John Lamb, Published February 17 2013
‘Price is Right Live!’ host Jerry Springer continues to do it all
What: “The Price Is Right Live! - Stage Show”
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday; doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Fargo Civic Center, 207 4th St. N., Fargo
Info: Tickets are $29.50, $39.50 and $49.50, fees may apply. (800) 745-3000 and www.ticketmaster.com
FARGO – Jerry Springer is best known as the host of the tabloid talk show that bears his name, but his resume is even more colorful.
“I’ve been everything you can’t respect,” he says. “A lawyer. A politician. A journalist and a talk-show host. Good Lord, once I sell used cars I will have done the whole cycle.”
Before he gets a chance to peddle Pontiacs, Springer will come to Fargo in a role he’s more comfortable with; hosting “The Price is Right Live! – Stage Show” at the Fargo Civic Center Friday night and Saturday night at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in Grand Forks.
Springer steps into the iconic game show’s spotlight to chat with contestants asked to “Come on down!”
He got the gig after his appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” led by to touring production by the same group that created “The Price is Right Live!” They liked Springer’s ability to interact with the crowd and asked him to take over for the job defined by TV hosts Bob Barker and most recently Drew Carey.
“It’s incredible fun. Who would’ve thought?” Springer says.
Asked if he was a fan of the show, he says, “I’d seen it as a kid. Fan is a bit strong.”
Like the televised version, the live show features well-known individual games, such as Plinko, Cliff Hangers and Showcase, audience members play for cash and prizes.
“Everyone seems to like Plinko the best because I guess that’s a guarantee of at least winning some money,” Springer says.
“Our set is an exact replica of the TV show, so although it might be a little bit smaller, it’s still identical in design to the set used every day by (host) Drew Carey,” the show’s executive producer Jeff Palmer told the Virginian-Pilot earlier this month.
“We call out at least 50 names during the show, and everyone whose name gets called gets a prize,” Palmer added.
Standing on the stage now, Springer appreciates the show more for its ability to connect to people.
“Basically the game is an excuse to talk to people and make jokes, and basically that’s what I do. … It’s an excuse to do comedy, honestly,” he says.
In that way it’s not too different from “The Jerry Springer Show,” now in its 22nd year of chair-throwing, family-feuding, cheating-baby-mama-drama.
“Every job I’ve had has been the same in that I’m always talking to regular people, and what I noticed is that we’re all the same. Just some of us dress better or did better in the gene pool with parents. Some of us are richer,” he explains. “There’s no difference between the people on my show, and I could open your local newspaper any day of the week and by the time I got to Page 3 I’d have 20 shows.”
(Springer didn’t know how well he proved his point. The day before, The Forum ran stories on a man arrested for stabbing a visiting friend during a threesome and a new father arrested for yelling at his newborn child’s mother and punching himself in the birthing room.)
While he’s always himself onstage or in front of the cameras, he knows that different shows require a different side to step forward.
“I’m a paid entertainer. Whatever the show is,” he says. “When I’m on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ I dance. When I do my crazy show, I’m talking to people in the midst of a drama. When I do a game show, I’m talking to people who are just having an hour of fun competing.”
While he insists he’s “an incredibly boring normal person with a normal family and no drama,” his life has had ups and downs. He was elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 1971 but resigned three years later after admitting to hiring a prostitute. A year later, he won the seat back and eventually served as mayor of the Queen City.
“Best job I ever had was being mayor of Cincinnati,” he says.
Even with his busy TV schedule, he keeps his hands in politics, speaking at fundraisers and rallies and most recently being involved in President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
“Am I going to run again? It gets less and less likely,” he says when asked about his future in politics. “I’m 69, so I’m not looking for a job. I’m just passionate about political things, so I tend to get involved.”
Looking back, he’s happy to be involved in everything.
“Good Lord, I don’t have any talent and I get to do all of these wonderful things,” he says. “I got lucky. Anyone can do what I do. For some reason I got picked to do it.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533