Q&A: Chris Stigall

The Talk Radio 1210 morning host, conservative and comedy writer talks about Rick Santorum's sweater vests, Miley Cyrus's views on politics and what he loves about Philly.

You came to Philadelphia from Kansas City in late 2010. What’s the best thing about the city?
It’s hard for me to walk through Independence Hall and not get a little misty. I love to picture George Washington walking out of it. I’ll literally stand there and do that and get chills.

You interned as a comedy writer for David Letterman. How did you end up hosting conservative talk radio?
Radio was always my first love. I was working on a music morning show, doing wacky irreverent bits and playing rock music. After 9/11, we’d have these very serious meetings—“Can we be funny? Can we be wacky or irreverent?” Of course, no one was in the mood for that, so my boss’s answer was, “Just play more music and shut up.” That was the last thing, instinctively, that I wanted to do. That was the jolt in the arm. It made me want to express myself in a way that wasn’t all knee-slapping and chuckle-bucket stuff.

How’d you feel about Mayor Nutter telling Philadelphians to stop being idiots and assholes?
I love it. In fact, I asked listeners what they thought, and they dug it. This is regardless of the little “D” or the little “R” after your name. People are so hungry sometimes to hear politicians talk like we talk over a beer at the bar.

Comics say it’s easier to tell jokes when they use their real emotions. Is the same true in politics?
If Michael Nutter was out there doing a Chris Rock stand-up act every time he was in front of a microphone, then no. When it’s authentic and it fits, it makes sense.

With the GOP race heating up, are you wearing a sweater vest to work?
[laughs] First of all, I reject the idea that sweater vests ever went away. I have one in every color of the rainbow, and I wear them still—before Rick Santorum and after. And I think he’s one of the nicest, funniest, most sincere guys I’ve ever met in politics, truly. He was a U.S. Senator, and I think it’s strange that he’s been boiled down to one subject. I think certain corners of the gay community show more hatred toward Santorum than he shows toward homosexuality, period.

Do you think the younger generation and the Internet are to blame for the way he’s viewed?
That might be. I had Rick on the show after Miley Cyrus went after him, and I asked him what he thought about it. He said he’d talked about it with his family, and they thought they could secure the Lindsay Lohan vote. That was hilarious.

You’ve been here long enough for Philly to get under your skin. Is anything bothering you yet?
The thing that bothers me—and I think this has always been the problem for Philadelphians—is that they don’t get the respect they’re due. I just tire of the constant piling-on from people who don’t live here, talking about flash mobs and shootings. Yeah, it’s a problem. We don’t like it, but that’s not what Philadelphia is.

Okay, be honest: cheesesteaks or Kansas City barbecue?
[laughs] That’s what shipping is for.