If Punk'd plays on unsuspecting celebrities, Game Show in My Head brings hidden camera gags to the unsuspecting public. The latest production from Ashton Kutcher's production company sends contestants out to the streets to create fabricated situations with unwitting passersby — all directed by host Joe Rogan, who gives on-the-spot directions for each gag through a hidden earpiece.
Rogan, who got his reality hosting feet wet with Fear Factor, talked to TVGuide.com about his new show (Saturdays on CBS, 8 pm/ET). The comic and former martial arts competitor opened up about what Game Show is like, what drew him to another reality competition series and what lines shouldn't be crossed in a hidden camera scenario.
TVGuide.com: What's the show like?
Joe Rogan: It's very simple, mindless entertainment. If you come home from a long day at work, and you're exhausted, it's something retarded and funny to watch.
TVGuide.com: And there are hidden cameras and stunts?
Rogan: It's a hidden camera comedy game show. People have a hidden ear piece, and we send them out into a place, they don't know where they're going. Sometimes it's a food court, sometimes it's an outdoor mall area. Once they get there, I say, 'Here's what the deal is. You have to find a person, convince that person that they're your long-lost friend.' Once you convince them that they're your long lost friend, you have to convince that they owe you five dollars. And then you have to get them to give you that money. If they do, then you win 5,000 bucks. But you have to convince them. You can't tell them you're on a television show.
TVGuide.com: What attracted you to the show?
Rogan: They had a mock pilot, and I thought I was really funny. I thought the idea of being able to talk somebody through was fun, too. It just seemed like it would be completely ridiculous. In one of them, a guy had to go to a food court in a mall and get a man to allow him to cut up his food and feed it to him. Not once, but twice.
TVGuide.com: How would you describe your role as a host, then?
Rogan: I'm just the voice in the ear. I'm trying to help them, really. I want them to pull it off. I'm trying to guide them through it as much as possible make it as funny as possible along the way...I couldn't believe how persuasive some of these people were, some people are just good liars, man.
TVGuide.com: On both Fear Factor and now Game Show in My Head, people are pushed out of their comfort zone. But is their ever a line that you don't think should be crossed?
Rogan: I have a hard time whenever other people are uncomfortable that have nothing to do with the show. Just regular people, going about their business. And then we're doing a gag on them. Some people have a great sense of humor, and you tell them it's a show and they start laughing, but other people get genuinely offended, and that sucks. I don't want that. One thing we really had to make sure was that the contestants were really good at being friendly and likable, so that when they did pull the wool over someone's eyes, they would actually laugh and enjoy it. Ands for the most part, people actually did.
TVGuide.com: What has surprised you the most about working on the show? Is there anything you've learned?
Rogan: How good people are at lying. Some people just lie up a storm, and how little motivation they need to lie! I think there are some people just getting through life, just being completely full of s--t!
TVGuide.com: Given your background as a stand-up comedian, why does hosting appeal to you?
Rogan: For me, my style is very conducive to hosting something, trying to get the most out of the people. And because of my background in martial arts ... I'm good at talking people through things. That helped me with Fear Factor a lot. I understood competition, because I used to fight in tae kwon do, and I knew what it's like to be nervous, and overcome comp, and how much about it is putting your mind in certain place, and that I could guide people and help them through that.