LISTEN: Neil Patrick Harris Chats With Terry Gross About Playing Hedwig, Escaping Doogie Howser and Coming Out in Press Release in 2006

In the latest episode of Philly-produced podcast Fresh Air, host Terry Gross conducts an interview with triple-threat talent and one of today’s shiniest gay stars, Neil Patrick Harris.

Harris was there to chat about his new memoir Choose Your Own Autobiography, which is structured like one of those choose-your-own-adventure books you probably read as a kid. Throughout the course of interview he and Gross cover everything from escaping the Doogie Howser label and playing a transgender dynamo in his Tony-winning role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch to his decision to reveal he was gay via press release in 2006 when bloggers like Perez Hilton were putting pressure on him to come out.

My team all kind of huddled together and hammered out a [coming out] statement that we thought was appropriate and that happened right after – yeah – Perez Hilton who, at that time, was a bit of a headhunter for celebrities who he wanted to be representative of same-sex sex was trying to out them. … That was the time I thought I want to beat a story. I don’t have many sordid stories, but I didn’t even want someone to come out with a lie story and then my statement is suddenly defending myself against a bigger story.

So it just seemed like the straight-up thing to do, pardon the pun…

It’s a great interview. Harris is so polished and well-spoken while still coming across totally down-to-Earth and huggable. He totally deserves the role of one of our most-looked-up-to out celebrities. It’s a recommended listen, perfect for your commute home this afternoon, or while sitting at your desk if it’s not too distracting.

You can listen to the 45-minute-plus interview below, download it here for your phone, or, if you prefer to read your interviews, catch the transcript here.