Up Close & Personal
by Carlin Langley
A big black limousine pulls up to a University City bookstore
and unloads its celebrity passenger at the back door as a
crowd of eager fans starts to build in the front of the bookstore.
The crowd has heard and read that the KING of Talk Shows
is going to be signing his new book and they are anxious to get
a chance to meet the star of TV's hottest and highest rated talk
show, Jerry Springer. Jerry was once upon a time the elected
mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, and after serving in office, accepted
a position doing the TV news anchor for the local Multimedia
Station. I asked him, "How do you make the transition from
being a political figure like a mayor, to talk show host?" He said, "I had been 10 years as
councilman and mayor of Cincinatti. I went from that to anchoring the news for the NBC affiliate
in Cincinnati for another 10 years. The company who owned the station where I did the news,
also owned the "Phil Donahue Show". As Phil was getting close to retiring, they wanted to start
another talk show. So they took me to lunch one day and told me they were going to start another
talk show and I was going to host it. So, I was assigned to do it, hopefully to try and replace Phil.
So, I did it, and at first, I really wasn't crazy about it, but now, after doing it for 8 years, I'm
having a really good time, and in fact, I just signed a contract for another 5 years. So I'll be
around for that long, and after that, we'll see what happens."
Another interviewer asked him, "How do you compare yourself to Oprah?" Jerry's reply was
quick, "I am no comparison to Oprah!! Oprah is a very classy lady who puts on a first class talk
show. I'm nothing more than a ringmaster who gets out there with a microphone and directs a
circus. But right now, it happens to be what people want to watch, so it works!"
I asked him, "Who has been your most interesting guest?" Jerry said, "Well, we've done the show
for 8 years and it would be hard to pick one out. I know the one that was the strangest guest I've
ever had was this guy, and of course, we only do shows about outrageous people... we did this
one show about this guy, who was being stalked by a gay guy, and he didn't want that, so he cut
off his own male organ, thinking that the gay guy would then lose interest in him. I'm thinking,
'Why not just change your number??? Instead of becoming a lesbian!!"
I asked him if there had been any shows that, after it was over, he had regretted doing? He said,
"Well, there's shows that, in fact lots of them, that I think are just too boring. Every once in a
while, we do a show that just doesn't work, where the audience just isn't into it, or the guests are
flat. So it happens once in a while. but there's never been a show that I've regretted doing the
subject matter on, as long as it's outrageous. If it's boring or normal, then I regret doing it."
"HAVE YOU EVER HAD SEX WITH ANOTHER GUY, EVEN AS A TEENAGER?" His
reply, even though he had told another reporter earlier that he never ever talked about his personal
life, because then, it was no longer personal, was quick and without hesitation. "Never! Nope...
Sorry! It'll never happen!! I'm not into it. But I mean, if that's what you're into, then great! God
Bless you, but I have no interest. Me? I like BABES!!" I then asked him, "How do you feel when
you have gays on your show?" "Like anybody else. I don't make any judgements about a person's
sexual preferences. That's their own business. Whatever your sexual orientation is, that's your
own business." I asked him if they had any gay related shows on his upcoming schedule. He
replied, "I wouldn't know. I'm never aware of what shows we have coming up. As long as it's
crazy or outrageous, we'll do it."
I asked him then, if he planned on being President? He said, with a laugh, "No, although there's
now a wrestler who is now a governor. I figure, I have wrestling on my show every day, so
maybe I should be President! It makes sense to me!!"
I found Jerry to be very cooperative, funny, and quite personable, and it was a pleasure to meet
him and talk to him. You can catch him in the new movie, "RINGMASTER", which was just
released Thanksgiving weekend at area theatres, or you can read his book by the same title,
published by St. Martin's Press, available at most area bookstores. Jerry's opening comment to the
packed house that greeted him at the autograph party was, "My hope for each one of you is that
your life never gets so bad, that you end up on my show!!"
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|"My hope for each one of you
is that your life never gets so
bad, that you end up on my