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Being a Gang Leader For A Day Is Nothing Compared to Going on the Colbert Report

There is nothing in the world that can prepare someone for what my co-author Sudhir Venkatesh (Freakonomics guest poster and author of Gang Leader For A Day) has on tap tonight: being a guest on the Colbert Report.

I speak from experience
. There is nothing I wanted to do less than go on Colbert, but Dee Dee DeBartlo, the dear publicist at HarperCollins who had been so good and so loyal, begged me to do it. I reluctantly accepted. Only then did I go back and watch every past interview I could find, and realize what a mistake I had made. The more interviews with Stephen Colbert I watched, the clearer it became that these never go well for the interviewees. Colbert often looks like a genius; the people he has on the show do not. The best one can hope for is survival.

So, Sudhir, I’ll be rooting for you tonight. The only advice I can give is smile a lot, but don’t try to be too funny. Oh, and one last thing: when I was on the show, before Colbert came running over to the table for the interview, they left the index cards with questions sitting at the table next to me. I was able to peer over and see what he was going to ask, and I had a few extra seconds to think of something reasonable to say — not that it helped me much.