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Credit: A&E

rooster & butch

I can say without reservation that I’ve never had an interview before quite like this one with Mike “Rooster” McConaughey and Butch Gilliam of Rooster & Butch on A&E, a new show where the two self-made millionaires meet with entrepreneurs for potential investment opportunities. Rooster (Matthew McConaughey’s older brother) dangled an unlit cigar from his mouth before inserting a small pad of chewing tobacco in his lip. There were several cans of Miller Lite involved. It was about as far from the tailored suits and hair gel of Shark Tank as it’s possible to get, and that’s the idea. Speaking with heavy Texas accents, the longtime friends shared their secrets for investing and why two cars is the real American Dream.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So how does this show differ from your previous show, West Texas Investors Club, which ran on CNBC?
ROOSTER MCCONAUGHEY: We don’t have presentations, because [Butch] hates them. I’m not that fond of them but if you don’t get to the point with Butch too quick, he’ll bail on you. Plus, it’s a little intimidating if they had to come in front of us, and we’re all about level playing field, and then we spend more time with them than we did before.

What makes a good investment, in your opinion?
BUTCH GILLIAM: It’s a combination of things. We put a lot of emphasis on the person, the character of the person, because we believe that’s the most valuable part of the equation. If the person’s wrong, I don’t care how good the business is. That could wreck it. You gotta get that right first. So that’s why Rooster and I get to spend a lot of time with these entrepreneurs, and we try to get them out and doing things and get them in an environment where they can relax and be themselves.
MCCONAUGHEY: I’m not saying we can walk into a room and tell who’s what, that’s why it takes time. We’re willing to give people more time to get to know them. I’m not a first impression kind of guy; people may be nervous, may be this, may be that, so I’m not going to say this person didn’t look me in the eye or this person had sweaty palms. We’re going to get a chance to get to know them. And they can make a mistake, that’s fine, because that’s what life is about.

And so at the end of each episode, you decide whether or not you want to invest?
MCCONAUGHEY: We still end up with the contact. A guy who does this told me once that just because their idea’s no good, they had the gumption to come out here and do something — they may come up with another one later on. Because they have the gumption to do something, which means a lot, whether we think that particular idea is worth it a lot.

What advice would you give to would-be investors or entrepreneurs?
MCCONAUGHEY: Be patient. It took us a while, we’re not overnight successes. Be patient and don’t measure success with wealth. Success means many, many things; it’s not all about money. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing, and you’re living life, I don’t know that you’d change it. The problem with today is they all want to be a gazillionaire.
GILLIAM: Overnight.
MCCONAUGHEY: Money is about basically convenience. The greatest day, the biggest plateau I ever got was the day I got two cars. And that way, if I went out and one of them wouldn’t start or one got a flat, I could get the other one and go home and not worry. That was the greatest. I’ll never forget. To me, that was the best thing money ever did for me was get me two cars.

Rooster & Butch premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. on A&E.

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