Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Watch the "Auction Hunters" Use the Force This Weekend

Each week, Allen Haff and Ton Jones dig through abandoned storage units to find valuable antiques and other merchandise. Their discoveries are always cool to watch, but this weekend, Allen and Ton are digging through something even cooler—the LucasFilm Archives.

As part of Spike TV’s traditional holiday weekend marathon of the “Star Wars” movies, we’ll be seeing Allen and Ton at the Skywalker Ranch as they unearth original props costumes and other “Star Wars” artifacts, including an original R2-D2, Darth Maul’s original costume, an AT-AT model and the holy grail for male “Star Wars” fans—Princess Leia’s gold bikini from “Return of the Jedi.”

Plus, the guys will be giving us an exclusive look at bonus content from the upcoming Blu-ray release of “Star Wars: The Complete Saga.”

Here’s the complete schedule:


· 1:00 – 4:00 PM, ET/PT and 11:00 PM – 2:30 AM, ET/PT


· 4:00 – 7:30 PM, ET/PT


· 7:30 – 11:00 PM, ET/PT



· 12:30 – 4:00 PM, ET/PT


· 4:00 – 7:30 PM, ET/PT


· 7:30 – 10:30 PM, ET/PT


· 10:30 PM – 2:00 AM, ET/PT



· 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM, ET/PT


· 12:30 – 4:00 PM, ET/PT


· 4:00 – 7:00 PM, ET/PT


· 7:00 – 10:00 PM, ET/PT


· 10:00 PM – 1:30 AM, ET/PT


I’m always so bummed about how they stretch these movies out so badly, but this time, I’m okay with it if we get to see Ton and Allen play with cool stuff…

Photo Credit: Spike TV

Bravo on "Beverly Hills": The Show Will Go On

There was no fancy press release, just a simple email that went out today to share the news that Bravo will premiere “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Monday as scheduled…

It was thought that Bravo would postpone the premiere after the suicide of series regular Taylor Armstrong’s estranged husband, Russell. The couple’s troubles was scheduled to be a major storyline of the show this season.

Here is the e-mail in its entirety:

“Bravo will proceed with the Monday, September 5 premiere date of ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,’” confirmed Frances Berwick, President, Bravo Media. "Given that these episodes were filmed months ago, the producers of the show taped a brief interview this week with several of the cast members to introduce the premiere. Re-editing of the episodes is still underway."

Berwick added, "Bravo has partnered with the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc. (EIC) to raise awareness about suicide prevention. The network will air various PSA’s during the ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.’ We will also provide additional information and resources on, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline."

“Our thoughts continue to be with the Armstrong family during this difficult time,” said Berwick.

“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” premieres Monday, September 5th at 9 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Richard McLaren/Bravo

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comic Fans: Get Ready For a Whole New Universe

As you guys know, I am proud to call myself a comic book geek.

And in the world of comic book geeks like myself, tomorrow is a big day. So, I hope you’ll forgive me for the non-TV post…

Tomorrow (beginning at midnight in some major cities), DC Comics will launch “The New 52” with the release of “Justice League #1.” Over the next several weeks, DC will release new number ones of all 52 of their titles.

In other words, they’re starting over…

When I first heard about this, I didn’t really like it. I’m not a fan of starting books over—especially ones in the 800s and 900s. And I was a little nervous about the changes to some of the characters, like Superman being single and the once paralyzed Barbara Gordon once again taking up the fight as Batgirl.

But after talking to DC Comics Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras and Executive Editor Eddie Berganza, I feel much better. It makes a lot of sense that if you’re going to reel in new fans, you have to give them a good place to start. And what better place than the beginning?

Harras and Berganza’s enthusiasm about the project is so infectious, I’m now completely psyched to see how this new universe spins out of the “Flashpoint” mini-series, which also concludes tomorrow.

You got a taste of the interview in my story in Monday’s “The Herald Dispatch,” but I wasn’t able to include all the juicy details, so I’m running the entire interview here.

In exchange, I hope you won’t give away the “Flashpoint” ending until after I get my copy on Friday…

Tell me just what is “The New 52.”

Bob Harras

What “The New 52” really is is just a great opportunity for fans and people who are maybe not as involved in comics to come and read about some of the greatest characters in pop culture today—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern. We’re really just giving you a place to jump on, read about their lives, read about their adventures and get involved in all this fun here we have going on at DC Comics. It’s just a great opportunity and we have writers and artists who have really stepped up and they’re incredibly excited and the product is just—what’s coming out is amazing.

Eddie Berganza

And also since we have all sorts of new platforms to take advantage of, it’s great. It really does a lot for fans who can’t get to a comic store.

Talk a little bit more about those new platforms.


We are the first to do day and date digital release of our product the same day as old line publishing and it will really give the opportunity for people to go on their iPhone or whatever platform they have and really read our product and the story of all our characters. And it’s not…up ‘til now you had to go to a comics shop or you had to get a subscription. Now, it’s really open to everyone to get involved in comics, to get involved in DC and all the great characters. And again, it’s an incredible opportunity. It opens up the opportunity to have a more diverse line. We have horror, we have westerns, we have military. It’s really like a way to give a sampling to everybody about what comics can be.


We’re expanding on everything. We have a vampire book now, we have one set in the Dark Ages. It really is expanding what we’re doing.

What would you say to the fans who are questioning re-starting the books?


The thing is it stays on character. We’re not doing away with any of the characters. Their stories are staying intact. Batgirl, for instance, had an incident with The Joker that’s very important to us. The Green Lantern mythos, the different corps that we’ve introduced, all the different colors, that stays as well. It’s really staying true to what’s all of these characters.


I think people should realize that we are fans as well of these characters and whatever concerns that have been expressed out there is actually I think part of the great things about comics—the passion that everyone has about these characters. I think people are going to be very excited about what we’re doing, but I’m actually kind of, I’m grateful for people challenging us because it just means they care about the characters as much as we do.

So it’s not going to be a complete washout of story?


We took a lot of care looking at the history of these characters and we’ve created a timeline to express what is important in their lives as people, as characters that will still be part and parcel of the ongoing stories. So again, a lot of care, a lot of thought went into this, as well as a lot of excitement.


And it’s individual cases. In certain instances, we had one of these heroes or villains have so much baggage and now we streamlined it so you don’t have to read 60 years of comic history, you can just enjoy it. We’ve compressed everything to a five year gap of time.

Does “The New 52” come right out of “Flashpoint”?


Yes. They’re going to love it. Once they get to issue five and things are explained, they’ll see how it all comes about.


It’s actually a lot of fun.


Geoff [Johns] has done a wonderful job and Andy Kubert has done amazing things. They pretty much created a world so it’s very cool when you see how that plays out. There’s little touches of it when you had the introduction of the Frankenstein character and then you see that Frankenstein character has its own book. You saw Grifter interact with the DC characters for the first time and now that’s going to continue.

So why now?


Why not now in lot of ways. A lot of great things, a lot of fun things just came out of a meeting with writers and artists a while back sometime in 2011 and we just talked about story, we talked about characters. There was no agenda. It was really what excited you about these characters. What attracted you? What stories did you want to tell? And out of that conversation just came this sense of we’ve got these great characters here. What can we do really to celebrate that? And I know it sounds corny but in a lot of ways, this whole “New 52” really came out of that creative conversation which I really think is the best way for these events to happen.


It’s excitement and it’s really so many of the creators are so juiced up and pumped up about this. There’s no way we’re going to let go of this. The energy that’s being brought up. The books are fantastic. We’re all really excited about this.


One of the most gratifying things about this is that you see the artists and writers coming together as teams and really in some ways saying look what I can do. And the other teams going, look what we can do. You sense that excitement across the line.

Are you guys going to be out a comic store at midnight Tuesday night?


Yes I am. I don’t know if Eddie is. I’m planning a late night one night. Definitely am.


I’ll be out there.


It’s what comics are about. Exciting stories, great art and community as well.


These are the characters that inspire movies that people are nuts about. It’s nice to see that we’re going back to the source and the excitement is starting from there.

Some headlines have come out about some of the characters. You mentioned characters with baggage. Were you talking about Superman when you said that?

[Both laugh]


Were we? [laughs] For better or worse we aged him a lot. He sort of became someone’s parent. Between being married and everything else, he started to look a little worn there. So we kind of spruced him up. He’s an amazing character everybody indentifies with. We’re kind of going back to his roots. We couldn’t be happier that Grant Morrison is the one who’s sort of initiating this, which is a story that takes place five years ago the same way Geoff Johns is doing in “Justice League.” And George Perez is coming up and giving us the current time and also everything in between and people start discovering this character for the first time. I mean, see the success we had with “Smallville.” People want to know about this guy.

Bruce Wayne is once again the one true Batman.


The one true Batman, yes. We really spoke with the talent involved—Scott Snyder, Tony Daniel—and we talked to them about what is the core of the character. What attracted them to Batman and we really just sat down and we worked out these storylines and events and what you’re going to see next month, is just really getting to know Bruce Wayne, getting to know Batman and really just exploring his world and how Gotham City impacts him and how he impacts Gotham City in a new and different way. And really both of them, the first issues are amazing, I think, and kind of end on surprising notes. And I think Batman fans are going to be very excited.




All the writers and artists have really stepped up and gotten very excited. I get everyday book maps that show the progress of the book and it shows the art for every issue and I can see just every month, the storytelling and the events and the artists working together. It’s just really nice to see and it’s exactly what comics can be—incredibly great visuals meeting with great stories. I think that’s what we’ve got going on here.

Where do you see the future of comics? Do you see them going completely digital?


I think it’s going to be a mixture of everything, I’ve got to be honest. Personally, I don’t want to give up print. I’m one of those guys who wants to read a book rather than read it on a Kindle. I’m old fashioned. Wherever people are going to be to read and look at material, we want to be there where people are to show them what we’ve got and entertain them. I think the future is very broad, very exciting.


We’re entering a point where I think it’s going to be an evolution on both sides as well with print and where we go digitally as well. I think pretty much we’re kicking it off.


It’s very exciting. It really is. I don’t mean to sound corny, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of hard work but seeing this material come in, you just go, it’s a great job. And I get to work with Eddy.

When people read “Justice League #1” Wednesday, what are you hoping they’ll say?


I’m hoping they’ll say this is what a super hero comic book can be. You know, the excitement and the energy and this is what comics are. You know, kind of magic on a page.

You guys should bottle your enthusiasm and sell it.


We want that to spread. We really want people to get back in comics…Accessiblity has been important to us. That people don’t have a lot to muddle through. They can just have a fun read.

Photos Credit: DC Comics

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Behind the Skull of Geoff Peterson, the Wackiest Sidekick in Late Night

Due to a change in my employment status, I have been able to stay up late. I shouldn’t but I do…

And the number one reason why is my addiction to “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”

If you’ve never watched, do yourself a favor and tape it sometime. The show is fresher than anything else in late night—and funnier too.

Helping to create that fresh vibe is Ferguson’s sidekick, the robot skeleton known as Geoff Peterson. Geoff has a voice and his name is Josh Robert Thompson. I had the privilege of talking to him recently and what Thompson told me pretty much blew my mind. Why? Because most of what you see on “Late” is unscripted. And when you realize that, you view the show in a whole new way…

Read on to discover the evolution of Geoff, what Thompson does during the show and where else you can hear Thompson…

How did you get involved with “The Late Late Show” and how was Geoff Peterson born?

Good question. Most people don’t realize this but I’ve been on “The Late Late Show” for about five years now. I started out doing impressions on the show. I started out doing Arnold Schwarzenegger, well, then Governor Schwarzenegger, Robert DeNiro and other incidental characters as they needed them. This was all on camera. So the Arnold Schwarzenegger they’d put on this makeup or DeNiro, I’d put on the mole and I can make the face.

I’m an impressionist. I’m a voice actor and an impressionist. So you know we had fun for several years and it was a lot of fun. And then, you know the writers were always trying to find something else for me to do on the show because I was always coming up with these ideas. You know, let’s do this sketch and let’s try this and let’s do this. I just didn’t have the relationship with Craig that I do now so it was hard to kind of get the ball rolling on that stuff. And at the time Craig was not really interested in doing sketches much. I mean the guy can do the show himself. He’s amazing. He’s an incredible comedian and improv performer and host. He’s great at it. It’s a one man show. He came up with this idea of having a robot as a co-host, the idea being that the show is so cheap, which is a joke Craig makes often...We do our show out of his basement…It is a small studio…But the idea was that the show couldn’t even have a real co-host so he decided that he wanted this robot skeleton co-host. And Craig had talked for a while in his monologue about a robot skeleton army that was something that was very funny to him and I think at one point he had a skull with a flame behind it that he would hold up now and again and say something about the robot skeleton army. Anyway, basically what happened was that Grant Imahara from the show “Mythbusters” built the robot for Craig and Craig named it Geoff Peterson. And I have no idea where that name comes from but I think it’s a very funny name for a robot.

But Craig did name Geoff Peterson and the truth is that Craig did the voice of Geoff Peterson for the very first week that Geoff was on the show. And I don’t know if a lot of people know that. But Craig did this very robotic, very British voice for the character and by the end of the week it looked like the robot wasn’t going to make it much further on the show because the voice was so annoying and so grating—even to Craig—that he was already growing tired of it. Well, Craig was nice enough to think of me. It was very generous of Craig to say hey, do you want to try to do this voice? Would you like to try this voice for the robot and I said I would love to. And so, at the time there was a writer on the show named Tom Straw who was writing all the material for the robot. He was writing all these one-liners for the robot. So I got together with Tom and Tom liked the idea of doing sort of a George Takei, like a Mr. Sulu kind of voice. So in the beginning it was very [in George Takei voice] hi, how are you? Oh…It was very George Takei. In fact, it was so George Takei that everybody thought it was George Takei that was doing the voice of the robot. I spent many months trying to convince people, it’s me. Nobody believed me. Now that’s either a testament to my ability as a voice actor or you know people are just confused. I don’t know.

After Tom left, a talented writer named Bob Oschack took over Geoff writing duties and would press buttons that activated the Geoff phrases. And even now Bob does, from time to time, slip me a few one-liners that I use on the show.

So inevitably the way it would work is that I would go into the studio every couple of weeks and record a new batch of one-liners for Geoff the robot. So I was never in the studio puppeteering or operating Geoff. My work was done once I left the recording booth. And then the editors would just take five or six phrases and change them out every night and the idea being Craig would never know each night what phrase Geoff was going to say. Well of course the phrases that stuck were the ones everybody knows now and that I still continue to use like you know, “balls” and “in your pants.” This is the kind of audience that we’re appealing to. People who enjoy the balls. But, you know, it was fine for a while. Then it was the year anniversary of Geoff Peterson and we went to Vegas with the show to shoot a big sketch with Craig and Geoff Peterson and their adventures in Las Vegas. It was the first time that I was actually able to puppeteer Geoff and voice him live right there in every single scene. In other words, Geoff was no longer prerecorded. This was all happening in real time and Craig now had something that he could respond to and throw jokes at and then I could sort of come back with something. I have an improv background as well so it was really fun to play with Craig in that sense. And because of that weekend in Vegas when we shot the sketch, I said to Craig, hey man, we should try this sometime in the studio. You’ve got to understand. I’d been trying to make this happen for about six months. I’d been talking to writers. “Let’s just try it one time just to fool Craig, just to freak him out. I’ll stand there and I’ll do”…“I don’t think he’s going to go for it,” “Okay.” You know. And then I’d try again. So I just told the man himself and he said that’s a great idea. Let’s try it out. So, that’s how I came to do the character live in studio every single night. And that was a huge turning point for the character of Geoff Peterson and the show because it’s really changed the format of the show.

Ironically the robot was put there to make a statement about the show not being able to afford a real co-host. Of course now the show has a real co-host. I mean, it’s a robot, but it’s really me and every single thing that we do. Every single line of dialogue, other than the commercial break stuff that I write myself every day before I go in, all of that is improvised. It’s all made up. There’s no net, there’s no script, there’s no preparation. Craig and I talk a little bit before the show, but we don’t plan anything at all. And that’s the magic I think of what we’re doing with this character. It’s likeable television. It’s kind of like, I don’t want to make the comparison because no one could ever replace these people, but we’re getting comparisons to Harvey Korman and Tim Conway from “The Carol Burnett Show.” Or Dean Martin or Jerry Lewis or even—and to me this is the greatest—Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson. People are making these comments, people who love TV, people that are tired of how horrible television is or for whatever reason have become disillusioned by late night television. They’re really responding to this interaction between Craig and Geoff. So that’s kind of the scope of how all of this came to be.

So you don’t know anything about the tweets or the emails, that’s all on the fly?

Yeah. The only thing that I write, when we’re about to go to commercial…You know, I realize that Geoff is a robot and when you have something that’s a robot, for a voice actor, you have endless possibilities in terms of vocalization. So I always thought instead of having Geoff talk with one voice, he certainly probably has a voice database of thousands of other voices. So I started to work in my other impressions. In this case when we go to commercials I do like a 1950s, 1940s radio announcer. And I think one time I had Geoff say something like, “Don’t forget to get out your decoder rings kids for a secret message from Uncle Geoff after the break.” And Craig has no idea I’m going to say any of these things. And of course as soon as I say something like that, Craig says, “No no no you’re not giving any message to the kids” and that becomes another two or three minutes of comedy that no one could have anticipated or would expect. So in terms of writing, that’s the only thing that I write are a few lines. I’ll have my computer with me, my laptop, and during the show as Craig is giving his monologue or talking to guests I will literally be making notes preparing some ideas. I may not use everything but I’m preparing things just so I’ll have it. And of course I have a little table with all my musical instruments. I added my harmonica. I’ve got like a horn, I’ve got like a kazoo. I’m trying to build all the sounds and voices that Geoff can do and say to add to the improvisation. But yes, nothing is prepared. When we do the tweet mail segment, I have no idea what Craig is going to read or what he’s going to say. Craig has no idea what he’s going to say or read and neither do I. And I think that makes it even more special. To get people to understand that, once they fully understand that, it’s like wow. It makes it even more exciting when people are watching television like that.

So are you having as much fun as it looks like you are?

Yes. I’m laughing all the time and one of the goals on the show, much like Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. You know, Tim Conway’s [goal] on every episode of “Carol Burnett and Friends” was to make Harvey Korman break and lose it in the middle of a sketch. And he pretty much did that to Harvey every single time. And audiences love that and I think what audiences love about when an actor breaks character is that they really get the feeling that those people really are having fun. They’re really enjoying what they’re doing. “Saturday Night Live” is a good example. “Saturday Night Live,” you know in recent years, Lorne Michaels has been very serious about you shouldn’t laugh during a sketch, and I think that detracts from the fun. There are certain late night talk show hosts—I’m not going to name any names—but there are certain people that are not very good interviewers. You can tell they’re not having fun. And when they do sketches, it’s kind of like by the numbers and let’s kind of get through it so we can move on to the next thing. But with Geoff and Craig we’re always having a good time and I’m always doing my best not to laugh. And I’m certainly often making Craig laugh which I think he enjoys quite a bit.

I have to tell you this, one of the first times that I did Geoff Peterson, we did a bit where Craig would ask Geoff if he was from a certain city. So he would say we have an email here from somebody in New Orleans and he would say to Geoff, Geoff you ever been to New Orleans and for whatever reason I decided to have Geoff say, “Oh h--l yeah. I got a place there.” And Craig thought that this was the funniest thing and he decided to go with it. He said, “Really you’ve got a place there? What do you like to do there?” “You know, I like to throw beads and go swimming.” He says, “Really?” “Yeah, you should come by sometime.” And for whatever reason, this struck Craig as really funny and he could not contain himself. He actually laughed so hard, I think he laughed for about two or three minutes. And it became a huge hit on the Internet.

I was watching that night. It was hilarious.

Yeah. And that’s what I mean. The realness of that moment, the idea that two people are having real genuine fun on television. That’s fun for the audience. That bit has become classic. That bit we do all the time now, but we’ve added to it. We’ll speed it up because everyone knows what we’re going to do. So we’ll speed it up. We’ll start yelling at each other. We have no idea where it’s going to go. But anyway, it’s the idea of the unplanned moment. I mean, nobody could have ever planned that or known that was going to happen. But when it did it really resonated with everyone. And I was going to tell you that the crew and the producers of the show told me multiple times that in all the six years that Craig has hosted the show they had never seen him laugh that hard ever. And so that meant a lot to me as a comedian and as a performer. And it meant a lot to Craig too. I think it’s one of the reasons that solidified Geoff on that show. And shortly after that I became a permanent fixture on the program.

So tell me about the experience that was Paris. Because it looked really awesome.

Paris was really awesome. Having never been there before it was a helluva way to see it for the first time because in a very short amount of time we basically saw the entire city because we had to set up in front of a different landmark five times a day. It’s pretty nice. It was very cool to be doing a television show in front of the Eiffel Tower and suddenly be at a palace somewhere, you know, Versailles, or the Louvre or wherever it was. Every few hours I was suddenly somewhere else. One of my favorite moments was being on the bus with Craig. We had these segments called “On the Bus.” And Craig told me that it was actually one of his favorite things out of all the stuff we did in Paris because it was just a chance for Geoff and Craig to just sit on this bus, be driven around this beautiful city and improvise. Whatever we saw, whatever we looked at or observed, we would just talk about it and make something funny. One of the most beautiful moments for me was when Craig and I jammed together. I had my harmonica, Craig had his harmonica and we were in front of this café. And I think it ended one of the Paris shows. We had our band, a guy on piano, a guy on bass, and we just jammed. And Craig started playing this little riff on his harmonica and I followed along and it was actually very melodic and very catchy and once the credits are over and the show ended, the truth is we jammed for about five or 10 minutes because it was the last shot of the entire week. It was the very last thing we did. We’ve got Secretariat the horse running around, we’ve got people clapping. And those moments you live for as a performer because that’s real magic. And we had a lot of those moments in Paris.

So tell me the truth. When you were set up outside that book store or wherever people were gathering, were there people that were wondering, what in the world is going on there? What is that skeleton thing?

Oh yeah. We had a lot of people that you know…I can be far away from Geoff because when I operate Geoff I have a remote control device that I use. So I can be pretty far away from Geoff. And so before the camera crew got there, poor Geoff is just standing there all by himself in front of this bookstore in the middle of Paris and I decided to turn him on. Not like that, I decided to literally turn him on. Although Geoff would enjoy that for sure. I just mess with people. People got their pictures taken with Geoff. Kids wanted to talk to Geoff, which was a little disturbing. Geoff would shake peoples’ hands. I think people really enjoyed it. I think the woman who ran the bookstore was a little creeped out by Geoff, but by and large people thought it was pretty cool. It was something new and interesting happening there. It wasn’t like the usual tourist business. It was an event. And it was strange. You have this guy sitting at a foldout table with a harmonica and a horse running around and a gay robot insulting people. I mean, it’s a good time. Yeah.

What’s the inspiration for the voice of Geoff?

Well like I said, in the beginning it was George Takei, which was largely not my choice. But as Geoff has emerged into a character in his own right, now that we’re doing the show in the studio and it’s not just pre-recorded phrases, Geoff’s voice has changed. I always say that Geoff was a combination of…there’s a little bit of Snagglepuss in there, there’s a little bit of Snagglepuss in there and Floyd the barber from the old Andy Griffith show. Yeah. You know, Floyd was like, [in Floyd voice] Hey Andy…And some of the kids say that Geoff sounds like Duke Nukem, who’s a character in a popular video game series. I disagree, although Duke Nukem, one of his catchphrases is balls of steel. So I guess he says balls as well. It’s all very organic and [laughs] it depends on my voice that day. If Geoff ever sounds husky on the show that’s because I have an inability to clear my throat during the show because my microphone is live—in other words on—the entire time. I don’t have a button yet. I think I’m getting one. But I don’t have a cough button so I’ve got all this phlegm in my throat and I literally want to pay attention to Craig all of the time because if I miss any detail it might not be as funny or I might miss a golden opportunity to tell a joke. So when I do open my mouth there have been a few times when it will come out [makes phlegm sound] and Craig will be like, “What was that Geoff?” And it becomes funny. But that’s why Geoff’s voice sounds different from time to time. It’s not a technique, it’s that I have phlegm in my throat.

I have to admit the first time Geoff opened his mouth and started talking like Morgan Freeman, I thought it was Morgan Freeman and I mean that as a compliment. And I was like how did they get Morgan Freeman? And then I realized it was you. Are there any other voices you’ve got spinning around in your head that we might hear come out of Geoff’s mouth?

Yeah. First of all, I appreciate that compliment. And it’s very common. Many people have emailed me and said hey man, what’s going on with Geoff’s voice? So how does it work? Do you do Geoff’s voice and then another guy steps in as Morgan Freeman? Is it Morgan Freeman that did Morgan Freeman? And I have to explain to them no, I do the voice of Geoff. I do all of the impressions. I do the 1950s announcer guy. Any sound effect, impression, voice, phlegmy sound. Whatever comes out of Geoff Peterson’s mouth is coming out of mine. And the voices that I do—I mean, I do Arnold Schwarzenegger, I’ve done that one for years. I did Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Howard Stern show for almost 10 years and that sort of became the launching pad to get on the “Late Late Show” and do Schwarzenegger there. Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey is one that I’ve been desperately trying to work in. I will find a way to work that in somehow. Kevin Spacey, Sylvester Stallone. I can do pretty much anyone’s voice, because what I also do for a living is called voice matching for films. If an actor is not available either for the movie itself or for the movie trailer or for the censored version of a movie for television when they have to replace all the swear words, if the actors aren’t available, they call someone like me to match their voice. So I’ve done it for Morgan Freeman, I’ve done it for Mickey Rourke. I’ve done it for a movie called “Tropic Thunder,” where I matched all five of the principal’s voices. Tom Cruise, Nick Nolte, [in Nick Nolte voice] yeah I was talking like I was Nick Nolte…If I listen long enough I can pick up the person’s voice and I can replicate it pretty confidently. So that’s what I do. That’s another thing that I do for a living. I do it on “Family Guy” quite a bit. All of the Seth MacFarlane shows, “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show” and “American Dad.” I’ve done a number of celebrity impressions whenever they need them. So that is definitely something that I’m capable of doing and have for quite some time.

So I can’t let you go before you tell me about your album that you’re working on.

I have two things that I’m working on. The first album is kind of a Martin and Lewis piece with a really good friend of mine, John Mariano. He’s a guy who grew up in Queens. He’s in Los Angeles now. He’s an extremely gifted comedian and voice actor. But John and I really bonded over old television shows, vaudeville, variety programs. So I always call him my vaudeville brother from another mother. But John and I got together and started to write this album which is a throwback to the old vaudeville shows of the 50s, or the old radio shows of the 50s, really of the 40s I should say. And there haven’t really been a lot of albums like that in a while. A really good sketch album, not stand-up, but actual sketches like Cheech and Chong or Bob and Doug McKenzie. Something in that vein. We’re working on that right now and the other thing I’m working on is a solo album of my own original characters. I have a number of original characters, not impressions, that I do that are very popular and I’m going to do an entire album of that as well. And that will be part of doing a stand-up tour or show and all of those things are kind of in the works right now.

“The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” airs weeknights at 12:35 a.m. on CBS…

Photo Credit: Frederic Raglain/CBS

Follow me on Twitter @angelahbentley or on Facebook at

Good News: "Breaking In" Lives!

This is some of the best TV news I’ve heard in a long time…

FOX is renewing “Breaking In” for a second season, according to “The Hollywood Reporter.”

FOX Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly alluded to the possibility at last month’s upfront presentation. The deal was sealed, however, when other networks expressed interest in “Breaking” creator Adam Goldberg’s new project. FOX sweetened their deal by renewing “Breaking.”

I don’t care why they did it, I’m just glad they did. The show was performing well and should have never been cancelled. FOX didn’t do it any favors by waiting until April to premiere it, so I hope it gets a much better shake this time around.

Now if ABC would only consider a “V” movie…

Photo Credit: David Johnson/FOX

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Saturday Suggestion: Go Cut "Footloose"

Tri-State Theater is really my pal Chuck Minsker’s territory, so I hope he’ll forgive this intrusion to tell you about the great production I saw Friday night…

The Paramount Players, the community theater group of the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, continues to amaze me with the quality of its productions. The latest example is “Footloose: The Musical.”

For those of you who don’t know, “Footloose” tells the story of Ren McCormack and his mother, Ethel, who leave Chicago to move to the small town of Beaumont, where dancing is outlawed. Ren ends up fighting the town and its powerful spiritual leader, Reverend Shaw Moore, when he tries to get the law changed. And of course, there’s the matter of Ren falling for the reverend’s troublemaking daughter, Ariel.

I have seen the movie “Footloose” several times and I am familiar with all the hit songs from its soundtrack, but I had never seen the musical so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. There was a group of people in the packed house Friday night that snickered every time the cast started singing one of the familiar songs. I guess they thought their use was silly, but I thought they were worked in very well. It was the new songs that didn’t work quite as well.

But more on that in a minute. Let me first focus on this specific production. Director Melanie Sweeney has once again put together a solid cast filled with amazing local talent. Clay McKnight hits all the right notes—and moves—as Ren and he shares great chemistry with Samantha Bibbey, who plays Ariel. The pair’s rendition of “Almost Paradise” is gorgeous. Plus, Bibbey really conveys all of Ariel’s different sides, something I’ve always thought Lori Singer didn’t really do in the movie.

But as good as they both are—and they both are very good—they get a lot of their scenes stolen right out from under them by Steve Dyer as Ren’s dancing challenged friend, Willard and Abbie Emmons as Ariel’s friend, Rusty. Of course, sidekicks usually do get the best lines. And in this one, Rusty gets some of the best songs too (including “Let’s Hear It for the Boy”).

The ensemble was great as well with some very talented dancers, including the always sparkling Hannah Lutz as Urleen, one of Ariel’s friends. And having seen him in two productions now, I’m always impressed with the talent of Rick Payne. He beautifully plays the thankless role of Chuck Cranston, Ariel’s abusive boyfriend. In fact, he’s so good, it’s almost hard to hate Chuck…almost.

But real kudos go to Josh Jannotta, who plays the show’s other bad guy, Reverend Moore. Unfortunately, the songs written for the reverend are not quite as strong as those for the other characters, but Jannotta makes them work anyway. His song near the end of the show, “I Confess,” is a real tour de force and Jannotta wrings every ounce of emotion out of it he can. It’s the most I’ve ever sympathized with Reverend Moore in all the times I’ve seen this story.

Sweeney’s choreography is also fantastic and the singing performances were all solid (Amber Ferguson is the musical director.), backed by a great orchestra led by the incredibly talented Mark Smith. And the sets, designed by TSHD Architects and William Ferguson are beautiful.

Now, back to the show itself. The first act is incredible, concluding with an amazing melding of “I’m Free” (in perfect context) and the new song, “Heaven Help Me.” I wanted to stand up and cheer when the curtain came down for intermission. The fun continued as the second act opened with “Let’s Hear It for the Boy,” but then it started to drag just a little. I could actually hear the audience wondering how long before we would hear “Footloose” again. I also didn’t care for the way the town council scene was set to music. But those feelings are not at all a reflection of the way the cast performed those scenes because they were great throughout.

And once the cast kicks off their Sunday shoes for the finale, you forget all about any problems and leave the theater dancing and singing.

There are two more times to see the show Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and if you like fun musical theater, I strongly suggest you go. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Box Office, but be sure to give yourself enough time to stand in line.

I’m already looking forward to what the Paramount Players will do next…

By the way, when you’re at the show, be sure to stop by my friend Kelli’s Sweet & Sassy Treats table and pick up some unbelievable fresh spun cotton candy or some of Kelli’s famous cake pops. That way you can cut footloose and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time…

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Paramount Arts Center

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Huntington Native Will Show His "Talent"

It will be another week before we hear again from Logan's Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. but tomorrow night, you can still hear from another West Virginia native...

Huntington native J. Mark McVey and the cast of the 25th anniversary national tour of “Les Miserables” will perform tomorrow night (Wednesday, August 17) on “America’s Got Talent."

The cast will perform the finale of the show’s first act, “One Day More.” The performance was taped during the tour’s stop in Los Angeles.

"Talent" airs at 9 p.m. on NBC...

Photo Credit: NBC

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Charles Shaughnessy: "If it’s an interesting gig, sign me up whatever it is"

This week’s “Stay Tuned” column is all about my joy over Charles Shaughnessy reuniting with Fran Drescher on “Happily Divorced.”

Actually, I think my joy is more about Shaughnessy doing anything…

I was one of those who swooned over him on “Days of Our Lives.” But he truly cemented his place in my heart when he showed his comedy chops on “The Nanny” with Drescher.

In anticipation of Shaughnessy’s guest appearance on “Divorced” Wednesday, August 17th at 10:30 p.m. on TV Land, I had the chance to speak with him about his role, the continued popularity of “The Nanny,” whether he would consider a return to daytime and some very frank talk about the business in general.

He was refreshingly honest, but I was most excited to hear him say my name in that wonderful accent of his…

How did the guest spot come about?

Frannie is one of the most loyal people in this business, which is not usual. It’s not really a business that engenders a lot of that. But she has always used people that she’s enjoyed working with both in front of and behind the cameras. I got on the set this last week and it was amazing how many familiar faces there were. She has always said whenever I’m doing something I would love for you to have a part in it. So I did an episode of her other show, “Living With Fran”—a couple of those, I think. And I did a guest spot on her talk show. And then when this one came up, she just said if we can find the right character, would you do it? And I said, absolutely, just give me a holler and I’ll be there as quick as Jack Robinson. That’s how it came about and they wrote this character and said would I do it, and I was already on my way to the studio.

And it was just such fun. Certainly with a wonderful episode and a fabulously fun experience for that reason but also just great to see everyone. Lee Shallat, who directed a lot of “The Nanny” episodes and our pilot, a lot of the writing team are the same as we had, the wardrobe people, hair and makeup. So it was a real kind of family reunion. Old home week. It was a really thoroughly enjoyable week.

Had you been watching the show?

Yes, I had. My wife and I saw the pilot sort of out of loyalty I guess. And were interested to see and support Fran and Peter [Jacobsen, the show’s co-creator]. And we thought it was a good pilot. A lot of set-up information. And we thought you know, this is going to be a really hard story for them to tell because it was hard to know what the chemistry between Michael [Higgins, who plays Fran’s ex, Peter] and Fran needed to be. They can’t be lovers. They can’t be attracted to each other because of the whole point of the story and they’ve been married for 18 years. So how is it going to work? How are they going to do this each week? And how are they going to make it both funny and truthful? And lo and behold, they did. We saw the second episode, the third and the fourth and we were hooked. And they do it so well. It’s just a really cleverly constructed show each week. It’s very funny. They’ve got these great writers who make it classic sitcom jokes. I mean, it’s just really funny writing. And also terrific heart and great chemistry between the two of them. It’s an utterly charming show. It’s funny and charming. I’m a big fan.

Without giving too much away, tell me about the character you’re playing.

Without giving too much away, he’s a famous, internationally famous boss. He’s a gardener. He’s to gardens what Martha Stewart is to kitchens. He writes books and he travels around and he meets Fran at a book signing. And he seems very charming and attracted and interested in Fran. But let’s just say he turns out to be a very friendly person.

You and Fran have some incredible chemistry. What do you think the secret is to that?

You know, we…Chemistry is always like the billion dollar question. I think it’s indefinable. I think a huge amount is to do with the performers and getting onto an acting level. I think everyone assumes it has to be personal. You have to really get along. And Fran and I do get along. Don’t get me wrong. I adore Fran. She’s just the most wonderful person to work with. But I don’t think that’s necessary. There’s plenty of elements of chemistry, instances of great chemistry with couples who can’t stand each other. But there’s a kind of a vibration in the acting and the performance that works. The way each other finishes…picks up on a cue. Or the energy that you pick up on a scene and the way you kind of finish each other’s lines. The rhythms that you speak and I think that has more to do with it than anything else. It certainly helps if you get along, but I don’t think that’s necessary. It’s very indefinable. It’s an elusive thing. And people spend millions of dollars on movies and TV shows trying to find it. And it’s just when you do get it, it’s like lightning in a bottle.

“The Nanny” is everywhere on cable. What does that mean to you to know that something you did a while ago is still so popular and probably even gaining new fans?

I have to say to be completely honest, it’s a slightly double edged sword. Yes, on the one hand it’s extremely gratifying that the work that we did in those years is continuing to, as you say, I think it’s actually gaining speed. I mean there’s a whole new generation of fans. I’m certainly getting more recognized and more reaction now than I think I ever have in the past. And it’s in just about every country in the world. You could probably fly around the world and find my face. I was actually flying out of Quito, Ecuador, at the beginning of the year because my daughter was studying there. And we were flying out of Kito Airport in Ecuador and was just mobbed my security. They actually pulled me out of the line and had me go onto the tarmac to go through my case. It was the security people. It was really just a set-up to get pictures and autographs. So that’s remarkable and very satisfying. The slight downside is that first of all, it’s all cable. There’s no financial gain in all of this. You’re not going to get paid anything. And your face is very famous around the world 15-20 years younger, so it’s hard as an actor to kind of re-invent yourself and get cast in new things because you’re seen so much as this other person. Someone who’s a sitcom dad 20 years younger. So as a professional thing, it’s a little tricky. And I think this goes for a lot of people who create roles that become very identified. But it’s very satisfying. And it’s not improper. I’ve certainly done some very fun things since. I’m not saying it’s sort of the kiss of death, but it is a challenge definitely.

What else are you working on right now?

Well, I’m um…Acting nowadays, this business has become so fractured that the old days of being a TV actor or even sort of being narrowed down to a sitcom actor or a dramatic actor or a film/movie actor or a voiceover actor. That’s all gone and you kind of build a career in a sort of mosaic, a patchwork of different jobs. It’s more about jobs than building a career path. So I’ve got a lot of different things. I did a voiceover on something last week, an interactive game, I’m doing a new Tom and Jerry cartoon. It’s a sort of Robin Hood Tom and Jerry, I’m the Sheriff of Nottingham. I was doing “My Fair Lady” back east in Boston this summer which was fantastic in this beautiful theatre, the North Shore Theatre. 1500 seats in the round playing Henry Higgins which was just really fun. I guess the most high profile thing was this five episode arc on “Mad Men,” which was really fun. I’m a huge fan of that show so that was a great thrill to do that. That was a couple of seasons ago now. And then it’s just the next gig. It’s that way as an actor. You kind of just wait on the next gig and that’s how it’s always been. That’s how it was pre-“Nanny.” Before “The Nanny” came up it was pilot season and you go up for a few pilots and then suddenly you’re on a six-year show.

I love that. I enjoy that. To be an actor you’ve got to have a very particular personality and I enjoyed the not knowing exactly what I’m going to be doing in five years time. There is an insecurity to it, but there’s a kind of excitement to it.

Some of us will always remember the first time we saw you as Shane Donovan on “Days of Our Lives,” so I have to ask you, is daytime anything you would ever do again?

You know, daytime, I really enjoyed my time there and would never…Yes, daytime is a fabulous place to work. It’s kind of, I think the sun is setting. I mean, I know there are a few left and one or two might survive a bit longer. But that daytime formula is on the way out. And it doesn’t seem like it would be a great move right now. Put it that way. If a really interesting character came up on a show that seemed worthwhile, yes, it’s a job and I enjoy it. It’s a chance to do what I do. But I wouldn’t be quite as open to it as I was a couple years ago. Put it that way.

I think it’s changing. I think there’s going to be a revival of that kind of entertainment, but I think it’s going to be in a completely different format. I think it’s going to be more Internet-based. You know, PDFs and the little five minute webisodes that you can kind of follow on your handhelds and stuff like that.

This business really seems to be changing. I mean, this sitcom is on TV Land, which used to be just about reruns…


Is it trickier now because the business seems to be so rapidly changing?

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s hard to get a bead on the landscape and in a way all you can do is just sort of what comes up in front of you because I think people are trying to interpret what’s happening and it’s too hard to sort of give any reason for it. But what does seem to be happening, because it’s all driven by commerce…I mean, the truth of the matter is you can’t have a TV show unless someone’s paying for it. And the people who have always paid for it are consumers who buy products during the commercials. Or are at least exposed to products during the commercials. And that’s changing. That’s what’s changing the whole thing. And now you’ve got all these cable channels with very special audiences that are getting much smaller audiences. The audience of TV Land is much smaller than the audience of TBS. But it’s a specific audience. It’s like the Golf Channel has a specific audience, ESPN has a specific audience. So you can target those consumers and get a much better success rate so the advertisers will pay a premium because they see more results because they’re selling to more people who will actually buy their stuff. But it’s not as big an audience, not as big of money. It’s not the money you get out of 15, 20 million people watching your show so you can sell a 20 second spot for $300,000. That’s gone. Where it’s going certainly is the big payday is on its way out. But you’re getting different models—pay cable, HBO and things like that. It’s just that everyone’s trying different things. Some are trying subscriptions, some are trying all kinds of different things…You have all these different models. And it does change it.

I don’t think, it’s hard to see how it’s affected as an actor. There still seems to be a lot of work out there. There’s a lot of content out there. It’s just you have to work harder at it. You’re not paid quite as much, it doesn’t come quite as often. So you’ve got to work harder and spread your net a lot wider. But I think that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I find it fascinating quite honestly, because I think there’s also this huge increase in free stuff. A lot of creative people—actors, writers, directors—are making interesting things and then putting them up on the Internet for free. Money seems to be a little less important now than it was in a strange kind of way. On the one end you’ve got these huge mega-blockbusters making a hundred million in a week or something. But on the other end, you’ve got really talented people doing interesting little five minute webisodic shows for free. So I’m not sure where it’s headed quite honestly.

It’s just one of those things where you’ve got to hang on for the ride.

Exactly. Hang on for the ride, see where it goes and just do the work that comes up in front of you. I mean, in the end we do exactly what we’ve always done. You go on a set and you act. And that doesn’t change. That bit doesn’t change. The business around it is changing. But as an actor we shouldn’t be that involved in the business side that much anyway. Of course, you’ve got to make a living. I think that it hurts this business. I think it hurt actors that it became such a business. I think we took our eye off the ball. It was easy to take your eye off the ball when you come to Hollywood and you get a chance at making $30 million for four days work on a movie. It means a lot of people that really shouldn’t be in this business are trying to get in this business. Because they’re looking for the big payday. Because when I got in it—certainly coming from England—you got in it because this is what you want to do. And you know perfectly well that you’re probably going to be driving a taxi most of your life. I think it’s not necessarily a bad change in the landscape in the grand scheme of things. It is what it is.

If you did do another show, would you want it to be a comedy, or would you prefer it be a drama?

I absolutely don’t mind. It’s like people say would you prefer to do theater or film or TV? It’s like, it’s all different and I’d hate to give up any of it. Most dramas have an element of humor. I always like to play a character with some sort of humor. I think it’s important no matter what you’re doing. There’s a sort of humanity that has to come through. And certainly as far as a work schedule is concerned. There is nothing better than a half-hour sitcom. It’s a great way of life. When you do a one-hour drama, you’re working pretty much non-stop for nine months. You do a half-hour sitcom, it’s extremely user friendly. So from that point of view, that would be fantastic. But if it’s an interesting gig, sign me up whatever it is.

Photo Credit: TV Land

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Kim Zimmer: "I've always been un-politically correct"

I have never watched a soap opera that Kim Zimmer was a part of. But I have always been a fan. How is that possible?

Because Zimmer has always told it like it is. And I have always loved that about her. Even if I didn’t watch the project she was talking about, I appreciated her being honest about it.

So I knew that her new book, “I’m Just Sayin’” would be a joy to read and it was. And it was not without its revelations, as we talked about in a recent phone conversation.

In today’s “Stay Tuned” column, you can read my thoughts on the book. But what follows here is the transcript of our conversation as we discussed the controversy the book has created, those final years of “Guiding Light,” the future of soap operas and the perils of being honest. She laughed a lot, but she also cried as she talked about the character she spent 28 years bringing to life…

I have to admit I read the book in a two-day marathon session.

Oh my God.

I loved it.

Oh good. Thank you.

Well I didn’t get it until Monday [two days before the interview] and I thought, if she asks me if I read the book, I am not going to lie to her.

Oh, you’re sweet. Thank you.

Very early in the book you’re very clear about why you wrote the book now. But for people who are thinking about reading the book, talk a little about why you wrote it now after all these years in daytime.

I think because the obvious, especially now having to tag on the end of the book, which included the announcement that ABC was pulling the plug on “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” I think the future of daytime is very precarious and I wanted to capture moments in time that I had in my 28 years of experience—actually more than that. Closer to 32 years—of experience that I had. The joys and sorrows, the highs and lows, the ups and downs of a career in soap opera. Because I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be able to be entertained by them on a daily, you know five days a week on major networks.

Does the thought of daytime drama ceasing to exist make you want to cry as much as it does the rest of us?

I don’t know if it’s going to cease to exist. It’s going to cease to exist on network television. You know they’re attempting to move these shows to the Internet—not of course, “Guiding Light” or “As the World Turns. I think we’ve seen the end of those—but at least they’re trying to rescue “One Life to Live” and “All My Children.” It reminds me—well, it doesn’t remind me—but I parallel it to when soaps moved from being radio shows to television. Now we’re exploring the new frontier of the Internet and I do think the Internet is the future of television. On a much bigger scale than just moving these soaps to be web series. I think this is what we’re going to start seeing more and more of. Now, they’ve already linked computers into your television where you can watch whatever you’re watching on the Internet on your big screen television. So, you know, I think it’s an exciting…it’s the new frontier. I hope that they’re successful, that Prospect Park is successful getting these two shows started and up and rolling and then it becomes successful for them.

The thing that I think people love about you, not just that you’re a fantastic actress, is that you are as truthful as it gets.


Was there some moment in your career where you said, I’m not going to worry about all this politically correct stuff? I’m going to tell the truth.

More so there were moments when I went, “Oh man, I’ve got to start being more politically correct.” [Laughs] Because I’ve always been un-politically correct. I mean, as far back as I can remember I’ve always spoke my mind. It’s always gone hand in hand with protecting my commodity, which happens to be me. I am my product. So, I have to protect that product and keep it safe. I mean, people go to war over this kind of thing and I have on many levels. I think more so like I said there have been times where I’ve read interviews and I’ve thought maybe I went a little too far. But still I’ve never changed. I mean, I can’t. You know, I’m getting a lot of controversy surrounding my talking about my drinking and going to work at “Guiding Light” and having a liquid lunch. It’s being turned into on message boards as being the fact that I showed up drunk at work everyday, which was not the case. I mean, that’s the problem with being truthful and honest. Out of context it spins out of control and it becomes something derogatory and ugly and people take it to the max and just make assumptions because they haven’t read the book. They don’t see what the context is which I’ve talked about that. Here I am defending myself again! I’ve spent a lot of years doing that. [Laughs]

Well count me in the category of people who really appreciated your honesty.

Aw, thank you.

I think a lot of people can relate to going to work and loving what you do, but it’s not exactly what you signed on for anymore.

Well, yeah. I mean, you’re in the newspaper business, right? So you can draw a fine line between what we’re going through in daytime with what you’re doing trying to preserve newspapers. That they’re not all going to be going to the Internet. People are reading newspapers on websites now. It’s all changing. [Laughs]

Why was it so important that you include all of the bad stuff in the book?

Well, because when you write a memoir…I’ve read a lot of memoirs because I’m a fan of this industry and I have favorite actors and actresses and I’ve read their memoirs. I love it when people tell the truth and don’t gloss over things. It’s the way I’ve lived my life. It’s the way, like you mentioned, that people have interviewed me in the past. I don’t pull punches. And I figured if I’m going to write a book and I’m going to write it about my take on how the show ended and what that did to me personally, it’s going to include the fact that I had to numb myself in order to not blow on the set when things were changing so terribly. Like I said, I wasn’t showing up drunk, I’d go and have a glass or two of wine at lunch and just kind of take the edge off. That’s what it was for me. It was better than popping pills. I’m not a pill popper. [Laughs] I just felt that it was something that…as with soap opera stories, people learn so much from the stories people went through on the soaps. From being able to relate to characters on the soaps. I thought that if I could get the message across, you know, with the DUI, if I could get the message across to one out of a hundred people, do not get behind the wheel of a car after you’ve been drinking, then I’ve accomplished something by being honest in my memoir. You know, I mean, it’s not fun. It was one of the most horrible experiences of my life and if I can get that message across. Even though I take it to a bit of tongue in cheek at the beginning of the book, I would like to think I come around to the seriousness of it by the end.

Not that I didn’t respect you before, but I have tremendous respect for you for sharing that story because I think it will affect people and change some minds.

Well thank you. That makes me feel good because there has been backlash from people already that have lost respect for me in regards—who have not read the book—in regards to the fact that in a “TV Guide” interview I did I said I was going and drinking at lunch because I couldn’t stand my job. That was not the case. Again, you open your mouth and you don’t back it up with…you can’t ramble on and on like I’m doing right now about certain situations and have it all go into print. I just hope the people who are not showing me the love right now will indeed read the book so that they can understand a little bit more about what I went through with those last two years on the show which was very difficult for me. And writing the book was great therapy and it was cathartic and I’m so glad that I worked through it. And I have to admit that the DUI helped me, going to AA meetings helped me face a lot of inner turmoil that I was not handling well, you know? And it had a great impact on me. It also showed me that I’m not an alcoholic. But it also had a wonderful impact as far as what the human character can sustain and how far you can go to survive and get to the other side. I mean, that was what my co-writer kept saying to me while I was writing, regurgitating these stories of hate. She listened for about three months and then she finally said look, this is all great, but we have to come around and find the light again. We have to find the joy of what this job meant to you. And you know, that wasn’t difficult for me either. There was so much joy in playing Reva Shayne for 28 years. I wouldn’t have played her that long if I didn’t find it.

Do you think there will be anything else surprising for your longtime fans when they pick up the book?

I don’t know. Maybe the fact that I’ve stayed married to the same man. We’re celebrating 30 years of marriage in August. I know a lot of people also wonder…you know, I had the wonderful fortune of kissing on a lot of really handsome hunky guys and I always went home to the greatest man in the world and that’s the honesty in that is that I don’t know. I joke in the book that maybe the reason for the longevity in my marriage is because I got paid to have affairs. [Laughs] You know, my husband was more than happy to allow that to happen. It provided us with a wonderful life. [Laughs] That’s the funny side of that. The other side is that I happen to be married to the greatest man in the world.

Are you having any last minute regrets about what’s in the book?

You know what’s funny is that I hadn’t told my in-laws or my father about the DUI. And it came out and it was on the cover of “Soap Opera Weekly” magazine. And I don’t know why I thought nobody was going to find out. [Laughs] That was a little ignorant on my part. And I was just in Michigan visiting my father and he said—because I told my sister early on that it had happened—and we were sitting around playing poker and my sister said by the way, dad knows that you had this DUI and I said well is he going to say anything and she was like in good time. And finally before I was leaving he said by the way I just want you to know I’m sorry that happened to you but I’m also very glad that no one was hurt in the process—just like what I talk about in the book—because you know it’s serious and I hope you learned a lesson from it. But he was not, he didn’t think any less of me because of it. A lot of people in my family were like, it could have happened to me just as easily. That is basically what I’ve heard from a lot of people. You go to a party, you think you’re fine, you get behind the wheel of a car, you start driving and you realize wow, I probably shouldn’t be driving. That’s when you pull over in a parking lot somewhere and you call a cab. [Laughs] Because we all think we’re infallible. We think it’s not going to happen to me. You know? Ding, ding, ding! It does. [Laughs]

Those last couple years of “Guiding Light.” Can you look back on them now and say, wow, I’m so glad I came out of that?

Those last two years—well, last four years really, because I’m just now on the other side of menopause—but I lived in front of the screen going through menopause. I had that, I had the fact that the quality of the show was changing on a daily basis. I had contract problems. We were losing actors because they couldn’t deal with it anymore. There was a lot of stuff emotionally and physically in the way my body changed because I chose to deal with menopause head on. I faced it and I don’t…Like I said, I’m not a pill popper. I couldn’t even take the birth control pill because I couldn’t remember to take the fricking thing. So, you know, I didn’t take any hormones because I have a history of breast cancer in my family. So I just struggled through it on my own and it was difficult. I am glad I survived it and got through to the other side. And I tell you something. That last week of filming “Guiding Light” was probably the greatest, most special week of my life. Saying goodbye to all these people that I had worked with for so many years. [Choking up] Now I’m choking myself up. Just, you know, there was a lot of joy in that last week. And awful as it was to be shooting in 95, 100 degree temperatures on a daily basis, we had a great time shooting the last week of those episodes. And, after the last party at Peapack, I felt a huge weight that was lifted off my shoulders. I have to admit that. I didn’t have to, she was asleep. I didn’t have to worry about her anymore. She was, the great lady was gone. [Laughs as she starts to choke up again]

Do you have any idea what’s next for you?

I’ve been doing a lot of theater, which is, of course, where I started. Being back working in front of a live audience is something I’ve always wanted to have the time to do but doing a soap you really can’t do it. And raising a family there’s just no time for it. I’m just getting ready to go to Michigan and do Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard,” which is a huge undertaking for me. And I’m now officially a character actress. [Laughs] Which is wonderful after being a leading lady for so many years. I now get to play these wonderful character parts because I’m 56 years old now. I’m overweight and it’s great. I’m lovin’ every minute of it! [Laughs] Life is good.

Are you done with daytime? Can you see yourself moving online?

I have no problems with that. I’m still hanging on at “One Life to Live.” They’re throwing me a bone every now and then. If they ask me to go...I’m not under contract to them which is why I’m able to do all this theater because I can say I’m not available for the month of August, I’ll be in Michigan. So it’s really the greatest situation to be in. And if they want to continue writing for me, I have no problem going—at this point in my life?—I have no problem going to the Internet. It’s all, for me, it’s all about acting. As long as I can keep paying my mortgage and my taxes, then I’m fine. [Laughs] And as long as Social Security’s still there by the time I get that age, whatever it is, I’ll be a happy camper.

Unfortunately that is the big question these days.

I know. It’s freaking me out. [Laughs]

"I'm Just Sayin'" is available now...

Photo Credits: John Pasquel/Penguin Books & Penguin Books