Hrishikesh Hirway, a Masterclass in the Interview

We interviewed the interviewer, asking the brains behind “Song Exploder,” “Home Cooking,” and “The West Wing Weekly” what makes him so good.

Snigdha Sur

January 12, 2021

Hrishikesh Hirway, a Masterclass in the Interview
Hrishikesh Hirway behind the scenes of 'Song Exploder' (Netflix)

You could call Hrishikesh Hirway an ‘invisible interviewer.’ His talent is not to grab the spotlight, but direct it, and to get his guests to open up and reveal things that they might otherwise not have mentioned at all. He’s one of the few people who can talk with equal aplomb about whether it’s blasphemous to place different types of Christmas cookies in the same box, break down The West Wing season three finale by grilling creator Aaron Sorkin, and get Lin-Manuel Miranda to share a breathy audio note that would become “Wait for It.”

He’s the brains behind some of the buzziest audio, and now visual shows: Home Cooking, a cooking podcast for pandemic times with co-conspirator, chef, and friend Samin Nosrat; The West Wing Weekly with actor and fellow Yalie Josh Malina; and podcast and Netflix show Song Exploder, which breaks down the mechanics of some of the most recognizable songs with guests ranging from Dua Lipa to The Killers to Alicia Keys.