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Jul 28, 2019

From the time I started reading John Barbour’s career-spanning memoir, Your Mother’s Not A Virgin: The Bumpy Life and Times of the Canadian Dropout Who Changed the Face of American TV! I kept searching for the right word to describe my over-arching impression of the man. It wasn’t easy because in the course of 700 pages, Barbour is a comedian, a talk show host, a culture critic, a writer for Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and singer Frank Sinatra, a husband and father, and perhaps ultimately, the father of the modern reality show as creator of NBC’s “Real People.”

JOHN BARBOUR podcast excerpt: "We would go to church when I was a boy and the service would stop for one minute every Sunday. The minister would say, 'You are now going to have your own private minute with God. You can pray for whatever you want to pray for.' I always prayed that when I got home, that my father would be there. And every Sunday I'd rush home, open the door and look for my father. He was never there. I did that for 12 weeks and it wasn't working. In the 13th week, I got up and walked out."

You may not know Barbour by name, but he is truly a man who has done it all – sometimes twice. The word I finally landed on was “unapologetic.” It’s a word that I think connotes both the curse and success of Barbour’s career. Because he always did things his way. Sometimes that worked to his advantage, giving buoyancy to his career; sometimes, as the mark of a man who preferred steering his own ship, being undisciplined cost him greater opportunities because he always preferred his own counsel and his own path. I really enjoyed Barbour’s book and look forward to discussing it with him.

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