They are the lines that, decades after they’re uttered, continue to crack you up.
Maybe it’s when your son, upon whom you have pinned such high hopes, says he wants to be a dolphin when he grows up. Or when your daughter, looking positively angelic, asks your husband’s boss why she’s a whore.
Children are funny, and Lifetime intends to remind us of that in Seriously Funny Kids, airing Tuesdays beginning Feb. 1. Since early television, personalities, including Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby, have had hilarious chats with children.
Lifetime is betting on Heidi Klum, supermodel and host of Project Runway, to do the same. The knockout Klum has graced Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues and strutted in Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. Yet, she is also the mother of four kids ages 6 and under, and knows how funny kids can be.
“It is light and fun and crazy,” she says of the new show, which was not available for review. “There are a lot of commercials on my show and basically I am interviewing the children, and there’s some hidden camera stuff, so it is a mixture of different things. We do a skit where I have a giant booger shoved up my nose.”
Klum, and executive producer Eric Schotz, stress that although it is a show featuring kids, it is not a kids show.
People will send in videos and still photos. Kids will do commercials, much the way people on live 1950s TV hawked goods on-air. Some half-hour episodes may feature 20 snippets and others far fewer. There was no set format as of presstime. The crucial aspect is simply to allow kids to be themselves.
“[When it comes to TV shows] there is nothing for grown-ups about kids,” Klum says. “It is such a fun and happy thing to watch kids speak their mind.”
Klum dances with every child who comes on the show, though Schotz explains dancing is expanded to include basketball, karate and all forms of movement.
“I have learned a lot of new dances. The ‘hit the golf ball’ dance, and ‘reel the fish in’ dance. We used to do the ‘stir the cabbage in the pot’ dance,” Klum says of her childhood in Germany.
Klum, naturally, knows how to talk to kids, and she remembers the indignity of adults talking down to kids.
“I talk to them like people and I don’t treat them like children,” Klum says.
As such, a 4-year-old explains aging. “She says when you laugh a lot and have so much fun, you get wrinkles that go around the eyes and the gray hair is when follicles lose color,” Klum says, laughing at the image of a preschooler’s accurate take on getting old.
Klum asks the usual questions, including what they want to be when they grow up. So far it’s been the expected answers: the president, lawyers and accountants. But she also asked: “What is the meaning of life?”
“Some say there is no meaning,” she says. “Some say you are there to have fun and grow up and have a family. I am always interested to see what point of view a child has.”
As any parent knows, kids don’t self-edit. Schotz says that’s what he appreciates so much about children — the simple directness.
The new show rides on the shoulders of similar-themed shows of the past, and Schotz even worked on Kids Say the Darndest Things. A kid proved this saying remains true during a recent taping for Seriously Funny Kids.
Klum asked the boy, “Where do we come from?”
The boy responds: “Well, Jesus took a potato and made man.”