RUSH: Here is Joshua in Cleveland. Great to have you, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. How are you? Love your show. I want to preface what I want to ask before I ask it, I want to preface, I’m 26 years old.
CALLER: I’ve been listening to your show since probably 13, 14. So a nice, long while. And I love your show. I love your opinions. You’re funny. I love your humor, your wit. It’s great.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Recently this has struck me as a question I always wanted to know.
CALLER: Is your persona that you have on the radio, which I’m gonna be honest, is quite boastful and quite “I know it all” and “half my brain tied behind my back,” which is funny and it’s definitely entertaining — but my question is, is that your real-life persona? When you’re with friends and family, do you walk around with that persona or is this something you do for show business?
RUSH: So your question is, when I go home for Christmas —
RUSH: — and I walk in the front door of my brother’s house, do I walk —
CALLER: “Oh shoot, Rush is here, now comes the fights”?
RUSH: Oh, no, no, no, no. It’s not like that. I’ll get to that in a second. But you’re asking me essentially do I walk in my brother’s house and say, “Greetings to you, family members, I am Rush Limbaugh, back home for Christmas, half my brain tied behind my back.” Do I walk in the house that way?
CALLER: Well, not exactly that. I can’t imagine that you would do that. Judging by your intellect, that you would be that stupid, that you’d walk in like that. But my question is, it’s an honest question. Do you —
RUSH: No, I understand. Am I as braggadocios or confident or boastful, I think you said.
RUSH: Do I walk into a room and demand everybody stop what they’re doing and listen to me, and then do I comment on what everybody says and is doing and offer my opinion about it. And do I basically have no time for anybody else and not care what anybody else thinks?
CALLER: Basically that’s my question. I’ll be honest with you, my opinion is most probably that you do not. I just want to hear from you the truth.
RUSH: Well, see, here’s the problem in answering that. Let me answer it this way. This is show biz here.
RUSH: And there are a number of elements that have to be used in combination, and sometimes talking about them destroys the magic behind them. It’s like, have you ever heard a couple comedians talking about the business of comedy? It’s just not funny. It’s the most boring thing. It’s too inside baseball. Now, this is radio. This is media. This requires an audience. There is a show biz aspect to it. However, my critics sometimes: “Well, he’s just an entertainer.” And they will say that as a means of discrediting me. “Why, he’s an entertainer. He’s not even believing what he says. You can’t take him seriously.” Other times —
CALLER: I don’t believe that at all. I believe that you definitely believe strongly what you say.
CALLER: I also understand that there is a level, like you said, of show business and entertainment. You’re not gonna get people to listen to you if you’re boring. But the question is, are you like this? Has it carried over into your daily life, outside the radio station?
RUSH: You’re basically asking, am I always this interesting, is really what you want to know.
CALLER: No, boastful, not are you always this interesting. I’m sure you’re always interesting.
RUSH: No, in fact, I’m probably one of the quietest, speak only when spoken to, and probably one of the most humble, unassuming people that you would ever meet. And my guess is, in truth, that you would be disappointed.
Don’t go away.
RUSH: Well, I asked our last caller to hang on because I wasn’t through answering his question. He either didn’t hear me, or we hung up on him and I’m being lied to when I’m told he hung up. (laughing) But regardless, he’s not there and I didn’t finish answering his question. Now I don’t know if I should continue answering the question. He basically wanted to know what am I like when I’m not on the air. There’s a simple story I can tell that would probably answer his question, and I can’t give you any names, but I guarantee you you’d know every one of them.
A very powerful man invited me to accompany him and about 15 of his friends on a trip to another country to play golf. And the people on the trip were a couple of people that appear on NFL pregame shows. There were a couple people that appear on a network morning show. There were two Hollywood actors, and some business associates of the host. The trip was five days. On the last leg home we’re all in the back of the host’s airplane, and the subject of a United States senator came up. I was asked what I thought, and I just started launching.
And the host said, “Where the hell has this been?” Meaning, we’ve been five days and you just now start acting like you care? In other words, I had been invited as the circus act. Most of these people were liberals, and I figured it out after two days on the trip, I was supposed to be, you know, the circus act, and I wasn’t. I just played golf and chatted about whatever was going on, and that was that. We all went out to dinner. I didn’t call anybody names. I didn’t talk about liberalism. No politics was discussed whatsoever. It was a golf trip. Politics was discussed on the way back, and the host said, “Where the hell has this been?” Meaning, why haven’t you been talking like this the whole trip? That should answer the question for you.
Honestly, I can’t answer the question without giving things away that are best left mysterious. I mean, you want there to be some drama, some mystery, some unknown, and there’s no reason to destroy that. But suffice to say, folks, when I walk into a room, I don’t say, “Hi, half my brain tied behind my back, what are you doing here? Who the hell invited you?” It’s nothing like that. As I say, I slink from being noticed. I sneak around. I do everything I can not to get noticed wherever I go. I’m extremely private, probably the most humble person you would ever encounter, and I’m sure that would stun and surprise and maybe even disappoint some. But it’s the way it is.