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TVTropes says:

In real life: Gaiman and Pratchett did a radio interview when the book came out, and slowly realized that the interviewer wasn't aware that the book was fictional, and thought they were a couple of religious kooks writing about what they thought would be the real apocalypse. They spent the rest of it viciously trolling him.

This sounds hilarious, but there's no citation for it. Is it true, and, if so, who, when, and where? Is a recording or transcription of this interview available?

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I haven't found a transcript or recording of the interview itself, but I did find a transcript of a different interview where the two spoke about this interview:

Neil Gaiman: "The first radio interview we did in New York, the interviewer was asking us 'Who is Agnes Nutter? What is her history? Is Armageddon happening?" and so on and so forth. After a while, we twigged he hadn't realized this was fiction. He thought he'd been given two kooks who'd come across these old prophecies and were predicting that the world was going to be ending."

Terry Pratchett: "Once we realized, it was great fun. We could take over the interview, since we knew he didn't know enough to stop us."

Edit, later. Here are some more links confirming that this occurred (stolen from this answer to a very similar question on SF&F.SE): a mention of the interview in a reprinted edition of *Good Omens, a mention of the interview on Neil Gaiman's blog

Also, here's a quote from a Neil Gaiman interview in 2015 (which I found in the SF&F duplicate):

“[Terry] said ‘Well, you remember we were on the Good Omens author tour in February 1990’ … He said ‘We were in New York and we went to that ABC affiliate radio station, and the interviewer had not actually read the book … so when we started telling him about Agnes Nutter … we started explaining about this 17th century witch who all of her predictions were true … He did not realise this was fictional. We realised he had not read the book, and the engineers in the control room behind the glass panel who we could see and he could not, were lying on their backs kicking their legs against the walls.’

And I said, ‘Of course I remember. I was willing to let that go on for the entire interview’.

To answer the title question: Yes, this interview occurred. No transcript or recording appears to be available, however. (Also, go upvote Jos's answer - they got confirmation from Gaiman himself!)

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  • Thanks, that's good info. I might not accept this without more information about the original interview, but it's definitely worth an upvote for answering the title question. (Unless they were making it up for a funny story, of course ...)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 24 at 21:12
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I asked Mr Gaiman on Twitter to respond, and he did, as well as another person:

Aliza "I think and I vote." (@alizatw):

To summarize: it's reported but not authoritatively confirmed that @neilhimself and @terryandrob did a radio interview with someone who thought they were religious zealots and #GoodOmens was talking about the real Armageddon.

Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself):

There are dozens of interviews with us about this and it's even mentioned in the afterword to one of the current editions. He didn't think we were religious looks, just that we believed in Agnes and her prophecies.

transcription above

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    Great, thanks for the authoritative response! I wonder if the "They spent the rest of it viciously trolling him" on TVTropes is as much editorialising as the "religious kooks". In this interview (which Gallifreyan found for me in chat), it seems that NG was "willing to let it go on the entire interview" but TP said "I had to put him out of his misery". Did they actually troll him through the whole interview, or did they explain the truth to him during it?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 25 at 12:17
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    For completeness's sake, the current edition is probably the Harper paperback, which (on pg. 383) describes "the moment, live on air, when we realized that an underinformed New York radio interviewer with ten minutes of chat still to go thought Good Omens was not a work of fiction." (Emphasis in original.)
    – Cadence
    Jan 25 at 14:33

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