Actor Josh Radnor

It’s Man Crush Monday, Potatoheads, and we’ve got a treat for you: Ted Mosby. Just kidding, he’s fictional, but we did sit down with Josh Radnor, the actor who brought Ted to life in one of our all-time favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother.

Radnor is rocking this season in the Lincoln Center Off-Broadway show The Babylon Line, and we’re so glad to have him back in New York City. When we sat down together, Radnor gave us the inside scoop on his pre-show rituals, where to eat around Lincoln Center, and how he starts his mornings. He even told us some of his favorite HIMYM stories. Read below for more from Radnor; he’s bound to be your crush this Monday, too…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

Well there are two kinds of food days. There’s the version that might seem boring or puritanical but spring-loads you with focus and energy. I assume you’re asking about the other kind. That day would involve french toast, some kind of very high-end Omakase situation, a northern Italian feast, and loads of ice cream.

What are words to both act and eat by?

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” (Oscar Wilde)

How do you always start your day?

I try to start every day with 20-30 minutes of meditation. I got off coffee a few years ago but not caffeine. I make this yerba mate concoction that I’m thoroughly addicted to so I generally drink that first thing after meditating (if I can, I also try to get some water and lemon in at some point early in the day). A start to a good day would involve some stretching or a hike or some other kind of body-moving activity. The less good day would be me getting hooked/hypnotized by the news as I drink said yerba mate concoction and forgetting I even have a body that needs to be moved.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The worst?

The best: “Character doesn’t count in the short term, it counts in the long term.” (via my father)

The worst: “Better learn how to wait tables.” (My uncle, upon hearing I was going to grad school for acting)

What should women know about men that they don’t?

I’m wary of speaking on behalf of an entire gender because I think there are lots of ways to be a man, just as there are lots of ways to be a woman. I do think men tend a bit more to the logical, problem-solving mindset, and I know that’s not always helpful in male-female communication. So I guess: Sorry, women, that we tend to do that. We’re trying to get better at just listening without feeling the need to fix everything.

What’s your idea of the perfect first date?

I had it recently: Cindy Sherman exhibit at the Broad, browsing at The Last Bookstore downtown, Korean BBQ for dinner, then lounging by a fire in the backyard of my house.

What’s been the best part of acting in The Babylon Line?

Getting to say all these glorious Richard Greenberg words on one of the premier stages in the country with a delightful and extraordinarily talented group of actors. Also, sharing a dressing room with Frank Wood and Michael Oberholtzer is reliably hilarious.

What are your favorite spots to eat and drink around Lincoln Center?

The Smith or PJ Clarke’s for a post-show bite, Shun Lee for Chinese, Parm for eggplant parm and Marea for everything.

Any pre and post show routines?

I do a pretty thorough vocal warm-up, which should please my drama school teachers (I have a ton of lines in this play and if I’m not properly warmed up I could get in some real trouble). I pray and try to get centered and calm before going on stage. And right before I go on stage I check to make sure my zipper is up about 27 times.

What can’t you stop listening to on Spotify right now?

Ella and Louis’ Christmas album, both Chilly Gonzales Solo Piano records, Ibeyi, Trevor Hall, and Beethoven string quartets. 

What’s your go-to drink?

Club soda with lime. If I’m feeling crazy, I’ll have them throw in some bitters.

What’s the best memory you have from How I Met Your Mother? Was it bittersweet when it ended?

There are too many to choose one – one of our uncontrollable, unprofessional laughing fits probably. Was it bittersweet? Certainly. But it was also time for it to end so there was some peace about it, I think.

What similarities did you share with Ted? What differences?

We look a lot alike. We’re both optimists. We both place a premium on friendship.

I don’t say “I love you” on first dates. I’m allergic to Love Actually. I don’t have red cowboy boots.

What would your last meal be? Who would it be with?

I always thought this was a macabre question: If I know it’s my last meal would I even have an appetite?

If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook?

The only thing I can really nail in the kitchen is this tahini dip which is super easy to make but is always a big hit. So there’d be that. Who would be there? I have some living non-famous friends who delight me so I’d want them included. I also just finished this terrific book called “The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope, which examines the Hindu concept of dharma (i.e. one’s sacred duty) by looking at Krishna’s conversation with Arjuna on the battlefield in the Bhagavad Gita.

The author profiles some notable folks who clearly answered their sacred calling and they were all fascinating and riveting tales so I’d invite all of them (and this is more than five so forgive me): Jane Goodall, Thoreau, Whitman, Robert Frost, Susan B. Anthony, Camille Corot, John Keats, Beethoven, Gandhi, and Harriet Tubman. Would also be thrilled if Mike Nichols, Garry Shandling, Nora Ephron, Thomas Merton, and P.G. Wodehouse dropped by as well.

Nostalgic for How I Met Your Mother? Check out our dinner with Radnor’s former co-stars, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, then read this interview with Nazanin Boniadi

*Josh Radnor, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann