In commercials for the Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff (airing Sunday, August 15, 10/9c), the actor gamely acknowledges the abundance of material that is likely to be slung at him at the legendary no-holds-barred event: Knight Rider, Baywatch, the undying devotion of his German fans to his music and, of course, "the video." That's the infamous clip from 2007 in which one of Hasselhoff's two daughters pleads with her shirtless, intoxicated father to stop drinking, all while he munches on a hamburger. It will all be easy fodder for confirmed roasters like Pam Anderson (a roast victim herself in 2005), George Hamilton, Hulk Hogan, Jerry Springer as well as ringers like Jeffrey Ross, Lisa Lampanelli and the roastmaster himself, Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane. So the question remains — with that type of ammunition waiting, why do the roast? Here, Hasselhoff spoke to TV Guide Magazine by phone and addressed that obvious inquiry as well as who will not be at the roast and how he looks back on his departure from America's Got Talent.
TV Guide Magazine: How did this roast come about?
Hasselhoff: I have a new manager, Larry Thompson, and this manager was also involved with a couple of people that were roasted before, namely Joan Rivers and William Shatner. [But originally] they asked me to roast Pamela Anderson [in 2005]. And just because I knew it was going to be so brutal, I decided to lay low on that one.
TV Guide Magazine: So why do this one, though, where you're the target?
Hasselhoff: My kids are the ones who inspired me to do it, because they said, "Dad, this'll turn the whole thing around and let people know how we feel and where we're at with this disease." And I said, "Right on, girls. If I've got your approval, let's go." And so this is not really scary to me because it's really an opportunity for me to get up and say, "Well, you wanna play? I can play too and I'm ready." I know it's gonna be brutal, [but] I know it's gonna be funny [and] no one makes more fun of himself than me.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you spoken with Pam Anderson about her experience?
Hasselhoff: I did speak to her and I really can't tell you what she said but I had already convinced myself that I wanted to do it before that. I think she came across really great on that show. I think that everybody else kinda came across as kinda stupid. You know? And she rose above it and I thought it elevated her status, especially in my eyes.
TV Guide Magazine: You sound ready, but be honest, are you a little bit nervous?
Hasselhoff: You know, buddy, when you're living in my shoes and you're laying in a hotel room in Romania [in 2007] and you've gone out to dinner with a leading lady and then they run the tape [on TV] and put Romanian subtitles on it, the world can't get much lower than [that]. And it was really exacerbated by selling tickets more than anything, not about helping David Hasselhoff or helping any alcoholics out there. It just takes away from the wonderful life that we're having right now with my daughter Haley being successful on a show called Huge on the ABC Family; she's the breakout star of that show. My other daughter Taylor-Ann is pursuing her dream as a singer with Haley, and they're part of the A&E show [Meet The Hoffs, which premieres in the winter]. It's really about their struggle to find themselves as daughters of The Hoff, and their music career and how hard they're working at it and how difficult it is sometimes to be the daughters of a celebrity.
TV Guide Magazine: But are you concerned about how your daughters will react to the roast?
Hasselhoff: My daughters are gonna be in the front row and they said, "Bring it on." They're ready. They've got something to say to everybody as well.
TV Guide Magazine: Are they going to be speaking?
Hasselhoff: It remains to be seen. Watch the show. The Hoffs are ready.
TV Guide Magazine: Which means it will be happening, right?
Hasselhoff: I don't really know. To be honest, I have not opened or closed the door. They will be participating in some respect. And I told them it's gonna be brutal, you have to be ready. And they said, "Dad, we are so ready." Because they are so pissed off about what's happened to me and what's happened to them at school and the perception of why that thing came out, which was completely illegal and completely a private tape.
TV Guide Magazine: There have been reports even this year about some alcohol related things. Where you are now?
Hasselhoff: I'm in a bedroom with my dog. Where are you?
TV Guide Magazine: I'm at my desk, actually.
Hasselhoff: Good. Are you sober?
TV Guide Magazine: I am.
Hasselhoff: Good. So am I. For me it comes down to a simple, really corny phrase, "Baby it's one day at a time." And it really is. And I look at every day as an opportunity. I turn it over to God in the morning and say, "Let's have a fantastic day and keep me away from you know what and let's move forward." And the more I do that the less I have anything to do worry about. So I'm doing great.
TV Guide Magazine: In terms of the roasters, will KITT possibly be showing up and are you afraid of any secrets he might spill?
Hasselhoff: I heard that KITT was in rehab. And hopefully I'll be able to get him out for the show. He's in the same place as the General Lee. He's had a real problem [being a] one-hit wonder and it's difficult for him to get another job because everyone identifies him as KITT. It's tough for him.
TV Guide Magazine: Are you prepared for lots of people playing off the title of your former show America's Got Talent?
Hasselhoff: I'm sure there'll be stuff about whether Hoff's got talent or not. But I've been dealing with whether I've got talent my entire life and ended up with a legendary show called Knight Rider, that's still out there, and the number one watched show for 11 years in syndication, Baywatch, and nine million records. And the funny part about it is I'm still apologizing for the shows and they're still running. In the end, I got the last laugh on that one [re: America's Got Talent]. In a way, it's funny because when negotiations broke down and we all kind of decided "Well, this is not gonna work anymore," I was very happy to move on. It was taking up an amazing amount of time. But I found out that I really missed the show and I missed working with — I can't believe I'd say this — Pierce and Sharon because we had so much fun fighting that it really became almost the center of the show as opposed to which crazy act was up there. But it's doing well and I wish them all well.
TV Guide Magazine: As you said your daughters are going to be there, but will there be any other family members attending?
Hasselhoff: I purposely told my Dad not to come. He's 85 and I don't think it would be his cup of tea. I have four sisters [and] I'm sure at least one or two of them will be there.
TV Guide Magazine: Right, but Mel Gibson will not be there, correct?
TV Guide Magazine: I'm joking.
Hasselhoff: Ya know what Mel does...It's his life and if he shows up I think it would be terrific.