Jeremy Bradley- Jerry Springer joining us on the line right now. Jerry, Jerry, Jerr… ah, geez!
Jerry Springer- (laughing)
JB- Do people do that to you on the street, Jerry?
JS- Yeah, it's kind of been going on for 20 years. They do. People are always nice, but if I'm going down the street people roll down their windows while they're driving by. The funniest, I guess, is at the airports because if you're going… let's say you're at Gate 27, you're walking down the concourse there to Gate 27, 28, and each gate you walk by people spot you and they'll start chanting. Even though for the people at the gate it only lasts for the few seconds I'm walking by, for me it's 27 gates of it. You kind of get used to it. I'm not complaining. People have been very nice to me.
JB- 27 gates, 20 years… ah! At least they know who you are though.
JS- Yeah, which I guess sometimes is good.
JB- What's the weirdest situation you've ever encountered?
JS- Oh… um, I can't… in the beginning it was - people kind of stopped doing that now - just people coming up with their stories or if you're someplace, people flash you, stuff like that. There's some people, particularly if they've been drinking, they may be in a happy-go-lucky mood or whatever and do things the next morning they probably wonder, "Did I really go into that restaurant and flash him?" or something. I guess that's probably the weirdest stuff that happens to me.
JB- You mention flashing. Mardi Gras is tomorrow.
JB- What's with all the beads on your show?
JS- Well, actually, that idea did come from Mardi Gras. First, you know, I graduated law school at Northwestern University in Chicago, I did my undergraduate in New Orleans, so I had four years of Mardi Gras when I was in school there. And a few years ago I was the grand marshal of the Endymion Parade on Mardi Gras, and so for two hours you go by three million people on the float, throwing beads and people throwing beads back at you and most of the people, frankly, are drinking and all that flashing and stuff - that wildness - really is Mardi Gras, if you think about it. Our show at times is a Mardi Gras. I think that's probably where… I mean, I didn't come up with the idea, but I think that's probably where they got it.
JB- How are the things in the ring, also known as your daytime talk show?
JS- Thankfully, great. We are in the middle of our 18th season, you know, will certainly do the show for a few more at least. I enjoy it. It's crazy, it's stupid. I never thought it was anything but. But I just do it two days a week -- we tape three shows on Monday and two on Tuesdays -- so I can't tell you it takes a lot of my time. It gives me more time to do the stuff I really care about. But I don't mean to be disrespectful of it because it's given me this wonderful life and the opportunity to do a whole bunch of things around the world. And if it hadn't been for the show no one would have known me, so I wouldn't have had all those opportunities.
JB- Do you ever think that when you thought you've seen it all, you just think, Oh my…
JS- No. It would be disingenuous for me to say, Oh my gosh, I'm shocked. I don't think you can be a grownup in today's world and be shocked by anything anymore. I mean, you might be surprised that it happens to someone you know, but there's no event, no particular act, that you have never heard about or seen on television or read about. We've seen it all. In my lifetime we've gone from Holocaust to presidential assassinations to every kind of scandal you can imagine -- 9-11. I mean, what's shocking anymore? I'm hired to host a show about outrageousness so I know when I go in every day… see, I'm never allowed to know what the show's about or who the guests are. I go out there just with a card and their names. And then it's up to me to try be funny or ask them questions that people at home might be thinking about or asking. So I never know what the show's going to be about but I always assume it's going to be outrageous because you're not allowed to be on the show unless it is. In other words, if you called us with a warm, uplifting story, the producers would be required to send you to another show. NBC Universal won't let us do anything but outrageous - that's the purpose of the show. I can't tell you that I'm really shocked anymore or surprised.
The host of TV's wildest talk show chats with JB about being the "ringmaster."