Interview with Jaleel White of "Total Blackout" on
I enjoyed listening to this interview. I didn't get to
ask any of my questions (they ran out of time and had too many
interviewers), but everyone else had asked the ones I most wanted to
TOTAL BLACKOUT Q&A w/ Jaleel White
April 19, 2012
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to
the NBC Universal Syfy conference call Total Blackout for Thursday,
During the presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode.
Afterwards we will conduct a question and answer session. At that time
if you have a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your
telephone. If at any time during the conference you need to reach an
operator, please press star 0.
As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Thursday, April 19,
2012. I would now like to turn the conference over to Gary Morgenstein.
Please go ahead.
Gary Morgenstein: Welcome everyone to the Total Blackout call starring
Jaleel White from Family Matters, from Dancing with the Stars and heís
here to talk about Total Blackout which premiers on Syfy Wednesday,
April 25 at 10:00 pm. Take it away, Jaleel.
Jaleel White: Howís it going everybody.
Gary Morgenstein: (Frank), you can put the first call forward.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder to register a question
please press the 1, 4 on your telephone. Our first question comes from
the line of Jamie Ruby of Syfyvision.com. Please proceed.
Jamie Ruby: Hello? Hello?
Operator: Please go ahead.
Jamie Ruby: Hello, can you hear me?
Jaleel White: I can hear you.
Jamie Ruby: Okay, nobody answered. Itís nice to talk to you again,
thanks for doing the call.
Jaleel White: Oh, itís cool.
Jamie Ruby: Because we actually met down in Florida. It was fun getting
a sneak peak then. And I really enjoyed the episode. Iím curious though,
did you expect the outcome of the people when they went through it, did
you expect it to be so comical when you first started?
Jaleel White: Yes, we knew it was going to be funny. It was trying to
capture the comedy though in edited form is a challenge. The same time
we experienced - when we did it live and when we filmed the episode. So
we knew it was going to be funny but you still got to make that
translate to the viewer at home in the final post production stages.
Jamie Ruby: Great. And can you kind of talk about for the people that
havenít seen it kind of how this show is different from other similar
shows that are on television? Itís definitelyÖ
Jaleel White: Öyes, well a lot of people are immediately going to say oh
itís Fear Factor in the dark. And itís not that. In Total Blackout your
imagination becomes your own worst enemy. And thatís where the comedy
So itís putting people in a familiar environment in the dark you know
your spatial awareness. You know where things are in the room. In this
particular case you donít know anything about the room that youíre in.
You just have to complete these challenges and you have to basically use
all four of your senses apart from sight.
And people just - they freak out. Itís guinea pig TV at its best. You
just kind of sit there. You keep watching different versions of the same
reaction and watching who can overcome their fears quicker than others.
And itís hysterical.
So one person might get freaked out by the fact they just touched a
snake, but the next person is freaking out over a pineapple because they
think itís something worse.
Jamie Ruby: Yes, yes. I thought it was really funny. I donít now, I
didnít expect it to be quite that funny. But I really enjoyed it, so
thanks a lot.
Jaleel White: No, thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Amy Harrington of Pub
Culture Passionistas. Please go ahead.
Amy Harrington: Hi Jaleel, thanks for talking to us today.
Jaleel White: Itís all good.
Amy Harrington: So can you just tell us a little bit about what
attracted you to this product in the first place? Itís quite a departure
from stuff youíve done in the past.
Jaleel White: Yes, well, I mean that was largely one of the things that
attracted me to the project is that it is a departure from what people
expect from me. They asked me to be a host was definitely a new skill
set that I had to pick up, you know, being able to relate to contestants
And the other thing that really was a huge component in me coming aboard
the show is I think people will watch the show. Just naturally. You get
tired as a celebrity or as a performer or whatever you want to call it,
a public figure, of always trying to push something down peoplesí
throats that they donít want to watch.
But this is guinea pig TV, man. You turn this thing on at the end of
your day and you just crack up because people are going to make you
laugh in the most natural way.
Amy Harrington: Excellent. And what is your biggest fear?
Jaleel White: Wendy Williams just goosed me real good. I donít like
possums. So I was doing the show and she brought a possum on at the end
of our interview. My mom used to make me take out the trash late at
night if I had forgotten to do so during the day and you run into these
suckers and they hiss at you. Itís just a memory you will never forget
when youíre a kid.
Amy Harrington: Excellent. Well, good luck with the show and also with
Dancing with the Stars, weíre big fans.
Jaleel White: Thank you so much, thank you. Iím going to hang in there
for as long as I can.
Amy Harrington: Excellent.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Steinberg of
Starry Constellation Magazine. Please proceed.
Jamie Steinberg: Hi, itís such a pleasure to speak with you.
Congratulations on going through each week on Dancing with the Stars.
Jaleel White: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Jamie Steinberg: And Iím not sure if you ever decided on your acapella
group name or not from Psych, but it was great to see you there as well.
Jaleel White: Thatís my show, man. I love that show. Dule and Jay, we
have so much fun. Thatís the second episode Iíve done there. So I
(unintelligible) scripts aside.
Jamie Steinberg: Yes, but as far as Total Blackoutís concerned, what is
some of your favorite moments as a host? Is it watching them, you know,
try to figure out exactly what the items are, or is it more seeing their
faces when theyíre freaking out?
Jaleel White: My favorite moments on the show really so far have been,
the couples episodes, that is just hysterical. Because the interaction
between the couples is just like - yes. Those are my favorite moments
hands down on the show.
And then to just be surprised by who will display unbelievable bravery
while some muscle-y character is freaking out.
Jamie Steinberg: Well, itís such an amazing show. Were you expecting
people to maybe be more scared than, you know, laughing? Were you
expecting it to be that intense?
Jaleel White: I was expecting people always to pick up on the comedy of
the show. And the challenge is then to try and make that comedy
translate to the viewer. Because when you see the Total Blackout game
played live or you see it filmed on stage, thereís nothing but laughter
And you got to make sure that youíre at a job, you know, your post
production attitude that translates. I think weíve finally gotten it
Jamie Steinberg: Great, well thank you so much for your time and I hope
to see you next season on Psych.
Jaleel White: Thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of (Reg Seaton) from
Thedeadbolt.com. Please proceed.
Reg Seaton: Hey, Jaleel, thanks for taking the call.
Jaleel White: How you doing.
Reg Seaton: Well, did you think there was going to be such a big
difference what you canít see and what your mind sees when you touch
Jaleel White: Huge, huge. I mean, really, I canít say it enough but I
will say it again, your imagination becomes your own worst enemy in
Total Blackout. And so people always ask me do you know, how would I
fare in the game. I think I would definitely be affected by the game.
But I also know how television works. So that would give me an unfair
But people who donít know how television works they have no visual
understanding of the spatial awareness of the room that theyíll be
entering, you know, itís just - itís a freak-fest, man.
Reg Seaton: And after doing scripted comedy most of your life, what do
you like about the comedy in a show like this one?
Jaleel White: What I do like about it is I got to think on my feet. I
got to think a little more like a standup comedian. But at the same time
be respectful of what the contestants are actually going through. So I
donít want them at all to become the brunt of any cheap jokes.
But at the same time if they do something funny that we all canít help
but remember forever then I got to comment on it appropriately.
Reg Seaton: And just one last question. How do you maintain your
composure with spiders and snakes and around (unintelligible).
Jaleel White: Itís funny because that was part of my screen test to
become the host. They made me hold a tarantula and talk directly to a
teleprompter. The damn thing was just so freaking big I just imagined in
my mind it was a gerbil.
Reg Seaton: Great, thanks Jaleel.
Jaleel White: All right.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Pattye Grippo from
Pizzazz Entertainment Network. Please proceed.
Pattye Grippo: Hi Jaleel, thanks for talking with us today.
Jaleel White: All right, Pattye.
Pattye Grippo: Let me ask you, of all the people that youíve had on so
far and all the reactions that youíve had, which one surprised you?
Jaleel White: Well thereís a black couple from L.A., they donít surprise
me, but boy did they overwhelm me. I just loved them. They are
hysterical, hysterical, hysterical. You know, really, itís different
versions of the same reaction. And also surprise bravery shown by
certain people that you wouldnít think.
You might get some muscle-y guy thatís freaking out and then you get an
older woman or whatnot that is just breezing through certain challenges.
And itís like, damn, that chick is brave.
Pattye Grippo: Okay, I understand that. And let me ask you, of all the
challenges that youíve seen, which one would be the one that you would
least want to do?
Jaleel White: The one that I would least one to do is Find the Cheese
Wheels. Because youíre in a Plexiglas maze. And youíre looking for these
cheese wheels and there are mice in the maze, too. They are also looking
for the same wheels.
Pattye Grippo: Okay, well, thanks for talking with me today.
Jaleel White: All right.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder to register a question
please press the 1, 4 on your telephone. Our next question comes from
the line of (Tim Holgan), TVOverminds. Please proceed.
Tim Holgan: Hi Jaleel. Itís nice to get to speak with you.
Jaleel White: Thank you, man.
Tim Holgan: As someone who hasnít seen any episodes yet, just based on
the commercial, the promo, I was wondering have any contestants freaked
out to the point of needing medical attention, like oxygen or an
Jaleel White: Thatís a really good question there. None of the
contestants have freaked out to the point of needing medical attention.
But there is a psychiatrist on set and thank God for editing. Because
some of the contestants have stalled for long amounts of time and we
needed to be patient for them to eventually complete the challenges.
Tim Holgan: Like a mental breakdown or something?
Jaleel White: Just, once they were finally told to enter the room, it
took us 20 minutes to get them in the room.
Tim Holgan: Okay, thatís crazy. A quick follow-up, now that youíre
part of the Syfy family, and obviously you are known for your acting
skills, is there any Syfy original series that youíd like to guest scene
on like Alien or (unintelligible) Alphas.
Jaleel White: Gosh, not - I canít really say right now. Every time I say
Iíd like to be a guest on any particular show it gets overblown. So Iím
a fan of Syfy in general. If any of the shows would have me, Iíd love to
Tim Holgan: Do you have a favorite?
Jaleel White: I like Eureka, you know, (unintelligible) (Tim)ís not
Tim Holgan: Yes, thatís sad. Well, it was great to get to speak with
Jaleel White: All right, thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Amy Amatangelo from
the Boston Herald. Please proceed.
Amy Amatangelo: Hi, thanks so much for talking to us today.
Jaleel White: Thank you for having me.
Jaleel White: Iím going to come back, I promise. Iím not playing, I
swear. Iím doing an interview. Iím walking on the streets of New York
literally and getting an interview at the same time. Itís hysterical.
Amy Amatangelo: Well, I wanted to ask you about Dancing with the Stars
and how it feels to be this far in the competition and kind of how
youíre feeling about making it to the finale.
Jaleel White: You know what, Iím nervous. I definitely will tell you
that after being in the dance (school) itís like that was the most
surreal moment as Iíve ever had in my entire career. I mean, I honestly
felt like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, just (unintelligible). And then
you step in that spotlight and thatís what I love about Kym Johnson is
that we were both born to perform.
Hey, how you doing (lady). Thank you.
We were both born to perform and thatís impressive. But itís nice to be
tied to a gamer because when that music started and that dance (school),
it was like we were the only two people there.
Amy Amatangelo: And are you surprised you made it this far? When you
started off the season did you think you - because youíre doing so well,
youíve gone so far.
Jaleel White: Well, itís kind of tough, you know. I donít know how
comfortable it feels because the scores arenít reflecting the comfort
level that Iím feeling with my dances. So, Iím feeling really
comfortable with dances and pretty much happy with four out of the five
dances that Iíve presented and the scores arenít reflecting that.
So, Iím happy to still be here. Iím happy - I didnít feel like my samba
was bottom two, but it was bottom two. And, we had to get in that dance
spot and do our thing.
Amy Amatangelo: And what made you want to participate in Dancing with
the Stars this season? What was it about the show that made you want to
try it? Because itís such a hard show to be on.
Jaleel White: My momís a big fan of the show and she told me that if I
did it I wouldnít regret it. And Iím still believing that. Iím still
Amy Amatangelo: Yes, youíre someone who has made such a successful
transition from a child star in some of those places an iconic character
to an adult actor who now is doing, you know, you have guest spots,
youíre hosting a show, youíre on Dancing with the Stars -- youíre doing
so many different things. What do you attribute to being able to make
that transition from child star to adult actor?
Because a lot of people arenít able to do that, you know, so well.
Jaleel White: Right. I got a great family. My mom and dad have always
felt like teammates more than anything. They have always put me first.
They werenít running out buying fur coats and Rolls-Royces.
And they really always taught me to respect work. So at the end of the
day I donít think what people were really realizing is that Iím working
seven days a week right now and Iím actually happier for doing it. When
Iím done with these interviews I got to go dance for six hours. And Iíve
been at it since 8:00 this morning.
And we do that every day until Monday and hopefully youíll get the steps
that you need to pull off your routine that you need to pull off.
Amy Amatangelo: Great, well thank you so much. And looking forward to
seeing the rest of the season on your new series as well.
Jaleel White: Thank you. Thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of (Assami Turenal)
TVGrapevine. Please proceed.
Assami Turenal: Hi, how are you? Itís so good to speak to you again.
Actually I had the pleasure of doing the (panel) when you were at the
Syfy tour so I know first hand what the show was like.
Jaleel White: Oh thank you, you were there so you saw.
Assami Turenal: I did. I saw and experienced, it was amazing. Anyway
if you could pick any of the stars - any of your co-stars or co-dancers
to participate in Total Blackout who would they be and why?
Jaleel White: Oh my God, you said I can pick any of my co-stars or
co-dancers and put them in Total Blackout. Iíd have to put Kym in there.
Iíd have to. She makes me do everything she wants me to do in rehearsal
every day. So itís only right that I would put her in a dark room and
get some ratings off of her.
Assami Turenal: That would be amazing. And my other question for you
would be fans surprised to know about you since they basically saw you
grow up on TV?
Jaleel White: Hold on one second. Iím sorry, please ask the question
Assami Turenal: Sure. What would your fans that watched you grow up be
surprised to know about you?
Jaleel White: Surprised to know about me? That Iím really competitive.
And I like to win and if you really look back at my childhood and what
my life has been about, itís been about winning. Itís been about, I won
(unintelligible) when I was a kid. Now it doesnít even matter.
Thereís so many other metrics now that matter. But even right now with
Dancing with the Stars or whether itís Total Blackout, I want the shows
to do well. I like to be at the top of my game.
Assami Turenal: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Beth Beacham with
Hollywood Junket. Please proceed.
Beth Beacham: Hi Jaleel. Thank you for talking to us.
Jaleel White: Hey, how you doing.
Beth Beacham: Hey, good, how are you.
Jaleel White: Iím super good.
Beth Beacham: Great. Congratulations on hosting a game show. Is this
your first game show youíve hosted?
Jaleel White: This is the first game show Iíve ever hosted so I am way
outside my comfort zone, but Iím having fun with it.
Beth Beacham: Great. Just a quick, serious question. What game shows are
you a big fan of? Like old time, traditional times game showsÖ
Jaleel White: Ötraditional game shows growing up as a kid I loved the
game show called Press Your Luck. It was with the whammies. And then I
also liked Family Feud, stuff like that. Modern stuff, Wipe Out Iím
probably a huge fan of. And I think Total Blackout definitely has an
element of that.
Beth Beacham: Are there any hosts that you kind of look to, to get
inspiration for with the show?
Jaleel White: Iím sorry, what did you say?
Beth Beacham: Were there any game show hosts that youíre particularly
Jaleel White: Iím sorry, maíam, I can barely hear you.
Beth Beacham: It might be my phone. Were there any game show hosts that
you particularly were fond of, you know, growing up or that you sort of
looked to for inspirationÖ
Jaleel White: Okay, I got you. I got you, yes. No, I wasnít a particular
fan of any game show hosts. I mean, I thought Richard Dawson was really
funny because he was kissing all those women.
Beth Beacham: I was curious before they started filming the show did you
actually get to go through the game experience of Blackout?
Jaleel White: Well, the cool thing is that we did the game live in
Orlando, Florida. So when we did it live I really got the chance to see
the game in the full with people who knew nothing about the game. That
was early on in the process. So we still hadnít even filmed all of our
episodes yet when we did that. That was very helpful. It helped me out
in preparing for host.
Beth Beacham: Okay. And then I was curious about - this is my last
question. How is the game laid out as far as rounds go that get the
players, you know, up to the final round where they win the $5000.
Jaleel White: Right. Thereís either four players or four teams. And
three rounds. And generally the challenges are all timed. And the person
who completes the challenges in the shortest amount of time they move on
to the next.
Beth Beacham: Okay great, thank you so much. Have a great day.
Jaleel White: Hey, thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Karen Butler of UPI,
Karen Butler: Hello sir, how are you?
Jaleel White: How are you doing?
Karen Butler: Good, good. I was wondering, you did a great job on The
View yesterday. Did those mother hens...
Jaleel White: Thank you.
Karen Butler: You really held your own. Did the mother hens give you an
advice about hosting?
Jaleel White: I donít know. They actually were talking about bringing me
back in May for maybe some co-hosting so weíll see what happens. I
really enjoyed going on The View. I loved all the different
perspectives. Iím not scared by anybody's perspective. Elizabeth is
really fun. Whoopi and Sherry generally treat me like a little brother.
Karen Butler: Oh. Do you feel like going on Dancing with the Stars, did
that give you a new understanding of fear that might have been helpful
for Total Blackout?
Jaleel White: Baby, you arenít saying nothing but the truth right there.
The thing about DWTS is it puts fear in a whole other context. And I
think Iím most qualified to talk about it because Iím the only one whoís
in the dance duels out of the remaining contestants.
And let me tell you something, I felt like Russell Crowe in Gladiator
being ushered into that spotlight. So you donít know how your bodyís
going to completely respond, but the thing I love about myself and Kym
Johnson is that sheís a gamer and I guess so am I. I can honestly say
When the music starts up I tend to bring out one of my better
performances and not one of my worst. And Iím really proud to have
discovered that about myself.
Karen Butler: And I was wondering were you a fan of the original hit
show of Total Blackout? Did you watch the other version? And how does it
differ? Did it go further or did different things creep them - you know,
the European audiences out compared to American audiences.
Jaleel White: Well, we have some probably wittier remarks because weíre
American so weíre a little snarkier than the rest of the world. Maybe
the bridge might have something on us in that room but we hold our own.
So we have a little more to say in our Total Blackout.
But the game really holds true to the other version. And we do a lot of
the same challenges to be quite honest. So Iíve seen some of the older -
other versions. And itís amazing how the game translates from country to
Karen Butler: Fantastic. Thank you so much and best of luck in
Jaleel White: Thank you, I appreciate it.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby of
Syfyvision.com. Please proceed.
Jamie Ruby: Hi again. SoÖ
Jaleel White: How you doing?
Jamie Ruby: ...the couples episode and obviously, you know, youíd
mentioned that youíd have people with Dancing with the Stars on. But is
there ever going to be any other themed episodes especially like would
you ever consider doing maybe a celebrity episode?
Jaleel White: Right. You know, you never know. We got to get past this
season and we have to see how people take to the show. Everything is
week to week when it comes to television these days. But trust me, the
themed episodes whether it was athletes or reality stars or what, I
think people would absolutely go over the moon for that.
Jamie Ruby: Okay, great. Also you sort of talked a little bit about
this. But I know you said at the press tour that for the pilot you had
to do some things. Was there anything else you had to do besides holding
Jaleel White: No. They just wanted me sitting with a tarantula. I donít
know what that was about. If they did that for the legal department or
what. So, for the most part I play Joe Rogan on this show and Iím proud
of the way Iíve been able to adapt to being a host because itís a lot
more than just trying to be funny.
You also want to be able to relate to the contestant in a way to make
them feel comfortable. But at the same time, not giving anyone a
definite advantage over that.
Jamie Ruby: Thatís true. And then lastly youíve talked then too about
kind of how thereís a screening process and everything. What kind of -
can you talk about that? Do you put them through sort of a shortened
version of the show or just, you know, make them hold spiders, too.
Jaleel White: Okay, I just want to understand your question a little
Jamie Ruby: Sorry. Just do they screen the contestants before they put
them on the show? Can you talk about that?
Jaleel White: Yes. No, they definitely check out all the contestants.
They psychologically profile them. And they check their fears and try to
make sure that they would be able to withstand any other challenges that
we give them. Thank God we have editing though because not all the games
Sometimes we have people that really do stall out. Like they really do
stall out. They take 20 minutes to even get started doing it. Itís like
once the doors open and theyíre told to enter the room suddenly itís
like - they become like the person who wants to not get on the roller
coaster after they get to the front of the line.
Jamie Ruby: All right, thanks a lot.
Jaleel White: All right.
Operator: Our next question comes from (Tim Holgan) of TVOvermind.
Tim Holgan: Hi Jaleel, itís me again.
Jaleel White: How you doing.
Tim Holgan: Hey. I saw you on Styled by Judy.
Jaleel White: Oh yeah.
Tim Holgan: I was wondering if the braces might make an appearance on
Jaleel White: Iíll probably end up wearing braces at some point. Theyíre
a very nice look if styled properly. But doubt they will make it on
Total Blackout. Itís just not the look of the show. And quite frankly
I'm very particular about what I wear.
Tim Holgan: Okay, that was an excellent episode, by the way.
Jaleel White: Thank you, I appreciate it, I appreciate it.
Tim Holgan: And lastly one quick follow-up probably on a serious note.
I very, very rarely get to speak with anyone whoís spent time with
Jaleel White: Right.
Tim Holgan: Especially now with you being on Dancing with the Stars
can you just share any thought or memory about Michael?
Jaleel White: I met Michael after I won my very first NAACP image award.
Nobody knew he was backstage watching the awards. It was an amazing
honor. I think I met him at the same time Martin Lawrence did for the
He was tall. He was a very wide-eyed man. Very child like but very
respectful. And heíll be missed forever.
Tim Holgan: Okay, thank you for that. And it was great to get to speak
with you again, thanks.
Jaleel White: Thank you so much.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of (Assami Turenal) of
TVGrapevine. Please proceed.
Assami Turenal: Hello again.
Jaleel White: Hey how you doing.
Assami Turenal: Good, good, how about you.
Jaleel White: Iím doing great, Iím doing great. Itís a pretty New York
Assami Turenal: Wonderful. My question for you is how do you choose
the objects that everyone gets to touch during the process of the show?
Jaleel White: You know, thatís really up to the producers. It always
cracks me up what they will choose. You know, but obviously they like
things with varied textures. So it could be anything from a pineapple to
a human foot.
Assami Turenal: Yes, I know that. And what are your plans next after
the season wraps for Dancing with the Stars and Total Blackout?
Jaleel White: Just looking at a lot of different things that are
starting to come my way. I mean, I am flattered by the amazing
opportunities that are coming my way now. But Iím definitely going to
stick with the trend of doing things that people wouldnít expect
And hopefully somehow in doing that I get a chance to get back into
comedy because I do love comedy and I want people to know I havenít lost
my funny bone.
Assami Turenal: Sounds wonderful. Well, congratulations on everything.
Iím so proud of you.
Jaleel White: All right, thank you. Thanks.
Operator: And our next question comes from the line of Jamie Ruby of
Jamie Ruby: Hello again. So can you kind of talk about how you, you
know, found out about the show? Were you approached to do it?
Jaleel White: Yes. Iím very candid actually. Iím pretty sure that I
ended up on Syfyís radar because I starred in a movie that I didnít even
want to star in called Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus. But my manager was
very adamant that people needed to see me in uniform.
So I went out there for three weeks and busted my tail filming this
movie. And I think it performed very well on Syfy. And I was asked to
come in and screen test and be the host for their new show. And after
that itís history.
Jamie Ruby: You do a good job, like I said, I like it so far. So whatís
kind of your ultimate, besides this obviously, your ultimate dream role
that youíd like to do in the future or maybe somebody specific that
youíd love to work with that you havenít?
Jaleel White: Yes, Iím always careful about putting too much out there.
You got to understand the only reason why weíre talking is because Iíve
embraced so many things that are outside of my comfort zone. So I donít
know at what point my career would be mine to govern entirely again.
Itís never been that actually to be quite honest. I mean, even my early
characters from Family Matters. I just, I went on an audition and I got
the role and I did the best I could. So whether itís Dancing with the
Stars or whether itís Total Blackout, you just see a guy adapt in my
environment as fast as I probably can.
So I definitely would like to do more comedy in the future though. I
have so many comedy admirers that I would like to perhaps join the ranks
of as a comedic actor myself. That I hope that those opportunities can
continue to present themselves, too. People donít forget that I got a
Jamie Ruby: All right. Well, thank you very much.
Jaleel White: Thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Melody Simpson of
Hollywood the Write Way. Please proceed.
Melody Simpson: Hi Jaleel. Thanks so much for the interview.
Jaleel White: Glad to do it.
Melody Simpson: So I want to know when you were a kid what were your
go-to activities at home when there was a city blackout?
Jaleel White: If there was a blackout my go-to activities - wow, wow,
wow. Damn, you just leave the house. I open the garage and get the hell
out of there. Go get something to eat or go to the movie or come back
and (unintelligible) lights are off.
Melody Simpson: And do you have any upcoming writing projects?
Jaleel White: Do I have any upcoming writing projects?
Melody Simpson: Yes.
Jaleel White: You know what, Iíve written a lot of stuff and I have
things that are in development, but right now Iím just so swamped with
dancing and Total Blackout that I probably wonít have a chance to really
get back to these projects until the summer season or fall kicks in.
Melody Simpson: Thank you so much.
Jaleel White: Thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Diane Morasco of
Morasco Media. Please proceed.
Diane Morasco: Good afternoon Jaleel. Thank you so much. I want to ask
since you mention your parents a lot, what was it like growing up in
your home? Was it funny? And what did they do to bring out that funny in
you? Or is it something you (unintelligible).
Jaleel White: One thing I think itís something that youíre born with.
But then your environment brings it out. My mother has a very funny
family. Everybody on her side of the family has jokes. And then after
that itís just something youíre born with.
Your skills sharpen as youíre going to school. You know, but my parents
were - my mother was definitely the disciplinarian. And my father was -
he had a very keen understanding of my development. And Iíll always
appreciate that from my dad, you know.
I might be revealing too much, but my dad told me when I was going to
lose my virginity. And Iím like dad! Heís like I think itís coming for
Diane Morasco: Okay, so tell me who were your comedic icons?
Jaleel White: Comedic icons, a person I really appreciate
(unintelligible), I love his dirty (unintelligible). And Joe Hill is a
funny guy, and Seth Rogan is damn funny. I mean, there are a lot of
genuinely funny guys out there that are allowed to be as funny as they
I donít think people really understand part of being funny is part of
being allowed to be who you are and not being told to be funny in
certain ways if you know Iím not funny. So those three guys have a lot
of influence over their work and they protect it.
In the past anything old school, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Steve
Martin, Michael Caine from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. You know, these are
people that just crack me up.
Diane Morasco: Okay. And Iím going to ask you what was the funniest
family holiday that you encountered so far.
Jaleel White: Wow, I kind of had a funny one recently because I went to
visit my parents for Christmas. While unloading the car with all the
baby stuff I felt like I saw something dart past me in the living room.
And my mom felt the same thing but we thought it was our imagination.
And then like literally 36 hours later we learned that there was a
vermin in the office. And it had basically been in the house living with
us for the last 36 hours. It turned out to be a giant (unintelligible)
rabbit but we thought it was a possum or a raccoon so it freaked us all
out. That was how I spent my Christmas Eve.
Diane Marasco: And my last question is going back to elementary school
can you recall a time on the playground that was extremely funny thatís
still with you today.
Jaleel White: Oh man. Time on the playground that was particularly
funny. I mean, those are - those were typical stories where, you know,
youíre playing kickball and somebody catches the red ball and the kid
goes right down to his freaking knees because you hit him in the crotch.
I used to play a lot of kick ball when I was a kid. It was always a
funny story there.
Diane Morasco: Okay. Do you still play it today? And if not when was the
last time you did and when will you, if you have not?
Jaleel White: No, I havenít played kickball in a long time. I play
basketball typically. But Iím getting a little older and Iím enjoying
tennis more and just good old fashioned working out. And I also like to
ski and snowboard.
Diane Morasco: Okay. Thank you so much and I wish you the best Jaleel,
Jaleel White: Thank you.
Operator: There are no further questions at this time.
Jaleel White: All right.
Gary Morgenstein: Thank you Jaleel. Go dance now.
Jaleel White: Youíre the best Gary, I hope weíre killing it for you.
Gary Morgenstein: All right, Iíll see you tomorrow morning.
Jaleel White: All right, man. Bye.
Gary Morgenstein: Thank you everyone for joining. Total Blackout
Wednesday, April 25 at 10:00 p.m. on Syfy. Thanks very much.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call
for today. Have a great day everyone.
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