What do you do when you see your idol? These days most people’s go-to is to grab a selfie. But if you happen to see Ira Glass, he’d prefer you ask him to make a balloon animal.
It turns out the This American Life creator carries around balloons for making balloon animals in his bag wherever he goes, as he demonstrated on stage at his interview at SXSW overnight.
“You can find yourself in random situations where it can be useful. I have to say it’s the least effective way to pick up women ever,” he quipped to the audience, as he made a blue dog for a woman who had asked for one having seen him make one for someone previously in a live show.
Apparently he learned the skills plying his trade as a magician for kids’ parties while at high school, and it’s never left him.
He explained how the skill had come in handy when he had helped out his wife, who runs a website for teenage girls, with a live session called Ask a Grown Man.
“I think someone had dropped out, usually it’s people like Seth Rogan. It’s where girls send in questions about the boys in their life and the fucked up things boys say to them,” he said.
“They said ‘the audience might not be as familiar with you, so can you make your balloon animals to entertain them as you do it’?”
Handing over the balloon to the lady, he said: “Every time someone asks me for a selfie this could be the new thing: ask for a balloon animal instead.”
And the good news for Australians is that Glass will be in the country in July, finishing the tour of his dance show (yes, dance show), Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host at the Sydney Opera House.
“We’re going to end our tour of the dance show at the Sydney Opera House, and we’re only doing it because it’s ridiculous, it just seems like a ridiculous goal, and that’s it.”
Asked by interviewer Mark Olsen of the L.A. Times: “How did that happen? Did someone in Australia approach you?” To which Glass replied: “No. No-one in Australia is like ‘You know what? We need to get a radio host and two dancers into the Sydney Opera House’.
“We definitely aggressively pitched them.”
Fans of dancing radio hosts can get their tickets here.