John Campbell arches an eyebrow, stares at me and says: "I'mma f*** me up a bitch."
Shocking? Well, they're not words you expect to hear out of the mouth of the family friendly broadcaster - especially when it's 9.30am and we're only on our first coffee.
But here we are, sitting at a quiet inner-city cafe, waiting for sausage rolls to be delivered to our table, and Campbell, 53 and a father-of-two, is swearing his head off.
Why? He's trying to remember the name of Beyonce's awesome adultery anthem Hold Up - "that one that starts with the Andy Williams sample" - because, well, it's his favourite.
It turns out Campbell's a massive R&B and hip-hop fan. He listens to it with his kids. It is, he says, "the great joy in my life".
"Kendrick [Lamar] and Drake and Anderson [Paak] ... I love that music," he says, with all of the exuberance Campbell's fans know and love him for.
Then his forehead crumples. He's got something serious to say. "I do sometimes look over my shoulder and think, 'What is this music about?'"
That's why he quoted Beyonce earlier, and it's why he's quoting Lamar now. "'B****, be humble?' I say to my daughter, 'Right, you need to guide me here, what do we make of this?'"
It's a big question, but asking big questions is exactly what Campbell does. He did it for years at Three, campaigning for the little guys and tackling tough issues like school lunches and delays over the Christchurch Earthquake rebuild while fronting Campbell Live.
Ahh, the dearly departed Campbell Live. We all know what happened there. Two years on, Campbell's clearly still shaken. "I miss what we had, I miss our team ... So many people I worked with haven't found work. They worry they'll never work in journalism again. Well, Jesus," he tells me at one point, shaking his head.
He wondered that too. After his exit, Campbell shut up shop and stayed at home. He listened to sad songs by female singer-songwriters, took his son to rugby games, and re-evaluated. He didn't like it much. "I hated being unemployed. I hated it. I had no idea how to spend my days."
What did he discover? Nothing is what it seems. "I worked somewhere for 24 years and I made a set of assumptions, and I believed things were a certain way. At the end of the day they weren't. That coincided with me stumbling into my 50s. You take stock," he says. "I'm still in that process. I'm still working out how I feel about everything."
It clearly rocked him. Yet here he is, smiling, quoting Beyonce and tucking into a sausage roll. He's still being John Campbell, still asking questions. He's found a new home at Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint show, so a return to TV wasn't on his mind. He wasn't interested. "I wasn't ready," he says. "I didn't think I was ready to be talked about again."
But next week, he's doing exactly that, fronting a show called - ironically - What Next? It's his first job at TVNZ, and he's returning to a live current affairs format for a five-night stand. It sounds very much like this is Campbell's big telly comeback. But he assures me, it's not. In fact, the first time he was asked, he said no.
Even he seems surprised that he changed his mind. "I decided it was bloody stupid not to do it," he quips. The reason? What Next? will let Campbell do what Campbell does best: ask some big, bold questions. The ambitious live TV event begins on Sunday and over five nights, Campbell and co-host Nigel Latta will attempt to do the impossible: they want to predict the future.
Will robots take all of our jobs? What's going to happen to the environment? What kind of homes will we live in? Can we keep eating meat and drinking milk? What are we teaching our kids? What do we stand for as a country? Who the hell are we? Also, will we finally get hoverboards? That's one of mine, but Campbell enjoys it, erupting with that big, hearty laugh of his. "Hoverboards for all? I like that," he says.
The show was Latta's idea. Campbell insists he's just "a ring-in". He's taking part because he doesn't think enough big questions are being asked at the moment, and he believes they're good discussions to have. "If we're able to make people scratch their heads and say, 'What the hell are we doing about this?' or 'Good point, how are we planning for this?' politicians will be forced to respond," he says.
Asking questions, goading politicians, fronting a live current affairs show five nights a week. Don't call it a comeback. It's just a one-off. Campbell's taking a week's leave so he can make What Next? as good as it can possibly be. The week after, he'll be back at work, asking more questions.
But as he finishes up his sausage roll, I decide I've got a big question of my own. I ask him: "Are you content?" Campbell's reply is everything you'd expect: long, thoughtful, considered, a little emotional.
"I don't know what I am any longer. I'm still working it out," he says. "I maintain core hopes, a sense of optimism, that we can make a difference ... [but] they're not innate in me any longer. I have to remind myself, I have to apply myself.
"I think to myself, 'What's better than this?' I haven't got an answer to it."