while handing a bunch of bananas to a student in the front row.
Radnor may not have intended it, but his talk eventually digressed into a sort of life advice session. The latter half of his two-hour discussion was solely dedicated to responding to questions from audience members, which largely comprised of inquires related to succeeding in the world of acting.
It was easy to see from the manner in which Radnor addressed student’s questions that he genuinely wanted to help students. His solutions came by providing students with anecdotes from his own life and career.
In response to a question of what has helped him most throughout his career, Radnor said, “My dad said something to me that I always thought was the best bit of advice that I’ve gotten; he said character doesn’t count in the short term, it counts in the long term.”
He advised the audience that the best way to “make it” is to be kind.
“It is a personality business, don’t give up your character for a short term gain, because you’re not going to get it back,” he said.
He also pointed to specific parts of his life that have helped him in the long term such as growing up in a small mid-west town that taught him to have a humble attitude, and attending a liberal arts school, Kenyon College, that forced him to explore various fields of study that a specialized acting institution would not have provided.
Sophomore Nicole Nitty, one of the CPB presidents, said there were extra available tickets to sell at the door, and some people who had bought tickets ahead of time did not end up attending the talk.
“I think (the event) went well, I’ll wait to see what people say around campus about it,” Nitty said. “I think people involved with the theatre definitely got a lot out of it.”
Radnor’s attitude and manner of hosting the event made it seem more like the audience was chatting with him over a cup of coffee at a small café, rather than sitting with 300 other people and watching him on stage.
“I’m just someone who loved the theatre and banged on the door until they let me in,” Radnor said.