4 Weird Early Celeb Hosting Gigs
It can be hard to see major celebrities and think about them as anything but. It's difficult to picture a time when a megastar was, well, a poor bum like you and me. You don't often look at Chris Hemsworth and think to yourself, "Man, I wonder if before he started to get paid a billion dollars to shoot CGI lightning out of his dong or whatever if he was seriously considering a job listing on Craigslist to come over to some guy's house and eat crickets in the nude at the end of a long, elegant dining table for four dollars cash and a Fuddrucker's gift card."
I mean, we can't really ever know if these ultra-wealthy, larger-than-life personas we see on our screen ever had to toil in the trenches of menial, crap work like the rest of us. But, for some of them, we can at least know that they had to do the entertainment profession equivalent of creepy cricket dinners early on in their career: cheap hosting gigs for odd products and services ...
Keanu Reeves' Early Career Is … Going Great
Long before he was blowing people's heads off because they messed with his dog. Far before he somehow kept a straight face across from a dude wearing impossibly tiny sunglasses and full bondage gear offered him a nice little pill selection. Hell, even before he got to surf with Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves had to take some less than glamorous roles.
Maybe none was goofier than his role as a correspondent on Going Great, a Canadian children's show. And boy, let me tell you, young Keanu was absolutely the Walter Cronkite of the Canadian kids' show space. I mean, take a look:
Young Keanu shows up at the Canadian International Teddy Bear Convention with hard-hitting questions like, "Why are all the bears' first name 'Teddy?'" From there, he goes on to take a deep dive into this seedy, dank, disgusting underbelly of Canadian filth like a Vice journalist exposing the most fetid scene we never even knew about. Just kidding, he moves through these segments with that same Keanu charm that would eventually become his trademark, and the whole damn thing is really just pretty endearing.
It also shows you why this dude was set to blow up. But he didn't stop at getting to the bottom of the Canadian teddy bear epidemic. Journalist Keanu went even deeper:
This time, he went to check out a little bit of horseback riding, and the whole thing is just absurdly wholesome. It's kind of insane to watch this and think that this gentle, easygoing dude would become a major action star, but it just shows you how good he is.
It also makes me wonder what a traditional thespian like Daniel Day-Lewis might have done with this gig. I'm thinking teenage DDL trying to impress anyone with his early work wouldn't stop at simply riding the horse. He'd become the horse. Spending a year living in the stables, eating with them, pooping with them, probably boning them. For the craft. For the small regional audience of Canadian kids' TV, Daniel Day-Lewis would absolutely try to bang a horse.
Early Arnold Pervs It Up
Anyone who has seen Pumping Iron is well aware that Arnold Schwarzenegger is anything but a saint. In fact, young Arnold was a bit of a perv. So when he came to any kind of gig with that lecherous, horned-up energy, they probably needed to find a role that would pair nicely with it. And boy, did someone cast appropriately when they chose Arnold as the tour guide through Rio De Janeiro's Carnival events. This one truly needs to be seen in full to completely understand:
What you'll see is that Arnold's "tour" of Rio is hardly that. He basically posts up at the bar with an attractive woman and proceeds to hit on her and drink a bunch of booze and absorb nothing of the culture around him. But, I really think to get the full view of this, it's worth breaking out some of Arnold's most outrageous lines here and actions, spoken with his earliest, thickest, most absurd accent:
-- "Gorgeous bodies move in ways that even a fitness expert like myself can't believe."
-- (In reference to Brazilian men preferring butts over boobs) "I knew I had something in common with the Brazilian man. I like that." *horny cackle*
-- *Makes fake goggles with his hands to stare at a dancer's butt*
-- "I can totally understand why Brazil is totally devoted to my favorite body part … the ass."
From there, Arnold proceeds to learn how to Samba. Which is really just him grinding on, then picking up, an attractive woman. Arnold's tour of Rio is less like something informational and illuminating on the culture and more like what would happen if you asked Duke Nukem to do an investigative piece on the potential issues with the Victoria's Secret show.
Finally, Arnold gets a quick little lesson in the local tongue and is told how to say "love" before retorting that he learned a word on his own, the word for ass. From there, he works with his Brazilian teacher to do some outrageously juvenile blowjob bit that he was probably working on for the entire plane ride down and ends up signing off for the piece. Having not only made us more confused about Brazil and Carnival but completely, wildly turned off from anything remotely sexual in the process.
Matthew Perry And Jennifer Anniston Make A … "Cyber Sitcom"?
Close your eyes and picture one thing sexier than Carnival down in Rio. I know it's hard, but I'm sure you're all going to the same place. That one steamy, sensual, hot location that's purely, completely erotic: Bill Gates' office at Microsoft HQ in the mid-90s.
Oh yeah, baby, that's where we're heading for this next early hosting gig, as Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston clearly have no clue how big they're about to get because they star in an absurdly long, overly-produced "sitcom" about Microsoft Windows. Yes, really.
The setup is simple: Perry and Aniston have been invited to come to Bill's place to check out what's hot and new in Windows 95, but that zany Gates isn't there, so the two of them get a tour from a rambunctious assistant in the meantime. The entire thing is driven by a script that moves from one horrifically awful joke to the next, with Windows features crammed in the middle of it.
I truly cannot imagine a harder writing gig than the one the guy got for this. Somebody pulled him into an office and was like, "Hey, listen. I know we've been promising you a spot in that writer's room, and it's coming, but we have a very exciting opportunity you need to do first. We need you to make the cast of Friends seem funny."
The man is despondent; he opens the window, prepared to jump out. That's impossible. "Wait, hold on, let me finish before you jump. You need to make the cast of Friends seem funny, yes. But you'll also need to frame all of the exposition and much of the comedy around features of an operating system, and you also need to write dialogue about Bill Gates." The man jumps out of the window, but he's clearly too unlucky to get out of this. He survives, and his manager tracks him down in the hospital and makes him write the Windows 95 Friends script using nothing but blinking as communication from his full-body cast.
This damn thing goes on forever and hits on literally every joke you would have guessed. Confusion about literal windows versus Windows the OS, Aniston sitting at the computer with the focused, deliberate posture of a movie "hacker," and Matthew Perry probably being on just the right amount of cocaine to get through a Windows 95 tutorial video. The best way to experience this one is to just click through and land where the madness takes you. It's a fever dream of wildly outdated features and tech, uninterested acting, all culminating with an outrageous cast of characters and a thirty-minute sitcom that is, well, honestly, still better than any episode of Friends.
Jordan Peele: Child Narc
Before he was making us laugh our asses off or scaring the crap out of us, Jordan Peele had a much more important message to get across: smoking sucks, man! A young Peele appeared in a campaign appealing to the class of 2000, imploring that they graduate "smoke-free."
Among the highlights of this campaign against smoking is a part where they celebrate a bunch of kids' quest to get cigarette machines banned. To be honest, I think this is total BS. I don't even smoke, and I love those machines. I bet plenty of you reading this aren't old enough to have ever seen one of these bad boys in a shady dive bar or restaurant, but they're exactly what they sound like. Forget plopping in some quarters for a bag of Bugles; plop a Sacagewea in for some goddamn Cowboy Killers instead. There is something so distinctly degenerate about a cigarette vending machine that's hard not to love. Unless you're famous actor, comedian, director Jordan Peele. In which case, you want them wiped from the damn planet.
Beyond that, the entire segment is mostly just them repeating the same vague, almost cultlike phrase: "Use the facts: Exercise your power." Then, some bad boy kids will try to look cool while hanging out in a computer lab and telling you not to smoke, when the entire time, you're probably thinking how much cooler it would be if that kid was ripping a lung dart and playing a bootleg copy of Wolfenstein 3D that he installed on the computer lab machine.
Top Image: CBC