By Michael Benninger
Since exploding onto the scene as Playboy‘s Playmate of the Year in 1994, Jenny McCarthy has taken broadcast media by storm. Now, the actress, talk show host, author and activist - who’s also starring in a reality show alongside her newlywed New Kid, Donnie Wahlberg - is traveling the country with a collection of female comedians on her Dirty, Sexy, Funny tour, which arrives at Sycuan’s Live & Up Close stage on March 13. In advance of her San Diego appearance, the 42-year-old Chicago native talks with PacificSD about ambition, looking like Jimmy Carter and the beauty of Botox.
PacificSD: What led you to assemble some of the raunchiest female comedians in America for a group tour?
JENNY MCCARTHY: I was sitting at an all-girls comedy night and I was laughing so hard, thinking to myself, “It’s a shame there’s no female troupe, when there are so many funny women out there.” I thought - why don’t I create a brand that’s, like, dirty and sexy and funny... and just call it that and try to find people with that same kind of sense of humor as me? It took about three years. I went from club to club to club to club to club, amateur night, you name it, and I sat there and wrote down names. And then I had a test night and interchanged some girls, and we’ve been on the road now for like a year. It’s been so great. We’re doing a TV show [Dirty, Sexy, Funny airs on A&E March 13, the same night the live show takes place at Sycuan], so people will be able to see behind the scenes of the show also. It’s turned into a bigger thing than I ever could hope.
How do men in the audience typically respond to the show, compared to women?
When I started this, I said I needed to find female comedians that men love just as much as women, and all the girls I picked had sets that men can relate to and that makes them howl. When I look in the audience, I see the men laughing just as hard as women, and it’s a 50/50 audience. It’s definitely aimed to make both sexes laugh. You’ve been married about six months and have spent much of that time on camera for Donnie Loves Jenny.
What’s been the best part of doing the show so far? Have there been downsides?
The best part is working together with a goal. We don’t book out other things, so we’re home more. That’s been a really wonderful thing; it kinda forced more intimacy, if you can believe it. And the other good part is, there’s always moments in your life where you’re like, “God, I wish that was captured on camera,” because it was just too good, and we have those moments. The downside, if there is one, is having to wear makeup when I’d rather not wear makeup. I mean, I look like Jimmy Carter without makeup, so I have to do something.
In addition to your television projects, you recently started hosting a show on SiriusXM. How do you like being on radio?
It’s the best job I’ve ever gotten. Even Donnie says to me, “I’ve never seen you so happy.” I love going to work; it’s a chance to sit down with people and experts and actually have a conversation that’s not phony. A lot of the time, people feel like they need to put on a certain act, if they’re also being televised. With radio, it gets really real, quick. People wonder why Howard Stern gets so much information out of people. It’s because, when you’re sitting there without any cameras, there is this kind of conversational flow. The only downside for me really is that I’m nocturnal, so I have a hard time waking up in the morning. And when you’re doing talk for two hours, your brain needs to be sharp. So I’m still adjusting from vampire ways.
You have credits to your name in almost every medium.What keeps you going?
Without a doubt, my motivation is having a son. I was a single mom for a very long time, without any type of support. So, it was, “I gotta feed the baby.” That’s really why I started writing books. I said, “I gotta break into another medium, because I can’t just rely on praying a pilot goes.” I’ve written 10 books since then, and now it’s not a matter of how to feed the baby right now, as much as about being picky with my time and what I want to do.
It’s been 21 years since you were Playboy’s Playmate of the Year, but you look as amazing as ever. What’s your secret?
Every day, I look in the mirror and cry, “Oh, what happened to me?” But I think there is a secret that many people don’t know about, and that’s being happy. Happiness, I think, does show on your face. And being in love... my husband’s kissing me right now, so [kissing noises] I love you [more kissing noises]... so that really does wonders for your complexion. But so does Botox, don’t get me wrong.
3/13: Jenny McCarthy’s Dirty, Sexy, Funny @ Sycuan’s Live & Up Close, sycuan.com