Jamie Kennedy on the future of his prank TV show
On his self-titled WB series ”Jamie Kennedy Experiment” (Thursdays, 8 pm), the ”Scream” star subjects his victims to elaborate pranks while a hidden camera records the damning evidence. It sounds ”Candid Camera” cute, until you see Kennedy’s elaborate disguises (try a 300-pound African-American woman) and his envelope-pushing humor (Alan Funt never donned drag to lure an understandably reluctant date). EW.com talked to Kennedy, 32, about his new series-inspired movie, getting his butt kicked, and why he’s learned the hard way that golfers are strictly off-limits.
You’ve had steady work as a screen actor (”Three Kings,” ”Scream,” ”Bowfinger”) and still perform stand-up. Why do a TV series?
I liked that this was something different. Even though people can say it’s like ”Candid Camera,” which it totally is, it’s a mix of things. It’s also an offshoot of ”Mad TV” or ”SNL.” So it’s a sketch show, but with people who don’t know they’re in sketches.
When you tell someone they’ve been ”Xed,” they don’t always seem relieved. Do you ever worry about getting pummelled?
Yeah, but it looks worse than it is. With most people, no matter what you put them through they’re really cool about it and excited. But, yes, I feel bad and I also get scared sometimes. There have been about four people this year who didn’t want to sign the release form. Two flat-out refused, and the other two gave us trouble but ultimately signed.
Who has been your most humorless victim?
Want to talk about the most uptight people in the world? Go follow a golfer. They’re anal, they’re angry, and they take out all their aggression on a little white ball. This one guy called me a sycophant and a piece of shit and said that he hated my guts. I kept talking to my producers through my microphone, ”This guy hates me, please let me go home.” After he found out it was fake, we said we’d pay for his round of golf and offered him some money, but he just got angrier. And this was a guy who shot a birdie on his first hole!
This season you’re planning to play a Hooters girl in one skit. What kind of makeover does that entail?
Last year I played a girl, so I guess it will be the same ritual. I have to shave all the hair on my legs and arms, and then comes the wig and make-up. It’ll take about three or four hours. The most elaborate disguise I’ve done was Virginia Hamilton, a 300-pound black woman. That took six hours to get into. You can take the clothes off just like that, but the face takes a long time to peel off. Luckily it pulls out all the dirt when you remove it. It’s a free facial.
Do you have a favorite character?
I like them all, but Brad Gluckman, the white rapper guy, is the one people like the most. I’ve been doing him in stand-up comedy for about eight years, and he’s grown into something more three dimensional. He was inspired not only by white kids who act like that, but a little of myself, because I’m a white kid from the suburbs who thinks he’s from the ghetto.