Since its debut in the spring of 2007, Q with Jian Ghomeshi has quickly become Canada’s most listened to cultural affairs show. An average of one million people tune in to Q every morning, which is to say nothing of the show’s other platforms such as a YouTube channel which can boast over 60 million hits, and recent syndication in various American cities.
The massive and loyal audience that has gathered around Q provides an excellent forum for Ghomeshi to shine. A natural performer with experience in improv, theatre and a decade long stint with Moxy Fruvous, Ghomeshi thrives in the show’s live setting. Ironically, the only thing missing, from Ghomeshi’s studio vantage point at least, is an audience.
“The show is usually done live and I like that” Ghomeshi says, “I like the spontaneity and the imperfection and the energy that can come with a live show. But in the studio I’m ultimately really, practically broadcasting to three or four people– my studio engineer, my director– people on the other side of the glass.”
On Wednesday night, Ghomeshi will have a significantly larger audience in front of him as Q comes to Victoria. The show, set to be taped in front of a capacity crowd at the Royal Theatre, will feature musicians Carolyn Mark and Kathryn Calder, MLA Andrew Weaver, artist Robert Bateman and Olympian Simon Whitfield. Already, Ghomeshi is excited.
“To be able to be in a beautiful theatre like the Royal and soak in the energy of fifteen hundred people in the room with me becomes an inspiration, and it becomes an opportunity to make things really special.”
But as host of a talk show, Ghomeshi is careful not to let the thrill of performing in front of an audience hijack the show.
“I have to be careful that I don’t change the content, approach or imperative of what we want Q to be just because I’m in front of an audience. I tend to want to get validation of the audience– I want them to laugh or cheer or clap. That makes it tempting to throw out a quip or do something to get a laugh in the middle of an interview when it might not be the most beneficial thing to do for the pacing of the conversation we’re having.”
Those lucky enough to attend Wednesday night’s taping of the Q at the Royal Theatre have a rare opportunity to see Canada’s most popular variety show shine a light on some of our city’s most engaging figures two days before the show goes to air. It promises to be a very special evening indeed.
Look for a review by Nick Lyons at Mondaymag.com later this week.