Louis Theroux made up a genius new superpower and it's one we all need
Louis reveals all in this Q&A
Lovely old Louis Theroeauaux, or however you spell his name; lovely man with a nice face and a soothing voice and a friendly demeanor and he’s in a Nazi’s house or something. AKA: Yes I will watch that.
But as with many national treasures, you don’t often get the chance to talk directly to him, to ask the questions that have been simmering away on the top of your brain ever since you first saw him. What colour pants do you wear? Have you ever watched Love Island? WHAT IS YOUR INSIDE-LEG MEASUREMENT, LOUIS?
However, with the advent of Twitter, it’s made it a more digestible notion that yes, maybe one day, you might be able to engage with one of your heroes, especially when they do one of those ‘Q&A’ things. And guess the hell what? Louis Theroux has only gone and done one.
To celebrate the final part in his Dark States documentary series, he took to that Twitter to speak to his fans and answer all the important questions. Like, *sigh* what his favourite biscuit is:
Choco Leibniz. Excellent choice, Louis - we totally agree. Took you about 30 seconds to remember what they’re called, but the important thing is that you got there.
But thankfully, he was also asked some more important, interesting ones (although no inside-leg measurement answer, which is bullshit if you ask me), like how he maintains the balance between being an interviewer and a friend to his doc subjects:
“I’m not a friend, in the strict sense to the people I interview. I’m there as a journalist and I’m there to make a programme and they understand that. Clearly, emotions come into it and I attempt to be friendly and get to know the people, but I think there’s an understanding of what the nature of the transaction is.
“I don’t think they expect me to pop round for tea, months or years afterward. I do email some of the people that I’ve gotten to know over the years because I like to know what’s going on with them. They’re not turning up though and saying ‘Hey, can I stay with you. Let’s hang out’”
Or whether he has any tips for any budding documentarians out there:
“I think what has served me well and I do think it’s good advice for a journalist, is the idea that you choose subjects in which there’s some element of ethical grayness - an element of moral difficulty. Early on, I basically used to look for people who were doing something deeply questionable. The earlier segments I did on TV were about religious cults that felt the world was ending, members of the Ku Klux Klan and very out there gun enthusiasts - gun nuts.
“There’s something about being out of your element, forced into conflict and responding to it. It creates conflict and I respond to journalism and TV that has a sense of conflict. There’s nothing more boring than watching TV with people that agree with each other.”
He also gave advice on how he keeps his cool in the face of sometimes pretty disturbing scenes:
“I guess I’m a fairly self-composed person. I do think that you have to remember that I’m there to do a job and documenting extremes of life is part of the job. You know, as awful as it is, there’s a professional urge to document and to capture things on film. People often ask ’ why do you not intervene more?’ or ‘do you not feel an urge to shout and lose your temper?’ and the truth is, not really.
“As long as it’s adults in their right minds, doing whatever they’re doing, and they’re not attacking someone else, I let them get on with it and I film it.”
And what about his preferences for making harrowing stuff or the more light-hearted Weird Weekends-style japes?
“I’ve definitely evolved, and we as a production have evolved from doing the lighter stories. I’m still up for having fun in a programme. I enjoy those shows, the UFO one still makes me laugh! At the same time, when we start going the road of doing one of those lighter shows now, usually not always, we abandon it because it feels like we ask ourselves ‘Is there enough there?’ Can we get our teeth into this? Is there 60 minutes of revelation that we can achieve?’”
So that’s the ‘proper’ ones sorted, back to the biscuit brigade - here’s what he said when asked if he’d ever wear turtlenecks again:
So no, essentially. And what about his perfect superpower?
Louis Theroux wants to be able to give people who bump into him in the street electric shocks. Is that the most Louis Theroux answer in history? Yes it is, it absolutely is. It’s also the right answer.
What’s he have in his sausage sandwich?
Mustard Yes, correct answer again, Louis.
If you fancy checking out all his answers, then nip on over to Twitter and bang in #AskTheroux for a nice couple of minutes with the man himself. In retrospect, obviously, he’s not online anymore. Your vote may not be counted and you still may be charged.