Burbank, 41, brings "Live Wire" back to The Neptune Theatre in Seattle on Saturday, where the hometown boy saw "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in 1991.
Luke Burbank is everywhere.
On NPR’s “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me,” where he is a regular panelist.” On “CBS Sunday Morning,” where he is a correspondent. On his daily podcast, “Too Beautiful to Live.” And on the weekly radio show he has hosted for the last few years, “Live Wire!”
“I’m like a cold sore,” Burbank cracked the other day. “I keep coming back.”
That’s especially true this Saturday, Sept. 30, when Burbank, 41, brings “Live Wire” back to The Neptune Theatre in Seattle, where the hometown boy saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1991. (“It blew my mind.”) Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins an hour later.
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“Live Wire!” is now on 125 stations nationwide. Most shows are recorded in Portland, but Burbank is happy to be starting the new season in his hometown.
“The crowd has a blast,” Burbank said. “We have a house band. It’s like ‘The Tonight Show’ on the radio. Then the challenge is turning it into a radio show that sounds good and is entertaining for someone in their Prius or their Subaru Outback. And we’ve done studies: Those are the only people who get the frequency of public radio.”
This week’s show features director Lynn Shelton, who just completed “Outside In,” a feature film starring Edie Falco and Jay Duplass; Hawaiian slack-key guitar master Makana, who Burbank first saw while watching in-flight entertainment. (“It was the most amazing thing I had ever heard”); and Kevin Avery, who just won an Emmy as a writer for the HBO show “This Week with John Oliver.”
“It’s going to be a cool, fun night and my family is coming,” Burbank said. “I’m just really going to try, because my sister Hannah will be there, and I really want to impress her.”
It should be enough for her that “CBS Sunday Morning” just made him a correspondent.
Burbank was backstage at a taping of “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me” with CBS correspondent Mo Rocca when he ranted about something. Rocca thought it would make a good commentary for “Sunday Morning” and connected Burbank with his bosses. That developed into a series of commentaries, and then this new, regular gig.
So that’s how Burbank found himself at the retirement party for Charles Osgood where the Boston Pops performed, and he spent some time “kicking it” backstage with Jane Pauley, who replaced Osgood as the show’s host.
“I would like to do karaoke with that woman,” Burbank said of Pauley. (His karaoke song: “Runaround Sue” by Dion. “It’s really catchy, and when it comes on, everyone’s happy, and it’s two minutes long. Even if it stinks, it’s over. That’s also my approach to lovemaking.”)
It’s a crazy time for Burbank, who said the travel has allowed him to develop an “intimate relationship” with every one of the N gates at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“I”m just trying to make hay while the sun shines,” Burbank said. “I’m a kid who used to work at a plumbing company. I don’t know how this ended up being my actual life, but apparently it is. And I have to say, I feel extremely fortunate.”