Comedian Josh Wolf Talks About His Late Night Talk Show on CMT

Josh Wolf Kellie Freeze

Josh WolfCMT is giving you a great reason to stay up late; tonight is the premiere of The Josh Wolf Show. Comedian Josh Wolf, who is known for his recurring role on Chelsea Lately and host of Shark After Dark, and the Naked and Afraid after show Naked After Dark, will examine pop culture through his self-deprecating but overwhelmingly positive lens. The series airs four nights a week (Thursday through Sunday) beginning Thursday, June 11 at 11:00 – 11:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Wolf and I had a chat about his new gig and he’s bringing his easy to talk to energy and fresh ideas to the late-night sphere. One of those ideas is what Wolf is calling “Gownup Show and Tell,” and there is nothing I loved more than show and tell. So, I’m already on board with Wolf’s kind of tomfoolery. Here’s what he has to say about his eponymous show and a few more of the goodies we can look forward to.

Channel Guide: Josh, I know you from Shark After Dark and Naked After Dark. What are you bringing to your new late night show that is new and edgy and fun?
Josh Wolf: One of the things that I wanted to do on both of those shows — that you saw — was that when we stood up and did weird things. I love weird things. I got stabbed with a knife! It was physical, and we were standing on our feet, having a good time. 

I wanted to bring that energy to late night. For me, you’re not going to change the world or there’s not going to be any new groundbreaking structure for shows. I think people spend too much time trying to think of new structure. To me, that’s not what makes a show good or bad. It’s content and point of view and how much fun you’re having. For us, the first two acts will be kind of structurally like Chelsea [Lately]. It’ll be a panel, but we won’t be celebrity-driven. That’s not really my thing. It’ll be more like a combination of Maher and Chelsea. It’ll be like Maher in that it’ll be discussion based. It’ll be like Chelsea in that we’ll be focusing on funny discussions.

I want to focus on things that elicit opinions from people, right? For example, I read an article that the Boy Scouts had banned water gun fights because they don’t want any of the Boy Scouts getting hurt. To me, what first came out of my brain is, “Are we coddling this generation so much that they’re not allowed to get wet?” Do you know what I mean? Is that how far we’ve come with being protective and a little overly politically correct that now children aren’t allowed to get wet? I would bring that kind of conversation to the panel because I want funny people with funny opinions and funny points of view to discuss that, and make it more of a discussion than just people rattling jokes off, right?

Then that third act, it’s kind of like “grown-up show and tell.” I always tell people that I’m super curious but not that bright. I see things all the time where I’m like, “I wonder how they do that.” Anytime I’ve ever said, “I wonder how they do that,” I’m going to bring that person on the show and have them show me how to do it. It’s going to be fun; it’s going to be physical. Like I said, my stand-up has been described in articles before as “intelligently stupid,” and I take it as a compliment. I’m not Jon Stewart; he does what he does exceptionally well. I like physical comedy, and I like fun. That’s basically what the overarching idea in common of the show is.

I just spent an hour and 10 minutes in a trashcan dressed in a gorilla suit, waiting for people to walk by so I could jump out and scare them. Okay? Chelsea [Handler, who is executive producing the show] gave me some great advice. Basically, “Don’t make TV for the people. Do what makes you laugh.” She always says, “The best part about you is you. Nobody else can do that, so ‘do you.’” I went back and watched a lot of early Letterman, and he was making TV almost like he didn’t think anyone was watching. He was making it for him. For this genre, I think that translates into the best show, because truly if you build it, they will come, right? The people who like that type of stuff will find it, because you’re being treated to one point of view, and that’s what I hope we will do.

CG: Give me an example of a show and tell we’ll see on The Josh Wolf Show
Josh Wolf: Okay, I was watching a movie and I saw some people jousting, and I was like, “I wonder how heavy that thing is.” I called my talent people, I said, “Can you get someone onstage to teach me how to joust?” They said, “Sure, but you can’t use a horse.” I go, “Okay.” I said, “We’ll dress up a Rascal and make it look like a horse.” Then for insurance purposes, they wouldn’t let me joust any of my staff, but I have insurance for my son, so my son and I are going to joust on Rascals. It’ll just be fun, silly things that I have already wanted to learn how to do, and I’m going to do them.

CG: Who are going to be some of the people participating in your panel discussions?
Josh Wolf: The panel will be comedians. It’ll also be people that I just know are funny people, some actor friends of mine who never get to be funny but who I know are super funny people. They’ll be on. Some athletes that I know that never get to be funny that I know are super funny people. They’ll be on. You’ll see some people that were on Chelsea, but you’ll also just see a lot of funny people. Personalities who haven’t been able to show how funny they are. My cousin Scott Wolf, he’s an actor and he’s been acting for a long time and only been allowed to cry in his shows, which I think is sad.
CG: He really cries beautifully.
Josh Wolf: Yeah, he does. He cries quite beautifully, and the tears settle in those dimples, and it’s wonderful. We’re going to give him a chance to be funny because I know for a fact he’s top 5 funny people I’ve ever met in my life, but nobody would know that. It’s just going to be a fun, fast-paced, high-energy ride.

CG: Do you film in front of a live studio audience?
Josh Wolf: Yeah. For me, I have to tell you the truth. I really was pushing for it to be a live show. I like doing Shark After Dark and Naked After Dark live so much because sometimes things went wrong. To me, those aren’t mistakes. That’s actually fun to watch. Not that it happens all of the time, but every now and then when someone cracks a smile in a sketch on SNL, that’s funny. If it happened every sketch, you’d get tired of it. I like the live stuff. We will be shooting in front of a live audience. I have told everybody here that unless it’s catastrophic, if there’s a mess-up, we’re not editing it out. I want it in there.

It just adds a little humanness to it, it adds reality to it. Not everything goes perfect, and sometimes the mistakes are funnier than the way it was supposed to work.

CG: Do you know what your premiere episode will be? Is there anything you can tease about that specific episode?
Josh Wolf: I think my favorite field piece that we shot will be in that first. I hope it’ll be ready by that first show. It’ll be the night after the CMT Awards, so we have some fun stuff from there. Oh. The show and tell, which I don’t want to tell exactly what it is, is something that I’ve always been fascinated by, always, always, always. I can barely hide my excitement for this woman to come on and show me how to do what she does better than anybody in the world.

Josh WolfCG: Since you are on CMT, will you be having CMT personalities and country music’s biggest stars stopping by?
Josh Wolf: I sure hope so. I don’t want to say what it is, because I don’t want anyone to steal it, but we’ve really come up with a new and fresh way for musicians to come on and perform music that I think will be really exciting for people to see and really different and one of the things where you would tune in to watch it. I’m really excited. We have some people coming on who already agreed to do it that it should be a lot of fun.

Here’s the thing. I guarantee you laughs, but I also want, like I said, if you send a tweet out and say, “That was the stupidest show I ever seen in my life,” I would say back to you, “Mission accomplished.” It’s going to be silly fun, but we’re going to have a good time. If you like to laugh and you want a good half an hour of entertainment at 11:00, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, this will be the place to see it.

The Josh Wolf Show airs four nights a week (Thursday through Sunday) beginning Thursday, June 11 at 11pm ET/PT.

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Image Credit: Richard McLaren