Ology checked out an event for the campaign Bullying…We’re Kickin’ It on Oct. 20 and to our surprise, look who we bumped into — Kim G. fromThe Real Housewives of New Jersey. The event took place at the Hard Rock in Times Square but we had to skip the free alcohol and make a bee line straight to the infamous Kim instead.
It was just in time with all of the feuding that is currently suffocating Franklin Lakes, N.J., so we tried to get as much scoop as possible. After all, she has had her fair share of fighting with housewives Caroline Manzo, Jaqueline Laurita and Teresa Giudice. We can’t forget about that time she was kicked out of Melissa Gorga’s house too.
The fourth season of Real Housewives of New Jersey is coming up. Will you be featured?
I can’t talk about it, I’m sorry to say! I really can’t talk about Bravo. I can’t talk about what’s going on, it’s going against my contract. So I’m sorry.
So is everyone just keeping quiet about the current feud that’s going on?
Well, you know, it’s out there. Eventually I guess everyone tips their hat about what they’re all about. Eventually everyone finds out who’s who. It’s hard to keep it going when there’s five or six women. Absolutely there’s going to be drama. There’s going to be like “who doesn’t like who” and “she said, she said.”
What was your favorite moments on the series?
You know something, I had a great year when I filmed with Danielle [Staub]. Regardless of what people may say she’s a nice girl. I like Danielle. I’m happy for her, whatever happens. I loved her daughters on the show, they’re very respectful. I had a lot of great moments with her, not one in particular. We were a great team.
Do you still keep in contact with her?
I don’t, I don’t. It’s funny Danielle lives near me–I have a condo on the Hudson River and she lives by me there. I don’t live there permanently, it’s just another property that I own. And I know she frequents the restaurant that’s near. I don’t see her but if I saw her I’d say hello. I mean its over. Move on, it’s all done.
And what are your three Ologies?
Passions! You know what my children are all my passions. My health is a passion. To maintain and keep going to feel the way I feel. And just great friendships, really. Friendships that you can keep and maintain and that are truly loyal.
A lot of people would assume that this interview with Albie Manzo would show how charming and serious he is. Well, they would be right, on his charm. He’s sincere, hard at work but delightfully not as serious as the show likes to portray him as.
The very likable Albie that viewers tend to gravitate toward from The Real Housewives of New Jersey talks to me about his family business and how his favorite segment was also the most cringe-worthy. He also shows how Bravo made the right move when giving him, brother Chris and friend Greg Bennett their own web series.
Boys to Manzo is addicting and so is their love for Glee. Check out what Albie had to say.
What was your reaction a few years ago when Bravo approached your mom for the RHONJ series?
ALBIE MANZO: Its funny, when Bravo presented us the opportunity to do the show it was really only Orange County that was on TV. It was before New York even aired…We sat down as a family and interestingly enough my mom wasn’t supposed to be originally in the cast. They were dealing with Jacqueline and Jacqueline brought in Teresa, my Aunt Dina and two other women who eventually dropped out and was eventually replaced with my mom and Danielle. Which I guess turned out to be a pretty good move on their part. [Laughs] I’ll never forget it. I used to work a law firm about five minutes away from where she was, at her real estate office, and she would take me out for lunch every day. We used to go to the same diner for lunch and she told me about the opportunity and she was like, ‘What do you think I should do?’ And I was like ‘Mom, if anything else we’ll have a few cool DVD’s that I can pop in for my kids and Chris can pop in for his kids one day and see how the family was.’ We’ll do one season of this stuff and that will be that because we didn’t really know what to expect. It’s kind of wild to look back on it now and life and think about it. One thing I can definitely say about mom and all of us really is that we definitely stay true to whom we are.
Your family really is entertaining to watch. What was the first day of shooting like?
The very first day of shooting is still one of my favorite scenes to this day. The very first time I’m in front of a camera was the day of my college graduation. I had no idea they were coming. They just showed up. [Laughs] We hadn’t really figured out what was going on 100%. Lauren and Chris and I never expected much camera time. It was just kind of like cool mom will be on a bunch and maybe we’ll get some background stuff. They came down and they had some free time when they got there…They were supposed to film us getting ready for the party and they got there a bit early and mom was getting her hair done or something so they slapped a mic on me and Christopher and were like, ‘Look we don’t really have any direction for you guys, but just start talking.’ So if you remember it I think it was one of the very first scenes Bravo put online seeing my brother and I talking about the stripper car wash and that was our very first time on camera. We just sat there. It was really awkward for the first twenty minutes. We just had no idea what we were doing. We were just talking. We can tell the conversation is boring and its not a normal conversation to have so we were making fun of each other and out of nowhere Chris goes, ‘You know what, you’re a douche.’ [Laughs] And I was like, ‘What?’ And it just sort of clicked. So we just went to being ourselves and it’s been like that ever since. Just comfortable and you act like yourself and hopefully it turns out to be something that people like.
Have you seen a difference with other people and having cameras following you?
It kind of depends where we are. It’s fun. It’s really a fun experience. People always say to us, ‘Oh I feel like I know you guys.’ The cameras are up for six months. They put our lives on TV and see what’s really going on. You see about BLK when it comes on the shelf, I mean I’m in the office right now. If you call the 800 number it’s a pretty good chance that I’ll pick up. This is our real life. So its kind of fun that people have that aspect of your life but it’s a double edge sword. On one end it’s really great. You can talk to people and they can relate to you and it makes it so interesting to watch. But on the other end, our business is straight out in the open. You’ve got to be able to handle that.
That’s definitely understandable. Speaking of BLK, how is that going?
We are really excited about it. Myself especially because I’m a little older than Chris and I had that whole law school happen so I think I look at it in a little bit of a different lens coming from where I was coming from. It’s interesting. My Uncle [Chris Laurita] and I were talking one day and he was really pushing to do a family business. ‘I really want to start a family business. I’m not sure yet what I really want to do but I know we have a lot of talented guys in this family and everyone is looking for something big to do…’ We walked a food show in New York and we met these ladies at BLK. We learned their story, learned more about the water. It’s interesting. We kind of looked at it as an opportunity to start a marketing firm and we started drinking BLK every day. [Laughs] Totally different–like I can’t even describe to you after drinking it every day what it’s like. I guess its something you just have to try.
I get the same rolling of the eyes. My mother thought I was totally full of it forever and then she had a stomach ache one day and I said to try BLK. She said, ‘I know Al, it cures everything, it cures everything.’ And I said do it. She drinks it and she said it really worked. [Laughs] It’s very interesting—Fulvic Acid, its in the water. I really think it’s on the cutting edge of a natural ingredient. The water is amazing, it has no taste…Uncle Chris did an investment and now we’re active partners in the brand. He is and we work with him. Its going amazing and we’ve expanded since with a wine company.
Where is the company located?
The business is in Mahwah still but we’re looking around. It’s tough for us to say let’s move out and go to another office because of two things. For one, we’re really comfortable here and number two; we don’t know how fast we’re going to grow. The water is really doing exceptionally well. We’re about to introduce flavors as well, which I’m really excited about.
So how does the water work exactly?
Basically if you took water and Gatorade or pomegranate juice and had all of those benefits in one bottle and took out the calories and carbs and sugar–this is what you would have left.
It’s really great that you’re able to go to work with your brother every day.
Yeah, I feel like I can’t get away from the guy. [Laughs]
Especially with Boys to Manzo too! What was your reaction when Bravo came to you with the idea?
It was interesting because in a weird way we’ve been doing this for a while. The show always has excess footage that they don’t use on the actual show itself on television. They just go online and they call them webisodes. You just click videos and they’re always there, but they kind of said they wanted to amp it up a little bit more with Chris and I and we were up for it. We thought it would be a pretty cool idea. I think it brings a lot to it and that’s our real life too. That’s not a move [to Hoboken] we made to try to make good TV. We didn’t think we would be filming a lot in the apartment anyway. When we finally got rolling it was very clear to us that they wanted to spend a lot of time there and I’m glad we did it. I think the episodes went great. I hear a lot of people watch it and the reaction was cool so you never know.
Yea, I think it’s absolutely hilarious and hope more will be filmed. Greg said it perfect. It’s like a Real World scenario but a lot more humor and people who actually know each other from the start.
Yea! I think the big thing is, and this is kind of the rule of thumb for us altogether—I think a lot of people get on TV especially if they do one season of something, and they watch them selves and see how people react to one aspect of their personality and they try to amp that up afterward. Like, ‘Oh I have to be this person all the time.’ We never parted from that. We figured we’re going to be who we are all the time and as long as people like it, that’s how long we’ll keep doing it. And when our times up our times up but its fun for us not being headline characters of the Housewives. We enjoy it. I think it’s a good segway because you see a small aspect of us each week on Housewives and it’s a more detailed look on what our life is like on the web show. I really like that. I think it was a really great supplement to the show itself. It was weird in a way. It was like filming for the first time all over again. I think the first experience was with Millionaire Matchmaker. [Laughs]
I saw that a few weeks ago!
Yea, and that was a fun experience too but I think overall we just enjoy it. We have a lot of fun, we keep it real and hopefully its something people enjoy watching.
Are you hoping for more episodes for Boys to Manzo or a transition to television?
We love Bravo and we trust their judgment with whatever move they think is best for us. If there is one, I mean we’d do it. I would love for Boys to Manzo to be the biggest show on TV one day if it’s something people want to watch. None of the three of us want to be on a show that nobody wants to watch. That’s for sure. [Laughs] I definitely think though that Boys to Manzo has potential. I mean I enjoy watching it. I think we’re fun and there’s been some new additions I guess you can say for our social lives in the last few months so I think that would be an interesting angle that no one’s seen before as well.
What kind of additions?
We have our own group of friends and we have our own dating lives. So I think if we highlighted more of that it would probably make it an interesting show…I think it would be really, really great and if Bravo wants to keep it on the web, awesome, and if they want to bring it to TV awesome. We just love working with them.
So what was it like meeting roommate Greg for the first time?
He had a blog at Fordham that we were like all terrified of. Hysterical. Like he’d write up the daily gossip of someone at school that day. [Laughs] It would completely ruin your social life if you weren’t friends with the kid. I met him through this girl that I really, really liked in college and she had just broken up with her boyfriend and wasn’t really looking for anybody but she was friends with Greg. I told Greg you have to set me up with this girl. You have to, have to do it. Even though we didn’t even know each other that well. He did! One day I was home in Franklin Lakes for the night and I get a phone call from Greg. Its like 3:30 in the morning. I said, ‘Hey Greg what’s going on? Is something wrong?’ He said, ‘Listen there’s this guy all over her…wants to leave for sandwiches. What do I do?’ I said, ‘Defense.’ I said ‘Greg you’re on him like white on rice. You do not leave him alone with her.’ [Laughs] He goes alright and is texting me how it goes. He pretends to be drunk sick and follows them all the way back to her apartment…and they are sitting on her bed in her room. Greg starts pretending he has to throw up in front of this guy and he starts playing it up. Like you know how Greg is, ‘I’m gonna be sick! I’m gonna be sick! You have to take care of me.’ And the other kid is just like I’m out of here I’ll call you later. She never saw him again and we actually started dating after that for like a year and a half. I was like, you know what, I’m going to be friends with this guy for the rest of my life. He looked out for me big time.
That is the best story. The dynamic you all have together clearly shows why Boys to Manzo works so well. When it comes to RHONJ, what’s your favorite segment that’s been filmed?
My favorite scene is by far Lauren and Vito making the mozzarella actually. I’ve never felt so uncomfortable in my entire life actually. [Laughs] I really haven’t. It was like I’ve never seen anything like that before. I was just in shock. Like the whole thing is crazy to me. I mean think about it through my eyes and think about being me having to see that scene. How do you do it? I was literally screaming, like ‘Oh my Goddd!’ I couldn’t even—I still don’t have words for it really. Like it really, really is just the most uncomfortable twenty minutes of my life. Not twenty minutes, but it felt like twenty minutes.
I loved how Lauren said it was like the movie Ghost.
[Laughs] Yea, except Vito is still alive.
Well if that was sort of awful to watch, what is something embarrassing that could be found on your iPod?
You will find many a Glee song on my iPod.
Chris said the same thing!
You know what, that is all Greg. [Laughs] Like every once in a while I’ll be sitting in the car and I’ll find something funny in it and I’ll be like, ‘Oh that’s Greg. That’s Greg.’ Like who bought The Warblers CD? Well, not me. But yea, Greg got me into that so that would probably be the most embarrassing.
Who would be your celebrity crush?
I probably would say now is Minka Kelly. Minka Kelly is like the most perfect girl on the planet.
And what are your three Ologies?
What it comes down to is I love spending time with my family. I’m really like the worst person when it comes to questions like this. [Laughs] What it comes down to is–to sum me up is every day is kind of the same for me. It just revolves around–well my family encompasses almost everything really when I think about it. I work with my family, go home and Chris is there and I feel like Greg is one of my brothers too. I never have a moment where there’s not someone who I’m blood related to around me in one time or another. Off the top of my head I can count maybe three or four scenarios in the past two weeks where I’ve been without one of them.
The Real Housewives of New Jersey simply wouldn’t be the same without the Manzo family. Chris Manzo, the youngest son of Caroline and Albert, has a lot to do with that. Whether it’s playing Santa, throwing ham, or showing up before a charity run with a helmet on, Chris can always make drama take the back seat on any given episode with his one liners.
Like when is the only time he would actually run? ‘Put a burger in front of me or a murderer behind me.’ And a nice photo opportunity at the finish line wouldn’t hurt either.
So here’s to some laughs with Chris and how much hard work he’s put in even before the launch of BLK water. I got the chance to chat with the RHONJ and Boys to Manzo cast member on the very first day of shooting, how Boys to Manzo came to be and what he appreciates doing most with brother Albie. Check it out.
What was your reaction when you first heard your mom Caroline was going to be a housewife for the Bravo series?
CHRIS MANZO: I honestly thought no one would watch it. I said, ‘who the hell is going to watch a show about my mother? My family is so boring–I’m trying to get out of the house. I’m 17, 18 years old. That’s the whole phase where everyone sucks and everything.’ [Laughs] I remember the day before the show aired I said if we were to go to dinner, do you think anyone would ask for my picture?
That must have been so weird to think.
Yeah, she was like, I don’t think so. [Laughs] My father was actually the only one who saw it coming. He said you’re out of your mind. It’s going to be great. People are going to watch it. I remember saying to myself, and my brother and I were saying, it would be cool if mom makes it past this season because she’s so not the housewife profile. She’s great and I love my mother, but I mean all I had to compare it to at the time was Orange County and she is so not that. And if that’s successful than we’re going to be awful. [Laughs] But it worked out really well and I remember saying to Al if we could make a couple of appearances and get to talk that would be really cool to show our kids one day! So we had no idea where we would be right now.
Do you remember what the first day of shooting was like?
It was definitely less intense back then. It was a little bit more free where they would actually say, ‘Okay if you’re in town great, if not no big deal.’ I remember calling the producers or they would call me saying ‘Hey Chris are you around? We’re shooting your mom all day.’ And I’d say, ‘Oh no I’m down at the shore all day.’ Okay, no big deal. Now, they would go crazy. [Laughs] They might not want me in every single shot but I at least have to be on call or something. We do film a lot. There are just days blocked off for just filming and whatever happens, especially with my brother and myself. But we usually have to be pretty readily available to make sure we’re there if they need us. That’s been the biggest difference since season one. I don’t think anyone, especially the producers, expected my brother, my sister and I–all the kids really between Ashley and the kids–to have any kind of response. I guess that’s going off of what they’ve only seen with Orange County at that point. It really took off big after that.
Do people treat you differently now that you’re on television? What’s it like to have a camera following you around?
The taping doesn’t bother you. It gets to the point where you’re around everybody so much that I’m not looking at the cameraman, I’m looking at Bob. He films the show. When the camera goes down we talk to him about his life and we know everything about him. So it used to be–there’s a strange man with a camera, this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. So the taping definitely hasn’t bothered me. What has changed…is the people who watch the show. The amount of people who want to come up to you and to be honest; 99.9% is positive. We live in a young city in Hoboken. I mean I think the average age is 30 or something like that. And there’s over 150 bars over one square mile so [Laughs] there’s a lot of ways that something can go wrong in Hoboken and knock on wood, thank God it hasn’t. People have been really receptive to us and they like having us around. The local businesses, restaurants and bar owners are really just friends with us at this point. People don’t really bother us. Yeah, people talk about us but very rarely do people go out of their way to try to make us miserable or something like that. Also you get what you give. We respect everyone that comes up to us and tells us how much they love the show and everything. We’re happy to speak with them for hours and take pictures. That stuff doesn’t bother us at all.
That’s awesome how nice everyone’s been. What was it like leaving the Brownstone and heading to Hoboken in general?
I did work at the Brownstone. I was there six days a week, 15 hours a day. I did everything from dishwashing, to busing tables, to valet manager. All the way up to banquet managing and booking parties. I did everything there. It became extremely inconvenient to still stay at the Brownstone and kind of unrealistic. And we found ourselves getting involved in newer things, brand management and different beverage companies…We are really invested financially, not just financially but time in BLK which is our bottled water. We also have a wine, vodka and tequila items that we’re pushing and selling and marketing in our everyday life like real people. [Laughs] Wicked Wolf I worked at two or three weeks really max before things got busy here, just to help pay the rent.
Do you go back just to hang out?
Yeah, I love bartending. I love dealing with people. I love talking and just being a part of it and being active. If I have a couple days off and have nothing to do maybe I’ll do a Monday night football over there or something just to have fun.
Where do you want to see your company go in the future with Albie?
Far Stephanie! I want it to go very far, far, far. [Laughs] We are doing amazing actually….Have you talked to Al yet? Reserve a couple of hours for him to talk to you about it. [Laughs]…Our water is called BLK though. It’s naturally black water. It’s got tremendous health benefits to it. We are helping sell a wine called Levendi from California. They’ve been around for 10 to 15 years but they don’t have much of an east coast presence. We
are also helping launch a new vodka called Krome and our tequila we’re also helping market and sell is called Tributo. They all have amazing stories behind them. I don’t like to say endorse because it really is our day-to-day job. Everything we get behind is really the best of the best products. We don’t like to say ‘Okay, well we’re behind this so drink it.’ We know the beverage industry. We know the food industry and restaurant management just as well as people way older than me because the way that I lived at the Brownstone is pretty hardcore. I put in a lot of long hours there so we’ve been using a lot of those tools…[Laughs] Right now I’m looking at my brother bringing in a box of flyers for BLK. We literally do everything that we can and that comes from the Brownstone where we learned from.
I love it. They’ll be interesting to try! Besides work, you’re just so quick and hilarious on Real Housewives. What do you like most about the show?
I’m not huge on the drama obviously. It’s entertaining and I get why people like it. The first season and second season, I just wanted to scream because I’m looking at this person, Danielle, just trashing my mom. And I couldn’t handle it. It’s really hard to watch. Hopefully next year…it’ll be more family oriented, which is what the Manzo’s are all about. Having fun with each other. And my favorite thing to hear when I talk to a fan of the show is that we take them away from the drama. The drama’s great and everything but there needs to be something that breaks up the day. We hear that we bring that and it is the best compliment that we could get.
I completely agree! You are definitely the best family for comedic relief. Let’s talk about your web series Boys to Manzo that you’ve filmed. Are you hoping it becomes a television show?
You always hope for the biggest investment you could get and as far as filming something, that would be the best option to make it on TV. If Bravo wants to take their time on it and really think about it, obviously they know what they’re doing. Just like the beverages, I would never want to get behind something that wasn’t the best. And we could take the honest answer. If they were to say the web series is great but it’s not for TV, it wouldn’t bother me one bit. I would say let’s do some more web series and have some fun. If we’re the best web series we’re the best web series. If we’re the best TV show, that’s even better. As far as what I want, I want to be the best at what I’m doing.
I really hope something happens! How many episodes did you do? How did it start?
We only did five. We filmed a lot but not everything makes the cut. A lot of it makes no sense in the story line. Say my mother’s running late and they have the cameras on, we’ll just play around and we just rip on each other and joke around. [That’s how] Boys to Manzo was born. The producers saw and said this makes no sense on Housewives but its got to work somewhere. They called me and said a web series was coming out and I was like, ‘Why? Who is going to watch that?’ But it did really, really well. And once you watch it you don’t realize how much fun you have with your roommate and your brother.
What do you, Albie and Greg like to do on your downtime?
We are so simple. We are not huge club people. We’ll go out and have fun but we have our little Hoboken family, which consists of a couple of friends we have and my sister. On weekends you could find my brother and I spending a lot of time with our cousins CJ and Nick, Jacqueline’s sons. We spend so much time with them because growing up Al and I had a great relationship with our cousins, our older cousins, and they coached us through life and taught us everything, especially with my dad always working. He’s the best father in the world but it was tough. My older cousin Joey lived with us for two years. I used to remember every single weekend he would be with us. He wouldn’t be with his friends in high school or college he was always teaching us how to play basketball and doing all kind of fun things. Al and I get a kick out of being with CJ especially because he’s older and we can talk to him, but Nick is my godson. Cutest, cutest kid.
That was the greatest when you played Santa for him.
I’m glad you asked! I do that every year without a hitch but it was the camera light that was outside that exposed me! But that’s another thing I got from my cousins.
That’s such a great tradition. Greg was saying how you guys watch the same shows. Do you have a personal favorite?
I really watch everything on Bravo. Not to sound cheesy but you pretty much meet everyone on the network…I totally get it now. You get addicted to every show. True Blood. I watch Shameless on Showtime. It’s a really great show. I don’t watch much religiously. I’m a big On Demand guy. I watch the History Channel and A&E. The only thing I watch religiously is Bravo.
What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Anything from Glee. I’m such a Glee freak.
Greg was saying that! Any soundtracks?
Is Dianna Agron still your celebrity crush?
Yeah. I love her.
So what are your three things Bravo fans wouldn’t necessarily know about you?
Definitely my family. Sports, I’m a big New York and New Jersey sports fan. Hmm, what else? Mom, what else? Oh, food! I’m a food freak. It’s really everything. I’m a big frying and marinading guy. I’m always experimenting…I like going to restaurants and try to copy whatever’s there. I make the best pork chop in the world!
I’ve been watching Real Housewives of New Jersey since its Bravo debut in 2009. The fights, the drama–but something was clearly missing. AGreg Bennett. A friend to Albie Manzo and now another member of the Manzo family, Greg is a constant go to for one liners and some comedic relief. He started with the Real Housewives and then went on to the web series Boys to Manzo with Al and Chris. Let’s not forget, his dog Deloris was a significant addition as well.
RHONJ season three reunion, part two is about to premiere this Sunday, but let’s take a break from the feuds. I got the chance to talk to Greg about Hoboken living, his favorite part about the housewife series and what his guilty pleasures are.
I know you went to Fordham University in New York with Albie. Could you tell me about that first meeting?
I didn’t meet Al until the end of sophomore year. Fordham is just big enough to be a college but it’s very high school-esque. Everyone knows each other. Senior year we were all hanging out at the same apartment complex off campus called the brothel, because they only rent to girls. It was kind of like Melrose Place and there were parties there every weekend. That’s how we got to be friendly.
What was your major?
I was a marketing major…I graduated and moved to the city and left there last October to move in with the boys.
Albie and Chris have launched BLK Black Water. What do you work on besides filming?
I work for an affiliate market network. I’ve done that since I graduated–I do have a big boy job. [Laughs] I’m home now, because my companies in London. That’s where they are based.
Do you work out of your apartment?
Yeah, I work out of my apartment. I’m sitting in a leopard dining room chair right now.
Did you guys always know you wanted to live together in Hoboken?
We talked about it a lot…they started coming into the city more and we would all hang out in my apartment and then go out. And I would complain about how expensive it was and they’d complain about living at home and wanting to get out. So we decided to take the leap and move in together.
How did the Boys to Manzo web series come about?
That happened simultaneously when we were filming season three. A lot of our little bits that we filmed got a really good reaction and everyone thought we were funny so they wanted to expand on it to see if there was anything there. I don’t think there has ever been a show that shows two guys with a gay friend but are not forced into the situation–like Real World and seven strangers. It’s been such a long time. It’s a real friendship. So I think its pretty interesting to watch, you know the bits just kept getting better and better, so they decided to make it into a web series.
Do you think it might blow up into a television show?
I have no idea. I would hope so, but that’s ultimately up to Bravo.
Is it weird being on camera at all?
Well I think you can see in the beginning episodes. I was a little stiff and nervous but…you get used to it. It’s like living your regular life.
When it comes to Real Housewives, do you guys get together and watch it every Sunday?
We do. We had a little routine all summer. We would DVR True Blood and watch Housewives and then go back and watch True Blood.
Is that your guilty pleasure? True Blood?
True Blood is amazing. I wish it were reality. [Laughs]
You are hilarious with Melissa and Joe Gorga. What was your favorite segment on the show? I loved when you all went out to Hoboken.
I did love [that]. They kind of made it look very Sister Wivey, like I was going to marry into the family. That night out in Hoboken was so much fun. They only showed a little bit of it…the Punta Cana trip was a blast too. Gorgeous villa and it was a really good time.
Are you single or are you dating?
I have a boyfriend actually. We met after season three was done filming. We’ve been dating a couple of months and it’s going really well.
That’s great. How about this–What’s the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
I have the entire Sister Act soundtrack.
Do you have the first or the second one?
Actually the broadway musical, which makes it even more embarrassing.
Do you have any celebrity crushes?
I love the guy who plays Puck on Glee.
Do you guys watch Glee? Albie and Chris seem to love those Glee girls.
I got them into Glee! They had no idea what it was. Since we only have one TV in the room, they had no choice but to watch it with me. Now we’re all obsessed with it.
What are three passions Bravo fans wouldn’t know about you?
I’m really big on tolerance. Tolerating everyone and being accepting of everyone. I’m really into that. Keeping the peace. Vacation because I [have to] get away and go to the beach during the year. I guess family. I’m really into my family and my new family with the Manzo’s. I consider them family. We spend a lot of time together. I’m really about keeping those who are close to me, close to my heart.
“Fred Figglehorn” is back just in time for Halloween for a brand-new TV movie, Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred, premiering Oct 22. The Nickelodeon two-hour sequel follows Fred on another adventure to expose a vampire in his school that just so happens to be his music teacher. The film not only features the popular internet characters again. This time, Modern Family’s Ariel Winter took a break from her ABC hit series to take on the role of Talia.
Tell me about this new film that’s airing soon. Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred.
ARIEL WINTER: “I play Talia. She’s a new character in the franchise. She’s pretty much–well, she’s Kevin’s younger sister and she’s very artsy and creative. She’s kind of a hippy and Fred’s love interest slash stalker. She’s very endearing thoughout the whole movie–actually the whole movie is kind of endearing–but my character specifically is. Like I said, she’s the love interest who becomes his stalker. [Laughs] She makes sock puppets of them and like makes cookies in chemistry. So she’s the character who’s in love with Fred in the movie.”
Were you wanting to do a project that’s Halloween themed?
“I wasn’t looking for anything specific but when I read the Fred 2 script, it was such a cute role and something so different. And it would reach more of the teen audience. It’s a totally different role than Modern Family so I immediately took it. I was like, ‘Oh it’s such a great script, it’s really cool!’ I love the character and I get to work with Fred! [Laughs] So I was definitely excited.”
Ariel didn’t take a break and instead filmed the TV movie right after Modern Family finished its second season back in March. She stars in the Nickelodeon film alongside Lucas Cruikshank in the title role, WWE Superstar John Cena and Victorious’ Daniella Monet.
Lucas Cruikshank and Ariel Winter as Fred and Talia.
Photo Credit: Photo/Nickelodeon. 2011 Viacom, International, Inc.
Words can’t even describe how excited I was to interview actor Michael Bower. Alright, maybe two. Donkey Lips. Michael Bower, now 36, is known as playing one of the most iconic character roles in the business–Donkey Lips from Nickelodeon’s Salute Your Shorts. He didn’t just stop at that 1991 critically acclaimed series though. He then went on to appear in over 30 primetime television shows that have included guest spots on The Wonder Years, Monk, Popular, Dark Angel and the comedy film Dude Where’s My Car. Michael continues to act and is keeping busy with several production companies.
Some specific moments I got to chat about with Michael included his infamous Roy stop by at a certain Central Perk set, his super pumped up Super Bowl commercial and his days at Camp Anawanna.
Before we get to what you’re doing now, I have to ask about the Super Bowl commercial you did in 2008. It was absolutely amazing. How did that come about?
MICHAEL BOWER: Yeah, the Pepsi AMP commercial. It’s a pretty funny story…my agent gave me a call and said, “This kind of sounds interesting” and I read it and it sounded funny. My audition was on a Saturday…I went in and it wasn’t a real commercial it was a treatment. Which means they come up with the idea, they film it and they hope it sells well. So I ended up booking the part and we ended up filming it with five different energy drinks. We did a shot where I drink each different energy drink, and then they made the finished product and sent it to all the advertisement agencies. To the energy drink companies. Pepsi was the first ones to get it and they bought it. Next thing you know it’s a Super Bowl commercial and I’m the dancing bear. It was fun.
Were you around family and friends watching it? How was that?
I had some friends over and told them I had a pretty funny commercial that was going to air. They showed up and we were watching the game–and the funny thing was–it was a pretty good game! It was already the fourth quarter and there were only two minutes left in the game and the Giants were trying to tie the game up for the winning score and I was like, ‘There is no way my commercial has not aired. It’s not going to air. It’s going to air after or something like that.’ Then the next thing you know the Giants are about to score and they go to commercial and I’m the first one. It was the best timing and everyone was watching it. It was great.
Absolutely love it. Well what are some projects you’re working on now? I saw something about Fireflies.
Fireflies is a passion project with a few friends. Due to the acting world being really tough and there being so many talented actors–the truth of the matter is–is one actor really going to make it?…So you got to create your own work. So a few of my friends made a production company and I wanted to be a part of it. But they had different views on life and projects so they made their own production company and I made me own. They invited me to do a movie called Fireflies. It’s a passion project about traveling and love lost–basically a journey movie. So I kind of helped out and did a cameo.
Can you tell us more about your production company?
Sure, I’ve got a couple. It sounds weird but I created Elite Acting Studios from my house. I have a three-car garage that I turned into a studio and I kind of wanted to teach acting. Teach what I know about not giving up. About living daily with no money and being called a has been or being a child star trying to make it in the adult world. I just felt like in terms of acting I can teach what I know from teachers that taught me. But I can also teach life styles and dealing with the bullsh*t. A lot of people come from out of town with dreams of grandeur thinking they are going to make it and realize this is a chew you up, spit you out town and they give up…So I kind of help them with the acting and help them learn how to live out of the .99 cent store. [Laughs] Whatever it is, to keep going in this industry because you might not make it today, but there is going to be that one-day where that opportunity will meet your talent and you’ll be fine.
I love how passionate you are about that. What about Generation 12?
I made a production company called Generation 12. I’m hoping to eventually direct my own things. We’ve got one movie I helped with and now it’s on DVD. I’m not there yet. I take a long time to do things. If I’m going to spend five or ten thousand dollars of my own money, I better make sure I do it right. I don’t jump the gun, even though the company is formed and I have my LLC’s and I have my licenses. I haven’t really done anything that big yet. I don’t want to make a mistake.
With all of these companies and teaching others, what roles specifically are you drawn to? You’ve done a lot of comedy.
…I get small productions…It has to be a very passionate person or like a college graduate or a short film or something like that for me to do it. And I’ve done a couple. I’ve read a couple scripts, for small things and they kind of took my eye. And one good thing about these small productions with people who are trying to do it for real in college or film school–I get to play characters that I never did because they think I’m famous and they think I’m going to help them. But at the same time I get to play the lead character and not the joke. I get to play a serial killer or a father or the leading man. And that really doesn’t happen in real acting in terms of agents and casting directors. I mean, not at this moment.
I have to say, you’ve done so many great roles on television. Roy on the Friends prom episode has been the most memorable for me.
Looking back on it–wow, I was on Friends. I’ll be quite honest with you. When I auditioned for the show they were barely finished with their first season, and going into production of their second season. I auditioned and got the part. I knew of Jennifer Aniston, I knew the show was a hit, but I didn’t really watch it. So I didn’t get into it. But after 10 seasons in a row, I finally sat down and watched all the episodes on DVD and realized what the big phenomenon was! I went, ‘Oh my God, I was on Friends.’ My friends told me–and don’t know if this is true, I haven’t bought the game. But apparently I’m a trivia question in the Friends trivia game. They ask the name of my character and the actor that played him. [Laughs]
It was just fantastic–one of the best in the entire series.
According to the fan votes, that’s the number one episode in Friends history. Meaning it was the most favored, the most laughed at. I mean of course the [series] ending is up there too. It’s one of those little memories that I got to have. The finale episode I got to watch live. It was really cool. They took a shining on me probably because I was on Nickelodeon or something. They were really cool.
To be on the number one show for that series is unbelievable.
It’s a pretty great tribute. My life is beautiful. I’m very blessed.
We’ve got to get to Salute Your Shorts and your Donkey Lips character. I’m assuming that’s what you get most recognized for. What do you think about its cult following?
Being on the show was great. Looking back on it as an adult now, it’s one of the greatest memories of my life! Basically I had a family and I had an opportunity and an experience that millions of people will never have. I’m thrilled that I was part of the show and that it still resonates with people at an older age. Believe me, it makes me feel proud every single day. Sometimes there are fan boys who know every line from every episode, and it’s kind of like, ‘Okay, how about we talk about it for five minutes and that’s it.’ [Laughs] But yeah, no, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’m proud to this day. Just when it becomes obsessive for people it just–but I kind of can say the same thing about my Oakland Raiders so you know what, I get it. I get it.
Was it almost like summer camp on set?
No, no. I can’t speak to what everyone else’s experience was, but…I was 17 or 18 when the show started. I had a lot of family issues…My experience on the show was a paycheck. I became an adult at a very young age. The schedule we worked was Monday through Friday. I’m going to say 10 or 11-hour days 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It was a job. It’s always nice to get paid for playing, but its still work.
Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show?
…Everybody is in communication with everybody. It’s like a family. We don’t talk everyday. I love, respect and admire each and every one of them.
Well I really hope it gets back on the air with the rest of the classics that are starting to air on TeenNick. It was so short lived.
Oh yeah, me too. I mean right when they start airing I know some checks will be in my future so I’m proud of that. [Laughs]
So with hoping that happens and all your work, are you single? Or just focused on the production companies?
I’m single. I don’t know–I’m not with anyone to even think about that. I love the ladies, if they want to get a cup of java I would definitely go out! Let’s do it! [Laughs]
And what would you say are your Ologies? To help for example, your Salute co-star Erik MacArthur’s was Ocean Ology…
He’s a blonde good-looking surfer. Damn Erik!
Football Ology- I’ve always wanted to be a coach. I’ve always wanted to play football, but I’ve never been athletic enough. My favorite team is the Oakland Raiders.
Film Ology- I love everything about films. Making it, watching it, editing it. I know this is my life forever.
Conspiracy Ology- I was born into so many different religions with parents and friends. I’m very political. I don’t know what the words are–I search for the truth.
Oh, and GO RAIDERS!!
Psych’s Fan Appreciation day on Oct. 6 was filled with more than just Psych-Os. It also included a surprising guest appearance from actress Ally Sheedy.
Ally wore a black, neck plunging dress and walked the ‘green’ carpet only speaking a little while heading back and forth between the photographers and the rest of the cast. Ally played Mr. Yang for the USA Network series between 2009 and 2010, and joined them to celebrate.
John Hughes’ 1985 The Breakfast Club is iconic. Many teen films have since reciprocated what Hughes portrayed in those five characters whether they were trying to or not. Many teen films have done extremely well since then so it was intriguing to know what Ally thought of them. When asked what film today resinated the most with teens and portrayed pop culture the best she simply stated, ‘I like Mean Girls, personally. I like Mean Girls a lot.”
Many 90s films like She’s All That, American Pie and 10 Things I Hate About You are teen favorites but Tina Fey’s 2004 Mean Girls definitely broke the mold with a new generation. Just like the new mold Hughes introduced with The Breakfast Club with The Jock, The Nerd, The Criminal, The Princess and The Basket Case. Easy A in 2010 could potentially be the next to become a staple in the teen film category but its still too early to tell.
Ally then mentioned that she does in fact keep in touch with some of her St. Elmo’s Fire cast, which includes her Breakfast friends Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy and Mare Winningham. “Oh yea!’ she exclaimed. “I mean our paths cross now and then but not all the time. Everybody’s got their own life going on.”
The Breakfast Club and 1985’s St. Elmo’s Fireare classics. Sheedy got to work with Emilio Estevez in both and got to experience Rob Lowe’s saxophone skills. Not to mention everyone’s favorite 80s red-head Molly Ringwald and getting to make out with Andrew McCarthy. Our favorite Blane McDonnagh from Pretty in Pink in 1986.
Ally went on that night to meet Psych’s creator Steve Franks for the first time ever. She guest starred three times but he was never on set when she worked on it. “Oh my God, you gave me the best part!” she said. After a quick hug and chat they went their separate ways as he turned and stared at the crowd screaming, “I just met Ally Sheedy!” With Ally adding, “I will swoop over [again] to Vancouver any time.”
Ally sure wasn’t a basket case that night but instead, extremely happy to be there. The only disappointment was not finding out if eating Cap’n Crunch and Pixy Stix sandwiches stuck with her after playing the Allison Reynolds role