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Interview with Frank Rich; Interview with Josh Groban

Aired September 1, 2011 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight -- battles in Washington. Tea Party turmoil.

Anyone knows what is going on behind the scenes of this country's political drama, it is surely Frank Rich -- a man of strong opinions who says the president's problem is bizarrely that nobody knows who he is. Tonight, "New York Magazine's" Frank Rich on the president, Tea Party, and what this country has or hasn't learned since 9/11.

Plus, America's high brow heartthrob, singer Josh Groban.


JOSH GROBAN, SINGER: I laughed. I cried. I think I through up (INAUDIBLE), too.


MORGAN: A man who can make anything sound good, even my tweets.


GROBAN: I might want to give some of your very dramatic, very passionate tweets, the gravitas that they quite frankly deserve. Memo to all the spotty, tax-dodging, door-scrounging anarchists in London, please just give it a rest for today, can you? Thanks.




MORGAN: He gets more impertinent every time I hear that Josh Groban thing. Anyway, that is coming up later and is most entertaining.

Frank Rich is the columnist for the "New York Magazine," a former "New York Times" critic and a man who is definitely not afraid to speak his mind. And he joins me now.

Frank, we can't start with anything else apart from this complete farce over President Obama's speech about how to get America back to work -- which has descended into anarchy it seems from where I'm watching. What's your view? FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Yes, I completely agree. I think it's amateur night. You'd think that the White House would have figured out this debate was going on, you know. It's not being held on a public access channel. They would have gotten out of the way of it. And when they got into the conflict, not pretend they didn't know about it. And then they backed off from it.

And so, it really makes you wonder who is in charge. It's just symbolic. It has no real content, this scheduling flap. But I think it's embarrassing and it looks so amateurish.

MORGAN: Well, I totally agree I think on two levels. One, I think most people think look at these people in Washington. They can't even organize when to make a speech. And it looks so cack- handed.

But I also thought, from President Obama's point of view, it look makes him look weak. You got Speaker Boehner apparently calling all the shots for this speech, pushing him around, publicly demanding the president of the United States doesn't make a speech when he wants to make one.

And I found that absolutely extraordinary to watch.

RICH: I have to say I completely agree with you. It does make him look weak. I suspect that Obama's argument would be that I want to be bipartisan. I don't want to be dragged down to petty Washington games. This is sort of what Carney, his press spokesperson, was saying today. We'll just chill out and everyone will have their debate and he'll give a speech in his own time.

But it doesn't play that way. And now, also, puts him in a very strange position for the speech itself, because that speech really better be dynamite. Because after all this buildup and nonsense and farce, if he, you know, delivers a mouse, particularly for you think of all the Americans who are suffering from unemployment, he's got a bigger problem than he started with.

MORGAN: Well, I totally agree. I think the time has come for President Obama. We're 15 months away from election now where people just want him to start doing a bit of chest-beating here and standing up for himself and for the presidency, I think, and beginning to call the shots. I think they want proper leadership.

And a lot of Americans say to me and others, the problem is we bought into this whole thing of hope and audacity and change, and instead we're seeing somebody who quite regularly appears to be -- and it's all perception -- appears to be being treated pretty roughly by the Tea Party, by Republicans, by Speaker Boehner, and he isn't seen to be the one calling the shots.

RICH: I agree. I think he regards -- and there is something human about this and likable about it, I think he regards being gentlemanly, trying to be above the fray, trying to be the adult in the room as a positive virtue in American politics. But, you know, he is entering a very tough reelection campaign. He's got to step up to the plate. One thing I hope he does is actually watch that Republican debate the night before and respond to it. And that's now set up. It's teed off for him to do that.

If he pretends the debate didn't happen and doesn't challenge whatever Republican economic ideas are advanced in that debate by the various candidates directly, it's going to be another wasted opportunity for him.

MORGAN: I mean, the big advantage that President Obama still has is nobody is quite sure what kind of Republican candidate is going to be put up against him. And it could be a Tea Party candidate. But that's pretty high-risk strategy as things stand for the Republicans.

And if it's a moderate, do they go for a Mitt Romney for, a Huntsman figure? There are rumors still swirling that Chris Christie or someone like that may enter the fray.

With all your experience, when you look at the runners and writers, the way it's all playing out at this relatively early stage, what is your guess about which way the Republicans will go? Who do they think you think instinctively go beat Obama?

RICH: I don't think they know the answer to that question. I think that this Perry surge is interesting. It's very, very early because Perry is -- on one hand is a Tea Party person. He is to the far right of the party where Michele Bachmann is. On the other hand, he does have a certain part of the establishment following him. Not the Bush establishment. They hate him.

So Perry, you know, could be somewhat formidable. But I don't know.

Romney is sort of the classic establishment Republican candidate. He is sort of like Bush 1 in the demeanor he presents. But the problem with Romney is no one likes him, including a lot of Republicans. He just comes across phony.

So, the best thing that Obama has going for him is not some obvious clear opponent. But if he wants to bet that they're going to pull -- they're going to pick someone far to right of Bachmann or Palin, I think that that's a poor strategy, because that's probably not going to happen.

If that did happen, I think it would benefit him enormously.

MORGAN: I mean, do you think that somebody like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin could ever actually win an election?


MORGAN: At the moment, in the next few years in this country?

RICH: No. First of all, neither of them really have any kind of executive experience. I mean, I guess Palin has some, but not much. That's of course the same argument Republicans level against Obama. It's a tired argument now that he has been in office for a term. And I just can't see it.

I also think they're way to the right of the American public. And they're wonderful celebrities. They're wonderful performers.

But -- and the other thing they have going against them is the Republican establishment is sort of the monied class in our country. It is Wall Street. It is big business. I don't think they want someone who is that radical at the top of the ticket for their party.

MORGAN: It seems that the Tea Party have definitely been gathering momentum and a lot more support as they have gone. And you're right. Rick Perry is very much a Tea Party supporter in many ways.

The problem comes as we saw over the whole debt ceiling crisis is that people are concerned, do they have what it takes to actually govern? It's all very well opposing and making lots of noise and being very critical and standing up for the people. But can they actually govern? Or does the rather intransigent streak that they bring to all that policy-making, is that always going to be the problem?

RICH: It's always going to be the problem. And I think again going back to Republican establishment, the interest that financed and bankrolled the Republican Party, I don't think they like the idea that the country might have defaulted and that Michele Bachmann really didn't understand what the debt ceiling was or what the issues were and was willing to put the credit of America at stake for ideology.

So, no, that's not governance at all. That's temper tantrum throwing and pure, you know, far right ideology.

MORGAN: How much of the criticism do you think, Frank, of President Obama is based on the ridiculously high expectation levels he came in with? Given the state of the economy when he arrived and given the fact it really hasn't improved at all -- if anything, probably got slightly worse. Could any president coming in when Obama did have done much different to have affected things in a more positive way, do you think? Has he been disappointing or simply was it that expectation levels were way too high?

RICH: Well, I think the answer is both. He was his own toughest act to follow. He is a very tough act to follow with himself, and he hasn't lived up to it.

But more substantially, I think he has made mistakes. The talk about pivoting to jobs, discussing unemployment, to discussing foreclosures, people losing their jobs and their homes has rarely been center stage. And they've threatened to pivot to it over and over again. And they're going to pivot to it again next week.

But I think that was a big mistake. I think the stimulus actually did do a lot of good for this country. And I do think they stabilized the banking system. But then we had a very protracted health care battle. And the job message and job action has never really been as much front and center as it should be. And now it's too late. All he can do is have a rhetorical victory because, of course, he is not going get anything through this Congress.

MORGAN: Well, this is the big problem, isn't it? I mean, this speech now about jobs is going to be crucial to him, and that you do wonder, A, what he can get through and what difference really can be made to the job figures by next November. It seems pretty impossible to imagine they're going to come down by very much in 15 months.

RICH: I think you're completely right. So what can he do? I think first of all, he can do some things in the executive branch and clearly they're going to roll some of those things out. They won't make the kind of substantial difference we're talking about, but it will be something.

But I think as a political matter, he has to draw the line. He has to listen to that debate on Wednesday night, respond to their ideas with his ideas, state them strongly, stop being just the nicest adult in the room. As many people have said, this is a time for a Trumanesque moment.

And he's got to draw a line and fight for it, even if it's going to lose. He's got to define how he is different. I don't think people know how his ideas about the economy are different from the, you know, most Republican ideas.

MORGAN: Well, I agree. And I think it's an interesting point that you have made, which is people don't really know who Barack Obama is. And you don't mean obviously recognizing him. What you mean what does he actually at his essence stand for. He came in on hope, audacity, change -- which are all, you know, fairly tenuous, vacuous ways even of describing what your campaign is going to be. Eventually, you've got to have a policy which grips the country, which can be identifiable with your presidency.

Has he got it in him, do you think?

RICH: I think he has it in him. I think the campaign is proof of that.

But this has been a very scattered administration, shockingly so, given that campaign, in terms of the message. You know, a little bit of health care here, a little Afghanistan there, green jobs here -- he has now has to have a unifying economic message that's concrete and speaks to Americans in the middle class and Americans who work in this country.

And he is capable of it. I don't know what the problem has been. But it's really been a rhetorical and in some ways a substantive failure.

MORGAN: After the break, Frank, I want to talk to you about how ugly you think the 2012 election will get. And also what the importance will be of faith, religious conviction, maybe even gay marriage.



GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This loving and perfect God is also a personal God. He desires not a show of religion, but a deep connection with our innermost being. His agenda is not a political agenda. His agenda is a salvation agenda.


MORGAN: That's Texas Governor Rick Perry at the response prayer rally last month in Houston.

Back to me now is "New York Magazine" columnist Frank Rich.

I mean, bordering on Joel Olsteen stuff, Frank?

RICH: Yes, a little Elmer Gantry thrown in. You know, may the Lord save us from politicians who preach is all I have to say. I'm suspicious of all of them. And besides the church state issues and the political issues and the fact that people such as myself, I happen to be Jewish, might feel excluded by this kind of service that Rick Perry presided over.

Leaving all that aside, you know, voters who think that their political leaders should be men or women of God are deluding themselves.

MORGAN: I mean, it's fascinating to me to see various candidates now begin to handle what would have been not that contentious an issue before, but it becomes so. For instance, the issue of same-sex marriage. I've had two quite lively encounters, one with Christine O'Donnell and one with Rick Santorum, where one walked off and the other got quite heated.

RICH: I saw the Santorum, yes.

MORGAN: Yes, but what did you make of it? Because it seemed to be they're getting a little touchy about all this. As you get more and more American states signing up to same-sex marriage, it may be they're getting a little concerned that the form of very acceptable rhetoric of a Republican candidate no longer perhaps will resonate in the way it used to.

RICH: Well, I think in your Rick Santorum interview, you saw exactly that. You said, correctly, what he was saying was quite possible bigoted. He wanted to disown it. Oh, no, he is just -- you know, I don't know, everyone should do what they want but not -- he was talking. It was like gobbledygook rhetoric.

And here's why it doesn't play anymore. This country has turned the page very fast on this issue -- shockingly fast to me as someone who has covered it for years. Santorum has no traction as a candidate, demagoguing gay people and same-sex marriage or any sexual issue like that may arouse the hardest right of the base of the Republican Party, but it's going to drive away independent voters, drive away mainstream American voters. Everyone has gay people in their lives. The clock has run out on this.

So they're really I think playing with a loaded gun pointed at themselves. I don't think it's going to help them politically at all. And I think when someone like Rick Santorum is squirming and realizes that I think they all realize they have a problem.

MORGAN: Yes, I think I agree with you. Interestingly, the name that rarely gets talked up as much as it ought to be given the amount of popularity he has, not just in polls but with the public, is someone I interviewed with and found pretty impressive because I found him probably more principled than some of the other candidates I've interviewed was Ron Paul. And I know you've written about him before.

Is he kind of a dark horse character here? I mean, is he somebody who could have his day?

RICH: No. But I do agree he has a certain kind of integrity. He has -- and he is not an idiot. I mean, he is a smart guy. He has, again, very conservative views.

He wants to shut down the Federal Reserve. That's not going to fly in the Republican Party. To me, the Federal Reserve is Republicanism in a way.

But he can cause really enliven the debate. He's really smart, and he's not a panderer. And in one way, I think he has played a leadership role already in terms of foreign policy. One of the biggest changes between now and the McCain/Palin campaign is that the Republican Party is moving closer and closer to Ron Paul's sort of traditionally Republican isolationist views of foreign policy.

And McCain and Lindsey Graham and Sarah Palin are increasingly seem to be the fringe on foreign policy in the Republican Party. That's a sea change. And Ron Paul helped lead it.

MORGAN: What about Chris Christie, who -- when I interviewed him, I spent a day with him, fascinating character, very pugnacious. I watched him over the hurricane the other day being, I thought, being very, very strong in his leadership and powerful in his rhetoric to tell people to get off the beach and so on. I'm getting a sense that although he said to me absolutely no way am I going to run in 2012, he is coming under pressure, do you think from Republicans to chuck his hat in the ring?

RICH: I think he has to be. Because I do think -- I don't know if he is really a plausible president of the United States. To his credit, he himself has said I'm not ready for this. It's not the time. He wasn't saying I'll never do it. You know, he has been in this job for a very short period of time. On the other hand, he has certainly done more than some of the other candidates in the Republican field. My guess is he is sincere that he doesn't want to do it and he is probably right not to do it this time from his own point of view.

But will there be pressure on him? I would think so. He is an adult. He is a mainstream conservative. He is not a flake.

He is -- he is combative. He's got a sense of humor. He is an interesting character.

He doesn't hold my views, but I think he is in some ways maybe the most plausible candidate they have if they wanted to win the election. But that doesn't mean he'll fall into the trap of doing it. He may want to wait until he is ready.

Also, we know very little about him. We don't know -- you know, people as they learned with Mitch Daniels, people's families may have opinions about this. My guess is he hasn't looked at any of that because he seriously isn't thinking of running. And it also may be too late for him to raise money anyway.

But I wouldn't rule it out entirely.

MORGAN: It would be pretty interesting to see. The one thing I was struck by, I shared a car with him. And he reminded me as a prosecutor, I he fought 130 odd cases. And he never lost one -- which is quite impressive when you consider some of the people he was taking on.

So, he is a pretty tough character.

We're going to go to another break, Frank. When we come back, I want to talk to you about the impending 10th anniversary of 9/11. I want to ask you whether you feel it really did change America. And if so, better or for worse?



GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you're with us or you are with the terrorists.


MORGAN: President Bush speaking to Congress days after September 11th attacks, effectively launching the war on terror.

Back with me now is Frank Rich.

Frank, the war on terror is now 10 years in. What's your assessment of where the spoils of victory and defeat have worked themselves out? RICH: Well, a few good things can be said. The end of Osama bin Laden, for instance. And to some extent, although we don't know what to what extent after all these years, and in my view one unnecessary war in Iraq, a scattering of al Qaeda. But basically, in almost every conceivable way, America is worse off.

And the tragedy is that the time Bush gave that speech, the country was really united. America was really united behind him. People were devastated by this attack on American soil, and they rallied around the president, a very new, green president who had won in a very contentious election.

And then it was all squandered.

And one of the points I make in my piece for the 9/11 anniversary issue of "New York Magazine" is of all the things that Bush did after 9/11 that defrayed that goodwill, the worst may have been not calling for any sacrifice, any shared sacrifice. He told people to go to Disneyworld, go shopping. There were no new taxes.

And I feel this anti-government cancer that is loose in America today comes from that moment. He said basically, you can fight two wars and not pay for them. And if you don't pay taxes for two wars, then why pay taxes for anything in the common good? And that's the kind of ideology that is now loose and is paralyzing this country.

MORGAN: Obviously, Dick Cheney's memoir is out now. We've had Donald Rumsfeld and indeed George W. Bush's. I've read two of those. What is interesting is there is a marked lack of contrition I would say about the decisions that were taken.

Do you believe as George Bush clearly believes that history will judge him more fairly? That when you see the Arab Spring uprisings, for example, this is all an extension of what went on in Iraq and so on. Do you subscribe to any of that theory?

RICH: Not really. But of course, we don't really know.

I think that we could have -- if there was to be an Arab Spring, it could have happened by keeping the focus on the Taliban in Afghanistan instead of losing that focus and moving on to Iraq. And we don't know how the Arab Spring even in Libya is going to turn out, or in Egypt. So, it's too early to say.

What I do know is America worse off in most ways, and the country has been bankrupted by, you know, these tax cuts and not paying for the wars, by the prescription drug benefit. This economy was left in a complete mess when the new president came in.

Most of the problems we have today go back to that decade. And, frankly, if, you know, a thousand flowers bloom in the Middle East, that will be a wonderful achievement for Bush/Cheney. But even if that happens, I'm not sure a thousand flowers are going to bloom in America. And that's a whole another problem.

MORGAN: I mean, I suppose the obvious question is if they hadn't invaded Iraq, what should have George Bush done? In that moment when, as you say, the whole nation and indeed the world was behind America, and demanding some kind of retribution, some kind of action by the United States, what was the sensible thing to have done? Clearly, by most common consent, invading Iraq wasn't a smart thing to do.

RICH: The right thing to do was to me take out the Taliban, go into Afghanistan, go after al Qaeda, go after Osama bin Laden. Instead, the ball was dropped, as we know at Tora Bora for bin Laden in particular, and Afghanistan was sort of forgotten about by the administration as the Taliban regrouped. And we went into a country where there was no al Qaeda when we went into it.

And so basically we used all this American blood and treasure to -- for what? To -- to yes, throw over a horrific dictator. But at the same time, we don't know if there is a functioning democracy in Iraq, or what is going to happen now that American troops have left. It may just be a puppet state of Iran.

So it's a total mess. He should have kept his focus on the people who attacked us on 9/11.

MORGAN: Frank, obviously, you've got New York running through your veins. You've been there a long time. Where will you be on the tenth anniversary? How do you intend to commemorate it?

RICH: I'm going to be quietly in New York. You know, it's such a -- I feel most New Yorkers feel this. There is nothing particular about me. It's such a weird -- it was such a strange, upsetting moment to feel -- I still remember looking out the window and just seeing Army helicopters circling and realizing we were at war, even before with were at war.

And my sister-in-law being evacuated from Ground Zero. We all have -- we all know people who lost people. It's a moment for contemplation. It's not a moment, to my mind, for speeches or breast- beating or public display, although there will be some that I hope will be in good taste, and probably will be.

It's a time, I think, to contemplate it and realize it in your mind, and for those who want to, in their prayers.

MORGAN: Frank Rich, thank you very much indeed.

RICH: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up, Josh Groban as you have never heard him before, singing my Tweets.


MORGAN: At the absurdly young age of just 30, Josh Groban has already released five albums and sold 25 million records. Perhaps not surprisingly, he is also one of Oprah's favorite things. To find out why, Josh Groban joins me now. Why are you one of Oprah's favorite things?

JOSH GROBAN, SINGER: I didn't realize you could give away a person on that show.

It surprised me too. Me and an iPad and a nice refrigerator.

MORGAN: What was so special about you?

GROBAN: Look, as me, if it were me, and it is, I have always scratched my head about that. But I'm very, very honored that she has liked and supported my music from day one.

MORGAN: I can't imagine a greater honor in the entertainment business.

GROBAN: It is the golden --

MORGAN: Keep your Oscars. To be one of Oprah's favorite things --

GROBAN: I couldn't agree more. When she decides to show people, show her audience something that she appreciates, it means the world to anybody, to an author, to a singer.

MORGAN: You're now a veteran of the business.

GROBAN: I feel like it, yeah.

MORGAN: Which sounds ridiculous, because you're only 30.

GROBAN: I know.

MORGAN: -- what you've packed into ten years.

GROBAN: I'm signing a sperm and an egg somewhere. They're just waiting for that connection to happen. I know -- in ten years -- look, I don't take for granted at all that ten years is now a very, very long time to be in the music industry. It's becoming increasingly fickle.

And as we go more towards the singles kind of driven market, you're in and your out. So the fact that I've got a fan base that has always been about the whole album, and I've been able to kind of avoid the hype machine, fly just low enough under the radar, and just kind of focus on my grassroots connection with my fans -- I feel very lucky that I've been able to keep my head down.

MORGAN: The one thing, when I heard you were booked, A, I was very excited because I'm a big fan. But second, I thought what is the one thing I really wanted to ask Josh Groban. I thought what it would be, a straw poll of my friends, the shear volume of men of a certain age who have seduced women to your music prompted me to think have you ever done that?

Have you ever used Josh Groban music?

GROBAN: I wish that I could use my own music in the same kind of way. But I find that -- I wouldn't be -- I would cringe. I wouldn't be able to do it because -- I think maybe it's the same way as an actor seeing himself on camera. When I hear myself, once the mixing is done, I can't really play my own music.

MORGAN: You see, you think you're bored with your own music. Imagine my position. I have judged "America's Got Talent" and "Britain's Got Talent" for six years. One in three singers that comes and auditions, at some stage, sings "Raise Me Up." I hate that song.

GROBAN: I don't blame you.

MORGAN: Hold your thoughts on that. Let's hear you in action with "Raise Me Up"




MORGAN: Let me clarify. I love the way you sing that song.

GROBAN: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: I hate the way 98 percent of every contestant we ever get tries to sing that song.

GROBAN: It's a deceptively difficult song. I mean, it really is. It's not complicated musically. It's the same notes over and over again. But it keeps getting higher and higher and higher. It's like the National Anthem. Somebody starts it in the wrong place, they have nowhere else to go.

MORGAN: It's horrendous. If you hear them going early, and you know the big note is to come.


MORGAN: It's like an agonizing slow form of water torture.

GROBAN: It can be. It can be. I feel for you. That's what happens when you have got a modern-day kind of classic that you have stumbled on, is that it winds up being covered thousands of times by different people.

MORGAN: Which is the song, when you're performing live -- you're in the middle of a tour at the moment. Which is the song you most like performing live?

MORGAN: I always like performing songs that I'd like to imagine people didn't know they wanted to hear. For me, the moments in the show where I feel like I can add something that perhaps I wasn't quite able to accomplish on the record, something that I think maybe pulls the audience a little bit out of their comfort zone, but in a good way.

It always means a lot when I can sing something I wrote. I mean, as I've been writing more and more, it's very gratifying to be able to sit there and play something that has a personal -- MORGAN: Come on, five minutes to live, you can sing one of your own songs to the nation.

GROBAN: Let's see, if I could sing one of my own songs to the nation -- it would have to be mine. I would probably -- that's a good question. I would probably sing -- there is a song called "February Song," that is one of my favorite songs.

MORGAN: I love that song.

GROBAN: And a very personal message. It's about kind of how sometimes you got a lot of questions and sometimes you need to back up from the world a minute before you find the answers. I think if I had those last moments on Earth, certainly there would be a lot of questions I would have at that moment.

MORGAN: Would there be someone you were thinking of?

GROBAN: Oh, there is always a muse.

MORGAN: With that particular song?

GROBAN: With that particular song? You know, sometimes you write about a person and sometimes you write words that you need to hear yourself. And sometimes you write songs about messages that you need to hear at the time. And "February Song" is a song about that confusion.

It's a song about that uncertainty. And in a lot of ways, it's about the people around me that have been so supportive. And in a lot of ways, it's about me.

MORGAN: Seven years ago, you said in an interview that there is the bad-ass in me that is never going to come out.

GROBAN: Well, I'm covered in tattoos under this suit. You know that.

MORGAN: You seem like such an unprepossessing, delightful young man. What is the bad-ass?

GROBAN: The bad-ass. Well, I think that sometimes people assume, because of the style of music you sing -- maybe it has kind of a romantic nature, maybe some people might think it's a little cheesy, whatever -- that there is no dark side, that there's no edge, or that you sit at home and knit and, you know.

But no, I don't know. I wanted a motorcycle when I was younger. My mom has only cried about one thing that I've wanted in my life, and that's a motorcycle. So that's one thing I was not able to get.

But I don't know. At some point, I would like to get a tattoo or seven.

MORGAN: You ever been a hopeless drunk, a drug addict?

GROBAN: Never done any drugs.

MORGAN: Are you a fighter?

GROBAN: I'm a control freak. For me, I'm so scattered all the time without any drugs. My brain is always in a million different places. So I actually kind of worry about where I'd find myself, you know, what alleyway I would wake up naked in if I tried anything else.

But I drink on days off. I like the occasional, you know, cigar two or three times a year.

MORGAN: It isn't quite as dark as I was hoping. Not really bad habits. The occasional cigar.

GROBAN: That's what I said. It's not going to come out. The problem is when you've got a voice that people want to hear for purity purposes, you can't polish it and put it away and go out and burn the candle at both ends. You have to -- and it sucks sometimes. As a 30- year-old guy and having been in this business from 20 until 30, yeah, there are times when you want to go out with your band and crew. And you want to party all night.

But there is nothing worse than that feeling on stage where you feel like God, am I going to hit this note? Man, is it going to come out the way I want? And that's a scary thought in front of 15,000 people.

MORGAN: Hold the bad-ass thought for a moment. I want to come back after the break and talk to you about the time your band did drag you to a strip club.

GROBAN: All right.

MORGAN: And also about your craven desire to join the mile-high club. Then we may be heading toward bad-ass territory. .

GROBAN: You might pull it out of me yet.




GROBAN: I'd like to think you all for coming to Anna Banana's goodbye party. And to my Anna Banana, you go into your cave and you study your butt off. Because if you do, I just know that you a going to kick that BAR's butt out of here. You know? You know, it reminds me of an old story my law professor told me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, dear god, cheers, everyone.


MORGAN: That is, of course, Josh Groban's big screen debut in the romantic comedy of the summer, "Crazy, Stupid Love." Steve Carell called you hilarious. I mean, blimey. Where an accolade.

GROBAN: That's very, very nice of him. That was the way my mom combed my hair when I was in fifth grade. That's how I had the inspiration.

MORGAN: I saw the film last week, actually. And you are naturally comedic.

GROBAN: Thank you.

MORGAN: You have the look for it. You have the kind of --

GROBAN: I'm funny looking for sure.

MORGAN: Yes, but you -- you have the comic timing. It was funny.

GROBAN: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Do you like it?

GROBAN: I do love it. I started an improv, actually. I love comedy. I love the instinct of trying to make people laugh. The ironic thing about when I started opening my mouth to song was it became this kind of big, dark, romantic, dramatic voice.

But the way I view myself and the way I view my acting style couldn't be farther from that.

MORGAN: One of the people that spotted you earlier was, of course, Jimmy Kimmel. We're going the play a little clip here from your memorable Kanye West impression.

GROBAN: All right.


GROBAN: At most, his Tweets are 140 characters. But the depth of his passion is immeasurable.

"Fur pillows are hard to actually sleep on."


MORGAN: They are -- that is genius.

GROBAN: They're pretty classic Tweets, I have to say. His Twitter feed was comedy gold without the music.

MORGAN: Can you do it with anyone's?

GROBAN: I've been asked in the past and I've politely turned it down, just because you can't top that. However, Piers, you have some Tweets that are mighty epic.

MORGAN: I thought you would do this. GROBAN: You -- I feel that perhaps I might want to give some of your very dramatic, very passionate Tweets the gravitas that they, quite frankly, deserve. Oh, this one. I wish I had a piano, because that would have made this a whole lot easier.

This one just calls for an operatic -- "memo to all the spotty, tax-dodging, dough-scrounging anarchists in London, please just give it a rest for today, can you Thanks."

I like the thanks at the end. I feel like -- this is good. "This parrot is the smartest animal I've ever seen. Amazing.".

Yes, I don't know. These are good.

MORGAN: Was that the one? I gave a standing ovation --

GROBAN: Who is the parrot? I have to know who the parrot is.

MORGAN: It was a parrot that appeared on "America's Got Talent." I ended up giving a standing ovation to a parrot.

GROBAN: So "America's Got Talent" includes animals.

MORGAN: There are no rules. Let me turn to you about the mile- high club, because I read with "Elle Magazine" recently where seem to be really, really pretty keen to try it out. But you're worried about logistics.

GROBAN: It's always been a fascination of mine. It's something I've never done. You think that -- you assume that people like Richard Branson or the president or people who have actual queen-sized beds on their planes, you know -- I wonder if those beds have seat belts attached to them.

MORGAN: You must have more women in your audiences at night wanting to go to bed with you than any guy singing out there at all.

GROBAN: I have not dipped my foot in those waters.

MORGAN: Never? You've never slept with a groupie?

GROBAN: No, I haven't because I'm weird. I have a lot of friends in the music business who just kind of, as we all do -- you get into it and you have that popularity. And you're backstage and you meet girls and you go out. For me, in my show, I actually walk out into the crowd. I'm able to actually see who is out there.

And I've seen some of the smoothest behavior from certain musicians. Their assistant will out and be like, hey, do you want to go backstage? Oh, I got chosen. I got chosen. And I think man, I don't think I could get away with that.

MORGAN: Who's the smoothest? Who's the best operator you've ever seen?

GROBAN: Who was it? MORGAN: They won't complain, because it's obviously like a badge of honor.

GROBAN: Have you interviewed Kid Rock?

MORGAN: I have. That does not surprise me.

GROBAN: He is a smooth Mo-Fo. I will tell you --

MORGAN: Half my staff were drooling.

GROBAN: And I'll tell him that to his face. Because he is absolutely one of the smoothest guys I've ever been around.

MORGAN: Charismatic, too.

GROBAN: Very charismatic. We're odd couples as far as friends. But we're neighbors. So we've hung out few times. Every time, I swear to God, he's very smooth.

MORGAN: You dated January Jones for three years. Katy Perry cited you as her secret crush. You're 30 now. So you're nearly approaching proper adulthood.

GROBAN: I found four gray hairs on this side.

MORGAN: Is there any woman in your life at the moment? You want to share with me?

GROBAN: Not at the moment, no. I'm on tour, which makes it very, very difficult to meet people. I might stop in a city, have a couple days off and meet somebody really fantastic. And the only way to get to know somebody, take them out to dinner, have a second date, whatever, is to fly them around the country. That kind of adds a bit of an undue pressure that you don't want.

MORGAN: Do you ever sing to your ladies?

GROBAN: No. I'm actually more attracted when somebody kind of wants to get to know me from a clean slate. For me, it's actually easier when somebody is like, so what do you do for a living? Oh, good luck with that. That's really good. Because I can start -- then if I feel it's gotten to that point, then I'll be like, hey, you know, just so happens I'm playing the Garden on Tuesday, if you'd like to -- . I've got a seat with your name on it if you'd like to come by and say hello.

And that's always fun. I got to admit, that's always fun.

MORGAN: Tell me about your foundations. I know it's something you're very keen on at the moment.

GROBAN: When I started singing, I was also lucky enough to have a wonderful art program at my high school, a place called the L.A. High School for the Arts in downtown L.A. and wonderful camp program called the Interloken (ph) Arts Camp. And as I grew older, I realized how quickly and how drastically, on a governmental level, these programs were being cut from kids' lives. And it changed my life in so many ways, not just from a foundation as a person, but professionally obviously. It made me everything I am today.

But I started to realize being in programs like that, that it affects kids' lives in ways that are immeasurable even if they don't go into it professionally. These kids are on the fence. Just having the chance to express themselves, having a chance to get there and share what they may not be able to share in their home life is amazing in a child's life.

So I just kind of started the Josh Groban Foundation. It went to a lot of different causes. I realized that I wanted to do two things with the foundation. One was I wanted to change the name so that it was its own entity an wasn't dependent --

MORGAN: What is it now?

GROBAN: It's now called the Find Your Light Foundation, which is to me how I felt --

MORGAN: How can people help if they want to?

GROBAN: If they want to, they can visit my website, which is Or they can text ART to 5055 to make a 10 dollar donation as well.

But we are focusing primarily on that passion. Ever since I testified to Congress for more arts funding, I realized that was my biggest bullet, is to share that experience and to try to get more young people inspired and get those programs back. So every city, we try to do that.

MORGAN: Good for you. Good to meet you.

GROBAN: It's been really great to meet you, too. I feel darker already.

MORGAN: Can you give me one last burst of "Raise Me Up"?

GROBAN: You raise me up.

MORGAN: That's all we've got time for. Josh Groban, I'm looking forward to seeing you in "The Office," too, coming up.

GROBAN: That's right. I'll be taping "The Office."

MORGAN: Looking forward to that. Thank you very much.

GROBAN: Thanks, Piers.

MORGAN: When we come back, Beyonce' and what she told me about her blockbuster baby news.


MORGAN: The big celebrity buzz tonight is still Beyonce and Jay- Z. You saw her showing off her baby bump at MTV's VMAs.

And I reckon I may have been the first to really know, because she gave me a pretty big hint when we talked back in June. Remember this?


MORGAN: You're 29 years old.


MORGAN: And in September --

BEYONCE: I'll be 30.

MORGAN: The looming, dooming, big 30 is emerging in your life.


MORGAN: You're pretending to be very, very thrilled about this. Are you?

BEYONCE: No. I am absolutely serious. I can't wait. Because 29 is very strange. You're still in your 20s, but you feel like you're supposed to be 30? And I feel like a woman. I feel like I'm very aware of who I am.

And I feel great. And I feel like 30 is the ideal age, because you're mature enough to know who you are and to have your boundaries and your standards and not be afraid or too polite. But you're young enough to be a young woman. I'm so looking forward to it.

MORGAN: When I hear you speak like, in this mature, sensible, rational way --

BEYONCE: It's the truth.

MORGAN: But it's beginning to sound a bit like your mother, which makes me think you're now heading to the right kind of time in your life --

BEYONCE: I'm turning into my mom. Are you trying to say I need to have a baby?

MORGAN: I didn't even ask the question.

BEYONCE: OK. I always said I would have a baby at 30.

MORGAN: I know you did.

BEYONCE: I'm 29.

MORGAN: Exactly. BEYONCE: But I also said I was going to retire at 30. So I don't know.

MORGAN: It could be a big year.

BEYONCE: Who knows? I'm not retiring, I'll tell you that.

MORGAN: Can we expect the little patter of little Beyonce and Jay-Zs?

BEYONCE: Only God knows. Only God knows.

MORGAN: Would you mind asking him to tell me?

BEYONCE: I will. I will. We'll have the conversation. I would, but you can't tell anybody else.


MORGAN: And it turned out that I reckon Beyonce knew, too. And you can hear the whole interview again tomorrow, my one on one with Beyonce, a remarkable interview for the hour. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360." starts right now.