When Stephen Colbert introduces a guest on his show, he runs a victory lap around the set, soaking up the raucous applause from the audience as his guest remains stoically seated. When the interview starts, Colbert fires questions at his guest only to abruptly cut the person off. In short, the interview is all about him. This satirical interviewing style wouldn't be so funny if it didn't hit so close to home: the spectacle of the egotistical TV host is thoroughly ingrained in our culture.
And yet, the best way to conduct interviews -- or any kind of research, for that matter -- is to not try to make yourself look smart. Rather, asking a "good dumb question" is an approach that will often yield the best results.
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