Dr. Will: ''I'm the P.T. Barnum of reality TV''
Infamous ''Big Brother'' alum Will Kirby -- self-proclaimed ''P.T. Barnum of reality TV'' -- talks about his stint on ''Dr. 90210,'' the secrets of his success, the shocking procedure he's discussed doing for Mike Boogie, and more
The E! network just got a whole lot more interesting. Dr. Will Kirby — the winner of Big Brother II who went on to make last season’s All-Stars a craptastic pleasure to watch — joined Dr. 90210 July 30 as a cosmetic dermatologist (his real-life occupation when he’s not slumming it on reality TV). EW.com talked to Kirby exclusively about his new job plumping up lips in primetime, his reported ties with BB8‘s Jen, and what it takes to be the last houseguest standing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what will you be doing on Dr. 90210 this season, and how did this all come about?
WILL KIRBY: I’m in six or seven episodes. They came to me almost a year and a half ago. I shot my first segment prior to doing All-Stars. After that I said, ”Look, I have to go away for a while, but I can’t tell you why.” Then I did All-Stars, came back, and I said, ”I hope you aren’t mad at me.” And they were like, ”Mad at you? Are you kidding? You are hilarious!”
What will we see you do on the show?
I deal mainly with the face. The two procedures I’m known for are laser tattoo removal and lip augmentation. [In an upcoming episode] a model for Deal or No Deal comes in for a tattoo removal from her lower back. I remove her ”tramp stamp,” as they call it.
The press release says that Mike ”Boogie” Malin — the winner of BB: All-Stars and the other member of your Chill Town alliance — comes to you to talk about the removal of a genital wart.
That is correct. Episode 4! Don’t miss it. Set your TiVo for that one.
Do you actually remove it? Are their limits to your friendship?
You just have to watch. I’ll say this: You saw Chill Town last year and we entertained you. You’ll see Chill Town this year and we’ll entertain you again.
What was life like for you after All-Stars?
I was getting a lot of calls. I only do two things well: One is being a cheesy reality person, and the other is being a cheesy reality doctor. I just combined the two. At the risk of self-aggrandizement, I feel like I’m one of the better reality contestants in the history of reality TV. I’m definitely busier than ever before.
Did people tell you that you and Mike saved All-Stars?
Very candidly, what hurts is that CBS and the producers never once said thank you for saving the franchise in 2001, nor did they say thank you to Mike and I for coming back to save All-Stars. Never once. Whereas people come up on the street every day and say, ”That was the stupidest show, but Chill Town saved it.” We really went out of our way to entertain people and make it a fun show, and it’s so insulting that CBS won’t acknowledge that.
Maybe it was because of Mike. People really hated him.
Mike was a great villian. You watch Chill Town, there’s good parts and there are bad parts. CBS was like, ”You guys were annoying!” I spent six months of my life in the BB house and you would think CBS would be interested in hearing my thoughts on things. But they aren’t.
Were fans hard on Mike after he won last year?
A little bit. He walked away with cushion of being the champion and having the money so even if people were rude to him — which they were — he’s still played the game and he clearly played it appropriately.
What’s Mike doing now?
We opened three places [two restaurants and a bowling alley] in Atlanta. I’m an investor. We also opened a limousine service called Shortbus LA in Los Angeles, and I’m also an investor in Les Deux, which is a super hot club right now in L.A. You can see the Shortbus, Les Deux, [and the Atlanta spots] on 90210 this season. You get to go into the Hollywood nightlife to see what happens behind the scenes. I really brought a celebrity element to the show.
The blogosphere said you and Mike went on vacation with Jen before this season’s BB. Is she a secret member of Chill Town?
We went out of our way to try to put people on the show this season. I love reality TV. Obviously I’ve been good at it, it’s been a part of my life for the last five years. It’s like cat and mouse. I’m good friends with the casting director on Big Brother, and she and I are constantly sparring. I sneak people into her casting sessions.
So are you Jen’s Svengali, or is Mike?
We work together. We’re Chill Town. We’re everywhere. We’re like the Free Masons, the Illuminati. You’re probably in Chill Town!
Sweet! What do you think about Jen’s game so far?
I don’t watch Big Brother! People ask me every day if I saw it. Ironically it’s a show that I do well in but I don’t have interest in. I don’t watch it now because it’s a time commitment.
You must have heard about the enemy twist.
Ultimately, it’s up to the contestants to make the show interesting. The producers can’t put in these twists and make the show interesting. When things got boring last summer Mike and I went out of our way to make it interesting. In my mind, you can’t make minimal twists and expect them to drive a show.
I know you don’t want to say how you counseled Jen, but if you were to advise someone like her, what would you say?
It’s all about marketing. I tell people I’m the P.T. Barnum of reality TV. Say what you want, but spell my name right. Maybe you want to bring in some T-shirts that have slogans on them so you can sell them on your website. Maybe that would make you memorable, maybe it would make people use the phrases online or to drive business to you.
She’s the only one who can stand up to Evil Dick.
Hmm, I don’t know who he is. I haven’t seen it.
NEXT PAGE: ”On All-Stars, I was afraid I’d be a huge threat if I came in, pulled off my shirt, and was all muscular. I just thought I should go in there looking disheveled, a little skinny, a little pale”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you watch yourself on All-Stars after you got out? How do you feel like you came across?
WILL KIRBY: Awesome. I knew exactly what I was doing from the very beginning. I told the producers that I’m not going on if you don’t bring on Mike Boogie. You bring us on, we’ll both work really hard and one of two things will happen: I’ll get kicked out at the very beginning, or I’m gonna stay a very long time and do my best to see that Mike wins the show. If he keeps his mouth shut — and that’s hard because he has a big temper — he’ll win the show.
So you talked them into casting Mike?
Of course. He has clearly held his own as one of the best players in BB history. But I told them I would not participate if they did not put him on.
Were there players who you think didn’t deserve to be there last year?
I love Kaysar to death, but he’s terrible at playing the game and he’s too nice of a guy. BB is not a show for nice people. It’s a show about manipulation and backstabbing and once you’re willing to accept that fact, you’ll do very well. Danielle was a phenomenal player; she deserved to be there.
Why were you so good at it?
For me it’s a psychological game. For other people, it’s a physical game. You can’t win with a physical game on BB. There are only so many contests you can win physically. People who are amazing competitors physically have been shown the door. It was most interesting when I was doing psychological warfare, when I was purposely losing contests and still doing well in the game. The producers were infuriated when I would mock their contests and refuse to participate — but the contests don’t drive the show. Not to get too deep, but if you don’t have a psychological element, the physical element doesn’t offer anything. That’s why they need to cast intelligent contestants on BB who have a purpose on the show.
Do you still talk to Janelle?
I’m on great terms with her. She’s in Minnesota with her boyfriend right now.
You were very open on All-Stars about using botox.
Wait til you see Dr. 90210. I’m a huge proponent for botox. I have very few wrinkles. I’m 34 but I think I look a lot younger.
You skin was very pale on All-Stars by design, correct? You stay out of the sun now.
I got two things from BB in 2001: I got $500,000 and I got basal cell carcinoma. Skin cancer! I had a lesion on my leg that was biopsied. That’s what pushed me back into medicine and made me want to be a dermatologist.
You did look a lot different from your first appearance on BB in 2001.
Couple things: one, I was in incredible shape a couple of months before All-Stars and I had an incredible reputation, so I decided to slim down and do yoga as opposed to being more muscular and beefy. When you see me on 90210, I’m in much better shape. My six-pack is great. But on All-Stars, I was afraid I’d be a huge threat if I came in, pulled off my shirt, and was all muscular. I just thought I should go in there looking disheveled, a little skinny, a little pale, and no one would think I’m a physical threat. There’s a lot of money on the line with Big Brother. I treated it like an occupation. That work translated into two things: an interesting show and money.
No matter how much you do on TV in the future, you may always be remembered for your time on BB. Are you okay with that?
I’m really pleased with the way things turned out for me in the past. All shows are gonna fade. The more seasons there are of Big Brother, the less memorable you are. When a show documents your real life, people get more of a connection with you. I’m hoping BB will fade away and Dr. 90210 will bring me back into people’s consciousness.