LO: Jerry Springer what can I say, but basically cultural icon in addition to hosting the Jerry Springer show. Now in its. . .holy cats twentieth season. He has been the mayor ofCincinnati, political pundit lawyer, award winning newscaster, country recording artist, and we’ll get to a whole bunch of other stuff in just a second. You know is there someone out there who doesn’t think or doesn’t know that your TV show is entertainment, pretty much completely?
Jerry Springer: I think now they do. I think early on, you know when there was all the controversy, stuff like that had never been on television before, and so people were shocked. I think by now people know it’s tongue in cheek.
LO: Have you gotten sick at all doing the TV show? Or just. . .
Jerry Springer: Honestly it’s fun. I, just do it two days a week. I tape three shows every Monday and two on every Tuesday. It’s fun. You obviously meet interesting people. People enjoy the show. So no I like doing it. Then the rest of the week it permits me to do other things. Right now I am doing that show Baggage, the dating show, which is on the game show network, GSN. I do that five days a week. I have been real lucky.
LO: So you never mail it in with the TV show, you always like it’s taping day, Hallelujah.
Jerry Springer: This is true—when you go out on the stage and the crowd’s going wild, it’s very hard to be complacent. It’s just exciting and that’s just the truth. I don’t bored. I am in a lucky point where I don’t need to make a living. But it’s just fun to do, yeah.
LO: Everything you do, maybe perhaps while you were Mayor of Cincinnati, have you always thought of yourself as an entertainer?
Jerry Springer: No one would have picked me out of high school and said “This kids going to be in entertainment” I just totally lucked into it. I was doing ten years of City Council under Mayor of Cincinnati and then I did ten years of anchoring the news. The company who owned the news where I anchored inCincinnati, NBC affiliate, they also owned talk shows. So one day they took me to lunch and assigned me to a show. And that’s how that all happened. You know I never raised my hand and said “Oh can I do a talk show”? I had no particular interest in it, I was just assigned to it as an employee and it turned out to be a hit. The whole thing is absurd.
LO: The one and only Jerry Springer hanging out with us on the JOB. You really have done everything. Politics, TV, Dancing with the Stars, you stared as Billy Flynn in the hit musical production of Chicago. Do you get bored easy or do you just want to try everything?
Jerry Springer: I am at an age where I like trying things. Yeah, I’m 67 and I’m trying to experience as much in life as can. The only thing I really take seriously is my politics, so I spend quite a bit of time doing that. But outside of that, I just sit down and enjoy my life. Yeah I have been lucky.
LO: What made you the most afraid to do? Was it Chicago?
JS: Most afraid?
LO: You know where were you just ”Holy cats I can’t believe I am doing this”?
Jerry Springer: Yeah, clearly being on Broadway and doing the musical Chicago. That unnerved me. That was frightening because those people really have talent. I mean you don’t have to be talented to be in television, you can be but you don’t have to be. You don’t have to be talented to be in movies, once again, you can be but, you don’t have to be. But if you are on Broadway, those people, they are phenomenal every single night live—hey sing, they dance, they act. They are the whole package. I was awestruck by them.
LO: So would you say that is what you are the most proud of in your career? Or is there something else?
Jerry Springer: Well, I guess the most proud I guess was being Mayor. That was the most important job I have ever had. The rest is just fun.
LO: So when you walk aroundCincinnati, if you ever go back, do people think of you as the Mayor? Or do they think of you as the TV show host?
Jerry Springer: InOhiothey view me as much in politics as they do, you know, what is that crazy show, but they see me more as a political figure there.
LO: When you’re out and about what do most people want to talk to you about? Not necessarilyCincinnati. . .
Jerry Springer: Their cousin who is doing something bad. I mean, people are really always unfailingly nice. You would think with a controversial show you would run into people who would say mean things to you. It never happens, I don’t mean like occasionally, I mean never. People are always unfailingly nice. I guess if they don’t like the show they don’t watch it so they don’t get angry about it. But people are always nice to me. It’s great.
LO: I mentioned you were an Icon at the beginning, and I almost think of you, almost become a caricature of yourself, you’ve been on the Simpsons, you have played yourself in movies. Is there a persona about you and then there is a real you?
Jerry Springer: Well apparently, I think the first time I was ever on television really as myself was on Dancing with the Stars. Then I was (inaudible 05:03.7) and you know dancing for my daughter. And I think that made me a little bit nervous, because I felt vulnerable there. Every other thing I have ever done I am always playing a role; whether I am being a news anchor, or whether I am being a Mayor, or crazy talk show host there is always a role to play a thing to do. But when I was on Dancing with the Stars it was nothing it was just me being my clumsy self and that I felt a little bit vulnerable there.
LO: So you would say there is sort of a persona about you?
Jerry Springer: Sure with the show, obviously, that’s when I am hosting a circus. But in my normal life I am really pretty boringly normal.
LO: I don’t know whether to be shocked or not, but we will go with it. Just a couple of quick hitters before we let you go Jerry. Your favorite job of all time?
JS: Being Mayor ofCincinnati.
LO: And so if it was your favorite and you did it so long ago, why don’t you go back and do it again, or do it another. . .
Jerry Springer: You know I am 67.
LO: It takes a lot of work, energy?
Jerry Springer: Well people generally want younger people in office, although I realize I am speaking inCaliforniaand you now have Jerry Brown back again, which is great. But generally I am interested in National issues and International issues and I think to run for the Senate or something like that by the time I had seniority I would be 90. So I think after a while, I won’t say it’s impossible that I would ever run, but it because less and less likely with each passing year.
LO: Okay your favorite person you’ve ever met because you are you?
Jerry Springer: Well probably. . .I met the Pope, the last Pope.
Jerry Springer: Yeah, I know it doesn’t make sense, but I did. I started this group “Cincinnati Reaches Out” during the 80”s where we brought the medicine toEthiopia, that was during the drought. TheVaticanheard of what we were doing and so we got a letter from them saying the Pope would like to bless out effort. So on one of my trips toEthiopiawe stopped off inRomeand went to theVaticanand met the Pope and he blessed the trip—this was back be in 1985. It was the most. . .because just being in politics you get to meet the Presidents and stuff like that, but me a nice little Jewish kid inNew York. . . .It was amazing experience.
LO: Definitely one of a kind, the Pope. Now before I let you go, the last thing you think about each night before you go to bed?
Jerry Springer: My bank account number. [LO laughs] No that is rude. No a lucky life and making sure the alarm is set for the right time to get up.
LO: He is the one and only, an absolutely a gem of American society, he is Jerry Springer now in its 20th show the TV show. Hey Jerry thank you so much for your time.
Jerry Springer: Well you great, thanks for having me.