Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Lance Krall, who played Cuban gay guy ‘Kip’ on the not-really-reality show, ‘The Joe Schmo Show’. For the record, he’s not really gay, and he doesn’t speak with an accent. He is, however, as instantly likable as his character was. Here’s what he had to say.
[b]How did you get on the show?[/b]
I had an audition, which I was told was for an improv/comedy show. I auditioned for Hutch’s part, “the buddy”, and the gay guy – I was asked to play it real, not too ‘Saturday Night Live’ like. When I did the gay guy, I decided to take it one step further and give him an accent. I guess they really liked him!
When we were offered the parts, we all had to sign a non-disclosure agreement worth big bucks, and couldn’t tell anyone about the show. With the whole idea of the show, I felt it would be a great acting experience for me.
[b]When you started filming, did you feel badly for Matt?[/b]
Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writers, assured us that the show would not be mean-spirited. These two are great guys – they really had genuine concern and good intentions in doing this show. It was more of an experiment than trying to make fun of Matt.
After Frank (Earl) was voted out and Matt was so emotional, they seriously considered cancelling the show. They actually asked Matt if he wanted to continue – they went to him privately and told him that they had asked everyone else as well. Matt was okay the next day, and really wanted to continue filming.
[b]What was Matt really like?[/b]
Matt was exactly as he was edited on the show. Even when the cameras weren’t running, he was exactly the same. We all had to stay in character of course, and Matt was the same guy on television as he was with us.
We all fell in love with him as quickly as America did!
[b]Did all of the actors get along, or was there friction due to the position you were all in?[/b]
I know it’s more interesting to hear about friction, but really, we all got along great. There was such a level of trust we placed in each other, because if one person messed up, we were all in trouble.
[b]At this point, Lance’s door buzzer goes, and a script is delivered to him. This is a good sign that things are going well for him![/b]
Where was I? Oh yeah, we’re all still in touch. You know, sometimes you’re involved in a show, and everyone says “let’s stay in touch”, but then a few weeks later you’re like “What was that guy’s name again?” It’s kind of like camp, when you swear you’ll be best friends forever and then lose touch.
With Joe Schmo, we all really bonded. We still talk to each other often, and get together for drinks or whatever. We toss around ideas for new shows and things like that.
[b]So what’s next for you as an actor?[/b]
I did an appearance on the show ‘Monk’, which should be airing in a month or so.
I’m trying to pitch a show that I wrote and appear in, so that’s taking up a lot of my time. I’ve cleared a few hurdles with that already, so we’ll see where it goes.
[b]Are you getting a lot of recognition for your role in Joe Schmo?[/b]
Well, Joe was aired on SpikeTV, which is a cable station. So it’s not a major network or anything. But as the show progresses, more and more people are paying attention to it, and it’s getting good press. So we’re getting recognized in the street and things like that.
In Hollywood, actors hate reality show people, because they feel that they’re taking away work from the actors. So to have been in this kind of show is great for me – I was able to get paid for making fun of reality shows!
[b]What was the hardest challenge for you during the show?[/b]
Well all of the challenges were easy because the results were scripted! But the hardest one for me personally to get through was licking the chocolate off the “model”. That was just nasty. The combination of melted chocolate and model-sweat was gross. On top of that, I had to share my model with Matt, whose gag reflex is just insane. He doesn’t like chocolate, so he was licking, gagging, then apologizing to the model.
I guess the idea of it was supposed to be sexy or something. I’m here to tell you that the reality of it is far worse than the fantasy!
For the women, I think the toughest challenge was eating the gross food.
[b]But the food wasn’t actually what they claimed it was, was it?[/b]
No, not at all. But it was a mixture of vegetables and soy or something, with a skin on it like a hot dog. So we get this plate, and we know it’s not the disgusting stuff they say it is, but it’s still this fruit and veggie mush with hot dog skin and we have to gag that down somehow.
[b]Speaking of that, how did you all not die laughing when Matt was presented with a plate of ‘Canine Feces’?[/b]
Oh, I wasn’t in that scene very much at all – I was cracking up! But the beauty of my character was that I was flamboyantly gay, and Matt didn’t know what to expect from me. I was watching myself on the show, and I noticed that for the first three episodes I was being careful. But I came to the realization that I could pretty much just do whatever I wanted to, because Matt didn’t know the difference.
Matt would buy into anything I would do. He was just like “Oh, that’s Kip!”. He just accepted me for what I was.
[b]What was the general feeling after filming was complete?[/b]
Everyone was so happy with the footage we had! SpikeTV was really excited about how everything worked out. I’m really curious to see how the next one will go, because they’re talking about doing another one.
The producers wanted to film the next show right away, before the first one aired, since we had everything in place and were ready to go. But they decided to see how this one went over first.
They even had a spare Matt, did you know that? They had a couple of guys holed up in a hotel for the first couple of weeks, in case Matt caught on. They were going to just start all over again with a new guy if that happened.
[b]Lance, I want to thank you for your time and for the laughs! Best of luck to you in your future endeavors![/b]
Thanks – good luck to you too!
If you’re interested in finding out more about Lance, please visit his extremely cool website at LanceKrall.com.