I got one of the thrills of my professional life yesterday when Josh Kornbluth called. Josh tentatively invited me to appear early next year on The Josh Kornbluth Show, which airs Monday and Friday nights on San Francisco’s PBS affiliate, KQED (Channel 9).
For those of you, sadly, who are unfamiliar with Josh Kornbluth’s work, he is one of the contemporary theater’s great “monologuists” — a brilliant writer and performer of hilariously serious, and seriously hilarious, autobiographical one-person plays. I, personally, have seen four Kornbluth monologues; at least two of them (The Mathematics of Change and Ben Franklin Unplugged) twice each. (For more information, visit joshkornbluth.com.)
Though I pass Josh all the time on the streets of Berkeley, hearing from him directly, and for a purpose, ranks right up there with my first check from Baseball Digest at age 15.
But it gets better. For it turns out that Josh, in his New York youth, was a big wrestling fan. This is surprising … or not. Bridging closet fans with closet intellectuals is, after all, one of the unifying concepts of my upcoming book Wrestling Babylon.
“When I was a kid,” Josh told me, “there were two heroes in our house: Bruno Sammartino and Josef Stalin.”
The line is vintage Kornbluth, packed with irony and sly self-deprecation, but for some of you it requires an explanation. You see, Josh’s parents were fellow-traveling left-wingers. Indeed, the title of his first monologue is Red Diaper Baby.
I wonder what the Kornbluth clan made of Ivan Koloff.