Have you heard? Jenny McCarthy has a brand new talk show, The Jenny McCarthy Show, and it premieres on Friday, February 8th at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT. The show has been a couple of years in the making, but now that it’s finally here, McCarthy tells us, she’s ecstatic about the way it’s turned out. More “late-night after-party” than talk show, she says she modeled it after Hugh Hefner’s Playboy After Dark, and you can expect plenty of candid conversation with celebs. But what we’re most excited for? A possible Singled Out reunion with Chris Hardwick, which McCarthy is hoping for. Um, yes please. Jenny spoke to us after she taped an episode this week and told us all about how filming’s going, and how it actually made her face her fear of the Mob Wives, with whom she’s struck up a friendship.
What’s going to be unique about this show and make it specifically “Jenny”?
I wanted it to feel like people were at a party. A lot of times watching talk shows, you’re watching a talk show. My template was Playboy After Dark, which Hugh Hefner did back in the day. I know that’s before everyone’s time and no one knows what I’m talking about, but he had this penthouse suite with celebrities and everyone was drinking and socializing and having real conversations. That’s what I think people will notice is different. They’ll think “Oh my God, I want to go to that party,” instead of saying “I want to go to that talk show.”
So how did the show come to be, did you just pitch a Jenny McCarthy talk show and it was your creative concept since day one?
It’s amazing, in my very, very first meeting with VH1 and the producer, Jeff Olde, a year and a half or two years ago, we sat down and I described this talk show, and he was like “That’s exactly what we’re looking to do,” so we both had the same exact vision, but sometimes it doesn’t get executed in the same way. Last night, I spoke to Jeff again and we were both just in awe that it did. Whatever the vision was two years ago, we were able to put it on screen.
Is there a focus to the conversation each week? Do you lean toward pop culture or sex and relationships, or is the conversation just organic?
What we’re doing is using pop culture to catapult us into our personal stories. So we’ll talk about Kris Humphries and then it will be like “I can relate to that, it’s like the time I dated so and so.” We’re using pop culture as a way to talk about our personal issues.
And how personal will you get? Is there anything sacred that you won’t talk about?
Pretty much 100% [of my life] is out there. It’s always been. My brand, not to say that and sound weird, but my books and everything else for the past eight years have been about me telling the truth and being my honest and authentic self. The only way people can understand your life is by being truthful with it. People can only learn from your life by sharing in those experiences, even if they might be ugly or painful or embarrassing. If you’re in front of the camera doing this format, if I’m not going to be open and honest about everything then I shouldn’t be doing it.
Do you think a lot of celebrities over share these days? Does anything ever cross the line?
I guess it depends on the platform. If you’re on a talk show and you’re sharing an experience that might help somebody else, that’s great. If you’re a comedian and you’re being really raw on Twitter, that’s a comedian doing what they do best. I think if you’re the President of the United States and you come out talking about your sex life — AWKWARD! So it really depends on where you stand in the entertainment industry and what you want your brand to be.
You’ve done Playboy and at a certain time, that was one of the more scandalous things a person could do, but now you get nip slips and upskirts constantly and it’s like, a daily thing to see from some celebrities.
I’m still in denial that those vag shots are on purpose, I’m old school and I’m a mom and this 20-year-old generation I’m just baffled by. Are they really showing their snatch on purpose? I at least had airbrushing and got paid for it! But to do it for free out of a car when you’re partying, I don’t know! Look at how much it shocks me! I would never, ever, ever, ever come out of a car and show my snatch on purpose. But I would do it in a movie in a second, like I already did, and I do in my show opening.
And when you do it, it’s tongue-in-cheek and funny, you don’t get the sense that it’s overtly sexual.
I don’t want to try to be sexual, right. I want to be the joke of it all and do it in a goofy, silly way.
You’ve already said you looked to Hef’s talk show as inspiration for that after-party feel, do you have any other people you’ve looked to for inspiration?
Witout a doubt, Hef was my template. His conversations with celebrities were conversations. The other person I’d say is Craig Ferguson. When you do his show, he doesn’t have pre-interviews, so every time you go on his show, it’s organic and natural conversation, and it’s really refreshing. It might be hard for celebrities who need to have their stories told about their cat whose arm was broken and limped all the way home, but he was one person I admired who said “When you do my show, not one celebrity that’s coming on does a pre-interview.” Between Hef, and him, and Yo! MTV Raps, put them in a blender and you get my show.
Does your being a mom inform the show at all?
You know, that comes out when it needs to come out, but this is a late-night show so I won’t be telling the mommy stories too much but it’s a part of my life, so if there’s a circumstance that comes up that relates, of course I’ll tell that story, like how Evan is purposely embarrassing me in public now, things like that that would relate to a nighttime audience. But there will be no segments on the benefits of breastfeeding.
Now I need to know, how has embarrassed you? What are those stories?
He’s been going on airplanes and elevators with me and when the doors shut, he announces that I’m there. When I travel I try to hide in a hat and scarf, and he knows it embarrasses me so when the doors close he’ll say to the people around us “Ladies and gentlemen, you are so lucky, you are in this elevator with Jenny McCarthy!” Oh. My. God. Stories like that could make it in the show.
At least it sounds like he inherited your sense of humor.
Oh, he did. He’s funny all right.
You were on Singled Out on MTV and now you’re on VH1, does it feel like a sort of coming-home to be back in the same world where you started?
Yes, it totally feels like I’m back in the same family. When I first got my job at MTV, there was the same energy and the same buzz of people saying “Here’s a microphone, be yourself.” They took that risk on Singled Out and said “Go do your thing, we don’t know what that is, but go do it.” And it’s the same thing here. The same kind of vibration of people who are saying “Here’s a microphone, we’ll built a set around it, go do it.” I like that vitality from people. They’re not second-guessers, they’re not insecure, they’re game-changers, they take risks, and that to me is the difference.
Do you keep in touch with [Singled Out co-host] Chris Hardwick?
We have an offer out to him for our Valentine’s Day Show, we want to do a special Singled Out segment, how fun would that be?
Please, for the children of the 90s, make that happen. So, since you’re a TV star, do you have a favorite show to watch yourself?
I guess I’d have to say Mob Wives. I’ve been watching diligently. Big Ang and Drita both taped test shows with me and I was scared of both of them. And now I would consider them great friends and good people. Scary still, but good people.
Every talk show has a thing it’s known for. Oprah became super inspirational, Dr. Oz is the poop guy. What do you want your show to be known as?
The fun after-party with girl talk. Bringing sexy back. I look at late night TV and I’m like “Why is everyone in suits and ties and behind desks? Why is no one drinking? What happened?” I want people to feel like it’s a real, late-night after-party.
[Photo: Robert Adam Mayer for VH1]