Josh Radnor, known for his role as Ted Mosby on How I Met Your Mother, visited UCF Tuesday, March 18 thanks to the Campus Activities Board. He not only delivered a fun night like expected, but connected with the students in the Pegasus Ballroom. From ducky ties, funny on set stories and inspiration, Radnor opened up to the student body and allowed us to get to know him as more than just “Ted.”
The evening first began with a line from the Pegasus Ballroom doors, out the student union, all the way to the end of Classroom Building 1. Students eager to see Josh Radnor waited outside for as much as eight hours. During this time, questions were collected by CAB members for his Q&A.
Before the event began, two contests where held for students to get a second chance at meeting Radnor. A yellow umbrella contest was held with some of the participants from the previous Twitter contest. This contest was audience judged and Michelle LaFave and Amy Newton won. The second one was “Have You Met Ted” where contestants with blue French horns under their seats answered a question about a famous Ted to score VIP passes.
When Radnor walked out, the uproar was massive.
“I wandered out here for a second and I heard the guy going like ‘no phones, no pictures, his publicist said no pictures!’ and I was like ‘that guy sounds like a Hollywood jerk, that Josh Radnor…’”
He made a deal with the crowd and said the first five minutes were allowed for photos and using social media.
“I do a lot of these college speaking things and I just find that this is going to be a weirder night than you’re thinking… Sometimes it ends up being really personal and really interesting. Like, deep questions get asked and I just don’t want everyone live tweeting all. I just want you all to be here,” Radnor said.
Radnor began by telling us that he doesn’t plan what he’s going to talk about beforehand. He said the evening was up to us and that it always finds its way. Based off of the audience energy and 2 ½ hours of talking, Radnor was completely right.
“It’s weird because I’m really from a family in Ohio… I wasn’t a kid actor you know? I wasn’t out doing pilot season in high school. I was on the swim team… And it’s weird, I mean it’s great that you guys are all here, but there’s a kind of feeling like when I hear ‘his publicist doesn’t want photos’ and I’m like ‘who is that?’ because that doesn’t really feel like me,” Radnor said.
Radnor continued to tell us how he hoped we weren’t thinking “oh no, he’s trying to convince us that he’s normal…” However, there was a really humble quality about him that the audience thoroughly enjoyed.
Radnor was born in Columbus, Ohio. As a kid, he was into visual art. His acting began in 8th grade when a woman came into his school and practiced Shakespeare with the students. One day sophomore year his friend wanted to audition for Oklahoma and due to nerves asked him to sit in on the audition. As he was sitting there, he was asked if he wanted to audition. He ended up landing a lead role and that struck his love of performing.
His high school guidance counselor told him “You are never to stop acting.”
He landed the pilot to How I Met Your Mother after doing Off-Broadway shows and a few small TV jobs here and there.
Regarding the How I Met Your Mother pilot, he said he could tell the writing was good because it stuck with him after reading it once because it was “emotionally truthful.” He was actually the very first audition for the role. Cobie Smulders, also known as Robin Scherbatsky, and him auditioned together.
“We just had this feeling that it was really something,” Radnor said.
Radnor stated that what made How I Met Your Mother special was that they were “playing at reality in a way other wall mounted camera shows don’t do.”
Unfortunately, Radnor revealed that the loved show, after nine years of work, was officially over and that the famous MacLaren’s bar set was torn down.
Radnor really wanted the audience to know that there was more to him that just Ted. In fact, when asked how he felt about architecture he said “I have no feelings about it.” His favorite thing to do is direct and he described directing as an “unchartered landscape”.
“I know you guys love the show and I love the show, we can talk about the show a lot. But, I also make movies, I really love writing, I really love directing, and I’m making stories for you guys,” Radnor said.
He’s created two movies, Happythankyoumoreplease and Liberal Arts. He urged students to please watch them because there is so much to learn and to discover.
Radnor was incredibly inspirational. He was so relaxed and genuine on stage that he didn’t mind sharing both this successes and tough patches in life. He didn’t seem like a Hollywood big shot, and he wasn’t trying to act like one. There was a true connection between him and the audience that made the night much better than it already asked.
When a student asked for advice on how to follow his dreams, Radnor replied “stop calling it a dream.” There was a moment of silence in the audience of impact and then clapping. “Dreams are something that are far away. Take that word out of your vocabulary because it keeps it far way.”
Radnor spoke about an article he wrote which appeared in LA Times Magazine called Kind Over Matter. He asked the students to look it over when they had a chance. From this article, he quoted “It really shocks me when I encounter people who think kindness doesn’t matter. Because I think it’s pretty much the only thing that matters.”
“Make a habit of humiliation. Make a habit of jumping and leaping into the unknown and that’s where you’ll learn what you’re capable of.”
“A Legendary Night with Josh Radnor” without a doubt lived up to its name. Make sure to watch his movies and catch the show finale of How I Met Your Mother Monday, March 31st at 8 p.m. on CBS