John Henson interview

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Mar 102004
 
Authors: Danny Byers

After nearly a half of a decade in hibernation, away from life

behind a talk-show desk, John Henson, has finally resurfaced in the

comedic side of show business.

With the recent debut of his new show, “The John Henson

Project,” he has resumed executing some of his old bits like “Man

of the Week,” which recognizes different men for their unique acts

of genius … or stupidity as it were, and has also crafted new

skits and additional jokes, like commending MILFs (Mothers I’d Like

to … French) who vary from the Catherine Zeta Jones to Joan

Rivers.

“It’s a half hour of TV geared toward making guys laugh. If I

can get guys to come home from a terrible day and make them laugh

and be happy, then I have achieved my goal,” said Henson, who

thinks the show is getting funnier and funnier with every

episode.

Henson said that he especially enjoys working on “The John

Henson Project” because of the freedom that the network, Spike TV,

allows him. They do very little censoring and editing, according to

Henson.

“I’ve worked in network TV, studio TV and cable TV, and some

things wouldn’t slide. But they’re really pretty good about that

here,” said Henson, who added that he was particularly shocked when

the network allowed a joke about Tara Reid in which the punch line

involved her never being able to end a first date without saying,

“Not in the face.”

Henson is best known for hosting E! TV’s Talk Soup, the Emmy

award-winning show that “critiques” segments of daytime TV. In

addition to Henson, Talk Soup produced stars such as Greg Kinnear

and Craig Kilborn, who both once hosted the show.

Many debate that Henson was the funniest of the Talk Soup hosts,

but unlike Kinnear, who went on to star in films-one of which he

received an Oscar nomination for playing a homosexual artist along

side Jack Nicholson (“As Good As It Gets”), and Kilborn who moved

on to work for ESPN and later advanced to “The Late Late Show with

Craig Kilborn,” Henson remained quieter in the industry after his

term with E!

He occasionally appeared in cameos, sticking to serious roles,

in films such as “Stag,” a movie about killing a stripper, “Bar

Hopping,” in which his character dates a woman with Medusa-like

qualities, and “Life Without Dick,” which, well … explains

itself.

But now back on the TV track, Henson said he is excited to be

hosting again.

“The John Henson Project” has many similarities to the style on

Talk Soup, Henson said.

“I’ve hired all the same guys from Talk Soup. We’re starting to

do more improv like the old show and we’re not sticking to the

script as much,” Henson said.

One of the most comedic aspects of entertainment derives from

improvisation and the energy that it creates, Henson said.

“The John Henson Project” airs Sundays on Spike TV and Henson

intends on making it as humorous as possible.

“My ultimate goal is to see people coming back, make people

laugh and to keep and original flavor,” he said.

OUTBOX

Q & A with John Henson:

1. What’s the scoop on some future skits for your show?

“I’m looking for someone to tattoo The John Henson Project logo

somewhere on their body. We want to permanently scar someone. We’ll

fly them out here, pay for their stay … everything.”

2. What side projects do you have on the back burner?

“There’s a movie in development for Adam Sandler that I’m

working on with Kevin Nealon, but I’m focusing mainly on making my

show work.”

3. On one episode of “The John Henson Project,” you said, “Joan

Rivers is a Mom I’d like to … French.” Have you made any

advancement on that?

“You know, I have. But I haven’t sealed the deal. She’s a nimbly

little minx.”

4. You studied acting at Boston University. What’s getting it on

with a Thespian like?

“Let me tell you, there was a reason I was a theater geek while

all my buds were out playing sports. It’s not bad being the only

straight guy.”

5. What was one of the craziest moments of your college

life?

“I used to work at a liquor store when I was in college and

there was a shooting. A crazy construction worker came in when I

was working. That pretty much precipitated me giving up my

$4.70-an-hour job.”

6. What do you like to spend your hoards of Hollywood money

on?

“My rich bounty of basic cable? Well, my wife and I just bought

a BMW X5.”

Station: Spike TV, channel 24

Time: 8 p.m.

Day: Sunday

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