Monday, September 1, 2008
10 QUESTIONS: Dallas-based talk show host Jack E. Jett
"This city... is not nearly as right wing and conservative as some of the media would have us believe."
Those of us in the PegNews newsroom were introduced to Jack E. Jett when he dropped by to film an interview prior to the DFW IndieClub's short film Gong Show. We could already tell at that point that he was a wild and crazy guy.
Well, the folks at Rational Radio ("Progressive talk all day, every day") must have picked up on that aspect of his personality, too - in addition to the fact that he's a well-rounded talk show host veteran - because they've asked Jack to host a new weekly radio show called - quite simply - the Jack E. Jett Show.
Not quite so simple is the story behind Jack himself and the details of how the show is going to be formatted, so we hurled ten questions at Mr. Jett, and he hurled them right back at us - with answers appended. To wit:
Pegasus News: Jack, you've been referred to as "the weirdest talk show host in America" - by someone who writes for Bizarre Magazine, no less. What could you possibly have done in your career to earn this appellation?
Jack E. Jett: I can’t imagine what I did to deserve such an honor. On the same day, the right wing media watchdog group Accuracy In Media said that my show was “poisoning the very society we live in.” It was almost more excitement and sudden fame than I could handle.
It was like I was suddenly in simpatico with the Pope and Miley Ray Cyrus.
PN: Your new talk show premieres on Rational Radio, 1360 on the AM dial out of Dallas, on Sept. 6. I'm not sure I even have an AM dial. How can I listen in?
JEJ: John, you are a hip, with it and right on dude. You should know that AM radio is the new black. It is retro man, like bell bottoms, peace signs and Aqua Net. Only the coolest people listen to AM. I sure you heard that U2 and Mary J Blige are putting out their next releases on 8 Track. If you think about the days of AM, you will remember that we had low gas prices, and we men had more hair and got laid more often. Free love and pet rocks rule. As far as you not having AM radio and worried about not being able to pick up the show… I would be more than happy to drive by your house and do it live for you later in the day.
[Ed. note: unfortunately, the provisions of my HOA explicitly prohibit "live performances by Jack E. Jett."]
PN: How did the idea for the show come together, and how could an outfit that calls itself "Rational Radio" have ever considered adding you to their lineup?
JEJ: I’ve always been a huge fan of performance artists like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage. Rational Radio wanted someone more masculine than those boys.
They needed (to quote my friends The Village People) a “macho man” and someone with at least a high school education. Having over 2,000 hours of live television experience and hundreds of interviews under my belt, and - being one of the few chatter heads that has not beat up chicks, scored massive quantities of Vicoden, and/or recorded my phone sex - I seemed like the logical, if not the only, choice.
PN: The roll call for your first-ever show on Rational Radio includes an amazingly large number of big-name guests, to wit: Sandra Bernhard, Belinda Carlisle, Ant, Michele Balan (Last Comic Standing), Julie Brown, Judy Tenuta and Michael Musto. How the heck can you hope to cram all these voices into one single episode?
JEJ: The publicists for these artists are not crazy about your use of the term “cram.” Our show, which is brilliantly entitled THE JACK E. JETT SHOW (I know, so out of the box like Sarah Palin) will air live for two hours on Saturday and Sunday from 1-3 p.m. and will rerun at midnight when listeners are a bit more enlightened. As I figure it, two hours is 120 minutes, and I fully expect there to be non-stop full frontal verbal action happening through every minute. We have a lot of time for listeners to phone in, if they are in the mood to be crammed.
PN: This initial list of guests seems heavily weighted in the area of comedy, which - for my money - is a good thing. But can you tell us whether this is to be considered an established pattern? What other sorts of guests can we expect to hear you conversing with on future shows? Any political figures?
JEJ: Personality-wise, the show will be filled with guests from the world of pop culture, underground artists, celebrities, freaks of nature, and political figures. The latter two being somewhat intertwined. An example of some of our upcoming guests would be Mike Jones, the male hooker who banged Rev. Ted Haggerd; Mike “heck of a job” Brown; Selene Luna, a dwarf burlesque artist; Arman Ra, an androgynous theremin player who does an awesome version of "Stairway To Heaven;" Matt, a dude who loves for ladies to literally walk all over him; The Singing Pyschic; Lucy Lawless; Henry Rollins; Rory Kennedy; Rocky Roulette, a man who strips from a tuxedo to a jock strap while on a pogo stick; Pam Anderson; Omarosa; and the leader of the Communist Party.
[Ed. note: Pam Anderson?]
PN: Will you be seeking out local North Texas voices to interview? As you know, we're "hyper-local" here at Pegasus News - the "localler" the better!
JEJ: I have learned from the success of Pegasus News, the importance of local. I want to take the concept that you guys have built on “hyper local” and take it to the next level, which would be ultra-hyper local. So in addition to national, international, global and planetary listeners, I will devote a segment to the most local of all local issues. That would include issues that happen on the block I live on. If the guy at 3204 isn’t keeping his grass mowed, or some neighbor is watering too much, or puts their trash out too early. These are the sorts of local stories that I think need to be shared, discussed, hashed out and a solution found. There may be times that we get so local that we are talking about issues going on in my very home, i.e. pool repair, grocery list, repairing the 8 Track player, etc.
One thing I have learned and one of the reasons I am excited to do this show is that Texas is full of some of the coolest people in the world. This city, this state is not nearly as right wing and conservative as some of the media would have us believe. We are home to some of the most creative artists, laid back people, and awesome happenings to be found in any locality. Our diversity is fucking off-the-wall and I think it should be celebrated and not hidden. So local, hell to the yeah, local.
PN: Speaking as someone who has himself been described as weird, who's the weirdest interview subject you've ever quizzed?
JEJ: I would hardly know where to begin. Just to give you some samples:
* Buck Angel, a dude who used to be a beautiful female model and is now a macho man with a penis and a vagina.
* Jay Baker, who is the son of Jim and Tammy Fay Baker, who started the Revolution Church which is the most open minded church in the world and sometimes is held in bars or nightclubs.
* Kay Sedia, who is a Hispanic drag queen/entertainer, who also happens to be the world's number one seller of Tupperware Products.
* Perez Hilton, an evil and bitchy queen from Los Angeles who has made a fortune from drawing white marks on photos of celebrities. (Me jealous? Yes.)
PN: What one question would you put to the Republican and Democratic candidates for president if you were assured by God that they'd be forced to answer truthfully?
JEJ: First of all, I don’t think that even God could assure an honest answer from any political figure. So I would probably ask Barack Obama if he could do anything to bring down the price of marijuana. As gasoline has gone up so has the price of pot and the munchies to go with it. How else can the middle class deal with the situation the big dicks have got us into?
If I could speak with John McCain, I would say, in a VERY loud voice: Mr. McCain... Mr. McCain... it is time for me to take you back to your room now, okay... now take this Aricept and let’s go back to your room because bingo starts in an hour. Now, can you tell me how many other homes you have?
PN: What else would you like our readership to know about the Jack E. Jett Show?
JEJ: I would ask your readers to open their minds without fear of their brain falling out. That we are all part of one big freak show so it is best to laugh at it, ourselves and everything in between. The Jack E. Jett Show will be exotically inclusive, and I can promise you will learn something new with each show. While I have only two hours to start making any sense, there is still a remote possibility that I might say something relevant. If not, one of our guests or phone in listeners will. Think of The Ed Sullivan Show on acid. Don’t fear the AM dial and phone me at 972-572-1360 or 800-277-1637 starting September 6, 2008 from 1-3 pm.
Also, please join us for our launch party at JR’s Bar & Grill on September 6th.