Theo Von, current host of the webseries “Primetime in No Time,” made a name for himself in the comedy world by appearing on specials, hosting, and touring. Now, Von sits down with us in an exclusive interview to discuss the second season premiere of his hit TBS show, “Deal With It.”
Q: Can we start off talking about your background? You started on a reality show and now you are hosting your own show. How did your career develop?
Von: Well yeah I started out as a student just doing an open call … and I ended up on the “Road Rules” show. This was back in 1999. I did that and a couple of the subsequent challenges for about three or four years. But was always doing comedy. In 2005 I did “Last Comic Standing” and that’s when I quit the reality shows and just started focusing on comedy … I was at MTV pitching a show one day and I saw an old friend who I had known from “Road Rules” who had worked on the crew and he was working at Yahoo! and he said I should come in because they were auditioning for this hosting spot. Then I ended up hosting “Primetime in No Time” and at the same time I started a website where I would text random numbers and have conversations with strangers. So when they were in development they brought me in because they knew I liked to play practical jokes on people and that was kind of it.
Q: How do you come up with all of these ideas? The video series on the website, the television show, the website. Where do you get the inspiration?
Von: Just different things. I don’t know. I have always been a little bit more of an idea man; I have always kind of liked the more creative stuff I guess. So, I don’t know. Some of its good fortune with it, like having good luck with things and some of it is just not giving up. That’s one thing I noticed in this business.
Q: So talking to me about “Deal With It” the season is premiering on Wednesday. Season one was hilarious. The people you get on there to do these crazy things is just amazing. But for someone who might have missed it can you describe what the show is about?
Von: People are just going to lunch and fortunately or unfortunately they walk into where we have set up for the day and where we are shooting our series. We find a way to get one of them away from the table that they are at, we will have a waiter approach them or ask them if they want to fill out an application to eat free and fill out a survey. We get them from the table and bring them behind the scenes very quickly and say hey do you want to be on a game show, here is what we are going to do.
Q: Are you guys in a van? I have always wondered this when you are doing this.
Von: We need to make this more clear next time. We are sitting in the back of the restaurant in a room that the place has given us for the day.
Q: Yeah, it always looks the same so I thought you might be in a van like sitting watching everything happen.
Von: [Laughs] I think this year there is going to be more shots to show that we are looking at all of these screens. We can see everything that is going on. We are sitting as close as we can to the action. Sometimes we will be so close to the action we have to be quiet when we are telling the person what to do. So the contestant or whoever is on the floor doesn’t hear us.
Q: Was there a specific memory or scene you filmed this season that sticks out in your mind?
Von: There was one place we went to where there was a funeral going on. It was like a memorial service for someone who had pasted away. So we asked one of the contestants if she wanted to go get up at the memorial service and say something like she knew the person and she was willing to do it [laughs]. So she gets up at this memorial service and its pretty awesome. She was there with her friend and her friend is so traumatized in a positive way and her friends eye make up is running. [Laughs] It was just awesome.
Q: What can we look forward to this season?
Von: Well I think this season the show took on a special stride. It was so much first the first season but we were all learning and now everyone kind of knows what’s going on. I am excited that everyone gets to see it and people will come up to me and won’t even ask me, but they want to know about the show. That’s awesome because you know they really like it. This is just fun to be apart of a real group where everyone is having such a good time.
Q: How does it feel to have fans that have followed you for so many years?
Von: It’s so cool. A lot of times you fans will remind you of things you totally forgot about. So it’s cool because they hold on to a lot of memories that you just forget. So I am thankful that people really enjoy my work and I am surprised that people remember things and stick with things. I hope people continue to stay on board especially as I get this comedy together. I am really grateful for the people that have been so supportive.
Watch Theo Von and his celebrity friends prank people on “Deal With It” Wednesday nights on TBS at 10:30 p.m. EST.
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