JB- When we did put out the word to listeners that you're going to be on our show, we got a lot of e-mails, one of the most common questions was: "Is the show real?" Are the people on the show real?
JS- Very real. I'm fake! I used to be Sally Jessy Raphael.
JB- I was going to say Oprah. Very similar looking.
JS- (laughing) Yeah.
JS- It's real. It has to be. There are times we do an obvious spoof show. You know, we'll do a holiday show -- "Holiday with the Klan" or something like that. But then it's obvious we're doing a takeoff on some other show or event. The everyday show, oh yeah, it has to be -- I mean, they have the lawyers there, people are libel if they make up the story. They can get into a lot of trouble. It has to be real. We've been duped before, but after 18 years, the producers are pretty good, and the lawyers are pretty good at sifting out what's a true story and what's just being made up so they can be on television.
JB- You really can't do anything outrageous for sweeps then, can you? Every day is sweeps!
JS- Yeah. Yeah, people turn on our show knowing exactly what they're going to get. It's like watching professional wrestling -- you know what you're going to get. But, you're saying, OK, I'm in the mood for a little escapism or whatever -- and it's aimed at a college crowd. If I were in college I'd be watching the show, I'm sure of it. I remember me in college. At my age today, no, I probably wouldn't be. But the show isn't for everybody. It's just a one-hour escape from whatever's going on in your life.
JB- You mention you tape your show Monday and Tuesday and that it leaves you time for the other things you really care about in life. So what are some of those things?
JS- Mostly I do political stuff. You know, that's what I spend more of my time doing -- travelling around the country, giving political speeches, raising money, organizing. And then I also have other projects. I've done America's Got Talent and this summer I'll be doing the musical Chicago in London. And I do some Vegas shows, so I just get to travel around the world, basically, but most of it is political.
JB- You say you're doing Chicago. You're starring in the show?
JS- Yeah, I play the Richard Gere role, Billy Flynn.
JB- How did you manage that gig?
JS- I don't know. They called me and I said No at first. I had never done anything like that, but then I was over in England a couple months ago doing some TV shows -- like different, like late night shows, and they came by to see me and said would I mind coming in for an audition, they'd like to hear me sing, see me dance. They knew I could dance a little bit, I guess from Dancing with the Stars, so they had seen that which gave them the idea. So, they had me sing, and apparently they were happy. They said, Yeah, love you to do it. Because of the schedule, I could only do six weeks in the summer - so I'll do June and July. That's how that came along. Crazy!
JB- Was it the connection you have with country music? What was that about? We've heard it on your show, actually.
JS- Well, yeah… (laughing) I constantly get offered various things just because I'm a known person. Anyone that's well known gets all kinds of offers for things. And every once in a while if it's something I haven't done and it sounds interesting, then I'll do it. I was approached once (when) I was doing some TV in Nashville at night on a street where they have all the country bars and live bands, some places even have karaoke -- it's right downtown there in Nashville. So after TV, I went there with the people and the band called me up there to sing a couple tunes just for fun. But, some producer was there and came up to me and said he'd like to talk to me -- that he has this idea of me recording a country album, probably as a spoof -- and they brought me down there and had me listen to 40 original songs that had never been recorded and picked 12 of them where I could reach… where I could have the range to sing it and so we did that. I am the luckiest person alive. I mean, I get all these, just, fun things that I get asked to do. And as I said, that is how I make my living. Politics is what my passion is and that's what I spend most of my time doing now.
JB- Where can I get your album?
JS- (laughing) You'll never know anymore! (laughing) I'm not crazy. That'll destroy me!
JB- Very quickly- you mention politics. Any opinions on the new administration?
JS- Well, they're certainly off to a flying start. We don't know everything they're suggesting is going to work, but you got to give him credit for being honest about where we are, the condition they're inherited and now let's try fix it. Some of their ideas make sense, will work, some probably won't. Obama is quick to admit that. But we can't sit here and just watch this decline - this particularly economic decline that has been happening for the eight years - it's time to turn it around. That's what the public voted for and I don't think anyone questions how bright Obama is. But let's hope it works, 'cause, you know, you can be very bright and still have an idea that doesn't work.
JB- Jerry Springer, the Ringmaster himself, thanks for joining us on the show. Good luck with everything.
JS- Hey, thanks for having me.
JB- Good luck with Chicago and everything.
JS- Great. Thanks.
The host of TV's wildest talk show chats with JB about being the "ringmaster."