While Jenny McCarthy has been acting since 1994, she's undoubtedly found bigger success when being herself. Whether it was as the host of MTV's Singled Out or the author of nine hugely successful novels, her intoxicating blend of no-holds-barred honesty and hilarious histrionics has earned her a loyal legion of fans.
Now, McCarthy hopes to dazzle her devotees with a new VH1 late night talk show, The Jenny McCarthy Show, premiering Friday at 10:30 p.m. But how will she stand out in the overcrowded marketplace? That was just one of the questions I posed when Jenny McCarthy rang me up for a chat!
ETonline: What excites you about this show?
Jenny McCarthy: I'm excited that it's actually different from everything else you've seen. If I were to compare it to anything, I'd say it's like Hugh Hefner's Playboy After Dark, which was a cool after-hours party. I've got a bartender, I've got go-go dancers, there's no script, there's no pre-interviews and the celebrities are in deep sh*t when I start asking questions. It's going to be really off the beaten path from what they're used to. I'm excited for people to see what I've worked so hard to attain at this stage in my life in terms of wisdom and life experiences.
ETonline: Given your various books and columns, it feels like your fans have really been on that journey alongside you. Was that intentional?
McCarthy: Yeah. It was important for me to always be honest and out there. I feel like right from the get-go I made a point to stay true to who I am, to be honest, to be the girl who doesn't take herself too seriously and I always stuck with that even through the hard times when I wanted to be private. That brought me to where I am now, and I hold true to who I am to this day.
ETonline: You'll be talking about celebrities on your show. What's your take on the current state of celebrity?
McCarthy: I can tell you this, when I first moved out to LA I was hanging around a lot of Playmates and I really had to make a decision as to whether I wanted to keep going in this party-going world or stay focused on what I wanted. After a year, I purposely got into a relationship with a much older guy -- he was 45 when I was 21 -- because I wanted to stay home and not be distracted and get into the problems like Lindsay Lohan has. I mean, the same scene was there, we just didn't have the omnipresence of cameras. I knew back then that I would be tempted like everyone else, but I was going to stay home and watch Wheel of Fortune with my old man boyfriend until I could get a grip on what I was going to do.
ETonline: When you look at the late night market, it's never been more competitive. How do you deliver on the promise of "different?"
McCarthy: A talk show is difficult because the formula is always the same: there's a host and there's guests. Really what you can change is only so much. So, I don't have any pre-interviews, which forces real conversation. Then, I have the guests out there for the entire 30 minutes. We have a pre-party, so it's a total party for 2 hours. I wanted go-go dancers. There are no sexy girls on TV anymore. What happened to the trampoline girls from The Man Show? I also have a very sexy man DJ and a very sexy man bartender right next to me, so I am pleasing all sexes and preferences.
ETonline: So you'll be drinking during the show?
McCarthy: Heavily, yes of course.
ETonline: Are you concerned about keeping yourself composed, or are you hoping to wake up and not remember the previous night's show?
McCarthy: [laughs] I'm kind of hoping that eventually does happen because it will be hilarious. But I also have to be sharp because when you're hosting a show, there's a lot of multi-tasking that needs to be done. All systems need to be working, but I am Irish and young and I like a cocktail.
ETonline: Most people have a long list of the booze they can no longer drink after bad experiences. What are yours?
McCarthy: Bacardi was the first thing I was ever peer pressured into drinking when I was in 8th grade and threw up for 2 days, so I've never been able to drink that again. I've also discovered I'm allergic to beer and wine, so Vodka is kind of my only choice right now.
ETonline: Who are some of your dream guests?
McCarthy: To give you an example of the kind of oddity I want, a dream show would be Rebel Wilson and Tim Tebow. Me and Rebel and Tim Tebow would be a classic half-hour of television as we drink and play games.
ETonline: Besides oddity, what do you want people to get from your show?
McCarthy: 30 minutes of release. A relatable, entertaining time that doesn't make you feel like you need to take a shower afterwards. Just a good fun party that you're given VIP access to.
The Jenny McCarthy Show premieres February 8 at 10:30 p.m.