Talk Show Guests: "Let Me Share My Pain with a National Audience"

My wife’s asked me to put a question up: every day on national TV guests on talk shows spill their guts. They reveal affairs to their spouses, they call their best friend fat, they reveal intimate secrets; and then the target of their confidences comes on and also talks about these intensely personal matters.


Are they actors?

Are they getting paid?

Are they desparate for their ten minutes of fame?

[This question was posted in lieu of her original one: “Why are you spending so much time on that damned “Straight Dope” thing?”}

Somebody famous once said “Lots of people want to be heard but they’ve got nothing to say.” - MC

Yes and Yes.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

What ever happened to the grand old tradition of sweeping things under the rug? Yes, there are secrets in my family that could no doubt land me a spot on Jerry or Rikki, but I would not be caught dead.

Maybe people think they don’t exist unless they appear on TV? Osacar Wilde once said that to become the observer of one’s own life is to escape the suffering of life–perhaps they think if they become “characters in a TV show,” they’ll be able to better cope with their godawful, squalid lives?

I think that the people that appear on these shows are:

  1. already addicted to this type of drivel.
  2. want to place themselves in the “hero/tough guy” role of exposing someone
  3. want the adulation of the bunch of mindless idiots in the audience
  4. may be delusional enough to actually think it will lead to bigger things “Gee Maw, I might git dis-covered”. Yeah, they’ll discover you’re an idiot.
  5. don’t know the difference between fame and infamy.
  6. want to hurt and humiliate someone else to a level not otherwise possible.

Pick any of the above as appropriate.

And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss
of one weak creature makes a void in any heart, so
wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth
of vast eternity can fill it up!
-Charles Dickens “Dombey and Son”

What I want to know is how someone gets their girlfriend/boyfriend all the way out to Los Angeles/New York City to appear on TV without them knowing that they are going on to a show whose topic is, say, “I’m sleeping with my boyfriend’s father”. The audience must know the topic. The person sleeping with the father obviously knows the topic. Would you really go onto a talk show without knowing what’s going to happen? I think it’s faked a lot more than we think. I think those people are coached and hyped up and basically told how to act and what to say. They’re probably not professional actors but just regular people putting on a show. Kinda’ like pro wrestling without all the costumes. I find it repulsive and sad, but I do admit that I watch them occasionally. Sometimes I just can’t bring myself to change the channel.

I think alot of it is fake. A friend of mine, who watches these shows often, swears that he has seen the same people on different shows. They just have different wigs and makeup…

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

I suppose I can understand how a desperate idiot in a trailer park might think that being on “Jerry Springer” would be the high point of his/her life. But while that explains the people who call Springer, begging to be on the show, the REAL nuts are the ones who accept invitations!

I mean, if I got a call from Jerry Springer, and he told me my girlfriend wanted to tell me a very important secret on the air… I’d drop the phone and run far, far away! I don’t know what she’d want to tell me, but it DEFINITELY wouldn’t be anything good!

I have shot several talk shows. I can tell you this much.The people who “appear” shocked by what they are confronted with frequently are. There are multiple entrances, and separated back-stage areas. Sometimes, it may seen like a put-up job, but sometimes, these people have no idea what is about to hit them.
How do I feel about shooting jobs like that? Hey, it’s not porno. ( I think ).

Sadly, I don’t think a lot of it is faked.

My friend said it best: “Who can tell what goes on in the trailer parks and ghettos of this country?”

Heck, there are enough bent arrows in the area I live in.

“It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument” - William McAdoo

It’s my understanding that these people DO NOT get paid for doing this. Have I been misinformed?

I think people like me who are having an affair with their aging lesbian mother’s bisexual hairdresser as well as having a fling with the albino dog owned by my incestuous neighbors really need a place to air these very common issues. Don’t you?

You can count the number of apples in one tree but never the number of trees in one apple.

I know of at least one case personally. They did get paid, but not a great deal. The trip to Cleveland (I think - Rikki?) was paid.

My theory is that they are trying to reduce everyone’s expectations to the bare minimum… so they won’t have any demands made.

The reason gentlemen prefer blondes is that there are not enough redheads to go around.

They generally (almost never) do not get paid for appearing. Usually they get a hotel, airfare and meals only. For most people this is enough. Occasionally, the will pay for like a famous person (e.g. Kato) who is famous for a moment in time.

I know on Springer and J Jones, they give the guests a list of things it might be.