Looking for a new gig after the demise of Pulp Sport, Ben Boyce made his job search the aim of his new comedy-interview show Wanna-Ben. Here's his diary account of how it came to be...
Decide that just like my favourite rugby players, I'll retire. So announce my retirement from playing any more Pulp Sport. Also hope like my favourite rugby players I'll move to the south of France, get fat and earn thousands playing low grade rugby, but sadly not one single offer comes in.
Have no job. Start looking for a cushy easy job like my own Fan Mail Co-ordinator but even I won't employ me.
Begin thinking of people who have really cool jobs like movie star Steven Seagal, pop star Mel B, rock star Alice Cooper and rapper Vanilla Ice. Decide I'm going to try to be like them - and turn my attempts into a TV show complete with interviews with these people and everything!
Pitch the idea of the TV show to TV3. Tell them it's kind of a spin off of Pulp Sport but hoping it won't be like Joey was to Friends.
TV3 really like it, they only have small minor question. "How am I going to get these big international superstar celebrities on my show?"I convince them I can pull this off and also convince myself in the process that I'm really quite good at lying.
Try ringing all the Seagals in the phone book looking for "Steven, who does action movies". With this approach not working I find a man in the US who claims to be a "celebrity booking agent". He reckons he can get me these interviews and all I need to do is wire him some money up front.
What could go wrong? Also find another fantastic business opportunity with a Nigerian prince, saying he'll pay me to help transfer his inheritance out of the country. All he needed was some money up front. Wire him a couple of thousand bucks too.
Hear from the celebrity booking agent, who after many weeks of phone calls and emails, has tracked down all my celebrities and more. In fact he's got me 18 interviews for a 10-episode series and they're all doing the interviews for free! So I'm due to chat to the likes of Seagal, Alice Cooper and Vanilla Ice plus Holly Madison, Larry Flynt, Flavor Flav, Fran Drescher and Hanson. Still no word back from Prince Koffi Eweka.
Spend weeks preparing for my trip by enrolling in Zumba classes and researching on Wikipedia.
Head to the US to interview the celebs. Quickly learn to never trust Wikipedia.
Chat to some really cool and amazing people. My favourites included Spice Girl Mel B - although she was pretty deluded - she kept telling me my jokes were crap. The Nanny, Fran Drescher, was loads of fun - and yes, that's her real voice. Also saw Bon Jovi and Vanilla Ice play live but Vanilla Ice ruined the night by telling me my rapping sucked.
Meeting action movie star Steven Seagal was a pretty surreal experience. I interviewed him at his ranch in middle of Northern California. His security guy came and got us from his gate and it didn't take much to notice he was "packing". Sitting next to the big action movie star on his big couch in his big living room with a big dead stuffed bear looking over my shoulder wasn't intimidating at all. Like Seagal, the interview was tough but I think I slowly won him over - he even played guitar for me but refused to teach me the touch of death.
The toughest interviews included Playboy and Reality TV star Holly Madison - I really struggled to focus on her face. Comedian Wayne Brady from Whose Line is it Anyway was also tough after I described him as a "new millennium version of Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". Hustler porn king Larry Flynt had the most security people, Hugh Hefner's twin girlfriends had the most entourage, while Flavor Flav arrived by himself - and fortunately he did have his big ass clock with him.
Was a pretty whirlwind trip to all parts of the US and Canada and just for extra excitement we threw in a few cancelled and missed flights. Because of one cancelled flight we ended up having to rent a car and drive 12 hours in one day to keep on schedule - it was like our own Amazing Race, minus Phil Keoghan waiting for us at the destinations.
I was also constantly the guy "randomly selected" for security searches. Stupid terrorists and also, stupid me for having dreadlocks.
Some of the other highlights also included firing a machine gun in Vegas, watching Tony Hawk skate in front of us, as we tried to back up our gear and discovering this cute little coffee shop called Starbucks or something like that.
With all their advice fresh in my mind, back home in New Zealand I try to emulate these international celebs with the help of many famous New Zealand faces in a mix of skits, pranks and stunts. Usually these involved pain or humiliation for me. [Spoiler alert: I fail miserably. But think it'll make a pretty entertaining and unique TV show.]